One of the more iconic radio voices in New York City over the past three decades is Mike Francesa. The business has changed since you first heard Mike & The Mad Dog back in 1989 as many new options for sports information have surfaced in the last three decades.
This week, on the New York, New York podcast at The Ringer, John Jastremski had Francesa on to talk about New York sports and how Francesa views where the business of sports talk radio is headed.
“When we started, it was a really different world,” he said. “The internet hadn’t taken off yet. There was no such thing as a podcast. You didn’t have the information at your fingertips. Now, everybody has everything at their fingertips. Twitter has even changed it again. Now what you have is the buffer between the athlete and the game/fan has eroded. What it has done is it has made the people that do what Dog and I started very different. Stories are broken in a moment’s time. People don’t think that the game is enough. Now I have to do a million different things to compete.”
While the industry has changed, Francesa said it is also a lot easier for people to break into the industry compared to when he started.
“You can start your own stuff on Tik Tok or your own podcast. If you cut through, great! That’s the key. How do you make a name for yourself if you aren’t a brand when the audience has so much available to them? That is the thing that has put the pressure on the performer. I think a lot of them fail at being clever instead of doing the best job they can do in the area they are there for.”
Jastremski added that there is a void for people that miss the way that Mike & The Mad Dog did their show. Francesa countered that even though things are going to change over the course of 35 years, quality will always win.
“If you are good at what you do, if you are entertaining and opinionated and you give them something that’s unique, they will come find it.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Joel Utley, College Basketball’s Record Holder for Most Games Called, Retires
Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record.
Joel Utley has announced he is retiring from broadcasting and as the voice of the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers.
Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record. He broadcast 1,933 Kentucky Wesleyan games during that span, also a record for total games called. He began his career on December 2, 1961 when KWC defeated California State University – Northridge, 100-64.
Utley also is the only broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games (all levels) including eight Division II titles.
“It was a tough decision to make, but the timing is right to step down,” Utley said. “What I have done as a broadcaster reflects my love for KWC. My career has been beyond any dreams I ever had.”
He is a member of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and in September, Utley will be inducted into the Kentucky Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame.
Mark Chernoff: ‘I Didn’t Believe Mad Dog Was Going To Leave WFAN’
“I wish they hadn’t separated, because it was the most amazing team.”
Mark Chernoff offered some great stories and insight on the latest episode of The Jason Barrett Podcast. The former program director of WFAN in New York began his appearance by paying tribute to the station’s three soon-to-be Hall of Famers.
He reflected on Jeff Smulyan’s vision in creating sports radio, Suzyn Waldman’s gravitas and versatility as a reporter and talent, and all of the success he shared with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.
Russo and his long time radio partner Mike Francesa split up in 2008 after Russo left WFAN for Sirius. Chernoff admitted that even as he was told it was about to happen, he still didn’t believe it.
“You know, I misread a little bit the situation with Mike and Chris,” he admitted. “Mike said ‘Dog’s gonna leave. I know he’s gonna leave.’ He even intimated that he had spoken to Mel [Karmazin, the then-CEO of Sirius], not Mike but Chris, and it was likely he was going to go over to Sirius. And I just couldn’t believe it.”
Mike and the Mad Dog is as dominant a show as local sports radio has ever produced. The duo was together from 1989 until 2008. When they split up, Mark Chernoff says that he took it personally.
“I was sad for a really long time. I was angry too.”
The move hurt his relationship with Russo for a while. The two did not speak for a long time.
He told Barrett that that is over now. They share occasional texts and always hug and catch up when they see each other. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t still some lingering disappointment.
“I wish they hadn’t separated, because it was the most amazing team,” Chernoff said of Mike & the Mad Dog. “But both [Chris] and Mike were certainly successful on their own.”
New episodes of The Jason Barrett Podcast are released each Tuesday morning.
Eli Gold To Miss Start of Alabama Football Season
He’s faced his share of health challenges recently. His streak of 409 consecutive Alabama football games was broken in 2020 after a COVID diagnosis.
Legendary Alabama play-by-play announcer Eli Gold will miss the beginning of the 2022 football season with health issues.
Jim Carabin, Vice President and General Manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing announced the news Wednesday. The school did not elaborate on Gold’s ailment, only saying he would be sidelined to begin the season.
Chris Stewart, who handles play-by-play duties for Alabama’s basketball and baseball teams will fill in during Gold’s absence. Stewart will also host The Nick Saban Show and Hey, Coach until Gold returns.
The 68-year-old Gold is a 2014 inductee to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Gold, who’s contract runs through the 2023 season, has been the Voice of the Crimson Tide since the 1988 season.
He’s faced his share of health challenges recently. His streak of 409 consecutive Alabama football games was broken in 2020 after a COVID diagnosis. Gold also had both shoulders replaced that same year.
In addition to his work with the Crimson Tide, Gold has served as an announcer for NASCAR, NFL, NHL, and the NBA G-League, among others.