Mike Francesa joined Katie Nolan’s “Garbage Time Podcast” and I had a chance to listen to the entire conversation. If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s very insightful, covers a ton of different subjects and delivers some riveting opinions on the media industry. Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation.
If you were starting out in broadcasting now, what would you do to stand out?
“First, I would do a local show. I would never do a national show because there’s no way of knowing if you’re doing well or badly. You are just taking input from some executive who might not even know what he’s doing and may not know a good show from a bad show if it showed up and bit him on the rear end, but you’re going to get judged by something you have no control over. Be somewhere where you can do a local show and you have ratings or revenue that you produce where there’s a tangible way of saying “I’m either doing a really bad job or a good job”. I need a way to keep score. When you do it nationally or do it in any way where there’s not ratings or revenue to judge, you’re in trouble. Because then there’s no objective way to determine if you’re doing a good job because ratings and revenue are how you’re judged if you’re doing a good job. That’s all that counts.”
On whether or not being simulcast is important:
“It’s not necessary anymore. We did a simulcast for 12 years. The FOX thing didn’t work out for anybody and it wasn’t anybody’s fault. The thought of us was better than us. What FOX thought of me and what I thought of FOX were better than when we were together. They had plans for me and I had plans for them but the plans didn’t mesh with what reality was. So it never worked out. I went after them because they came after me very hard and gave me a lot of money and also it was intriguing to do something different. They had a plan but they changed their plans so many times that it never had a chance to work. So we were both in the wrong place at the wrong time so we just needed to end it as quickly as we could and we did. I’m not against the simulcast but it is not a necessary part of my show where I am right now.”
On monitoring his show’s ratings and analyzing which content on his show does and doesn’t work:
“It doesn’t affect how I do my content but do we tweak things? Yes. Is there a game to it? Yes. Do we pay attention to it? Enormously. My producers and the people who work for me pay attention to it because they get paid for finishing first. They don’t get a bonus if we don’t finish first. They tackle me when the ratings come out. If I don’t finish first I’m not breathing. I don’t get paid on the ratings. I did in the beginning but not anymore. They stopped after three years of giving us bonuses because we were finishing first every time so they paid us to be first. I had one guy call me once when I finished second and tell me “I pay you to be first” and then hung up the phone. I understood the message. I’m never happy if I don’t finish first. We’re not trying to beat the sports station, we’re trying to beat every station.”
On why he chose to reunite with Chris Russo on March 30th:
“It was the right person who asked and it took The Garden to put it together. There were a lot of components. CBS had to say yes. They owned the rights to the name “Mike and The Mad Dog”. We thought we needed the name. They had to go ask for permission from Sirius. Sirius was a little more leery of it than my guys were. Jim Dolan and The Garden have a lot of clout and they were able to pull all of this together. He called Les Moonves and the guys at Sirius and after two phone calls it was done in two minutes. Dog and I both agreed to do it because the guy who asked us, Barry Watkins, has been a good friend of ours for a long time. He asked Dog first and then asked me. We thought it was for a good cause. Radio City was also very appealing. That’s the big time. I never fathomed being at Radio City Music Hall. That’s a big place.”
On his current relationship with Chris:
“It’s probably bad to say, we’ve been apart 8 years and I’ve seen him 5 times. We morph right back into who we were though. He’ll start telling me secrets. We know so much about each other that we can talk about business, our lives, and morph right back into that when I haven’t seen him in two years. It’s weird that we have that relationship. It’s like we’re related but we never see each other. We are kind of tied at the hip because we owe our careers to each other. I have had great success since we split up but I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for “Mike and The Mad Dog”. I’m not an idiot. I know that. Dog knows it too. We put something together that was iconic and gave us a chance to do everything we do. I’m very protective of “Mike and the Mad Dog”. It’s the best sports show of all time.”
On why he hasn’t kept in touch with Chris:
“We never socialized together. We spent 30 hours on the air. If you take in the time before and after, or if we were traveling, we’d spend 50-60 hours together, every week, for twenty years. That’s more time than you spend with anybody. There were times, and this is why we were so good, where we would do a show, five and a half hours a day, and one time we did it for six months, where we never spoke a word off the air. We were that mad at each other. And we would go in and do a show for five and a half hours and nobody would know we were fighting. We’d leave and go our separate ways. We’d show up at the studio at 1:03 and we’d do a show and leave and never speak a word even during the commercials.”
On the possibility of “Mike and the Mad Dog” reuniting permanently:
“I don’t think we would be the obstacle. I think the business is the obstacle. I think now, at this stage of our lives, everything has to be right. The business is shrinking, not expanding. There’s no way they can afford a show as expensive as ours. I don’t think economically it would be feasible. I don’t think either one of us would work for the amount of money that it would take for us to work for to do it. There’d be no reason for us to do it. If they could pay us like we are both used to being paid then do I think it could work. Do I think there’d be other obstacles? No. I think the obstacle is economic purely. The business is shrinking. I timed it well for this reason. They don’t want guys like me in this business anymore. They don’t want stars. They don’t want guys who are making a lot of money. They want a bunch of cookie cutter people who they can control that aren’t any trouble. Let the events, the packages, and the games be the stars. ESPN is doing that. They want a bunch of nameless faceless guys. If I asked you right now to give me the names of all the ESPN SportsCenter anchors you think you could do it? There was a time when everyone could do it. If they were here right now I wouldn’t be able to name two of them. They’re a bunch of nameless faceless people. That’s what the business wants now. They don’t want to pay anybody. They want people to be interchangeable. They want the events and the rights fees to carry the day, and make the sportscasters and the people interchangeable and I think they don’t want to pay anyone anymore. That makes it a tough business.”
On who called and was under consideration as a possible partner when Chris left:
“One person who called was a former Governor. It was a varied group. Chernoff and I had 200 people call us. Some of them you would not believe. They could have made the funniest tandems of all time. I’ve never revealed a name. I made one phone call. I called Bill Simmons and in typical Bill fashion, he said “you can’t afford me”. I said “Bill, get real”. He said he was tied up in LA and would love to do it but couldn’t do it. He’s the only one I ever called. I thought it would be fun. I’ll tell you who I would’ve taken with me if I could’ve taken him was Mike Breen. It would’ve been great. He was obviously busy with his broadcasting. Breen is great. He is funny and he would’ve been great doing that show and I would’ve loved doing a show with him but he was busy with the Knicks and already signed a contract to do the NBA for all those years. He couldn’t have been around every day but he’s a guy I would have taken in two seconds.”
On doing an upcoming “30 For 30” for ESPN:
“It’s being done. We’ve agreed to do it. It’ll be next year but they’ve already started doing work on it. They told me it’s going to be sixty minutes and it’s going to be a “30 For 30” and on our impact on the sports culture. Those things are really well done and I really believe that “Mike and the Mad Dog” did change a lot of stuff. It changed radio dramatically but I think it also at the right time it changed the sports culture a little bit in some different ways. So I think it really has its own niche. Dog and I are going to sit down together and individually for them, I believe in the summer time. They’re actually taping FrancesaCon this weekend and starting to do everything else we do in the next year. I believe they’re going to show it next January.”
On the surprise of him partnering up with ESPN on the project:
“I despise ESPN. They got so big that they forgot how to do sports with any touch. Just the silly stuff they got into. They stopped allowing any guests to be on my show. Some of those people are good friends of mine and they’re not allowed on my show. That was petty and stupid. It wasn’t going to help their local ratings with their ESPN shows. If they wanted to fix that radio station they’d have fixed it a long time ago. They obviously know nothing about radio we understand that. They don’t want to fix it. It’s there for what it’s there for. To make all those guests, many who are friends of mine, and a lot of them have gotten in trouble because they said “I’m going to go on” and they’ve been told “you’ll be fired if you go on”. So they actually have taken it to that level. From that standpoint I don’t like how they go about everything now. I hate what they did with the ESPY’s. I hate what they’ve done with a lot of sports. I used to go up there in the beginning and I almost worked there but I couldn’t think of living there. I did some work for a guy named Bill Fitz. Guys like Wildhack were BA’s in those days. You’re talking about the 70’s when that place was nothing. It was one little building in the middle of nowhere. So I’m a kid from Long Island who loves New York City, I couldn’t see being up there. But they had talented people, and they hit it right, and they built an empire. They are the mothership. Now it looks like their day is done. If they don’t continue to have the advantage they have, the cable payment system the way they have it, all the sudden things are going to change for them. But they had this advantage for a long time and it was one no one else came close to doing. They were double dipping. They were getting paid and charging for commercials. So they had more money and they were overpowering everybody. I just don’t like the way they do certain things. Fox is clearly going after them and the way they’re doing it, they’re not going to show a lot of success, but if they stick to it and pound the rock, 7-8 years from now they will catch ESPN. It will take them that long but if they continue it, and it’s going to cost them a lot of money to do it, they will catch ESPN.”
On his relationship issues with Boomer and Carton:
“I don’t really feel like I know Craig. We got off on the wrong foot. There’s no love lost between that show and my show. None. We probably weren’t very accommodating to them when they first got there because we were very loyal to Imus. If I did anything wrong I probably just ignored them. I didn’t promote them, I didn’t try to sabotage them, I don’t do negative things to people. I don’t sabotage anybody. The worst I’m going to do is ignore you. I don’t try to get anybody fired or run anybody down. I’ve never done that in my life but I will ignore them. I ignore a lot of people. And I’m sure they didn’t like that but there’s never been anything positive between that show and me and that’s just the way it’s been. We have no relationship. I guess there was a time when we could have salvaged it but I think it’s way past salvaging. I don’t think that’s possible now. I think they don’t like me and I don’t really care for them. I think that’s fair. I think a lot of stuff from my standpoint is misunderstood. I’m hard headed and I admit that. But I’m never out to hurt anybody else and I don’t go after anybody else. I just try to maintain my business. Don’t interfere with my show and I don’t interfere with anybody else’s. I show up and do my show and that’s my job. That’s it. I do my job.”
On leaving WFAN at the end of 2017:
“I’m not saying I’m leaving the business. I’m leaving Monday-Friday, five and a half hours, FAN, I am bringing the curtain down on that part of the show. I am not saying I’m not going to work again. I’m not saying I’m not going to do anything ever again. What I’m saying is, that part of my life is ending at the end of 2017. I’ve agreed to stay through the end of 17. We talked about me leaving earlier. We discussed it. They didn’t really want it. They didn’t give me a chance to get out. They never offered me a reasonable way out. So 17 it is. At the end of 17 there will be no more FAN. That I promise.”
Francesa also shared his thoughts on the loyalty of Mongo Nation, the growth of FrancesaCon, dealing with critics, how social media influences today’s decision making, being rejected 15 times while trying to pursue an on-air career, the reasons why he and Chris Russo would argue while they were together, the chemistry they had as a show, discovering new talent and getting involved in the digital world in the future plus more.
To hear the entire interview, click here.
Pat McAfee Defends His Intellectual Property on Show
A YouTube user had been using videos from McAfee’s show on his own channel and monetizing them.
Intellectual property is the most important asset a content creator has in the digital space. That’s why it should not come as a surprise when Pat McAfee took to his show today to defend his.
A YouTube user named AntSlant had been acquiring video from Pat McAfee’s daily show for a while and putting it on his YouTube channel as his own content for months. McAfee has been a hot commodity and it seems that the personality may have been alerted to this activity thru potential future partners and their social searches. McAfee apparently reached out and sent a warning and today he addressed the account in what he called a little “house cleaning.”
“I have funded everything that you see (referencing his studio),” McAfee began. “Whenever you talk about stealing people’s footage, stealing people’s content and putting it up on the internet – so you can benefit from it – I don’t know how you think that the person that created, funded and paid for the content, worked their dick off, and their ass off amongst their peers and did everything – how they are the scam artists in this entire thing and not the account.”
Pat McAfee started referencing the offending account’s ability to monetize the videos. “We looked it up because we have this ability, [they] probably made $150,000 off of our content – not remixing the content, not getting in there and speaking and being a content creator – ripping content from us. Putting it together putting it up as their own videos and marketing it as if they work for us. And never reaching out to us one time. Not one time.”
The value of this content is immeasurable especially considering the account using McAfee’s IP is on the same platform (YouTube) as he is. McAfee add, “no network would just let you take their shit and profit off it. Nobody on Earth would let you do that.”
McAfee then revealed that he would partner with another YouTube account Toxic Table Edits. That account, which was doing the same thing as AntSlant, created a community around the Pat McAfee Show image. Things went differently for Toxic because when contacted by McAfee, the owner of that account responded “like a human”. Now the two will partner on future projects.
A Twitter account with the name @AntSlant did tweet shortly thereafter saying that the videos McAfee discussed had been deleted from his YouTube channel.
Upon an inspection of a YouTube account named AntSlant, the videos are no longer.
Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610
Goodbye snow and hello heat! Parker Hillis is headed to Houston. Audacy has announced that he will be the new brand manager for Sports Radio 610.
“Parker is a rising star,” Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy in Houston, said in a press release. “He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.”
Hillis comes to the market from Denver. He has spent the last three years with Bonneville’s 104.3 The Fan. He started as the station’s executive producer before rising to APD earlier this year.
In announcing his exit from The Fan on his Facebook page, Hillis thanked Fan PD Raj Sharan for preparing him for this opportunity.
“His leadership and guidance set the stage for me to continue to grow and develop in this industry, one that I absolutely love,” Hillis wrote. “This is a special place, one that I am honored to have been a part of and so sad to leave.”
Sports Radio 610 began the process to find a new brand manager in February when Armen Williams announced he was leaving the role. Williams also came to Houston from Denver. He started his own business outside the radio industry.
“I’m excited to join the Sports Radio 610 team in Houston,” said Hillis. “The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”
Schopp & Bulldog: NFL Has To Figure Out Pro Bowl Alternative That Draws Same Audience
“The game just could not be less interesting.”
After years of criticism and declining television ratings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly stated this week that the Pro Bowl, as it is currently contested, is no longer a viable option for the league and that there would be discussions at the league meetings to find another way to showcase the league’s best players.
Yesterday afternoon, Schopp and Bulldog on WGR in Buffalo discussed the growing possibility of the game being discontinued, and how the NFL could improve on the ratings it generates with new programming.
“The same number of people [who] watched some recent… game 7 between Milwaukee and Boston… had the same audience as the Pro Bowl had last year,” said co-host Chris “The Bulldog” Parker. “….Enough people watch it to make it worth their while; it’s good business. They’ll put something in that place even though the game is a joke.”
One of the potential outcomes of abolishing the Pro Bowl would be replacing it with a skills showdown akin to what the league held last year prior to the game in Las Vegas. Some of the competitions held within this event centered around pass precision, highlight catches and a non-traditional football competition: Dodgeball. Alternatively, the league could revisit the events it held in 2021 due to the cancellation of the Pro Bowl because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a virtual Madden showdown and highlight battle, appealing to football fans in the digital age.
Stefon Diggs and Dion Dawkins of the Buffalo Bills were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl roster this past season, and while it is a distinct honor, some fans would rather see the game transformed or ceased entirely – largely because of the risks associated with exhibition games.
In 1999, the NFL held a rookie flag football game on a beach in Waikiki, Hawaii before the Pro Bowl in which New England Patriots running back Robert Edwards severely dislocated his knee while trying to catch a pass. He nearly had to have his leg amputated in the hospital, being told that there was a possibility he may never walk again. Upon returning to the league four seasons later with the Miami Dolphins, Edwards was able to play in 12 games, but then lost his roster spot at the end of the season, marking the end of his NFL career.
“You might not want to get too crazy with this stuff, but there’d have to be some actual contests to have it be worth doing at all,” expressed show co-host Mike Schopp. “Do you not have a game? I don’t know.”
The future of the Sunday before the Super Bowl is very much in the air, yet Goodell has hardly been reticent in expressing that there needs to be a change made in the league to better feature and promote the game’s top players. In fact, he’s been saying it since his first days as league commissioner in 2006, evincing a type of sympathy for the players participating in the contest, despite it generating reasonable television ratings and advertising revenue.
“Maybe the time has come for them to really figure out a better idea, and maybe that’s what’s notable [about] Goodell restating that he’s got a problem with it,” said Parker. “If there’s some sort of momentum about a conversation [on] creating a very different event that could still draw your 6.7 million eyeballs, maybe they’ll figure out a way to do something other than the game, because the game just could not be less interesting.”