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WFAN’s Sal Licata on Working Overnights: ‘You Have to Love What You Do’

“It can be challenging… to be able to function at three in the morning where you’re in the middle of a show and maybe you’ve already rehashed all the topics you wanted to hit that night.”

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Hosting a radio show at a legendary station in a major market is an opportunity very few would turn down. Even if that means working the overnight shift.

But doing five hours of radio from midnight to 5 a.m. is an adjustment that changes your life. Working when most are sleeping is a tough transition. Some eventually adapt to the schedule, but others never do. In some cases, it might be fighting a natural rhythm. But some are better at being nocturnal than others.

WFAN’s Sal Licata doesn’t know if he’s suited to the overnight lifestyle yet. He took over the shift in November after the legendary Steve Somers retired from regular work at the station. Getting a full-time position was the payoff after working his way up for 18 years, beginning at WFAN as an intern in 2003 and making it on the air in 2006. But Licata had to grind as a part-timer, even leaving WFAN at one point, before finally earning the gig he coveted.

Appearing on Sports Talk Chicago/WCKG with host Jon Zaghloul, Licata was asked how he manages doing overnight radio.

“I’m still trying to learn to manage it, but you have to figure out a way to balance your schedule and your time, and it’s very difficult,” Licata explained. “Also, I have the other job with SNY, so I still do both. And then my wife and I just had a baby, 11 months old, so you’re managing that as well.

“The shows themselves can be challenging, just because it’s the middle of the night. Especially when there’s no sports going on which, thankfully, right now we don’t have that problem anymore with the baseball lockout ending. But it can be challenging, five hours by yourself, limited calls, limited sports topics.

Much like 670 The Score’s Mark Grote explained to Parkins & Spiegel last week, moving to the overnight shift is not an immediate adjustment. He’s still trying to figure out a consistent routine that works, that’s sustainable.

But to Licata, it comes down to an approach that probably applies to whatever shift anyone in radio, or in any vocation, someone might work.

“I just think A) you have to love what you do. B) You have to figure out a way to get proper rest and sleep, whether it’s naps, whether it’s just six hours straight, and eating right, keeping your energy up. All things like that, to be able to function at three in the morning where you’re in the middle of a show and maybe you’ve already rehashed all the topics you wanted to hit that night, and you’ve gotta come up with something.”

Licata’s entire conversation with Zaghloul is worth your listening time. He talks about his career to this point, beginning at WFAN as an intern and a producer for Somers, then Mike & the Mad Dog before he ever made it to air. But Mike Francesa was supportive and helped him break out from behind the scenes.

Naturally, Licata also talks about New York sports — particularly the Giants, quarterback Daniel Jones, and the coach he wanted the team to hire — in addition to the Mets’ upcoming season. Oh, and Gregg Giannotti prank-calling him on the air also comes up.

You can listen to the Sports Talk Chicago podcast at the show’s website or on apps including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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