Mike Greenberg must move fast as the host of ESPN’s “Get Up” each weekday morning. He’s hoping a new radio gig in the afternoons will give him the chance he needs to slow things down.
“On the TV show, we are just flying through stuff. The average interview on my show in the morning is – a long interview for us is six or seven minutes. On the radio, I could see us doing 15, 16, 17 minutes when the circumstances call for it,” says Greenberg, in an interview that is just a little longer than the time he wants for radio sessions. “It’s not every day that you have the right opportunities and the right subject matter to do that.”
Greenberg is making a return to familiar territory but hoping to blaze a different path when he gets there. His new program, “Greeny” – ESPN originally called it “The Mike Greenberg Show,” but the host says he and executives decided the name “felt very formal” – is slated to air from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays starting August 17. And it marks the first time Greenberg will have hosted a radio show since leaving one of sports-radio’s most durable vehicles in 2017. He co-hosted “Mike & Mike” with Mike Golic for 18 years. The show proved so popular that executives from across ESPN’s parent, Walt Disney, considered paring it with “Good Morning America” in a bid to woo a greater range of morning advertisers.
Greenberg carries one of ESPN’s biggest daily programming burdens. His show, “Get Up,” is supposed to take the fans who come to ESPN in the early morning for “SportsCenter” updates on all the action that took place overnight and carry them into the network’s late-morning “hot take” programs, which include the show that follows “Get Up,” “First Take.” He will have a similar assignment on the radio. Max Kellerman, one of the “First Take” co-anchors, is making his national radio debut with a program that follows “Greeny” and is meant to revisit some of the best moments of the daily “Take.”
Greenberg’s return to the medium that brought him to wider renown is just one move in a series of ESPN switch-ups of its national radio lineup. The Disney-owned sports-media giant revealed earlier this month a recalibration of the radio schedule, taking Greenberg’s former partner, Golic, off the audio roster for the first time in decades, and replacing him and his co-host, Trey Wingo, with a new morning team: Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti.
Listeners should not expect a “Mike &” to surface anew. “What Mike and I did I will always be so proud of, and it was singular and unique. I think it would be a huge mistake to try to recapture that or recreate that. That’s not on the list of possibilities,” says Greenberg.
What he relishes, he says, is the chance to spend a long time talking about an issue, or to have more room to maneuver when an important guest pays a visit. “There is an intimacy in the medium that is very difficult to recapture on television,” he says, a “’personal-ness,’ a one-to-one connection you can make,” and he’d like to take advantage of it. “There could just be a story I want to talk about at some great length,” he adds, noting that the next few weeks in sports should offer “an unending smorgasbord” of potential topics.
Others will join him when appropriate. Over the course of the two-hour program, “you will hear anywhere from three to six different voices with me, depending on the day and the circumstances.”
The host says he will be able to juggle the demands of “Get Up,” which has turned into a cornerstone of the ESPN morning schedule and the radio program. “I’m excited to get the chance to do two more hours,” says Greenberg – especially without some of the trappings of a mainstream TV effort. “A TV show is a big presentation, and this should just be a nice two-hour conversation, if we do it right.”