(SP) – Longtime ESPN broadcaster Trey Wingo has been given an ultimatum by network brass: legally change his name to Mike Wingo so ESPN Radio’s flagship “Mike and Mike” program can keep its name with him as co-host or be out of a job.
ESPN announced this week that with Mike Greenberg launching his own show on the network, Wingo will takeover his radio spot alongside Mike Golic in the morning. But with millions invested into branding “Mike and Mike” for years and ESPN already undergoing major upheaval, the network does not want to have to build cache around a new name. So Wingo has 24 hours to legally change his name.
“I guess I’ll do it because I need a job,” said Wingo. “And, most people don’t know this, but my name is actually Hal Chapman Wingo III, so Trey wasn’t even my real name. If being called Mike is what will keep food on my table, I’ll go with it. I’m Mike now. Mike Wingo.”
ESPN president John Skipper said making Trey Wingo into Mike Wingo is very important.
“Our listeners are used to hearing from people named Mike in the morning,” said Skipper. “We can’t have them caught off guard thinking: ‘Whoa, who is yhis non-Mike talking to me right now?’ and change the channel. We may never get them back and we need everyone we can get right now.”
Mike Golic said he is happy with the change.
“I said as long as we get another guy in here named Mike, I should be okay,” said the former NFL lineman. “I don’t really know any other names than Mike, so I doubt I could learn a new one. I call everyone Mike. I talk into a mic all day. I call my wife Mike. I only drink Mike’s Hard Lemonade. That’s just how I like it. I’m an old football player and it’s best to keep things very simple for my brain to process it all. Mike.”
Wingo believes he is ready to start his new life as a Mike.
“It’s an honor, to be honest,” he said. “Everyone at ESPN knows that being a Mike is the peak of working at this company. I just appreciate that they saw Mike potential in me.”