WFAN’s “Fantasy Phenom Challenge” finals were held on Friday at Bar A, in Lake Como, New Jersey. Five finalists vied for the Grand Prize of a chance to host a once a week air shift on WFAN for one year.

The “Fantasy Phenom” finalists are all local to the New York Metropolitan area and were chosen from over 2,000 fans and loyal listeners who showed up at the auditions. Tryouts were held at area malls this July, as well as at local Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurants throughout New York and New Jersey. The opening round of candidates were narrowed down to 50 semi-finalists and eventually to the five finalists. The semi-finals were also held at area Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurants.

WFAN wants to thank the thousands of listeners and potential broadcasters who participated in our “Fantasy Phenom Challenge“.

Voting for the “Fantasy Phenom” is now closed. Our grand prize winner will be announced by Mike Francesa at 5 p.m. today.

Here are the five finalists:

1. Otis Harper, Roselle, New Jersey

2. John Shea, Wantagh, New York

3. Patrick Creighton, Bethpage, New York

4. Gregg Sussman, Manalapan, New Jersey

5. Al Renauto, White Plains, New York

“It’s been quite an exciting summer as we’ve heard from so many people who are looking to be a part of this once in a lifetime opportunity to host a weekly radio show on New York’s pre-eminent sports station, WFAN,” says Vice President of Programming, CBS RADIO New York and WFAN Operations Manager Mark Chernoff.

“We’ve seen a lot of talent in the New York area and hope that everyone who participated enjoyed the experience, and also found that it’s not as easy as it might seem to be a sports talk show host. Our own Joe Benigno began his radio journey through a WFAN contest back in 1995 and we’re excited at the prospect of finding another star in the making. We thank Buffalo Wild Wings and all of our sponsors for their participation in the WFAN Fantasy Phenom challenge.”

WFAN’s Fantasy Phenom Rules & More Info

Comments (102)
  1. ed studnitzer says:

    bashing gregg is out of sheer jealousy, wishing you could be as talented as this young kid. how could you cheat on live tv/radio? what does that even mean? he has the most charisma, drive, and energy to be a talk show host. spitting out stats and numbers is what a sports show needs, isn’t it? yeah, he might talk fast and be all hyped up – but this was a trial, an audition. he’ll tone it down on his real show, which i can’t wait for.

    otis was alright, al is way too cocky. sussman is the right choice, if for nothing else than his creativity: GSuss Talks is clever and anyone that has a problem with the title of a BLOG needs to lighten up.

    1. dave thepoolguy says:

      you’re so right, ed. you really nailed it on the head. the way gregg hammered out all those facts was rather impressive

      sussman’s got this (knock on wood!)

  2. Danny Boy says:

    Greg’s got the passion..
    Otis has the voice..
    The others didn’t do anything for me.

    I’d give it to Greg though, because of the youngster’s potential.

    Cathy Ann, you should be ashamed of yourself for your absolutely asinine comment. Talk about a “lack of character”

  3. rick says:

    I agree with the comments about Grteg. He is too hyped up, and just yells opioins out,. However, I think this is what stations are looking for. Also, I question how juch he knows about sports at such a young age.

  4. Craig says:

    First off some people have no idea what they are speaking about. Honestly did you even listen to the show because clearly you have a different opinion than everyone else. GREGG wasn’t irrelevant because he was allowed to discuss anything that he wanted too. Gregg was the only contestant that captivated the audience and the judges! The judges know what they are talking about. Clearly people who sit here and bash him all day long have nothing better to do. This kid has real potential lets not knock him down but support him! This is becoming ludicrous, I don’t see anyone else talking bad about other contestants why speak so poorly over the best oneā€¦?

  5. Nicole says:

    That guy Otis was good, I voted for him but Al was okay too

  6. Norm says:

    I believe Otis Harper was the best because he sounded really passion about sports and his facts was on point, his viewpoints would be great for The Fan, no matter who wins they all were good, my pick is Otis based on his knowledge and delivery

  7. No on Sussman says:

    Greg Sussman represents everything wrong with modern journalism. He has no real knowledge or charisma – he just picks a completely irrelevant topic, yells at the camera and spits out cliches. The fact that anyone has voted for him shows why the broadcast industry is just filled with idiots who were too dumb/obnoxious to make it in print.

    1. John fro roselle says:

      clearly someone took to much medicine today. u need to be checked into the loony bin

    2. Jones says:

      Sure you can interpret it that way…or you can do it this way
      He had a vast knowledge of stats and knew the team inside and out
      He was very confident and comfortable and was able to communicate easily by enunciating and speaking loud enough for people to understand him
      He is obviously a big NY sports fan and represents everything good about WFAN and will be a perfect fit…clearly the best

  8. Zach says:

    Gregg looks like he knows his sports inside and out and is able to verbalize it in an exciting “WFAN” type way. He has a very distinct style that sets him apart from the rest. It would be great to be able to listen to him in my car.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Otis is the man!!

  10. Nick Malone says:

    Of all the talent in this 3 minute long monologue the only guy that drew my attention more was Patrick Creighton’s. I though that even with starting off first, he handled himself the best and came off very well for the kind of interview that time had presented to him. If anybody deserves to be on the Fan, it isn’t this guy Sussman or even Otis, it should be Patrick Creighton!

  11. Bill Campione says:

    Al from white Plains was by Far the best. I know that he has bought time with some buiddies on small stations so he knows what he;’s doing and he’ll really be able to do all the jobs he may be called on to do.So I call on you all take a tip from a listener from DAY ONE vote for Al

  12. Dan O'Keefe says:

    Al sounded good, but seemed very smug. He had an EZ Pass to the victory circle, but he blew it by coming off too nonchalant. Al, ditch the sunglasses, try to look interested when you’re interviewing someone, and stop trying to look like Mad Dog Jr. Even the hand gestures – very Doggie-esque.

  13. IMO.. says:

    Gregg sounds like every other twenty year old in a New Jersey sports bar after a few red bull and vodkas. Just because he went to broadcast school and learned how to remind the audience what station they were listening to doesn’t mean he has the charm to hold an audience for two hours.

    Al had Francesa’s hair style, polo shirt, arrogance, and sunglasses. The only thing he forgot to bring was talent.

    My vote went to Otis, whose smooth style would lend itself well to a overnight/weekend slot.

    1. Mike says:

      Interesting. I was bowled over by GSuss and voted for him. But I did think it’d be tough listening at 3 in the morning. Since I never listen overnights I didn’t vote in that context. Then again, if I was working at that time I’d want the high energy style.

  14. John from NJ says:

    Otis was clearly the best of the bunch. His viewpoint was far more thoughtful and conversation-inspiring than the others.

  15. connor says:

    Honestly how do you even cheat this is a kid he clearly has friends that are younger and that are online. stop bringing the kid down he has talent! There is no cheating being done I don’t even know him and I think this is ridiculous!

  16. Mary says:

    No question – John Shea was by far the best. Greg was annoying, irritating and grating, and as for his “cheating” – I think that should knock him right out of the box immediately. Al should have been disqualified, but really doesn’t need to be – he just doesn’t measure up. The other two don’t have what Shea has – an “everyman” voice and a wide appeal even to non-sports fans. Go John Shea!

    1. Warren says:

      How in the world can you say he was cheating. If you LISTENED to his interveiw with Mike, he said he had three internships in DIFFERENT places, not all three with ESPN. He JUST graduated from college and the requirements are one or two internships, NOT THREE…maybe that’s why he was the best…Cheating? Listen, then write something….just don’t bash someone when you have no idea what you are talking about.

  17. Jake says:

    Greg did the best job, but that voice makes my fillings hurt… If Al wins it the FIX is in… funny thing is, there were better people in the semi-final round…

  18. Terry says:

    Gregg’s voice is distinctive, and that matters in radio, but he seemed hyped up on something. There’s a fine line between energy and frenzy, and I think Joe B. was right, Gregg was way over it. I don’t like being yelled at when I’m listening.

    I thought John Shea did the best job, especially with his interview with John Franco. I didn’t know his kid was drafted by the Mets. I think the judges were right that Al makes a better caller than host. I’m like the guy who said why hire a lawyer for a sports job, but hey, that’s just an opinion. And the catholic thing comment I think comes from Gregg’s own website. It says “G-suss speaks” so I could see how someone could get a little twisted when he calls himself Jesus and then blogs about his Jewish trip to Israel. But I’m a heathen so what do I know. JMHO.

  19. Lester says:

    Gregg was by far the best. He was the only one that kept me listening and entertained. The kid is only 22 is and is trying to live his dream. I think that it is ridiculous that people are sitting here bashing him when no one else has gotten that far. He clearly has something special because all of the judges at the end said that he was the best, and I am pretty sure that they know what they are talking about!

  20. John Thomsen says:

    Greg is terrible. I would NEVER listen to him. His voice is awful, too much of a motor mouth, too many cliches (“the only thing consistent is his inconsistency”). Is this kid a relative of Chernoff’s? I don’t get it.

    1. Mike says:

      Ah anti-semitism raises it’s ugly head. And how could his being someone’s relative make all of us vote for him. But that’s the thing about bigotry – logic doesn’t enter into the equation.

  21. Dan Dawson says:

    The Sussman delivered the goods under pressure!! His voice may not be the best but he is still a great listen!! He has the energy and passion necessary to succeed
    in sports radio!! Great job by the FAN in putting this contest together!! I will come prepared next year to bring it myself!!

  22. Pat says:

    John Shea ROCKED it, come on. He had the most personality. Sure he was nervous….but THEY ALL WERE! I want to hear someone who’s alive on the radio, not a statistic machine. I’m voting John. Hey, he’s got a stadium name!

  23. SHARON T says:

    Gregg Sussman showed incredible passion!! What a diamond in the rough.
    It is so nice to see young talent that could be groomed for the future. Let’s give him the chance to live his dream!! He has my vote today and everyday. He would be an asset to WFAN.

  24. Mac from LI says:

    Greg’s rant was very similiar to that of MIchael’s Kay ESPN radio broadcast on Thursday night. Come on Greg, let’s be original.

  25. britton says:

    Al looked like Dog.

  26. Louuuuu says:

    Sussman makes up for his high pitched voice with sparkle, pace, and energy. Unlike any of the others, I felt he was going one on one with me, the secret to a good radio experience. Actually sounds a bit like Sid, but minues the coke and demons.

    Unlike any of the others, who were scared stiff, this guy looked like he was actually having fun.

  27. Mike B from The Roe says:

    gregg was the best. and NO christians will be affended so shut up. al who was standing in front of me when gregg went said that gregg was going to win so lets see how it goes. Otis was alright too

  28. michael tetrault says:

    clairification,its not that i dont like al….but unless you need a lawyer,you hate them.

  29. michael tetrault says:

    i,ll be honest greg was the best. al will never win,lawyers alwyas lie,we could not trust his opinion.

  30. wfan says:

    im voting for otis. there needs to be more blacks on the station besides tony and sweeny (he is darker than most)

    and please get rid of lori i hope this person is taking her spot. she is the worst ever.

    1. chris says:

      must we ALWAYS think of race? gimme a break, get over it. vote for the best person regardless of color. and Sweeny Murti is of Indian descent, he’s not black, get your facts straight

  31. Frank says:

    None of these guys were very good, with Otis being the only one half-way decent. What I want to know is why the tryouts were all held at suburban malls. There should have been at least one somewhere in NYC. At least that’s where the Mets, Yankees, Rangers and Knicks play. Sorry suburbanites but New York sports means New York!

  32. Bookie says:

    Sussman – by far the best. The only one with enough energy to keep me listening…the kid’s 22, and he’s already this talented. Impressive, man. Got my vote and should get yours, too.

  33. Ryan says:

    Gregg was by far the best. He was the only one that kept my attention. In addition if you listened to his interview in the beginning he had the internships when he was in school, being a student, so clearly the case is not that he couldnt get a job, the kid is straight out of school!

  34. Anhder in Point Pleasant says:

    Greggs rant was good, but really that voice?? Its horrible, i shut my eyes and listened to it, as i did with all, and its just not a voice i could listen to on the radio. Its Radio!!! The voice is important, sorry, but i would change the dial. I though John Shea was very good, despite being very nervous, and as much as I hate to say it, Al was good too. Its between those two.

    1. Anhder in Point Pleasant says:

      Plus, UM grad, experience, and is it three internships at espn for him?? That just ruins the whole spirit of the competition if u take a guy whos been trying to get a job in radio or sportscasting and cant get one

  35. Rob from lake says:

    Should have been me.I would have had a famous caller every week to sit In and caller of the week to also sit in.problem is arrogance always gets on the way and the hosts who know nothing more than us the listeners forgot that along the way.boomer who played the game is the only pro in more ways than one.anyway as a caller who feels the fan is out of touch maybe someone will read this and realize how right on I am.

  36. Philly! says:

    Gregg Sussman is the best of the bunch and has a lot to offer then Fan. He’s got a voice for radio and is more knowledgeable than the other contestants.

  37. Samantha. says:

    I came across the contest by accident and I actually thougt Otis Harper was the best. He had the best radio voice and controlled the interview. When I heard Sussman’s voice I started to change the station.

    1. I agree. I think Otis should win!

  38. S. Blum says:

    Gregg hands down. The kid is very talented, knows his sports, and has a voice made for radio.

  39. Don from New Ro says:

    I watched the whole show today and I was most impressed with Al Renauto. He is very knowledgeable and I enjoyed listening to him out of all the finalist. He would be ab asset to WFAN and their listeners.

  40. mike smith says:

    I participated in this competition at the white plains mall I had a great time i hope they do it again next year.Big props to FAN awesome i followed the whole time.I voted for Sussman if anyone cares,I thought John Oshea was a close second.Sid is the

  41. sandy b says:

    Thought that Gregg was OUTSTANDING today. Would make an excellent addition to the WFAN

  42. Mary says:

    Ok so what if sussman’s voice is a little out there? His rant has stats to back it and easily communicated it for someone like me who is not a real sports fan

  43. Rick says:

    Al is really arrogant. Plus he really doesn’t know much about sports. He is probably going to wim because they know him

  44. Cathy Ann says:

    Sussman’s voice is like nails on a blackboard. “The Kid” really needs some chops before he’s ready for prime time, or even overnight time.

    And what’s the deal with his “GG SUSS” name on his blog?!? As a Catholic, I am HIGHLY offended. Something WFAN management should consider.

    1. George says:

      As a Catholic, I am not very offended. G. Sussman was great and it was just a nickname. Get over it.

      1. Cathy Ann says:

        Time & place, George. Some Christians will be upset. The kid does not have the gravitas.

        Al is just plain arrogant.

        John Shea got my vote; his question to Franco about the strike out pitch to Bonds shoued real depth.

    2. Frank says:

      Can you please clarify what this is in reference to ? I am a Catholic and am missing the point. Thank you.

      1. Cathy Ann says:

        His blog’s name is “What would GG SUSS {Jeses} Do?” Really?!? It’snot funny

        Shows a lack of character…

      2. EMI says:

        Wow Cathy, I would have seriously taken a second look at a comment like that before posting. GG Suss has no relation to any religious affiliations. The GG part is for the fact that his first name ends with two letter gs and the Suss is short for Sussman. I do not know Gregg, but even I picked that up.

    3. Bill says:

      Take the stick out of your ass.

    4. Mike says:

      Let’s get this straight: Christians co-opt the entire Jewish Bible and turn it against the very people with which it originated. And YOU are offended that he made a play on a famous name?

  45. Why? says:

    Sussman’s entire rant is about how people shouldn’t hype a game no one was hyping to begin with (except for the new stadium opening, which had nothing to do with the teams). What the hell?

  46. metsfan16 says:

    Gregg Sussman voice kills it.

  47. adrian best says:

    let go ny jets.

    1. John says:

      Gregg was definitely the best overall contestant and should fit in nicely at WFAN. He has some mannerisms that remind me of the “mad dog”. And, his voice is much more pleasant than the “mad dog”.

      1. SussCheat says:

        Just an FYI–Greg has “friends” going to other sports websites/message boards to tell them to vote for Greg here. So other contestants, you may want to do the same thing. “John” as seen below saying “Greg sounds like Mad Dog” has multiple handles on multiple websites pushing “Greg”….you know the deal.

        When you can’t win fairly, cheat!

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