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Posts Tagged ‘Mark [Chernoff’

Is CBS Sports Radio Ready to Take Over 660?

A report is swirling today that the upstart network is about get its much needed New York home–at the venerable 660 AM. That would mean, according to the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, WFAN would no longer be a simulcast, just the 101.9 FM signal.

While WFAN and CBS Radio Sports officials offered no comment today, in October when the FM deal with Merlin Media was first announced, Mark Chernoff, the station operations manager, said, “We’re looking at it as a pure simulcast until further notice.”

Speculation is CBS Sports Radio could have a full time slot at 660 as early as next Monday, the day after the Super Bowl. The News says the WFAN group, led by Mike Francesa, “believes more people listen to the station on 660 (that might be because FAN has an older audience that doesn’t dial up FM) and leaving that frequency would be a terrible business move.”

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The Annual Hungerthon Underway on CBS Radio Stations; Dedicated to Pete Fornatale

WhyHunger is the organization at the heart of Hungerthon, the yearly charity event broadcast today on many stations, primarily owned by CBS Radio.

Started in 1975, this year’s event takes on a special need–victims of Superstorm Sandy. The devastation altered the airing of Hungerthon, which traditionally runs close to Thanksgiving.

“Hurricane Sandy created a crisis that was front and center in everyone’s minds and life experience,” Noreen Springstead, director of marketing and fundraising for WhyHunger, tells FishbowlNY. “Families who had never before been without food or shelter were forced to endure these hardships for the first time, and many are still struggling to meet their basic needs.”

Despite the agency’s focus on the long-term poverty crisis, WhyHunger partnered with numerous tri-state groups to provide essential food and water to those struggling in the days and weeks since Sandy.

“Through Hungerthon’s many public service shows we are shining a spotlight on those organizations and also raising funds for their work,” Springstead says. “We have long-term relationships with the most effective organizations in New York and New Jersey that are solving the hunger problem and are able to support them during this critical time.”

Springstead says those in need can call the national hotline at 1-866-3-Hungry for assistance.

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WFAN to Begin FM Simulcast Friday

The deal is done! WFAN makes its debut as a FM simulcast of 660 AM Friday morning at 12:01.

Mike Francesa told listeners today that WFAN programming will duplicate on 101.9 FM, the frequency is currently owned by Merlin Media with its Alternative Rocker WRXP.

As we reported earlier this month, CBS Radio is acquiring the Merlin slot for $75 million. At the time, operations manager Mark Chernoff told FishbowlNY that the WFAN simulcast, which will use the call letters WFAN-FM, is until further notice. He said the next step for CBS Radio is to formally purchase the station.

Chernoff: WFAN to Offer a ’24/7′ FM Simulcast ‘Until Further Notice’

Waiting for WFAN to take its place on the FM band, FishbowlNY spoke to station operations manager Mark Chernoff (left) today, discussing what’s next for the nation’s first all-sports station. As we reported Monday, CBS Radio acquired Merlin Media’s 101.9 FM.

Chernoff tells FishbowlNY, WFAN will begin to simulcast its 660 AM programming onto 101.9 FM “24/7.” Once the local marketing agreement is approved by the FCC, the station will start as WFAN-FM. Chernoff says that should be completed within three to six weeks, with an official purchase of the property thereafter.

Dan Mason, CBS Radio president, was quoted in The New York Times this week saying, “That’s not to say the stations will remain identical forever. We’re taking it one day at a time.”

Chernoff concurs, “Right now, we’re looking at it as a pure simulcast until further notice.”

Any speculation about the future of 660 would be just that–speculation.

CBS Sports Radio is launching round-the-clock early January, leading to the possibility down the road of 660 AM as the local home for the national programming. Chernoff, though, couldn’t discuss any potential plans for after the simulcast ends. He points to the CBS Sports Minute, which already airs daily on WFAN.

“There’s no point in speculating anything, because Dan’s statement really says that we’re doing a simulcast and this is something that he and the company wanted to be consider down the line,” Chernoff says.

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Eli Manning To Join WFAN, Mike Francesa During Giants Season

Defending Super Bowl champion quarterback Eli Manning has inked a multi-year deal with WFAN. Manning will be interviewed live by Mike Francesa at 5:05 p.m. (subject to change) the day after a game. The two-time Super Bowl MVP will be heard throughout the regular season and post-season on WFAN, online, and via apps for a variety of mobile devices.

His first appearance is set for Thursday, September 6. The Giants open the season on September 5 against the Dallas Cowboys.

“As the team’s flagship radio station, we’re proud to be the leading source of Giants news for football fans across the tri-state area,” says Mark Chernoff, Vice President of Programming, CBS Radio New York and WFAN Operations Manager. “Having Eli every week is guaranteed to give listeners the best commentary, insight and discussion with a perspective only he can offer on the New York Giants. This will be appointment radio at its best.”

All Giants games throughout the regular- and post-season can be heard on-air at Sports Radio 66 WFAN, and in digital quality sound on 92.3 WXRK-FM (HD-3).

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WFAN, Mike Francesa in Running for Marconi Awards

WFAN, which celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this month, is nominated for a pair of Marconi Awards. The Marconis are awarded to stations and personalities for excellence in broadcasting.

WFAN gets named in the legendary station category for this first time ever.

The station is nominated with KYW-AM in Philadelphia, KFOR-AM in Lincoln, Nebraska, KSTP in St. Paul, and WBT-AM in Charlotte.

Mike Francesa, WFAN’s stalwart afternoon host, is recognized as a major market personality. Francesa, flying solo without Chris Russo (“Mad Dog”) since 2008, is the only New York personalty with a nomination.

“[We're] very happy to have finalists in two categories,” Mark Chernoff, WFAN operations manager, tells FishbowlNY.

Emmis’ Hot 97/WQHT is in the major market category, along with KPWR-FM in Los Angeles, WBBM-FM in Chicago, WMMR-FM in Philadelphia, and WTOP-FM in Washington.

Z100′s Elvis Duran and the Morning Show is nominated for Best Network/Syndicated Personality. Among the other nominees is Tom Joyner, formerly heard in New York on KISS FM/WRKS, and Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick.

Winners will be announced September 20 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards in Dallas.

Signs in Air for WFAN to Make FM Jump

Coming off its silver anniversary celebration, WFAN, the most powerful all-sports station in America, may be positioning itself for a dramatic dial switch to FM.

Several factors are at play for WFAN to make that leap of frequency: First and foremost is last month’s announcement that CBS Sports Radio is being created. Original 24-hour programming will air on stations throughout the country starting in January. But as early as September, CBS Sports Radio will provide updates to affiliated stations.

One of those stations poised to take some of the network content is WFAN. Operations manager Mark Chernoff remains steadfast in the future of 660 AM.

“WFAN is locally programmed, no change.”

But there is much more to this story.

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Mike Francesa ‘50-50’ on Renewing WFAN Contract in Two Years

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.”

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Sexism Struggles for WFAN’s First Voice, Suzyn Waldman: They Were ‘Terrible to Me’

America’s first, all-sports radio station–WFAN–had its first, full-blown workout on July 1, 1987 at the stroke of 3 p.m., and at 1050 on the AM dial. Not so incidental is the fact that Suzyn Waldman was the first talent to grace its airwaves.

“I was sitting in my place in the studio, and you could see into the control room, which was all glass.” Waldman recalls. “And the people from WHN were standing there … holding hands, and people were crying. I was very aware that when my voice hit the airwaves, WHN would cease to exist.”

She provided updates that inaugural afternoon for Jim Lampley‘s show.

For the next 14 years, she was heard constantly at the ballpark or in-studio, as host (two years in midday with Jody McDonald) or reporter.

But beneath the surface, right from the beginning, it was not the greatest time of her career. The primary reason was sexism.

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The Chernoff Chronicles: Celebrating 25 Years of WFAN

The nation’s first all-sports radio station is about to celebrate 25 years, and FishbowlNY is joining in the accolades.

Beginning today, we start a special, week-long series commemorating WFAN’s silver milestone July 1.

There are interviews with two charter members of the station, the first person on the air, and the signature voice a quarter-century later.

But we begin with a look back through the eyes of operations manager Mark Chernoff, who joined WFAN in 1993.

WHN owned the frequency at 1050 when Emmis suits, led by Jeff Smulyan, decided country music had run its course.

Smulyan, sales manager Joel Hollander, and others flipped the battle-tested country format in 1987 to sports. It was a mixed blessing, as WFAN was an untouched canvas on the radio easel.

“Its earliest incarnation was very different from what the ‘FAN eventually became,” Chernoff says.

Specifically, the programs were national in flavor, with many short-form features interspered within the shows. Original programming also consisted of 4 sports updates per hour, as opposed to today’s “20-20″ version. The Mets and WFAN have been perfect together since the station’s inception.

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