Editor's note: On October 3, ex-Bronco Derek Wolfe debuted as the new co-host of The Drive on 104.3 The Fan. Learn more by clicking "Derek Wolfe Introduced as Tyler Polumbus Replacement on 104.3 The Fan." Continue for our previous coverage.
Former Denver Broncos player turned broadcaster Tyler Polumbus is out at 104.3 The Fan, where he'd teamed with station mainstay Darren "D-Mac" McKee on The Drive weekday afternoons since 2019. But Polumbus's departure is only one of several major changes at the sports-talk specialist, including the retirement of Sandy Clough, a multi-Best of Denver winner during more than four decades on the Denver airwaves, amid the elimination of live-and-local weeknight programming.
Polumbus came to The Fan in 2019 following the departure of D-Mac's former partner, ex-Broncos and CU Buffs favorite Alfred Williams, who'd jumped to KOA. The former Super Bowl champ, whose public letter announcing his retirement from football was extremely touching, had gotten his start behind the microphone at Orange & Blue Radio, an all-Broncos station that quickly flopped. But at The Fan, where he was initially teamed with D-Mac and another former Bronco, Nick Ferguson, he steadily blossomed into an excellent commentator with strong, clearly expressed opinions. The D-Mac/Polumbus combo seemed built to last.
That was not to be. At 3:20 p.m. on September 18, during the Broncos' way-too-close-for-comfort victory over the Houston Texans, Polumbus tweeted, "My contract at The Fan has come to an end. Thank you to all of the listeners that made the last 3 years a joy. We laughed & created memories, we consoled each other through the Broncos rough years, & together we did so much good through Pedal W/Polumbus To Beat Ovarian Cancer."
The abruptness of the announcement, just two days after the outlet issued a press release about Clough, immediately launched a hilarious conspiracy theory — that Polumbus had been bounced because he'd figured out the password to the cell phone belonging to colleague Brandon Stokley (yet another onetime Bronco) live on the air at the outset of The Drive last Thursday, September 15. Turns out the code was repeated variations on the number 14 Stokley had worn as a player. Here's the hilarious exchange:
Shortly after the first Twitter respondents tried to connect the ouster to the silliness over Stokley's phone, Polumbus put his thumbs in gear again, tapping out this message: "Wow, love you all. Only saying this because @bstokley14 is taking bullets on this thread for no reason. Definitely my boy for life!"
A source close to the station confirms that Polumbus's contract wasn't renewed owing to what was termed "a unique opportunity" to obtain the services of a notable new partner for D-Mac. The revelation of the incoming host's identify is currently being kept under wraps but should be revealed soon; until then, a series of guests hosts will keep D-Mac company.
The timing of Clough's exit coincides with a decision announced internally on September 14 to discontinue the two shows that had filled weekday evenings — Orlando Franklin (yes, he was previously a Bronco) and Cecil Lammey from 6 to 9 p.m., and Clough and Shawn Drotar from 9 p.m. to midnight. Franklin will continue to have a role at the station (he filled in for Nate Jackson during the ten-to-noon show on September 18), and Lammey is expected to contribute online articles in addition to being available for guest commentary. The source also confirms that negotiations are underway to determine if a role can be found for Drotar moving forward.
The bigger picture, though, involves the station's decision to use the resources it had previously expended on nighttime programming to beef up its website — a move prefigured by the hiring of Andrew Mason as its senior Broncos writer in May. The Fan's management apparently sees digital as a more important part of its future than airing original content after drive time concludes.
The assorted moves are still shaking out, and Polumbus admitted on Twitter that he's "not sure what's next yet. For now, just thanks for being a part of the ride. Maybe we will go on a different ride soon."