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Study: Sports Radio Improved Monthly Reach in Last Year

The study affirmed that radio reaches a larger share of American consumers than any other media platform, including 91% of adults 18 or older.

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Courtesy: Nielsen Media Research

Nielsen Media Research recently unveiled its annual Audio Today report centering around the usage of audio-based platforms by American consumers, including streaming, podcasts and both broadcast and satellite radio. The study affirmed that radio reaches a larger share of the American population than any other media platform, including 91% of adults 18 or older. When narrowing down the demographic to adults ages 18-34, radio reaches 85% of the population, a figure 5% higher than live and time-shifted television. Year-over-year, the monthly reach of radio declined by approximately 2% both for adults 18 and older and adults ages 18-34. Nonetheless, radio still proves dominant over other devices able to access media, including tablets and smartphones.

While the impact of radio is undeniable, the precipitous rise of podcasts has been taking place over the course of several years and further saturating the content marketplace. Podcast listeners typically consume their programming during rush hours; that is, the early morning and the late afternoon and evening. American consumers spend an average of one to four hours consuming podcasts on a weekly basis, although consumers listening to podcasts for 5-7 hours per day increased from 12 to 15% annually.

As it pertains to podcast genres, comedy and news remained the top genres despite declines in listenership. Moreover, sports podcasts experienced a 10% decrease in listenership, one of the more pronounced decreases over the last year. Society and culture-based podcasts received the largest positive gain, with total listeners augmenting by 12%.

All-sports formatted radio stations, however, jumped in terms of monthly reach (000), moving from 10th to eighth among the top 20 AM/FM radio formats. The rise in cume is consistent with the reasoning behind increased advertising spending and investment into quality content.

The median age of sports radio listeners moved from 51 to 52, consistent with the existing audience. Moreover, the percentage of listeners employed either on a full-time or part-time basis remained at 69%, along with the average household size of 2.9 persons.

Audio-based services, specifically those rooted in terrestrial radio, reach more listeners than any other platform. According to the study, ad-supported audio on radio reaches 91% of the U.S. population, nearly two times the number of listeners on streaming music services. The figure is down 2% year over year, but still strong compared to others comparable. Ninety-three percent of adults in the U.S. population between the ages of 35 and 49 are exposed to these advertisements on a monthly basis, and 92% age 50 or older. Analyzing the reach of audio in marketing campaigns, the study attained similar figures – 91% of adults over the age of 18; and 92% of adults age 50 or older.

Radio also dominates other platforms when it comes to the time spent listening, responsible for 38% of daily listening time among all audio sources. By refining the measurement to ad-supported audio sources – essentially eliminating owned music and paid audio streaming services without advertisements – radio is responsible for 68% of daily audio consumption.

Streaming is also on the rise, with 20% of listeners tuning into their favorite stations through digital streams. The number is up by 5% year over year and has steadily increased since the first quarter of 2022, quantifiable evidence of the conspicuous effect of technological innovation and development on the industry.

As has historically been the case, larger shares of listening take place when consumers are out of their homes, primarily in the car. The study concluded that 68% of listeners consume radio in the car outside of the home during a full week, with more car-based radio listening taking place on the weekends than the weekdays. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of AM radio listening takes place in the car, justifying the reasoning of keeping the platform accessible to drivers as a standard feature of vehicles. Ford had plans to eliminate AM radio from its new car models, but quickly reversed course after government leaders voiced concerns about the dissemination of notifications via the emergency alert system.

NOTE: An original version of this story expressed that sports radio more than doubled its monthly reach in the last year. Nielsen Media Research contacted Barrett Sports Media and expressed that there was an error in the 2022 Audio Today report, mistakenly listing the cume as 8,827 rather than 18,827 (000).

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Sports Media Reacts to the Possibility of Losing ‘Inside the NBA’

“It’s must-see television, it always is.”

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Photos of Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley
Photo Courtesy: TNT Sports

Many in sports media have reacted to the news today that NBC will claim the final NBA media rights package. This means that longtime NBA partner TNT is out after next season and, most likely, Inside the NBA will come to an end next year as well.

On 670 The Score in Chicago, Dan Bernstein said, “I’m genuinely unhappy about it because it appears that the last season of the NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA is next year and then it’s over. Unless somebody just throws a ton of money and picks that whole show up and grabs it and says, ‘What’s your number’ for everybody we want to just take the whole show, everybody involved and make it part of what we do…it sounds like it’s over and that sucks. That’s the best sports studio show ever.”

Steak Shapiro from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta said upon reading the news, “That stinks… What great entertainment does is allow you to be entertained and take a deep breath and say, ‘I just enjoy this, this is my hour and a half or two hours watching Shaq, Kenny, Charles and Ernie Johnson Jr. hanging out.'”

Rich Eisen spent time on his show talking about it and said, ” I’m telling you guys I would be stunned if they were all a package deal going somewhere else.” He later added, about the show, “It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Several others took to social media to post about the show:

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Andy Gresh: ‘Greg Olsen Got Pushed Out for the Greatest Player in the History of the Game’

“Even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

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Photos of Andy Gresh and Greg Olsen and a logo for WEEI
Gresh Photo Courtesy: Audacy Olsen Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

The Sports Emmy Awards were handed out last night and one particular award caught the attention of WEEI’s Gresh & Fauria show in Boston. Hosts Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria talked about the category of Outstanding Personality/Event Analyst where the nominees were Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Greg Olsen, Bill Raftery, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci.

Olsen won the award, and the show played the audio from his acceptance speech. “I think there’s a lot of people wondering what I’m going to say right now,” Olsen said. “Coming into tonight, people asked me, they say, ‘What’s your biggest threat to your future in the business?’ And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Brady and this,’ and I think it’s Andy from ‘Toy Story.’ If he gets in, (Cris) Collinsworth, (Troy) Aikman, we’re dead. But I really appreciate it.”

Olsen later added, “I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is I love talking football, I love talking ball, I love studying it, I love seeing where the game is going. Wherever that takes me, whatever level it is, I’m more committed to the game of football now.”

It was the “I don’t know what the future holds” part of what Olsen said that caught the host’s attention. They took that as Olsen pouting and not being happy to be on the No. 2 FOX Sports NFL team. Fauria used the term “pushed out” and Gresh wanted to make a point about that.

“Again, Greg Olsen got pushed out for the greatest player in the history of the game,” Gresh said. “And they’re not firing him, they’re moving him to the No. 2 spot… and guess what, if you don’t keep that gig, the only thing that’ll be on the epitaph of the career resume is that you got bumped by Tom Brady. You’re good, settle in for No. 2, wait your turn somewhere else…but even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

Fauria painted the picture a little differently as he is not of the belief Tom Brady is going to be a great NFL analyst. “It’s funny because here comes a guy who was just recognized by all his peers…deciding between all these guys, he was the best one,” he said. “And he got pushed out for a guy who has never done it before…and there is not some sort of given that he is even going to be good at it. He could suck at it.”

Gresh replied back, “If you are at the FOX upfronts and you got a chance to go in a room, are you going to pick the one with Greg Olsen or the one with Tom Brady? …Brady is not going to let himself fail at this. He is not going to look like a big idiot.”

“Just the assumption that Brady is going to be great at this I think is a stretch” replied Fauria.

As for Olsen, Fauria believes if he continues the way he has started, he will come out on top in the end. “I guarantee you at some point in time, when his contract runs out, and he tells all the streaming services that all exist now, he ends up being the guy. He’s fine. And he lost his job to the greatest football player ever.”

Gresh is not nearly as big of an Olsen fan and said, “If Greg Olsen was so great, are the other networks going to fall all over themselves to try and hire this guy? Will ESPN say, ‘maybe we will get rid of Aikman and put Olsen in there?'”

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Charles Barkley: ‘I Would Listen’ Before Making Decisions About NBA Broadcast Future

“For the people I work with, man, it just sucks right now.”

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Charles Barkley
Courtesy: Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

The NBA is reportedly formalizing deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon for its next television media rights contract that would take effect beginning in the 2025-26 season. If Warner Bros. Discovery is unable to match or decides not to engage in such discussions, the company would lose broadcasting rights to the NBA and terminate a 40-year relationship that dates back to the 1984-85 campaign. At the same time, this has caused many sports fans to ponder over the future of Inside the NBA, a multiple-time Emmy Award-winning studio show featuring Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Barkley, who signed a 10-year contract extension along with his colleagues on the show, confirmed in a recent interview on ESPN Cleveland that he has an opt-out in his deal should TNT Sports lose broadcasting rights to the NBA. Smith and O’Neal reportedly hold a similar clause with the future of Inside the NBA and the NBA on TNT remaining unknown. Barkley appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio following the report from Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal on Wednesday morning and described the sentiment surrounding these negotiations.

“It sucks right now,” Barkley said. “For the people I work with, man, it just sucks right now. There’s nothing I can say because I worry about all the people I work with.”

Barkley explained that he enjoys golfing and/or fishing on a daily basis and does not look at losing the NBA as being fired. In fact, he hopes the Western Conference Finals quickly conclude so he can go back to playing golf every day over the next four months. The part that concerns him is the fact that he estimates 200 people could lose their jobs at the company should the relationship with the NBA come to a close. Although it remains unknown if anyone would sign with another network, the widespread perception is that all four members of the show would be coveted free agents.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Amazon, ESPN or if we lose it to NBC, so I’m not sure how to answer that question,” Barley said. “I just don’t know. Ernie [Johnson] would not go to another network – I’m damn sure about that. But I would listen; I would listen before I made any decisions.”

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