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Mike Francesa, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo Reunite On SiriusXM

“The hour-long conversation wasn’t exactly a throwback to classic Mike and the Mad Dog shows of decades ago, as the two featured little debate and disagreement. It was instead a rapid-fire Q&A between Mike and the Mad Dog with Russo dishing out the questions on a wide-ranging array of topics.”

Brandon Contes

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Just days after Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo told me he missed the discourse he had with his former partner of 19-years Mike Francesa, the dynamic duo reunited for a segment on Dog’s SiriusXM radio show. 

The hour-long conversation wasn’t exactly a throwback to classic Mike and the Mad Dog shows of decades ago, as the two featured little debate and disagreement. It was instead a rapid-fire Q&A between Mike and the Mad Dog with Russo dishing out the questions on a wide-ranging array of topics. 

Francesa opened the conversation after just having the worst day of his life, a two-and-a-half-hour surgery to repair an impacted wisdom tooth. 

They discussed the COVID vaccine, which Francesa said he already received both shots, and Russo adding that he’s scheduled to get his first soon. The Last Dance, Fernando Tatis Jr., the NCAA Tournament, ovah/undahs, Jordan vs LeBron, Zach Wilson, the Super Bowl and plenty more would follow. 

Russo asked Francesa how he would’ve fared hosting during the pandemic and the Sports Pope believes he would have ticked off his audience with too much political talk. Francesa added that he hated working Februarys during his solo tenure without Russo, and the last year would have featured an extended version of that. Although he was relegated to a greatly reduced evening timeslot, Francesa did do four-months of shows for WFAN during the pandemic, spending little time on politics. 

After the reunion, Russo joined Spence Checketts on ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City. The longtime Utah radio host is the son of former Knicks president Dave Checketts and grew up in the same town that Russo resides, New Canaan, CT.

Checketts quickly asked about his conversation with Francesa and Russo acknowledged he viewed it as an interview more than the two-way sports talk listeners are used to. The audience can hear Russo’s opinions everyday throughout the year, whereas Francesa has been mostly quiet in recent months, so he felt it was important to give his former partner the time and spotlight to talk. 

Geared up from the interview, Russo even acknowledged to Checketts he would be interested in doing some part-time work with his former partner, or at least listening to the offer if legalities aligned. Today, Mike and the Mad Dog appear to be in a great place, both sounding as if they miss the other. Tomorrow? Who knows? 

Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named New Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter

Vanessa Richardson, co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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Vanessa Richardson

The Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season and it’s a familiar name in Houston sports talk radio.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted the extra news that Richardson would be leaving the show to pursue the Rockets gig full-time. It appears that Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show.

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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