Mike Francesa

One of the biggest questions hovering over the sports media industry has been who would replace Mike Francesa when his contract ends at WFAN in New York later this year. Francesa is one of the titans of sports talk radio and has dominated the city of New York for thirty years. It’s fair to say that Francesa and longtime partner Chris Russo helped to pave the way for the growth of sports talk radio around the country.

Replacing someone like Francesa, who has been an institution in New York since the days when Phil Simms was playing quarterback for the Giants, is not going to be easy. And in the past several months, seemingly everyone in the metro area from Chris Simms to Chris Christie has been thrown out as possibilities.

WFAN has finally made their decision, and it will not be just one person but three people who will attempt to fill the shoes of the pope.

Here is the news via the New York Daily News. The trio is former WFAN producer and current Philly sports talk host Chris Carlin, former Jets linebacker and CBS Sports analyst Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray of CBS Sports Radio and Sports Illustrated. Scott will also be making the move to WFAN from their competitors at 98.7 ESPN Radio in New York.

Industry sources say WFAN suits will soon name Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray — who the Daily News first reported on Monday as the third member of the team — as its new afternoon drive team replacing Francesa when he departs the station on Dec. 15.

The News also first reported earlier this month that Carlin and Scott were expected to be part of a trio that would take over for Francesa.

The FAN certainly appears to be making a concerted effort to have a diverse booth with a black host in Scott and a female in Gray.

Perhaps the most fascinating piece of the breaking news about Francesa’s replacement isn’t who was chosen, but who wasn’t chosen. The Daily News reports that multiple individuals turned down the chance to be Francesa’s replacement at WFAN.

Sources said near the end of the selection process, FAN honchos offered the gig to Chris Simms, a primary contender, but he turned it down.

The same scenario transpired when the gig was offered to NFLN’s Kimberly Jones, ESPN’s Max Kellerman and CBSSN/Sirius XM’s Adam Schein. The selection committee explored the possibility of pursuing WABC’s Sid Rosenberg but he is still under contract to that station.

The report that multiple people from across sports media turned down the Francesa gig is interesting. Perhaps it’s a combination of those individuals being content where they are currently employed and the challenge of trying to replace someone who (in spite of how much fun it is to poke fun at his foibles) is a sports talk radio legend.

It’s impossible to predict how this is going to go given these three individuals are being pulled in from vastly different places and will bring vastly different perspectives to the table. And if it’s true that Gray, Carlin, and Scott weren’t necessarily the first choice (or choices) for WFAN, it gives the appearance of a hodgepodge that the station is trying to piece together in hopes of hitting the jackpot.

The trio could get on the air from Day 1 and have amazing chemistry that will be a breath of fresh air for WFAN listeners. Or it could be an awkward mishmash that won’t have a long shelf life. Maybe it’ll be somewhere in between. The only thing that we know is that it will be a very different drivetime for New Yorkers than what they’ve been accustomed to for the past three decades.

[New York Daily News]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

  • philip

    bart scott is going to be good; he’s always entertaining on the radio.. but carlin is a clown, just youtube his amazing work

  • Pepe Silvia AKA Waaaambulance

    WFAN ratings will tank when this happens

  • DrewShervin

    It’s a disaster.

  • Brendan Kennedy

    they landed on their, what, 4th choice? this is going to go great…..

  • Bscotch Bscotch

    Merry Early Christmas, Michael Kay

  • Charybdis

    For the better part of a year Francesa has been swearing up and down that he would have no role or influence in choosing his successor, but after this announcement it’s obvious that they gave that responsibility to Michael Kay!!

  • Shawn Rychling

    It might last 3 months

  • OOS

    Why not Carton calling in on a prison pay phone?

  • BB Commenter

    Feel bad for Valenti – he deserved the gig- but man selfishly happy I can still listen to him

  • Adam Domo

    Obviously you have to give it a chance but I don’t know, this sounds like a swing and a miss to me. It’s such a drastic change in voices that I feel like you might turn off a lot of people… and/or it’s going to take a long time to gain some footing. Carlin used to be on the FAN and has a relatively common voice but it’s not enough to carry two brand new people. Who knows, maybe Scott and gray will be great, but it’s a little too NEW.

    Should’ve just went with Joe and Evan…and tried a new mid-day program to see what works.

  • Vinnytee forelife

    Not Good at all. Bye Bye FAN !!

  • Pingback: Chris Russo is definitely not a fan of WFAN replacing Mike Francesa with Bart Scott()