Rest assured, college football fans, that Paul Finebaum will be back.
As Rachel Bachman of The Wall Street Journal details, the larger-than-life personality from SEC country who has long hosted one of the most entertaining radio call-in shows will be at a new home when he returns to the airwaves on August 1: ESPN.
Finebaum, whose contract in the Birmingham, AL., market expired in January, is headed to Charlotte, N.C., where he will host a radio program on ESPN, contribute 100 televised appearances to the network annually and have a TV simulcast of his radio show on the ESPN-owned SEC Network, which will launch in August 2014.
“It would be the understatement of my life to say I wasn't thrilled,” Finebaum said. “It is incredibly exciting to be part of a new adventure, particularly one that involves the premiere brand in sports along with the pre-eminent conference in sports.”
Finebaum inked a five-year deal with the network, although neither he nor ESPN would give any more details.
It will be interesting to see how Finebaum's show transitions to being a national show (despite having listeners already nationwide through various means) because it had such a Southern lean. Finebaum's four-hour show was syndicated across the South, and the new product will reportedly air primarily in the Southeast at first.
While he has been away from radio hosting, Finebaum reached a $650,000 deal with HarperCollins to write a book, which will be out in August 2014 as well.