Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan

| May 1, 2015

Fred Jacobs
Jacobs Media

jacobsfredwriterBINGHAM FARMS, MI — Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use.

No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans.  In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.

In Techsurvey11, conducted in January/Februrary 2015, Jacobs Media amassed more than 200 stakeholder radio stations across North America, garnering 41,600 respondents.  Overall, 14 sports radio stations participated in TS11, generating more than 1,200 weighted interviews.

The survey is web-based, made up mostly of members of station email databases.  In the “80:20 Rule,” where it is posted that 20% of a population account for 80% of the activity and results, think of this sample as “the 20%.”

For sports radio, the discreet results from TS11 are very telling about the unique nature of these very passionate stations fans.  The Media Usage Pyramid below shows how they use media, technology, and gadget.  The column on the far right side of the chart represents the totals for the entire sample:



As the little green “thumbs up” icons designate, sports radio partisans are more likely to own both smartphones and tablets, as well as stream audio and video on a weekly basis or more often.  They are twice as likely as the average listener to access podcasts.  They also profile higher for “connected car” ownership and satellite radio subscribership.

By the way, the NPS reference in the upper-left of this pyramid denotes Net Promoter Score, a way that brands measure the degree to which consumers recommend them to friends, family, and co-workers.  For the entire survey, the NPS average is 44, so with a score of only 32, sports fans are typically less apt to tell others about their favorite radio station.  This may be an indicator that they rely on many other media sources and outlets, so radio has to work harder to garner their recommendation. We have also learned that in general, women are more likely to recommend brands to others – another factor.

For TS11, we also created a second pyramid that depicts brand and platform usage so that programmers can gain a better understanding of how their target audiences spend their media and tech time.   Here is that Brand/Platform Pyramid for fans of sports radio:


In general, these sports-oriented listeners use Facebook, but they are far more likely to visit Twitter and LinkedIn.  In fact, they are twice as likely to use Twitter weekly or more often than the average TS11 respondent.  They are also more apt to access YouTube at least weekly, along with listening to their home station’s stream.

To provide more detail on the social media “footprint” for these sports radio fans, the left side of the chart below shows the sites on which they have profiles; on the right, the bars indicate the social platforms they visit at least daily:


While Facebook is the leader across the board in TS11, among these sports fans, LinkedIn and Twitter are sites that also attract their attention.  But it’s the daily usage chart that shows that while they are less likely to visit Facebook on an everyday basis than the average respondent in the survey, they’re more than twice as apt to spend time on Twitter at least daily.  Again, this speaks to the importance of a strong Twitter presence for sports radio stations, their personalities, hosts, and teams.

To get a better gauge about how the digital savviness of these sports fans, we asked them to think back to the prior week, and the platforms and devices they use to listen to the station that sent them this survey – assigning percentages to each one:


Half the consumption of their favorite sports radio station takes place on AM/FM radio in cars, and an additional one-fifth takes at home/work/school on a regular radio.  But a significant 28% of usage is happening digitally – with mobile apps and computer streams making up a large portion of usage.  For the overall sample, the traditional-to-digital ratio is 81:17, which underscores how sports devotees are far more new media oriented.

There’s more data in Techsurvey11, and the chance for stations to participate next year and receive their discreet local data.   For questions, contact Fred Jacobs – and/or go to


Fred Jacobs is president of Jacobs Media.


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Category: Features, Sports