The Mike’s On app debuts today, Friday. Listeners have been asking Mike Francesa ‘what’s next?’ since early 2016, when he told Katie Nolan his plans to leave WFAN in December of the following year. After months of silence, Francesa returned to WFAN this past May, but insisted his comeback was in conjunction with launching his new project, the Mike’s On app.
“I’ve wanted for a while to have my own content machine – my own content vehicle that I could control and that I would have the ability to go [on-air] when I wanted,” Francesa told TheStreet in an interview on Thursday from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. “I think there’s a market for it.”
Francesa appears to be more committed to the Mike’s On app than his 2012 project, the Audio Roadshow App which was oft ignored and eventually forgotten by the legendary WFAN host. At a steep price of $8.99 per month, Mike has no choice but to remain committed to his new platform.
To compare, SiriusXM, which offers Francesa’s former partner Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Howard Stern, and hundreds of exclusive channels and sporting events, costs about $13 per month. ESPN+ carries thousands of live sporting events, unique programming and Insider content, while costing just $4.99 per month. For a host that spends four hours each weekday on WFAN at no expense to consumers, Francesa will need to offer a lot of exclusive content to make the $8.99 price fee worthwhile.
According to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, the Mike’s On app is expected to launch in two phases. The first phase features just Francesa, the video simulcast of his WFAN show and the ability to hear Mike’s immediate reaction following breaking news or a big game 24/7. The app will also provide consumers with an exclusive Saturday college football show and Mike’s long-running Sunday morning NFL program.
The second phase of the app launch, according to Marchand, will introduce other voices to the app. Francesa has stated on his WFAN show that he will look to use the app as a way to develop other sports radio personalities. While on-air Thursday afternoon, Mike confirmed WFAN overnight host, John Jastremski, will be featured on the app. The enthusiastic Jastremski has frequented Francesa’s WFAN show as a guest in recent months.
For the first two weeks, the Mike’s On app will be available for a free trial, giving fans the opportunity to decide if $8.99 is a worthy fee. WFAN’s parent company, Entercom and Francesa’s agency, CAA are minority partners in the new venture.
Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”