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WFAN’s Sal Licata on Working Overnights: ‘You Have to Love What You Do’

“It can be challenging… to be able to function at three in the morning where you’re in the middle of a show and maybe you’ve already rehashed all the topics you wanted to hit that night.”

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Sal Licata

Hosting a radio show at a legendary station in a major market is an opportunity very few would turn down. Even if that means working the overnight shift.

But doing five hours of radio from midnight to 5 a.m. is an adjustment that changes your life. Working when most are sleeping is a tough transition. Some eventually adapt to the schedule, but others never do. In some cases, it might be fighting a natural rhythm. But some are better at being nocturnal than others.

WFAN’s Sal Licata doesn’t know if he’s suited to the overnight lifestyle yet. He took over the shift in November after the legendary Steve Somers retired from regular work at the station. Getting a full-time position was the payoff after working his way up for 18 years, beginning at WFAN as an intern in 2003 and making it on the air in 2006. But Licata had to grind as a part-timer, even leaving WFAN at one point, before finally earning the gig he coveted.

Appearing on Sports Talk Chicago/WCKG with host Jon Zaghloul, Licata was asked how he manages doing overnight radio.

“I’m still trying to learn to manage it, but you have to figure out a way to balance your schedule and your time, and it’s very difficult,” Licata explained. “Also, I have the other job with SNY, so I still do both. And then my wife and I just had a baby, 11 months old, so you’re managing that as well.

“The shows themselves can be challenging, just because it’s the middle of the night. Especially when there’s no sports going on which, thankfully, right now we don’t have that problem anymore with the baseball lockout ending. But it can be challenging, five hours by yourself, limited calls, limited sports topics.

Much like 670 The Score’s Mark Grote explained to Parkins & Spiegel last week, moving to the overnight shift is not an immediate adjustment. He’s still trying to figure out a consistent routine that works, that’s sustainable.

But to Licata, it comes down to an approach that probably applies to whatever shift anyone in radio, or in any vocation, someone might work.

“I just think A) you have to love what you do. B) You have to figure out a way to get proper rest and sleep, whether it’s naps, whether it’s just six hours straight, and eating right, keeping your energy up. All things like that, to be able to function at three in the morning where you’re in the middle of a show and maybe you’ve already rehashed all the topics you wanted to hit that night, and you’ve gotta come up with something.”

Licata’s entire conversation with Zaghloul is worth your listening time. He talks about his career to this point, beginning at WFAN as an intern and a producer for Somers, then Mike & the Mad Dog before he ever made it to air. But Mike Francesa was supportive and helped him break out from behind the scenes.

Naturally, Licata also talks about New York sports — particularly the Giants, quarterback Daniel Jones, and the coach he wanted the team to hire — in addition to the Mets’ upcoming season. Oh, and Gregg Giannotti prank-calling him on the air also comes up.

You can listen to the Sports Talk Chicago podcast at the show’s website or on apps including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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