|City of license||New York City|
|Broadcast||New York City area|
|Branding|| Sports Radio 66|
|Slogan||Your Flagship Station For New York Sports|
|Frequency|| 660 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
92.3-3 FM WXRK HD3 (HD Radio)
|First air date||March 2, 1922|
|Audience share||2.3 (Spring 2008 Radio & Records)|
|Callsign meaning||the word FAN|
|Sister stations(s)||WCBS Newsradio 880, 101.1 CBS-FM, 1010 WINS, Fresh 102.7, 92.3 K-Rock|
|Former callsigns|| WEAF (1922-1946)|
WNBC (1946-1954 & 1960-1988)
|Affiliations||New York Giants Radio Network|
|Sister Stations||WCBS Newsradio 880, 101.1 CBS-FM, 1010 WINS, Fresh 102.7, 92.3 K-Rock|
|Website||Sports Radio 66 WFAN's Website|
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 & is owned by CBS Radio. It's studios are located within the Kaufman-Astoria Studios complex in the Astoria section of Queens, New York & the transmitter is located on High Island in the Bronx, New York.
WFAN pioneered & 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 & the Mad Dog (Mike Francesa & Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo) & the comedian/shock jock/political commentator Don Imus, whose nationally syndicated Imus in the Morning program previously originated on WFAN.
- Main article: WNBC (AM)
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, 1 of 2 radio chains operated by NBC. By 1928, WEAF was purchased by NBC's parent company, the Radio Corporation of America.
As a result of the NARBA of 1941, WEAF became a clear channel station & could be heard across most of the eastern half of North America @ night. In 1943, the United States Supreme Court, citing antitrust concerns, ordered RCA to sell off 1 of it's radio networks. The company decided to keep the Red Network & 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 & back to WNBC in 1960. During the 1960s, WNBC relied less on network programming & adopted a talk format, followed by a switch to a middle-of-the-road music sound. The station spent much of the 1970s & early 1980s flipping between the Top 40 & adult contemporary formats, with varying success. By the middle of the 1980s, WNBC played less music & relied more on personality-driven talk programs with hosts such as Don Imus, Howard Stern, Joey Reynolds, Alan Colmes & Soupy Sales.
The beginning of WFANEdit
Meanwhile, at 3 PM on July 1 1987, Emmis Communications-owned WFAN signed on @ 1050 kHz, replacing country music station WHN & billing itself as the world's 1st 24-hour-per-day sports talk station. The 1st voice heard on WFAN was Suzyn Waldman, with a sports update, followed by the 1st show, which was hosted by Jim Lampley. Waldman would report for the station, covering the NY Yankees & NY Knicks, for 14 years. Other personalities that hosted shows besides Lampley in the 1050 kHz years included Bill Mazer, Pete Franklin, Greg Gumbel & 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 it's purchase of RCA 2 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 & in New York, the WNBC license for 660 was included in the sale. On October 7, 1988 @ 5:30 PM, WFAN moved down the radio dial to replace WNBC @ 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 SBS. However, SBS already owned an AM station in the market, Newark-based WSKQ @ 620 kHz & in those days FCC rules stipulated that companies could own only 1 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's now WSNR) & 1050 was traded to Forward Communications, which owned WEVD, then @ 97.9 FM. After that deal was approved, WEVD's call letters & programming moved to 1050 AM (it's now WEPN & ironically a sports station) & SBS took over 97.9 as WSKQ-FM. That October, NBC-Emmis switch also saw Emmis's WQHT (then @ 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 & it's country music format.
In all this, WFAN retired 2 of the oldest radio call letters from the dawn of commercial radio: WHN & WNBC.
After the switchEdit
1 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 & 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 & 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 & 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 @ launch) has been used @ other sports radio stations across the country.
WFAN was also the 1st 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 1st 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 @ it's launch included a mid-morning show with Ed Coleman & Mike Francesa & an afternoon drive time show with Pete Franklin, who in Cleveland had become 1 of the 1st polarizing, outrageous talk show hosts. During his stay in New York, Franklin would probably become best known for an incident where he used a 4-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 @ WNBC in the mid-1980s. Both Imus & Franklin would take shots @ each other during their shows, Franklin calling Imus "Minus" & 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 & Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo - who had been a weekend/fill-in host to that time - would premiere. The Mike & the Mad Dog show would become the defining show of WFAN, 1 of the most consistently popular radio shows in New York & 1 of the most influential sports talk radio shows in the country.
Over the years WFAN has continued to have a broad-based sports talk & play-by-play format. WFAN ratings gradually rose & in fact @ some points it has been the top-billing station in New York & 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 @ 5 AM (Eastern time) with an hour-long program hosted by Kimberly Jones, followed by Boomer & Carton, hosted by former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason & radio veteran Craig Carton. The midday timeslot is co-hosted by Joe Benigno & 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 & the Mad Dog 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 2008 season with former NFL players Sean Landeta & Tony Siragusa. 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 & following live game broadcasts. Tony Paige works the majority of the overnight shifts. Other overnight hosts include Marc Malusis & 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 it's 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 &/or drive-time periods).
Over the years, WFAN has established a tight bond with it's listeners, to the point where 1 of them eventually landed a regular on-air spot. Joe Benigno had been a frequent caller to "The Fan" (especially the Mike & the Mad Dog show) as "Joe from Saddle River" & his calls were typically interesting & insightful. In 1994, he was chosen to host a 1-hour show during a promotion where listeners were invited to host a show. The test went well & he later parlayed it into a regular overnight shift, which started in 1995.
WFAN also features the "20-20 Flash", a 1-2 minute update on sports scores & news, which occurs every 20 minutes (on the hour, 20 after & 40 after). The update team consists of Rich Ackerman, Harris Allen, Mike McCann, Erica Herskowitz, Bob Heussler, Marc Malusis, John Minko, Jerry Recco, Greg Tartaglia & Mia Harris. The station also employs beat reporters to cover the Mets (Ed Coleman), Yankees (Sweeny Murti), Jets (Recco) & Giants (Harris).
Currently, WFAN airs New York Mets baseball, the NFL's New York Giants, the NHL's New Jersey Devils, the NBA's New Jersey Nets & St. John's University men's basketball. During baseball season, the Mets have 1st priority of airtime over all of the other teams & WFAN shifts some early-season Giants games over to 1 of it's sister FM stations (currently WXRK). During the fall & early winter (when NFL, NHL & NBA seasons overlap) the Giants have 1st priority, followed by the Devils & lastly, the Nets.
Bloomberg L.P.-owned WBBR is utilized as WFAN's main "conflict" station for Devils games due to scheduling conflicts with the Mets & Giants (if the conflict is with the Mets, the game will still be streamed on WFAN's website). WBBR & WLIB (owned by Inner City Broadcasting Corporation) also carry selected Nets games when they & the Devils play simultaneously. Both WFAN & WBBR share a contract to air St. John's basketball. As with the Devils, many St. John's games are still streamed over WFAN's website. It should also be noted that the Giants, Devils, Nets & St. John's all produce their own games & purchase their airtime from WFAN.
WFAN is also a promotional partner of the Yankees, as sister station WCBS has been the team's flagship station since 2002. WFAN is given exclusive game-day rights to broadcast @ the ballpark. The exclusive access seems to give WFAN an information edge over WEPN, which features Yankees TV voice Michael Kay in drivetime. Kay is often forced to do his show from outside the stadium & then leave to do the TV broadcast an hour before the game.
The station is the flagship outlet for Westwood One's NFL, NHL & NCAA basketball tournament 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 it's close partnerships with the Mets & Yankees could easily render it "New York's Baseball Station." Jerry Manuel & Joe Girardi, respective managers of the Mets & Yankees, make exclusive appearances on WFAN during the season. WFAN usually also contracts @ least 1 Giants & 1 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 & New York Knicks (the latter 2 were inherited from WNBC). Currently WFAN's primary competition is WEPN, the New York ESPN Radio affiliate, ironically located @ WFAN's old 1050 kHz frequency. WEPN carries the 3 aforementioned teams + national ESPN Radio programming, all of which WFAN also once carried.
Beginning @ 3 PM on April 11 2006, WFAN started streaming live on the Internet. Live Mets & Nets games are offered separately through the MLB & NBA websites as annual subscriptions. The stream can be found @ wfan.com.
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 it's earliest stages & the treatment & eventual elimination of childhood cancer. The 3 most recent beneficiaries of the radiothon were Tomorrow's Children's Fund, the CJ Foundation for SIDS & the Imus Ranch. WFAN has also done other radiothons & special broadcasts to raise money for assorted charities.
On August 15 2008, Mike Francesa announced during the final broadcast of Mike & 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 & the Mike Francesa Champions of the Heart Foundation, a new charity created by Francesa. The radiothon was broadcast over 29 ½ hours on September 11 & 12.
Midday show controversy Edit
The midday slot has not been 1 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 & Dave Sims had their show cancelled. WFAN then announced that New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica & WNBC-TV sports anchor Len Berman would co-host the new midday program. The show seemed all set to go when @ 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 AM start on radio with his 11:20 PM report on TV. WFAN would not let Berman out of his contract & as a result, the slot was split into 2 shows: Lupica hosted from 10 AM-noon, while Berman hosted from noon-2 PM. The split format did not work & eventually Berman's show would be cancelled & 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 & the Schmoozer", would feature 1 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 & Somers were replaced by Suzyn Waldman & Jody McDonald. Waldman was best known for her work covering the Yankees & Knicks for the station. McDonald, son of a former Mets general manager, was the weekend overnight host before leaving for sister station Sports Radio 610 WIP in Philadelphia, nearer to his southern New Jersey home. Both Waldman & McDonald had their fans & detractors @ WFAN.
Waldman would leave WFAN in late 2001, joining the Yankees TV 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 & Rosenberg. However, the ratings still weren't what WFAN expected & in 2004 McDonald was let go, later to join WEPN, Sirius Satellite Radio & 950 ESPN 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 & on January 2 2007, part-time overnight host Evan Roberts became Benigno's new midday co-host. The pairing continues to consistently out-rate rival Max Kellerman on WEPN.
On July 1 2007, WFAN celebrated it's 20th anniversary. On the weekend of July 4, past WFAN hosts such as Suzyn Waldman & Jim Lampley did guest-hosting stints & the station's current hosts provided career & station retrospectives throughout the weekend. The station also invited listeners to vote on the "Greatest New York sports moments" & the "Top 20 New York sports celebrities", during WFAN's 20-year history.
Exit Imus, enter Boomer & Carton Edit
- Main article: Boomer and Carton in the Morning
On the April 4, 2007 broadcast of Imus in the Morning, Don Imus made a sexually & 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 & Sid Rosenberg (who was on the phone).
2 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 & Al Sharpton, who threatened to protest both CBS Radio & MSNBC (which aired a video simulcast of the program), as well as boycott companies who advertised on the program. WFAN offered it's hosts & listeners a sounding board for their own feelings & comments, which were both for & against his dismissal. Chris Russo, in particular, expressed his disappointment @ Imus for waiting 2 days before retracting his comments.
Imus was initially given a 2-week suspension which was scheduled to begin on April 16, allowing him to work the annual WFAN Radiothon on April 12 & April 13. On consecutive days, Imus appeared on both Sharpton's syndicated radio show (April 9) & NBC'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 @ the time leaving WFAN with a very large programming - & 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 & news reader, Charles McCord, to anchor the final segment of the radiothon on April 13. Imus revived his program @ 77 WABC in December 2007 & took his fundraiser with him - with the charities intact - & conducted a radiothon there in May 2008.
From that point on, the 6-10 AM time slot was filled by various hosts. McCord & Chris Carlin remained on all the replacement shows as assistance & staff, in similar roles as they were on Imus's show & the replacement shows continued to be syndicated via Westwood One. Mike Francesa & Chris Russo were the 1st to fill the spot, hosting for 2 weeks (April 16-27) immediately after Imus' firing. Francesa & Russo also worked the shift separate from each other, as did fellow WFAN staffers Richard Neer, Joe Benigno & Evan Roberts & Carlin, who worked both alone & with co-hosts, notably Kimberly Jones & Washington Post sports columnist John Feinstein.
WFAN & Westwood One also brought in outside personalities into the slot. Among them were Boomer Esiason, Patrick McEnroe, Geraldo Rivera, Lou Dobbs & Chicago sports radio host Mike North. As MSNBC also held it's own claim to the slot, the cable network was able to have it's own replacement shows simulcasted; these programs were hosted by in-house personalities David Gregory, Jim Cramer & Joe Scarborough, who was named as MSNBC's replacement host.
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 & Chris Carlin remaining to do sports updates. The new program is not distributed nationally by Westwood One. Charles McCord left the station shortly after the announcement was made & has since rejoined Don Imus @ WABC. Carlin was also given his own show in the 1-hour time slot immediately preceding Esiason's show.
The end of Mike & the Mad Dog Edit
- Main article: Mike and the Mad Dog
During their 19-year run as WFAN's afternoon drive team, Mike Francesa & Chris Russo had enjoyed a relationship - both on & off-air - which varied from respect to contempt. The 2 hosts did not get along well during the early days of their partnership & 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 & their listeners.
In early 2008, several reports surfaced that Francesa & Russo were on the outs again & 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 & they were considering ending their radio show. 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 @ a "crossroad" & could not guarantee the show would last through the summer. Francesa also stated he & Russo had not spoken since reports of their possible breakup came out.
On July 11 2008, Francesa & Russo reunited for their 1st show together since news of their possible breakup came out. Both men were coy about their future beyond the summer. Francesa & Russo then continued their normal summer routine of alternating vacation weeks & on August 5 2008, they would do their final show together @ the New York Giants' training facility @ 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. Russo insisted it was solely a personal decision & said, "This has nothing to do with Mike & I hating each other... This is about doing something different. I'm 48 years old & 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." 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.
At the same time, while Russo left WFAN, Francesa signed a 5-year deal to stay @ WFAN & continue to host the afternoon drive-time show. On August 19 2008, Russo signed a 5-year contract worth about 3 million per year with Sirius XM to headline a new sports talk channel called Mad Dog Radio on both Sirius & XM satellite radio. Russo said there was nothing WFAN could have done to keep him after Sirius XM provided him an opportunity to not only do a show, but have his own channel, which he could not pass up.
Influence of sports formatEdit
WFAN's success - especially after the 1988 frequency switch - proved that sports-talk radio could in fact be a steadily profitable & popular format. This in turn fueled the explosive growth of sports-talk radio in the 1990s & 2000s. Once a novelty, every major market (& many smaller markets) now has @ least 1 sports radio station & often more. ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio & 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 & 2 Live Stews. Additionally there are dedicated sports radio streams on satellite radio, such as NFL Radio on Sirius & MLB Home Plate on XM Satellite Radio. With the migration of music stations to FM & 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's worth noting that, for all the success & influence that WFAN has had, it's signature Mike & the Mad Dog show experienced limited syndication outside of New York state (the show had been carried over WQYK in Tampa, Florida & 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 1 year for the same reason that Mike & the Mad Dog 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 & Norway made it to air.
Callers are an important facet of WFAN programming. A number of callers who have earned a reputation over the years & 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 & impressed with Bill's baseball intellect that he often jokes that Bill "has to be looking @ a book." Bill attends most Yankees home games & sits in the press box. On February 23 2008, Bill was the victim of a hit-&-run accident on Long Island & suffered severe injuries. He continues to call in as he recovers.
- Jerome from Manhattan
Another notable caller is Jerome Mittelman, widely known as "Jerome from Manhattan." A die-hard Yankees & Knicks fan, Jerome is famous for his on-air take-no-prisoners blistering rants & raves, as well as his unique take on the English language. 1 of his favorite exclamatory phrases is "frickin' frack!" He refers to the bullpen as the "ballpen" & 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 & 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?" & 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 @ 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), 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. 1 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 @ Iowa State University & spent 2 years in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers & New Orleans Saints.
- Miriam from Forest Hills
Miriam is a blind New York Islanders & New York Mets fan from Queens. The 1st Islanders game Miriam ever attended became the topic of a Rick Reilly column in Sports Illustrated.
- Lisa from Whitestone
The most annoying caller in WFAN history. She calls Mike Francesa on a regualar basis to discuss the New York Yankees, during her hour long calls, she goes on & on about nothing. She was 1 of the winners of the 2009 super bowl contest. She correctley responded to 4 questions & did them so fast. She was on MikeFrancesa.com looking @ the answers, when on the air she appeared confused about the questions but she really was not. She also won the bonus question that won her a trip in a jet to tampa. She is truly an annoying caller to the Fan.
Reception of WFANEdit
WFAN's signal can be heard clearly on much of the East Coast of the United States & Eastern Canada after sunset because it's a FCC "Class A" clear channel station.
During the day, WFAN's groundwave signal can be heard faintly as far south as Washington, DC & as far north as the I-90 corridor (the New York State Thruway & 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. Signal strength varies depending on factors such as weather & elevation. Still, a good car radio can pick up WFAN cleanly in most of Pennsylvania @ times as far west as central Indiana & throughout Connecticut, as well as parts of the Philadelphia, Boston, Albany & Syracuse markets, especially @ night (WFAN does not broadcast on reduced power overnight & 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 & has done radio play-by-play for UConn basketball & football, while Chris Carlin handles Rutgers football games) & attended Hobart. Alternatively, the callers listen to the streaming internet feed on wfan.com, or watch the "Mike & the Mad Dog" 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.