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Appreciating The Legacy of Mike and Mike

Jason Barrett

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If you missed the announcement this morning on ESPN Radio and television, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic confirmed that they have been selected to enter the NAB Hall of Fame in 2016. The duo learned of the honor two weeks ago but wanted to hold off on publicly announcing it until ESPN President John Skipper was able to make the announcement with them.

MikeMike“Mike and Mike” have been a staple of sports radio since 1998 and they are more than deserving of this honor. The show has been serving listeners across the country for over 15 years, and regardless of your personal style preferences, few would deny they have a strong ability to entertain and inform. They also are very topical with their content and feature as good of a guest list as there is in radio.

In sports, if you perform at a high level, are the face of your franchise, and win multiple championships, you eventually get your name called to join the elite in the Hall of Fame. In broadcasting it’s sort of similar but the results that everyone delivers are usually very secretive so knowing the impact a show has on a local or national scale isn’t always easy to recognize.

None the less, if you’re the face of the ESPN Radio franchise for as long as “Mike and Mike” have been, clearly you’re doing something well.

Having been in this business as long as I have, I’ve seen how they operate. I was a colleague of theirs at ESPN Radio and I ran 101 ESPN in St. Louis when the station signed on and they were our morning show.

SW - JB and GolicFirst, as a colleague, they were very invested in their show and staff. Both were very approachable, although Golic was the more likely of the two to extend a hallway conversation. This was during a time when they both did TV later in the day. Greeny would contribute as a SportsCenter anchor and Golic as an Analyst on various shows. To say that they were being overextended would be an understatement.

A typical day would include hosting a 4 and a half hour (they were on from 5:30a-10a back then) morning show, showing up an hour or two before it to get ready, having a post-show conversation, discussing the next day’s plan, recording a look ahead promo for the network, and then reading liners and endorsements for local stations. After that they’d get a break, grab something to eat, maybe make a phone call or two and then it was on to preparing for the next ESPN assignment.

As the years have progressed they’ve reduced their workload but I remember how hard these guys worked for ESPN and I always respected it. We often say in radio that the top performers should lead by example, and “Mike and Mike” set a good one.

mmMore impressive to me though was how Greeny and Golic communicated with me once I was running a local station which featured them as our morning show. They cared about the success of the radio station, and although they were 1500 miles away and unable to be physically present around the brand, that didn’t stop them from doing extra things to help out. I could alert the guys of something by text or email and they’d follow up. I probably benefitted because they knew me a little but they didn’t have to. Their extra effort stood out.

One major misconception industry folks have about network programs on their airwaves is that the show is part of some other company and not connected to the radio station. That’s inaccurate. You can prefer to carry a local show, and most operators do and I happen to lean that way myself, but very few in this business would disagree that if they could hire “Mike and Mike” to do a locally focused show, they’d sign up for it in an instant. The issue was never their talent, more so the national image and topic structure.

blankRegardless though of where the content originates from, it’s coming through the speakers of your radio station. If it’s going to appear on your airwaves, then it’s up to the programmer, the air staff, the sales staff and the production department to make it sound connected to everything else the radio station does.

I’d write personality promos for the guys that offered a local twist, we’d use clips from their show in recorded show promos that focused on issues of importance to the local audience, we’d play soundbites from their shows that touched on local subjects and have our other local shows discuss them, and we’d have the guys call into our local programs occasionally plus voice commercials for local clients.

We even had them in town for a LIVE broadcast around the All-Star game and got them to do a video piece to recap their in-market visit. By the way, the girl at the end of the video was not staged. It happened organically and couldn’t have worked out any better.

Not every national host works this way but Greeny and Golic understood that by supporting us, it made it easier to support them. No business relationship works without a mutual commitment. Despite St. Louis being a provincial town which cares deeply about local issues and less about national topics, the program was consistently rated in the top 5 and was as high as #3 while I was there.

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Funny enough, the show almost never made the air. The original plan in St. Louis wasn’t to put them on 101 ESPN. Instead the plan was to go local in mornings and carry Colin Cowherd. I love Colin’s show and being local in morning drive presented more business opportunities for the brand than middays, but as we sized up situations and analyzed what would be best to generate ratings, the plan got changed. I’m thankful it did because it worked.

And that’s probably the best way I can describe “Mike and Mike” to someone who asks about their morning show – it just works.

twasThe show has become a big part of the sports radio format’s growth over the past fifteen years, and that speaks to their ability to not only have outstanding talent, but also evolve with the times. People don’t realize that Golic has had a longer career in broadcasting than football, and he’s been gone from the NFL for 22 years. What worked on-air in the late 90’s and early 2000’s is different than what works now, but yet they keep finding their way into good content. Social media also didn’t exist back then yet both guys are present and active in the space.

Two final things stand out to me in evaluating the legacy of “Mike and Mike”.

First, their success validates ESPN’s decision to build the radio network profile around them. In the mid-2000’s, the network was seen as the playground for Tony Kornheiser and Dan Patrick. Bruce Gilbert and the higher ups had a different vision and wanted to showcase Greeny and Golic more. Before too long the television simulcast was born and TV promos became heavily present on all ESPN programming showcasing the differences between the two men.

The campaign connected with everyday people, and as more people flocked to the show, “Mike and Mike” did a good job of keeping them around. Throughout the years they’ve continued to use television marketing to grow the awareness of the “Mike and Mike” brand, taking on different messaging along the way, and once again, it has resonated.

Despite the show’s awareness being sky high and the product itself maintaining a level of excellence for more than fifteen years, there have been concerns with the show in recent times. Last year Cris Carter was often a third member of the show during the football season, and the network announced plans this past May to add Molly Qerim as a permanent part of the program.

Except it never happened. And I believe that’s a good thing.

Here’s the deal, if you don’t like what “Mike and Mike” bring to the table, that’s fine. I’ve never once heard anyone say the show lacked chemistry or ability and I find that those who reject the show, usually do so because they prefer local programming or more opinionated personalities like Colin Cowherd and Jim Rome.

mikemikeBut that’s not who they are or claim to be and to expect them to be something different is asking them to not be authentic. Sure the show can be corny at times and I’ve heard people tell me they feel like the show serves as the “protector of the mouse” but they also deliver excellent interviews, their topic selection is elite, and you can tune in during any 20-30 minute portion of the show and feel like you’ve caught up on what you missed last night. They inform and entertain in a way that they are comfortable with and no amount of industry or social media backlash is going to change that. Nor should it.

Can you imagine if social media was around in the 60’s and 70’s? Shows like “The Odd Couple”, “The Honeymooners”, “Different Strokes”, “Dukes of Hazzard” and “All In The Family” would have been crippled because of it.

I can see the tweet already, “Daisy Duke is being held back by Bo and Luke. She needs her own show“. As feedback pours in, executives react and the next thing you know, one of the great shows you grew up on gets altered simply because of the fear of negative commentary.

“Mike and Mike” may not be perfect, but they’ve stood the test of time, continue to excel and make adjustments, and they’ve led the charge for ESPN Radio for almost two decades. They deserve to enjoy this journey together for however long it will last, without anyone trying to occupy the middle seat. It’s the least they deserve for what they’ve contributed to the success of the world’s largest sports network.

As we see with so many great performers who displays their skills for a long period of time, we’re going to recognize and point out their flaws and question whether they’ve still got it. But when you add it all up, Greeny and Golic are still going strong and aren’t even close to being finished. Sometimes we stop appreciating what we have in front of us. In this case, we may have done it with a program that’s of Hall of Fame caliber.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media’s Top 20 Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022

“A total of 45 shows were eligible for voting consideration in the Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows category.”

Jason Barrett

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The 8th annual BSM Top 20 series rolls on with a look at the Top 20 Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022. As you review this year’s list, please remember that the results are a collective snapshot of how forty six (46) industry executives view the best in this category. I want to thank Alex Reynolds, Stephanie Eads, and Dylan Barrett for helping with the Top 20 process, and Steve Kamer Voiceovers for being our exclusive sponsor for this year’s Top 20 series. Steve’s voice is heard across the nation on many top shows, stations, and networks, and if you’re not familiar with his work, take a second to learn what makes him stellar at his craft by clicking here.

As it pertains to the voting, here are a few key things to be aware of.

– These results are based on 2022’s performance. 2023 changes have no effect on the voting.

– Our executive panel consists of forty six (46) program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Hubbard, Good Karma Brands, ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, SiriusXM, Spotify, and independently owned and operated radio stations. We involve a large number of people in this process in order to include feedback from all parts of the country, as well as to prevent the results from heavily favoring one company.

 A total of 45 shows were eligible for voting consideration in the Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows category.

– Voters choose their Top 20 based on a myriad of factors including the ear test, originality, ability to entertain, multi-platform impact, on-air chemistry, and ratings success. Keep in mind that voters live in different cities, have different tastes, and value certain factors higher than others. This isn’t a perfect science, but it’s the best system we’ve been able to come up with to showcase how sports radio’s brain trust view the best in the format.

And that brings us to the rankings for this year’s Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows. Congratulations is in order once again for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand. This is the Boston duo’s third time winning the category including repeating as the top midday program. The Hub’s midday team finished fourty three (43) points ahead of Joe DeCamara & Jon Ritchie to secure this year’s win. BSM congratulates Scott, Marc, Hardy, Rick Radzik, Jim Louth and the entire Sports Hub team on earning this year’s top honor, as well as every other show which gained a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BSM’s Top 20 Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022!”

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Additional Notes:

  • Zolak & Bertrand received a category best seven (7) first place votes. DeCamara & Ritchie were second with four (4).
  • 21-25 belonged to In The LoopThe Players ClubNick & Chris, Bump & Stacy, and Jay & Z.
  • The closest contest saw K&C Masterpiece slip by Steiny & Guru by 2 points.
  • Of the 45 shows eligible for consideration this year, 8 received at least one 1st place vote.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BSM Top 20 of 2022.

  • Thursday February 9 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Afternoon Shows of 2022
  • Friday February 10 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Program Directors of 2022
  • Monday February 13 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Stations of 2022

To view prior years of BSM’s Top 20 results, click here.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media’s Top 20 Mid Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022

“A total of 67 shows were eligible for voting consideration in the Mid Market Sports Radio Midday Shows category.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

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The 8th annual BSM Top 20 series rolls on with a look at the Top 20 Mid Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022. As you review this year’s list, please remember that the results are a collective snapshot of how forty six (46) industry executives view the best in this category. I want to thank Alex Reynolds, Stephanie Eads, and Dylan Barrett for helping with the Top 20 process, and Steve Kamer Voiceovers for being our exclusive sponsor for this year’s Top 20 series. Steve’s voice is heard across the nation on many top shows, stations, and networks, and if you’re not familiar with his work, take a second to learn what makes him stellar at his craft by clicking here.

As it pertains to the voting, here are a few key things to be aware of.

– These results are based on 2022’s performance. 2023 changes have no effect on the voting.

– Our executive panel consists of forty six (46) program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Hubbard, Good Karma Brands, ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, SiriusXM, Spotify, and independently owned and operated radio stations. We involve a large number of people in this process in order to include feedback from all parts of the country, as well as to prevent the results from heavily favoring one company.

 A total of 67 shows were eligible for voting consideration in the Mid Market Sports Radio Midday Shows category.

– Voters choose their Top 20 based on a myriad of factors including the ear test, originality, ability to entertain, multi-platform impact, on-air chemistry, and ratings success. Keep in mind that voters live in different cities, have different tastes, and value certain factors higher than others. This isn’t a perfect science, but it’s the best system we’ve been able to come up with to showcase how sports radio’s brain trust view the best in the format.

And that brings us to the rankings for this year’s Major Market Sports Radio Midday Shows. We have a new king atop the category. Congratulations to Matt Jones and the Kentucky Sports Radio crew on picking up this year’s win, knocking off defending champion The Really Big Show. This was a tight race, which Jones won by eight (8) points over Aaron Goldhammer and Tony Rizzo. BSM congratulates Matt and the KSR team on their victory, and every other show which gained a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BSM’s Top 20 Mid Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022!”

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Additional Notes:

  • Buck Reising and The Really Big Show tied with the most first place votes, four (4). Kentucky Sports Radio was next with three (3).
  • Spots 21-25 were claimed by John CanzanoJT The BrickAdam Gold, One Bills Live and Josh & Swain.
  • The battle for 2-4 was tight with The Really Big Show edging Baskin & Phelps by 3 points, and Baskin & Phelps slipping by Buck Reising by 1 point.
  • Of the 67 shows eligible for consideration this year, 14 received at least one 1st place vote.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BSM Top 20 of 2022.

  • Thursday February 9 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Afternoon Shows of 2022
  • Friday February 10 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Program Directors of 2022
  • Monday February 13 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Stations of 2022

To view prior years of BSM’s Top 20 results, click here.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media’s Top 20 Major Market Sports Radio Morning Shows of 2022

“A total of 31 shows were eligible for voting consideration in the Major Market Sports Radio Morning Shows category.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

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The 8th annual BSM Top 20 series continues with a look at the Top 20 Major Market Sports Radio Morning Shows of 2022. As you review this year’s selections, please remember that the results represent the collective opinions of forty six (46) industry executives. I’d like to thank Alex Reynolds, Stephanie Eads, and Dylan Barrett for helping with the Top 20 process, and Steve Kamer Voiceovers for being our exclusive sponsor for this year’s Top 20 series. Steve’s voice is heard across the nation on many top shows, stations, and networks, and if you’re not familiar with his work, take a second to learn what makes him stellar at his craft by clicking here.

As it pertains to the voting, here are a few key things to be aware of.

– These results are based on 2022’s performance. 2023 changes have no effect on the voting.

– Our executive panel consists of forty six (46) program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Hubbard, Good Karma Brands, ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, SiriusXM, Spotify, and independently owned and operated radio stations. We involve a large number of people in this process in order to include feedback from all parts of the country, as well as to prevent the results from heavily favoring one company.

 A total of 31 shows were eligible for voting consideration in the Major Market Sports Radio Morning Shows category.

– Voters choose their Top 20 based on a myriad of factors including the ear test, originality, ability to entertain, multi-platform impact, on-air chemistry, and ratings success. Keep in mind that voters live in different cities, have different tastes, and value certain factors higher than others. This isn’t a perfect science, but it’s the best system we’ve been able to come up with to showcase how sports radio’s brain trust view the best in the format.

And that brings us to the rankings for this year’s Major Market Sports Radio Morning Shows. For the first time ever, the award goes to Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team. Angelo is retiring from WIP next week, and the voters are sending him out on top. The longtime Philadelphia morning man was involved in a tight race for the top spot, and ended up holding off Toucher & Rich by twelve points to score the victory. BSM congratulates Angelo, Al, Rhea, PD Rod Lakin, and the entire morning team on their well deserved recognition, as well as every other show that earned a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BSM’s Top 20 Major Market Sports Radio Morning Shows of 2022!”

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Additional Notes:

  • Toucher & Rich and Boomer & Gio tied for the most first place votes with seven (7). Angelo Cataldi & The Morning Team were one behind with six (6).
  • 21-25 was occupied by Joe Rose, John & HughSean Salisbury, The Locker Room, and Pat & Aaron.
  • The closest contest saw Moser, Lombardi & Kane hold off Joe Rose by 1 point to claim 20th place.
  • Of the 31 shows eligible for consideration this year, 7 received at least one 1st place vote.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BSM Top 20 of 2022.

  • Wednesday February 8 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Midday Shows of 2022
  • Thursday February 9 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Afternoon Shows of 2022
  • Friday February 10 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Program Directors of 2022
  • Monday February 13 = The Top 20 Major/Mid Market Sports Radio Stations of 2022

To view prior years of BSM’s Top 20 results, click here.

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