Sports talk radio continues to grow in popularity and influence. The hosts of these programs can range anywhere from the shock-jock type to former professional athletes, and it is not uncommon for these radio personalities to achieve a certain level of celebrity in their own right.
Every major media market across the country has a number of sports radio stations fans can choose from and Chicago is no different. The Windy City sports fans generally choose from WMVP 1000-Am or WSCR 670-AM commonly referred to as the Score who in my opinion offer the best sports program with their Mully & Hanley morning show.
In his article for the Daily Herald, “Mully & Hanley: Just sportwriters doing what sportwriters do”, Ted Cox said, It’s all too rare when good things happen to good people, especially in sports media, so permit a fellow ink-stained wretch to cheer the elevation of Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley to morning-drive hosts at WSCR 670-AM.” Cox went on to add, “They’re also natural conversationalists, and they do a great, no-nonsense – well make that not too much nonsense – sports talk show on radio.”
Mike “Mully” Mulligan has been a sports writer for the Chicago Sun-Times for the last 20-plus years. He has covered a variety of sports across Chicago, and currently pens an NFL column for the paper. He is a graduate of Loyola University as well as a native Chicagoan.
Brian Hanley, Marquette University alum, is also a 20-plus year sports writing veteran for the Chicago Sun-Times where he currently has the Chicago Bull’s NBA beat. Brian has been with the Score since its start roughly 18 years ago, and is also a native Chicagoan.
Mully & Hanley started with the morning-midday time slot where they became quick fan favorites. It was not until they took over the morning 5am-9am time slot that the duo really found their nitch. They have become so popular in fact that the Mully & Hanley show is currently the number one ranked morning sports radio show in Chicago.
From my perspective what makes these two so popular is first and foremost the relationship they share with the sports fans of Chicago. They never put-down the fans who call into their show. They make every caller feel welcome, and that each caller’s point contains validity. They are never disrespectful to the people who take time to call in, and they seem to really connect with their audience because of this.
In his bio on the Score’s website, Brian Hanley writes, “Of course, the constant that has continued to amaze me throughout these many years has been the loyalty, creativity, and absolute intelligence of our listeners who are the pillars of the Score.”
The Mully & Hanley show also bring on a who’s who of regular guests and contributors such as Steve Stone during the baseball season and Troy Aikman during the NFL season. Every morning they are able to talk to sports writers, executives, coaches, and players from all of Chicago’s teams or anyone who might be particularly close or have a unique insight into a National story such as the Tiger Woods saga. Fans often walk away from the Mully & Hanley show feeling as if they actually learned something new about their favorite team or player.
When asked by Jeff Nuich in his article, “5 Questions with…The Score’s Brian Hanley,” what makes the Mully & Hanley show different from other sports programs, Brian Hanley said, “It starts with us being born and raised here. I truly believe in Chicago fans talking Chicago sports.” Hanley added, “Mully and I have a combined 50 years logged on different sports beats for the Sun-Times, the best sports section in town. We can put stories in context given the players, coaches, and front-office types we have covered and share some humorous stories from those beats along the way.”
I think Mike Mulligan sums it up the best, “I love talking sports. When people say, ‘How are you going to write for a paper? How are you going to do a sports show? And how are you going to watch games?’ My response is, ‘Do you know any sports writers? That’s pretty much what we do.'”
All I know is as a Chicago sports fan who has an extended drive to work every morning, Mully & Hanley have become an important part of that commute as they make the drive as enjoyable as possible. They provide me with important insight into my favorite teams, and they do it in a manner which is welcoming – like you were discussing sports with a fellow fan over a beer at a local bar. I look forward to their show every morning and often after an eventful night of sports I cannot wait to turn on my radio in the morning to get their perspective. Mully & Hanley make the fans of their morning show feel less like merely a fan and more like a sports friend. I cannot thing of a greater compliment.
Ted Cox, “Mully & Hanley: Just sportswriters doing what sportswriters do”, Daily herald.com
Ted Cox, “Mully, Hanley succeed North at Score”, Dailyherald.com
Brian Hanley, “Score Bio”, wscr.cbslocal.com
Jeff Nuich, “5 Questions with…The Score’s Brian Hanley”, Chicago.comcastsportsnet.com