Without Leila Rahimi, The Score should leave Dan Bernstein alone

The station enjoyed a full year of stability, but with Rahimi set to become NBC 5’s lead sports anchor, there’s an opening again. The Score should leave it empty.

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Dan Bernstein and Leila Rahimi have co-hosted The Score’s midday show since January 2021.

Sun-Times

The Score will have another vacancy when Leila Rahimi leaves the midday show at the end of the month to become NBC 5’s lead sports anchor, a full-time job no woman has held at the station. She’ll continue to join co-host Dan Bernstein once a week, reprising her “Leila Wednesday” appearances from 2020. Bernstein will host solo the other four days.

The station enjoyed a full year of stability after Rahimi joined Bernstein in January 2021 and Matt Spiegel officially reunited with Danny Parkins on the afternoon show in February. Now there’s an opening again, although no one begrudges Rahimi in the least, and she couldn’t pass up the opportunity at NBC 5, where she has been part-time since November.

Not many could pass up the opportunity to co-host The Score’s midday show, if given the chance. But I strongly urge station manager Mitch Rosen to leave Rahimi’s seat empty when she’s not there. Rosen has listened to Bernstein long enough to know there’s no one in town more capable of hosting a daily sports-talk show solo than him.

Bernstein is one of the smartest, most insightful radio hosts in Chicago. I can feel the heavy eye rolls from his detractors as I type this. They call him arrogant, obnoxious, sophomoric, etc., and to a point they’re right. But this is inarguable: When sports news breaks while he’s on the air, no one handles it more deftly, covering all the angles and asking all the important questions.

I haven’t always enjoyed listening to Bernstein. Though he and longtime former co-host Terry Boers often were entertaining together, they also were — what’s the word? — JERKS! I couldn’t believe how they treated some callers. Sometimes, the callers had it coming. But other times, Bernstein and Boers verbally abused them, and it was uncomfortable to hear.

That Dan Bernstein isn’t on the radio anymore. On occasion, a version of that person reappears, but Bernstein seems to have learned how and when to let it out. Maybe not having Boers next to him anymore has played a part. Maybe he has been humbled by being knocked down from his longtime afternoon slot to middays. Whatever the case, he has shown he can be forceful yet tempered.

I’ve always been amazed with Bernstein’s knowledge of, well, everything, especially outside of sports. How can someone consume and maintain all that information? Art history, fishing, the old CBA — it seems endless. His interviews often uncover more information, whether they’re serious or frivolous. A recent interview with play-by-play voice Ian Eagle brought both, and it was delightful.

Bernstein doesn’t need anyone to talk to. He’s perfectly happy talking to himself. But “Bernstein and Rahimi” executive producer Rick Camp can chime in capably if Bernstein needs a sip of something. Otherwise, let the man talk. It’s nothing new to him. He hosted solo during the pandemic when there were no sports to talk about and when Rahimi has been away.

To be sure, Rahimi’s departure is a loss for The Score. In February, the station ranked second in the Chicago market in total listenership from 9 a.m. to noon, the midday time slot, according to Nielsen. But she wanted to be back in TV full-time. NBC Sports Chicago cast her aside in August 2020, so NBC 5 clearly has been trying to right that wrong.

Now The Score should do what’s right for its listeners — leave Bernstein alone.

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