The communal aspect of sports talk radio renders local outlets invaluable and enjoyable parts of everyday life for various factions of consumers. WFAN has had a variety of interesting and entertaining characters call its talk shows during its 36 years on the air. On Thursday’s edition of The Brandon Tierney and Sal Licata Show, one caller dialed in to express grief over the loss of his grandmother, which occurred a day earlier.
Since she was an avid fan of the New York Jets and listener of the radio station, her grandson felt it would be fitting to give her a proper sendoff through the outlet. Jerry Recco replayed the clip on Friday’s installment of Boomer & Gio, which prompted co-host Boomer Esiason to express how radio hosts should handle these types of situations.
“You’ve got to act appropriately,” Esiason said, “and you’ve got to give the person a chance to get it off their chest and wish them the very best.”
The midday caller, however, extensively eulogized his grandmother on the air, conveying how she was the greatest grandmother they could ask for, adding that that she was now in heaven with her relatives. While he felt the need to say everything he wanted to, listeners can infer the situation as being unnecessarily verbose and palaverous. After some time passed, Licata had to step in and address the caller.
“Rest in peace to your grandmother; it’s horrible to hear that,” Licata interjected on WFAN. “Now please get to your point.”
Listening to the playback elicited laughter from the WFAN studio, as they understood the situation. Without the proper context, some people may deduce the situation as presumptuous or flippant; however, the staff recognized that Licata had to keep the show on track.
“You can’t blame Sal,” Recco said. “This guy was going on and on about, ‘You’re up there with nanny and poppa,’ and everything and, ‘You’re up there in heaven.’ Just say, ‘Hey, my grandmother passed away. She liked the station; she liked the Jets. Thanks guys.’”
The show then decided to relive what it deemed “the greatest WFAN death call of time,” which took place when a listener called host Marc Malusis to discuss the cremation of her mother. When she said that the ashes would be thrown into the ocean, Malusis began to laugh in the background, causing the caller to ask what was going on.
Shortly thereafter, she stated that she would be with her husband by saying, “They’ll be together in the water,” causing him to try to suppress his laughing fit. While the program never explicitly ranked the call, they took the time to discuss it and the theory behind how long callers should be handled.
“What would you cut it off at?,” Esiason asked producer Al Dukes. “Ten seconds of commentary and then get into it?”
Dukes explained that Licata could have cut off the call sooner, while Recco countered by saying that 30 seconds would be apropos for the situation. If Esiason had been placed in the situation, he feels that 10 seconds are justified to give the necessary remarks and then move on.
“Listen – we understand; we’ve all been through it, but to go on and on and on,” Esiason said. “….I could just see Sal’s face.”
KNBR’s Brian Murphy Speaks for First Time After Paul McCaffrey Laid Off
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’.”
Earlier this week, KNBR underwent a round of layoffs, affecting a pair of programs on the Bay Area sports station, including the departure of longtime morning host Paul McCaffrey. His longtime partner — Brian Murphy — has taken to X to share his thoughts.
In a thread to X, Murphy shared his admiration for McCaffrey, whom he hosted Murph and Mac with for 18 years.
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’,” wrote Murphy. “So much love.”
He then shared that everything listeners and fans of the program have shared on social media has been read by the duo, and thanked them for the outpouring of love and support.
Finally, Murphy addressed his future. Fill-in host Dieter Kurtenbach shared on Thursday he did not have a definitive answer about Murphy’s future with the Cumulus-owned station.
However, Brian Murphy has shared he will return to the airwaves on Monday morning.
“I’ll be back Monday morning on KNBR with our guy Markus (Waterboy) Boucher,” Murphy wrote. “Come on. It’s Niners-Eagles. Wouldn’t miss it. As Paulie Mac’s board itself would say: The show goes on.”
Mike Mulligan: Sports Radio is More Difficult Than Other Formats Think
He shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
On Friday morning’s edition of Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score in Chicago, co-host Mike Mulligan outlined the difference with music radio that hosts are not continuously talking to the audience, instead taking mic breaks and then interspersing commentary with different songs.
Filling in for David Haugh on Friday’s edition of the program was Gabe Ramirez, who used to work in the format with B96 as the host of its morning show. Mulligan’s assertion about the differences between the two formats resulted in a conversation about the differences between the grenres, with Ramirez explaining the difficulties that music radio hosts face on the air.
“The music station’s still creating content,” Ramirez said. “You get to have a guest – since I am going to defend my music stations – you get to have a guest and toss them a softball question and listen to them rant for five minutes.”
Mulligan disagreed with this perspective, conveying that he does not feel their program provides guests with easy questions. Additionally, he shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
“As a former sportswriter, we sit around and we talk about sports,” Mulligan said. “We talk about the sports we cover and we talk about other sports.”
“You have to talk about Justin Fields seven days in a row,” Ramirez replied. “As a morning show for music, you have to come up with new content every day.”
Rather than taking umbrage towards the response, Mike Mulligan explained that the key to effectively performing his job is being able to discuss important stories of the day even when they are not the headlines. Furthermore, he expounded on the commitment that it takes to watch the amount of sporting events and to be properly informed on the action so he is able to take the air.
“That I will agree with,” Ramirez said. “I’ve told people this – they ask me, ‘What’s the biggest difference?’ The prep, without question, is way more difficult in sports radio because everyone that’s listening to you already knows the answers and you have to be equally if not more informed in all of those things.”
Minnesota Twins Set to Tab Cory Provus as New TV Voice, Kris Atteberry as Lead Radio Announcer
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012.
After Dick Bremer exited the Minnesota Twins TV booth in October, the search began for his replacement. The MLB franchise didn’t have to look far, though.
Twins radio voice Cory Provus is reportedly set to become the new TV play-by-play broadcaster for the club, according to a report from Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012. Many immediately tabbed him as the club’s replacement for Bremer, who retired after 40 seasons as the lead television voice of the American League club. Before joining the team in 2012, Provus worked for the Milwaukee Brewers as the number two broadcaster after spending two seasons as the radio pregame host for the Chicago Cubs.
Meanwhile, Kris Atteberry has been signaled as the person set to replace Provus inside the franchise’s radio booth. He has served as the pregame and postgame host for the Minnesota Twins Radio Network since 2007. Atteberry joined the club after spending five years calling games for the then-Independent St. Paul Saints from 2002-2006.
While the television and radio broadcast crews appear set, questions remain about where the team will televise its games in 2024. The club’s contract with Bally Sports North has reportedly expired, and it has yet to sign an agreement with the bankruptcy-laden RSN, or with a local over-the-air television station.