Much speculation surrounded New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s future after losing in the Republican primaries, and then, at least as of now, not getting selected for a gig in President Trump’s administration.
However, I’m not sure anyone saw this coming.
According to WFAN Program Director Mark Chernoff, Chris Christie could be named successor to retiring sports talk radio legend Mike Francesa, though Chernoff said Christie’s name would be considered among “plenty of candidates.” Addressing the New Jersey governor specifically, Chernoff said, “I would certainly at least want to consider him. If he’s interested and we’re interested, it’s worth pursuing.”
Lots of “if’s” and qualifiers in there, but it appears as though some genuine interest exists.
Now, this is the part where people ask, “Why would Christie get that job? How is he qualified to be a sports talk radio host?”
As someone in sports talk radio, my experience has been that having the ability to generate interest qualifies you for sports talk radio. Chris Christie certainly has that capability. Does Christie have the depth of historical sports knowledge that some hosts have? Probably not.
However, in a day and age where people can Google the answer to whatever obscure statistical sports question they have, the demand for the walking, talking “sports encyclopedia” host has withered away. So, the opportunity is there for anyone who can keep up with the increased pace of news, while delivering provocative commentary, something Chris Christie has clearly shown himself capable of doing.
That being said, replacing Mike Francesa is not exactly the normal “starter gig.” Francesa might be the most revered sports talk radio host in the country, depending on who you talk to. Granted, Christie has a national persona and some serious mic skills, but normally someone would work anywhere from ten to twenty years in sports talk before even getting consideration to replace someone like Francesa.
Christie has done a lot of fill in work on the “Boomer and Carton Show” on CBS, and of course has done a ton of interviews over the years. However, there is a massive difference between hosting and getting interviewed, the same way there’s a massive difference between fill ins and regular hosting.
For Christie to get a gig of that magnitude while essentially going through on-the-job-training could get problematic. Or, it could get awesome. Either way, it’ll be very unique, and must-listen radio.
If it happens.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn