Temperatures rise during the summer months in Phoenix. The same can’t always be said about sports radio ratings. But in 2021, listenership in Phoenix advanced to a record level.
Following a spring book which saw the Phoenix Suns get hot in the playoffs and begin their push to the NBA Finals, Arizona Sports 98.7 rode that momentum to its most dominant victory ever in the summer book. The station produced a 5.6 share for the quarter in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) to finish 6th overall. That was a nine tenths of a point increase from their spring performance.
The news was even better for 98.7’s afternoon show, Burns and Gambo. The popular duo popped a station best 6.4 share in their timeslot to finish the book in 2nd place. That marked the third straight book of growth for the show, including a seven tenths gain from the spring.
Next best in the lineup were Bickley and Marotta. The new morning team, which had been installed in middays during the summer months, closed out their midday tenure with a 5.5 share. That showing was good enough to place them 4th in the market for the quarter. The midday slot improved by a full point from spring to summer.
Wrapping up in morning drive, the longtime team of Doug and Wolf, which previously featured Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley, signed off for the final time with an 8th place 4.4 share. Doug and Wolf spent more than 14 years together on the station in morning drive. They were up seven tenths from the spring.
The rest of the market didn’t have much of a ratings story among sports radio brands. 1580 The Fanatic and KDUS didn’t record a rating. FOX Sports 910 delivered a 0.1 in weekday prime, and received an 0.2 from Jody Oehler, the only other sports show in the market to record a rating during the summer book.
When the fall book gets released, we’ll get our first look at how the local audience responds to the changes recently made by Arizona Sports. The station now features Bickley and Marotta in mornings, Wolf and Luke Lapinksi in middays, and Burns and Gambo in afternoons. Rod Lakin will also be gone, having left for Philadelphia to program Sports Radio WIP.
One thing to remember, the spring and summer books included a major boost from the Suns, so that carryover isn’t guaranteed to continue into the fall. Some may read that and suggest I’m giving 98.7 a pass following their recent changes. I’m not. I’m simply trying to paint a realistic picture that audience levels could change due to not having a local team battle for a championship during the fall months.
Regardless, Arizona Sports are thriving right now. Congratulations is in order for Scott Sutherland, Ryan Hatch, and the entire programming team.
SURVEY: 16.9% of All Sports Radio Listeners Are Streaming
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 Nielsen reported that 11.3% of all radio listenership comes thru a stream, up from 6.9% in May of 2020.
According to Nielsen, All 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 its 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.