(More) ESPN Radio changes on way

For a decade and a half, ESPN Radio’s national morning drive sports-talk show was a testament to consistency and familiarity. Now it could be facing more change.

Led by longtime hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, Mike and Mike in the Morning earned cultural relevance and respect from sports fans, competitors and leagues during its time on the air. It also earned a spot in the Radio Hall of Fame.

While some critics panned the show as soft — seemingly wanting the two hosts to interrogate certain guests — the morning show was a perfect fit for the hundreds of markets it served across the nation. It was often more middle America than big city, but it was good.

It also set a tone for ESPN Radio, providing a safe testing ground for both the network’s talent and for guests about to spend daylong adventures on other ESPN shows.

When Greenberg and Golic parted ways in 2017, Trey Wingo joined the team, and Golic and Wingo was born. The on-air team includes Mike Golic Jr. and Jason Fitz.

Now, though, Wingo reportedly wants out. He’d like to remain at ESPN, handling mostly NFL duties throughout the year. As a strong regular host of the NFL Draft, Wingo might thrive if his duties were to change and allow him to focus. Balancing morning radio and doing more NFL studio programming seem like mutually exclusive pursuits. They require an investment of time.

Unfortunately, Golic might be better covering the NFL on TV than he is on radio. So another shakeup could be coming with the radio show.

If so, that might mean more airtime for Fitz, the former fiddle player for The Band Perry, and the younger Golic. Radio listeners value familiarity, so any shakeup might not be ideal for ESPN — especially on the heels of months of listener and ratings gains.

Steelers stuff

After Thursday night’s game against the Browns, the Steelers return to action next Sunday with a road game in Cincinnati.

The game will be televised by CBS. For fans who appreciate radio coverage, the Steelers’ broadcast team of Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin, Craig Wolfley and Missi Matthews provide an always interesting mix.

Hillgrove is a Pittsburgh legend, but has struggled a bit in recent seasons, seemingly pulling Ilkin with him a bit at times. Wolfley insists on jockish silliness at times, and Matthews has yet to be smoothly integrated.

They’re certainly connected and familiar. They do good work, at times. At others, they’re not as strong. Still, it’s never dull.

Tuner tidbits

n Just a few games into the season, Penn State women’s basketball play-by-play man Justin Antweil sounds comfortable and good on broadcasts. Andweil, who previously handled similar duties at Bucknell and who earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, brings solid energy teaming with Joe Putnam. With the retirement of longtime radio voice Jerry Fisher and the arrival of a new coach, the Antweil addition has been well timed.

n Last week’s Penn State-Minnesota football game drew 6.7 million viewers, the most of any noon game on ABC since 2016. That’s probably not good news for people who dislike noon games, because it proves people are watching and might lead to more midday games in future seasons.

n Coverage of Penn State wrestling, with play-by-play man Jeff Byers, can be found online (GoPSUsports.com).

Sampsell can be reached at stevesampsell@gmail.com.


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