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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

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed 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 that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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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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