It has been a big few days for televised sports debate programming.
Shannon Sharpe has joined ESPN’s “First Take” and will chop it up with Stephen A. Smith a few days a week. And Skip Bayless has assembled a committee of Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson and Richard Sherman to serve as his new foils on FS1’s “Undisputed.”
It got us thinking: Is this the path forward for local sports talk radio? And WFAN specifically?
We are awaiting the first ratings results for the station’s new lineup. But the early reaction from listeners has not been great. The midday and afternoon drive combinations are off to a rocky start for myriad reasons. Which is understandable given a) WFAN did very little to develop talent for 30-something years and b) two of the most popular voices in town (Joe Benigno and Mike Francesa) are semi-retired and only one still works at WFAN.
But what if WFAN leaned into this? Have Benigno and Evan Roberts handle afternoon drive together the day after every Jets game. Pay whatever it takes to have Francesa do Fridays solo during football season. Maybe there is a way to get a day out of Craig Carton here and there. Let Tiki Barber work with Brandon Tierney again on occasion. Et cetera.
It is not a perfect approach by any means. But it would be better than the current situation. Back after this.
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