More Changes Coming Soon To WFAN

A recent Newsday article by Neil Best profiled Tony Paige and John Jastremski. The two WFAN hosts take listeners through the overnight. Jastremski seems destined for greatness at WFAN. His knowledge and passion have the rising star gaining attention. John already has a loyal following, and his recent appearance with Mike Francesa left callers comparing him to Chris Russo. The segment (and Jastremski’s similarities to Mike’s former partner) had people speculating that perhaps Francesa could team up with Jastremski at some point.

In addition to hosting shows on WFAN, the 30-year-old Jastremski can be heard on CBS Sports Radio. He also makes appearances on SNY. In the article, John mentions how people think it’s easy to get through overnight. It’s not. I know from experience. At least not when John is hosting. Honestly, it depends who is working.

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As for Paige, he mentioned only wanting to stay for another year before leaving to pursue other interests. Tony said that he doesn’t want to die on the air. Paige spoke about never asking to work during the day. I’ll be nice and leave his comment alone without throwing in my own two cents on this subject. Tony will be 65 in September.

Perhaps the WFAN Fantasy Phenom contest will return. At some point, Jastremski will probably land a daytime gig. That would leave both overnight slots open for the station. Joe Benigno figures to be nearing retirement. He speaks about it often. Francesa already left before returning. He might not stick around much longer, but with Mike, you never know.

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Steve Somers has been at the station for over 30 years. Like Paige, Somers also missed some time this year. Steve is in his 70s. The CMB program already lost their drive time slot. That show does not figure to be around longer than their current contract, but one or two hosts could potentially stick around and get repackaged. So, we will likely see a lot of changes in the next couple years. You youngsters who stream radio shows will not understand this term, but don’t touch that dial!

WFAN’s Inexplicable Struggle With Providing Scores Has Turned My Radio Off

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I am amazed by how many issues WFAN has with their sports flashes. Be careful what you ask for. I used to say they should get rid of them if they will not do the updates correctly. Afternoon flashes were reduced to hourly updates. I used to complain that in progress reports were behind when basketball scores were given. Now out of town games often are completely ignored. Especially if the game is not over.

During early morning or overnight hours, they will tell you that locals did not play the previous evening and return to action that night, meaning in about 17 or 18 hours. We’ll get a lengthy report on spring training action. Even when a score is correctly reported, sometimes the events are not thoroughly detailed.

Harris Allen stated that Virginia won on a three at the buzzer. Normally that would be plenty of information. However, their win against Louisville was remarkable. Virginia trailed by 4 with less than one second remaining. To be exact, .9 was on the clock. Nobody could remember a comeback like this. Not to mention by the nation’s top team. This is a nitpick, but it deserved some more attention. Host John Jastremski was all over it. I believe Harris is likely guilty of at least two or three things here. A lack of interest for sure. Probably not enough research.

Ultimately, this could be a knowledge issue. Since Jastremski described the miracle, it seemed like Harris knew about what happened and simply didn’t care about the amazing rally (or collapse depending on your point of view). I got tired of messaging him about his updates and finally gave up.

Marco Balletti also does overnight reports. Often I’m just critical as a listener who knows what has happened, but sometimes I want to find out information. Marco did not give the Rockets-Cavs score last month. I did not know what happened. Cleveland lost by 32. Marquee matchup on ABC. Most people would agree that the most famous and best player is LeBron James. Marco was pretty cool when I tweeted him about this.

Another recent Saturday night pairing was Oklahoma City against Golden State. Zaza Pachulia controversially fell on Russell Westbrook. Balletti felt no need to mention the game. When his shift ended and a new update anchor took over, the guy gave that score and even included audio about the incident from an aggravated Westbrook. At least somebody thought it was important enough to cover.

Friday I actually forgot that there was afternoon basketball at MSG. No need to report the action. Only #2 Michigan State. As that game wrapped up, John Minko ignored it in his 2:00 update. We can hear about Rutgers, who won the night before and was playing in about 7 hours.

WFAN actually managed to chase me away. I turned the radio off with Michigan and Nebraska coming up. If WFAN was going to keep me informed on that game, I could have kept it on and checked in late when it got interesting. Instead of giving the score every 20 minutes and having Francesa describing action as we had in years past, now we’re stuck with hourly updates that ignore games.

I could complain to Chernoff, but nobody cares. It takes a lot to make me turn off WFAN. Congratulations Mark.

Mike Francesa Update: Will Leave As Orginally Planned on December 15

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NO MOAH F A N.

I never wanted someone to change their mind more than Mike Francesa. Last week, I said that Mike had to and will stay at WFAN in light of the Craig Carton Ponzi scheme scandal. Mike said he would never turn his back on the station and I felt that it made sense for him to stay some the new Morning Show with Boomer can get some time to develop.

Take everything I said and tear it up. Today, Mike officially announced he’s sticking to his original plan of leaving the station at the end of the year, with his last show coming on Dec. 15.

There you have it. The Francesa Farewell Tour continues on. I truly thought Mike was going to stay at least one more year, but it looks like his mind is set on leaving. In other words, his next gig is lined up. Whether that’s Sirius or subscription based podcasting, only time will tell.

That being said, Mike has been giving us GOLD these past two days. First, Mike went after Penn State’s James Franklin for choosing to ice the kicker while up 56-0. “A HAWSE’S ASS!”

Today, Mike is calling for Ben McAdoo’s head, and in particular, his haircut.

The Pope continues to do things his way. NUMBAH ONE.

Gear Up For Mike And The Mad Dog’s 30 for 30 With A Trip Down Memory Lane

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*** Written By WFAN Veteran Joe Saponara***

Tonight at 8 P.M. ESPN will air a 30 for 30 on Mike and the Mad Dog. This stirs up a lot of feelings and thoughts for me. ESPN knows this is going to be huge. Their radio station competes with WFAN, and for years people like Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen were not allowed on with Francesa despite being his friends. You might think they would at least wait until Francesa signs off before airing something about him, but clearly ESPN decided to strike while the iron is hot. They know they’ve got something big here. Rumors and hopes of them getting back together continue to circulate.

I did not immediately get into Mike and Chris, or really WFAN for that matter. In 1987 I was only 10 years old. Watching sports was fun, and I enjoyed playing them. However, there were other things going on. I was in school. Afternoon activities included things like riding my bike and playing video games. Something else had my attention in 1987. Wrestling was taking off. Hulkamania had been running wild, and the same could be said for Macho Madness. There had been some sports discussion on radio. Occasionally I’d catch a little bit on WABC when the Yankees were not playing. Soon I started tuning in to WFAN. By the early 90s, I was hooked. One event that had New York buzzing was the Bills-Giants Super Bowl. Magic Johnson held his press conference to announce being HIV-positive in 1991. The Announcement was an ESPN film about that. Suddenly, for me these events became tied to Mike and Chris.

I can remember them discussing big topics. Something would happen and I could not wait to hear them break it down the following afternoon. Back then the NBA was huge. Especially in New York. The Knicks were relevant. They followed them on the road. Even a Bulls-Suns series was dominating shows. They would travel to games and host shows at arenas in other states. Russo loved the San Francisco Giants. I can remember Atlanta catching them in the great 1993 battle. That was the final year without a wild card. San Francisco won 103 games, but failed to make the playoffs. They hosted from 2-7 during my last year of high school, and I would tune in right after leaving so I could hear their opening. Fortunately, I had an open ninth period. I graduated in 1994. That spring the guys had a classic argument when Scottie Pippen refused to come out for a final shot because the play was not drawn up for him. Mike loved Pippen. Chris ripped him.

Soon after my graduation they changed times and came on at 1:00. I was so happy to be finished with school. When I applied to Petco, my application said I could only work until 1:00. It didn’t say that I needed to hear Mike and Chris, but in reality that’s why I wrote it. 2001 was significant because of the 9/11 attacks. Even now there is a lot of talk about the shows Mike and Chris did days later. Mike talks about going to the first game back in New York and how they were asked to be there so people knew it would be okay to attend. For years people would call and thank them for those shows. Callers said listening to Mike and Chris made life feel normal.

In 2001 I started working in New Jersey. Usually I worked at night. Most people listened to Mike and Chris on their way home from work. I heard them on the drive in. Once at the office, I would tune them in on a radio. Reception wasn’t always great. They did not have streaming available back then. Soon their show was televised by YES. That began a new chapter. Their television days made it easier to catch the show. You didn’t need to scramble for a radio. At first many people did not get it because of a dispute. We had DirecTV in the office, so I could pop them on.

Thursday night’s 30 for 30 will take me down memory lane. I will revisit some of these events, and numerous others as well. These men set the tone. It’s hard to believe that there was no 24-hour sports station in 1987. People thought it would fail. These guys started radio row at the Super Bowl! They are responsible for so much. Just ask Mike…he’ll tell you.

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It’s A Sin That Mike Francesa Will NOT Be Doing Super Bowl Trivia This Year

Newsday – WFAN’s Super Bowl trivia contest, a decades-old tradition, is not scheduled to be held this year, vice president of programming Mark Chernoff said on Monday.

Chernoff cited the lack of a sponsor for the event, customarily held in the week following the NFL conference championship games.

“As of now, we’re not doing the contest,” he said. “There is a possibility of a sponsorship; if that happens, we will be able to do it.”

This would have been the final contest overseen by Mike Francesa, who began it with his former partner, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, early in the “Mike and the Mad Dog” show’s history.

Russo dressed up for the occasion as a character known as “The Marquis.”

After Russo left in 2008, Francesa experimented with former Giants running back O.J. Anderson, the MVP of Super Bowl XXV, as his contest partner.

That did not work out, so in recent years Francesa has worked alone in giving callers a series of up to four questions, with winners securing a free travel and ticket package to the big game, through a sponsor. The questions were prepared by WFAN staffer John Schweibacher.

“All I would say is that it isn’t about the prize,” Francesa said. “It is about permission. You have to have a ‘pass through’ with an active Super Bowl sponsor. They are still seeking that, but time is running out.”

I am not kidding when I say that this is the WORST NEWS OF ALL-TIME. If you’re a Mike Francesa fan like myself, you know that this is the week that all of us fans have marked on our calendar. Super Bowl Trivia Week. Mike’s best segment of all-time and it’s not even close. I dream of this week because you know this is Mike at his best. Proving to the world how much smarter he is with these questions and ruining fans dreams of going to the Super Bowl. It’s must-listen radio. I remember when it was the days of Mike and “The Marquis” and when Mad Dog left, the tradition has lived on.

This is like getting stabbed in the heart. Super Bowl trivia gets the juices GOIN. For starters, it’s an instant quote factory. “youz ready for da ordio?” “Wanna hear it again?” “1 DAWNN, TREE TO GO!” “Whoz you gonna take to da game if youz win?” “waht kindve fan are you?…A GIANTSSSSS fan.” However, my personal favorite is “Heahs a cookie.” What a move from the Pope! Giving you confidence early so he can put you in a damn body bag on the audio question. I have absolutely no idea how anyone in their right mind can get the audio question right. You have a better chance at solving a rubik’s cube while blindfolded with your hands behind your back than solving one of Mike’s diabolical audio questions.

This is Mikey’s last year (we think) with WFAN. How in the world can they not find a sponsor? This tradition is decades old and now we won’t get in in the Pope’s Farewell Tour? No way. I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it. The world will not be denied this. I hope this is a PR move to generate more excitement for the contest (if that’s even possible).

We need a miracle and we need it now. Sponsors, please do the right thing. NFL, step in and fix this wrong. America needs Mike’s Super Bowl Trivia. Do the right thing.

Shoutout to Dick from Hartford. “Youz sound like youz had some trouble gasping for air.” Easily Top 5 Happiest Moments of Mike’s life.