For the second time in 10 months, layoffs at 710 ESPN Seattle have prompted a major shake-up to the sports radio station’s talk-show programming.
The station’s morning show will have an entirely new lineup after co-hosts Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant announced Tuesday afternoon that they had been let go.
Mike Salk, the station’s former programming director, announced later Tuesday afternoon that he would be returning to the morning airwaves with The Mike Salk Show starting next week.
“They had informed us about three months ago that they were going to make some short of shift to the lineup, so we’ve all sort of been waiting on pins and needles and doing our absolute best to show we’re worth something in this industry where people are so interchangeable,” Gallant said in a video posted on Twitter.
Gallant was hired out of Houston in September 2019 and paired with O’Neil in the morning after the disbandment of the popular “Brock and Salk” morning show, featuring Salk with former UW quarterback Brock Huard, who is now a TV analyst for Fox Sports.
“I asked them why,” Gallant said, “and they just said they’re going in a different direction. I do know that that different direction is one with Mike Salk, who hired me, and was formally in charge of all programming in the building. Not sure why the change came to be, but clearly they feel like he is going to save the (ratings) numbers. I don’t agree with that, because we still live in a city that is not welcoming people back to work and people aren’t commuting in the same way, but whatever. That is their choice.
“… I’m disappointed — I’m crushed,” Gallant added, “but I know I’ll bounce back.”
O’Neil, a former Seattle Times staffer, had been hosting the morning show virtually from his home in New York the past two years, and he acknowledged that separation made things challenging for his co-host.
“Today’s show was my last as host at @710ESPNSeattle, a gig that has been the happiest accident in my professional life. I’m really, really grateful for all of it,” O’Neil tweeted. “The one regret is that I wasn’t a better broadcast partner for @Gallantsays. He came to work in a new market and was paired with a co-host who was on a different coast. That was hard, and I really wish — for him — it wasn’t ending like this.”
Tuesday’s changes come after the station laid off three veteran hosts — John Clayton, Jim Moore and Tom Wassell — last November in what Salk said then was a reaction to a significant loss of advertising revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salk stepped down from his management role earlier this year.
His new show will air 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. each day, starting next Tuesday. He will be joined by newcomer Justin Barnes and producer Maura Dooley, and Salk said Huard will make daily appearances.
“When Brock and I stepped aside two years ago, I wasn’t sure if I was done on air forever, only that I wasn’t in a spot to start a new show right then,” Salk wrote in a Twitter message. “ … While I loved my experience in management, I am 100% ready to tackle this new project.”