UPDATE: WIP announced its new lineup on Tuesday, which will feature evening host Jon Marks taking over Carlin’s vacated afternoon spot.
Chris Carlin, we hardly knew you.
Carlin, who was hired by WIP-FM (94.1) just last year to cohost the station’s midday show alongside former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese, appears to be heading to New York City to join a new three-man crew that will replace retiring sports talker Mike Francesa.
A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed reports that Carlin will join WFAN’s new afternoon drive team alongside former Jets linebacker Bart Scott and SI Now host Maggie Gray. The new three-person show will replace Francesa when he retires on Dec. 15. WIP did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and WFAN program director Mark Chernoff declined to speak about the upcoming moves.
Since Carlin was hired by WIP last year to replace Josh Innes, there was speculation taking the job in Philadelphia was just a stopgap until Francesca retired. Not only has Carlin spent the bulk of his career hosting shows in New York, his first full-time job in radio was working as a producer on the Mike and the Mad Dog show, which Francesa cohosted with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, now at SiriusXM, for almost 19 years.
“No one brought up the idea when I decided to go for the job in Philly,” Carlin told me last year. “For me, this is my time.”
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, WFAN didn’t consider stealing back Carlin from WIP until Craig Carton was fired after being arrested in September on investment-related fraud charges, accused of bilking people out of $5.6 million as part of a fake-ticket Ponzi scheme. With two high-profile slots suddenly open, management at WFAN found themselves in a desperate position, especially when NBC Sports’ Chris Simms, NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, and ESPN’s Max Kellerman all reportedly turned down job offers.
WFAN has yet to announce who will replace Carton. Newsday’s Neil Best reports the leading candidate is CBS Radio host Gregg Giannotti, who has been guest hosting most mornings alongside former Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason since Carton’s departure. One person we know won’t get the gig is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who rushed to announce he was no longer interested in a full-time position at the station after reports made it clear the station dropped him from their pool of candidates.
While not overtaking The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli in the drive-time ratings battle, Carlin and Reese were able to narrow the gap. The WIP duo moved up to fifth place in the 2017 summer ratings book, increasing their ratings 22 percent in the coveted demographic of men age 25 to 54 compared to the same period last year.
The move would leave WIP and program director Spike Eskin with a hole to fill in the middle of what looks to be a very successful Eagles season. So far, no names have emerged as front-runners.