Mike Francesa is ready to broadcast once again. But this time, he’ll be sharing his hard hitting opinions on a different platform, and in a brand new role.
Barrett Sports Media has learned that the former WFAN afternoon drive time host has agreed to a multi-year deal with Rush Street Interactive to become a brand ambassador for BetRivers Sportsbook. As part of the new relationship with BetRivers, Francesa will host a new weekly podcast titled The Mike Francesa Podcast.
An official announcement is expected to be made Tuesday morning around 9am ET. The first episode from Francesa is scheduled to be released either next Monday, March 28th or Tuesday, March 29th. Episodes will run up to one hour each in an audio-only format – for now – as video could come into play in the future. Francesa is expected to release two episodes per week as part of the deal.
To help make Francesa’s transition into podcasting a smooth one, he’ll turn to longtime producer Brian Monzo. The two men spent years working together in afternoon drive at WFAN. Also providing a blast from the past to Francesa’s new show will be former New York Mets manager and fellow BetRivers Sportsbook ambassador Bobby Valentine. Bobby V, who provided appointment radio on Francesa’s show on The Fan, will join the show weekly throughout the 2022 Major League Baseball season.
In addition to hosting his new podcast, Francesa will voice commercials for BetRivers. He’ll also make a few appearances at major sporting events where he’s likely to contribute a few short videos.
Francesa began his career with CBS Sports before joining WFAN, where he rose to fame alongside Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo. The duo formed Mike and the Mad Dog, the industry’s most successful sports radio program for 19 years, consistently producing high ratings and revenue for New York’s sports radio leader. After Russo left to launch his own channel on SiriusXM, Francesa went solo, launching Mike’s On. He continued to produce big ratings on radio for WFAN until stepping away from the radio station at the end of 2017. Then just a few months later, Francesa returned to afternoons, remaining there until signing off in July 2020.
Since leaving FAN, Francesa has shared his sports opinions on Twitter, and appeared on a few shows as a guest. In fact, Francesa and Russo reunited at the 2022 Barrett Sports Media Summit in New York City to accept BSM’s introduction of the Mike and the Mad Dog Award, which was presented to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s afternoon drive show Felger & Mazz featuring Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti. The popular New York sports talk show host has said publicly he wasn’t interested in full time radio work since retiring from daily duty. However, he did leave the door open for a return to broadcasting in some capacity during a conversation with Newsday in December.
It appears Francesa has found the right broadcasting fit, and BetRivers Sportsbook has secured a high profile ambassador and host to help them penetrate the New York market. Given Francesa’s passion for New York sports, picking games, and the audience and media’s appetite for his opinions and content, expect the new weekly podcast to generate attention.
BSM’s Jason Barrett contributed to this article and report
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Mad Dog: Gus Johnson ‘Bothered The Hell Out of Me’ Saturday
“For crying out loud, Michigan/Ohio State isn’t even better than North Carolina/Duke, who play twice a year. So let’s be careful with the hype machine.”
FOX Sports college football voice Gus Johnson has made no bones about his affinity for Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. However, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has heard enough.
During his Mad Dog Unleashed program on SiriusXM, Russo shared that not only was Johnson obnoxious for the constant use of a nickname he bestowed up Harrison, but he was also misguided for calling Ohio State/Michigan the greatest rivalry in sports.
“Gus Johnson — the hype machine that he is — please, when you broadcast a ballgame, I don’t need to hear about Maserati Marv, number one. And number two, that’s not the greatest rivalry in sports history. Have you heard of the Yankees and the Red Sox? Giants and the Dodgers? How about Bears/Packers? Have you heard about that?
“For crying out loud, Michigan/Ohio State isn’t even better than North Carolina/Duke, who play twice a year. So let’s be careful with the hype machine. That bothered the hell out of me.”
When a caller pushed back on Russo’s opinion on the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry, he continued by saying “That rivalry’s not Yankees/Red Sox. To compare college football to the Yankees and the Red Sox is ludicrous.”
Nashville Predators Radio Voice Pete Weber Calling 2,000th Game Tuesday
“I always wanted to be there for the birth of a team. I feel like I’ve been a pretty fair midwife here.”
Nashville Predators radio voice Pete Weber is set to hit a career milestone Tuesday, as he’ll call his 2,000th game for the NHL franchise.
Weber told The Tennessean that he has relished the opportunity to be the voice of a team since its inception. He claimed he applied for and was a finalist for the radio play-by-play job when the Carolina Panthers were conceived, before ultimately landing with the Predators.
“I always wanted to be there for the birth of a team,” said Weber. “I feel like I’ve been a pretty fair midwife here.”
Despite missing time late last season due to a rare brain condition, Weber said he has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
“I have not thought about it, other than when I thought about how (former Philadelphia Phillies announcer) Harry Kalas was carried dead out of the broadcast booth in Washington,” Pete Weber said. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s an interesting way to go. I don’t necessarily know that I want to do it like that. But it could happen. I’m not going to say no.”
Weber’s 2,000th game will come as the Nashville Predators play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 102.5 The Game is the flagship home of the Predators Radio Network.
iHeartMedia Ending WEEI Simulcast in Cape Cod
A job opening for a sports talk co-host/producer/programming assistant that says its salary will “be funded by the savings that the market is acquiring from the expiring Audacy/WEEI & Red Sox contracts”.
iHeartMedia is preparing to drop its simulcast of WEEI on its 96.3 WEII-FM signal in Hyannis/Cape Cod.
According to a report from Radio Insight, iHeartMedia has posted a job opening for a sports talk co-host/producer/programming assistant that says its salary will “be funded by the savings that the market is acquiring from the expiring Audacy/WEEI & Red Sox contracts”.
It goes on to state that the contract between the company and Audacy was $300,000 annually and it paid the Red Sox $65,000 annually.
The job posting alleges 96.3 FM will continue to carry sports programming with a local show.
WEEI is currently simulcast on stations in Springfield and Worcester, MA; Providence; Portland, Maine; and on stations in New Hampshire and Vermont, as well. Earlier this year, the station’s offices in Warwick, Rhode Island closed as part of a cost-cutting measure.
WEII-FM is licensed to Dennis, MA and features a 25,000-watt Class B signal.