On Tuesday, The Ringer published a profile of Mike Francesa, written by Bryan Curtis.
As with all of Curtis’ sports media features, the piece was well-reported and revealing, with fun details sprinkled from start to finish. You should read it.
But since you’re already here, these are the three things we learned from Curtis’ piece.
1. Mike Francesa does not like podcasts, is mad that everyone has one
Francesa has been jabbering on WFAN in New York for 30 years, and he’s clearly very proud of his reach and his longevity. Therefore, he seems to resent the fact that so many people have a podcast, as if they are all short-cutting his path to a platform.
“Problem is, they’re handing out podcasts like they’re Pez, OK?” Francesa said.
“Right now, my producers have a podcast. No offense, but they have a podcast. If you showed up here as an intern, they’d give you a podcast. … They give everybody a podcast. How can that work? Can you give everybody a show? If you can’t give everybody a show, how can you give everybody a podcast?!”
Curtis asked Francesa, who says he has never listened to a podcast, what interests him about the medium.
“Right now, nothing,” Francesa said. “It’s a folly. They’re doing it so wrong.”
2. Still, Francesa is probably going to host a podcast after he leaves WFAN in December.
Curtis then asked Francesa what would improve his opinion of podcasting.
“I’m not telling you yet because I know how to fix it,” he said.
If you’re thinking this much about podcasting, is that a hint about your next professional act?
“Possibly,” Francesa said.
Throughout the article, Francesa conspicuously left the door open to a post-WFAN career in podcasting. If he does launch a podcast, it figures to be pretty successful because…
3. Francesa has a secret plan to monetize podcasts
Later on in the story, Francesa elaborated on how he’ll “fix” podcasting.
The first step is to have a brand.
Now, Francesa finds himself studying the empires of Bill Simmons and Glenn Beck and Adam Carolla. He has some ideas.
“First of all, if you go into the podcast business without a brand, you’re dead,” Francesa said. “You have to be a brand … Simmons does that. Carolla does that. Beck does that. I will do that. … I’m going to do well in that business as soon as I walk into it because I’m a brand.”
The next step is to do… something to monetize the podcast. We don’t get to find out quite yet what that something is, though.
As to how podcasting can earn real money without a steady stream of P.C. Richard & Son ads, well, this is where Francesa’s secret plan comes in. “I think I have an idea, I really do,” he said. “I’ve given it a lot of thought.”
Francesa has seven more months at WFAN. Then maybe we’ll get to figure out what the mystery trick to podcasting is.