Becomes first woman to co-host a sports radio talk show on a regular basis in Chicago
Entercom-owned The Score (WSCR-AM) announced Monday the promotion of part-time/fill-in host Leila Rahimi to full-time, teaming up with Dan Bernstein in the new Bernstein and Rahimi show, airing weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon.
It marks the first time a female host has been added to a local station’s sports radio show on a regular basis. In the past, The Score had former host Julie DiCaro, but mostly on a part-time and fill-in basis. Rahimi has appeared on Bernstein’s show on a weekly basis on Wednesdays, and has been an on-air contributor.
The move comes as many in the industry were lobbying for more diverse talent in media – especially in sports radio, where hosts have been for the most part, been largely white and male. The number of female talent in sports radio has been basically, non-existent.
“We are thrilled to be amplifying Leila’s role at The Score,” said Entercom Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson in a statement. “She’s a seasoned professional. Adding her voice and perspective consistently creates a more dynamic midday lineup for Score listeners.”
A native of the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Denton, Rahimi began her radio career at seventeen and has worked in numerous markets, including Houston, Philadelphia, and San Diego before being hired by Comcast SportsNet (now NBC Sports Chicago) in 2015 from MLB Network where she became host of the Chicago White Sox’s pre- and post-game shows. But in August, she was one of many let go from the regional sports network due to cost-cutting at parent NBCUniversal as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on revenues in media.
After Rahimi was laid off from NBC Sports Chicago, The Score’s Laurence Holmes lobbied for media outlets to consider hiring her. “Any media organization that brings Leila Rahimi in is going to be better off for it because she’s that good,” he said on WSCR last summer.
Her promotion is also notable given the firing of co-host Dan McNeil last year after he made crude comments on social media about ESPN personality Maria Taylor.
Converting Rahimi to a full-time employment is certainly a step forward in integrating more women into these type of roles in sports radio. The more diverse viewpoints, the better. And it makes for better radio.