David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood to co-host mornings on ESPN 1000

David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood

David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood, two longtime Chicago sports/talk personalities, are teaming up to co-host a new local morning show on WMVP 1000-AM, the ESPN Radio station managed by Good Karma Brands.

Starting Monday, Kaplan and Hood will be heard together from 7 to 10 a.m. as part of a new Monday-through-Friday programming lineup announced today.

Kaplan currently hosts “Kap & Company” from 9 a.m. to noon, and Hood hosts “The Baseball Show” followed by “Under the Hood” from 6 to 9 p.m.

The addition of “Kap & J. Hood” will provide the station with its first local morning show in more than 20 years under ESPN ownership. In July, the network pulled the plug on syndicated morning hosts Mike Golic and Trey Wingo, whose show aired here from 5 to 9 a.m.

It’s widely believed that ESPN 1000’s ratings growth has been stymied by the network’s national morning shows. Rival WSCR 670-AM (the Entercom sports/talk station known as The Score) has been local in mornings since its inception.

While ESPN owner Walt Disney Co. still holds the license for the Chicago station, it’s been under the management of Milwaukee-based Good Karma Brands since September 2019.

Kap & J. Hood

“We are really excited to give our fans a chance to have a local interactive show starting at 7 a.m. every weekday,” Mike Thomas, ESPN Chicago market manager, told me. “From a local standpoint, it’s going to put us in a strong competitive position.”

Under ESPN 1000’s new weekday lineup, the first two hours of the new ESPN Network morning show, hosted by Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti, will air from 5 to 7 a.m.

The midday duo of Carmen DeFalco and John “Jurko” Jurkovic will move up to a new time — from 10 a.m. to noon — followed by a new ESPN Network show hosted by Mike Greenberg, the former ESPN morning host with close ties to Chicago since his days at Northwestern University and numerous broadcast outlets here.

Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman will continue to air from 2 to 6 p.m., followed by a new evening show hosted by producers Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla from 6 to 8 p.m.

Thomas credited Good Karma Brands CEO Craig Karmazin and president Steve Politziner with securing dispensation from the network to drop the last two hours of “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin.”

“I’m not sure if we would be able to make all these changes without the 22-year relationship that they’ve had with ESPN,” Thomas said of his bosses.

“It’s such a strong partnership between Good Karma Brands and ESPN that they’re willing to have these conversations, and we’re able to come to an agreement where we’re still airing four hours of network programming during the day.” Now the four hours will be divided between “Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin” in mornings and “Greeny” in middays.

Here is ESPN 1000’s new weekday lineup, starting Monday:

    • 5 to 7 a.m. Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti
    • 7 to 10 a.m. David Kaplan and Jonathan Hood
    • 10 a.m. to noon Carmen DeFalco and John “Jurko” Jurkovic
    • Noon to 2 p.m. Mike Greenberg
    • 2 to 6 p.m. Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman
    • 6 to 8 p.m. Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla (including “The Baseball Show” from 6 to 7 p.m.)

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, ESPN 1000 ranked 27th with a 1.0 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 184,500. The Score ranked 23rd with a 1.5 share and weekly cume of 238,700.

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