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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Somers’

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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WFAN Sets Special Lineup to Mark Tomorrow’s 25th Anniversary

newyork.cbslocal.com

The term “sports radio” made its way into New Yorkers’ consciousness with the arrival of WFAN. Other stations already had sports talk segments and play-by-play of sporting events, but WFAN was the first to make it an around-the-clock proposition.

FishbowlNY has been offering a week-long series in preparation for the ‘FAN’s big day. That day is tomorrow! WFAN turns 25, and to commemorate the occasion, the station is welcoming back former hosts for a day to remember.

The special programming lineup is listed after the jump.

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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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Schmoozing S-P-O-R-T-S for 25 Years, Steve Somers and WFAN Celebrate Milestone

A quarter-century ago radio execs took a chance on a new format–all-sports. Even more of an unknown was how Steve Somers would handle it?

The original WFAN sound took on more of a national flavor than heard on 660 today. The majority of the update anchors and hosts did not have any, or limited, New York experience, and many ultimately fell by the wayside.

And then there’s Somers.  He neither grew up nor worked in New York, and yet from his first shift on WFAN he was a quinnesstial New Yorker.

“That is the most flattering thing everybody can say to me,” Somers says.  ”When I was growing up out there [in San Francisco], people thought I was still from New York.”

There’s no mistaking that style. Somers sounds like your older Jewish uncle. He sounded old 25 years ago, and played up his Jewishness, making him a perfect fit for the Big Apple’s melting pot.

“New Yorkers more than anywhere, and more than anybody, can tolerate and accept diversity like no other people anywhere,” Somers says. “It’s the makeup of New York.”

Somers, unlike other hosts, will discuss any sport with callers or guests.

“I do shtick and I have fun,” Somers tells FishbowlNY. “I think I’m obviously the more creative one, or the more inventive one at the station. Everybody else is pretty much courting to talk show formula.”

He says that counter-balance has been one reason for his remarkable longevity.

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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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Jerry Seinfeld to Guest with Steve Somers Tomorrow Night on WFAN

Jerry Seinfeld is no stranger to WFAN audiences, joining Steve Somers in-studio on two occasions (2000 and 2004). Tomorrow night, the on-air friendship is renewed when Seinfeld calls in to Somers’ Saturday Schooze between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The native New Yorker and die-hard Mets and Knicks fan will be joining WFAN’s evening host Somers to talk about this weekend’s Mets/Yankees Subway Series.

Somers and Seinfeld first met in an Upper East Side grocery store one early morning in 1994 at 1:30 a.m. while both were looking for cereal.  Upon meeting the sitcom legend, Somers discovered that Seinfeld caught his show often, and was a frequent caller.

Exclusive: Former New York Governor Paterson ‘Drawn To’ Work in Radio

Since leaving office on January 1, New York Governor David Paterson has been keeping busy. But not as you might think. The former governor has quietly been forging a new career, which incorporates his previous one.

He has become a radio go-to guy, and surprisingly, not as a guest to discuss politics, but as host of his own show. He brings a knowledge and passion to the subject. Paterson can focus on politics and current events while filling in for John Gambling mornings on WOR. At WABC, there is the Religion on the Line show, which to date he’s done once.  

Arguably, Paterson’s most relaxed at WFAN. Just prior to leaving Albany, Paterson spent the entire afternoon with Mike Francesa. If that was an audition for future on-air work at the sports station—he passed. Recently, Paterson hosted his own ‘FAN show. It was there that FishbowlNY was granted exclusive access to the governor to talk about his new love—radio. Paterson says it may seem new to listeners, but he and radio actually have a long history together.

“When I was a child, I used the radio in place of the fact that I couldn’t read the newspapers,” Paterson says. “That’s how I heard the news.”

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