WFAN – Chris Russo and Mike Francesa took some shots Wednesday over WFAN’s struggling ratings in the months after Francesa’s departure, and morning shows hosts Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, as well as WFAN’s vice president of programming Mark Chernoff, responded Monday morning. “Classless, it really was,” Esiason said in comments first noted by Newsday. “I’ll tell ya right now though, there may be nobody on FAN before you know it. I guarantee it,” Russo, joined by Francesa, said on MLB Network’s “High Heat” before erupting into laughter. “I shouldn’t have said it, forgive me,” Russo followed up jokingly. “Who’s leaving? [Joe] Benigno?” Francesa asked rhetorically. “Boomer! Then, they got nobody on,” Russo suggested. “Maybe Steve Somers is retiring,” Francesa said. “Oh, we can make fun of FAN all day,” Russo said.
There was no response from WFAN until Monday when Chernoff joined the “Boomer and Gio” show. Giannotti took most offense to Francesa’s replacements — Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray — being hit by the unprovoked attack. “They’ve been on the air for 2 ½ months, and by the way, they’ve been genuflecting to those two, our afternoon show now, nothing but respect they’ve shown to those guys,” said Giannotti, who replaced Craig Carton. “I mean, it’s totally uncalled for. It really was.” While Francesa played along, Russo began the bashing and that’s where Chernoff’s frustrations seemed to land.
“I tell you what, that [Francesa] retirement party lasted 19 months here and boy, I tell you what, nobody’s ass got kissed more than his. I’ve never seen anything like it . . . It went on longer than [Derek] Jeter’s and Mariano’s [Rivera]. I think combined it went on longer than those two,” Esiason said.
There is nothing I love more than radio beef. The radio nerd in me feels like I’m at a Jerry Springer taping and I’m sitting in the car listening like “FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!” I love it. When two stations fight each other…when hosts square off against each other in the ratings books…local channel vs national channels…its all great. But nothing is better than the in-fighting that goes down within a station. Guys that are supposed to be on the same team but the competition and the constant comparisons and the scarce amount of spotlight just breeds hate. Nobody does this better than WFAN, and nobody does it better than the Morning Show vs Mike and the Dog. The primary rivalry was Carton vs Mike but even now, with Carton gone and Mike retired, the rivalry continues.
Now as far as this situation goes, I’m Team Boomer and Gio. What Mike and Dog did on High Heat was shitty. Lotta Ricochet Shots. Just totally unnecessary to go on the air and trash the roster of your former team. Clearly WFAN is in flux right now and as two guys who lived very well off those airwaves, no need to throw shade at guys like the Schmooze. However at the same time, I always compare the FAN to Barstool, and its something I could easily see some Barstool guys saying down the road. Like one day when its all said and done and the Stool has hopefully sold for a bazillion dollars and everyone has moved on to their next gig, I easily see a scenario where like, Dan and I did some reunion guest spot and are laughing and clowning on Barstool after being there for so long. That kinda stuff shouldnt be done on air, and it shouldnt be at a time where the place you called home for a long time is trying to find its footing and dust themselves off a bit…but I’m just saying when you worked at a place for 30 years like Mike did or 20 years like Russo or 10 years like Boomer, it becomes like family and everyone knows within a family theres drama and beef and a messy Love/Hate relationship. But again, just not a clean shot to take while guys like Gio or Maggie Chris and Bart Scott are trying to fill the shoes left empty by the same guys who are just laughing like idiots.
To be clear, Mike and Chris aren’t wrong. Their assessment of WFAN is pretty true. But it doesnt mean you talk about it like that publicly.
PS – Love Boomer getting on Mike for the retirement tour. Dude announced his retirement like 550 days early. Kingly. The mere fact that Mike could do a retirement tour is a testament to a career of dominance.