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McNeil & McMurray Join The Drive

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Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for “The McMorning Show.”

Veteran Chicago radio personalities Dan McNeil and Pete McMurray are about to team up as morning co-hosts on Hubbard Radio classic hits WDRV FM 97.1, sources said.

If all goes as planned, the duo will succeed Steve Downes, who announcedFriday he was retiring after 14 years at The Drive. Downes agreed to continue hosting the show, which airs from 5 to 10 a.m. weekdays, until his replacement is named.

McNeil, who has spent his entire 30-year Chicago radio career in the sports/talk genre, last week turned down an offer to reclaim his former job as midday personality on CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670. “It’s true the Score and I didn’t reach an agreement and I remain a free agent,” he told fans on Facebook. “To those of you who are disappointed, I assure you I’m not finished world shakin’ yet. You will get ample notice where you can find me.”

More surprising than McNeil’s move to The Drive is that of McMurray, whose star has been on the rise at Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720. The Peoria native has been busy in Chicago ever since he joined the former WCKG in 1998. Following two stints on WCKG, two on WLUP FM 97.9, and two on WKQX FM 101.1, McMurray landed at WGN as late-night host in September 2013 and was promoted to evenings five months later.

McMurray told WGN bosses Tuesday that he was leaving to accept an offer from The Drive.

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, mornings on The Drive tied for eight place overall with a 2.9 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 341,400. Among men 25-54, mornings tied for ninth place with a 3.4 share and weekly cume of 133,900.

Credit to Robert Feder who originally broke the story

Sports Radio News

Jim Colony Announces Retirement From Everyday Work at 93.7 The Fan

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One of Pittsburgh’s signature radio voices will be stepping away from everyday reporting and hosting at 93.7 The Fan. Jim Colony announced during Tuesday’s The Fan Morning Show that he’s “retiring, but not retiring” from the air.

Colony, 66, has been a co-host and sports update anchor for the show and was asked to clarify by hosts Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack. Saying he’s “still going to be around,” the veteran broadcaster explained that his wife retired at the end of 2021 and the two decided that they wanted to enjoy life while still able to do so.

“We’ve heard stories about people that save, ‘I don’t wanna spend this money, I don’t wanna take this vacation,’ do stuff while you still can,” Colony said. “Do stuff while you still can do it, in terms of being able to get around. It sounds kind of funny, because we’re not close to that, but it’s going to be a chance for us to do some stuff together.”

Watch the announcement below:

But as he mentioned, Colony isn’t completely stepping away from the radio. This is more of a “semi-retirement.” He’ll work as a fill-in host when regular hosts take time off, still contribute content online, and take part in promotional functions such as golf outings for the station.

Dunlap asked if “radio voice emeritus” was an appropriate title for Colony after his final day on Friday (Jan. 21). But Colony gave himself the grander designation of “legend in residence.” He also wanted to clarify that this was his decision and he wasn’t being forced out by management.

Colony has been a part of 93.7 The Fan since the station launched in 2010, rebranding from a Top 40 format. But as Pittsburgh sports fans know, his career covering the area’s sports teams goes back 30 years to WTAE, which eventually became the now-defunct ESPN Radio 1250. After being dismissed by ESPN 1250, he landed at 93.7 The Fan.

(His overall radio career spans 43 years, including stops in Boston; Spartanburg, South Carolina; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Springfield, Vermont.)

Best wishes to Colony as he moves into retirement. Enjoying the later part of life and getting to do things we can’t while working the everyday grind is the ideal.

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Sports Radio News

Bickley & Marotta: Cardinals Coach Kliff Kingsbury Has to Go

As Bickley said on the air Tuesday morning, keeping Kingsbury is harder to justify with the coaches likely to be available.

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Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

The Arizona Cardinals finished a troubling late-season collapse by losing their NFL Wild Card playoff game Monday night to the Los Angeles Rams, 34-11.

As could be expected, the disappointing result is prompting plenty of questions and criticism among Arizona fans and media. Dan Bickley and Vince Marotta, hosts of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s morning show, led the charge Tuesday morning. In their view, it’s time for Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury to go.

Marotta called the playoff loss “a disgusting end to a promising season.” The Cardinals began the 2021 season with seven consecutive victories. By Week 13, they had a 10-2 record. But following its bye week, Arizona imploded, losing four of their final six games. Most troubling among them was a 30-12 loss to the Detroit Lions, who finished with the second-worst record (3-13-1) in the NFL.

Bickley was even more pointed with his criticism in a piece written for the Arizona Sports 98.7 FM website. The longtime columnist and host points out the pattern of late-season collapses in Kingsbury’s tenure with Arizona. In 2019, the Cardinals finished 2-7. The 2020 season ended with a 3-6 slide. Add this season’s 2-4 collapse and the pattern is apparent.

As Bickley said on the air Tuesday morning, keeping Kingsbury is harder to justify with the coaches likely to be available. He singled out Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as a good fit for the Cardinals, obviously favoring a coach with a different philosophy than Kingsbury.

Yet the Cardinals have shown improvement during Kingsbury’s three seasons, progressing from a 5-10-1 mark to 11-6 this season. That may be good enough for team owner Michael Bidwell and general manager Steve Keim. According to Bickley, it shouldn’t be. Management should be aggressive, rather than content.

You can listen to Bickley & Marotta each morning, Monday through Friday, on the Arizona Sports 98.7 FM website and app. The show is also available via podcast.

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Sports Radio News

Peyton Manning Swears Into Hot Mic On Manningcast

“Late in the first quarter, Eli tried to throw it to his older brother to breakdown the play that resulted in the Rams’ first score of the night. It didn’t go as planned.”

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Why do people love the Manningcast on ESPN2? It has a lot to do with Peyton and Eli being their authentic selves on screen. The same goes for their guests. That authenticity has included a few NSFW moments this season and we got another during the first ever Monday night playoff game.

Late in the first quarter, Eli tried to throw it to his older brother to breakdown the play that resulted in the Rams’ first score of the night. It didn’t go as planned.

Kudos to Eli for the simple, but truly funny response of “never mind”!

The Manningcast has made a few headlines for these moments this season. Marshawn Lynch swore multiple times during his Week 7 appearance. More famously, Eli shot the camera the double bird in Week 2.

It is a memorable way to close an undeniably successful first season for ESPN2’s alternate coverage of Monday Night Football. Certainly everyone at the network would love to bring the Manningcast back for 2022. Whether or not Omaha Productions can make that happen will likely depend on just how serious rumors of Peyton Manning’s interest in being a part of owning the Denver Broncos are.

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