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McNeil Ready For a Change

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Dan McNeil had a chance to return to his old turf.

WSCR 670 AM called a couple of weeks ago when former Bear Patrick Mannelly decided to walk away from his role as McNeil’s replacement on the midday show.

McNeil listened, but he said his mind already was made up. It was time to head in another direction.

Or as he says, “I knew I was ready for a change in the backdrop.”

Tuesday, it was announced officially McNeil will team with Pete McMurray for a new morning show on “The Drive,” WDRV-FM 97.1. Initially reported by Robert Feder, the pair will replace Steve Downes, who is retiring.

McNeil said the new show, which will begin in early March, will feature “a guy-talk format” on the classic rock station.

“I get excited talking about music and movies,” McNeil said. “You know, the type of stuff guys talk about with their buddies on the golf course. That’s what the show will sound like.”

Of course, there will be sports talk. McNeil figures Bears discussion will be prevalent on Mondays after a game. However, unlike his previous jobs, he won’t be involved in 24/7 chatter about who will fill the Bears’ holes at linebacker.

“We’re not going to ignore what a huge percentage of men want to talk about (the Bears),” McNeil said. “But let’s put it this way: I can kick around Jay Cutler for five minutes and say, ‘Here’s ACDC,'”

McNeil made his name during nearly 30 years in sports talk radio. His shows have delivered strong ratings at WSCR and WMVP-AM 1000. However, when he parted ways with WSCR in August, he said it had more to do than not coming to terms on a new contract. He walked away from a reported $350,000-400,000 per year offer.

McNeil describes himself as a “risk-taker” who gets “uncomfortable sometimes with routine.”

“The station was great to me, and (program director) Mitch Rosen has been as loyal to me as anyone in radio,” McNeil said. “There was nothing contentious in our parting of the ways. A lot of this was about me wanting to do (something different).”

In October, McNeil said he heard from Greg Solk, the senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio, about the possibility of coming to “The Drive.” Eventually, their discussions led to a new job that McNeil said “fulfills a dream I’ve had for close to a decade.”

“Anyone who knows me or has heard me won’t be surprised by this,” McNeil said. “My passion for music often exceeds that for ballgames. One of the biggest appeals to me was how fond I was of the station. It is a crown jewel of Chicago radio. It seemed like the perfect fit.”

It’s not all perfect. Pre-dawn wake-up calls will require a considerable lifestyle change for McNeil. That’s hardly a small detail considering his openly-acknowledged battles with depression and addiction problems.

McNeil said he already is adjusting his body clock by getting up early in anticipation of his new job.

“If I continue my mental health regime, I’m good,” McNeil said.

When told during a 8 a.m. interview on Tuesday that his day would be half-finished in his new role, McNeil laughed and tried to look at the bright side.

“Yeah, sometimes it’s going to suck waking up at 4,” McNeil said. “But being on the tee box at 11 doesn’t sound like a bad idea.”

Credit to the Chicago Tribune who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Greg McElroy: ‘Kayvon Thibodeaux Offended Me’

“McElroy, while offended, decided to offer some friendly competition to Thibodeaux.”

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Top NFL Draft Prospect, Kayvon Thibodeaux, had some harsh comments for the Crimson Tide in his interview with FOX Sports’ Joel Klatt on Monday.  The Oregon defensive end claimed the difference in the quality of education between Oregon and Alabama was the reason he ultimately chose to head to Eugene out of high school.

“I already hate the stigmatism of football players being dumb jocks,” Thibodeaux said in an interview with FOX’s Joel Klatt. “So now, do you know the stigmatism of Alabama education? It ain’t the West Coast. It ain’t Harvard.” 

Thibodeaux continued to bash the Southern institution’s quality and reputation. 

“If I would have went to Alabama … I don’t know if my degree would mean anything,” Thibodeaux said.

National championship quarterback, media personality, and Alabama alum Greg McElroy took issue with the statements.

“I just take real personal offense, man,” McElroy said Thursday on JOX 94.5’s McElroy & Cubelic. “I genuinely do. I don’t care. Don’t come. If you think so little of us, don’t come. Fine by me, because I know the people that live in this state. I chose Alabama, because I love Alabama. If you don’t want to see Alabama for the greatness it can potentially provide you, it’s on you. You’re missing out.”

Cole Cubelic and McElroy also brought up the fact that Thibodeaux said “stigmatism” when he meant “stigma.” 

“He says he doesn’t like the stigma that athletes are dumb jocks, and yet, he sounds like a dumb jock,” McElroy said. 

McElroy, while offended, decided to offer some friendly competition to Thibodeaux.

“What I don’t understand is why he felt the need to cut down Alabama,” McElroy said. “And as someone who has always taken his academic situation very seriously, I’ll just come at him with this — if he’d like to take an IQ test, I’m available. If he’d like to take the Wonderlic test, I’m available. As a proud graduate with multiple degrees from Alabama, I will put my degree up against his any day of the week.”

McElroy was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2010. The Rhodes Scholarship is a postgraduate award for 102 students to attend the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. 

“I’d like to show him the offers, because I would be willing to bet that Harvard didn’t offer him,” McElroy said. “I think they probably would have taken him, but Harvard did offer me — as did Yale, as did Princeton, as did almost every Ivy League school along with Duke, Stanford, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. And I chose Alabama, so put ‘er there Kayvon Thibodeaux.”

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Sports Radio News

Howard Eskin Tells Joe DeCamara & Jon Ritchie That Tom Brady Dyes His Hair

“Brady is leaking oil.  The fact that he’s leaking oil and he’s not the same and his age shows a little bit, other than his hair which he colors, he’s really good but anybody can be beaten.”

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Howard Eskin joined Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on 94 WIP to preview the upcoming Bucs vs Eagles game.  Eskin gave his thoughts on why the Eagles had a realistic shot to win. For Philadelphia sports talk legend, a lot of it came down to Tom Brady.

“Brady is leaking oil,” Eskin said. “The fact that he’s leaking oil and he’s not the same and his age shows a little bit, other than his hair, which he colors, he’s really good but anybody can be beaten.”

That statement caught DeCamara and Ritchie a little off guard.  They weren’t convinced that Brady is using any artificial enhancement to keep his locks chestnut brown.  Howard Eskin would not back down and told the hosts to check the archives.

“Look at the pictures over the years, there’s no question,” Eskin said. “He’s so vain so that just kind of falls into place.  He’s a terrific quarterback but he doesn’t want people to realize he’s 44 or 45.”

Maybe Eskin is right, and the fountain of youth is starting to dry up for Brady.  Or maybe, as he has done before, he’ll prove everyone wrong and win another Super Bowl.  Only time will tell.

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Sports Radio News

97.1 The Ticket Lets Fans Sound Off On Matthew Stafford With Playoff Watch Party

“The former Lions quarterback remains a polarizing figure in the city, so Costa and Riger are giving fans the chance to get whatever sort of closure they need with a playoff watch party.”

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Detroit

Jim Costa and Jeff Riger aren’t just hosts at 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit. They are also Detroit sports fans. That means they have strong feelings about Matthew Stafford.

The former Lions quarterback remains a polarizing figure in the city, so Costa and Riger are giving fans the chance to get whatever sort of closure they need with a playoff watch party. The pair will host the virtual event, which will stream on The Ticket’s website and Facebook page.

“It’s the rare chance to settle a sports debate,” Jim Costa, who still supports Stafford, told BSM. “It gives fans of Detroit closure on Matthew Stafford. People are still so emotionally invested in him even though he doesn’t play here anymore with both sides still believing they’re right about why he didn’t win a playoff game with the Lions.”

Other hosts from 97.1 The Ticket will pop in to watch along with Costa and Riger. They will play drinking games and place prop bets throughout the game.

With Jim Costa and Jeff Riger having strong, opposing feelings on Stafford, the final result will yield a punishment for the loser. Someone will have to take a “shot of reality,” which Costa promises will be “really gross”.

Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams will host the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL’s first-ever Monday night playoff game this week. It will be the conclusion to the league’s Super Wild Card Weekend.

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