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WFAN (660 AM), also known as "Sports Radio 66" or "The FAN", is a radio station in New York Citymarker. The station broadcasts on a clear channel and is owned by CBS Radio. WFAN's studios are located in the combined CBS Radio facility in the West Villagemarker section of Manhattanmarker; the transmitter is located on High Islandmarker in the Bronx, New Yorkmarker.

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 (Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo) and the comedian/shock jock/political commentator Don Imus, whose nationally syndicated Imus in the Morning program previously originated on WFAN.

History

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 several years.

Programming

WFAN's broadcast day begins at 6:00 a.m. (Eastern time) with Boomer and Carton, hosted by former NFL 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 Network 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, 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 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 vacation.

Steve Somers hosts during most other evenings, often leading into and following live game broadcasts. Tony Paige 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 Talking Baseball show that aired on TV for many years.

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 (Paul Dottino).

  • 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.


Monday-Fridays

Program Starring Time Slot
Boomer and Carton in the Morning Boomer Esiason - Craig Carton 06:00 am – 10:00 am
Benigno & Roberts Joe Benigno - Evan Roberts 10:00 am – 01:00 pm
Mike'd Up Mike Francesa 01:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Steve Somers Steve Somers 06:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Adam the Bull Adam Gerstenhaber 10:00 pm – 01:00 am
Marc Malusis / Tony Paige Marc Malusis / Tony Paige 01:00 am – 06:00 am


Saturdays

  • Show times may change according sport league seasons.
Program Starring Time Slot
Richard Neer Richard Neer 06:00 am – 10:00 am
Ed Randall Ed Randall 10:00 am – 01:00 pm
Steve Somers Steve Somers Undefined


Sundays

  • Show times may change according sport league seasons.
Program Starring Time Slot
Bob Salter / Ed Randall Talking Baseball Bob Slater / Ed Randall 06:00 am – 10:00 am
Richard Neer / The NFL Now Richard Neer / Mike Francesa 10:00 am – 01:00 pm


Team coverage

Currently, WFAN airs MLB's 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). This 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 Nets.

Bloomberg L.P.-owned WBBRmarker (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 website). WBBR or Salem Communications-owned WNYM (970 AM) carries any Nets games when they and other teams play simultaneously.

WFAN is also a promotional partner of the Yankees, as sister station WCBSmarker 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 Kay 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 John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman and Kimberly Jones.

The station is the flagship outlet for Westwood One's NFL and NCAA 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 its close partnerships with the Mets and Yankees could easily render it "New York's Baseball Station." Jerry Manuel 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 Coughlin.

The station was also the longtime radio home for the New York Jets, New York Rangers 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 previously broadcasted.

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 Radio, Fox Sports Radio and 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 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.

It is 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 WQYKmarker in Tampa, Floridamarker and WROWmarker in Albany, New Yorkmarker). 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 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 Californiamarker, Canadamarker, Germanymarker, Spainmarker, Argentinamarker and Norwaymarker made it to air.

On-air Call-up

The current Toll free number of WFAN is +1(877)337-6666, before moving to Manhattanmarker, the number was (718)937-6666

Notable callers

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.

Bill the Baker
Arguably the most knowledgeable caller to WFAN is William Stimers from Brentwoodmarker, 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 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 recovers.

Jerome from Manhattan
Another notable caller is Jerome Mittelman, widely known as "Jerome from Manhattan." 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!" He refers to the bullpen as the "ballpen", and 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 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." 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 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 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. 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 Universitymarker 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 Islanders and New York Mets fan from Queens. The first Islanders game Miriam ever attended became the topic of a Rick Reilly column in Sports Illustrated.

Lisa from Whitestone
An unabashed Yankees fan, Lisa calls in often to Mike Francesa. She won one of four trips to Super Bowl XLIII 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 death.

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

WFAN's signal can be heard clearly on much of the East Coast of the United States and Eastern Canadamarker after sunset because it is a FCC "Class A" clear channel station.

During the day, WFAN's groundwave signal can be heard faintly as far south as Washington, DCmarker 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. WFAN can also allegedly be heard clearly on the northern beaches of North Carolina's Outer Banksmarker 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 Pennsylvaniamarker, at times as far west as central Indianamarker, and throughout Connecticutmarker, as well as parts of the Philadelphiamarker, Bostonmarker, Albanymarker, and Syracusemarker 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 UConnmarker basketball and football, while Chris Carlin handles Rutgersmarker 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 . Depending on atmospheric conditions, the station can be allegedly picked up as far south as Havanamarker, Cubamarker. In parts of South Floridamarker after sunset, reception of WFAN is clearer than Miami-based "competitors" including WAXY.

Since fall 2009, WFAN has been heard on the HD Radio subcarriers of several CBS stations in Floridamarker: 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.

On-air personalities

Current personalities



Notable alumni



Notes

External links




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