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Mike & The Mad Dog Get Ready To Reunite

Jason Barrett

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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.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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