Morning Drive Plans Derailed For Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber may be running back to broadcasting after fizzling out at NBC. New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman reports that he could be part of a new morning show on CBS Sports Radio Network, which launches January 2.

As the launch date for the CBS Sports Radio Network launches ever closer, there have been announcements for hosts of various dayparts on the network.

The biggest fish, of course, Jim Rome, was rumored to join the network in late August, and later confirmed by the network in late September. Other air talent named to be part of the new network include Doug Gottlieb (afternoons), Scott Ferrall (late evenings), and most recently, John Feinstein (late mornings).

Still, there is but one glaring omission on the network’s lineup: the all-important morning drive daypart.

For months now, I’ve been speculating that the recipient of that time slot on CBS Sports Radio Network would be “The Boomer & Carton Show,” currently broadcasting locally on WFAN/New York.

And while it’s clear that they’re aiming for a pairing of a well-known former football player and a longtime professional radio host to do wakeups at CBSSR, apparently, it may not be in the form of Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton.

Check this out: According to the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, CBS executives had hoped to pair Tiki Barber – former New York Giants running back, former NBC and NBC Sports personality, and former decent human being (he left his wife, pregnant with twins at the time, for an intern at NBC, with whom he recently tied the knot) – with Brandon Tierney, who had toiled at ESPN Radio’s New York outlet since its inception in 2001, and currently is heard in San Francisco in afternoon drive on KGMZ/”95.7 The Game”.

The pairing of a notable name in New York sports lore (Barber) with a Brooklyn native (Tierney) on CBS’ national network to go up against “Boomer and Carton” on WFAN is intriguing at best, in that it gives the impression that there might be an interest in this program in the New York market. Recently, CBS Radio announced the acquisition of 101.9 FM from Merlin Media, with the intention to simulcast WFAN/660 AM – perhaps as early as this Thursday, November 1 – on the FM dial. Meanwhile, CBS hasn’t given a timetable for the end of the AM/FM simulcast of WFAN; logically, it would end at the start of 2013, with AM 660 taking on the New York clearance of CBS Sports Radio Network. However, Cumulus Media – which will be heavily involved with CBS in the new sports radio venture – just purchased WFME/94.7 FM from Family Radio, a station that had long been speculated to be on the block ever since they applied for a change in their license from non-commercial to commercial. So if CBS Radio does indeed intend to keep WFAN on AM 660 past 2012, Cumulus could use the recently acquired 94.7 FM to clear CBS Sports Radio. (Ironically, WFME had been speculated by some, including this humble blogger, to be purchased by ESPN Radio for a migration of their own New York AM station to the FM band; it instead opted for 98.7 FM.)

Given how Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney have the same letters in their initials, I can only imagine what the name of the show would be titled. “TB and BT”? “BT and TB”? “Tiki and Tierney”? “T and T”?

Well, it looks like we’ll never know the answer to that question. Per Raissman, Entercom Communications, which operates “95.7 The Game,” refused to release Tierney from his contract, thus wiping out the concept for this show. Tierney, who had just made the inaugural top 100 sports radio hosts list according to Talkers Magazine, had actually extended his contract with Entercom this summer. Perhaps that was what led to Entercom’s denial of letting Tierney go so fast.

Yet as plans for “TB and BT” or “T and T” or whatever have now gone by the wayside, Raissman reports that Barber “is still a viable candidate” as the host of a program on CBS Sports Radio Network. Given the fact that they already had him in mind for morning drive, you’d have to think they’re going to preserve that plan and find a new partner for him.

Might I suggest a few possibilities: Buzz Bissinger. Known for authoring sports-oriented books including the popular “Friday Night Lights,” he currently hosts a radio show on CBS-owned WPHT in Philadelphia – which is not a sports radio station but a general news/talk station. But Tiki does have some experience in that realm: remember “The National Sweep”? Certainly, Bissinger shares the same “diversified interests” as Barber, and the two could discuss anything from Obama to Osi Umenyiora.

Dan Sileo is another possibility. I reported earlier about how the Miami-based sports radio host had been lunching with a Cumulus bigwig – and how it might lead to a potential program on CBSSR.

A dark horse to co-host a morning show with Barber would be Kevin Kiley, who currently co-hosts morning drive in Cleveland – on CBS’ “92.3 The Fan” – with longtime radio pal Chuck Booms. This, of course, would be on the count of Booms having another meltdown, leading to the ensuing cancellation of the Cleveland show.

And how’s this for a wild card: Frank Caliendo. A staple of Fox’s NFL pregame show for years, he has recently turned up at ESPN’s Sunday morning NFL “countdown” show. But the highly talented Caliendo is definitely someone you would want to hear in the morning. And paired with the cardboard personality that is Tiki Barber, it might be trainwreck radio gold, but we all know how we can’t help but look at train wrecks, don’t we? I can just picture the name of the new show: “Tiki And Frank.” I’m sure Tiki might like how that rolls off the tongue.

With nine weeks to go until CBS Sports Radio Network signs on January 2, you’d think they’d want all of the regular dayparts in place by Thanksgiving at the latest. I would expect an announcement on their new morning show by then.

And who knows, maybe Tiki Barber will indeed be heard in the morning hours.

Perhaps the graveyard shift would be most ideal for him.

And CBS, if you know what’s good for you, please do not let him anywhere near your television network.

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