By Lloyd Carroll
Ever since Mike Francesa announced a little over a year ago that he would be giving up his afternoon drive-time show on WFAN where he has been ensconced since 1989, it had become a media parlor game to guess how that station’s management would try to replace him.
Last week the speculation ended as CBS Radio issued a press release announced that Francesa would be replaced by a troika. The anchor will be former SNY “Loudmouths” co-host Chris Carlin with both former Jets linebacker and CBS Sports personality Bart Scott, and Sports Illustrated’s Maggie Gray flanking him.
Shortly after Francesa announced that he had enough of the WFAN grind, Chris Carlin surprisingly left SNY where he had been a fixture since the cable TV network’s inception ten years earlier, to take a co-hosting job at Philadelphia’s WIP.
Like WFAN, WIP is owned by CBS Radio, is an all-sports station, and has even more passionate and obsessive callers than even what you hear in New York. Philadelphia is a wonderful city but too much of their identity rests with the success of their sports franchises for a major city. No one has ever said that about the Big Apple.
A year ago I predicted in this space that CBS Radio execs were sending Chris Carlin to Philadelphia on a tour of duty as a warmup for the big time. I wrote that he would be renting and not be buying property in the Delaware Valley. Chris read my column and he responded by saying that while he appreciated the speculation about being Mike Francesa’s replacement, he planned on staying in Philadelphia for a long time.
Chris Carlin is a solid choice to succeed Francesa. He knows his stuff but more importantly, he can play the part of the arrogant, know-it-all to callers, which is almost de rigeur for a high profile sports talk show host. By the way, both Francesa and Carlin are personable and approachable off the air. A lot of what you hear on talk radio is an act.