If you’re up early and you like sports, chances are you have tuned in to listen to Mike North in the morning. Mike’s the second half of the dynamic duo on Fox Sports FS Daybreak, which airs weekday mornings from 5 am thru 8 am ET. He’s also the other half of the dynamic duo behind the team at www.NorthtoNorth.com where you can find everything from a recipe for Be-Be’s favorite tenderloin, to Mike’s latest take on everything that’s going on in the sports world, as well as, information on how to adopt a pet. According to Mike, Be-Be is a huge part of his success and if you’ve listened to Mike in the morning, you know that he often talks about his wife during the show. This is why when I reached out to interview Mr. North, I made sure to extend an invitation to both he and his wife, because I had a feeling BeBe would bring so much to the table, and would be able to share some of the essential ingredients to his success, including any thoughts on just how Mike happened to get so lucky.
It was no surprise to me that Mike and Be-Be made me feel right at home the afternoon we got together to talk about his successful journey thus far. Listening to Mike in the morning had become somewhat of a daily ritual for me, and I have listened to the show enough to have a pretty good idea of what to expect from him. Quick wit, pointed sarcasm, and brilliant realism are pieces of the puzzle that I’ve come to expect of Mike North. Not like there was any guarantee that Mike would be as personable off air, as he is when he’s live on the radio, but I had a feeling he’d be exactly the way he is each morning when he’s on the radio. In fact, I was pretty certain that his realism on air is one of the things that got him to where he is now and is a part of the driving force that keeps him heading in one direction. That direction, by the way, continues to be pointing upward toward a successful reign in both the sports and gaming industry. Yes, I know those in the sports industry are not supposed to talk about gaming because it’s considered taboo to ever mention both in the same sentence but Mike’s got no problem with gamblers, in fact he thinks that betting on sports might be a wiser investment than investing in stocks.
“Of course, there’s an element of luck involved with both fantasy sports and sports betting. Yet, if you think about it there’s luck involved in everything in life. Think about it when you drive down the freeway, there’s a certain element of luck involved that you’re not in the car that just got rear ended or crashed. Living itself is lucky,” Mike North.
Mike and Be-Be North have been married over thirty-eight years and although they both believe that luck is an element in all that they do, they know that it took more than luck to get them to where they are now. Mike’s a hard worker. According to BeBe, he’s always been that way. “Even when he was out late [working in the entertainment industry that can happen a lot] he was always up for work the next day. He’s got a very solid work ethic and he’s always going to show up.” “There’s no substitute for hard work,” Mike shared, “if you’re going to make it in this life, you’ve got to put in the time to get to where you want to be. Sure luck might be involved but nothing beats working your ass off and knowing you got to where you are because you actually kicked ass and put in the time.”
Perhaps my favorite part of the interview was listening to Be-Be describe how they met and the beginning of their relationship. Both hail from Chicago and back in the early seventies Mike was drafted and had to go off to the Army. On leave for a weekend he happened upon the grocery store when BeBe was working and after seeing her he decided to make a purchase from her lane so he could ask her out. “I had to come up with something to buy, so I grabbed a 3 Muskateers bar.” Although BeBe initially turned down she decided to accept his invitation after he pursued her further [which Mike says back in the day was romantic but nowadays he’s not sure he would not be seen as a stalker since he showed up at her home and asked her out again] and showed up at her home. After that weekend Mike left for Kansas, but during the time he was away he wrote several love letters, which BeBe says she still has saved. Mike still remembers standing in line to use a pay phone to call BeBe and he marvels at how technology has caused such a shift in the dating and relationship scene. “I cannot imagine what it would be like now to date or court anyone because it’s as though you can stay in constant contact with a person, but back in the day it was not like that and trust me luck played a key role. I would stand in line for hours waiting to use a pay phone just to talk to Be-Be. I considered myself lucky whenever I heard her voice on the other end of the phone,” Mike shared.
Mike and Be-Be share a solid bond and share many of the same interests. They both have an appreciation for sports, especially Chicago sports. During the interview Mike described how he has always enjoyed playing, watching and talking sports and he also shared that he realizes that he is not alone. In fact, he’ll be the first to admit he knows he’s not unlike a thousand other guys when it comes to his passion for sports. So how come he’s on the radio and many of them are not? “Again, it might all come down to luck. Who’d have thought that working a hot-dog stand would lead to a radio gig? But that’s exactly how it all started,” Mike said. Mike and Be-Be love to eat and they opened a hot-dog stand back in 1979. In 1984, they opened Be-Be’s, a fast food restaurant near Schurz High School in Chicago. The owner of Diamond Broadcasting came in one day to eat and told Mike he was planning on starting a cool country staion. Mike told him he should really start a sports station. Dan Lee, the owner, left that day thoughtful, and a month later it was announced Diamond was starting a sports station. They soon recognized Mike’s passion for sports talk and he was on his way. According to Mike he loves handicapping games. It’s a challenge to stay on top of teams and pick winners. “What’s very important is you can’t let it get to you. You need to adapt the same strategy as a baseball player who might be in a slump. You go 0-5 one day does not mean you change a thing. It just means that you went 0-5 and that’s going to happen. You just wake up the next day and do exactly what you have always done and that’s ride it out and don’t stick to the game plan. Eventually, if you do your homework and stay focused you’re going to end up getting out of the slump. You just can’t panic and change course without being thinking clearing. You can make money in sports betting, but you need to treat it the same way you would treat any business,” Mike said. Mike currently does handicapping for Vegasscoresand odds.com
During my conversation with Mike and Be-Be North we covered a lot of tracks. One thing I asked of Mike was for him to clarify the difference between entertainment and news, because I’ve often heard him comment on air about his role is to entertain and not report. Mike shared that he’s always trying to report accurately but his role is to entertain and it’s not his job to be digging up facts as opposed to talk about the facts that are dug up and reported. He also shared that sports talk is meant to be somewhat of an escape from the horrific events such as what had recently happened in San Bernardino. “We tried to stay clear of specifics, and it’s not because we are insensitive but because we are aware that we are an escape. People are tuning in to use to hear about something other than tragedies. Of course, sometimes tragedies hit the sports world and we have no choice but to talk about that,” North shared.
So what about the way the NFL has been plagued with issues about concussion related injuries, domestic violence, poor officiating etc., Mike hates what’s happened to sports as respects to the way it seem as though they are doing a gossip hour as opposed to talking about that team’s performances and scores but he also added that it’s a necessary evil nowadays. “If everybody’s talking about it and it pertains to sports we have to share our take. What we try to do is talk about how the leagues are handling certain situations as opposed to the issues themselves,” he explained.
Mike’s journey has been incredible so far. He is still amazed that he has hung out and befriended the likes of Walter Peyton and Harry Caray, two of Chicago’s sports legends. And me, I’m amazed that both Mike and Be-Be took the time to hang with me and treat me like one of the family. Mike and Be-Be are like that. They don’t discriminate and they believe that all people are people worthy of their time. It’s not always easy to connect with everyone, especially when Mike’s fan base is what it is, but he does his best to treat everyone the way he’d want to be treated. That does not necessarily mean he’d throw on the politically correct mask, because the truth is, he does not own one. What you see is what you get with Mike North and he would not have it any other way.
As our time drew to a close, Mike had shared his take on Donald Trump, political correctness, and Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. I found myself laughing at times the same way I do when I listen to him on the morning show.
The love and laughter of both Mike and Be-Be North are infectious. It was, for me an absolute joy to sit down and get their take on the world as we know it and learn a little bit more about how they managed to get lucky. By the time this article goes to print, it’s no doubt Mike will be on the airwaves talking about all the madness of March, and Be-Be who is no doubt one of his biggest fans will be tuned in.
Oh, just one more thing. This write up would be remiss if I failed to mention the North’s pride and joy and that is their adorable black lab, Lucky! Lucky made his appearance just at the half way mark of the interview, just like Mike it was very obvious that he wanted to communicate how to “Get Lucky!”
To Learn More about what Mike North describes as the art of handicapping, visit www.NorthtoNorth.com and follow him on Twitter @North2North. You’ll also be able to get Be-Be’s recipes, learn how you can adopt a pet, and see some of the family photos.[ Note: Original article published by Mancave Media in Mancave Playbabes-March 2016 ]