Will Cain defending Kate Smith on First Take.

Some big changes may be ahead for ESPN Radio. In particular, it looks like afternoon host Will Cain (seen at center above on First Take last April defending Kate Smith) is exiting for Fox News, and that Dan Le Batard may be taken off the radio lineup as well. The particular news of those moves came from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post Monday, but it’s notable that Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports tweeted on April 10 that Cain “could be on the move from ESPN; possibly to Fox News.” Here’s more from Marchand’s piece:

ESPN Radio is in the process of what could be a complete transformation that may impact every part of its schedule and eventually lead to Dan Le Batard no longer being on the network and the potential return of Mike Greenberg to radio, The Post has learned.

While these plans may play out over the next year-plus, the departure of afternoon host Will Cain from ESPN Radio appears imminent. He is soon expected to sign a contract with Fox News and Fox Nation, according to sources.

…As for Le Batard, he still has more than a year left on his contract, but there is a feeling among many that his program does not mesh with the tastes of Norby Williamson, who is ESPN’s executive vice president and the point person on ESPN Radio’s programming. Le Batard does more of a variety show rather than strictly sports.

It would certainly be interesting to see Cain leave ESPN for Fox News, as he was a right-wing political pundit long before he joined ESPN in 2015  (where he’s often been seen as a token “balance” provider). And that could lead to big changes at ESPN Radio, where Cain currently hosts a show in the 3-6 p.m. Eastern slot. There’s no obvious in-house successor for that slot at the moment. It’s also notable to see discussion of Le Batard’s radio show (currently on ESPN’s network from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern) exiting their network; Le Batard has run into some controversy before, especially when he’s touched on politics, and removing his radio show from ESPN’s network might be desirable for some decision-makers (especially Norby “SportsCenter SportsCenter SportsCenter” Williamson).

The most immediate action item here appears to be Cain’s departure, and that does seem likely to happen at this point. Further discussions about the likes of Le Batard and Trey Wingo (who could be in line for a shift, as Marchand notes that ESPN is “strongly considering changing up its morning program of ‘Golic & Wingo,’ as Trey Wingo’s contract is up this year”) are also notable, but seem perhaps less imminent. (It is interesting that there’s been discussion of Wingo leaving Golic and Wingo for a while; we covered that in November 2019.) In any case, there could be some significant ESPN Radio changes coming up.

[The New York Post]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.