- Four months after Mike Francesa left his position at WFAN in New York, it looks like he is set to return.
- Francesa was in talks to join Sirius XM but instead will take a significant pay cut to return to WFAN.
- Francesa’s decision to return to WFAN came after being criticised by other radio personalities at the station.
- Many are criticising Francesa’s return because of his 19-month “farewell tour,” how he treated others at the station, and for how he is seemingly backing out of a promise and forcing his way back in.
Mike Francesa’s retirement from the New York radio airwaves was over a lot quicker than the farewell tour that led up to it.
Francesa is returning to WFAN, according to multiple reports, just four months after leaving the station he worked at for 30 years – a move that was preceded by a 19-month “farewell tour” – and a lot of people are not happy about that and how it appears he forced his way back in.
Steve Politi of NJ.com called Francesa a “jerk” and a “bitter old man.”
“This isn’t a triumphant return,” Politi wrote. “This is a bitter old man pushing himself back onto the stage because he couldn’t stand that the show moved on without him.”
Bob Raismann of the NY Daily News wrote this is just “business as usual” for Francesa.
“More reason for those who already can’t stand Francesa to despise him even more. For Francesa, this is business as usual. He planted the seeds for his return on MLB Network when he callously laughed, with Chris (Mad Dog) Russo, while speculating who would be the next in line to be tossed out of WFAN.”
Even Francesa’s former partner, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, had harsh words.
“If you change your mind [about leaving], you look like a horse’s fanny,” Russo said.
It is no surprise that Francesa is coming back to the air, but most assumed his next gig would be at the national level or possibly a podcast. Russo confirmed that Francesa had been in talks about joining Sirius XM, including a part-time reunion show for the pair.
Instead, Francesa’s decided to go back to WFAN – a move that will come with a significant pay cut, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post – and the move appears to have been spurred on by criticism Francesa received from other on-air personalities at the station after his appearance on Russo’s show.
Francesa made a recent appearance on Russo’s MLB Network show and the pair joked about the current state of WFAN and the quality of programming,with Russo saying: “I’ll tell you right now, though, there’ll be nobody on WFAN before you know it. I guarantee it … they have got nobody on [after Boomer Esiason’s show in the morning].”
Those comments led to criticism from many in NYC sports radio. But according to Russo, there was one shot in particular that may have irked Francesa the most.
According to Russo, Chris Carlin, who is a former producer for “The Mike & the Mad Dog Show” and one of the three hosts in the new show that replaced Francesa, texted Russo and Francesa, “blank my you-know-what” (Russo’s words). Russo said he let the comment slide, but suggested that Francesa did not.
It now appears that it was these criticisms that led to Francesa claiming there was a conspiracy against him and acknowledging that he decided to insert himself back into the station.
“This is for those who started this campaign in recent days,”Francesa told Newsday. “I didn’t decide to go back to WFAN until I was told I better not go back. For those behind it, that was the moment I decided to return.”
According to Marchand, Francesa went over the head of the station president and approached the president of the station’s parent company about coming back to WFAN.
None of the current hosts will be losing their gigs at WFAN, but there will be a reduction in airtime for some and a reshuffling of shows, not to mention the appearance that WFAN gave up on Francesa’s replacements so quickly. This is apparently not sitting well with many at the station.
“He is not expected to be welcomed with open arms by his FAN colleagues after the comments on ‘High Heat,'” Marchand wrote. “Boomer Esiason, half of the FAN’s morning team, called Francesa ‘classless.'”
And then there was the back page of the New York Daily News which may have summed it up the return of the “Sports Pope” the best:
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