By Anya Bochman
For Chatham native Chris Carlin, working for CBS Radio’s WFAN program is something of a childhood dream. Growing up in the township, he used to make deliveries for a local drugstore, Hasler’s – since closed – and listen to the sports channel in his car.
Now, with his own show due to start on the network in January, the dream is coming true.
“CBS presented me with an opportunity; this is the only job I would have left for,” Carlin said, referring to departing from his year-long gig for radio station 94.1 WIP in Philadelphia.
Carlin’s appointment to WFAN comes as a replacement for Mike Francesca, whose final show will air on Dec. 15, as announced by the sports radio station. The new show, “The Afternoon Drive With Carlin, Bart and Maggie” is slotted to begin on Jan. 2, weekdays between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Joining Carlin will be ex-Jets linebacker Bart Scott and sports journalist Maggie Gray, for an afternoon show that will feature discussion and debates centered around New York City sports.
“It’s getting to play in the sandbox, so to speak,” Carlin says. “We will get into arguments, have discussions.”
Carlin, who says he has worked with Gray in the past and is not familiar with Scott in a professional capacity, explains that the cohosts are in the process of getting to know each other before beginning their hosting duties together.
Carlin has a lengthy resume in sportscasting, having worked for the first 13 years of his career in a range of roles, from intern to talk show host. For the past 10 years, he has worked in television at SportsNet New York, a regional sports network co-owned by the N.Y. Mets. His work with SNY included co-hosting “Loud Mouths,” a sports debate program, as well as pre- and post-game telecasts for New York Mets games. Additionally, he hosted SportsNite, SNY’s nightly N.Y. sports recap program.
His work with WFAN included serving for seven years as producer for “Mike & The Mad Dog Show,” the vehicle of Francesca, whom he is now replacing.
For the past year, Carlin has co-hosted the sports show “Carlin & Reese” with former linebacker Ike Reese on local Philadelphia sports radio station 94.1 WIP. When the opportunity for “Afternoon Drive” presented itself, he parted ways with WIP to return to N.Y. and WFAN.
Although he is excited about his new job, Carlin will still be continuing other endeavors, such as his long-standing involvement with the Rutgers Football Radio Network.
When asked about his hopes for “Afternoon Drive,” Carlin expressed a dream of becoming the number one sports radio show in N.Y. City.
“I’d want to do it in a way that allows us to elevate discussion,” the sportscaster said. “But we’re not splitting the atom here – we want to have fun doing it.”
In a statement published on CBS New York, the company’s senior vice president/market manager Marc Rayfield said of Carlin’s appointment, “Today’s announcement helps solidify WFAN’s rank as the No. 1 sports talk radio station in the U.S. for years to come. The mix of distinctive new voices and lineup changes alongside perennial on-air favorites ensures a continuously remarkable listening experience for the passionate N.Y. sports fans we proudly serve.”