With great fanfare, sports talker Mike Francesa broadcasted his final WFAN show on December 15, 2017, after 30 years with the New York City radio station. The retirement seems to be short lived, however, according to the New York Post, which claims that he is desperate to get back on the air, even if it means where he used to work.
[See update below]
Mike Francesa, who went to work for “The FAN” in 1987 when it was the only 24-hour sports talk station in the country, dominated afternoon drive Monday through Friday since 1989 on the outlet, which broadcasts on 660 AM and 101.9 FM as well as streaming on the internet. He was partnered with Chris Russo on the Mike and the Mad Dog show through August 2008, and then flew solo as Mike’s On after Russo jumped to SiriusXM satellite radio. The duo were recently featured in an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary.
Francesa’s noncompete clause expired on April 1, and he has been looking around for another gig, which necessitated hiring an agent for the first time in his career.
The Post claims that WFAN itself could be back in play for the 64-year-old radio anchor.
‘”I’m not answering questions about any specific stations,’ Francesa told The Post during a five-minute conversation. While Francesa or his representatives have had talks with executives from 98.7 ESPN New York and WOR 710 AM, according to sources, a return to FAN in some form could be in motion.”
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) April 23, 2018
WFAN hired the trio of Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray, and Bart Scott (CMB) as Francesa’s replacements for the afternoon commute time slot, but the ratings have deteriorated in the New York City-area market to 10th place, possibly creating an opening for Francesa. CMB‘s salaries combined are said to be a third of what Francesa was banking when he filled the time slot, however.
Radio stations have their largest audience when listeners or potential listeners are commuting to and from their jobs, and against that backdrop, WFAN’s morning presentation is also struggling. Formerly the top-rated Boomer & Carton show (Boomer being ex-NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason), Craig Carton stepped down from the station in September 2017 following his arrest in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. Carton has denied the allegations and subsequently launched an online show.
The replacement show, Boomer & Gio (Greg Giannotti), dropped to seventh place in the winter ratings book, according to the Bob’s Blitz website.
Whether sports aficionados tuned in because they were Mike fans (small case) or hate-listened because Francesa seemed to come across as overbearing and self-important, he brought home the ratings. When making game prognostications, moreover, Francesa would often give himself an escape clause by saying that while team A would win a particular matchup, “it wouldn’t surprise him” if team B prevailed. He also seldom owned up to predictions or player evaluations that were way off the mark.
Time-honored Francesa foe Bob Raissman, of the New York Daily News, is not a fan, as it were, of Mike Francesa (who he has derisively nicknamed the Sports Pope) theoretically taking away somebody’s air shift if he returns to the WFAN microphones.
“Here’s the bottom line with Francesa: He overestimated his value in the marketplace and underestimated how much he would miss the business. His ego is so large that he’s not satisfied just looking in the mirror and making the same points over and over again. He still needs the adulation of the unwashed masses to feed his ego…’If he came back here it would be a real s— show,’ a WFAN source said. ‘It’s no secret that he is not well-liked. How do you think we would feel if he returned just to take someone else’s job?'”
As this is a deveoping story, check back with the Inquisitr for further developments in the Mike Francesa job hunt.
Update: According to Raissmann, Mike Francesa’s WFAN comback is almost a done deal, barring last-minute complications.
“Francesa will be back in the 3 p.m.-7 p.m. slot, according to well-embedded Hudson Street (FAN Headquarters) rats. The sources said the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. slot will be divided between Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, currently FAN’s 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. team, and CMB, aka Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott, who replaced Francesa earlier this year.”
Mike Francesa told Newsday today that “it’s time to return to WFAN.”