Beginning next week, WFAN’s Mike Francesa is gaining a half hour of terrestrial airtime, but losing a full hour of exclusive digital space.
With the news of Francesa increasing his daily WFAN segment by 30 minutes, Neil Best of Newsday reports the 5 – 6 pm RADIO.COM exclusive portion of his show will be put on hiatus for now. The Sports Pope will host weekdays on FAN from 6 – 7 pm, an hour that will be simulcast by RADIO.COM.
When Francesa left his afternoon drive post in December for a reduced schedule of one digital hour on RADIO.COM, followed by 6 – 6:30pm on WFAN, his half hour show was expected to serve as a lead-in for Yankees pregame. With COVID-19 forcing a sports hiatus, there’s room in the lineup to increase his WFAN show, but if MLB returns in July, Francesa will likely have to give up the 6:30 – 7pm half hour in favor of Yankees pregame. Whether or not he’ll return to a RADIO.COM exclusive at that time remains to be seen.
According to Best, Francesa told the station he preferred to start his show on WFAN. Beginning his daily show on terrestrial radio will allow for his opening monologue to be heard on WFAN. Since January, Francesa is already two-thirds of the way through his daily show when beginning his WFAN segment, which encompasses most of his audience.
Some of his strongest opinions came during the RADIO.COM portion of his show in recent months, including when he chastised President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 seven weeks ago. The rant went viral, garnering close to three million views, but much of his WFAN audience heard it for the first time after Francesa was already off-air.
For the RADIO.COM Sports Digital Network which launched last summer, the lineup has now mostly dissipated. The morning show Home and Home with Ross Tucker and Dave Briggs ended in February, Scals and Pals’ most recent show was April 2, You Better You Bet has been off-air since April 29, and Francesa’s 5pm hour will now be on hiatus. That leaves Swings and Mrs. with Jennifer and Cody Decker, who continue to produce shows each Monday and Friday, with the most recent being May 18.
Obviously the recent COVID-19 induced sports stoppage has negatively impacted the entire industry, but Entercom has not announced new plans for the less than year old digital sports network.