Move over Howard Stern, Pat McAfee is officially the new King of All Media. At least according to Al Michaels.
Michaels joined The Pat McAfee Show Friday afternoon to discuss Thursday Night Football’s seemingly improved slate of games among a rash of other topics, but the renowned play-by-play voice kicked off the interview by citing McAfee’s newly announced partnership with ESPN.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 19, 2023
“I hate to disappoint you, I know you are the new King of All Media, all of my tank tops are at the cleaners,” Michaels joked, explaining why he was wearing a short sleeve polo instead of dressing like King McAfee.
McAfee tempered the praise and reverence from Michaels, noting not everyone is as thrilled to learn about his new deal with ESPN. But Michaels wasn’t having it.
“With apologies to Howard Stern, you are the new King of All Media,” Michaels reiterated. “You understand that, right?”
For decades, Howard Stern has reigned as the King of All Media, even though his kingdom of loyal followers has appeared to dwindle since the shock jock has taken a more PG-13 approach to radio in recent years. McAfee’s name, meanwhile, has dominated the media landscape this week following the announcement that he is joining forces with ESPN.
And while Michaels believes McAfee is the new King of All Media, his fans aren’t bowing to the king over this move to ESPN. Instead, they’re kicking him in the shins.
When Stern left terrestrial radio for SiriusXM in 2006, fans assumed he would relish the opportunity to utilize his newfound freedom. And initially he did. But at 69 years old, Stern has slowly transformed into a much more measured on-air personality. As McAfee leaves the realm of independent media for ESPN, many fans fear he just gave up his freedom by joining the establishment.
McAfee has vowed that his show will not change with the move to ESPN, and he deserves some semblance of faith. One thing McAfee has shown over the years is he has no issue leaving a partnership if it’s not going the way he wants it to, as proved by him exiting Barstool, CBS Sports Radio and SiriusXM, all while continuing to grow his platform.
Maybe McAfee will similarly prove leaving FanDuel for ESPN is the right move for his show. But fans are going to want to see it in action before joining Michaels in dubbing him the new King of All Media.