Everyone should be so lucky as to have a co-worker like Rickie Ricardo. The Yankees’ Spanish broadcaster was called into service on Wednesday night when his English language counterpart, John Sterling, became stranded in Edgewater, New Jersey. Ricardo called in to tell Moose and Maggie on WFAN the story on Thursday morning.
“Usually when we finish a game, John Sterling is the first one to leave. He does the totals, the wrap up, and he and his engineer, they go.,” Ricardo explained. “I stick around. I do the Spanish post-game show, so you know, I’m the last one to leave the stadium.”
As he left, it was clear that Tropical Storm Ida was wreaking havoc on New York City.
“It was amazing to see Yankee Stadium, the lobby at Yankee Stadium, completely flooded. I’m talking water above your ankles,” Rickie Ricardo said.
Because of streets flooding around Yankee Stadium, it took him an extraordinarily long time for Ricardo to get to the George Washington Bridge. That was fortunate for both John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, who called Ricardo to say Sterling needed help. His car was stranded on River Road in Edgewater, New Jersey.
“I said ‘Alright Susan. I’m on my way. I more or less know where he lives. I’ll figure out where he’s at and see what I can do.’”
Rickie Ricardo dialed John Sterling’s number ten times before he finally got through. Things didn’t get any easier when the radio voice of the Yankees picked up the phone.
Because power was out, it was too dark for Sterling to accurately tell Ricardo where he was. All he could say for sure was that he was in front of a Chinese restaurant with a bagel shop on the corner.
When Ricardo finally did find Sterling, he saw just how many people were in the same proverbial boat.
“Literally, there are at least, guys, 25 cars stranded,” he said describing the scene.
Water had completely covered Sterling’s wheels. Ricardo rolled up his pant legs, made sure Sterling had everything he needed, and got his friend into his Jeep.
If it seemed that getting to Sterling would be the hard part, Rickie Ricardo said there was a surprise to come. It took an hour to get to Sterling’s apartment, which was only a half-mile away from the scene.
“I finally got John home, wet, about an hour and a half to two hours after the game had ended,” Ricardo said, adding it then took him close to another hour to get home himself.
While there was plenty of concern for John Sterling, Maggie Gray wanted to make sure Ricardo’s action got the proper recognition.
“I’ll stand and applaud for Rickie Ricardo coming through and rescuing national treasure John Sterling,” she said.
16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
The news comes as Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, sports radio stations are the third-most streamed spoken word format, just behind Talk/Personality and News/Talk/Info. The trend is continuing to show that streaming is on the uptick.
The survey found that in May 2022, 16.9% of sports talk radio’s audience tunes in via the station’s online stream. That news comes as Nielson reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
Nielsen notes that in the 45 PPM markets they are grabbing data from and the 4,800+ stations that stream in those markets, just 30% of them are encoded. That encoding allows for Nielsen to accurately measure the streams. They used the listener data from 1,500 stations across the U.S., in their latest report, AM/FM Radio Streaming Growth in PPM Markets.
The survey also showed that streaming levels differ widely by radio format. Spoken word formats display strong streaming listenership (Talk/Personality: 31.2%, News/Talk/Info: 19.1%, All Sports: 16.9%). In fact, Nielsen found that 1/3 of all AM/FM streaming in PPM markets is to spoken word formats.
New Study Finds Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend
More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.
In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.
Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.
The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.
Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.
Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for The Final Time
Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:
“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”
Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”
Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.
Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.