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ESPN announced its revamped radio lineup today:
Keyshawn, Jay, and Zubin — 6:00 – 10:00 a.m.
The Dan Le Batard Show — 10 – 12 p.m.
The Mike Greenberg Show 12 – 2 p.m.
The Max Kellerman Show — 2 – 4 p.m.
Chiney and Golic Jr. — 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Spain and Fitz — 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Coleman and Fitzsimmons — 9:00 p.m. 1:00 a.m.
Here are my thoughts:
Overall, this is a downgraded lineup. Not appealing, with a lot of risks. Radio is the hardest medium to transition to. Taking TV talents to radio usually doesn’t work. That’s mostly what happened here.
The morning show is an odd pairing. We’ve been reporting for a month Keyshawn Johnson would likely get this job. But the pairing is lackluster. ESPN had considered other candidates such as Jalen Rose and David Jacoby. That would’ve been a far better fit. Johnson should do well in this role, but most listening in the morning will be unfamiliar with Zubin Mehenti. Jay Williams is far too opinionated and over the top for a morning show.
Moving off Mike Golic is going to be much more detrimental to ESPN than it realizes. He’s known among all fan bases, is likable, and relatable. The last two are underrated values that are key to radio success.
As I’ve said before, ESPN isn’t going to be able to replace the success of the Will Cain Show in the afternoon. Chiney Ogwumike and Mike Golic Jr. have a hard task in front of them to avoid losing the growth ESPN has had in this time slot the past two years. Though, it will run from 4-7 as opposed to 3-6.
The positive news comes from the additions of Mike Greenberg and Max Kellerman. Outkick reported Greenberg has been close to agreeing to this deal. He’s a big name that did radio at a high-level for nearly two decades. The two hours he is hosting, taking one away from Le Batard, are upgrading.
Le Batard’s show doesn’t rate on terrestrial radio and should be moved to a digital-only platform. Keeping this show in the lineup is a mistake.
Like Greenberg, Kellerman is one of ESPN’s biggest stars. Kellerman, too, has a long history of success on the medium. Kellerman, who had talks with ESPN about morning radio, is better solo than he is with Stephen A. Smith.
Fitz and Spain hosted together before. Fitz is a talented radio broadcaster, but Spain has struggled with her show since launch. Fitz would’ve been a better option as the host in the mornings.
The late show with Coleman and Fitzsimmons doesn’t get attention, but the two work together. Coleman is a versatile radio host with an enjoyable style.
All in all, ESPN did not close the gap between Fox Sports Radio. It also fell behind Mad Dog Radio, which now has the clear-cut best afternoon show, and Barstool Radio in several time slots.
In disclosure, Clay Travis is an on-air talent for FOX Sports Radio