While the obviously busy time continues for Espn, the ESPN Radio side is looking toward better results, especially in the top 3 markets. The timing fits with both the NBA and NHL being in playoff mode, the MLB season well underway, and just prior to the NFL getting underway. (Of course, this is all as of press time.)
In New York, WEPN 98.7 is making changes, primarily in support of its strong afternoon show, the Michael Kay Show. Kay's show has been coming in ahead of WFAN's afternoon drive prior to and since the recent departure of Mike Francesa. Now WEPN is shortening the ESPN Radio national morning show until 9 AM, but will air a block of national programming from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on weekdays.
What makes this strange is that WEPN has Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty, and Dave Rothenberg airing from 9:00 to 11:00 AM (an hour shorter than before) and Bart Scott and Alan Hahn from 11 AM to 1 PM (two hours earlier than before). It seems hard to believe that one hour of Max Kellerman's national show between 2:00 and 3:00 PM would be a better lead in for the Michael Kay show, but as of now that is the plan.
KSPN 710 Los Angeles is taking a "split day" approach, going with the national feed from 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM, which includes a delayed broadcast of the morning show. Travis Rogers, also a big part of the station's Rams coverage, will jump in on the morning show with local updates and content. The Mason & Ireland Show returns to early afternoon from the afternoon drive slot it held for the past year. Scott Kaplan joins the station for evenings (when no play-by-play) after a successful run on 1090 in San Diego. (No word yet about Kaplan's status, or lack of status, with 1090 if and when it reboots.)
Chicago's WMVP ESPN 1000 has not, as of press time, announced its intentions for morning drive, as it continues to carry the national feed with fill-in hosts through the coming week. The station has been local between 9:00 AM and 10:00 PM most weekdays, leading to speculation that they will soon attempt a local morning show. With a few long time local sports reporters having been let go due to cutbacks from the pandemic, the station has more "known" talent available than normal if they decide to do so.
OAKLAND: It took less than one week of regular season baseball for the A's to realize their mistake of not having pursued a much needed local radio package instead of only streaming their broadcasts. KNEW 960 now airs the games. The A's Radio Network, including nearby stations in Sacramento and Fresno, continues. This helps to cover up the A's failure to get a local radio deal sooner, while acting as though streaming was acceptable in Oakland while nearby regional radio stations carried the broadcasts.
SEATTLE: The new NHL Kraken have signed Everett Fitzhugh to be its first play-by-play voice. Fitzhugh comes from Cincinnati where he most recently served as radio voice of the Cyclones of the ECHL. Although the team has not yet determined if Fitzhugh will handle the TV or radio duties, either way he becomes the first black play-by-play voice for an NHL team. (Mike Torico of NBC calls regional or national games as assigned.)
AUBURN: Whether or not there is a football season in the SEC, ESPN 106.7 has already dumped its local midday show, The Lunch Break, along with hosts Justin Ferguson and Painter Sharpless. Ironically, Ferguson recently lost his writing job with The Athletic, meaning that he has not lost two media jobs resulting from layoffs during the pandemic.