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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Francesa’

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.

Mike Francesa Named Most Influential Sports Talker

For several years, Talkers magazine has compiled the “Heavy Hundred” talk radio hosts. With sports such a huge radio genre, the magazine is unveiling its first list of 100 Most Important Sports Talk Hosts in America.

Numerous New York personalities dot the survey. But you can start right at the top, as Mike Francesa (left) is selected as the best. The WFAN afternoon host has been in the driver’s seat alone since 2008 when Chris Russo (a.k.a. Mad Dog) bolted for SiriusXM.

Russo failed to get the same support from Talkers, landing at number 39. He was surpassed by WFAN’s morning team Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, in the high rent district of number 4.

Other WFAN hosts on the inaugural list include: Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts at 42, and original host Steve Somers at 56.

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Most Popular FishbowlNY Stories for the Week

Here’s a look at what FishbowlNY stories made the most buzz this week.

  1. Dave Price Gets Started on Good Day New York, July 2
  2. Greg Kelly (left) Slides into Prime Time as Main WNYW Anchor, July 3
  3. Fox 5/WNYW Rocked by Major Anchor Shakeup, June 28
  4. Mike Francesa ’50-50′ on Renewing WFAN Contract in Two Years, June 29
  5. Reuters Hires Caveman to Write Headlines, July 5
  6. WCBS-FM Celebrating 40th with Reunion Weekend, July 3
  7. With Ann Curry Pushed Aside, Savannah Guthrie Expected to Get Spot on Today Couch, June 28
  8. Battle of Morning News, WLNY Debuts on The Couch, July 2
  9. Sexism Struggles for WFAN’s First Voice, Suzyn Waldman: They Were ‘Terrible to Me,’ June 28
  10. Lionel Poised to Take Helm of Revamped Early Morning WPIX Newscast, June 29

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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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WFAN Original John Minko ‘Didn’t Know What to Expect’ When Station Started 25 Years Ago

Courtesy: newyork.cbslocal.com

Our special series marking WFAN’s silver anniversary cannot overlook John Minko. His distinct voice is one of only three from the on-air talent pool that has thrived at the all-sports station for 25 years. The other two are Steve Somers and Ed Coleman.

“I’m the original update person on the weekends from midnight til 6, and also was on the street [reporting] for three days during the week,” Minko tells FishbowlNY, moments before returning to the studio for another live sports report.

During the 2000s, Minko was the radio play-by-play man for Army football on WABC and WFAN’s top rival WEPN/(then ESPN 1050).

These days Minko, 59, is one of the station’s main update anchors, handling the afternoon slot, including for Mike Francesa‘s show, which is simulcast on the YES Network.

But with his quarter-century logged at the ‘FAN, Minko is also an unofficial station historian.

“I remember everybody’s schedule on air from the very beginning,” Minko says. “Every single person.”

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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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ESPN 98.7 Finds Positives in First Ratings Since Move to FM

The first Arbitron PPM ratings since the changes for WBLS and WEPN are out.

Inner City’s WBLS powered up the survey to number four. The Urban station leaped 2.2. It was the first full month since 98.7 was purchased by ESPN. Picking up the KISS/WRKS slack, ‘BLS added several personalities from 98.7.

As for ESPN, on the surface, it could be deemed a disappointment for the sports station still simulcasting on 1050 AM. The 98.7 frequency with KISS ended with an overall 4.0, while WEPN only managed a 1.8. WFAN increased slightly to a 3.2.

The cume (listenership) dropped from just shy of 2 million in April as an R&B station, to 1.4 million as ESPN Radio’s flagship.

“That’s because they [KISS] probably … [had] a lot of women listeners, which is typical of an Urban format,” Dave Roberts, ESPN New York GM, tells FishbowlNY.

That cume, though, has nearly doubled from a year ago among the people 12+ category.

“That’s a nice foundation [on which] to build new, loyal listeners,” Roberts says.

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YES Network’s Michael Kay Goes to Blows on Twitter with College Student

Courtesy: web.yesnetwork.com

Yankees announcer Michael Kay got into a war of words on Twitter. The flap took place early Monday when Kay tweeted followers for their choice of lead topic on his ESPN/98.7 FM radio show the next afternoon.

He got into the “virtual” shouting match with 21-year-old Joey Hendler.

Hendler shot the first salvo tweeting, “I’ll b listening 2 [Mike] francesa like every1 else.”

“I just happened to be laying in my bed at 1 o’clock in the morning,” Hendler tells FishbowlNY. “…He responded with a quick remark. Then I responded back. [Kay] was delivering heavy blows, and I was firing them back.”

One of the blows that Hendler fired back took their Twitter fight into an online street brawl. Hendler wrote on the social media site: “look at you responding to a random person like that. Just shows your insecurity. Go cry yourself to sleep with your ugly wife.”

Hendler realizes that may have crossed the line, ripping Kay’s famous spouse.

“I shouldn’t have said that comment at the end,” Hendler admits.

That “ugly wife” remark is the one line for which Hendler is willing to offer an apology to Kay, but everything else tweeted he stands behind.

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