Wednesday, April 25, 2018

NYC Radio: Sounds Like Mike Francesa Will Return to WFAN

WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM released a statement Tuesday in response to reports that longtime talk-show host Mike Francesa might be returning to the station.

“WFAN confirms that we are in ongoing discussions with Mike Francesa about the possibility of him returning to the station," a statement read. "We also confirm that we are very proud of our current line-up at WFAN and that any potential future engagement with Mike will not result in any talent departures.  As a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending negotiations and have nothing further to add at this moment."

That was a reference to Francesa’s successors, Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott. They are believed to be under contract through 2019 and are expected to remain, but in a shorter and less visible shift than their current 2 to 6:30 p.m. show.

The trio addressed the situation at the start of their show Tuesday..Listen starting at the 1:50 Time Mark:

“We’re going to be a big part of this radio station for a long time,” Carlin said. “This is a business. And you are talking about someone in Mike who was wildly successful for 30 years, so it only makes business sense to welcome somebody like that back into the fold.”

He added, “If Mike’s back in the afternoon, which it certainly looks like that’s going to be the case, it only makes the radio station stronger.”

Francesa, a sports talk pioneer, left the station in December after a 30-year run. He was half of the legendary "Mike & the Mad Dog" team from 1989 to 2008 before hosting the afternoon show solo from 2008 until his departure.

Saying “it is time to return to WFAN,” Mike Francesa told Newsday on Tuesday that after four months away from the station he is ready for a comeback.

Francesa alluded cryptically to a “campaign” to keep him from returning to the station that he left in December.

He declined to answer follow-up questions about that or any other aspect of what he said, which was that, “I have been working on a project with [the agency] CAA for months. That will be explained in the days ahead.

“This is for those who started this campaign in recent days. 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.

“I will do everything to work WFAN into an integral part of the project. It is time to return to WFAN.”

Francesa declined to elaborate, but a person at WFAN with knowledge of the plan said he likely would reclaim a portion of his old afternoon drive time slot, from 3 to 7 p.m. It is not clear when that would occur, but it should be soon, perhaps as early as next week.

Francesa and former “Mike and the Mad Dog” partner Chris Russo recently feuded with hosts at WFAN after the duo mocked the low ratings for Francesa’s replacements. Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott took over the afternoon slot, but were beaten by ESPN Radio’s “Michael Kay Show” in the first ratings book.

The NY Post reports Francesa so badly wanted to return to WFAN, he approached upper management of the radio’s parent company, Entercom, and accepted a  “significant pay cut” compared to his previous salary, according to sources.

The decision to bring Francesa back occurred above WFAN Programming VP Mark Chernoff’s head, according to sources. Chernoff was not a proponent of bringing Francesa back.

Sports Talk Radio Expert Jason Barrett Breaks Down the Situation With Mike Francesa and WFAN:

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