Laurence Holmes goes from a solo act to a 'powerhouse' radio pairing with Dan Bernstein on the Score

seven minutes.

That’s how long it took for Laurence Holmes to playfully punch Dan Bernstein during the “Bernstein and Holmes Show” premiere on WSCR-AM 670.

Score’s hosts were discussing parking and transportation issues downtown when Bernstein turned right.

“And do you hear what is happening in Rome?” Bernstein asked. “People are being criticized left and right. Oh, there is a Fiat! Wow, I’m dead. And if you’ve ever walked through Rome, it’s pretty hard not to die.”

Holmes jumped.

“Not all of us can relate to walking around Rome,” he said.

Bernstein responded: “Walking those streets, it’s like a leap of faith, man. You just walk and wait for the cars to stop. They won’t stop for you.

Holmes then polled Adam Studzinski and Rey Diaz, who along with Mike Rankin produced the show that day.

“Stallions, King, pay attention: How many of you, raising your hand, have walked through Rome?” Holmes asked. “I don’t see Rey with his hand up, I don’t see Studs with his hand up and I don’t have my hand up. Therefore …”

“So everyone can screw themselves and consider themselves warned,” Bernstein said.

“Mr. Relatable, Dan Bernstein!” Holmes sang.

“That didn’t take long,” Bernstein said with a smile before going over the show’s itinerary.

Thus began the on-air marriage of Bernstein and Holmes, two Score veterans who have found success solo and with partners, survived cutthroat cutbacks in the industry, and thrived in the competitive world of Chicago sports radio.

The show, which premiered June 20, will be a month old on Wednesday when the station celebrates its 30th birthday with an open house from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for listeners to visit Score hosts and contributors during a broadcast. live on RealTime Sports. in the town of Elk Grove.

And in Score’s 30-year history, perhaps no duo has had the swagger that Holmes and Bernstein bring to the station’s new midday show.

Shortly thereafter, Score’s COO, Mitch Rosen Bernstein-Holmes partnership announced in a June 16 press release, the station began airing promos, labeling her a “power” couple.

And in the world of sports radio, it is.

Holmes was 22 years old when Score hired him in May 1998 as a part-time producer. Five years later he took over coverage of the Chicago Bears for the station and eventually became an anchor.

Bernstein began working at Score in May 1995 as a reporter for the Bears before getting his own late-night show in May 1999. Three months later he joined up with Terry Boers, a partnership that lasted more than 17 years until Boers’ retirement in December 2016.

They are more than 51 years combined in the station.

Holmes has spent the last 13 years as a solo artist, hosting a weekday show from 6 to 10 pm for nine years and from noon to 2 pm for the last four. He hadn’t had a co-host since Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton in 2009.

And while Holmes, 47, and Bernstein, 53, had plenty of interaction during show transitions and replacement appearances over the years, sharing microphone time for four hours a day would be a new challenge, which it is exactly what Holmes wanted.

“I think Dan is really smart,” Holmes said in an interview before his first show. “So when you’re used, like I am, to doing a solo show, I hope my scope isn’t limited, but it’s still usually from my perspective, and I think Dan is very good at offering a different perspective and saying, ‘Well , have you thought so?’ or ‘This is how I see it’. That’s the way I think we can challenge each other and vice versa.

“I know where a lot of (prospects) fit. I don’t know where a lot of them come to a head, and that’s the fun part of doing a show every day with a partner: figuring out where those things are.”

Bernstein agreed.

“That’s an important aspect of every show with more than one host,” he said. “We are both experienced and confident and look forward to that open exchange of thoughts and ideas.

“The concept of being challenged every time you turn on the mic is central to what we do. Even if it’s a solo show. Even if it’s a producer jumping on a thought or dealing with callers or guests. If someone doesn’t feel adequately challenged, they’re not getting the joy and invigoration that this medium can bring.”

The “Bernstein and Holmes Show” wouldn’t have been a show without Leila Rahimi taking over as lead sports anchor on NBC-5 in April. She had co-hosted with Bernstein on Score since January 2021.

Bernstein kept the 9 a.m. to noon time slot after Rahimi left until Rosen approached Holmes with the idea of ​​doing a show with Bernstein for an afternoon, and Holmes was willing. “It was really a lot of fun,” Holmes said.

A few weeks later, Rosen asked Holmes if he would consider a long-term partnership with Bernstein.

“And I said, ‘Yeah, that would definitely be something I’d be interested in,’” Holmes said.

Bernstein did not need convincing.

“The first thing I said was, ‘That show is going to be great,'” Bernstein said. “It’s largely due to Laurence’s ideal blend of a reporter’s mindset with an entertainer’s sensibility. He, and I think this is really important to what we do at Score which may be different than a typical sports radio station, is to understand that there’s a time and a place to have fun and be fun, and there’s a time and a place. to be serious. And understanding those differences in those days is critical. Big and important stories will get the biggest, most important and significant serious coverage.

“But ultimately it’s entertainment, and he and I share: We’re a similar age, so I think we have some similar cultural milestones in our lives. And he’s extremely cultured, he has a complete intellect beyond sports, which I think is fundamental to what we do.”

Hence the “Bernstein and Holmes Show”.

Rahimi, 39, has not abandoned Score. She’s a part-time host every Wednesday on the “Bernstein and Holmes Show” (Leila Wednesday, they call it) and Holmes and Bernstein couldn’t be happier.

“She’s amazing, and what she brings to the table as a broadcaster, there’s a depth of knowledge and experience and the fun, she brings the fun,” Holmes said. She now she has the receipts. She reads the transcripts. … She brings a TV mentality to radio, meaning the concept of logging into a game. She’s not just seeing it, she’s recording it. And she can tell what kind of difference that makes in coverage. So her perspective is unique, number 1, but then when you add the work ethic that she has and the dynamic approach of wanting to do this job, I think you can hear it when she’s on the air.

“I’m glad there are a lot of early adopters of Leila – she walks in and you’re like, man, that’s great. I’m also glad that there are people who, when they gave it a chance, realized that they were listening to someone who is really special.”

Bernstein added: “She is a total star in her own right. Her perspective, her sense of humor, and her approach to understanding how to prioritize the news is unparalleled. She’s fun as hell and a joy to be around, and she just goes up in air.

“People don’t realize how extensive his professional experience is, how many Major League dugouts he’s been on, how many big college football games he’s walked and the stadiums he’s been to. for NBA games. It is immensely valuable to have someone who has experience at high levels. In hockey, my God, international hockey, he knows people and has done things at a great level in all sports. That matters.

“Keeping her a part of the show and the station… we’re very, very lucky to be able to do that.”

Bernstein was part of the longest-running show in Chicago sports talk radio history with the Boers. But neither he nor Holmes know how long the partnership will last.

“To use a basketball metaphor, it’s making sure the offense is working well by making sure who needs the ball, where and how it works best,” Bernstein said. “And until you get someone every day, you can’t predict what it’s going to be like.

“And the fact that Laurence and I, to continue the tortured metaphor, are both multi-positional players in that sense, and either of us can play with or without the ball. And over time, we will feel comfortable. That becomes second nature. … That is something that is felt, and we are going to jump immediately.”

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