Now on The Score, David Haugh aims to keep ‘strong voice’ in print

Mike Mulligan and David Haugh

Can one of Chicago’s most prominent sports columnists also host the city’s premier morning-drive sports radio talk show? David Haugh is about to find out.

Starting today, Haugh will join Mike Mulligan as co-host from 5 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. The longtime Chicago Tribune columnist is replacing Brian Hanley, whose contract was not renewed after 26 years at The Score.

670 The Score

“I truly believe David will help carry on the legacy and brand that Mully and Hanley have built over the past 13 years,” said Mitch Rosen, operations director of The Score. “The combination of Mully and Haugh will continue to be a must-listen Chicago sports radio show over the air and on the radio.com app.

“David also will continue to complement the live and local content of the station as he travels and broadcasts from major Chicago-orientated events — like the Brian Urlacher NFL Hall of Fame induction this week — while painting a picture through the radio for the Chicagoland audience.”

Haugh, 50, told me he’s still working out details of his employment status with the Tribune, but he expects to reduce his output from five columns a week (which he’s done for nine years) to two or three. “That seems realistic given my radio demands,” he said. As the paper’s leading sports pundit, he’ll continue to have his column branded “In the Wake of the News,” a designation that began in 1907 and one that Haugh — the 17th proprietor of the franchise — calls “a privilege I take seriously.”

David Haugh

“Ideally, the reader will notice little change in Trib coverage and I’ll maintain a strong voice and presence in our section,” he said. “I’ve been there 15 years. It matters to me. Writing remains important to me. I’m a newspaper guy. But I’m pumped to give this radio show all I’ve got too.”

How will he work it all out? “As you know, there rarely are typical days,” Haugh said. “But I envision doing the show from 5 to 9 — which gives me a great sense of what’s topical — and then responding to the news. I can’t honestly predict what’ll happen daily except from 5 to 9. I don’t envision covering many night games except for playoffs, key newsworthy moments, or Bears night games. But honestly, due to earlier deadlines, the ‘game column’ from a night game has been more and more scarce. So my rule of thumb typically is if it’s big, I’ll be there. I don’t see that changing.”

Haugh grew up in North Judson, Indiana, and graduated from Ball State University, where he played football and was an All-Mid-American Conference safety. With a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and 10 years as a columnist at the South Bend Tribune, he joined the Chicago Tribune sports staff in 2003. He landed “In the Wake of the News” in 2009.

In addition to being The Score’s most frequent morning fill-in host in recent years, Haugh co-hosted middays with David Kaplan on The Game 87.7 FM, the short-lived sports/talk station under Jimmy deCastro, then president and general manager of Tribune Broadcasting news/talk WGN 720-AM. Now deCastro is senior vice president and market manager of Entercom Chicago — and Haugh’s radio boss again.

Brian Hanley

Hanley, an ex-Sun-Times sportswriter whose last day as morning co-host was Friday, is expected to fill in for other hosts at The Score. (Here is the link to Hanley’s emotional farewell on the air.)

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, The Score was eighth in mornings with a 3.7 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 319,700. Among men between 25 and 54, The Score tied for fourth with a 5.7 share and 142,100 weekly cume.

Here is the text of a statement Haugh released Friday:

I’m excited to join The Score’s morning show. Brian Hanley is a good friend and class act who set a high standard for me to meet. Mike Mulligan has gone from fierce competitor to trusted confidante over the years, a relationship I’ve always valued.

I will continue to have the privilege of writing columns for the Chicago Tribune, where I have spent the last 15 years trying to serve the best interests of Chicago sports fans. The job only gets better now. Thank you to The Score for the opportunity, to the Tribune for the support and to everyone who will listen to “Mully and Haugh” do our best to entertain you every morning.

Friday’s comment of the day: Jeff Steven Kwit: Brian Hanley’s farewell on the Score this morning was epic. Heartfelt,classy and concluding with a live version of “Born To Run.” He will be missed.