ESPN Radio Could Make Another Big Change

ESPN Radio could undergo yet another change. ESPN has discussed moving morning host Zubin Mehenti off radio and to another role, sources tell OutKick.

Last August, ESPN revamped its radio lineup, which included the new morning show featuring Mehenti, Keyshawn Johnson, and Jay Williams. Sources say that while the show’s ratings — like most shows in the new lineup — are lackluster, the talks to move Mehenti are primarily due to his health, which is said to be ESPN’s focus.

The schedule for a 6 am to 10 am show has been difficult for Mehenti, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. As a result, Mehenti has missed several airings of the radio show. A return to a more routine SportsCenter schedule could ease the difficulty.

The show addressed the matter in April:

 

Sources say that Alan Hahn, who has been filling in for Mehenti, will receive strong consideration for the job, should ESPN eventually move Mehenti,.

Moving Hahn to mornings would open up a radio spot from 12-2 pm ET, where Hahn co-hosts with Bart Scott. But a final decision on Mehenti would come first, which again will depend on his health.

In the fall, ESPN Radio’s ratings declined 53% year-over-year (September 10, 2020 – December 12, 2020). That should uptick some this fall with more listeners again commuting for work. In addition, with Le Batard gone, Mike Greenberg, who replaced him from 10 am to noon ET, has added radio affiliates. The current lineup was not the planned lineup 14 months ago when ESPN tried to keep Will Cain and move Emmanuel Acho to a radio show. Cain and Acho left for Fox News and FS1, respectively. 

OutKick reached out to ESPN for comment, but it declined.

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Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

4 Comments

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  1. Sports talk radio is awful. True of any of it. If not for the podcasts I couldn’t listen to Outkick. The format of talk radio generally is unlistenable today across the board. They all follow the same format…. Start of the hour… maybe on the dot or 5 minutes after and the host goes for 12-15 minutes. 5 minutes of commercials.. talk for 5-7 minutes another 5 minutes of commercials.. talk for another 12-15 and 5 more minutes of commercials.. then talk for 4-7 minutes and 5 more minutes of commercials. It’s at best 40 minutes of talk 20 minutes of commercials at best and then some of that 40 minutes includes live reads. It’s a wonder anyone listens live.

    Espn if smart would work to develop personalities and let them loose on podcasts, and maybe turn a few loose on radio. Various Fox hosts are doing that. There is no reason Laura Rutledge couldn’t be doing what Charissa and Erin are doing. Turn Marcus Spears loose.

    But look at ESPN radio, look at what they did to Finebaum. Go listen for a month to PRE ESPN Finebaum and then a month of espn FBomb, it isn’t the same show. It’s awful! I can’t even listen to the podcast clips. It’s so vanilla and blah. No one cares.

    Podcasts are the future. I just hope it isn’t ruined with exclusivity on platforms. Or if there are exclusive deals the people that pay should get commercial free content. That’s what tore me up about Sirus they advertised it as commercial free radio then as soon as they got more and more talk radio it followed the same format as every other radio program regardless of if it was exclusive to Sirus or not.

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