Dan McNeil Era at ESPN1000 is Over

Dan McNeil out at ESPN 1000:

Dan McNeil’s tempestuous run at WMVP-AM 1000 came to an abrupt, uncharacteristically quiet end after his Friday afternoon broadcast, the station confirmed.

Sources say that no specific incident precipitated WMVP’s decision not to pick up the option on the final year of McNeil’s contract, reportedly worth more than $600,000 annually, but the cumulative effect of past run-ins, self-inflicted controversy and suspensions may have played a role.

McNeil remains under contract to WMVP into May but will remain off the air. Replacing him alongside John Jurkovic and Harry Teinowitz for the foreseeable future will be Carmen DeFalco, who has had a variety of roles at the station, including backing up McNeil.

“We’re looking to try some new things in the afternoon, and given the economic climate, we feel like this is the right time to do it,” WMVP boss Jim Pastor, who is regional general manager for ESPN Radio, said in a prepared statement. “Mac’s played a big part in ESPN 1000’s success. This afternoon I thanked him for that and wished him well in the future.”

Like I posted in my comment at that post on the Tribune’s Tower Ticker blog, I suspect this is more about $$$ than about disciplinary issues, even though the comment from his former boss seems to say that as well — as we’ve all seen before, the incentive to be truthful at such times is approaching zero.

I liked their show, and Mac. They have a nice blend of approachability and humor, and don’t act like arrogant twits, like their counterparts at WSCR-670.

But the radio business is changing rapidly under our feet, just like all other forms of entertainment and media. Over the last 6+ months, McNeil is the second highly-paid and high-profile sports radio personality in the Chicago market — after Mike North was shown the door in June — to be told “bye, and thanks, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out”.

I’m sure McNeil will surface somewhere; it’ll be interesting to watch what happens.

As for Mike North, he went over to TV, doing a morning show called “Monsters in the Morning” on Comcast Sports Net Chicago, which just started this past Monday.


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