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Dan McNeil returns to the Score as midday host
By Ted Cox | Daily Herald Staff

Dan McNeil


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Published: 6/3/2009 3:56 PM | Updated: 6/3/2009 5:21 PM

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Dan McNeil is returning to where it all started for Chicago sports-talk radio at WSCR 670-AM.

The popular longtime host begins his second stint at the Score when "The Danny Mac Show" debuts June 15. McNeil will have the midday shift from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., following morning hosts Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley. Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers will do afternoon drive from 1 to 6 p.m., with Mac overlapping in the first half-hour, reuniting him with his old "Heavy Fuel Crew" co-host Boers.

McNeil was one of the original Score hosts in 1992 and lasted eight years on the air at the station, paired at times with Boers and Dan Jiggetts in afternoon drive, until he left. He landed at WMVP 1000-AM and did the afternoon-drive show there along with John Jurkovic and Harry Teinowitz for almost eight years until he was taken off the air last January when 'MVP management decided not to pick up an option on his contract.

The deal expired in May. "We've been talking since that point," McNeil said, "and got to a very comfortable place."

McNeil said he was greeted Wednesday with "a lot of open arms and happy faces, and it feels good to be back," even though technically he's in another building, NBC Tower downtown, instead of the west-side studios the Score first shared with WXRT 93.1-FM.

"That's the beauty of this thing," he added. "I was here before the station even plugged the (darn) thing in." He interviewed producers and put the station's sound library together in the months before it launched in January 1992. "So I think when you start something, like I did with these guys, it never really leaves you. There's an emotional connection, and I think that's true of any business when you're part of the startup. It's not just another stop on the job tour. You helped bring the (darn) thing into the world."

"He returns to his roots, and it's a true Chicago radio all-star team," said Score Program Director Mitch Rosen. "We just think it's going to be fantastic. And just to see the glow in his eye to be back at the Score and be returning to the microphone soon is terrific."

A co-host or -hosts is "undetermined as of yet," Rosen added. "We're talking to some people, and hopefully we'll have that news announced shortly."

McNeil said he has some ideas, "but I can't say anything."

Although admittedly prone to bouts of temper resulting in the odd suspension, McNeil had the top-rated show in the Chicago market among men age 25 to 54 for much of his time at 'MVP, and his return to the Score gives the station a much-needed boost in its continued sports-talk rivalry with 'MVP. McNeil will compete directly against Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman.

In the most recent Arbitron ratings, released last month, the Score moved back ahead of 'MVP among all listeners 12 and older with the help of the White Sox, but 'MVP had led the sports-talk battle through the early part of the year.