Contract talks in overtime as Danny Mac ponders the Score

It’s down to the wire for Danny Mac at the Score.

Two years after he returned to sports/talk WSCR-AM (670) as its star midday personality, Dan McNeil (pictured above) is off the air and without a contract at the CBS Radio station whose format he helped launch in 1992.

McNeil, 47, told listeners he’d be taking today off — although he didn’t say it was because his contract expired Tuesday. Filling in for him alongside Matt Spiegel from 9am to 1pm will be Daily Herald sports columnist and Score weekend host Barry Rozner.

While negotiations are under way on a renewal, there’s no word on how close both sides are to reaching an agreement. Rod Zimmerman, senior vice president and market manager of CBS Radio Chicago, has been playing hardball in contract talks with other key on-air employees, according to industry sources. McNeil’s agent, Bryan Harlan, did not return calls late Tuesday.

The uncertainty over McNeil’s future comes just one day after Arbitron figures for May showed The Danny Mac Show solidly in second place among men between 25 and 54 — behind only Hubbard Broadcasting’s classic hits WDRV-FM (97.1). In his target audience, McNeil handily beats ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP-AM (1000), where he hosted afternoons for nine years until 2009.

A native of Highland, Indiana, and a 26-year veteran of Chicago radio, McNeil held a variety of producer positions and sidekick/fill-in roles before joining the Score as part of its first on-air lineup in January 1992. His first nine-year run there proved far more stormy with station management than his most recent two-year stint.

McNeil, who also free-lances as a weekly sports columnist for the Tribune, co-wrote The Great Book of Chicago Sports Lists with Crain’s Chicago Business sports blogger Ed Sherman.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)