Pittsburgh's three-year-old FM sports talker, KDKA-FM/"93.7 The Fan," is seeking an actual fan to host a weekly show.
The station has organized a contest, "The Next Fan Host," which invites residents of the area, aged 18 or older, to show up at any of five designated locations, starting with Beer And Pop 4 Less this Saturday afternoon, or any of four other taverns, eateries or wireless phone stores over four nights between May 29 and June 18.
All they're required to do is give opinions on the hot sports topics of the day.
The ten best entrants from these open auditions will be selected to compete in a semifinal round, with the top four advancing to a live final during Andrew Fillipponi's nighttime show on Thursday, June 27.
If this process sounds familiar, it's because KDKA-FM's parent company, CBS Radio, has been implementing this concept at the original "Fan" of sports radio, New York's 660 AM/101.9 FM WFAN. Dubbed "Fantasy Phenom," the grand prize is the same as that of Pittsburgh's "Next Fan Host" contest: a position on the iconic sports radio station for a year.
And it appears that all three "Phenom" winners are still with WFAN in some capacity. The first winner, Gregg Sussman, is still listed on WFAN's website, as he occasionally can be heard doing weekend and swing duties; he's still overseeing sports talk programming on a college radio station in Maryland, according to his LinkedIn page.
The second "Phenom" champion, John Jastremski, is the most visible of the contest's three winners by far. He's heard regularly on overnights, usually on weekends, and has also been heard nationwide on the CBS Sports Radio Network. And here's a scary thought: just last week, he celebrated his 25th birthday - which makes the radio station he works for slightly one year older than him. But when you listen to "JJ After Dark," with the energy in and on the air, you forget that you're listening to a 26-year-old radio station - one that's been an AM station for most of its existence (and CBS Radio is looking to fix that, in due time).
The announcement of last year's "Phenom" champ, Joe Giglio, was about as low-key as his current association with WFAN, where his presence is mostly through a weekly column on the station's website. But for the lead baseball writer of Bleacher Report, that's fine with him.
There's no plans currently available for a "Fantasy Phenom 4" contest, which would be the first one held during WFAN's history on FM, but you can expect them to be unveiled sometime next month.
As for who will decide "The Next Fan Host" in Pittsburgh, I can't help but wonder if "93.7 The Fan" morning co-host Gregg Giannotti - an alumnus of WFAN who has been with KDKA-FM since its inception in February 2010 - will somehow have a say in it.
Details on the contest, as well as the official rules, can be found here.