As we expected, as soon as Michael Kay re-upped with WEPN to continue as afternoon host, WFAN New York then had no choice but to accelerate the process of filling both its afternoon show and morning co-host.
WFAN decided to replace Mike Francesa with a three person team for afternoons, starting on January 2, 2018. Chris Carlin moves over from Philadelphia's highly rated WIP 94.1. Former Jets linebacker Bart Scott, who, obviously, will no longer be a part of WEPN-FM, joins Carlin, as does Maggie Gray, who has been hosting SI Now.
Carlin is also expected to continue as play-by-play voice for Rutgers football next season. He had come to WIP-FM in 2016 as the replacement for Josh Innes when Innes left Philadelphia for Houston sports talk radio. He (Carlin) is no stranger to The Fan, having begun as an intern in 1995 and later serving as producer for Mike & The Mad Dog.
At the same time, WFAN announced that Gregg Giannotti, who has served as the primary interim co-host of the station's morning show along with Boomer Esiason (following the Craig Carton resignation several weeks ago), will be the official co-host starting the morning of January 2nd. The show will officially become "Boomer & Gio".
This all comes after months of speculation regarding the afternoon show upon the retirement announcement by Francesa, who leaves the station mid-December.
In addition, the "Boomer & Gio" morning show will go national, with CBS Sports Network to simulcast the show, also starting on January 2nd.
On the Philadelphia side, WIP-FM 94.1 is riding the excellent season by the Eagles into tremendous ratings, and has to be careful about replacing Carlin in its lineup. Carlin and co-host Ike Reese were finally closing the ratings gap behind The Fanatic's Mike Missanelli. WIP-FM has officially moved Jon Marks up from evenings to co-host afternoons with Ike Reese. On weeknights when the station is not airing play-by-play, Joe Giglio will handle the sports talk. Giglio will remain on the station's Phillies pre-game and post-game programming.
ESPN is working behind the scenes to have a new direct sports streaming service available "Spring 2018". At press time, it remained a secret as to what the pricing will be, and whether or not streaming of events would be made available via the App to consumers other than cable/satellite subscribers.
Perhaps ESPN should have been working behind the scenes last week with their on-air editing team. Last Friday (11/10), ESPN was showing a graphic of its "NCAA Franchise Veterans Team" on the air, when the graphic clearly showed Duke's Grayson Allen as a "teammate" at North Carolina with Joel Berry.
It was bad enough the network got a star player on the wrong team, but it was even worse because the "wrong team" is considered to be the biggest rival that Duke has.
Speaking of ESPN mistakes, preparations continue to Mike Greenberg's new morning show, to be known as "Get Up". As mentioned here a couple weeks back, the new studio in Manhattan has been faced with a construction delay. Instead of starting the show in early January as planned, ESPN has decided to wait until the new studio is ready, which will not be until "Spring 2018".
This means that following the risky move of breaking up 'Mike & Mike' after their long successful run, that Greenberg will not have a show running for what could easily be more than three months. By then it could be too late.
The right move would have been to have Greenberg and crew (reportedly Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose) on location with occasional stints from Bristol. This show could easily originate from locations such as the NCAA Championship Game, NFL playoff cities, the Super Bowl, spring training, and NCAA tournament cities.
Instead, we have an idea for a new show and not even a specific launch date.
Los Angeles NFL viewers will again get four games during the Sunday CBS/Fox period this week (11/19). CBS has the doubleheader game and L.A. will get the primary games of Kansas City at New York Giants early and then New England vs. Oakland as the featured games. Since the Rams at Minnesota (early) and Buffalo at the Chargers (late) are both on Fox, both of those games will air in the local market. This continues to be the only market in the nation for which airing four games during these time slots is allowed.
Have to think that St. Louis fans are not going to be happy this Sunday, however. As of press time, St. Louis is scheduled to get the L.A. Rams at Minnesota as its only Fox telecast, ahead of other regional games such as Washington vs. New Orleans. Even though the Rams vs. Vikings is an appealing game to the casual fan, the viewers St. Louis have shown that they have little to no interest in seeing their former Rams in action.
CHICAGO: Just six weeks after becoming NBC Sports Chicago (from Comcast SportsNet Chicago), the regional network eliminated what appears to be 12 full-time positions, including Senior Executive Producer Jim Corno Jr. Also let go was White Sox beat reporter Dan Hayes.
COOKEVILLE TN: WPTN 780/106.1 has dropped its sports radio completely and changed to a music format.