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UPDATE: Sources tell OutKick that ESPN Radio is expected to name Chris Canty as Chiney Ogwumike’s replacement on afternoon radio. Canty will co-host with Mike Golic Jr. in PM drive.
Canty, who played 11 seasons in the NFL, will move from ESPN’s New York affiliate 98.7.
For more on Ogwumike’s future, here is our report from earlier today:
ESPN plans to move Chiney Ogwumike off ESPN Radio to a role more focused on NBA coverage, sources tell OutKick.
Ogwumike co-hosts with Mike Golic Jr. on ESPN Radio’s afternoon program. Ogwumike and Golic took over the time slot last year after Will Cain left ESPN for Fox News. Chiney & Golic Jr airs from 4 to 7 pm ET.
Though Chiney & Golic Jr. has lost the major markets Cain picked up, sources describe ESPN’s decision as a way to utilize Ogwumike better, not demote her. Ogwumike is also still an active WNBA player and cannot commit to a five-day-a-week show year around.
Furthermore, ESPN Senior Vice President Dave Roberts — the exec in Stephen A. Smith’s pocket — is a strong supporter of Ogwumike. ESPN turned NBA productions over to Roberts in August. Ogwumike is only 29. If I were to place a wager, she will one day end up as an analyst on NBA Countdown and would do well in that role.
Ogwumike is among the names industry sources expect ESPN to elevate over the next year, along with Elle Duncan, Malika Andrews, Ros Gold-Onwude, and Kim Martin. While Ogwumike would have succeeded anyway, ESPN’s executives now must fight off the easily debunked narrative that says it doesn’t promote black female talents. Meaning, the lies spread by the New York Times, Jemele Hill, and Cari Champion — that ESPN doesn’t promote black women — were ultimately a distraction and a disservice to Ogwumike. Chiney Ogwumike was on the rise before the racialization of the network because she has star potential. All that group did was tie Ogwumike to Maria Taylor, which Ogwumike doesn’t need to succeed. The same will be said as Andrews moves up at ESPN.
As for ESPN Radio, ESPN plans to keep Golic Jr. with a new co-host. ESPN Radio will once again go through an overhaul in the coming weeks and months. Notably, as OutKick reported, ESPN will likely move Max Kellerman from First Take to morning radio with Keyshawn Johnson. Kellerman would replace Zubin Mehenti, who is off air dealing with complications from diabetes. It’s unclear whether Jay Williams will continue on the morning show.
ESPN has also discussed filling Kellerman’s afternoon radio show, which airs from 2-4 pm ET, by expanding Bart & Hahn, which airs from 12-2 pm, an extra hour to 12-3 and moving Golic’s afternoon radio show up to a 3 pm start time.
ESPN declined to comment on the news that it’s discussing moving Chiney Ogwumike off of radio.