Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, former sports-talk radio partners who ruled the format for nearly 20 years on WFAN in New York before parting for solo careers in 2008, are reuniting to host a live-broadcast one-night performance on March 30.
The event sold out within 24 hours after tickets went on sale in December. “The idea that we sold out nearly 6,000 seats in such an incredibly famous venue is overwhelming,” said Mike, sitting with Chris, better known as Mad Dog, at a recent Rangers game at Madison Square Garden.
“There has always been a very large reaction to everything that Dog and I have done, and there’s always been a clamor for us to get back together,” said Francesa, who has hosted his own show on WFAN since the breakup and is known to many of his fans as the Sports Pope for his brash, know-it-all-style. “People like the idea of reunions, especially if it involves entertainers who have influenced their lives.”
“Right up until the time they went off the air, Mike and Chris were first in our demographic of males, ages 25 to 54, and that’s what made their breakup so heartbreaking,” said Mark Chernoff, vice president for programming at WFAN and CBS Radio in New York. At their peak — thought to be from the late 1990s through 2000, the year the Mets met the Yankees in the World Series — the pair’s weekly cumulative audience was two million, he said. “They set the tone and brought sports-talk radio to a whole new level,” he said. “So many other duos began emulating them.”
But very few talk hosts have come close, including Mike and Chris after their split.
“Since we broke up, neither of us has been able to find a replacement for the other— what does that tell you?” said Russo, who now hosts “Mad Dog Sports Radio” on Sirius XM. “It tells me that we had a once-in-a-lifetime chemistry.”
That rapport was evident when the two met before the Rangers game to discuss a potential format for the reunion, which will be broadcast live on MSG Plus television and on WFAN and Sirius XM.
Francesa hinted at what the audience might hear on March 30.
“We’re going to morph back into our old selves and do the stuff that made our show great and kept us on top all of those years,” he said. “When people go to see a favorite group perform, they don’t want to hear anything new, they want to hear the greatest hits.”
At one point in their meeting, Chris, whose contract with Sirius XM expires in August, raised the subject of getting back together on a regular basis with Mike, whose contract expires at the end of 2017: “Hey Michael, is this reunion show a final farewell to Mike and the Mad Dog, or the start of our resurgence together?”
Francesa put his old partner on hold.
“You know me better than anyone, Dog,” he said. “I always keep my options open.”
To read more visit the New York Times where this article was originally published.
Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football
“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”
The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.
With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.
“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit.
Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about:
As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.
“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”
Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan
“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”
John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.
Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.
“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”
Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.
The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.
“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”
Gregg Giannotti: ‘Drew Brees Isn’t Used To Not Succeeding’
“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.
On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.
“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.
“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”
Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.
The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.
“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”