While Mike Francesa may be retired (again) from New York radio station WFAN, he’s apparently still interested in doing sports media work. Francesa appeared at the Barrett Sports Media Summit this month with former radio partner Chris “Mad Dog” Russo (and provided some interesting comments there on how Stephen A. Smith was once considered as a potential Russo replacement in 2008), and now, that site has some news on Francesa’s next venture. That’s a weekly podcast in partnership with sportsbook BetRivers, which will also feature Francesa’s former WFAN producer Brian Monzo, and will have BetRivers ambassador (and former Mets’ manager, and former mayoral candidate, and possible wrap inventor, and dog poop abandoner) Bobby Valentine as a regular guest. Here’s more on that from Derek Futterman at Barrett Sports Media:
An official announcement is expected to be made Tuesday morning around 9am ET. The first episode from Francesa is scheduled to be released either next Monday, March 28th or Tuesday, March 29th. Episodes will run up to one hour each in an audio-only format – for now – as video could come into play in the future. Francesa is expected to release two episodes per week as part of the deal.
To help make Francesa’s transition into podcasting a smooth one, he’ll turn to longtime producer Brian Monzo. The two men spent years working together in afternoon drive at WFAN. Also providing a blast from the past to Francesa’s new show will be former New York Mets manager and fellow BetRivers Sportsbook ambassador Bobby Valentine. Bobby V, who provided appointment radio on Francesa’s show on The Fan, will join the show weekly throughout the 2022 Major League Baseball season.
In addition to hosting his new podcast, Francesa will voice commercials for BetRivers. He’ll also make a few appearances at major sporting events where he’s likely to contribute a few short videos.
It will be interesting to see how Francesa transitions into a full weekly podcasting format. He had previously done some audio exclusively for his subscription-only app (which wound up being bought out by Entercom and made free), but that was still very much in the daily radio vein. With a full week between episodes here, it will be worth keeping an eye on how he approaches this; will he cover anything he wants to from the past week, or just what’s going on that day, and how much attention will be paid to making the content something people will be interested in days later versus the day it drops? With all that said, though, Francesa has proven quite adept at navigating various format changes over the years, so this might be just one more transition he’s able to make.
At any rate, there are still definitely a lot of people interested in Francesa. So it makes sense for BetRivers to at least try this out. (It’s notable that this is a multi-year deal, though, so it’s not set up as a trial run.) And there may well be demand for this podcast, especially if he’s able to adapt well to the format. We’ll see how it goes.