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Mike Francesa: ‘Mike & the Mad Dog Is Reason Kids Want To Be Sports Talk Hosts’

“We made sports talk matter and we made it be held to a much loftier standard.”

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Mike Francesa

On the latest edition of his BetRivers podcast, Mike Francesa was asked what he is most proud of from his time partnered with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. It didn’t take him long to answer. He is convinced that sports talk, as a radio format, doesn’t exist the way it does now without his old WFAN show.

He said that before there were dedicated sports talk stations, the guy who talked about sports on the local talk station wasn’t taken seriously. He said the guys hosting those radio shows weren’t even treated as peers of newspaper columnists or television anchors.

“People had always looked at sports talk as a guy with a bell and a whistle who was on after 6 o’clock who either answered trivia questions or yelled and screamed his head off and made a fool of himself,” Francesa said. “I think we changed all that.”

According to Mike Francesa, there is now a standard for what good sports talk is. It doesn’t sound the same in every market, but a good host can be the most important and influential member of his local sports media. There is a generation of young people that grew up with that being the norm.

“I think we made sports talk matter to the point now where kids go to school to become sports talk show hosts.”

Francesa has never had a problem putting the importance of his show into perspective. He said that after Mike & the Mad Dog, night time shows with bells, whistles and trivia wouldn’t be good enough for sports fans anymore.

“We made sports talk matter and we made it be held to a much loftier standard.”

Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Leads 97.1 the Freak For Its Debut in Dallas

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

The dawn of a new sports radio signal in Dallas has come and who else to be the first voice you hear, but the Old Grey Wolf Mike Rhyner.

97.1 the Eagle stopped their regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, the technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming into new programming. They began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them then went into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history transitioned into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

He would go on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas. 97.1 The Freak is off and running.

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Sports Radio News

Howie Rose Plans to Travel for Mets Postseason Games

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose said.

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Howie Rose has cut back on his travel schedule as the radio voice of the New York Mets in 2022, but he says that no place is off limits during the playoffs.

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose told Newsday. “A lot of this was designed to make sure that I had enough reserve to be able to handle anything that comes up in terms of road trips.”

Rose, 68, readies for what is likely to be a Wild Card series start to the playoffs and because of their Wild Card status, a win there could mean a trip to Los Angeles for the National League Divisional Series.

“It’s not exactly like managing Edwin Diaz’s innings, but I think that doing the number of games that I have and more to the point, being able to take the breaks that I have, has enabled me to approach the postseason with a clear mind and the full-speed-ahead attitude that you need to have.”

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Sports Radio News

Jake Chapman Named Orlando Magic Radio Play-By-Play Voice

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Jake Chapman has been introduced as the new radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Chapman is beginning his 10th overall season with the franchise. He has previously served as the pre-game and post-game host for the team, as well as the radio producer. He joined the club as in intern in 2006 before becoming a producer in 2009. He then joined the Detroit Pistons Radio Network in 2014 to become its pre-game and post-game host as well as executive producer. He later joined 92.3 The Fan and the Cleveland Browns Radio Network as a producer. He returned to the Magic in 2019.

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Brandon Kravitz will serve as co-host for pregame, halftime and postgame. The network pregame show, Magic Tonight, will hit the air 30 minutes prior to tip-off. Magic Tonight is scheduled to premiere on October 11.

96.9 The Game is the radio flagship of the Magic Radio Network.

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