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Mike Francesa Finds Podcasting More Passionate Than Radio

“What we do by our very nature – it’s more passionate; it’s just more compelling when the teams lose, especially if there’s a tough loss.”

Derek Futterman




The conversations began last year to organize a reunion of Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo to take place on ESPN’s top-ranked morning debate show, First Take. The iconic sports talk duo hosted Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN for 19 years, but since had had sparse public reunions, some of which included at a Garden of Dreams benefit event, on MLB Network’s High Heat and at an appearance at the 2022 Barrett Sports Media (BSM) Summit in New York, N.Y.

Yet there is no animosity between Francesa and Russo, as they frequently discuss their families and lives primarily through text, maintaining an amicable relationship despite various disagreements over the years. Since the end of the program in 2008, fans have clamored for them to return to the New York City airwaves where they consistently finished at the top of the ratings. Today though, each remains invested in viable solo careers post-WFAN and remain prominent figures in sports media.

Stephen A. Smith, executive producer and featured commentator on First Take, listened to Francesa and Russo in his youth and helped facilitate the reunion, which was originally set for last spring. Initially, ESPN wanted Francesa to come on the show unannounced, surprising Smith, Russo and host Molly Qerim; however, Francesa thought it would not be right for him to intrude on the program, preferring it to be approved in advance.

“I had a cold so we canceled once and then we never got back to it,” Francesa said. “Then [ESPN] came back after me this year – I said, ‘Yes,’ and recently went on the show. That was basically it, but it was in the works for a long, long time.”

First Take, led by Smith, Qerim and a rotation of guest commentators, recently enjoyed its most-watched January in show history, averaging 561,000 total viewers and marking six consecutive months of year-over-year (YOY) growth in the persons 18-49 demographic. Francesa’s Feb. 1 appearance on the show drew approximately 524,000 total viewers, with persons 25-54 accounting for nearly half of the audience.

The show also happened to coincide with seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady announcing his retirement from the NFL, sparking conversation regarding his career, legacy and potential next steps in sports media. Francesa, with his vast insights and sweeping sports knowledge, was able to quickly adapt and provide valuable contributions to the conversation. It led some viewers to implore First Take to consider bringing him on as a routine contributor.

“I don’t see me doing that on a regular basis,” Francesa said. “They haven’t asked me to do that on a regular basis. I know they were very happy with the show. I know the show did very well in the ratings [and] did very well where they wanted it to do well. They were very pleased with the show, but there’s been no talk about me doing it…. and I don’t see me doing it on any regular basis.”

On July 1, 1987, the sports talk format made its debut from the sub-basement of the Kaufman Astoria Studios in New York City on WFAN. Francesa was intrigued by the station, which was formerly known as WHN and played country music.

Jeff Smulyan and the management team at Emmis Communications brought in a lineup including Greg Gumbel in mornings, Jim Lampley in middays, Pete Franklin in afternoon drive (although his debut was delayed) and Howie Rose at nights. Francesa applied as a producer and landed an interview where he learned more about the direction of the new broadcast entity.

“They told me they were bringing in all these big talk show hosts from around the country [and] that I was too qualified as a producer because of my job at CBS,” he said. “They didn’t want me on the air because they were bringing people in from all over the country and they were going to bring the biggest and the best in. I asked them to give me a chance – they wouldn’t.”

After one year on the air, WFAN was struggling, reporting losses and meager listenership, insinuating that changes needed to be made – one of which was moving frequencies (1050 AM to 660 AM). Francesa was still working at CBS Sports and eventually was given a chance to fill in for Pete Franklin on WFAN since his colleague, Jim Nantz, knew one of the producers.

Another talk show host, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, had also joined the station in late-1988 as a fill-in host and sports reporter on Imus in the Morning, returning to New York City after he had broadcast on WKIS in Orlando and WMCA in New York.

“I learned a lot from Don Imus in radio; I spent a lot of time talking to [him],” Francesa said. “I learned how to pace a show; I learned about timing from him – certain things I picked up from him being in the studio with him seeing how he did [them].”

Francesa and Russo, dissonant and seemingly-polar opposites, both wanted the opportunity to take over for Franklin once he departed afternoon drive in 1989. Mark Mason, the program director of WFAN, famously devised a concept where Francesa and Russo would host afternoons together, an idea few at the station espoused. Instead of forming the new duo, most WFAN colleagues wanted Francesa and Russo each to host a solo program, one in middays and one in the afternoon, as was the norm at the time.

Instead, Mason, dogged in his pursuit to improve ratings and revenue, was insistent on his idea and delivered an ultimatum to Francesa. It was host afternoon drive with Russo or, if he decided to go solo, be deprived of the pending opportunity to enter the coveted daypart. He chose the former, marking the inception of sports talk radio’s greatest success story and WFAN’s hallmark program for the next 19 years.

“The show had a rough transition – we didn’t get along very well in the beginning,” Francesa said. “After a couple of months when the ratings came out, the ratings were so good that there was no issue anymore. We both had to just realize that was our future because within six months, they had ripped up our contract and given us five times the money and we were already a smash.”

Over the weekday program, which first broadcast from 3 to 7 p.m., Francesa and Russo debated sports topics, interviewed eminent figures in New York sports and took calls from fans who wanted to get in on the conversation. Conducting a two-man sports talk show rather than what Francesa calls “guy talk shows,” Mike and the Mad Dog effectively redefined the format. When Mark Chernoff joined the station as its new program director in 1993, he separated himself from the program but always offered his support and expertise if they deemed it necessary.

“He just did whatever he could to accentuate the show [and] add anything that he wanted to add,” Francesa said of Chernoff. “He was very strong [and] he had a great sense of the ratings. I learned a lot of different tricks about the ratings from him.”

When Russo departed WFAN to join SiriusXM and launch “Mad Dog Sports Radio,” Francesa remained on WFAN as a solo host and continued to draw a large audience, even leading dedicated fans to launch an annual “FrancesaCon” event in New York City.

The ironic part of the situation was that it was Mike and the Mad Dog that had normalized two hosts being on the air together; Francesa seemingly went backwards in terms of sports talk radio’s evolution, yet sustained the success of the previous program. Whether fans were listening on WFAN or watching a simulcast on YES Network or Fox Sports 1, Mike’s On: Francesa on the FAN kept sports fans engaged and entertained on a daily basis until his retirement in 2017. That retirement was more of a caesura though, as he returned to the station just one year later to host a three-hour solo program and later launched a subscription-based mobile app.

“When I left the first time, everything was perfect, but they really came after me very hard to go back, so I did,” Francesa expressed. “It was very different the second time; I wasn’t working the same hours [and] I wasn’t working a full show…. From that standpoint, I look at it as when I left the first time, that was really the end because I was never really doing the same show.”

Coinciding with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to give states regulatory power over sports betting, Francesa was recruited by several different gambling companies, especially those looking to launch in the New York-metropolitan area.

At this stage of his career, Francesa knows that he is more than just a solo broadcaster opining about the latest sports news; he is a brand, and those in the space duly recognize that. Since it is perhaps more facile than ever to promulgate one’s voice, it can easily be lost in the shuffle; therefore, standing out and doing something different is critical in launching a career.

“If you’re a brand, then you’re halfway home,” Francesa explained. “If I want to do something, the money’s going to be there; the production’s going to be there; the advertising’s going to be there; the audience is going to be built-in because I’m already a brand – I’m established. It’s very hard for a newcomer to be able to accomplish that, and now if you don’t accomplish that, you don’t keep the product that long so it’s a tough thing.”

As first reported by Barrett Sports Media, Francesa reached a multi-year deal with Rush Street Interactive to become a brand ambassador for BetRivers Sportsbook last March, through which he hosts The Mike Francesa Podcast.

Since its launch last year, the podcast has released over 150 episodes and Francesa has discretion to record and post an episode whenever he desires, which is produced and edited by one of his former producers at WFAN, Brian Monzo.

“It was a lucrative offer, so I agreed to do it and I’ve had a terrific time with it,” Francesa said. “I’ve done a football Friday podcast every week that’s usually up by noon on Fridays that’s done really well. I’ve done some other podcasts including some postgame stuff on Sundays.”

When Francesa was on terrestrial sports talk radio, a distinguished part of his program involved taking callers and listening to their opinions. Although there was a share of listeners who interacted for the sole purpose of asking trivial questions and infamously hanging up to listen, there were plenty who engendered interesting content and erudite analysis.

Even though Francesa no longer hosts a live program, he still interacts with podcast listeners through email, dedicating select episodes to answering their questions. He says the show receives several-hundred emails per week and responds to them similarly to how he took calls in the past.

“It gives me a chance to keep my hand in and it’s been very well-received,” Francesa said. “We take a lot of emails from the audience where what they’ll do is send me a whole bunch of emails, and what I do is I read them spontaneously – I don’t look at them beforehand – and then I do them on a live-to-tape show.”

Much of Francesa’s sports talk still centers around New York sports, praising, commiserating and criticizing teams and players as he sees fit with the credibility, facts and proficiency to back it up. He offers the New York Yankees as an example, a storied franchise that has consistently achieved success in the regular season, but has failed to qualify for the World Series since 2009 – largely at the hands of the rival Houston Astros.

“I think what we do is easier to deal with teams when they lose than if they win,” Francesa siad. “What we do by our very nature – it’s more passionate; it’s just more compelling when the teams lose, especially if there’s a tough loss. As far as when teams win, yes – they get attention when they win, but it depends how they do when the big games arrive.”

Over his broadcast career spanning parts of six decades, Francesa, known as the “Sports Pope,” has always been motivated to procure success and explore new avenues to bring fans sports talk content. While there is nothing more he feels he needs to do in broadcasting, nor is he actively looking for new opportunities, he would be interested in exploring a Mike and the Mad Dog alternate-style broadcast. 

According to Francesa, no broadcast networks have approached him about the idea just yet, but it has been brought up on a few occasions by others. With the recent rise in alternate broadcasts, including ESPN’s Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli; Turner Sports’ Inside the All-Star Game; and MSG Networks’ BetCast during select New York Knicks games, it is entirely feasible the duo could one day consider reaching fans through this new means of dissemination.

“I think that is one thing that would do very well,” Francesa said. “I just don’t know when or where it would get done. That is one of the things – something like that would do very well. I just don’t know what would be the perfect time and place and sport to do it.”

Beginning last year, Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo are honored annually with the presentation of the Mike and the Mad Dog Award at the BSM Summit, given to the best local sports talk show.

Last year’s award was given to Felger & Mazz of 98.5 The Sports Hub, and was preceded by a retrospective where Francesa and Russo reminisced about their time working together. Despite Francesa receiving a deluge of awards and honors in his career, including Hall of Fame inductions, Marconi Award wins and No. 1 sports talk host distinctions, he remains thankful to be held in high regard by his peers.

“Any time you’re recognized for your body of work, you’re going to very humbly and graciously accept it because that’s what you do,” he said. “When somebody recognizes it as being outstanding, you’re going to be very happy about that because that’s what we do. We’re performers, so when somebody recognizes your performance, you’re going to be very grateful about it.”

With many consumers possessing a device that can reach an audience of billions in their pocket, differentiation between talent is indispensable and the means to cultivate prosperity.

Out of the number of aspiring sports media professionals, very few attain the success Francesa has in his career, and he did it simply by being genuine with the audience and acting as himself. The medium notwithstanding, Francesa is a trusted and respected voice among sports fans in the New York-metropolitan area and the United States at large, and he continues to amplify his takes through his podcast in this new phase of his career.

“There’s a lot of noise out there; there’s a lot of sound out there,” Francesa said. “….Whatever it may be, you have to find a way to cut through to get noticed because if you don’t, there’s just too many podcasts and too many programs out there.”

BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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Barrett Media Writers

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