Former 97.5 the Fanatic midday host Harry Mayes returns to live sports talk radio Monday afternoon, but fans in Philadelphia will have a hard time tuning him.
That’s because Mayes and co-host Eytan Shander’s new show Mayes & Eytan will air live from noon to 2 p.m. on ESPN 97.3 (WENJ), which is broadcast out of Northfield, Atlantic County, with a signal that blankets southern New Jersey, but isn’t strong enough to reach radios in Philadelphia.
Despite that, Mayes and Shander will broadcast live out of Conshohocken, and are hoping fans in and around the city will download the station’s app and give the show a chance, especially as we move closer to the summer and beach season.
“Half of this area relocates to the Jersey Shore in the summertime. So we’re trying to use that as a jumping off point to get us to football season,” Mayes said. “Then we can try to compete here in Philadelphia.”
The new show will become just the second local sports talk show added to the lineup since the station — which also airs Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers games — switched to ESPN Radio in 2009. Mayes and Shander will serve as a lead-in for The Sports Bash, hosted by 97.3 station manager Mike Gill.
“We are excited to add the guys to the team, and think the listeners will enjoy the product if they give us a try,” Gill said.
Mayes said the show won’t be centered around the Eagles and taking phone calls. Instead, Mayes said he and Shandler will discuss anything that interests them on a particular day, local or not, something he attempted to do while with the Fanatic.
“I thought that was good. And I think a lot of the listeners thought that was good. But the program director didn’t always think that was so,” Mayes said. “So we’d have to fight that battle, and I don’t think that’s going to be the case here, because we’ve been told we have free reign to do whatever we want to do, as long as we don’t lose their FCC license.”
Mayes’ return to the airwaves comes nearly six months after he left the Fanatic in October after a lineup shuffle left the station’s morning show as the only remaining full-time option. Mayes had been with the station since it launched on AM radio as Sports Radio 950 back in 2005, but said the money he was offered to stay wasn’t worth needing to wake up at 2:30 a.m.
The show isn’t Mayes’ only gig. In addition to the new daily program, Mayes hosts the Derailed podcast with Shander, writes a sports betting column for Metro, and does a weekly live broadcast during Sixers games for Fancred. He was also set to reunite with his former Fanatic co-host Tony Bruno on a new show called Triggered, but said MaxPro Sports Entertainment Network jumped the gun when it announced the show earlier this month.
“That was a bit premature,” Mayes said. “That was a show that was in pre-production, but it is on hold for now.”
Shander, a longtime fill-in host at the Fanatic who was fired in October, also has several gigs in addition to the new show with Mayes, including an overnight show on SB Nation Radio and a regular sport on Fox 29 Saturday mornings.