Laurence Holmes signed a new contract with WSCR-AM 670 that could keep him as a nighttime radio host for the next two years.
Holmes' one-year deal with a station option for a second year would extend him into his 21st year at The Score. He expressed excitement about staying in his role despite a tempting offer from a local TV station and his disappointment about not landing in one of the daytime slots after Terry Boers retired.
Holmes told Inc. the clincher was the station's "support" for the direction of his 6 p.m. show, which he described as taking a more podcast-style deep dive into sports topics than typical question-and-answer guest interviews.
For example, when Holmes had CSN Chicago White Sox reporter Siera Santos in studio earlier this year, "the first segment was 20 minutes and it blew me away. (She discussed) her trials to get where she is," he said. Because Holmes wasn't constrained by a rigid format, "we got into conversations about her going to Cuba and covering (Sox first baseman) Jose Abreu and his reunion with his son, and that turned into a conversation about some of the great books on Cuban baseball."
Holmes still plans to keep quirkier, pop-culture elements of his show, which have included comic-book discussions and Hater Wednesdays.
This month represented a career crossroads for Holmes, who started at WSCR as a part-time producer in 1998. Exploring the market for the first time as a free agent of sorts, he said he talked to program directors and talent in radio and TV not only about job prospects, but for career advice and tips that would help his show.
Holmes, who worked with 120 Sports before it moved its operations to New York and still remains on NBC-5's roster, said he was close to accepting a "non-sports" TV role. Holmes also was in the running to move to mornings when Boers, who has cancer, retired. The shuffle at the station paired Jason Goff with Boers' former partner Dan Bernstein, and filled Goff's slot opposite Matt Spiegel with former Kansas City radio host Danny Parkins, who grew up in Chicago and Glencoe.
Holmes had worked with Spiegel as a fill-in co-host for several weeks in 2013, so "I'm pretty sure I was a candidate for the job, but they wanted to go with Danny, and I used to have Danny on my show all the time, so I would be lying if told you I wasn't hurt by it. ... They felt like that was a better match, and I get it."
"... A lot of people kind of just thought, it makes sense, put Laurence in there. But it doesn't work that way. It's not like the presidency. Like, all of sudden, because I happen to be Secretary of State or Speaker of the House, you don't get to magically become president or vice president."
Holmes said he would welcome another opportunity to partner with a co-host, but emphasized he doesn't see his solo show as a consolation prize.
"I look at it as the house on the hill," he said. "There's not a lot of people that have that, that are given the responsibility of holding down a radio station by themselves at night, and I relish the opportunity."
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