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Mike Francesa Is Embracing And Enjoying Podcasting

“I do them whenever I want,” said Francesa.  “I do them the length I want to do them.  I do them on any topic I want to do but basically, I’ve done sports.  They’ve been received very well.”



Mike Francesa

When legendary sports talk host Mike Francesa initially retired from WFAN Radio in New York back in December of 2017, offers to do a podcast started to come in but it was not something that he wanted to get involved in.  Five months later, he came out of retirement and returned to WFAN but subsequently retired for a second time hosting his final show on July 24th, 2020.   

Under contract to WFAN for two more years, Francesa was not allowed do to anything locally and only did one interview last year, a cameo Mike and the Mad Dog reunion with Chris Russo on Mad Dog’s Sirius XM show.

For the most part, Mike was only getting his sports takes out to his fans via his Twitter account but the offers to do a podcast continued to come in, particularly from a handful of gambling operations that were looking for star power.

“A couple of them came after me and offered me pretty outstanding amounts of money,” said Francesa.  “These gambling companies have come in and paid a lot of money to a lot of people but they wanted people who had name recognition because that’s what they were looking for.”

Ultimately, the Bet Rivers Network impressed Francesa during their presentation and they signed the iconic radio giant to do The Mike Francesa Podcast which launched back in March.

“It’s been easy,” said Francesa. “I noticed now that basically that’s where everything is going.  It’s all gone there. I haven’t studied the economics of the podcasts for the companies the way I knew radio. Radio is changing obviously. Local radio is changing dramatically.”

Francesa generally does two podcasts a week, a solo show on Monday that recaps the weekend in sports and another show later in the week with guests. He has the flexibility to do more if a big sports event is taking place or there’s breaking news and the plan is to ramp things up once the football season gets underway.

“I do them whenever I want,” said Francesa.  “I do them the length I want to do them. I do them on any topic I want to do but basically, I’ve done sports. They’ve been received very well.”

As part of his deal, Francesa is also voicing Bet Rivers’ radio commercials and will do two public appearances for them with the first one scheduled for September.   

And, he hired his WFAN producer Brian Monzo to help out with the podcast.   

“Monz had left the FAN which I wasn’t even aware of,” said Francesa. “He wanted to come aboard so he’s handing all of my technical stuff. Everything goes through him. I have a studio in the house so it works out great.”  

Francesa was obviously skeptical about podcasts a few years ago, but now he is embracing it as the landscape of radio, particularly on the local side, continues to evolve with content and social media elements that were not in place back in the day. Not only was Mike, arguably, the most successful sports talk show host in history, but he was also a student of the game understanding the business end of broadcasting.

Today, sports talk radio is a whole new ballgame.

“It has changed,” said Francesa. “They want to generate social media applications and awareness there and hits there because they are moving their advertising as much to those platforms as they are to regular radio platforms. I don’t think that has been successful for local radio stations. Clearly, they aren’t paying the salaries that they paid years ago.”  

As far as the economics of podcasts go, Francesa is still learning. The reality is that there are a lot of podcasts out there but the challenge is always how to monetize them. Some are able to and some are not, but so far Francesa’s new venture has been a success in terms of the interest from the listeners and also the reaction from his new bosses.

“I don’t know the economics,” said Francesa of podcasts. “I don’t see how a lot of them could be economically solvent but I really haven’t looked into it that much. So far, the response has been very good (to his podcast). (Bet Rivers) is very happy with them.”

To a certain extent, Francesa’s podcast is very much like his radio show in that he can express his thoughts and share his takes on sports news and issues on his own terms. With the podcast, Francesa can deliver what he used to in a three or four hour talk show in a nicely compacted half-hour to one hour podcast depending on if it’s a show with guests.

After he’s provided his commentary on sports issues and whatever else he chooses to talk about, Francesa will end the podcast by taking some emails from his fan. It’s the closest he can get now to taking phone calls because, at the moment, phone calls are not a part of the podcasts which are all pre-recorded.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be a live element,” said Francesa. “It’s been discussed.  A couple of other companies had talked to me about doing something live once a week. I think these companies intend on moving in that direction where they are going to have some appointment radio that’s going to be live.”  

Francesa has a couple of ideas for potential live shows.

One could be for an hour every week, maybe around noon. Another possibility for a half an hour on NFL Sundays at 7:30pm eastern time before the night game starts.

“I’ve thought about that,” said Francesa. “I might do something like that because that would be very timely and very popular.” 

Francesa has been doing a baseball podcast just about each week with former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine, also under contract to Bet Rivers, and he plans on doing a Football Friday podcast.

In a lot of ways, it will mirror the football program that he did each Friday on WFAN. 

“We’re going to hire some people for the football season,” said Francesa. “They also have people under contract like Mike Ditka, Mark Schlereth and all these different people that they have signed around the country that I can use if I want.”

As for his former employers, Francesa has pretty much distanced himself from WFAN.  He did go on the air at the FAN to say goodbye to retiring longtime update anchors John Minko and Bob Heussler.   

There actually could have been a cameo return for Francesa to do a show.

This past Friday, July 1st, was the 35th anniversary of WFAN going on the air becoming the first ever all-sports radio station in 1987.

“WFAN asked me to do a show on July 1st on the anniversary,” said Francesa. “I (couldn’t) do it but I did voice a message to the fans on the 35th anniversary.”

Between his early days on WFAN, the Mike and the Mad Dog show and his solo program, Francesa was a huge part of the station’s success, but the radio station has certainly entered a new era.

In addition to Francesa, many of the names and personalities that helped in the station’s growth and sustainability, like Minko, Huessler, Steve Somers, Harris Allen and Tony Paige have all retired and are no longer on WFAN.

Since his retirement, Francesa continues to follow sports as closely as he did when he did his show, but he has not listened to WFAN very much.

“I don’t hear the FAN a lot to be honest with you,” admitted Francesa. “I really don’t. If I’m in the car, I might put it on but I really have not heard the FAN very much. I haven’t listened to it a whole lot. It just hasn’t fit my schedule very well. I haven’t heard a lot of sports talk. I watch the games. I hear the games. I listen to the ballgames on the radio if I’m in the car. I watch everything like always.”

And now, with the The Mike Francesa Podcast on the Bet Rivers Network, the iconic sports talk show personality has a platform to, like always, deliver his sports commentary to so many listeners who enjoyed his shows on WFAN. And, like always, when something big is happening in sports, Mike Francesa is once again a must-listen like he was for many years on afternoon drive radio in New York.

BSM Writers

Sports Talkers Podcast – Carl Dukes



Carl Dukes went from DJing clubs to holding every job there is in a radio building. Now he is dominating 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. Check out his conversation with Stephen Strom.






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BSM Writers

Terry Ford Couldn’t Say No To 107.5 The Game

“In Columbia, South Carolina Gamecock fans are in 150 percent. These people love football. The Atlanta experience, the taste of it in Lexington really gave me a good foundation for what we have here in Columbia.”

Tyler McComas



If he had to put a number on the big decision he made last year it would be 150 percent. Sure, leaving Lexington, KY and 96.1 WZNN didn’t happen without long thoughts and consideration for Terry Ford, but the opportunity to work for one of the most respected names in the business was too much to pass up. 

In late November of 2021, Ford was named the new program director and host at 107.5 The Game in Columbia, SC. The opportunity originally came about during a conversation between Ford and Jason Barrett. Ford had always wanted to work with Bruce Gilbert. Barrett knew this, so when the position under the Cumulus umbrella opened, he urged Ford to consider the position.

“I’ve always wanted to work for Bruce,” Ford said. “Jason told me there was an opportunity to work with Bruce and I talked to the market manager Tammy O’Dell. She was fantastic. Everything was just too good. It was 150 percent the right decision. This has been nothing but a phenomenal experience.”

Columbia is the exact market you think it is. Situated in a college town, which breeds incredible passion for Gamecock athletics. South Carolina has had success in basketball and baseball, but to its core, it’s like most other SEC markets in that college football rules the day. To an outsider, that can sometimes be a challenge to immediately grasp and understand. But Ford is no outsider when it comes to the SEC. His previous stop was in Lexington and he even did a stint in Atlanta at 790 The Zone. He knows the landscape of the SEC.

“When I was at 790 The Zone, I’ll never forget the PD Bob Richards was like, ok, you have to understand, we might have pro sports here but the Georgia Bulldogs are gigantic,” Ford said. “This is SEC country. I kinda learned then and there that if Georgia was sniffing around some 9th grader that runs a 4.2 40-yard dash, that’s a story. When you’re in SEC country, everything is a story that matters to the local program. Atlanta gave me my first taste of the passion of the SEC football fan. Lexington was different because it’s a basketball school. And in Columbia, South Carolina Gamecock fans are in 150 percent. These people love football. The Atlanta experience, the taste of it in Lexington really gave me a good foundation for what we have here in Columbia.”

But there was much more to his new gig than just understanding how much passion there is in Columbia for Gamecock football. His biggest challenge was going to be to earn the respect and trust of his on-air staff as their new PD, as well as blend into the three-man show he was going to be a part of. So how did he do that?

“It’s kind of a tightrope,” Ford said. “You’re the PD, but you’re also in the octagon with them. I really think talking with hosts in ‘hosts talk’ is the best way to connect with them when you go to another market. We hosts are different. When you can sit and talk like hosts together I think it builds a connection. I think all hosts, when you get a new PD, you’re like, ok, what the hell have you done? You’re going to be in charge of me as a host, have you hosted? I think that’s natural for a host, whether it’s outward or internal. I’ve done the same thing.”

Ford has more than 20 years of experience in sports radio. That will garner him some respect in the building, but not as much as his continued eagerness to learn from others. That could very well be one of the best traits for any PD, no matter their age or experience. If you’re always eager to learn, you’ll undoubtedly be better. Ford is just that. He wants to learn from as many people as possible. 

“I’ve always wanted to learn from guys like Scott Masteller or Bruce Gilbert or Jason Barrett,” Ford said. “People who have done this successfully at a high level. And learning from guys who’ve done it in different size markets. You can’t take things from Philadelphia and apply them to Oklahoma City. It’s a different level. I wanted to learn how different guys in different markets program their brands. I wanted to learn all aspects of the business.”

Ford’s eagerness to learn isn’t where his characteristics of being a good PD ends. In the eyes of a host, it can be appreciated that the PD in the building has also seen things from their side. Ford has done exactly that. In a closed-door meeting, he’s now the one delivering the news, good or bad, to a host. But it wasn’t long ago when he was the one sitting on the opposite side of the desk. 

“I never want to forget when I went into programming, what it’s like to sit on the other side of the desk in that other chair,” Ford said. “Because it can suck. I’ve sat in that chair and gotten good news and I’ve sat in that chair and got some crappy news. I just never want to forget what it’s like to be the guy sitting there getting news. I want to take all those experiences and all that knowledge and you come in and deal with a Heath Cline, or a Jay Phillips, or Bill Gunter, or a Pearson Fowler, who’s under 30, or Patrick Perret, who’s under 30. I want to be able to relate to them and talk to them in their host language, where they say, ok, this dude speaks the language. He gets where I’m coming from. It’s just about finding a way to relate to everyone.”

To be completely transparent, the phone call I had with Ford only lasted 20 minutes. But even in that short time, I found myself saying, wow, this is a PD I would love to work for. He’s intelligent and passionate about the business, he’s incredibly skilled and genuinely cares about relating to his hosts, but he’s also really funny. Each question he answered was well-thought-out and insightful, but it wasn’t said without a short joke until he broke out with a serious answer. He’s a guy that knows what he’s doing but isn’t the dreadful guy that sucks the life out of the building. Columbia seems lucky to have him. 

“Sometimes you get good fortune from the radio gods and other times you feel like you can’t get any luck they’re taking a dump on you,” Ford said. “They smiled on me through circumstance and with the help of a guy like Jason Barrett I ended up with a good opportunity in Columbia. It was too good to turn down. It was one of the moments where, if I turn this down, I’m a dope. I’ve been a dope in my life and this time I decided not to be one.”

I’ve always been interested in the daily life of someone who’s both a host and a PD. I don’t envy it because you have to perfectly delegate your time to fulfill both duties. So how does Ford go about it?

“Massive chaos at high speed while blindfolded,” joked Ford. “I get up around 6:30 in the morning and away from the office, I try to put in a couple hours of prep. That way people aren’t asking me about stuff and I’m not doing PD things. All I’m doing is trying to prep like a host. I try to give myself a couple hours of that before I come into the office. I’ll be honest, prepping as a PD and prepping as a host, good luck. I tell the guys here, I’m probably about 75 percent of a host right now, in terms of effectiveness. I just can’t prep like I want to. I’m a prepping dork. I jump down all sorts of rabbit holes and I’m deep-diving into stuff. As a PD you don’t have that time to dive.”

Ford started his radio career outside of sports talk. But he was always captivated by the business and spent many nights debating sports with his friends. It was a passion, even though he wasn’t yet hosting a show. 

“I always was captivated by sports talk, but when I was growing up it was a certain way,” Ford said. “It really wasn’t the way that I wanted to do it. I said, man, if it ever becomes where you can be opinionated, compelling but you can also have some fun, I’m all in. I always had an eyeball on sports while doing music radio. Around 2000, I said, I love sports, talking sports, you know what, screw it, I’m going to start looking for sports talk openings.”

So he did, but while searching for openings, Ford had to refine his craft, while also building a demo. He did it in a way that perfectly sums up who he is as both a talent and a person. He made it fun 

“I was doing rock radio at the time, and you talk to dudes, and what I would do is start sports conversations with them and record it. I would save those and put a riff in front of it like a monologue and I would take these calls and I built a demo by talking to drunk guys at a rock station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I got the gig off of that for Sporting News magazine in Seattle.”

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BSM Writers

Anatomy of a Broadcaster: Kevin Burkhardt

He is always upbeat, but never over the top. No screaming, but his energy remains consistent and smooth throughout a broadcast.



Anatomy of a Broadcaster, Kevin Burkhardt

It wasn’t all that long ago, that Kevin Burkhardt was selling cars in New Jersey. Now that’s all in his rearview mirror and Burkhardt is getting ready to enter his first season as the main play-by-play voice of the NFL on Fox. You could say he could be the definition of ‘perseverance’, doing whatever it took to chase a dream. That focus has certainly paid off nicely for Burkhardt. The leap he made in two decades time is amazing and not often duplicated. 

Growing up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Burkhardt, would do play-by-play for his Nintendo games back in his Junior High days. He loved Gary Cohen and tried to emulate him as best he could. Strangely enough, he would end up working with Cohen on Mets broadcasts on SNY. 

A 1997 graduate of William Paterson University, Burkhardt earned a degree in broadcasting. He took that degree to radio station WGHT in Northern New Jersey, spending eight years working for the station. It was a 1,000-watt, daytime only AM station. Burkhardt delivered local news and called high school football. While at WGHT he also worked at Jukebox Radio, broadcasting New Jersey Jackals minor league games for WJUX. To make ends meet while doing freelance work, Burkhardt began working as a sales associate at Pine Belt Chevrolet in Eatontown, New Jersey. Over the next six-plus years Burkhardt could not find a larger station willing to take a chance on him. 

He recalled the frustrated feeling he had back then, when he spoke with Sports Illustrated in 2013. . “I thought I was good enough to make it [in broadcasting], but after so many years of busting my tail, I was making $18,000 a year and working all kinds of odd hours,” says Burkhardt. “It just wasn’t happening for me.”

Finally, Burkhardt got a part-time job working at WCBS-AM in New York, which in turn put him on the radar of the all sports station, WFAN. He began to work there part-time, then eventually became the station’s full-time New York Jets reporter. He got the break he needed. 


After his stint at WFAN, Burkhardt joined the Mets broadcast team starting the 2007 season for SNY. He appeared on shows such as Mets Hot Stove, Mets Pregame Live, Mets Postgame Live and Mets Year in Review. His main duties though were as the field reporter during Mets telecasts. He would also call select games during both Spring Training and the regular season. 

Also, while employed at SNY, he called Dallas Cowboys games on Compass Media Networks from 2011 until 2013. That’s when he left for Fox. But, sandwiched in between was an opportunity to be seen by Fox execs. He called a Mets/Braves game with SI’s Tom Verducci on their network. The Fox brass liked what they saw. 

According to that 2013 SI article, Burkhardt’s agent initially had discussions with the network about his client calling college football this season but those talks morphed into an NFL opportunity. “When my agent called me with that, I was floored,” Burkhardt says. “I’m sure you hear people say ‘this is my dream job’ all the time, but I literally dropped to one knee on the floor. I could not believe what he was saying on the other end.”

He started with the #4 broadcast team and of course has worked his way up from there. Now, some 9 years later he’s on the top crew. After Joe Buck left for ESPN earlier this year, Burkhardt was promoted to the #1 broadcast team for the NFL on Fox, alongside Greg Olsen. 

Football isn’t the only thing Burkhardt has exceled in at the network. He is the lead studio host for Major League Baseball coverage on Fox and FS1 during the regular season, for the MLB All-Star Game and throughout the entire MLB Postseason.


When Buck left for ESPN, in my opinion Burkhardt was the obvious choice to replace him. Buck leaves some big shoes to fill, but Burkhardt has the ability to make this work. It’s never easy to replace a well-known commodity like Buck, but Burkhardt himself has been featured prominently on the network. As mentioned, his other high-profile assignments have made him visible and appreciated by viewers. 

If social media is a good judge, I almost got that out without a chuckle, the choice was a good one. Even the outgoing play-by-play man was on board with the decision. 

Burkhardt will do a great job and will become a fixture on Sunday afternoons. 


Maybe we’re finding out that he was a great car salesman through his work on television. I mean there’s a friendliness and something reassuring about the way he calls a game. It’s positive, almost downright cheerful in his delivery. You know what you’re going to get from a Burkhardt broadcast. He is always upbeat, but never over the top. No screaming, but his energy remains consistent and smooth throughout a broadcast. I really enjoy watching everything he does.

While the style may be more lighthearted in nature, the information and description are right on the mark. The presentation seems much more relaxed than some announcers that can be a little ‘in your face’ at times. I say relaxed as a compliment, because as much as you want, a broadcaster can’t be ‘hyped up’ all the time. That would be disconcerting to say the least to the viewer.  

The fact that he has such a diverse background in the business really helps. Having done radio, he can understand the importance of brevity. That comes in handy when calling a game on television, especially when you want your analyst to feel free to make points. The reporting and studio hosting on his resume allow him to be very conversational and at ease. Those assignments also tune up your listening skills, which helps when calling action and working with your analyst.  It didn’t hurt either that he had so much experience on the big stage of New York. 

I know I’ve said this a million times, but he genuinely sounds like he’s having the time of his life every time he works a game or hosts a show. Considering where he came from, I’m not surprised. 


In 2019, he called select games for FOX Sports Sun, the television home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since getting his break, Burkhardt has appeared as the celebrity endorser of Pine Belt Chevrolet, his former employer, in Eatontown, N.J.

In 2019, Burkhardt and his wife established the Kevin and Rachel Burkhardt Scholarship at William Paterson University in New Jersey, their alma mater, for a fulltime student majoring in Communications and preparing for a career in broadcast journalism.

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