Maggie Gray felt overwhelmed when it came to replacing a legend.
Gray, Bart Scott and Chris Carlin replaced Mike Francesa in WFAN afternoon drive after he retired, for the first time, in late 2017. She spoke to Barrett Sports Media about the experience.
“It was definitely an overwhelming feeling,” Gray said. “If it wasn’t for Chris Carlin and Bart Scott – the three of us started that show – and if it wasn’t for our great relationship, I think it would have also been very lonely…. It was a big deal for the niche that is sports talk radio, and I’m so glad I had those guys to lean on and we all got to go through it together.”
After a little more than four months, Francesa un-retired, and the trio that had replaced him was moved earlier in the day. Eventually, Carlin was ousted (and soon thereafter landed at ESPN).
Gray said that she is not enamored with the style of radio and TV where hosts bicker.
“I didn’t love doing [argumentative] radio,” Gray said. “I don’t love that – the ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ [style] where they’re just arguing with each other all the time; or a Stephen A. Smith thing where you’re arguing all the time. That’s not generally what I love. It’s great to disagree, but I don’t love it when it’s contentious.”
After Scott left WFAN for ESPN New York, Gray was paired with Marc Malusis. Eventually, as was announced in late 2021, there was a swap of sorts where Brandon Tierney and Tiki Barber took the early afternoon spot on WFAN, and Gray partnered with Andrew Perloff, a former producer on the “Dan Patrick Show,” on CBS Sports Radio nationally. Malusis now works as a sports anchor at WPIX.
When she got to WFAN from Sports Illustrated, Gray had to adjust to the nuances of local radio.
“I had never really done just New York sports, so that took a little bit to get used to,” Gray said. “It was all the same challenges that go in with creating any new show; it just happened to be [on] an extremely visible platform where there were a lot of eyeballs on us.”
“When you’re doing [radio] locally, there’s no amount of minutiae that’s too small,” Gray expressed. “We can talk about the Yankees’ middle relievers; we can talk about the Mets’ closer; or we can talk about who should play third base for the Yankees. That’s a totally good topic and it will resonate with people in New York.”