ESPN Radio is in the process of what could be a complete transformation that may impact every part of its schedule and eventually lead to Dan Le Batard no longer being on the network and the potential return of Mike Greenberg to radio, The Post has learned.
While these plans may play out over the next year-plus, the departure of afternoon host Will Cain from ESPN Radio appears imminent. He is soon expected to sign a contract with Fox News and Fox Nation, according to sources.
ESPN declined comment, while a Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
As previously reported, ESPN also is strongly considering changing up its morning program of “Golic & Wingo,” as Trey Wingo’s contract is up this year.
While the impact of the coronavirus pandemic could alter decisions, discussions regarding the potential changes are in progress.
ESPN has not yet decided how it could replace “Golic & Wingo,” though Mike Golic and Mike Golic Jr. could remain in some capacity. The Big Lead has previously mentioned that Wingo hoped to be taken off the program.
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Wingo was the lead host on ESPN’s NFL Draft 2020 coverage, but with the economic impact of the sports shutdown, he may not be in a good position to be choosy. His Twitter bio says that he’s “Not really a morning person …,” which could make the 6 a.m. daily start time incompatible.
A reunion of “Mike & Mike” — putting Greenberg and Golic back together — is not on the table for a variety of reasons, but one is that it conflicts with Greenberg’s TV program.
Instead Greenberg, who makes $6.5 million annually, could eventually be offered a midday slot with 1-3 p.m. a possibility.
That spot is currently held by Jason Fitz nationally, as he hosts “First Take, Your Take,” which features commentary from the TV show fronted by Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. ESPN Radio executives are high on Fitz, so he would likely be in the mix in other parts if Greenberg ultimately landed from 1-3 p.m.
Either way, Greenberg will continue with “Get Up!” on ESPN, which has seen a resurgence after the program was re-formatted and Greenberg’s original co-host, Michelle Beadle, left in the summer of 2018.
As for Le Batard, he still has more than a year left on his contract, but there is a feeling among many that his program does not mesh with the tastes of Norby Williamson, who is ESPN’s executive vice president and the point person on ESPN Radio’s programming. Le Batard does more of a variety show rather than strictly sports.
In July, Le Batard got into trouble with ESPN after challenging the network’s “no pure politics” edict in July and calling the network “cowardly,” while denouncing President Trump.
Since then, Le Batard has steered away from political talk. If Le Batard, who makes around $3.5 million per year, were taken off radio, ESPN could still have his TV show on and continue with his podcast network.
While at one point, ESPN might have considered going outside the network, it is much more likely to go internal if it makes a move.
ESPN is very high on Mina Kimes, but she would likely have to relocate from the West Coast and that seems unlikely at the moment.
Peter Rosenberg, who has helped the “Michael Kay Show” in New York reach the top of the ratings and is a part of Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning, could be a potential member of a new team. Keyshawn Johnson is another name to consider as part of a larger move that could include more TV.
Kellerman has radio experience in both New York and Los Angeles and could end up in the mix, as well.
In New York, the potential national moves would not have as big of an impact, as only “Golic & Wingo” are heard on 98.7 FM.
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