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Radio Industry Reaction To Mike and Mike Splitting Up

Jason Barrett



The media world has been buzzing since Richard Deitsch broke the news that Mike Greenberg would be leaving his radio program on ESPN Radio in the foreseeable future. Although a date and replacement show haven’t been announced, industry sources say they expect the situation to be resolved sooner rather than later.

There are changes that will take place on the television side due to Greenberg gaining a new show and prominent role, but for the sake of this conversation I want to keep the focus on the radio side of things.

Mike and Mike have been the face of ESPN Radio in morning drive for a little more than 18 years. Losing a program that possesses ability, consistency, credibility, and longevity is difficult for any radio operator. Especially when it could lead to a loss of revenue, ratings and affiliates. Couple that with ESPN losing a few high profile personalities in recent years, and it magnifies the situation even more.

You learn early on in the radio industry that change is constant. When it occurs, others will smell blood in the water and look to seize the moment. That’s just the simple nature of operating in a competitive industry.

I don’t need to be a fly on the wall inside of the offices of FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio to know that they’re strategizing how to approach ESPN affiliates to try and crack open the door to gain clearance for their programming. Whether they can get inside the room though and stay awhile will be based on the way ESPN handles their relationships with their radio partners, and what quality programming they make available in place of Mike and Mike.

Other excellent personalities still exist on the ESPN radio network, but the brand will take an instant hit by losing Greenberg. Keeping Golic may help ease the pain in the short-term but regardless of his involvement in the next program, he will always be identified as one half of Mike and Mike. His daily presence will serve as a reminder of what once was, just as ACDC and Van Halen discovered how different they were received after Brian Johnson and David Lee Roth were no longer singing their songs.

That’s not to say that ESPN radio won’t thrive in the next year or two without Mike and Mike, but retaining partnerships and convincing listeners that the network is heading in a better direction is difficult when you break up a show with 18+ years of staying power.

What will be interesting to keep an eye on in the future is how ESPN radio adjusts its focus towards radio. Is the network better served being a content provider for markets outside of the top 20 which operate with smaller budgets? Is it going to continue to insist on clearance of its top shows in major markets? Will they allow their own local stations to pass on network programming in favor of local shows which have a stronger ability to generate higher ratings and revenue? Does it evolve into a brand with a heavier focus in the digital space? And how do those changes appeal to national radio talent and affect future negotiations?

One huge positive going forward for the network is that they’ll soon have the influence and guidance of Justin Craig who has done a fabulous job running the company’s brands in Chicago and New York. Craig, cut his teeth at the network and gained respect for the way he produced Mike and Mike, and has spent the past decade programming ESPN 1000 and 98.7 ESPN NY, and helping each brand enjoy success. The decision to have him return to Bristol to oversee the network’s radio operations is a smart one. Dave Roberts will remain involved as well, but his responsibilities with First Take and other TV programs take precedence.

I was curious how the news of Mike and Mike’s eventual farewell was being received by programmers and market managers, so I decided to involve 6 individuals who have a history of working with ESPN radio on a local level. Their identities have been protected in order to gain the most candid insight available. Here are their responses.

What was your immediate reaction to the news of Mike and Mike coming to an end?

Executive 1: It confirmed that TV is the primary focus at ESPN.

Executive 2: I was extremely surprised. In an age where sports syndication is a fight to gain affiliates, this show has had amazing tenure in multiple markets.

Executive 3: It was a hell of run. Not many shows these days can last a year let alone 19 so they definitely deserve a ton of credit. But like a long marriage can sometimes get stale, this happened with this show. No matter what guests or third host’s were added, the program never seemed to evolve. It played well for medium sized markets. Not so much for most large markets. So I’m not shocked that it’s run is over.

Executive 4: I’m shocked and seriously disappointed. An iconic show with two strong personalities, wrapped around by the biggest and best stars in both sports and entertainment.

Executive 5: I’m not surprised. I’ve felt like the show had become stale in recent years. The guys were so comfortable with one another that I think their evolution was stunted a bit by both their success over many years, and the possibility that there was/is a lack of someone at the mothership who’d challenge them in ways they might not particularly like.

Executive 6: I was not surprised. I had heard the rumors. After the “we’re moving the show to New York” blew up and Greeny dropped his agent over it, ESPN was going to appease Greenie. I feel with Golic staying that keeps substance and relatability to the show.

How does the loss of the Mike and Mike brand affect your perception of ESPN Radio?

Executive 1: This show has been the foundation of the network for a long time. I am curious to see what they do now. How do they reinvent the morning show and make sure it plays to the largest audience possible?

Executive 2: I don’t think it does. It’s been a great brand and a tremendous marriage.

Executive 3: Mike and Mike were ESPN Radio. Really the only ESPN program left that had some familiarity and traction nationally. In the last couple years the programming has gone significantly backwards which I think has taken a toll on its perception and this will initially only make it worse.

Executive 4: It takes a hit. Mike & Mike set the day and tone for the rest of ESPN Radio.

Executive 5: It depends on how they replace Greeny. It’s a given that theirs is the signature show on the network, but I think they need to be very careful about who they put in that lead chair and what they want it to say about the direction moving forward.

Executive 6: Of course it affects it. Any change and especially one in AM drive will have a huge impact. Now, how does ESPN handle it is the question. The audience will decide, but there is a comfortability to having Golic stay. He provides the personality and tone of the show. The driver is important, but in my opinion, it would be a bigger deal if Golic was leaving and Greeny was staying.

If you are/were running a station with Mike and Mike in the morning, how would you proceed going forward? (EX: clear the next ESPN Radio show in mornings, switch radio affiliations, move a local daypart on your station into morning drive and clear a different ESPN Radio program, etc.)

Executive 1: The key is to wait and see what their plans are for the future. ESPN is the #1 brand in sports. Everywhere you go today there are challenges in terms of branding and perception because there are more and more options available for consumers. While waiting to see what happens, I would at the same time be exploring all possible options. What gives my station the best opportunity to drive quarter-hours and revenue is what it is all about.

Executive 2: I would wait to see how the new show does since one of the hosts are remaining. Many forget that while it wasn’t as successful, there were hosts before Mike Greenberg. Greenberg and Golic are a terrific pair who have taken the show to amazing levels. Let’s see if a new host can maintain it.

Executive 3: Be open to what they propose as the replacement but definitely look at other options immediately. What one does next entirely depends on the market/budget etc. If you have strong local talent available to you that is always the best approach to succeed in this format.

Executive 4: I would go local and not look back. ESPN Radio might as well scrap the whole “Mike” thing because even a different variation, with one “Mike” or some other form will always look like a weak imitation.

Executive 5: I think it’s going to depend on what the next show is. I certainly have to think about possibly doing my own morning program and then clearing LeBatard live, instead of what we do now (run M&M in morning drive and then go local until 7p).

Executive 6: We’ve talked about it and can’t afford to “wait and see”. This is the most important ESPN radio show. It’s what starts the day and sets the tone. If they don’t get it right, it could alter ESPN radio’s dominance. I do feel confident they’ll get it right but you can’t experiment.

If you were to drop ESPN Radio from your station, which other sports radio network do you believe provides the best lineup, product and value?

Executive 1: I am not sure if just one network can truly get the job done. Every market is different, and thus the programming strategy needs to be different. It also depends on how much local programming my budget can afford, and what other network shows would be available. Maybe I go live in one day part and syndicated in another with a show that is different from what I’ve carried in the past. Each operator has to do what will be best for their individual station.

Executive 2: CBS Sports Radio. It’s the most consistent lineup with brand names.

Executive 3: If you can’t go local I would consider Fox Sports Radio’s Outkick the Coverage show with Clay Travis. At least he’s willing to provide strong opinions, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and understands how to play the digital game.

Executive 4: I’d stay with ESPN Radio. The rest of the lineup is still better and their play-by-play assets are second to none. Go local though, in morning drive.

Executive 5: FOX Sports Radio, but ONLY because of Dan Patrick.

Executive 6: We won’t drop them. We’re connected at the hip in branding and have enough live/local programming that I’m not too concerned if Trey Wingo is the guy. However, they are going to be impacted audience wise, and so will others. The balance of your station’s brand will make the difference, along with the performance of the new show. It’s the best network show in the AM when compared to other network choices and local options cost a lot more. If you can afford that though, that’s certainly an option to consider.

If you were in charge of operating ESPN Radio and putting in a replacement for Mike and Mike, and millions of dollars were at stake, what would you do? (EX: accept whatever show the network provides next, pair two or three other ESPN personalities together, bring in someone from the outside, shift another show from the network into mornings, etc.)

Executive 1: The show that has been the staple of the network will never be the same again. Still having Golic on the show is good as he is a link to the past success of the show. Lots of deep discussion needs to take place both internally and externally. I would certainly want to get a sense from key affiliates what they are thinking and what they feel can move the needle in the future.

Executive 2: Put one host with Golic. Trey Wingo is an excellent choice if that’s the case. Golic is a major radio personality so you should continue to build around him.

Executive 3: I expect ESPN Radio to go the safe route to attempt to preserve as much of the revenue as possible. That means staying in-house and building around Golic. If they truly wanted to produce the best “sports radio” morning product possible they would go outside and bring in an entertaining opinionated “radio” lead host or complete new team. That was done in the past but with a different management team.  The end result of that move resulted in…Colin Cowherd.

Executive 4: Do something different in morning drive on ESPN Radio. There’s a reason why they’re breaking up the Mike’s. If the reason is so strong to put at risk millions of dollars, some other off shoot currently being suggested isn’t the answer. It might be a stop gap, a band-aid of sorts, but even that will eventually fail. It will look like a weak imitation, which is exactly what it will be.

Executive 5: I’ve always felt the show lacked both a certain amount of spontaneity and edge. Trey certainly helps in those areas. But I think a big female personality could help (Beadle?), though it would depend on chemistry and fit. Booger McFarland is also a star in the making. The show needs some diversity!

Executive 6: I’d keep Golic, and if Wingo isn’t an option, then Ian Fitzsimmons would make the most sense. I’ve always love Stink too!

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Nick Wright, Danny Parkins, Andrew Fillipponi and Omar Raja Join The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Jason Barrett



The buildup to the 2024 BSM Summit continues with our next speakers announcement. Media professionals looking to attend March’s show can secure seats at We’ve already announced Jeff Smulyan, Mark Chernoff, Don Martin, Bruce Gilbert, Scott Sutherland, Chris Oliviero, Scott Shapiro, Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Paul Mason, Bonnie Bernstein and Damon Amendolara will be part of the event. We’ll have additional big names to reveal in the weeks and months ahead too so stay tuned for more.

Before I get into the latest group of speakers, I want to pass along some Barrett Media news.

First, when you log on to BSM and BNM on Monday December 4th, you’ll notice both sites operating with a new, cleaner look. We pump out a lot of daily content on our websites but finding all of it can be intimidating. We’re hoping the modifications make it easier to find and digest our content and look forward to your feedback on what we roll out next week.

Secondly, I’ve spent months going through a process to identify an Executive Editor for Barrett Media. The type of leader I’ve been looking for different from what exists at some online publications. I’ve spoken to a lot of smart, talented people during this process, many who I know could make us better. However, there is only one job available. Fortunately after going through an extensive search, I’ve identified someone who I’m interested in teaming with to help take Barrett Media to the next level. I hope to announce that hire and the addition of a number of new writers next week. I think our readers, partners and clients will like what’s on the horizon.

Third, we have opened up voting on the Barrett News Media Top 20 of 2023. The deadline to cast votes for News/Talk PD’s is next Monday December 4th. We will present the News/Talk radio format’s collective feedback December 11-15 and December 18 on

There’s other stuff on the way as well, but I’ll save the rest for next week. Let’s dive now into the latest additions to the Summit.

It is my pleasure to announce the additions of Nick Wright of FS1, Danny Parkins of 670 The Score in Chicago, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and Omar Raja of ESPN to the 2024 BSM Summit speaker lineup. All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Starting with Omar Raja, the work he did building House of Highlights into a powerhouse social brand is well documented. He now serves as a commentator for ESPN’s digital and social content, which includes being the leading voice behind ESPN’s SportsCenter Instagram account, and providing strategic social programming across ESPN’s social platforms. It’s not every day industry professionals gain an opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s top social media minds, so I’m hoping to see a lot of folks present when he shares his wisdom at the Summit.

Shifting from digital to on-air talent, one session I know many will be present for will include three personalities who have been highly successful in each of their careers, and share a lifelong bond through the friendships they formed while attending Syracuse University together. Nick Wright, Andrew Fillipponi, and Danny Parkins are three of the best in the business today, and all three will be on stage together to discuss their individual paths, their differing approaches to content creation, measuring and managing success, and much more. Having Damon Amendolara, another Syracuse graduate who’s been highly successful on the air, guide the session should make it even more interesting and entertaining for all in the room.

With these latest four individuals added to the lineup we’ve now secured sixteen top speakers for March’s show. I’m hoping to reveal the next group of participants in a few weeks. Once we get past the holidays I’ll start revealing the awards winners and a few executives who will be part of the conference.

I want to thank Steve Stone Voiceovers, Good Karma Brands, Bonneville International, Silver Tribe Media, Premiere Networks and the Motor Racing Network for returning as sponsors of the 2024 BSM Summit. If your group would like to explore a sponsorship opportunity for the show or review website or newsletter options for 2024, email Stephanie Eads at [email protected] to receive a copy of our advertising decks.

That’s the latest for now. More to come in December.

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6 Speakers Added To The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

“Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles.”

Jason Barrett



Each year the BSM Summit welcomes a star studded group of high-profile talent, accomplished executives, top programmers, and successful digital leaders to examine the top issues facing the sports media business. The information provided arms each attendee with actionable ideas and solutions to improve their brands, shows, and individual performance, and our 2024 event in New York City promises to deliver more of what the industry has come to expect.

If you missed the initial announcement, we’re excited to be joined once again by Spike Eskin, Don Martin, Scott Shapiro, Mitch Rosen, Jeff Smulyan, and Mark Chernoff. Each of these men have enjoyed great success in the sports radio industry, and we appreciate them making time to join us and offer their insights at the Ailey Theater in NYC on March 13-14, 2024.

Today though it’s time to reveal the next group of speakers who will be part of our show. Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles for Audacy, Cumulus, and Bonneville International.

Starting with the on-air talent, I’m looking forward to having SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio morning host Damon Amendolara, and Emmy Award-winning American sports journalist and media executive Bonnie Bernstein join us for the 2024 BSM Summit. D.A. was part of our 2020 show in the concrete jungle. For Bonnie, this is her first time appearing. Specific sessions highlighting their involvement will be announced closer to the event.

On the executive side, I’m thrilled to welcome back Cumulus Media and Westwood One SVP of Sports Bruce Gilbert, Bonneville International EVP Scott Sutherland, and Audacy New York VP and Market Manager Chris Oliviero. I’m equally excited to have 104.5 The Zone Program Director Paul Mason make his first appearance at the conference. The collective knowledge, success, and relationships these men enjoy across our industry speaks volumes of why they’re trusted to lead and grow their respective brands and companies. It’s important for folks in the room to learn the business, not just the world of content, and I’m grateful to Chris, Scott, Bruce and Paul for helping us further educate the room.

We have a lot more lined up that we’ll announce in the weeks and months ahead. As has been our strategy throughout the years, we like to build the show and increase excitement for it. If you work in the media industry and wish to attend, tickets can be purchased by visiting On the conference website you’ll also find details about our hotel partner, M Social. Make sure to visit the Hotel page and book your reservation asap to avoid being left without a room later on. Our room block expires in mid-February.

Additionally, for those looking to be a part of the Summit as a marketing partner, please reach out to Stephanie Eads at [email protected]. We’ve already had a number of sponsorships for the event get scooped up, and the demand for show involvement is usually high. Before they all go away, check with Stephanie to see what’s available.

Expect another announcement prior to Thanksgiving. This is going to be another action packed event, and I look forward to once again seeing everyone as we bring the industry together to explore solutions to move the business forward.

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Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Scott Shapiro, Don Martin, Jeff Smulyan, and Mark Chernoff to Speak at the 2024 BSM Summit

“This event is the equivalent of a two-day masterclass covering multiple areas of importance to the sports media industry.”

Jason Barrett



BSM Summit 2024

It’s hard to believe that we’ll soon be delivering our 6th sports media conference, but that is indeed the case. The 2024 BSM Summit is returning to New York City on March 13-14, 2024 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater on West 55th Street. This was our venue for our 2020 show. It was fantastic. A big stage, big screen, and great viewing for attendees. We would have gone back here in 2022 if not for the pandemic. Unfortunately, they were shut down at that time. But, the world is somewhat back to normal now, and I’m eager to be back in the building to create another action packed agenda to benefit sports radio, television, podcasting, and advertising professionals.

Tickets are now officially on sale for the Summit. If you work in the industry and wish to attend, tickets are regularly priced at $274.99 each. However, as we do each year, we kick it off with a special sale. Prices are reduced through October 31st to $224.99 so if you want to save a few dollars on your ticket, this is a good time to get yours. We also have a special ticket price of $124.99 established for college students who are pursuing the media business and looking to attend and learn. To buy tickets, click HERE.

When March rolls around, we’ll have a full agenda featuring top speakers from across the country. I’ve already lined up some of them and will introduce them selectively in the weeks and months ahead. This event is the equivalent of a two-day masterclass covering multiple areas of importance to the sports media industry. A special focus is placed on programming, revenue, content, technology, digital/social and recognizing difference makers. The purpose of the event is to inform, inspire, celebrate, and innovate. I’m a fan of an old quote from Benjamin Franklin which says “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest“, and if you attend our conference and don’t leave the room in a stronger position to advance your career or improve your business, then I’d question if you paid attention or were even in the room.

Before I start announcing high profile personalities, executives, and the annual surprises folks have come to expect from our shows, I thought I’d do things a little different this year. Those who know me understand that I now work with brands in a consulting capacity but at my core, I’m a programming executive. I love strategy, brand building, the challenges associated with growing a business, and going under the hood to examine what’s working and what needs fixing. So too do these next four gentlemen.

I’m pleased to welcome back to the Summit the EVP of iHeartmedia Sports, Don Martin, Fox Sports Radio’s SVP of Programming Scott Shapiro, the VP of Programming for WFAN and CBS Sports Radio and Audacy’s VP of Sports Spike Eskin, and the VP of Programming for 670 The Score and the BetQL Network, Mitch Rosen.

In addition, one part of our show that’s been extremely popular over the years has been the awards presentation. Thanks to our friends at Premiere Radio Networks, that will continue in 2024.

For starters, each year we recognize an industry executive with the Jeff Smulyan Award, given to someone in leadership who has made a strong impact during the prior twelve months. Past winners have included Kraig Kitchin, Dan Mason, Traug Keller, and Julie Talbott. Jeff Smulyan will join us once again in NYC for the annual presentation, and we’ll announce the recipient of the honor at a later time.

The second award we will continue to feature is the Mark Chernoff Award, given to the sports radio’s top programmer for the prior year. Since introducing the award in 2020, Mitch Rosen, Rick Radzik, and Jimmy Powers have been named winners of this honor. Mark Chernoff will once again be with us to present the award that bears his name. The selected winner will be revealed in the near future.

The other two awards we will present at the show include The Champions Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor we introduced in 2023 and presented to broadcasting icon, Al Michaels. The Champions Award was created in 2020 to recognize those in the sports media industry who have used their platform to make a difference. BSM supports the award by donating One Thousand Dollars to the winner’s brand or selected charity. Prior winners have included Jay Glazer, Adam Schefter, and Keith Murray & Andy Fales of KxNO. More will be shared at a later time about this year’s recipient.

We have nearly five full months until the show takes place in the big apple so expect more announcements to flood your inbox, and social media. Given the rise in interest of speaking at the show, we can’t accommodate everyone. If you have an idea you want to pitch, send it in sooner rather than later by email to [email protected].

Last but not least, we’ve created our content plan for 2024 and advertising decks are now available for those interested in exploring marketing opportunities with BSM. Summit opportunities are included in it. Stephanie Eads is running point on sponsorship requests so if you’d like to be involved, email her at [email protected]. We had phenomenal support in Los Angeles for our 2023 show, and expect this one to be as strong or better.

I’ll have more information to share soon. In the meantime, I hope you’ll buy a ticket and join us in NYC this March for the 2024 BSM Summit. It should be a great show.

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