When Your Family is Named Mike – and Mike

For eight years, my commute to work involved an hour’s drive. When I first relocated to working in the suburbs, I realized I had to upgrade my 12-year old car for a new, more reliable model. And along with the car, I decided to subscribe to satellite radio. After all, I needed entertainment for all that alone time. Being a sports fan, I happily settled into commuting to the office accompanied by Mike & Mike on ESPN radio.

For the uninitiated, the Mikes are a team of opposites – Mike Greenberg is a sports journalist while Mike Golic enjoyed an eight-year career in the NFL. Together, they chatter as a self-proclaimed nerd and a jock, with an on-air chemistry that’s both entertaining and informative. Whether dishing on the prior day’s professional sports highlights or offering insights to help settle March Madness brackets or fantasy football line-ups, I became a loyal listener.

What’s interesting was how easily I made an emotional connection with two guys I never met. Maybe it was the subject matter – yes, spectator sports are a very emotional pastime! Or perhaps it was the genuine easy rhythm that comes after 15 years of working together. No matter how it happened, they made it feel like I was spending time with old friends. I even got to know their families a bit!  And frankly, it got to the point that I actually found I missed one or both Mikes when travel or vacation took them away from the show.

Last spring, however, I had to give them up because my job moved back into the city and I reclaimed train commuting. I occasionally listened to a replay of the show but it’s just not the same as live. Recently, I was driving to work in another one office and was excited to tune in to the Mikes. It had been a while and the football season was in full swing so I was ready for some good insights. But just like any good family, a surprise was in store – today’s scoring highlight was Mike Golic’s standout performance in a donut eating contest! With a laugh-out-loud moment in the car, it felt like we’d only been together yesterday as I listened to Greenie proudly congratulate his co-host on his big win.

Why was this such a great example of the “Mike & Mike” brand?

  1. Authenticity – these guys are who they are. Golic is a self-deprecating, extrovert, who understands that being a radio host requires entertaining. And Greenie is student of journalism, who often talks about his humble start, and helps steer their focus.
  2. Emotional connections – whether the NFL Superbowl or the station’s donut challenge, these guys know sports and help listeners appreciate athletics through their lively dialogues. Yet their friendly demeanor and down-to-earth style is classic water-cooler office chatter vs. know-it-all smartypants.
  3. Consistency – you know what to expect in terms of overall content and style. And if you like the experience, you want to come back for more!

I congratulate these guys for providing a thoroughly entertaining show that kept my dial positioned on ESPN for eight enjoyable years. I don’t miss putting all those miles on my car, but it’s comforting to know that whenever I have the occasion to drive to work, my Mikes will be waiting to keep me company!

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Brand X(tinct): Remembering CDs

On a recent Friday afternoon, I found myself trapped in my car creeping along with weekend-getaway traffic. If I’m driving alone, I can typically entertain myself with NPR programming and singalong radio. However, NPR was pretty stuck on covering the prior evening’s Republican presidential debate and “Shut Up and Dance” was seemingly the only song on most stations. So I decided to do something I hadn’t done in years – listen the the CDs I threw in the car when I bought it five years ago.

I don’t know about you, but Spotify is the only way I consume music. CDs seem so quaint, but has it really been that long ago since they were our main music source? Given that most of these CDs were personal playlists, I had no idea what I was in for. My musical surprises included my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding playlist, lots of U2 and workout pop tunes. Slipping the CDs into the player and scrolling through the recordings filled me with nostalgia, not just for the memories associated with each song, but for the reminder of the evolving styles of music listening over the years.

From boom boxes to 5-foot tall speakers, to CDs and walkmens, iPods, and now streaming audio, it’s all about the love of the song. And sing along I did — and eventually, I drove out of the traffic jam and got to my weekend destination — and plugged in my Beats Pill wireless for more music.

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