Richie Whitt, CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After a successful 16-month run at 105.3 The Fan, Josh Lewin is leaving for WFAN.

Lewin, who has teamed with Mark Elfenbein middays on 105.3 since November 2010, has agreed to join New York’s legendary sports station to be the New York Mets’ play-by-play voice for the 2012 season. He was in the Texas Rangers’ TV booth for nine years before joining The Fan.

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“I always said when I left the Rangers that it would have to be the perfect fit for me to leave my radio show and jump back into play-by-play, and this is indeed that perfect fit,” said Lewin, 43, who was born in Rochester, New York. “It’s the team I grew up rooting for. It’s the original Fan, one of the best, most respected radio stations in the country. And it’s play-by-play.”

While Lewin will depart his 105.3 The Fan show with Elfenbein by the time pitchers and catchers report for spring training (his last show will be Friday, Feb 17). Since both stations are CBS Radio, and since Lewin will maintain his primary residence in the Metroplex (where he has two teenagers and plays in a local cover band, Independent George), he plans to do fill-in work for 105.3 The Fan during the baseball and football off-seasons. Said Lewin, “One of the most important parts of this move, to me, is the fact that I get to stay involved with The Fan here in Dallas.”

Lewin will also continue his role as the radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“The Josh & Elf Show” showed significant ratings growth during its radio run, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. weekdays on 105.3 The Fan. “Having a true pro like Josh on our team has been tremendous,” said 105.3 The Fan program director and CBS Radio/Dallas vice president Bruce Gilbert. “His presence, storytelling ability and quick wit have helped lift ‘Josh & Elf’ into the top five with our target demos in their daypart. All that said, Josh is an amazingly skilled play-by-play talent who missed the baseball broadcast booth and who feels most at home calling live action.”

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The Fan has undergone constant change during its three-year existence, but this move, unlike most, stems from a host departing to accept a personal promotion. In the last year, The Fan has firmly positioned itself as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex’s No. 2 sports talk station, ahead of 103.3 FM ESPN but behind 1310 AM The Ticket. Considering that success and tangible station momentum, Lewin’s departure certainly will not trigger another shuffling of the deck between hosts and time slots, but merely prompt an important singular hire alongside Elfenbein.

The Fan will likely look at a group of candidates, including Saturday morning host Chris Arnold, regular station fill-in Mike Bacsik and others.

“Mark Elfenbein is a true sports talk radio pro who is well-equipped to continue anchoring our midday program,” said Gilbert. “Mark and I have been very aware of these discussions and Josh’s plan to get back in the broadcast booth. We have a lot of ideas and a lot of options, and we will be trying out some candidates and working together to find the perfect co-host to work alongside Elf in the coming weeks.”

In the Mets’ WFAN booth, Lewin will work with analyst Howie Rose and replace Wayne Hagin, whose vanilla style didn’t appeal to New York fans. As the Rangers’ TV voice, Lewin was always prepared and consistently a fun listen. He rubbed some of the old-school seamheads — like, ahem, team president Nolan Ryan — the wrong way because he too often filled 10-1 blowouts with “Seinfeld” vignettes, over the staid intricacies of baseball nostalgia.

Lewin has also worked TV play-by-play for MLB on FOX (1996-current), NFL on FOX (1999-2004) and NHL on FOX (1998-2001), and for the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs, along with the Rangers.

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