The recasting of WFAN’s morning program will not affect its television simulcast on CBS Sports Network, the president of CBS Sports said on Tuesday.
“It will continue as is,” David Berson, who oversees the cable channel, said at the 34th annual March of Dimes Sports Luncheon in Manhattan. “It’s safe to say it’s going to continue without interruption. No change.”
Berson declined to discuss the duration of the contract between CBS Sports Network and WFAN, which now is owned by Entercom but until earlier this month was owned by CBS Radio.
The morning show starring Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton was simulcast by CBSSN starting in January 2014, and it has continued in the 2 ½ months since Carton resigned a week after he was arrested on federal charges of wire and securities fraud.
Jerry Recco has filled in most days since then, but Gregg Giannotti is set to become Esiason’s permanent co-host on Jan. 2.
The show is a seemingly odd fit for a national simulcast, given its strongly local slant, but Berson said CBS Sports believes it has enough national appeal to justify its presence on the schedule, with or without Carton.
“Boomer is a nationally recognized personality for his credentials on the field and off the field,” Berson said. “He’s been a regular on ‘The NFL Today’ for quite some time. So we feel the show has a lot of national appeal, and we have all the confidence in the world in Gio [Giannotti].
“He’s been great with B.J. [Brian Jones] in the morning on CBS Sports Radio Network. We’re thrilled with that team [of Esiason and Giannotti]. We think they’re going to work really well together.”
CBS Sports Network is not rated by Nielsen, so it is not clear how many people are watching the morning show west of New Jersey.
“It’s really great content, and nowadays a lot of local stories are of national interest,” Berson said. “It’s not back in the day when everyone was confined to local stories in the newspaper or local radio. A lot of these are national stories now, especially the NFL. All football has become national.
“And New York is unique. Oftentimes the stories that are of interest to New Yorkers tend to resonate across the country.”
Berson noted CBSSN simulcasts national shows such as the one featuring Brandon Tierney and Tiki Barber, with “The Jim Rome Show” to be added to the schedule in January.
But from 6 to 10 a.m., the New York-centric WFAN program will remain where it is.
“We feel it’s compelling content,” Berson said. “At the end of the day, if it’s compelling content, people are interested in it, and it’s worked very well.”