Mike Francesa’s positive impact on sports radio should be referenced in sports journalism classes forever, but a recent interview he conducted should also be used to teach aspiring hosts exactly what not to do when on-air.
Growing up as an avid WFAN listener, I will always have a soft spot for Francesa, but just like I criticize the Mets despite being a die-hard fan, I can’t listen to The Sports Pope without admitting when things go awry. And on a recent episode of The Mike Francesa Podcast, things briefly went awry during an interview with former NHL defenseman and current New York Rangers TV analyst Joe Micheletti.
There used to be three constants when Francesa hosted his afternoon radio show for WFAN during the NHL and NBA playoffs. Pierre McGuire, Ira Winderman, and Joe Micheletti. Now that Francesa has returned to the airwaves with a podcast through the BetRivers Network, he welcomed back old reliable Joe Micheletti to break down the Rangers playoff run.
In one corner you have Francesa, the Godfather of sports talk radio who doesn’t back down from anybody on his own show. In the other corner, you have Micheletti, who exudes the competitive spirit of a former NHL player and has nearly three decades of broadcasting experience of his own.
So when both Francesa and Micheletti feel the need to talk at the same time, who will back down? The answer is no one.
Mike Francesa vs Joe Micheletti. Who can talk over who louder? pic.twitter.com/hCoNF3NLXF
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) June 7, 2022
Francesa has taken bows throughout his career for some of the sports radio interviews he’s done. But one of the most important rules for conducting a good radio interview has to be ‘don’t talk when the other person is talking.’ You’re not even supposed to give a “yeah,” or “mmhm” while the other party is speaking. Francesa bypassed that advice and just steamrolled right over Micheletti.
Talking over people during interviews will happen, especially when the conversations are being conducted via Zoom or the phone. But I couldn’t stop listening to the above one-minute piece of audio where Francesa and Micheletti used their voices to battle over each other. Were they having headset trouble? There’s no way they could both keep talking over each other like that.
Then again, this is Francesa.