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 features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, Derek serves as a production manager, broadcaster, voiceover artist, technical director, audiovisual editor, and media engineer for Hofstra University’s WRHU. He has also worked on New York Islanders radio broadcasts. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @DerekFutterman.
1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”
Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”
According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.
1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming
The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.
Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.
The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.
The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.
In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.
One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.
Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.
Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.
One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.
This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.
Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.
A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.
And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.
“Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.“
Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.
“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”
Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.
“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”
Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”
“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.
Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.
“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.