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WFAN and WIP Announce Official Lineup Changes

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A changing of the guard was officially announced by WFAN. After nearly a decade of the same lineup, led off by Boomer and Carton from 6-10 in the morning, Benigno and Roberts 10-1 in the midday, and Mike Francesa’s solo 1-6:30 show, the number one sports radio station in the country will undergo an overhaul.

WFAN was aware for two years the station’s anchor of nearly 30 years, Mike Francesa, was targeting December 15th 2017 as his final show. Former “Mike and the Maddog” producer and most recently WIP’s afternoon host in Philly, Chris Carlin will be teamed up with ex-NFL player Bart Scott and CBS Sports Radio host Maggie Gray. Carlin was the original sports anchor for Boomer and Carton and produced the afternoon show on WFAN for over six years, but he did say he has not spoken to Francesa since 2010.

Carlin joined Philadelphia’s WIP as their afternoon host along with Ike Reese just over a year ago. When asked whether or not he was concerned Carlin might have his eye on the future WFAN opening when he joined the station, WIP’s Program Director Spike Eskin told me:

“I had no concern about the WFAN opening when we hired Chris. I believed then, and I believe now, that Chris came to WIP to make this his home and help WIP win for years. But situations change, as they almost always do in radio. You can never guess what things will change, just that they almost always will.”

Regarding WIP’s own changes after Carlin’s departure Spike said, “The idea of having a deep roster of talent, is having the ability to not just withstand a situation like this, but continue to grow. I believe Jon Marks is the best choice for afternoons on WIP in the entire country, and we will hit the ground running. I’m also really excited to be able to have Joe Giglio on WIP every night, which will give him even more opportunity to show everyone how good he is, and get even better. ”

The three person team to fill Francesa’s slot was questioned by former WFAN host Chris Russo. On his SiriusXM afternoon show, Mad Dog was most curious about the addition of Bart Scott, “He’s not from here. (He’s from Detroit.) He doesn’t know anything about New York. You have to be honest. You have to be fair. I should keep my mouth shut because I’ll get in trouble here. But there’s a lot of talk show hosts who have New York roots around the country. You’re telling me you couldn’t get someone in there and give him a shot?”

It’s a fair question from Russo as Francesa’s show was always baseball heavy during the summer, even when he was on vacation and the midday show filled in. When Mickey Callaway pulls Noah Syndergaard after six shutout innings only to watch the bullpen lose the game, how will the city respond to Carlin, a Texas Rangers fan, Scott an ex-NFL player who grew up in Detroit, and Gray from Binghamton? Time will tell, but there’s no question the hosts are being handed prime radio real estate to work with and fans of the station should give them a chance to succeed.

WFAN hasn’t experienced as much turnover as other sports radio stations throughout the country in their history, but when Don Imus departed the station in 2007, WFAN Program Director, Mark Chernoff hit a ratings home run with Boomer and Carton as his replacement.

When I checked in with Chernoff regarding the station’s announcement he said, “My only comment is how excited I am about the new show and how much I want to thank Mike for his 30 wonderful years here and anchoring afternoon drive since September, 1989 first with Dog, then solo. An amazing run.”

Amidst the two year debate of who should replace Francesa, Chernoff was also hit with the sudden dismissal of popular morning show co-host Craig Carton. WFAN confirmed this morning, former Joe and Evan producer and current CBS Sports Radio morning host, Gregg Giannotti will be Boomer Esiason’s new full-time partner to solidify the 6-10am timeslot.

During the announcement, Giannotti mentioned he received an unexpected phone call from Craig Carton. Gio said the conversation “really did mean the world to me,” and Carton was “unbelievably nice as you could possibly be.” Boomer followed by saying “I didn’t expect anything less because that’s the guy we knew,” referring to his former partner. Boomer also stated emphatically, “He’ll be back.”

The new schedule for WFAN launches January 2nd, 2018 with the Boomer and Gio show 6-10am ET, which can also be viewed on the CBS Sports Network, Benigno and Roberts in the midday with an additional hour from 10-2, and The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie from 2-6:30pm.

The only piece of the puzzle still missing is who will replace Giannotti in mornings on the CBS Sports Radio Network opposite Brian Jones.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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