Christie among candidates for sports radio job – NorthJersey.com
After spending the better part of the past three years competing for a future life in politics â president, vice president or a senior role in the White House â GovernorÂ Christie could soon be in contention for aÂ job that would give him a megaphoneÂ in the country’s largest media market: sports talk radio host.
WFAN 660-AM, the region’sÂ dominant sports-talkÂ radio station, will “be looking to do stuff” at the end of the year, when longtime afternoon drive host MikeÂ Francesa’s contract with the station ends, said MarkÂ Chernoff, the station’s program director and vice president of its parent company, CBS Radio New York. Christie, whose name has been rumored as a possible replacement forÂ Francesa, is among “plenty of candidates” the station is contemplatingÂ to fill the void left byÂ Francesa,Â ChernoffÂ said.
“I would certainly at least want to consider him,”Â ChernoffÂ saidÂ in an interview this week. “If he’s interested and we’re interested, it’s worth pursuing.”
The same attributes that catapulted Christie to national fame in his first termÂ â unabashed volubility and acerbic reflexesÂ âÂ translate wellÂ to sports talk radio,Â radioÂ industryÂ experts say, and thoseÂ qualitiesÂ may soon serve him in a second act that is potentially far more lucrative and certainlyÂ less consequential.
The intrigue andÂ speculation over Christie’s next move has largely been contained within the realm of politics and whether he will make it to the White House serving President Donald Trump. But Christie has repeatedly saidÂ that he does not envision a future in Washington, D.C.Â And his frequent co-hosting appearances on WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton”Â showÂ â he’s done it 10 times since last year âÂ haveÂ fueled rumors that he could be a contender forÂ Francesa’sÂ afternoon slot.
FrancesaÂ is set to leave the station at the end of the year, and Christie will leave office less than three weeks later.
Christie’s office declined to comment. But Christie himself hasÂ repeatedlyÂ declared his interestÂ in a career move to sports broadcasting.
“As my son said â he said, ‘I canât believe Iâve been listening to you talk about sports my entire life and that someone might actually pay you to do that.’ He said, ‘I canât imagine how great that would be for you,'” Christie said during an appearance on the SNY cable network last week. “And so, yeah,Â thatâs certainly one of the things that I hope Iâll have a chance to consider when I get out and stop being governor.”
ChristieÂ has said his plan after leaving office is to return to the private sector in a job where he canÂ have fun,Â spend more time with his family andÂ make money. A job in the Trump’s administration would appear to fulfill none of that: He would be 230 miles from home,Â back under heavy scrutiny, and stillÂ on a public servant’s salary.
Even the most well-paid staff in the White House make about $175,000 a year, according to a list released by then-President Barack Obama last year, the same salary Christie makes as governor.Â The Christies earned more than $900,000 in each of the past two years, but the household’s primary earner,Â Mary Pat Christie, left her Wall Street job last year, and the governor will lose hisÂ salary once he leaves office.
Christie would be unlikely to command the nearly $4 million salary thatÂ FrancesaÂ reportedly earns, industry experts say, but a full-time job in radio could at least maintain his family’s quality of life. Those experts agree thatÂ the same attributes that put Christie on the national stage work well on radio.
A successful radio host is often someone who is well-known, hasÂ aÂ deep knowledge of the subject matterÂ and a willingness to give an opinion regardless of the consequences, industry experts said.
“He’s got the goods,” Michael Harrison, the editor and publisher of Talkers Magazine, a radioÂ industry publication, said of Christie. “I have the highest regard for MikeÂ FrancesaÂ as a talent and as a friend, and I think that Chris Christie would be a very, very appropriate heir apparent forÂ that show.”
FrancesaÂ typicallyÂ takes about six weeks of vacationÂ during the summer, andÂ ChernoffÂ saidÂ that if Christie has the time, “we’llÂ probably let him do some afternoon shows”Â to test him out in an unfamiliar time slot.
ChernoffÂ said Christie’s appearances have been popular with listeners, regardless of whether they agree with his opinions. He has certainly drawn attention to the morning show whenever he appears. His most recent appearance, last week, led to viral news stories about a meatloaf lunchÂ with Trump and stinging responses from PhiladelphiansÂ after Christie called Phillies fans “angry, awful people” andÂ saidÂ the team’s ballparkÂ isÂ “not safe for civilized people.”
“I think heâs just bitter and has got nowhere to go,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat,Â said on that city’sÂ sports station WIP 94.1-FM. “Whoâs going to hire him?”
But having a favorite target, especially in a rival market â Christie’s favorite baseball team, the Mets, have a long-standing feud with the Phillies â can actuallyÂ work wellÂ for a host.
“There’s an old saying: ‘There’s noÂ moneyÂ in the middle,'” said B. Eric Rhoads, the founder and publisher of Radio Ink Magazine. “You make a lot of money by making people mad, or you can make a lot of money by making a lot of friends. But being in the middle is boring.”
FrancesaÂ has been a mainstay of WFAN from 1Â to 6:30 p.m.Â since 1989 and a perennial ratings leader, whether by himself or with his longtime on-air partner, Chris “Mad Dog”Â Russo, who left in 2008 for Sirius XM Radio.Â ChernoffÂ said “those are huge shoes to fill,” but it is “not likely” that whoever replacesÂ FrancesaÂ will do so for the full afternoon drive.
“I can’t say that the next person or team doing the show will do five-and-a-half hours,”Â ChernoffÂ said.
Rick Scott, chief executive of RSA Sports International,Â a sports radio marketing and programming firm,Â said the “magic formula” for radio hosts is toÂ have charisma,Â speak their mind and hold their ground.
A successful radio host does not have to be likable, Scott said, just entertaining enough so thatÂ people, whether they like the host or not, “have to listen to the show.”
“If he wants to have fun, make money and spend time with his family, radio could be a really good fit,” Scott said.
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