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Show Your Value With Sean Pendergast

Tyler McComas

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The temperature read minus 11 degrees as Sean Pendergast turned into the driveway of his Chicago home. Only a couple of hours before, he had been informed his job as VP of Sales would no longer be available to him. The company he had been with for over 10 years no longer needed his services. He was unemployed while trying to raise three children. Along with that tough news, he was also going through a divorce that had turned his personal life upside down. It was a cold, dark night on February 23rd, 2007 and Pendergast felt he had hit rock bottom. 

But one simple email may have changed his life forever, and it just so happened to have come earlier that day. A co-worker in Houston, who also lost his job that day, asked that Pendergast reach out to his contacts at Sports Radio 610 in hopes of landing a gig on the sales staff. After being crowned as a 5-time Smack-Off winner on the Jim Rome Show, Sean “The Cablinasian” had gained notoriety over the radio, as well as contacts at the biggest sports station in Houston. As he sent the email to someone in production that would get the resume in the right hands, Pendergast, as a joke ended with: 

“PS. Carve out a couple of hours on the weekend for me. I may be coming, too.”

What was intended as a harmless joke, ended up as a twist of fate, as Pendergast soon received a call regarding the message at the bottom of the email. Chance McClain, the recipient, called Pendergast with the news that he and a group of others from Sports Radio 610 were starting a new sports radio station in Houston named 1560 The Game. Not only did McClain want Pendergast to be a part of it, he wanted to capitalize off his notoriety from the Jim Rome Show and host the afternoon drive. 

That was Pendergast’s first conversation over the phone regarding a career in sports radio. The next, he was told, would come in the next few days. It would actually come five minutes later, as John Granato, the man in charge of putting the daily lineup together, called for the interview that would ultimately decide if Pendergast would get his first job in radio. Much to his surprise, the interview wasn’t much of an interview at all. Instead, the phone call consisted of Granato asking, “So, are you coming?”

Pendergast was the kid who grew up in the northeast, calling into radio stations as a 12-year-old, disguising his voice as someone who was over 18, so he wouldn’t get kicked off the air. He was the college student with the radio show that loved the craft and dreamed of becoming a host. He was the adult that just got let go from a job he hated while going through the most challenging tribulation of his life. And now, in his late 30’s he was a first-time sports radio host in Houston. 

John Harris, now the sideline reporter for the Houston Texans, would serve as Pendergast’s first co-host at 1560 The Game. The two shared a lot of similarities, as Harris was also doing a show for the first time after leaving a regular job that he hated. For the next four years, Pendergast and Harris would cut their radio chops on the afternoon show of the fourth-highest  rated sports station in Houston. 

After showing early talent and experiencing success in his new sports radio role, Pendergast came to the conclusion around year three at The Game that he needed to find a way to Sports Radio 610. Sure, he was thankful for the opportunity given, but now it was time to make his way to the biggest and best station in town. The one he always listened to while living in Houston and calling the Jim Rome Show. The one that was the home of the Houston Texans. Pendergast started by networking in any and every way he could. 

That started with Pendergast making it a point to introduce himself and talk to the Sports Radio 610 PD at every Texans game in the press box. He also became friendly with the other radio hosts at 610, just in case they’d have something nice to say if his name was floated around for a position at the station. 

Eventually, in 2012, he would get an interview with 610 for a host position on the morning show. However, he would come up short as the station decided to hire current Fox Sports host Nick Wright. Though he didn’t get the gig he was striving for, he left with pieces of advice that would help him down the road with 610. Through the interview process, PD Gavin Spittle taught Pendergast how to structure his contract, as well as other things he could do to help improve his craft and become more hirable. 

After taking those suggestions to heart, a host position on the afternoon show at 610 would open a year later. On January 1st, 2014, Pendergast conquered his goal of making it to the best station in Houston. Though he took an abnormal journey to the host seat, Pendergast’s story is one of how well networking can work. Whether it’s an email or simply engaging with important decision makers, the slightest things can alter someone’s career path in the sports radio industry. Luck is always needed, but working hard and making the right connections will never go out of style. 

Today, you can hear Pendergast on The Triple Threat weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on Sports Radio 610 in Houston. 

TM: I think a lot of people may be in this situation. You lived it, so you’re perfect to ask. If you’re a host at the smaller station in town and want to get to the bigger one, would you do so by sacrificing pay and title? Such as becoming a producer or reporter? 

SP: I don’t think I would have taken a backward step professionally, because the guy you want to be is the host. I had three kids at the time I was making that career decision, they were all around their high school years, so I had a line that I had to draw that said, okay, you can’t go below this. Now I did take a pay cut to go over to 610. I was making decent money at 1560, I had been there a while, I had some good sponsors and even though our ratings and signal weren’t great, our sponsors and listeners were very loyal. But I did take a pay cut to move stations. It was almost a ‘prove it to me’ kind of thing and so I busted my ass the first three years there and we had really good ratings. 

I always made it a point to be very involved with sponsors and the sales, which I don’t know that everyone in this business does, but the one thing I’ve benefited from is my background for 15 years in the business world. It’s really helped me in terms of being a radio businessman. After the pay cut to move to 610, I crunched the numbers and knew where I had to be in order to make ends meet and provide for my kids, child support, things like that. But it was worth it. I always feel like if you work hard at it, if you’re good at it, you may take a couple of steps backwards but be five steps forward. That’s how it’s worked out for me and it’s really gratifying. 

TM: Is that a PD and an owners dream? To have a host that’s good, but is also willing and has experience in the sales world? 

SP: It would be for me. Let’s face it, the most important thing is revenue. Ratings are obviously important, but we know how flawed that system is. At the end of the day, it’s all about making money. 

I’ve been in a position of management and leadership in the corporate world, never in radio, but If I were a PD or a manager of a cluster, and I was looking at hosts where all things were equal in terms of on the air talent, but one had a background of being cognizant of the business side and understood what the sales staff had to go through, I would think that would be nirvana. 

TM: With social media being such a big part of our daily lives, could a host contribute by developing and keeping a relationship with a client with Twitter, Facebook, etc.?

SP: No question about it. It’s big for me, and I know the sales staff at the station uses my social media following as a selling point. Not because it’s just a decent size, it’s decent in terms of a local host, it’s not in the hundreds of thousands, but it’s 28 thousand or so of a lot of Houstonians. I engage a lot on there, and I think it’s important that they know I’m very active with it. 

It’s not just me tweeting something out because you ask me to, I feel strongly about the products I endorse and I try to present them in a humorous and creative way. I know the clients I have think social media is important. That’s half the thing. The perception of the client, whether it truly winds up being important or not, I don’t know if we can truly measure that yet. I think it’s still this animal we’re trying to wrap our arms around. But I do think it’s a measure of relevance.

I do think you can use it creatively and I have clients that even pay me just for the social media following. They don’t have the budget for radio, but they know I have a social media following. They pay me for my engagement on social media to talk about their business. There’s not many, just a couple, but I think it’s crucially important and evolving. I think as more things go online it becomes more important. I know that was the reason I got hired at 610, because I had a big social media following.

TM: Changing gears a bit since you’ve been at a low moment where you’ve lost a job. Is it tough working at a station where things are changing and people are getting replaced? 

SP: Emotionally, it’s hard. We just had that happen last week, our HR director, who’s been super helpful for me, I mean if you have kids and you have benefits, your best friend is the HR director. Ours just got let go, because Entercom is consolidating some of those positions. It’s really hard to watch. But from the position I’m in, there’s very little I can do about it. 

You feel for those people, you wish them the best, and offer whatever help you can, but for me, as a host, I just want to make myself as valuable as possible. I think the way you do that, is twofold. One is the revenue side, taking care of sponsors and making sure you’re engaged with them, whether it’s taking them to lunch, inviting them to the studio, or even inviting them to Texans practice. You also need to have conversations with them and understand where their challenges are to see where we’re falling short. Also finding out what we can do to tweak our approach to make radio work for them. You can have the greatest relationship in the world, but eventually you’re going to reach a breaking point where the client looks at it and realizes they can’t spend money on something that’s not working. 

The other way to do it, and something I set out to do, is to show versatility. My personal goal was to host a two-man show as No. 1 chair, host a two-man show as a No.2 chair and host a solo show on a pretty regular basis. Just so I can show versatility and show my station that whatever needed to be done, I could do it. 

TM: You drive a three-man afternoon show, along with Ted Johnson and Rich Lord, with Ted being the ex-athlete and football guy. How do you balance each day, when some days need to be driven more towards certain hosts on the show? 

SP: It’s my job to make sure that I’m self-aware enough to know that I have topics from the rundown that are Ted friendly or Rich friendly, or something that I know we’ll get a real healthy debate on. Not to the point where everyone is going to end up hating each other behind the scenes, but something that’s a healthy debate that we’ll have a difference of opinion on. We’ve been together long enough for me to know what that stuff is. 

The best advice I got when I moved to a three-man show was from Jim “JR” Ross. His advice was to be the point guard. He did a three-man booth back in the day for Monday Night Raw and he told me to be aware of what everyone’s strengths are and that they’re getting their touches. That’s kind of what I’ve abided by, is just accessing as the show goes along that everyone is getting their stuff in. 

TM: Here’s something else that’s a little off topic but I’ve been pondering on it. Why it may not be that big of a leap, I have a theory that I always try to find radio people when I need a guest for a show. Reason being, is that I believe being entertaining with a good flow is just as important as information. Radio hosts understand that and not all newspaper and internet writers do. Do you take that thinking into account with your show? Or just look for solid information that someone on the beat can provide? 

SP: To me, the best interviews are the ones where they leave some nuggets. The ones where you look at the text page after they’re done and people are texting in to react what they said. Reporters aren’t always the best for that, because their strength is supposed to be just reporting the truth and getting the facts. 

I tend to like radio guys or people whose platform is either internet based or podcast based. I think there are TV guys or reporters who like to get on the radio and deliver their opinions, because maybe their medium doesn’t allow them to do so. I just want make sure that someone, at the end of the day, is interesting and that the audience is learning something.

 That’s the biggest thing. I want to feel like they’re coming away with something that’s either a fact they didn’t already know or some point of view they hadn’t previously thought of. I just want to make sure they’re interesting and give interesting answers. 

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Has Stephen A. Smith Outgrown First Take?

“Stephen A. Smith is irreplaceable at ESPN so long as the network wants to be in the First Take business. Smith is smart enough to know that won’t be forever.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Stephen A. Smith has clearly outgrown First Take. He’ll never say it, because he knows the brand’s success depends on him. However, one look at The Stephen A. Smith Show and it is clear, this is a guy that doesn’t need to spend weekday mornings shouting about Jalen Brunson’s effective field goal percentage anymore. 

Think pieces have been written about what the podcast says about Smith’s ambitions. Plenty of radio hosts have had fun at the expense of the ESPN star’s proclivity for going off-script in ways that might make the Walt Disney Company uncomfortable. None of it has changed The Stephen A. Smith Show

The podcast has taught us that Stephen A. Smith can pull from deep knowledge about the Pixar Cars universe, he will defend his right to use R. Kelly’s music to set the mood, and we have learned that the man loves a big ol’ butt

AND THAT’S ALL WITHIN THE LAST MONTH!

Personally, I like this unabashedly horny, politically vague, and more well-rounded version of Smith than the one I see on ESPN. The guy yelling “How dare you” when Chris Russo tries to argue that some dude who handed the ball off 85% of the time is a better quarterback than Patrick Mahomes is not a human being. He may truly believe his point, but the conviction is goofy. The guy giving truly awful advice for microwaving fish feels real. He doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about but he is confident that he does.

I don’t claim to know what ESPN will or should do when Smith’s contract comes up for renewal. The First Take star has made it clear that he expects to be made the network’s highest paid talent. He’s certainly entitled to that opinion. He has the numbers to back it up, but the TV business has changed. ESPN is on its way to being a digital product, which will most certainly change its finances and priorities. 

If you’re paying the $30 or $40 per month that we expect ESPN to charge for its a la carte service, you’re not doing it for First Take. You’re not doing it for PTI or The Pat McAfee Show either. It’s all about the games. They are and will always be ESPN’s most valuable asset. I would imagine that in the coming years, the network will take a hard look at just how much anything else is actually worth.

Who from the “embrace debate” universe has crossover appeal? Probably no one. Games attract a large audience. Sports talk? That’s more of a niche. 

Everyone reading this has a very distinct feeling about Skip Bayless. Most of the world doesn’t though. Bayless has leaned hard into the act. It’s important to him to put on the best sports debate show TV has to offer. That’s a perfectly admirable goal, but the ceiling is pretty low. 

Most people aren’t going to go looking for something like that. If Bayless ever wants out of FS1, his options would be limited at best and possibly non-existent at worst.

Stephen A. Smith has big ambitions. He wants to act. He wants to host shows outside of the sports realm. He wants to produce. He may want to run for office. If ESPN determines it doesn’t need to pay over $10 million per year for the star of a show that is largely consumed on mute in airport bars, then he needs to prove he can do those things at a level that gets him paid.

Most of the comments about Smith’s podcast have to do with what it could make him in the eyes of ESPN. I think it is important to consider that as ESPN evolves, maybe no single show or talent will be particularly valuable to the network, at least not to the tune that it currently is. So we have to look at Smith explaining how to skirt the issue of lying to date about how well you can cook differently.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I read Brian Stelter’s Network of Lies, which is about the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News and the network firing Tucker Carlson. No matter how you feel politically, I recommend it, because it gives some great insight into how a network built on talking head shows operates.

At Fox News, where every host has the same opinions, the network is the star. Sure, people rise up and gain a following, but Stelter points out all of the presumed stars that have not hurt Fox by leaving and he theorizes Carlson will eventually be one of them.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot as I listen to Smith shout that he just needs a woman “to be a solid 7.” Has he read Network of Lies? Smith is friends with Sean Hannity. Has he had conversations about how valuable an opinionist is when he only preaches to those already converted? 

Stephen A. Smith is irreplaceable at ESPN so long as the network wants to be in the First Take business. Smith is smart enough to know that won’t be forever. Even if ratings for the show never slip, changing economics could force the network’s hand at some point. 

That is why Stephen A. Smith wants you to know how he feels about big, juicy booties. Maybe sports talk on television will have less value amidst television evolution, but talent that can entertain and make an audience pay attention never will. Smith is betting that he can make you care about what he has to say regardless of what he is talking about.

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Steve Czaban is Helping Mold Sports Radio’s Future at 97.3 The Game

“I’ve seen some really messed up stuff but I’ve seen good stuff as well and I’ve seen good stories.  I just try to lend that perspective…”

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Steve Czaban
Courtesy: 97.3 The Game

After a long run in Washington, DC, Steve Czaban made the move in May 2019 to host the morning show on 97.3 The Game in Milwaukee. Being part of the Milwaukee/Wisconsin market was nothing new to Czaban as he held down a 30 to 45-minute feature on “Bob and Brian”, the number one FM show in the market for almost a quarter of a century.

The show became so successful that Czaban signed a contract extension in April of 2022 and the show continues to soar.

“The show has gone great,” said Czaban.  “We’re double the nearest sports radio competitor in town and we’re top five in the target demographic of men 25-54. I really have been loving it.  It’s the best group of guys and just vibe that I’ve had a sports radio station pretty much in my career.  It’s been a very good situation for me.”

It’s not easy for a talk show host to transition to another market because you really have to have intimate knowledge on the teams, the players, and the fans in a town in order to have a fighting chance to be successful.  When Czaban made the move from DC to Milwaukee, the experience of dabbling in the market certainly helped him to talk about everything Packers, Bucks, Brewers, and Wisconsin sports, but it’s not something that comes easy.

In fact, he wonders how other people can do it.

“I didn’t go into it cold,” said Czaban. “I think if anyone in our business goes into a market cold, I don’t know how you do it because you just have to have a certain base of historic knowledge of this player, this team, this game, this moment and this incident to call upon to at least be fluent in the language of the local sports market.”

So, in order to have that fluency in a new market, you have to literally channel your inner Rodney Dangerfield and go “Back to School” and that means doing your homework to get you ready for your new gig. You don’t just bag your bags, move to a new city, turn on the microphone, and talk about the teams in town without knowing what you’re talking about.

Steve Czaban says there is a textbook for what to do, but it’s certainly a challenge.

“The advice would be if you’re a host and you’re entering a new market and you don’t really have any connection or history, then I would absolutely do a cram session,” said Czaban.  “Every night, flashcards, reading everything, watching YouTube highlights, and at least for the first six months if now a year, make sure to tread lightly because there’s a good chance you’re going to walk into a rake if you start talking about ‘They should never have traded so and so’,  well, there’s more to it.”

Czaban has spent his career trying to help young talent break into the industry and grow. He’s had a knack for bringing new people along and educating them on the business and the highs and lows that come with it.

Sort of like a head coach developing quality assists who go on to become head coaches themselves.

“I don’t know what kind of a coaching tree I have,” said Czaban. “But I do make sure to try to explain to the younger people around me like my producers and what not because I’ve seen so much in the industry. I’ve seen some really messed up stuff but I’ve seen good stuff as well and I’ve seen good stories.  I just try to lend that perspective of having been in the circus for 30-plus years.”

Many of those years were spent as a host in Washington DC, Czaban certainly spent a lot of time talking about Washington Redskins/Football Team/Commanders owner Dan Snyder had his part in the fall of the once-proud franchise. He still has his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in DC and how the sale of the team from Snyder to a group owned by Josh Harris had an effect on sports radio in Washington

Czaban says the sale and the fan reaction had a huge positive impact.

“They definitely had a surge,” said Czaban. “I was very happy for everybody still on the air doing sports radio day to day at seeing the bad man run out of town who wrecked the franchise, lost the team, name, logo, and soon-to-be history that he was finally gone. I think it was definitely good but now with the Commanders being so bad, there’s hope with a new owner but there’s a lot of cleaning out that has to be done first. I think the guys on sports radio are going to be very busy this next year or two.”

Transitioning to full-time hosting duties in Milwaukee a few years ago, Czaban saw the Aaron Rodgers era with the Packers wind down. After the Packers traded Rodgers to the Jets this past off-season, the keys to the offense were transferred over to Jordan Love. While there were some growing pains inside Lambeau Field at the start of the season, the Packers have rebounded.

Not everyone in town thought it was going to happen and some host’s patience ran thin…but not Czaban. He had gone through too many lost seasons in Washington to realize that you just can’t throw in the towel until a season is done.

“There were guys on my show and on other shows (when the Packers were) at 2-5 they were like ‘Season is over, they’re going nowhere’ and they were even talking about draft position,” said Czaban. “I was the only guy saying whoa the season can be over when it’s over. We have all the time in the world for that but it’s not over now. Now, I kind of look pretty smart.”

Steve Czaban also looks very intelligent for being able to do something that not many people in the sports radio industry can do. He was successful in one market for a very long time and has made the transition to a new market and is, once again, having success with a tremendous sports talk show.

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Brian Murphy is Preparing to Write His Next Chapter at KNBR After Layoffs Ended ‘Murph and Mac’

“I don’t want to say, ‘This too shall pass,’ or, ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but you’re only as good as your next ratings book.”

Derek Futterman

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Brian Murphy
Courtesy: Brian Murphy on Instagram

After the morning show signed off at KNBR last Wednesday, co-host Brian Murphy was called into a meeting with Cumulus Media market manager Larry Blumhagen. Although there had been signs of potential changes, Murphy had partnered with Paul McCaffrey for nearly 18 years and survived all of the turmoil.

A simple look around the building represented proof of an alteration, evinced by reductions in the number of stations under its roof. A once powerful news station, KGO-AM, underwent a sudden format flip last year after nearly a century on the air. A few years earlier, alternative rock station KFOG was eliminated from the company’s portfolio as well. KNBR has weathered the storms, but not without alterations to the station’s programming department.

“I would say everything has shrunk,” Murphy expressed, “and that includes sending us on road trips or to Super Bowls, etc.”

Layoffs have reemphasized the importance of the quantitative bottom line, sometimes overshadowing the qualitative utility and widespread impact derived from talent and popular shows. It is partially why the deluge of palpable support after Murphy learned in a short meeting that McCaffrey was being laid off was surprising and reinvigorating. But first came an immediate, jarring feeling surrounding the decision.

“Truthfully numb,” Murphy said regarding his sentiment after learning what happened. “I guess it’s a cliché to say that people go into shock, but to know that Paulie and I wouldn’t be together was something that didn’t register. I mean, it registered, but it didn’t register until fully; the next 48 hours is when it really started to really hit.”

McCaffrey was one of seven laid off at KNBR that day. Morning show producer Erik Engle, former programmer Lee Hammer, host F.P. Santangelo and members of the outlet’s digital department lost their jobs as well. Even the long-running KNBR Tonight evening show, which aired for decades was canceled, and replaced with CBS Sports Radio programming. While Murphy always hoped that the morning show would continue in the iteration before the end of his contract, he is now facing a new reality without his longtime colleagues.

“I think what we were disappointed by was sort of an abrupt and premature end, particularly to our partnership, which I think we’ve learned from an incredible outpouring of social media is way more than we knew,” Murphy said. “We learned our partnership for whatever reason connected to a lot of people for a long time. It’s funny they say radio is dying, but radio sure is personal and effective in many ways baked on what we’re hearing from our listeners.”

During the next two days, Murphy was off the air and contemplating his future. There were moments where he thought about leaving KNBR. However, he knew that he had a contract to fulfill and a family to support. Additionally, the person that he was set to work with on Monday and beyond – Markus Boucher – had contributed to the morning show for nearly four years, rendering familiarity and comfortability.

“There’s a chance that Markus and I could do this for a long time; we’ll see how it goes,” Murphy said. “Maybe things go great and that would be awesome, and I’m definitely leaving that door open. For whatever reason, we recover from the pain of losing my partner for almost two decades and the next chapter works out.”

In 2023, KNBR has experienced two subpar quarterly ratings books. The decrease in performance has affected all dayparts on the outlet. Murphy knows that when the San Francisco Giants do well, it generally leads to KNBR succeeding. The station did improve in its summer and fall books for 2023, but there already were repercussions being felt.

“I just know that that happened and it damaged people’s perception of the station, but I don’t think it was an accurate reflection of all of our listenership at all; I just don’t,” Murphy said. “I know for a fact that we still had a huge audience, and it’s evident by what happened after the news; just so many people reacted and people in the demo too.”

Even though he knows it does not directly relate to his role as an on-air host, Murphy believes that the local advertising market was damaged because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the city. San Francisco was one of several major metroplexes that instituted strict health and safety protocols in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, which had an effect on sports talk radio consumption. With more people working remotely and fewer people commuting to the office, the transition to digital content and audio on-demand offerings has hastened in order to realize previous levels of engagement and keep the format alive.

“KNBR is going to have to weather this storm,” Murphy said, “and there’s this feeling of, I don’t want to say, ‘This too shall pass,’ or, ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but you’re only as good as your next ratings book.”

The station recently held an all-staff meeting to discuss its direction, which has been somewhat complicated by three program directors at the outlet over the last five years. Following the departures of Jeremiah Crowe and Kevin Graham, Adam Copeland took over the responsibilities last month. The layoffs took place two weeks into his tenure, causing some people to question how involved he was in the decisions and whether or not he advocated for the morning show.

“I think these things come from beyond San Francisco,” Murphy said. “Our headquarters are in Atlanta, and I think something this big – like I said, it wasn’t just Paulie Mac; it was seven people. Paulie Mac is personal for me, but that to me says, ‘Well, that’s obviously a big budget decision that’s being made at a level far above the San Francisco program director.’”

Although Copeland has minimal previous experience as a program director, Murphy is confident that he will be able to effectively lead the station through his energy, youth and passion for the medium. Copeland grew up listening to KNBR and worked at the station over the last several years as a producer and host, eventually earning a spot in afternoons alongside Tom Tolbert. Copeland remains in that time slot, pulling double duty for the radio station. His relatability and familiarity with the craft is something that Murphy views as an advantage.

“I think people are pretty excited that we have somebody who cares as much as Adam Copeland does about KNBR,” Murphy said, “I think if there’s anything to be optimistic about in 2024 that despite this ending to 2023, it’s that we have a program director who’s all-in on the station.”

Thinking about what comes beyond the immediate future though is not within Murphy’s mindset. At the moment, he feels it is too soon to determine if there will be a potential Murph & Mac reunion on a digital platform. Instead, he is focused on being able to continue to serve San Francisco sports fans without his longtime on-air partner. Murphy realizes how fortunate he was to have someone like McCaffrey by his side and valued both his consistency and dependability on a daily basis.

“Every single segment he was the same energetic, relentless, hilarious partner who only wanted what was good for the show – not what was good for him; not what was good for me – he only wanted what was good for the show,” Murphy said, “and it was such a lesson for this newspaper guy to learn, for lack of a better word, showbusiness.”

When Murphy entered the studio Monday to host his first show without McCaffrey, everything felt surreal to him on the air. There was ostensible tension in the room and from listeners about how he would address the news, and share his feelings with the audience. The program ended with a monologue from Murphy regarding McCaffrey, something that he is grateful Boucher did not raise objection to and that he was able to make his statement on the air.

“The 49ers had just destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, which actually was a huge positive break for us because it allowed everything to happen Monday with the backdrop of great positivity because that was a huge game for the Niners and people were pretty jacked up about that game,” Murphy said. “So I opened the show by saying, ‘I know it’s corny, but that one was for Paulie.’”

The shock and surprise from McCaffrey being laid off is hardly evanescent, but Murphy is now thinking about how to optimize the morning program with Boucher. Predicting what may come next is an arduous task. Murphy considers himself fortunate to have had nearly 18 years hosting with McCaffrey, and he is now thinking about the next chapter of his time at KNBR while having reference for the enduring legacy of Murph & Mac.

“For whatever reason, I’ve never lost my absolute joy and passion for the sports world – sports content; sports stories; sports history; sports media – everything about it,” Murphy said. “And so every morning when my alarm goes off and my feet hit the floor, I’m like, ‘Let’s go! I’m stealing money. This isn’t work.’”

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