WFAN: Wikis

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WFAN
Wfan.PNG
City of license New York City
Broadcast area New York City area
Branding Sports Radio 66
The Fan
Slogan Your Flagship Station For New York Sports
Frequency 660 kHz (also on HD Radio)
See list of WFAN FM (HD Radio) simulcasts
First air date March 2, 1922
Format Commercial; Sports
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 28617
Transmitter coordinates 40°51′35.3″N 73°47′7.6″W / 40.859806°N 73.785444°W / 40.859806; -73.785444
Callsign meaning the word FAN
Former callsigns WEAF (1922-1946)
WNBC (1946-1954 and 1960-1988)
WRCA (1954-1960)
Affiliations Westwood One
Owner CBS Radio
Sister stations WCBS, WCBS-FM, WCBS-TV, WINS, WWFS, WXRK
Webcast WFAN Webcast
Website http://www.wfan.com

WFAN (660 AM), also known as "Sports Radio 66" or "The FAN", is a radio station in New York City. The station broadcasts on a clear channel and is owned by CBS Radio.[1] WFAN's studios are located in the combined CBS Radio facility in the West Village section of Manhattan; the transmitter is located on High Island in the Bronx, New York.

WFAN pioneered, and has been one of the most successful examples of, the sports radio format. Over the years, WFAN has been the broadcast home to several big names in the world of radio, including the sports-talk team of Mike and the Mad Dog (Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo) and the comedian/shock jock/political commentator Don Imus, whose nationally syndicated Imus in the Morning program previously originated on WFAN.

Contents

Early history

The 660 AM frequency in New York originated as WEAF on March 2, 1922, owned by AT&T. In 1926, WEAF became the flagship station of the NBC Red Network, one of two radio chains operated by the National Broadcasting Company. By 1928, WEAF was purchased by NBC's parent company, the Radio Corporation of America.

As a result of the North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement of 1941, WEAF became a clear channel station, and could be heard across most of the eastern half of North America at night. In 1943, the United States Supreme Court, citing antitrust concerns, ordered RCA to sell off one of its radio networks. The company decided to keep the Red Network, and it was rebranded as the NBC Radio Network after the Blue Network was divested to Edward J. Noble.

WEAF's call letters were changed to WNBC in 1946, then to WRCA in 1954, and back to WNBC in 1960. During the 1960s, WNBC relied less on network programming and adopted a talk format, followed by a switch to a middle-of-the-road music sound. The station spent much of the 1970s and early 1980s flipping between the Top 40 and adult contemporary formats, with varying success. By the middle of the 1980s, WNBC played less music and relied more on personality-driven talk programs with hosts such as Don Imus, Howard Stern, Joey Reynolds, Alan Colmes, and Soupy Sales.

The beginning of WFAN

Meanwhile, at 3:00 p.m. on July 1, 1987, Emmis Communications-owned WFAN signed on at 1050 kHz, replacing country music station WHN, and billing itself as the world's first 24-hour-per-day sports talk station. The first voice heard on WFAN was that of Suzyn Waldman, with a sports update [2], followed by the first show, which was hosted by Jim Lampley. Waldman would report for the station, covering the New York Yankees and New York Knicks, for 14 years. Other personalities that hosted shows besides Lampley in the 1050 kHz years included Bill Mazer, Pete Franklin, Greg Gumbel and Ed Coleman. WFAN also inherited broadcast rights to the defending World Series champion New York Mets from WHN, who had held the rights for several years.

In early 1988 General Electric, which now owned NBC through its purchase of RCA two years earlier, announced that it would sell off the NBC Radio division. In February of that year GE made a multi-station deal with Emmis and, in New York, the WNBC license for 660 was included in the sale. On October 7, 1988 at 5:30 p.m., WFAN moved down the radio dial to replace WNBC at 660 kHz. The last voice heard on WNBC was that of Alan Colmes, who counted down the seconds to WNBC's demise with the legendary NBC chimes (the notes G-E-C) playing in the background. After 66 years, the long history of NBC radio in New York had come to an end.

In the complicated switch that saw WFAN move to the 660 frequency, the 1050 frequency that was formerly the home of WFAN became that of Spanish-language WUKQ, owned by Spanish Broadcasting System. However, SBS already owned an AM station in the market, Newark-based WSKQ at 620 kHz, and in those days FCC rules stipulated that companies could own only one AM station per market. As a result, SBS received a temporary waiver to run 1050 while exploring the sale of either AM frequency. SBS chose to keep 620 (it is now WSNR), and 1050 was traded to Forward Communications, which owned WEVD, then at 97.9 FM. After that deal was approved, WEVD's call letters and programming moved to 1050 AM (it is now WEPN and ironically a sports station), and SBS took over 97.9 as WSKQ-FM. The October NBC-Emmis switch also saw Emmis's WQHT (then at 103.5 MHz.) move to 97.1 MHz., which had been the home of NBC's WYNY. Emmis sold the 103.5 frequency to Westwood One, who also acquired the WYNY call letters and its country music format.

In all this, WFAN retired two of the oldest radio call letters from the dawn of commercial radio: WHN and WNBC.

After the switch

One of the keys to WFAN's early success on 660 was acquiring Don Imus to do the morning show. WFAN's original morning show on 1050 was hosted by Greg Gumbel. The show was a straight-forward sports show (not dis-similar to Mike and Mike in the Morning currently on ESPN Radio), but was not doing well in the ratings. At the time of the switch, sports talk radio was still an untested format with questionable prospects, and the idea of bringing on board a host that appealed to a broader audience would get more people to try the station out. WFAN also benefitted from the inertia from Imus's fans who were used to tuning in to 660 kHz on weekday mornings to listen. WFAN instantly took advantage of their Imus inheritance, for example, they featured a special live monologue by Imus character Billy Sol Hargus from Shea Stadium moments after taking over the 660 frequency.

It quickly became apparent that WFAN's gambit of bringing Imus on board worked. Ratings for the morning show were strong, and it was successful to a point in driving ratings for the rest of WFAN's programming day. This model of using a general-interest morning host for a sports talk radio station (especially at launch) has been used at other sports radio stations across the country.

WFAN was also the first station in the country to roll out sports updates every 20 minutes. These updates, called 20-20 Sports Flashes, are now considered an industry standard. When WFAN first started updates were done every 15 minutes. Additionally, in a nod to the former WNBC, update anchors often end their top-of-the-hour updates with the catchphrase "And that's what's happening...", which is how WNBC on-air news readers had ended their updates.

Other programming that WFAN had at its launch included a mid-morning show with Ed Coleman and Mike Francesa, and an afternoon drive time show with Pete Franklin, who in Cleveland had become one of the first polarizing, outrageous talk show hosts. During his stay in New York, Franklin would probably become best known for an incident where he used a four-letter expletive on air, in error, when trying to say "All you folks" (he was not disciplined for the incident.)

Running a close second was a 30-second Franklin diatribe on whether he had been offensive -- "Do I offend anyone? I'm not here to offend you, dammit!" -- that has been replayed ever since, especially on the July 1 WFAN anniversaries.)

In a further drive to boost ratings, Imus instigated a feud with Franklin, much as he had with Howard Stern at WNBC in the mid-1980s. Both Imus and Franklin would take shots at each other during their shows, Franklin calling Imus "Minus" and Imus recording parodies of radio commercials where he would bash Franklin as a "dinosaur", among other things. Franklin would leave WFAN in August 1989.

On September 5, 1989, a jointly hosted afternoon drive show with Francesa and Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo - who had been a weekend/fill-in host to that time - would premiere. The Mike and the Mad Dog show would become the defining show of WFAN, one of the most consistently popular radio shows in New York, and one of the most influential sports talk radio shows in the country.

Recent history

Over the years WFAN has continued to have a broad-based sports talk and play-by-play format. WFAN ratings gradually rose and in fact at some points it has been the top-billing station in New York and the country. In 1992 Emmis sold WFAN to Infinity Broadcasting, which would be purchased by Westinghouse Electric Corporation -- CBS' then-parent company—in 1997.

WFAN's broadcast day begins at 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) with Boomer and Carton, hosted by former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and radio veteran Craig Carton. The midday timeslot is co-hosted by Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. Mike Francesa is the afternoon drive host. The YES Network has been airing a video simulcast of WFAN's afternoon drive program, previously known as Mike and the Mad Dog and now titled Mike'd Up, since March 19, 2002.

On Monday nights during the NFL season, Kimberly Jones hosts a football show leading into the Monday Night Football broadcast, working during the 2009 season with former NFL players Roman Oben. Jones, who is a member of the Yankees' broadcast team on YES, also hosts other shows during the baseball off-season or when regular personalities are on vacation.

Steve Somers hosts during most other evenings, often leading into and following live game broadcasts. Tony Paige works the majority of the overnight shifts. Other overnight hosts include Marc Malusis and Lori Rubinson. Adam "the Bull" Gerstenhaber hosts the weekend evening shows. Another WFAN personality is longtime New York rock radio fixture Richard Neer. Ed Randall hosts a radio version of the Talking Baseball show that aired on TV for many years.

WFAN stands out in that all of its sports-talk shows are currently local in origin, not syndicated as is the practice of most sports-talk radio stations (usually except during the morning and/or drive-time periods).

Over the years WFAN has established a tight bond with its listeners, to the point where one of them eventually landed a regular on-air spot. Joe Benigno had been a frequent caller to "The Fan" (especially the Mike and the Mad Dog show) as "Joe from Saddle River", and his calls were typically interesting and insightful. In 1994 he was chosen to host a one-hour show during a promotion where listeners were invited to host a show. The test went well, and he later parlayed it into a regular overnight shift, which started in 1995.

WFAN also features the "20-20 Flash", a one to two minute update on sports scores and news, which occurs every 20 minutes (on the hour, twenty after and forty after). The update team consists of Rich Ackerman, Harris Allen, Mike McCann, Erica Herskowitz, Bob Heussler, Marc Malusis, John Minko, Jerry Recco, Greg Tartaglia, and Mia Harris. The station also employs beat reporters to cover the Mets (Ed Coleman), Yankees (Sweeny Murti), Jets (Harris) and Giants (Paul Dottino).

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Team coverage

Currently, WFAN airs MLB's New York Mets, the NFL's New York Giants, the NHL's New Jersey Devils, and the NBA's New Jersey Nets. During baseball season, the Mets have first priority of airtime over all of the other teams, and WFAN shifts some early-season Giants games over to one of its sister FM stations (currently WXRK). This is done in part because of the Mets' legacy on the station, and also because the Giants, Devils, and Nets all produce their own games and purchase their airtime from WFAN. During the fall and early winter (when NFL, NHL, and NBA seasons overlap) the Giants have first priority, followed by the Devils and lastly the Nets.

Bloomberg L.P.-owned WBBR (1130 AM) is utilized as WFAN's main "conflict" station for Devils games due to scheduling conflicts with the Mets and Giants (if the conflict is with the Mets, the game will still be streamed on WFAN's website). WBBR or Inner City Broadcasting-owned WLIB (1190 AM) carries any Nets games when they and other teams play simultaneously.

WFAN is also a promotional partner of the Yankees, as sister station WCBS has been the team's flagship station since 2002. WFAN has exclusive game-day rights to broadcast at the ballpark. The exclusive access seems to give WFAN an information edge over WEPN, which features Yankees television voice Michael Kay in drivetime. Kay is often forced to do his show from outside the stadium, and then leave an hour before the game to prepare for the TV broadcast. Yankees announcers from YES and WCBS occasionally host shows on WFAN throughout the year, including John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman and Kimberly Jones.

The station is the flagship outlet for Westwood One's NFL and NCAA radio broadcasts, though all local teams have priority, with the exception of NFL playoff games.

WFAN has marketed itself in recent years as the "Flagship Station for New York Sports", but its close partnerships with the Mets and Yankees could easily render it "New York's Baseball Station." Jerry Manuel and Joe Girardi, respective managers of the Mets and Yankees, make exclusive appearances on WFAN during the season. WFAN usually also contracts at least one Giants and one Jets player to make exclusive appearances on the station during the NFL season, as well as Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.

The station was also the longtime radio home for the New York Jets, New York Rangers and New York Knicks (the latter two were inherited from WNBC). Currently, WFAN's primary competition is WEPN, the New York ESPN Radio affiliate, ironically located at WFAN's old 1050 kHz frequency. WEPN carries the three aforementioned teams plus national ESPN Radio programming, all of which WFAN previously broadcasted.

Beginning at 3 p.m. on April 11, 2006, WFAN started streaming live on the Internet[3]. Live Mets and Nets games are offered separately through the MLB and NBA websites as annual subscriptions.

Radiothon

Each spring from 1990 until 2007, WFAN conducted the WFAN Radiothon to benefit children’s charities that seek to ensure the continuity of life in its earliest stages and the treatment and eventual elimination of childhood cancer. The three most recent beneficiaries of the radiothon were Tomorrow's Children's Fund [4], the CJ Foundation for SIDS [5], and the Imus Ranch. WFAN has also done other radiothons and special broadcasts to raise money for assorted charities.

On August 15, 2008, Mike Francesa announced during the final broadcast of Mike and the Mad Dog that WFAN would broadcast a new fundraising radiothon. The new fundraiser would benefit both the Boomer Esiason Foundation for cystic fibrosis research, and the Mike Francesa Champions of the Heart Foundation, a new charity created by Francesa. The first radiothon took place in September 2008. ([1])

Midday show controversy

The midday slot has been one of the better slots from a ratings perspective for WFAN. However, this slot's hosts have often found controversy.

In the early 1990s, popular hosts Ed Coleman and Dave Sims had their show cancelled. WFAN then announced that New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica and WNBC-TV sports anchor Len Berman would co-host the new midday program. The show seemed all set to go when, at the last minute, Berman decided to back out of the show. He cited that he would have to work a near 14-hour day, combining his 10 a.m. start on radio with his 11:20 p.m. report on television. WFAN would not let Berman out of his contract, and as a result, the slot was split into two shows: Lupica hosted from 10 a.m. to noon, while Berman hosted from noon to 2 p.m.. The split format did not work, and eventually Berman's show would be cancelled and Lupica's show soon followed.

WWOR-TV sports anchor Russ Salzberg, who also worked an evening sportscast, was more than willing to assume the midday show duties. In 1995, he would be joined by longtime overnight host Steve Somers. This show, billed as "The Sweater and the Schmoozer", would feature one of the most famous incidents in WFAN history. It occurred when Salzberg "banned" Eli from Westchester from calling his show due to his comments that Salzberg considered to be inappropriate. Salzberg's classic line to Somers, during another Atlanta Braves World Series appearance talking about Braves' manager Bobby Cox: "What about Cox, Steve? You like Cox...don't you, Steve?"

In 1999, with the ratings not being what WFAN management expected, the Salzberg/Somers show was cancelled. Initially Somers had been fired with Salzberg, but a large outcry from listeners—including comedian Jerry Seinfeld, a native of Long Island -- led to WFAN management giving Somers the evening shift, which (despite frequent pre-emptions for live games) he continues to hold to the present day. In middays, Salzberg and Somers were replaced by Suzyn Waldman and Jody McDonald. Waldman was best known for her work covering the Yankees and Knicks for the station. McDonald, son of a former Mets general manager, was the weekend overnight host before leaving for sister station WIP in Philadelphia, nearer to his southern New Jersey home. Both Waldman and McDonald had their fans and detractors at WFAN.

Waldman would leave WFAN in late 2001, joining the Yankees television broadcast team the following year. She would be replaced by Sid Rosenberg who, despite his shock jock reputation, had an enormous knowledge of sports. Many felt there was great chemistry between McDonald and Rosenberg. However, the ratings still weren't what WFAN expected and in 2004 McDonald was let go, later to join WEPN, Sirius Satellite Radio, and WPEN radio in Philadelphia. Overnight host Joe Benigno would replace McDonald.

Rosenberg was forced to resign from WFAN on September 12, 2005 after being given an ultimatum by station management for not showing up to host the New York Giants' pregame show the day before. Benigno hosted the show solo for over a year, and on January 2, 2007, part-time overnight host Evan Roberts became Benigno's new midday co-host.[6][7] The pairing continues to consistently out-rate rival station WEPN.

Twentieth anniversary

On July 1, 2007, WFAN celebrated its twentieth anniversary. On the weekend of July 4, past WFAN hosts such as Suzyn Waldman and Jim Lampley did guest-hosting stints, and the station's current hosts provided career and station retrospectives throughout the weekend. The station also invited listeners to vote on the "Greatest New York sports moments", and the "Top 20 New York sports celebrities", during WFAN's 20-year history.

Move to Manhattan

On 10 October 2009, WFAN moved from its studio location for its first 22 years, the landmarked Kaufman-Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens.[8] The station began broadcasting from CBS Radio's new New York studios at 345 Hudson Street in Manhattan's TriBeCa neighborhood. WFAN shares the building with four other CBS Radio stations -- WCBS-FM, WINS, WWFS, and WXRK.[9] Along with the move, the station changed its longtime call-in phone number from 1-718-937-6666 to 1-877-337-6666.

Transition

Exit Imus, enter Boomer and Carton

On the April 4, 2007 broadcast of Imus in the Morning, Don Imus made a sexually and racially insensitive comment in reference to the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Imus made the remarks during a conversation with the show's producer, Bernard McGuirk, and Sid Rosenberg (who was on the phone).

Two days after making the comments, Imus issued a public apology. By that time, however, there were various calls for his dismissal, particularly from civil rights activists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who threatened to protest both CBS Radio and MSNBC (which aired a video simulcast of the program), as well as boycott companies who advertised on the program. WFAN offered its hosts and listeners a sounding board for their own feelings and comments, which were both for and against his dismissal. Chris Russo, in particular, expressed his disappointment at Imus for waiting two days before retracting his comments.

Imus was initially given a two-week suspension which was scheduled to begin on April 16, allowing him to work the annual WFAN Radiothon on April 12 and 13. On consecutive days Imus appeared on both Sharpton's syndicated radio show (April 9) and NBC-TV's Today Show (April 10) to reiterate his regret for the remarks. But on April 11, MSNBC announced the cancellation of the video simulcast of Imus in the Morning. The following day, CBS Radio dismissed Imus, at the time leaving WFAN with a very large programming—and money-earning—void in their schedule.

Imus' last WFAN program was aired on the opening day of the radiothon. Imus's wife Deirdre joined his longtime co-host, comedy writer, and news reader, Charles McCord, to anchor the final segment of the radiothon on April 13. Imus revived his program at WABC radio in December 2007, and took his fundraiser with him—with the charities intact—and conducted a radiothon there in May 2008.

From that point on, the 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. time slot was filled by various hosts. McCord and Chris Carlin remained on all the replacement shows as assistance and staff, in similar roles as they were on Imus's show, and the replacement shows continued to be syndicated via Westwood One. Mike Francesa and Chris Russo were the first to fill the spot, hosting for the two weeks (April 16-27) immediately after Imus' firing. Francesa and Russo also worked the shift separate from each other, as did fellow WFAN staffers Richard Neer, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, and Carlin, who worked both alone and with co-hosts, notably Kimberly Jones and Washington Post sports columnist John Feinstein.

WFAN and Westwood One also brought in outside personalities into the slot. Among them were Boomer Esiason, Patrick McEnroe, Geraldo Rivera, Lou Dobbs, and Chicagoland sports radio host Mike North. As MSNBC also held its own claim to the slot, the cable network was able to have its own replacement shows simulcasted; these programs were hosted by in-house personalities David Gregory, Jim Cramer, and Joe Scarborough; eventually Scarborough would become the permanent replacement host on MSNBC with Morning Joe.

On September 4, 2007, Esiason took over as the permanent host of the WFAN morning show, with veteran radio personality Craig Carton (previously of WKXW-FM in Trenton, New Jersey) serving as co-host, and Chris Carlin remaining to do sports updates. The new program is not distributed nationally by Westwood One, but has actually outperformed Imus' former WFAN ratings in the New York market in most surveys since it premiered. Charles McCord left the station shortly after the announcement was made and has since rejoined Don Imus at WABC. Carlin was also given his own show in the one-hour time slot immediately preceding Esiason's show.

The end of Mike and the Mad Dog

During their 19-year run as WFAN's afternoon drive team, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo had enjoyed a relationship—both on- and off-air—which varied from respect to contempt. The two hosts did not get along well during the early days of their partnership, and had several differences which potentially put their program in jeopardy. In spite of the disagreements, the duo always seemed to patch things up for the benefit of the station and their listeners.

In early 2008, several reports surfaced that Francesa and Russo were on the outs again, and these reports came as both men's contracts with WFAN were in the early stages of renegotiation. On June 22, 2008, sports columnist Neil Best of Newsday reported that the Francesa/Russo relationship had cooled, and they were considering ending their radio show.[10] Francesa, reached by Newsday while vacationing, refused to comment. Russo, doing the show alone on June 23, denied the rumors. But on the June 27, 2008 broadcast, Francesa (working alone as Russo was on vacation) acknowledged the show was at a "crossroad", and could not guarantee the show would last through the summer. Francesa also stated he and Russo had not spoken since reports of their possible breakup came out.[11]

On July 11, 2008, Francesa and Russo reunited for their first show together since news of their possible breakup came out. Both men were coy about their future beyond the summer. [12] Francesa and Russo then continued their normal summer routine of alternating vacation weeks, and on August 5, 2008, they would do their final show together at the New York Giants' training facility at the University of Albany.

On August 14, 2008, Russo reached a mutual agreement with WFAN to let him out of his contract, which ran until October 2009. [13][14][15][16] Russo insisted it was solely a personal decision and said, "This has nothing to do with Mike and I hating each other... This is about doing something different. I'm 48 years old and there are not going to be too many more opportunities to break away. It's time to try something else, but it was a tough decision to make."[15] On August 15, Russo phoned Francesa on the show to say goodbye. A highly emotional Russo began to break down on air as he talked about his partnership with Francesa.[17][18]

At the same time, while Russo left WFAN, Francesa signed a five-year deal to stay at WFAN and continue to host the afternoon drive-time show.[19] On August 19, 2008, Russo signed a five-year contract worth about 3 million per year[20] with Sirius XM to headline a new sports talk channel called Mad Dog Radio on both Sirius and XM satellite radio.[21][22] Russo said there was nothing WFAN could have done to keep him[23] after Sirius XM provided him an opportunity to not only do a show, but have his own channel, which he could not pass up.[24]

Influence of sports format

WFAN's success—especially after the 1988 frequency switch—proved that sports-talk radio could in fact be a steadily profitable and popular format. This in turn fueled the explosive growth of sports-talk radio in the 1990s and 2000s. Once a novelty, every major market (and many smaller markets) now has at least one sports radio station, and often more. ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio have all launched 24-hour national sports talk radio networks. There are also nationally syndicated radio shows, such as The Jim Rome Show and 2 Live Stews. Additionally there are dedicated sports radio streams on satellite radio, such as NFL Radio on Sirius and MLB Home Plate on XM Satellite Radio. With the migration of music stations to FM and other carriers all but complete, sports talk radio are considered to have been critical in saving the AM band as a viable broadcast medium.

It is worth noting that, for all the success and influence that WFAN has had, its signature Mike and the Mad Dog show experienced limited syndication outside of New York state (the show had been carried over WQYK in Tampa, Florida and WROW in Albany, New York). This was primarily due to a desire by the hosts to keep their show New York-centric.

WFAN once produced some of Fox Sports Radio's programming, notably Chris "Mad Dog" Russo's Saturday show, but the relationship did not last even one year for the same reason that Mike'd Up is syndicated nationally only through the YES Network — the hosts often talk about the NFL on a national basis, but stick mostly to local coverage of baseball. Nevertheless, callers from as far as California and Norway made it to air.

Notable callers

Callers are an important facet of WFAN programming. A number of callers who have earned a reputation over the years and become as familiar to listeners as the hosts themselves.

Bill the Baker

Arguably the most knowledgeable caller to WFAN is William Stimers from Brentwood, more popularly known as "Bill the Baker" or "Bill from Brentwood", who has an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, along with an unmatched ability to recall not only specific baseball moments in the past 50+ years, but the exact dates that those games were played. Steve Somers is so constantly in awe and impressed with Bill's baseball intellect that he often jokes that Bill "has to be looking at a book." Bill attends most Yankees home games and sits in the press box. On February 23, 2008, Bill was the victim of a hit-and-run accident on Long Island and suffered severe injuries.[25] He continues to call in as he recovers.

Jerome from Manhattan

Another notable caller is Jerome Mittelman,[26] widely known as "Jerome from Manhattan." A die-hard Yankees and Knicks fan, Jerome is famous for his on-air take-no-prisoners blistering rants and raves, as well as his unique take on the English language. One of his favorite exclamatory phrases is "frickin' frack!" He refers to the bullpen as the "ballpen", and once shouted that the Yankees are "....done! D-O-E-N [sic], DONE!" His relationship status is intriguing enough for Steve Somers to once give Jerome $60 to take a lady out on a date, only for Jerome to keep the money and not go out on the date. Former host Sid Rosenberg once asked Jerome if he was upset that he was not taking his eagerly anticipated trip "....to Colorado?", and Jerome replied, "No, [it was] to Denver." He does "....not like jets. They make [him] seasick." Jerome, when he still called WFAN regularly, was known as being the only caller to have an audio intro, much like those played at the top of each show. Mr. Mittelman's health problems had kept him from the WFAN airwaves on a regular basis from late 2004 until mid 2008; he has recently started to call in more frequently. Occasionally when he calls in to Steve Somers' program, a special introduction is played to the tune of The Twilight Zone.

Eli from Westchester

Eli Strand (1943-2008),[27] known when calling as "Eli from Westchester", was another famous repeat caller. Citing racism as the underlying factor behind any number of sports happenings, he was occasionally banned from calling for periods of time. One of the most famous times he was banned was by former mid-day host Russ Salzberg. However, he was also given an on-air tryout for the job which would eventually go to Joe Benigno. Strand, from Tuckahoe, New York, played college football at Iowa State University and spent two years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints.[28]

Miriam from Forest Hills

Miriam is a blind New York Islanders and New York Mets fan from Queens. The first Islanders game Miriam ever attended became the topic of a Rick Reilly column in Sports Illustrated.[29]

Lisa from Whitestone

An unabashed Yankees fan, Lisa calls in often to Mike Francesa. She won one of four trips to Super Bowl XLIII on a Marquis Jet in the annual "Mike and the Marquis" trivia contest.

Steve from Staten Island

A thorn in Mike Francesa's side, Steve calls in regularly to Mike's show, as well as to the midday show to throw out his outrageous trade possibilities, which are invariably one-sided to the benefit his beloved Mets.

Doris from Rego Park

Doris Bauer was one of WFAN's most frequent callers, almost for a decade (most often in the wee hours of the morning), until she died in 2003 at the age of 58. She was beloved by WFAN fans and was especially known for her lifelong devotion to the Mets. Her chronic cough made her voice instantly recognizable, but few knew that she also suffered from, and was disfigured by neurofibromatosis ("Elephant's Man Disease"). The cause of death was listed as complications from breast and lung cancer. She was obsessive about baseball stats, and lived most of her life with her mother in an apartment filled with sports newspaper clippings and scribbled baseball notes and thoughts on legal pads. She was also known not only as Mets-obsessed, but particularly passionate about Lenny Dykstra, and the ill-fated Dyktra trade was often brought up in her calls. According to the NY Times obit, she would set her alarm clock at 1 am everyday and call the station. She built a big following with her mostly overnight calls to, in the early years, Jody McDonald and Steve Somers and then later, Joe Benigno. She also would call in during the day, but not as frequently. She was known for closing every phone call with her trademark "Thank you for your time and courtesy." Doris, WFAN and the family of sports radio callers were paid tribute in the song "Doris from Rego Park" (http://donrosler.com/baseball_songs.html) and numerous obits and feature articles profiling her life were published after her death.

Maureen from Anaheim

Maureen is known for harsh reactions when WFAN hosts would criticize her beloved Mets. She once called Carton an "A--hole" live on the air when he was rude to her, and invited Moose to come over to her house and hang out. Maureen won a contest in March 2009 on MikeFrancesa.com as WFAN's Worst Caller ever, beating out Lisa from Whitestone by a wide margin.

Jerry from Queens

Jerry from Queens is comedian and TV star Jerry Seinfeld. A New York Mets fan, Seinfeld periodically calls in to Steve Somers show to discuss New York sports, among other things.

Incarcerated Bob from Jersey

Bob has become one of the regular callers into the Boomer & Carton'Bold text' show & has gained national fame with his on-air strong arming of the host Carton. Bobby is well known for being a tough guy that has done time in some of the toughest prisons in NY & NJ. Incarcerated Bob also has a knack for picking winners, he went on a 7-1 (2008 NFL Playoff Run) of picking winners against the spread, not only does Bob strike fear in Carton but his jokes about sleeping with Carton's wife gets a lot of laughs from Boomer & the callers. Just after the New Year, someone had hacked into Bob's (Twitter account-Twitter.com/Incarceratedbob) & claimed Bob had died in a car accident, these claims where untrue, but major news outlets picked up the hacked feeds & Boomer&Carton announced on the air that Incarcerated Bob had indeed passed away, only days later did Bob call in & assure people that he was not dead & he was indeed alive & well & looking to "BEAT" the hackers up. A lot of rumors are circulating that WFAN is looking to give Incarcerated Bob some overnight air time.

Val from Brooklyn Val from Brooklyn, and older man who calls into WFAN on a nightly basis to Tony Paige's or Mark "Moose" Malusis' show during the 1:00 AM- 6:00 AM overnight hours, is known to listeners as someone who calls in to tell his old baseball stories, and is also known to be very difficult to understand, as he is well known for his mumbling of words.

Reception of WFAN

WFAN's signal can be heard clearly on much of the East Coast of the United States and Eastern Canada after sunset because it is a FCC "Class A" clear channel station.

During the day, WFAN's groundwave signal can be heard faintly as far south as Washington, DC and as far north as the I-90 corridor (the New York State Thruway and Massachusetts Turnpike), about 150 miles north of New York City. WFAN can also allegedly be heard clearly on the northern beaches of North Carolina's Outer Banks during the day and the southern beaches around Wilmington, NC at night. Signal strength varies depending on factors such as weather and elevation. Still, a good car radio can pick up WFAN cleanly in most of Pennsylvania, at times as far west as central Indiana, and throughout Connecticut, as well as parts of the Philadelphia, Boston, Albany, and Syracuse markets, especially at night (WFAN does not broadcast on reduced power overnight, and thus needs very few affiliate stations for the teams it broadcasts). Callers from these locations are not uncommon, especially as some of the on-air staffers have backgrounds in those regions (Bob Heussler does radio play-by-play for the Connecticut Sun, Fairfield Stags basketball and has done radio play-by-play for UConn basketball and football, while Chris Carlin handles Rutgers football games), and attended Hobart. Alternatively, the callers listen to the streaming internet feed on wfan.com, or watch the "Mike Francesa" simulcast on YES. Depending on atmospheric conditions, the station can be allegedly picked up as far south as Havana, Cuba. In parts of South Florida after sunset, reception of WFAN is clearer than Miami-based "competitors" including WAXY.

The FAN Sports Network

In addition to having their broadcast heard on 660am and via their sister station WXRK 92.3-HD3 in New York City WFAN's programming is also transmitted via a secured internet feed to CBS owned and operated stations which would then simulcast the same over-the air feed that is heard in New York City including all of the live team coverage including the New York Mets, New York Giants, New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Nets. This is considered to be a unique situation in radio given the fact that for many years the only way to hear WFAN's out-of-market broadcasts was via their Internet stream which legally cannot include professional sports coverage due to the fact that the Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL and the NHL provide their own in-house on-demand and yearly subscription services for live and archived radio and television broadcasts.

WFAN HD FM simulcasts

WXRK 92.3-HD3 New York, New York
WJFK-FM 106.7-HD3 Manassas, Virginia/Washington, D.C
WOCL 105.9-HD3 Deland/Orlando, Florida
WEAT-FM 104.3-HD3 West Palm Beach, Florida
WSJT 94.1-HD3 Holmes Beach/Tampa Bay, Florida

On-air personalities

Current personalities

Notable alumni

Notes

  1. ^ "FCC Info on WFAN". http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/amq?list=0&facid=28617. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  2. ^ "NYC’s ‘FAN: in business 20 years & a day". Radio Ink. http://www.radioink.com/HeadlineEntry.asp?hid=138448&pt=todaysnews. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  3. ^ "WFAN to stream live talk shows online". mediabistro.com. 2006-04-06. http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/radio/wfan_to_stream_live_talk_shows_online_34972.asp. 
  4. ^ Tomorrows Children's Fund
  5. ^ The CJ Foundation for SIDS
  6. ^ Best, Neil (2006-12-08). "WFAN to pair Roberts with Benigno". Newsday. 
  7. ^ Best, Neil (2006-12-12). "Dialing up youth movement". Newsday. 
  8. ^ "Mixed emotions as WFAN moves from basement to big time". Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/columnists/neil-best/mixed-emotions-as-wfan-moves-from-basement-to-big-time-1.1511844. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  9. ^ "WFAN Moves out of Queens - and Above Ground - Tomorrow". New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/daily/sports/2009/10/wfan-moves-out-of-queens----an.html. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  10. ^ Best, Neil (2008-06-22). "What could be next for "Mike and Mad Dog"". NewsDay. 
  11. ^ Best, Neil (2008-06-28). "Francesa: Radio show may not last beyond summer". Newsday. 
  12. ^ Reunited and it Needed an Enema - Mike and the Mad Dog Return
  13. ^ Neil Best (2008-08-14). "After 19 years, Russo leaves 'Mike and Mad Dog'". Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/sports/ny-sprusso0815,0,4065290.story. 
  14. ^ Richard Sandomir (2008-08-14). "Radio Alert: It’s Now Mike Minus Mad Dog". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/15/sports/15wfan.html. 
  15. ^ a b Dave Ruden (2008-08-15). "Mad Dog: 'Today is a tough day'". The Stamford Advocate. http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/ci_10215144. 
  16. ^ Neil Best (2008-06-24). "Russo dismisses possible Mike & the Mad Dog split". Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/sports/ny-sprusso0624,0,3737608.story. 
  17. ^ "Mike & the Mad Dog say goodbye". New York Post. 2008-08-15. http://www.nypost.com/seven/08152008/sports/mike__the_mad_dog_say_goodbye_124618.htm. 
  18. ^ Mike Francesa and Chris Russo (2008-08-15). "Mike & the Mad Dog farewell". WFAN.com. http://podcast.wfan.com/wfan/1269912.mp3. 
  19. ^ Neil Best (2008-08-16). "Russo, late of WFAN's Mike and the Mad Dog, calls in". Newsday. http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/saturday/news/ny-spbest165803061aug16,0,5196711.story. 
  20. ^ Bob Raissman (2008-08-20). "Sirius XM's 'Mad Dog Radio' signals huge payday for Chris Russo". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more_sports/2008/08/19/2008-08-19_sirius_xms_mad_dog_radio_signals_huge_pa.html. 
  21. ^ "Sirius XM hires Russo for new sports talk channel". The Associated Press. 2008-08-19. http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/apwire/a9dadaaa17f5ef7a39c7349317874558.htm. 
  22. ^ Press release (2008-08-19). "Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo Joins SIRIUS XM Radio". Sirius XM Radio. http://investor.sirius.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=328592&cat=&newsroom=. 
  23. ^ Justin Terranova (2008-08-19). "Chris Russo Joins Sirius XM, will debut September 15". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/seven/08192008/sports/mad_dog_returns_sept__15_125152.htm. 
  24. ^ Bob Raissman (2008-08-19). "Sirius XM to launch Chris Russo channel, 'Mad Dog Radio'". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/2008/08/19/2008-08-19_sirius_xm_to_launch_chris_russo_channel_.html. 
  25. ^ "Man, 61, seriously hurt in hit-and-run". NY Newsday. 2008-02-26. http://www.newsday.com/news/local/suffolk/ny-i5591977feb26,0,4970355.story. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  26. ^ Gill, John Freeman (2004-10-24). "Citypeople: seventh-inning kvetch". The New York Times. http://www.psych.upenn.edu/~jsiev/jerome.html. 
  27. ^ "Obituary for Eli Strand". The Journal News. 2008-01-06. http://www.nyjnews.com/obits/Obit1.php?pid=2425227&fulldate=2008-01-06. 
  28. ^ Rhoden, William C. (1994-12-26). "Sports of The Times; A Celebrity Caller Is King for a Day, or Longer". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04EFDC173BF935A15751C1A962958260. 
  29. ^ Reilly, Rick (2002-12-24). "Vision of happiness". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/rick_reilly/news/2002/12/24/life_of_reilly/. 

External links

Coordinates: 40°43′40.0″N 74°0′29.2″W / 40.72778°N 74.008111°W / 40.72778; -74.008111


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