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85 Guests Say Goodbye to Mike Francesa

Jason Barrett

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Closing out a remarkable 30 year run at WFAN, Mike Francesa’s second to last show was a celebration of his industry creating radio career. Five and a half hours, jam packed with 85 surprise guests live from the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan.

Beginning with Jim Nantz, ending with Lawrence Taylor and a full cast of surprises in between, Mike’s second to last WFAN performance was fast paced and unpredictable. Masterfully produced by Brian Monzo, to get 85 celebrities on and off the program in a timely manner was no easy task.

Highlights of the show were hearing Chris Russo and Don Imus back on WFAN.  John Calipari was the most entertaining guest of the evening, providing great banter and showcasing a special chemistry between the two.

Near the end of the show, station program director Mark Chernoff informed Mike his studio would be forever named the Mike Francesa studio. A well deserved honorary gesture for the host that not only helped build WFAN, but the entire sports radio landscape.

Lawrence Taylor being the final guest of the show was not necessarily a highlight, but his asking Mike for $100 of stripper money will certainly be infamously memorable.

Three guests that would have been interesting to hear from were Pat Riley, Bill Parcells and Boomer Esiason. Francesa often spoke of his severed relationship with Riley ever since he and Dog criticized Pat’s departure from the New York Knicks. A staple of the program during his time as head coach of the Knicks, Riley was requested by producer Brian Monzo, but the invitation was declined.

During Mike and the Maddog, Coach Parcells and Mike Francesa were very close friends, but they’ve distanced over the years. In a recent New York Post article Mike stated “Wish it was better. Sometimes you can be so close — and we were so close — that a lot of things get in the way,” regarding their relationship.

Francesa and Esiason have not had the warmest relationship, but for the last ten years they’ve both anchored the success of WFAN. A quick passing of the torch moment with Esiason remaining as the station’s most recognizable host would have been an interesting listen.

The full slate of 85 guests is listed below. Jim Nantz, Chris Christie, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Linda Cohn, Rich Eisen, Regis Philbin, Chris Russo and Don Imus to name a few of what made for an impressive send off for one of radio’s most important figures. The full show can be heard by clicking here.

Miscellaneous: 
Mitchell Etess
Chris Kay
Chris Christie
Steve Schirripa

WFAN:
Julio – Mike’s Driver
Suzyn Waldman
Marc Malusis
Eddie Coleman
Sweeny Murti
Carl Banks
Erica Herskowitz
Steve Somers
Joe Benigno
Evan Roberts
Bob Heussler
John Minko
Mark Chernoff
Don Imus
Chris Russo

Athlete/Coach/Front Office:
Victor Cruz
Otis Anderson
Tiki Barber
Steve Phillips
Willie Randolph
Joe Mihalich
Lonn Trost
Jerry Bailey
Brian Cashman
Bobby Valentine
Kurt Warner
Tim Cluess
Bobby Ojeda
Cliff Floyd
Darryl Strawberry
Bob Baffert
John Davidson
Jay Wright
David Diehl
Todd Pletcher
Shaun O’Hara
Jim Fassel
Bernie Williams
Tom Pecora
Neil Smith
Mike Tannenbaum
John Franco
Kenny Smith
PJ Carlesimo
Eli Manning
Brandon Marshall
Eddie Olczyk
Keith Hernandez
John Calipari
Joe Girardi
Tom Coughlin
Lawrence Taylor

Media:
Jim Nantz
Dan Patrick
Dick Ebersol
Jay Horwitz
Doug Gottlieb
Damon Amendolara
Mark Feinsand
Kim Jones
Kevin Burkhardt
Jim Cramer
Brendan Brown
Mike Breen
Joe Micheletti
Regis Philbin
Joel Hollander
Ira Winderman
Pierre McGuire
Julie Stewart-Binks
Linda Cohn
Michael Breed
Katie Nolan
Bob Costas
Jay Glazer
Peter Schrager
Tim McCarver
Ian Eagle
Rich Eisen
Lonnie Quinn
Barry Watkins
Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research

“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 billion for the Jay Fund.”

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Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.

This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.

“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of  Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College.  The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.

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Sports Radio News

Parkins & Spiegel Wonder If Trent Dilfer Will Still Appear On Their Show After Taking UAB Job

“I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”

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Former ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer has been hired as the new head coach at UAB. However, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel wondered if that meant Dilfer would no longer be making his weekly appearances on Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score.

“Our guy is no longer gonna do a radio show out of Chicago?” Parkins joked, referencing an incident last month where Dilfer failed to say “Parkins & Spiegel during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

“I don’t know that that’s the case,” Spiegel replied.

“We don’t know that yet,” producer Shane Riordan said. “We have only shared a couple of text message — Trent and I — this morning and I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”

Later in the show, Parkins and Spiegel jokingly wondered what jobs they could have on UAB’s staff, with Parkins balking at being a sports information director. He did say he would welcome being the offensive player caller, but believed that job might fall under the purview of Dilfer.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’

“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”

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Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.

“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”

“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”

When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.

“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”

Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.

The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.

Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”

Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”

Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.

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