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Will Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes form a long-lasting duo at The Score?

Laurence Holmes and Dan Bernstein each have the rhetorical gifts necessary for carrying a solo radio show. Meaning, in the grand tradition that makes Chicago the “Windy City,” they can talk for long periods of time.

So their new pairing brings about an interesting question: Is four hours together enough time for them?

After listening to chunks of their first two shows, I’d say so far, so good.

Bernstein was only a solo host by necessity. Since his longtime partner Terry Boers retired (the most unique way for a sports radio host to leave their job), he’s been paired with Jason Goff, Connor McKnight and Leila Rahimi.

Goff was fired in the Jimmy deCastro bloodbath, McKnight was axed as a cost-cutting move during the pandemic and Rahimi, well, she actually got a better gig than not only the radio job, but the TV job that she lost. She is now the lead sportscaster on NBC 5. Even if the nightly sportscast has been downgraded in recent decades, she’s making history at the station.

So with that in mind, is pairing with Bernstein a good thing or a bad thing for Holmes’ career? I guess we’ll find out.

The “Bernstein and Holmes Show” — if this were a mid-sized market, it would definitely be called “Bernsy & LoHo” — at least makes structural sense.

For the second time in the last three years, Bernstein and Holmes have had abutting solo shows in the midday slot. Rather than spend money to hire a new partner for Bernstein, why not just combine the shows? (Rick Camp caught an unfortunate stray in this move. The producer of Bernstein’s show was laid off for the second time in three years.) To turn five hours of radio (Bernstein was on from 9-12 and Holmes from 12-2) into four, the Score, which has switched shows and hosts at a dizzying pace in the past five years, has added another hour onto the morning show of David Haugh and Mike Mulligan, who will now be on the air from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Before the show debuted, Holmes went into detail about his feelings on the move on his podcast, the House of L, where he spoke honestly — and for about 45 minutes — about how he was dealing with “a lot of stress” about the move.

“It’s something I’m still working through,” he said.

Holmes, who likes to have his fun on the radio, also takes himself, and his job, very seriously. Meanwhile, this iteration of “Dan Bernstein, radio host” still has his passionate hobbyhorses, but he’s much mellower than he used to be.

With that in mind, this partnership should work. Bernstein and Holmes are intelligent — in sports matters and matters of real importance — and they’re skilled in the actual craft of hosting a radio show. They’ve worked at the same station for a quarter-century, so they have plenty of shared history to pull from. Most importantly, they can make each other laugh.

Typically, program directors (or whatever they’re called these days) pair opposites — the sports nerd and the football player, the cynic and the optimist … you get the point. In this case, you have pretty similar guys who are used to being the main voice of their own shows.

Sports radio is easy to do, but difficult to do well. Sometimes co-hosts don’t mesh. Their first interview with Cubs hitter Ian Happ was a little choppy as Bernstein interrupted Holmes a couple of times. Both would do well to let the other follow up on their own questions, rather than the tit-for-tat style that can make athlete interviews seem rote.

Not that he needs to improve, but I think the new format will be good for Holmes, who has worked solo since 2009 (he hosted shows with Dan Zampillo and Dan Hampton), so this will certainly be a change for him. Bernstein, at this stage of his career, can adapt to anything. You still see comments calling Bernstein arrogant or brusque but if you listen to his show, he’s actually pretty mellow these days. His age wears well on him. But he’s better with a partner.

I wonder if they’ll keep Holmes’ “Top Five Tuesday” shtick and imbue it with Bernstein’s interests. Top five Russian novelists, top five crossword puzzlers, top five old Continental Basketball Association coaches, etc.

Holmes described himself as “a scoring point guard” as a solo host, but now he’s comfortable playing “off the ball” while Bernstein drives the show. In his podcast, he also laughed at his long-windedness, “another thing to fix now I no longer have a solo show.” Yes, both hosts can get carried away by the sound of their own voices. That’s kind of a necessity when you’re hosting by yourself.

On his podcast, Holmes repeated something he talked about on his last solo show, that he identified with DMX, who never liked sharing the stage with someone while he performed. I’ve never thought of the late DMX as a Holmes comp, but I understood his point.

“When it comes to sports radio, I’m 100 percent an alpha,” he said on his podcast.

To borrow Rajon Rondo’s line, can the Two Alphas coexist on one show? I think they can.


The Chicago sports media world lost another friend Sunday with the passing of John “Moon” Mullin at 74.

Mullin is the third Chicago sports media member to pass away in the last seven months. Jeff Dickerson died at 43 in late December from cancer, while Les Grobstein passed away at 69 in January.

I miss the Grobber late at night when I’m in the car and I think about JD often, still unable to grasp that he’s gone forever after a life cut short. And now there’s Mullin, a man who lived life the right way, taken too soon.

Mullin had been sick with pancreatic cancer since 2019 and had been producing videos designed to help others fight the disease. He was a mensch in so many ways.

Mullin was beloved not only in the Halas Hall press room but also in the Bears locker room.

In my mind’s eye, I still see him sitting next to Kyle Long in the locker room with a big smile on his face while the rest of us are nervously buzzing around. Moon wasn’t worried about the news of the day.

I’ll never forget how Mullin was so nice to me when I started covering the Bears as an ESPN columnist — always building me up even though we didn’t work together — and judging by other reporters’ reactions, I wasn’t alone. He was a positive influence in a workplace often rife with misery. He was also, from what I’ve heard, a tough and inspirational college teacher. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t above making wisecracks, about the media pack or the Bears. Moon was wickedly funny.

I can’t tell the stories of him that his friends could, though. So if you haven’t read those obituaries, please do. Dan Wiederer had a thorough story on the ex-Tribune writer, as did K.C. Johnson at NBC Sports Chicago.

My favorite of the stories was Melissa Isaacson’s in the Daily Herald because it was the most personal. They were very close and I saw first-hand how they rebounded from emotionally straining layoffs from the Tribune. (I reminded her of the time I hitched a ride with them to Green Bay and Mullin made us listen to a Michael Crichton novel on tape for the ride there.)

Mullin had a full life and one thing I take away from these stories is how important it is to have passions outside of work — Mullin was an avid cyclist and musician — while still treating your job with a sense of dedication. Mullin was the rare one among us who found a proper balance.

(Screenshot of Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes: Courtesy 670 The Score)

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