Whether you call him arrogant, curt, opinionated, argumentative, abrupt, or intolerant, Mike Francesa agrees.
However, as we conclude our celebration of WFAN’s 25th anniversary, the longtime afternoon host was nothing but open and candid during our wide-ranging, sit-down interview.
Francesa, the station’s signature talent, an afternoon mainstay for 23 years, is starting to think about retirement.
“My contract will expire in two years from right now. For the first time ever, we’re not going to negotiate until a year from now,” Francesa admits to FishbowlNY. “… When we’re a year out, we will have a conversation, Dan [Mason, CBS Radio, president and CEO], Mark [Chernoff, WFAN operations manager]. Les Moonves [CBS, president and CEO], if he gets involves. He did last time.
“…Two years could be enough. It would be 25 years. I don’t know. It depends on a lot of things… Right now, I’d say it’s ’50-50,’ it could go either way.”
Francesa, 58, realizes that any decision about his future would be made for him once he stopped being a revenue generator.
“I am an economic realist. I’ve understood from the beginning this is a business,” Francesa says. “And that’s why I feel blessed that I’ve been able to be here in this position for 25 years.”
Of course, the bulk of those years Francesa shared, sometimes contentiously, with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Their 19-year partnership ended suddenly in 2008 when Russo (“Mad Dog”) bolted for Sirius XM.
“I didn’t begrudge him leaving for one second. I never had an issue with that,” Francesa says. “It just wasn’t handled properly, which I think he now understands it and would readily admit.”