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
. 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
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
"Mad Dog" Russo
) and the comedian/shock
/political commentator Don Imus
whose nationally syndicated Imus
in the Morning
program previously originated on
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 , 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
WFAN's broadcast day begins at 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time
) with Boomer and Carton
, hosted by former
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
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
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
and 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
hosts during most other
evenings, often leading into and following live game broadcasts.
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
show that aired on TV for many
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
- The Following Show list doesn't include sport events.
- Show times/hosts may change due to sport event broadcasts.
- Some shows are only seasonal, such as The NFL
Now or Ed Randall Talking Basseball.
- Show times may change according sport league seasons.
- Show times may change according sport league seasons.
Currently, WFAN airs MLB
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 WCBS-FM
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
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
WBBR or Salem
(970 AM) carries
any Nets games when they and other teams play simultaneously.
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
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
, Suzyn Waldman
and Kimberly Jones
The station is the flagship outlet for Westwood One's NFL
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."
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
The station was also the longtime radio home for the New York Jets
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
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
, Fox Sports Radio
Sporting News Radio
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.
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
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
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, Canada, Germany, Spain, Argentina and Norway made it to
current Toll free number
of WFAN is +1(877)337-6666, before moving to
Manhattan, the number was (718)937-6666
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.
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.
- Bill the Baker
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. He continues to call in as he
- Jerome from Manhattan
Another notable caller is Jerome
, widely known as "Jerome from
." 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!"
refers to the bullpen as the "ballpen"
, and once shouted
that the Yankees are "....done! D-O-E-N [sic],
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."
"....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
- Eli from Westchester
Eli Strand (1943-2008), known when calling as "Eli from
, was another famous repeat caller. Citing
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.
- Miriam from Forest Hills
Miriam is a blind New York
and New York Mets
from Queens. The first Islanders game Miriam ever attended became
the topic of a Rick Reilly
- Lisa from Whitestone
An unabashed Yankees fan, Lisa calls in often to Mike Francesa. She
won one of four trips to Super Bowl
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
- 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.
Reception of WFAN
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.
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.
also allegedly be heard clearly on the northern beaches of North
Banks during the day.
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 .
on atmospheric conditions, the station can be allegedly picked up
as far south as Havana, Cuba.
of South Florida after sunset, reception of WFAN is clearer than
Miami-based "competitors" including WAXY.
fall 2009, WFAN has been heard on the HD
Radio subcarriers of several CBS stations in Florida: WOCL-HD3 Orlando, WLLD-HD3 Tampa Bay, and WEAT-HD3
West Palm Beach.
Beginning at 3 p.m. on April 11, 2006, WFAN started streaming live
on the Internet. Live Mets and Nets games are offered separately
through the MLB and NBA websites as annual subscriptions.