With Mike Francesa’s final day as a regular WFAN afternoon host approaching this Friday, Entercom and the station still do not have his replacements set or signed.
There has even been a divide regarding how to replace Francesa.
Evan Roberts is one of the choices to be part of the afternoon team, according to sources. Roberts still needs to negotiate new terms as he is currently under contract as a midday host. But, in every current known machination, Roberts is one of Francesa’s replacements.
Joe Benigno would seem the smooth choice to move with his midday partner into afternoons, but some Entercom executives want to get younger and worry that they are going to have to redo afternoons soon as the 66-year-old Benigno has constantly talked about retirement. Benigno wants a substantial raise, too.
Benigno is the 36-year-old Roberts’ preferred choice, which you would think would count for something. He would also offer stability, as instead of having to start from scratch with two new shows it would just be one. He is still probably the favorite, but it is not guaranteed.
One of the original ideas that Entercom had to replace Francesa was to put Maggie Gray, Bart Scott and a third person in afternoons.
Roberts might have been the one to basically replace the role that Chris Carlin formerly played in CMB. EMB, though, is over before it even started as Scott decided to further his career at ESPN.
Scott has remained on FAN, even as he is intent on going to ESPN New York to host a local show with Alan Hahn. FAN has tried last-ditch attempts to change Scott’s mind.
Entercom may try to make Scott’s life difficult instead of just thanking him for his time with the station and letting him go to its crosstown rival.
Since Maggie and Bart plus one was an original plan, there is some thinking within Entercom, why not just go with Gray and Roberts since that was going to be the potential team if Scott remained with FAN?
If the Roberts and Gray in the afternoon thought gains momentum, then Benigno could be joined by John Jastremski in the midday.
Jastremski, who works overnights, should be jumping at the chance to get to daytime. His tryout with Scott and Gray was awkward, which has created a hesitancy to team him with Gray in middays. It is still possible, though.
If Jastremski is left without a daytime chair, it could create an opening to reunite Gray with her old CBS Sports Radio partner, Marc Malusis. The two would have less of a learning curve if they were together.
Whichever way it goes, Entercom needs to finally decide very soon.
Francesa is leaving because, as he said last week, he doesn’t want to “mail it in” on afternoons.
As part of his new three-year deal, he still is expected to have a daily presence on WFAN, maybe 6 to 6:30 p.m. He will also be on Radio.com, where he said he will talk sports and politics.
The politics of FAN and Entercom are now here and wide open. It is time for all the executives to put in their final votes and get moving on some deals.
It is the most prestigious local talk show host show job in the country. It is where Mike & the Mad Dog came to prominence. It is time to decide who gets the throne.
Eye on changes: CBS has made further changes to its golf coverage. Frank Nobilo will become a full-time analyst. Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman joins the network as an analyst.
Mark Immelman, Trevor’s brother, will increase his role on CBS’ coverage. Dottie Pepper is the new lead course reporter, which was vacated by Peter Kostis.
Michelle Wie will contribute to CBS’ coverage of the Masters and some other events.
Andrew Catalon will increase his hosting duties in a role previously held by Bill Macatee. Macatee will work one more Masters, it should be noted.
CBS had earlier added Davis Love III. Jim Nantz continues as the lead voice on the big events. Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch continue as main analysts.
CBS let Gary McCord and Kostis go in October after long runs with the network.
Clicker books: As 2019 draws to an end, Papa Clicker may have found his book of the year — “Tough Luck: Sid Luckman, Murder, Inc., and the Rise of the Modern NFL” by R. D. Rosen.
This excellent book describes Luckman’s successful football career, including his role in the development of the T formation and his life after football.
It also details the criminal life of his convicted gangster father, who was involved in the mob. How good was this book? It has broken new ground with 4.65/5 clickers, the highest score ever awarded in this space.
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