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Schein Turns Down WFAN, Re-Signs With SiriusXM

“Adam Schein declined the chance to replace Mike Francesa, making it the second time in less than two years WFAN failed to convince their former host to return.”

Brandon Contes

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According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Adam Schein declined the chance to replace Mike Francesa, making it the second time in less than two years WFAN failed to convince their former host to return.

Schein currently has a weekday show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio, followed by his TV gig, Time to Schein on CBS Sports Network every night at 6pm ET.  While Schein is in the middle of a contract with CBS, his SiriusXM deal was nearing expiration, which meant Entercom needed to strike now to lure him to WFAN.  According to Marchand, Schein instead agreed to a contract extension with SiriusXM, ending any chance of a WFAN return.

Recently, BSM President Jason Barrett released a podcast featuring Adam Schein, where the two spoke extensively about Schein’s start at WFAN and passing on the opportunity to take over their afternoon show last year.

“In terms of turning it down per say, I always refer to it this way, I wasn’t available,” Schein told Barrett.  “Under contract at SiriusXM…under contract at CBS…I have too much respect to FAN to ever say I turned it down.”

After beginning as an intern in the mid-90s, later working as a part-time host, Schein left WFAN in 2004 to join Sirius even before Howard Stern made the jump to satellite radio.  “FAN is amazing, that spot is amazing, my jobs right now are also amazing, I love SiriusXM, I’m loyal to SiriusXM, I love CBS, I’m loyal to CBS,” Schein said during his interview with Barrett.

Hosting afternoon drive on WFAN was Schein’s childhood dream, but he’s turned the opportunity down twice.  The first time, because he wasn’t available while under contract with SiriusXM.  The second time, because the show isn’t available as Francesa still controls the timeslot.

If Schein chose to leave his daily show at SiriusXM and return to WFAN, it’s unclear how he would’ve been used while waiting for Mike to retire again.  According to Marchand, it’s possible FAN would have locked Schein up just to have him ready for when Francesa leaves.  The station also could have paired Schein with Mike for a short period of time as a way of transitioning to a new show.

Although reports from last spring originally stated Francesa was returning to FAN for two years, the New York radio icon stated multiple times that he declined to sign a contract with the company.  Entercom and their VP of sports programming, Mark Chernoff has undoubtedly discussed the future with Mike, but no one knows when Francesa will depart for good.  

Francesa has already waffled once, retiring for four months, then forcing a shakeup of WFAN’s lineup to make room for his return.  In a statement sent to Andrew Marchand, Chernoff says Entercom is “100 percent” behind Mike Francesa.

Don’t expect a second farewell tour for the Sports Pope, but a year of rumored replacements will circle WFAN as Francesa continues the task of fending off Michael Kay in a ratings battle.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Chris Russo: Immediacy of News Has Hurt Sports Radio

“I mean, if something happens tonight at 7:00 that’s huge, by the time I get out of here 3:00 tomorrow afternoon, people may you might want to hear my take on it.”

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Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Sports radio has changed since the heyday of Mike & the Mad Dog. It was something Chris Russo reflected on this week during an appearance on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.

Host Jimmy Traina, who grew up listening to Russo and Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York, said that he does not hear as much sports as he used to on sports radio. On Mike & The Mad Dog, talk about subjects outside of sports was a rare treat. Now, those subjects are part of every show every day.

Russo says he has noticed the same thing. Some of that is about the crowded market place for sports talk and athlete and team-owned media limiting opportunities to land headlining guests. Chris Russo says there is another reality that should be acknowledged with sports radio.

“I think a little something to do with it is there may be less, quote unquote, big time sports guys who are big fans doing the shows,” he said. “You’ll remember, I’m a big fan. Mike was a big fan. You’re a big fan. A lot of guys hosting shows across America right now, they like sports, but they don’t live it like some of us do.”

Traina noted that another factor is the changing pace of information. In the 90s, New Yorkers relied on Mike & the Mad Dog for the full story of the previous night’s game or details that had developed on a bigger story. Now, everyone has the internet at their finger tips and on their phones.

“I think the immediacy has hurt the guy doing a regular show,” Russio agreed. “I mean, if something happens tonight at 7:00 that’s huge, by the time I get out of here 3:00 tomorrow afternoon, people may you might want to hear my take on it. I’ll give them a take, but I’m not going to get 4 hours out of it.”

Takes have always been the lifeblood of sports radio. Russo said in an age where everyone has the basic information and fewer people live and breathe sports, radio was bound to change.

“They’re more guy talk. So they bounce around and they do culture as much as they do sports. They do Brady and his ex-wife, instead of talking about Brady and what he did against Green Bay.”

Another side effect of so much access to information is that even the most unique sports take doesn’t always stand out. Chris Russo noted that the only thing a radio show has that is truly unique now is the hosts themselves.

Listeners form a bond with the host and want to hear more about his or her life. He learned that last week when he posted a picture of his son Tim signing a contract to be an assistant basketball coach at the University of Northern Arizona.

“A lot of guys out there who listen on our radio show feel part of a unit. They feel part of a group. They feel part of the channel. They feel part of the crew,” he said. “So as a result, where are they going to get information about Timmy, getting a Northern Arizona job? I’m only one.”

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Mike Mulligan: Jeff Van Gundy is Terrible & ‘That Broadcast is Bad’

“Unfortunately, my mind turned off when it was his voice.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

Mike Mulligan dislikes everything about Jeff Van Gundy. At the end of Thursday’s edition of Mully & Haugh, the 670 The Score morning man reacted with disgust to audio of the ABC analyst suggesting that an assist should be awarded to a player that passes to a teammate that is fouled if the teammate hits his free throws.

Dan Bernstein, who was in studio for the crossover segment, asked Mully if he really hates the suggestion or does he just hate that it is coming from Van Gundy.

“Unfortunately, my mind turned off when it was his voice,” Mully responded. “So, I don’t even know what we’re talking about.”

Others in the studio suggested that the disdain stems from the fact that Jeff Van Gundy was the coach of the Knicks, a team Mully hates. He disagreed.

“I think he’s terrible, and I think that broadcast is bad,” he said.

Bernstein noted that he is a huge fan of Stan Van Gundy’s work for TNT. He asked Mike Mulligan if his hate covers all of the Van Gundys or did it just apply to Jeff.

“Stan seems like a decent guy,” Mulligan answered. “I don’t adore his brother, but I do like his brother.”

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Adam Silver: Networks Will Always Focus on Most Popular Players & Teams

“In fairness to them, the ‘Joker’ hasn’t been in the Finals before.”

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Courtesy: Darren Yamashita, USA TODAY Sports

The first two games of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets have attracted a larger than anticipated audience. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shared with Dan Patrick that he has attended the first three NBA Finals games, and the atmosphere inside both arenas has been electrifying. The same seems to be true from the media angle with comparable ratings to last year’s matchup featuring the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, a pleasantly surprising outcome marking sustainability and viability the league has worked to strengthen over the last decade.

“Probably after last night, we’re going to be up a little bit, which says a lot about the league that you have two midsize markets,” Silver said. “A popular team in Miami, and a Nuggets team that has never been in the Finals, and the fans are responding.”

Silver became the commissioner of the league in 2014, and since then has been a part of the league expanding its digital footprint. The NBA national media rights deal with The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Discovery expires at the conclusion of the 2024-25 season, and speculation has already begun as to which entities will bid to present league games.

Patrick asked Silver how the Association can do a better job in utilizing its national media rights to market superstar players in smaller markets. Prior to the NBA Finals, Nikola Jokić was a two-time recipient of the Most Valuable Player award and a five-time NBA All-Star, but was only ninth in social media views. Over the last 30 days, Jokić has skyrocketed to No. 1 on the list, drawing more than 300 million video views across the NBA’s social media platforms.

“We have some influence,” replied Silver. “It’s interesting. To the networks, they do focus on the teams and players that they think are going to be most popular. In fairness to them, the ‘Joker’ hasn’t been in the Finals before.”

On Wednesday, ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and reiterated ideas he has previously stated about modernizing basketball. Some of these ideas included doing away with halftime, offensive goaltending and changing the rules on free throws. Silver heard these remarks before appearing with Patrick on Thursday, and responded to the inquiry with intrigue regarding halftime.

“When we’ve looked to shorten it a bit – because I think you know we changed the format of the last two minutes a couple of years ago to speed the game along – and I think we forget sometimes that the guys really do need the break,” Silver said. “Put aside the programming at halftime; the commercials… maybe you could shorten it slightly. But I think it is meaningful to the players in addition to the coaching that goes on at halftime, [plus] the opportunity to get a breather.”

Silver also commented on the recent merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf, which has come under scrutiny because of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns a majority stake in LIV Golf, and has made lucrative offers to external golfers in an attempt to lure them to the entity. Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, along with several other golfers, took the money, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is coming off as hypocritical after making remarks about how the deal comes off to families of survivors of the September 11 attacks. Silver divulged how the fund has not tried to make an offer for an NBA team; yet even so, the league only permits individuals to buy teams at the moment.

“When the Saudis invest in sports, it gets outsized attention,” Silver said. “I don’t want to complain about that because we want to get outsized attention. On the other hand, somebody could go down the list – they are investors in some of our largest American corporations. Some of the most well-known brands have investments from them…. With a sport like basketball, our Finals are distributed virtually everywhere in the world where the sport is played. It’s an opportunity to bring people together.”

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