Top 30 Local Sports Talkers

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It was a year filled with talk about deflated footballs. And no matter what market you were in, that was the biggest topic — for a very long time — for sports talk radio hosts. The question they all faced, depending on what part of the country they were in (outside of New England), was how to make that topic compelling for their local audiences. But that’s a challenge sports talkers face every day they crack the mic, in every market. It’s not every day a subject as juicy as “Deflategate” falls in their laps, and there’s no music between the talk topics to give them a break.

Compelling, local content that keeps (mostly male) listeners tuned in is the daily goal. Consultants will tell you that to win, you have to mix pop culture in with sports to keep listeners engaged and perhaps pull in some women. And for some on our list, that is exactly what they do. But for others, the winning comes from their deep knowledge of all sports, especially their local sports teams.

This is the third year we’re publishing a list of the Best Local Sports Talkers in America. We start the process by taking nominations three months before the issue goes to print. Then we reach out to the nominees and ask them to answer a few questions. We also closely examine who nominated each host or show, and why. How long have the hosts been in a particular market? How are the ratings — are the numbers consistently strong? How active
are the hosts in the community? Are they getting local press from other media?

We also ask dozens of sports radio PDs, consultants, and managers for their honest, off-the-record feedback on who they believe are the top sports talkers in the country. While we believe they are all being honest, understandably there’s also a lot of lobbying for their people. Hosts have even lobbied for themselves, hoping for a high placement.

Despite all the research and help and feedback we receive from PDs, GMs, and experts in sports radio, this is admittedly not an exact science. There is no clear way to determine how or why a host in Philadelphia is better than a host in San Francisco or Dallas

There are many veteran sports talkers on this list who continue to dominate in their markets. There are also quite a few youngsters making a name for themselves and just waiting for an opportunity to move up, honing their skills and getting ready to make it to the big time. We’ve done our very best to bring you the Top 30 Local Sports Talkers for 2015, and added in some of their compelling comments on what makes them the very best at what
they do.

 

1MIKE FRANCESA – WFAN

New York (Market 1)
CBS Radio
1-6:30 p.m.
28 years on WFAN

 

2BOOMER ESIASON & CRAIG CARTON – WFAN

New York (Market 1)
CBS Radio
6-10 a.m.
Eight years on WFAN

 

3ANGELO CATALDI – WIP-FM

Philadelphia (Market 9)
CBS Radio
5:30-10 a.m.
25 years in radio and on WIP

 

4TOUCHER & RICH – WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb
Boston (Market 10)
CBS Radio
6-10 a.m.
8 years in radio, 10 years on WBCN/WBZ

5THE MUSERS – KTCK-FM (The Ticket)

Craig Miller, George Dunham, and Gordon Keith
Dallas-Fort Worth (Market 5)
5:30-10 a.m.
21 years in morning drive on The Ticket

 

6MIKE VALENTI & TERRY FOSTER – WXYT (97.1 The Ticket)

Detroit (Market 12)
CBS Radio
2-6 p.m.
Together as a show for 13 years, first on AM and since the inception of WXYT-FM in 2007.

7MIKE FELGER & TONY MASSAROTTI – WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

Boston (Market 10)
CBS Radio
2-6 p.m.
On the air since 2009

8GARY RADNICH & LARRY KRUEGER – KNBR-AM

San Francisco (Market 4)
Cumulus Media
9 a.m.-noon
Radnich has 23 years on the air, Krueger 12

9MULLY & HANLEY – WSCR (670 The Score)

Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley
Chicago (Market 3)
5-9 a.m.
Hanley has 24 years on the air, Mulligan 12.
They’ve been a team for 10 years.

10TOM WADDLE & MARC “SILVY” SILVERMAN – WMVP (ESPN 1000)

Chicago (Market 3)
2-6 p.m.
Tom Waddle has 15 years in radio, 8 of those with ESPN 1000. Silvy has 20-plus years on Chicago radio, 17 at ESPN 1000.

11THE SPORTS JUNKIES – WJFK-FM (106.7 The Fan)

J.P. Flaim, Eric Bickel, Jason Bishop, John Auville
Washington, DC (Market 7)
CBS Radio
5-10 a.m.
On the air 19 years in DC, 17 at WJFK

12TERRY BOERS & DAN BERNSTEIN – WSCR-AM (The Score)

Chicago (Market 3)
CBS Radio
1-6 p.m.
On the air together for 17 years

13MICHAEL KAY &  DON LAGRECA WEPN (98.7 FM ESPN)

New York (Market 1)
ESPN Radio
3-7 p.m.
25 years in radio and 14 years at the station

14TOM TOLBERT – KNBR

San Francisco (Market 4)
Cumulus Media
3-7 p.m.
19 years at KNB

15MURPH & MAC – KNBR

Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey
San Francisco (Market 4)
Cumulus Media
5-9 a.m.
On the air together 10 years

16JOSH INNES – WIP-FM

Philadelphia (Market 9)
CBS Radio
2-6 p.m.
On radio 12 years, on WIP for 2

17MIKE MISSANELLI – WPEN (97.5 The Fanatic)

Philadelphia (Market 9)
Greater Media
2-6 p.m.
7 years at The Fanatic

18MITCH LEVY – KJR

Seattle (Market 13)
iHeartMedia
6-9 a.m.
20-plus years at KJR

19JOHN DENNIS & GERRY CALLAHAN – WEEI

Boston (Market 10)
Entercom
5:30-10 a.m.
On the air 18 years

20TONY KORNHEISER – WTEM (ESPN 980)

Washington, DC (Market 7)
Red Zebra Broadcasting
10 a.m.-noon
On the air 6 years

21SCHOPP & THE BULLDOG – WGR (Sports Radio 550)

Bulldog15Mike Schopp and Chris Parker
Buffalo (Market 59)
Entercom
3-7 p.m.
On the air together for 12 years

22GARY SHARP & DAMON BENNING – KOZN (1620 The Zone)

Benning15Omaha (Market 75)
NRG Media
7-11 a.m.
On the air together for 4 years

23ADAM GOLD & JOE OVIES – WCMC-FM

Raleigh (Market 40)
Capitol Broadcasting
3-7 p.m.
On the air together for 7 year

24DAN SILEO – The Mighty 1090

San Diego (Market 17)
BCA (operator)
6-9 a.m.
In radio 24 years, 2 years at The Mighty 1090

25HEATH CLINE – WNKT-FM (1075 The Game)

Columbia, SC (Market 88)
Cumulus Media
4-7 p.m.
In radio for 21 years, at 1075 The Game all eight years of its existence

26MARK MILLER & DAVID MOULTON – WWCN (ESPN 99.3)

Ft. Myers, FL (Market 60 )
Beasley Broadcasting
2-6 p.m.
On the air 12 years

27MATT MOSCONA – WNXX & KNXX (104.5/104.9 ESPN)

Baton Rouge (Market 80)
Guaranty Media
3-6 p.m.
12 years in radio, 5 years on 104.5/104.9 ESPN Baton Rouge

28JOHN CANZANO – KXTG (750 The Game)

Portland, OR (Market 23)
Alpha Media
Noon-3 p.m.
On the air 9 years

29BILL MICHAELS – WSSP

Milwaukee (Market 38)
Entercom
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
23 years in radio, 4 years on WSSP

30NICK BAHE – KOZN (1620 The Zone)

Omaha (Market 75)
NRG Media
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
On the air 3 years

 

 

 

 

 

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  2. The listeners were obviously not polled in this survey. Miller & Moulton are horrible. I quit listening years ago. I tune in occasionally to see if they still suck and they don’t disappoint. Moulton is a blow-hard that gets off by saying ESPN Radio. Thankfully, 99.3 ESPN (Beasley Broadcasting) has so many commercials that their actual airtime is limited.

  3. #1 is a joke right? A guy who falls asleep during his show and speaks way to close to the mic! #2, #4, and #7 are all way better. Felger and Maz are one of the few shows where they are actually objective towards the hometown team. I can’t stand these blind homer shows.

    • Boomah and Cawton are not bettah than Mike Franceska. No way no how. Boomer as a former athlete is infuriating. He’s such a “typical white guy” square. Loves Jeter and Peytin Manning. Carton at least, gives you a dissident perspective from time-to-time…But he’s not funny and thinks he is. Thanks to …Boomer and f-ing Jerry Recco…(talk about a stiff, Recco should be in the dictionary). Francesa knows sports like no other, he’s opinionated, strong, arrogant and that’s why he’s #1. Please don’t confuse greatness with envy.

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