WFAN really wanted Bart Scott to be Craig Carton’s new partner
While Evan Roberts is in line to be Craig Carton’s partner on WFAN afternoons, he was not the station’s first choice, The Post has learned.
WFAN executives, led by Chris Oliviero, heavily recruited Bart Scott to leave ESPN and return to 101.9 FM/660 AM, according to sources.
It was close to happening.
Scott fit the description of what FAN wanted in Carton’s partner. He is an ex-athlete with radio experience, like Carton’s former morning partner, Boomer Esiason. The issue, of course, Scott was under a recently signed contract with a rival.
Scott, according to sources, was intrigued by the possibility of returning to WFAN in prime real estate, more money and Oliviero leading the management team again.
Oliviero, along with FAN VP Mark Chernoff, originally put together CMB — Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Scott — in place of Mike Francesa. Oliviero left Entercom shortly after CMB’s removal.
In late May, Oliviero returned, which first signaled Carton’s potential return.
With Scott on the radar, Oliviero spoke with his counterpart at ESPN New York, Tim McCarthy, to ask permission to speak to Scott. While this is somewhat akin to the Yankees-Mets making a deal, McCarthy, according to sources, allowed the under-contract Scott to speak with FAN, not wanting to prevent what could be a potential upgrade for Scott’s career, even if it meant competing against his ESPN New York “Michael Kay Show.”
At the same time, Scott, McCarthy, Scott’s agent Mark Lepselter and top ESPN executives discussed expanding Scott’s future presence on the network. Promises about future consideration have been made to expand Scott’s impact on ESPN.
This has already occurred as, not coincidentally, Scott has filled in this week for Jay Williams on ESPN Radio’s national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson and Zubin Mehenti.
If Scott had come on board, Roberts would have shifted to middays with FAN hoping to re-sign Gray, who currently hosts middays with Marc Malusis.
As for the big show that will see Carton replace the retiring Joe Benigno, FAN thinks that Carton and Roberts can work. Carton may need to change after spending a year in prison misallocating loans to pay off gambling debt, but he will run any program he is on.
FAN executives, along with Carton, think that Roberts’ expert sports geek-ism is a match to Carton’s zaniness.
There is also a feeling that Roberts might have more range that he couldn’t really show because of Benigno’s style. Roberts is a huge Howard Stern fan and started his career doing a SiriusXM Maxim show.
The almost second marriage between FAN and Scott continued a whirlwind for him. At the beginning of this year, Scott, 40, left FAN after three rocky years at the station. He started out with Carlin and Gray as part of a trio to replace Francesa.
After just four months, the station demoted CMB to allow Francesa to return after his “retirement.” Next, it let go of Carlin, who eventually went to ESPN as well.
So annoyed at the poor treatment by the last FAN executive crew, Scott took less money to do some ESPN TV and team with Alan Hahn on what was supposed to be a 1-3 p.m. time slot on 98.7. But ESPN Radio reorganized its national lineup, which pushed Scott and Hahn to 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Now, Scott was almost on the move again.
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