The first Monday Night Football broadcast of the season also marks the beginning of Booger McFarland as ESPN’s lead analyst in the booth. McFarland’s former Tampa Bay radio co-host, Todd Wright used MNF’s season debut as an excuse to record a podcast bashing the now ESPN analyst.
“Break a leg tonight Booger – seriously, break both,” Todd said and titled the podcast episode. Wright is a longtime sports radio host with decades of experience at both the national and local level. Currently hosting his Todd Wright TODDcast podcast, Wright once shared a radio show with Anthony ‘Booger’ McFarland.
Wright’s tenure with McFarland lasted just seven weeks when the two partnered on Tampa Bay’s short-lived CBS Sports Radio station, 98.7 The Fan in 2012.
“The only man who didn’t want to work with Anthony McFarland less than me – Jason Witten,” Wright said as he called for Booger to receive more criticism for ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth failure last season. While the entire Monday Night Football broadcast was criticized, much of the blame was placed on Jason Witten. Witten’s return to the Dallas Cowboys this season paved the way for McFarland to depart the often mocked “BoogerMobile,” and join play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore inside the booth.
During his podcast, Wright called out McFarland’s analysis as being empty, also noting many successful football analysts have been offensive minds, such as Aikman, Romo and Collinsworth. McFarland’s defensive background makes it difficult for him to offer anything in terms of reading the field during the pre-snap according to Wright.
Wright referred to Booger as a “fraud,” not only questioning his ability as an analyst, but also his character as a person, placing blame on the former Buccaneer defensive tackle for the lack of success with their radio show and 98.7 The Fan as a whole.
“He’s really nice to the people who can potentially do something nice for him, then there’s everyone else,” Wright said. “If you can’t do anything nice for him, or you’re in his way of achieving what he wants professionally – and I’m sure Jason Witten felt this as well – he’ll do anything he can to walk all over you.”
Wright left his radio show with Booger after just seven weeks, stating on his podcast that the two co-hosts who followed him wanted to fight McFarland physically. The sports radio host was also critical of Booger’s “obsession” with nicknames. Instead of referring to Todd Wright by name, Booger would call him “T-Dub” a trend that his co-host wasn’t fond of. Last season on MNF, Booger used the nicknames “Tess” and “Witt” instead of Tessitore and Witten which Wright found childish.
When Wright joined 98.7 The Fan he expected the gig to take him into retirement. He thought the time was right to challenge Tampa’s premium sports station, WDAE, but the show lasted just seven weeks because as Wright put it, he was “saddled with Anthony McFarland.”
“I’m sure when [98.7 The Fan] went under, a big portion of that was [McFarland’s] failure to generate any sort of consistent audience and have any kind of accountability in afternoon drive with three different hosts,” Wright said. “I walked, the other two wanted to, or fought him – he just brushed it aside, he didn’t care about the people at the station when the station went down, I still care about a number of those people.”
While Wright doesn’t look back at his seven weeks with Booger fondly and seemingly roots for the ESPN analyst to fail, another one of McFarland’s co-hosts offered a different sentiment. When reached for comment by BSM, Booger’s former partner on The Fan and current ESPN Upstate host, Marc Ryan had positive things to say about his time with McFarland.
“I have a different experience and I think Todd comes off sounding angry, sore and thin skinned,” Ryan said about the Booger-centric episode of the TODDcast.
Ryan gave credit to Booger for his media achievements, noting the former NFL defensive tackle auditioned for all of his opportunities, having never been handed anything.
“I’ve never worked with a co-host who prepared harder than he did,” Ryan said, adding that McFarland is insightful and entertaining behind the mic.
Former Assistant Program Director Jerry Petuck, who’s now involved with Radio Influence, posted on social media that he witnessed many of the issues firsthand between Booger and Wright and still considers both friends. He did not put any blame for the pairing not working out on either co-host. He did share that Wright’s points about the station’s demise were on target.
While Wright viewed McFarland’s time with The Fan as a failure that contributed to the station’s downfall, Ryan called on the successes Booger has had with the current Monday Night Football analyst.
“You need to be able to laugh at yourself when you work with Booger. Because I can do that, I really enjoyed my time working with him,” Ryan said. “Booger and I took the ratings of that station to new heights, we made the TALKERS Heavy Hundred list together and the competing station in the market told me they had meetings about the gains we were making.”
The main reason The Fan was unable to find sustained success and challenge Tampa’s WDAE according to Ryan? The station signed what he considers to be the “worst rights deal in the history of radio,” agreeing to a five-year broadcast partnership with the University of South Florida Bulls.
The program director at the time, USF graduate Mike Pepper, gave the Bulls first right of refusal, making it impossible for the station to attract one of the city’s professional teams, the Buccaneers, Lightning or Rays. Once CBS traded 98.7 to Beasley Media, new ownership saw the suffocating USF broadcast agreement and decided to flip the format away from sports.
Petuck said it goes even deeper than that, adding “There was a lot that was supposed to happen at 98.7 The Fan. I was privy to those plans. Had they happened, it would’ve shocked people and changed sports radio in Tampa forever. But promises were broken, and a lot of lives and careers were damaged as a result of it.”
According to Ryan, the station’s downfall doesn’t fall at the feet of McFarland. He points out that Booger sought coaching, wanted to create content and be great, and participate in the planning of the show. After spending nearly a decade as a sports broadcaster, Ryan says it’d be hard for his former partner to have faked his way to where he is today as the lead analyst on Monday Night Football.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show
Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.
Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.
Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.
Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”
Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.
Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.
Derek Wolfe Joining 104.3 The Fan as ‘The Drive’ Co-Host
I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive.”
Former NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is joining 104.3 The Fan in Denver as co-host with Darren “DMac” Mckee on The Drive With Derek Wolfe and DMac.
Wolfe announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year after signing a one-day contract to retire with the Denver Broncos. He was the franchise’s top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spending eight seasons with the team, including a win in Super Bowl 50.
“To the listeners in Denver, ‘The Fan Wolfe-pack,’ I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive,” said Wolfe. “DMac and I are going to fight sometimes, maybe we’ll fight a lot of the time, but we’ll always be working together to entertain you. I’ve always kept it 100 with you, and that’s not going to change one bit.”
“Derek is one of the most popular players in Broncos history, with the iconic image of his sack celebration in Super Bowl 50 forever etched in Denver sports lore,” said 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “What’s so exciting about adding Derek is his connection with the audience goes far beyond his production on the field. He’s never been afraid to mince words and is unapologetically authentic. Those characteristics drew Denver sports fans to fall in love with Derek, and we’re thrilled to help Derek build on that relationship everyday as he entertains his ‘Fan Wolfe-pack!’”
Wolfe enters a role previously occupied by former Bronco Tyler Polumbus, who departed the station in September. The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac will be heard weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.
Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees
Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.
Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.
The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:
- Mr. Doug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
- Mr. James Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
- Mr. Bob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
- Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
- Ms. Bernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
- Mr. Sid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
- Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
- Mr. Pervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
- Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
- Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.
“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”
The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.