Andrew Marchand of The New York Post led off his weekly “Media Mailbag” column with a question about New York’s heritage sports talk radio brand.
Reader Vincent asked why WFAN would broadcast Yankee games and spend so little time talking about the team during its shows. “Most hosts are Met fans and don’t hide it. I believe the ratings have fallen because people are tired of it,” he wrote.
Marchand noted that there is no evidence that the number of Mets fans on the air at WFAN has effected the station’s ratings, though he did add that plenty of people have shared Vincent’s observation about the makeup of the WFAN lineup’s baseball allegiances.
“Yankees officials have also felt for a long time that FAN’s hosts have skewed too much toward Mets fans, according to sources,” Marchand wrote.
He went on to clarify that it is not so much the lack of die hard fans on the air that has disappointed the Yankees. Maggie Gray, Boomer Esiason, and Gregg Giannotti all support the Mets, but they are able to present their coverage of both teams as neutral. Gray’s partner Marc Malusis is a Yankee fan, which probably makes it possible for that show to please fans of both teams.
Mike Francessa’s exit from afternoon drive has really changed the sound of that day part. WFAN replaced the Sports Pope with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, who are outspoken Mets fans. Marchand says the duo sounds “as if they are doing a chore talking about the Yankees.” He says that WFAN is never going to hire or fire someone based on their favorite baseball team, but “it does not make the Yankees happy.”
Evan Roberts: Boomer Esiason Was Taking Shot at Craig Carton With FS1 Dig
“He said they only put the stuff no one cares about on FS1. And he did it with his Boomer smile where I knew what he was mentioning.”
WFAN afternoon host Evan Roberts was listening to the station’s morning show, Boomer & Gio, and heard what he believed was a slight towards his current co-host Craig Carton Wednesday from Boomer Esiason.
“I heard Boomer this morning taking some shots at you. I did not like it,” Roberts said. “Did not like it. Big shots at my partner. He made a comment about how FOX puts stuff that no one cares about on FS1. And he meant that directly at you.”
“First off, he wouldn’t say that,” replied Carton.
“He said it. I listened. He said they only put the stuff no one cares about on FS1,” Roberts reiterated. “And he did it with his Boomer smile where I knew what he was mentioning. He wasn’t talking about anything other than his old, dear friend Craig. What a cheap shot.”
Carton, who hosts The Carton Show each weekday morning on FS1, said no one must have been listening to Boomer’s attack because he didn’t get any tweets or emails about it.
“Boomer’s probably listening — because he does listen to us — and he’s probably smiling saying ‘Evan’s right!’,” Roberts said before laughing out loud.
“If he did say it — next time — I’ll just ask a favor,” Carton asked of Esiason. “Reminder your listeners that I am on FS1 from 7:00-9:30 AM, but only until 9:00 AM this week because of World Cup soccer. If you’re gonna take a shot, it allows me to promote it. And I don’t promote it here.”
A caller later told Carton & Roberts the exact moment, down to the minute, of when Esiason made the quip about FS1. Producers then pulled up the clip, which they played on the air.
After hearing the clip, Carton joked FOX puts they stuff they don’t care about on FS2 before asking “Now I gotta figure out, do I respond or not? Or do I just let it go?” before concluding that he’s more mature than making a response.
Fred Toucher Tells Paul Finebaum: Your Greatest Talent Is Not Losing It On Callers
“What you’re actually taught in radio — and not to the benefit of people — is to move things along and cut people off.”
98.5 The Sports Hub morning show Toucher & Rich has frequently pointed out the absurdity of callers into The Paul Finebaum Show. Thursday morning, the Boston show welcomed in the southern college football host to discuss what makes his show tick.
“I can’t tell you how big a thrill this is for me, because I didn’t realize how funny our show was until I started listening to you guys,” Finebaum joked.
“Part of the brilliance of your show is you just let these people go,” Fred Toucher said. “For those that don’t know, the instinct in what you’re actually taught in radio — and not to the benefit of people — is to move things along and cut people off. At what point did you realize ‘I’m just gonna let these dudes talk and see where they take it’?”
“I listened to all these radio goobs — I mean all these people in the corner office — tell us how to do it and I realized I can’t do that. I didn’t have the radio voice, I didn’t have the style, I didn’t have the energy. So I just sat there and literally listened to callers ramble on and I started to find the humor in it.
“It hit me one day that these people don’t have a voice,” Finebaum continued. “Especially in the south where we don’t have six or seven professional sports franchises. Callers started becoming famous and becoming a part of the show. We started having lunches with them for Christmas and various other things and days and I think we realized what we had and we made the most of it. Some of these callers really defy logic. I think I’ve given four or five eulogies at various callers funerals and I think that there’s a connection there.”
Finebaum then mentioned one of his more notorious callers, Legend. The caller actually spent more than 20 years in prison after shooting someone six times. Toucher said Legend has actually called into their show but they have never taken his call.
“We don’t take Legend because we’re not gonna do as good a job with him,” Toucher said. “I told our producer, I do not want to take Legend.”
“Paul’s a master with him,” Rich Shertenlieb added.
Gregg Giannotti: CBS Won’t Show Deshaun Watson Accusers Sunday
“I think people know what’s going on. You’re not gonna show them and start trashing them on the broadcast.”
Quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to make his 2022 season debut against his former team on Sunday following an 11-game suspension. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct, and 10 of the women who believe the now-Cleveland Browns QB preyed upon them are planning to attend the game in Houston. On Boomer & Gio on WFAN on Wednesday, co-host Gregg Giannotti had a thought on CBS cameras dedicating a snippet of the game broadcast to showing the women in attendance.
“I wonder does like the broadcast show them?” Gio asked to co-host Boomer Esiason. “Are you guys gonna have to talk about that on The NFL Today?”
“I have no idea,” Esiason responded. Boomer explained that they hadn’t had their production meeting for this week’s show, but he felt like beyond that he and Gio had already discussed the Watson situation at great length.
Still, Gio said if he were in charge of the CBS broadcast, he would find a way to show the alleged victims’ faces.
“I mean you could show them and explain the situation,” he said. “I think people know what’s going on. You’re not gonna show them and start trashing them on the broadcast.”
Once the 2022 NFL season started, and Watson accepted the suspension and began going through the various processes he needed to go through in order to be reinstated, the focus shifted away from the story. But Gio added that now that Watson is ready to play, the story gets thrust back into the limelight.
“Nobody was talking about it for weeks and weeks and weeks, and now he’s back,” he said. “And now it’s back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.