Chicago’s ESPN 1000 kicked off it’s 20th Fanniversary celebration early this morning at Austin’s in Libertyville. Midday host Carmen DeFalco told Barrett Sports Media that the station is planning to bring back former hosts and iconic Chicago voices for the celebration. “It has been business as usual on air this week. All the best surprises are coming Friday.”
Mike Golic and Trey Wingo kicked off the festivities at 5am in Chicago. The duo was in town to host their nationally syndicated morning show from Austin’s. The rest of the ESPN 1000 lineup will broadcast live as well. DeFalco’s on air partner John “Jurko” Jurkovich will have a reunion, via telephone, with his former Mac, Jurko, and Harry co-hosts Dan McNeil and Harry Teinowitz.
DeFalco was one of the earliest hires at ESPN 1000. “My first shift was just a weekend update shift,” he told BSM via telephone earlier this week. “But I have been on the air here in one form or another for 20 years at this station.”
He gave the answer you would expect most Chicago hosts to give when you ask about the most memorable moment of their broadcasting career. DeFalco says the morning after the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series he didn’t want to walk in with the attitude of “we’ll just turn the mics on and the show will do itself.”
DeFalco “spent most of the night of Game 7 thinking about what the night meant to Cub fans, what the night meant to generations of Cub fans that came and went and missed it.” It was a personal mission for him, as he said he thought about his grandfather in the moments after the final out was recorded. “He lived to 92. A long, wonderful life, and he survived a World War, and getting wounded twice, and he STILL never saw the Cubs win it all.”
Earlier this week, the station’s vice president and general manager Jim Pastor told Robert Feder of the Daily Herald that today’s celebration isn’t about ratings or sales success. It is about what ESPN 1000 has meant to Chicago sports fans for the last two decades.
Most importantly, we know where we stand with Chicago sports fans and our partners. The relationship we have with them can be heard and felt on our air every day.
The station is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. It first became a sports station in 1993 known simply by its call letters, WMVP, under the control of Evergreen Broadcasting. The station was sold to Bonneville International in 1997 and briefly flipped to a news/sports hybrid. Disney took over the station and rebranded it as ESPN 1000 with an all sports format on October 12, 2008.
Some of the original hires are still at the station. Those include program director Adam Delevit, who was originally hired as a producer at the station, and afternoon host Marc “Silvy” Silverman.