David Kaplan exits NBC Sports Chicago

Continues with morning radio show and YouTube channel

Longtime NBC Sports Chicago host David Kaplan announced Thursday night his decision to leave the regional sports network, effective at the end of the year. 

“This presents me with a chance to pursue the next chapter of my career,” Kaplan said. “It will also give me a great opportunity to spend more time with my wife, Mindy, and our four sons and their expanding families. I will continue to be very active in the Chicago sports media world.”

Kaplan made the announcement on his Unfiltered show and on YouTube: 

In addition to Unfiltered, Kaplan also hosted the Football Aftershow post-game wrap-up show on NBC Sports Chicago, airing after Bears games. Kaplan has been with the RSN since 2008, when it was known as Comcast SportsNet Chicago and changed to its current name in October 2017 as parent Comcast rebranded the channel and other RSNs it owned with the NBC Sports name. Kaplan opted to take the buyout NBCUniversal was offering him as he was under contract for the next two years. 

Despite his departure, Kaplan has no plans on retiring as he turned 62 Saturday. He’ll continue co-hosting with Jonathan Hood weekday mornings on ESPN 1000 (WMVP) from 7-10 a.m. and his YouTube channel, which he launched this year. 

The move comes as RSNs are struggling with subscribers cutting the cord as it has had an impact on business if the uncertain future of Sinclair Broadcasting’s Bally Sports Networks is any indication. Like many media companies, NBCUniversal is downsizing with the most recent move made two weeks ago when CNBC canceled The News With Shepard Smith after two years on the air. 

Also uncertain is the future of NBC Sports Chicago itself as the Blackhawks, Bulls, and White Sox’s pact with NBCU ends in October 2024, even though they each own a stake in the channel.  Formed in 2004, Comcast SportsNet Chicago originally featured the three teams and the Cubs until they left in 2019 to start their own RSN, forcing NBC Sports Chicago and the three remaining teams to restructure their ownership. Earlier this year, NBC sold its Washington D.C. RSN to Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owners of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, teams who appear on the channel. Even though NBCU said the transaction was an “one-off”, the sale does raise speculation about the future of the rest of their RSNs. 

A veteran of Chicago sports media, Kaplan began at WMVP in 1993 before settling in for a long run at WGN-AM in 1995 and with short-lived sister station WGWG-FM (The Game) until 2015, before returning to WMVP, which was rebranded as ESPN 1000 a few years earlier. Kaplan also was color commentator for college basketball games on the former NBC SN and had a four-year run as coach for Northern Illinois University’s basketball program. 

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