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Steve Somers Can’t Retire From Talking

“The people, whether it was management then or management now, and all the calls and all the listeners that I might have had over the years, I owe everything to them.”



Flipping through the pages of your high school yearbook often evokes feelings of nostalgia no matter your high school experience. Looking back at the photos of your fellow classmates from the days where everyone was just trying to find and establish their own identity can make you long for those days of simplistic chaos. As you look at each section of the book, usually the class valedictorian is highlighted, where you can learn more about the person with the highest grade point average considered to be at the top of your class.

The valedictorian of Lowell High School in San Francisco, CA would turn out to be a man who sports fans referred to as “Captain Midnight” on the other side of the country for 34 years. Underneath his yearbook photo, this kid’s ambition was listed as seeking to become a “New York Sportscaster,” and he certainly left no doubt that he achieved his goal, and then some, when he signed off the airwaves for the final time last week (for an excellent peak behind the scenes video of the final show click here).

Steve Somers (@stevesomerswfan) / Twitter

Indeed, the maxim holds true that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. For Steve Somers, that mantra held true starting from the moment his voice was broadcast over the airwaves of WFAN. He’d discuss the latest happenings across the world of New York Sports, and frequently take calls from listeners, giving them a chance to share their opinions.

Somers did not get to the city that never sleeps right away though. He worked in television for roughly 17 years prior to moving to the East Coast with various outlets and in different markets, including his hometown of San Francisco. He also spent time in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Sacramento.

The day Somers finally made it to New York City was emotional for him. At the time, Somers had not held a job for two and a half years, nor had he worked in radio since his foray in television had begun. None of that stopped him though from catalyzing an exciting career on the air in the number one media market in the country.

“I’ve often said to people that if you were to take an airplane flight from the [West] Coast to the [East] Coast, it would take about five and a half to six hours,” said Somers. “It took me 22 years to land in New York. And I cried — I was so happy joining a radio station in New York City that was going to be doing something 24/7.”

Somers, 74, was the last of the original voices from its 1987 launch as the pioneer of the sports talk radio format in New York City to depart the station,. Despite being from San Francisco, he helped the station establish its local sound. He did this not only by taking an innumerable amount of calls over his career, but also by being able to understand and relate to the passion and zeal New York sports fans had for their favorite teams: the Devils, Giants, Islanders, Jets, Knicks, Mets, Nets, Rangers, and Yankees.

“You can’t come into somebody else’s house and rearrange the furniture,” said Somers. “Maybe this is old school — and I’m old and I went to school — but it may be old school to be a please and thank you guy [on the phone]… I have a lot of respect for coming into this city and talking to what I consider to be the number one place for media and the number one place for sports.”

While it took several years for the station to find its audience, Somers never had a doubt that “New York’s FAN” would be able to find its sound and appeal to a local cohort of listeners, as well as its group of listeners from abroad.

Steve Somers - Evenings | WFAN 101.9 FM & 66 AM

“I never thought the radio station would not survive,” said Somers. “I had always thought that with nine professional teams in New York City — how could it not survive?”

When Somers was hired prior to the station’s July 1, 1987 launch, management at WFAN had to make decisions regarding the station’s programming lineup, specifically what it would do overnight.

“They weren’t sure whether they would have syndicated programming overnight, or a repeat of daytime programming overnight, or whether or not they would have a live person overnight,” said Somers. “To my good fortune, I was their last hire, and, of course, did a live program overnight for the very first time on the very first all-sports 24-hour station.”

Through his time on the air, Somers brought a unique on-air sound to listeners in the New York-Metropolitan area, with recurring bits, such as the Fearless Forecaster, and other production pieces. It all surrounded his famous monologue, which he notoriously prepared every night on a standard yellow stenography pad. Additionally, Somers would frequently take calls during his show while in the studio, or as he put it — “Me here, and you there.” His most famous caller? None other than comedy and television legend Jerry Seinfeld, who would often talk about his beloved New York Mets on the program yada, yada, yada.

“I don’t think I’m anywhere close to his talent, but he grew up listening to me and the radio station at night, and became a fan,” said Somers. “I’m not going to say we were the best of friends, [but] we had a very good radio listenership acquaintance kind of relationship.”

The cast of people Somers worked with “on the other side of the glass” included the likes of Evan Roberts, Sal Licata, Paul Rosenberg, and, of course, Eddie Scozzare, all of whom served in various roles for the program. Somers recognizes the effort they demonstrated in trying to make the program exciting, entertaining and engaging for the listeners.

“Being a producer is a thankless job,” said Somers. “As long as somebody gave an effort; that didn’t mean they were all 100 percent successful any more than anyone on the air has a brilliant show every time they are on. If you were to give effort, you were succeeding as far as I was concerned.”

Aside from the plethora of on-air talent, including Somers, Mike Francesca, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo and Don Imus, those behind the scenes, such as former WFAN Vice President of Programming Mark Chernoff, helped institute and maintain the station’s upward trajectory throughout most of the years Somers was on the air.

“Chernoff was all-business,” Somers elucidated. “He was very strict. He wanted you to always follow the rules and be your best and go from there. A boss’s job is to boss, and some are easier to get along with than others. Chernoff and I got along okay. If you were honest, candid, direct matter-of-fact with him, you [would get] along.”

WFAN is now led by its new vice president of programming Spike Eskin, who joined the station this year, 34 years to the day of its launch, after he served in a similar role at SportsRadio 94WIP in Philadelphia.

Somers speaks fondly of Eskin and Senior Vice President and New York Market Manager for Audacy, Chris Oliviero, two influential voices at the radio station, the latter who infamously sent Somers a letter asking for an autograph as a high school student in 1993. “The Schmoozer” knows they are up to the task in continuing to lead the original home for sports talk radio further amid an oversaturated 21st-century media landscape.

“Radio is certainly not the same as it was 34 years ago. There are so many other ways that you can get information. Radio, to me, was always personal and intimate, and no matter how it goes into this next century with all the technical advancements and utilizing all the venues, all the platforms and social media, generally speaking what separates radio and really WFAN to this day from other radio stations is [that it’s] personal and intimate, and it can be both of those.”

Somers confirmed that he was offered a midnight to 5 a.m. time slot to stay on the air at WFAN, which he politely declined. While he had his final show Monday and left on good terms, he does not view it as the definitive end of his broadcasting career; indeed, he is leaving the possibility of “Schmoozing” again open for consideration.

“How do you really retire from talking?,” said Somers. “At this moment, I don’t feel like doing a podcast, but if WFAN wants to have me back someday [to fill] in, I would certainly listen and probably do it… The retirement was really going to be the best option for me at this time. Again, down the road, if they were to give [me] a call, I’d be flattered.”

Somers affirms it was the people around him that led him to his success, both in and out of the WFAN Studios, and a significant reason why he was able to stay there for 34 years in the number one media market in the country: New York, NY.

“The people, whether it was management then or management now, and all the calls and all the listeners that I might have had over the years, I owe everything to them… because they gave me a chance to realize my dream; to realize my goal; to realize my destination, and they gave me a chance — the audience gave me a chance; gave me a life; gave me a career. And I owe everything to them.”

Steve Somers leaving WFAN 'sometime this fall'
Courtesy: NY Post

For now, Somers is retired, and content with his decision.

“If I have to go through a major withdrawal, so far so good. I’m at peace with everything and making whatever adjustment you have to make; just [moving] forward and [looking] forward to any new challenges that may come my way.”

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BSM Writers

Sam Mayes Got A Raw Deal But Tyler Media Made The Right Call

“You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.”



I do not envy whoever at Tyler Media had to make a decision about Sam Mayes’s future with the company after audio of a private conversation in 2016 was leaked to the media. Mayes and now-former co-worker Cara Rice made a few racist jokes at the expense of Native Americans.

The recording, according to Mayes, was made without his knowledge and leaked illegally. He says in a recorded statement that he should have been given the opportunity to address the recording on air and make amends.

OKC Radio Host Sam Mayes Fired After Racist Audio is Leaked

Maybe that is true, maybe it isn’t. I hate for Sam to lose his job as the result of an illegal recording of a private conversation, but the fact is, that conversation isn’t private anymore. Tyler Media didn’t really have an option here. Sam Mayes had to go.

Someone had an illegal recording of the conversation and created an anonymous email account to send it to people in the Oklahoma City media. I was shown a copy of the email. The author states clearly that their goal is to see Mayes and Rice out of a job. There is nothing fair or just about that person getting exactly what they want. It feels slimy. I can’t say that it feels like it wasn’t the right call though.

We have debated whether or not someone should lose their job over comments made in a private conversation many times before. It happens in every field. It wasn’t long ago at all that we were having this same debate about Jon Gruden. His emails to Bruce Allen and others were sent in private. Is it fair he had to go when they were made public? No matter what horrible things were in there, they were said with the understanding that it would stay between friends.

I am going to say the same thing about Sam Mayes that I did about Gruden when that story first broke. You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.

You read that right. The circumstances of how the conversations in these examples came to light are absolutely unfair, but the conversations came to light. How it happened is irrelevant. Any sponsor or boss that stands behind Sam Mayes or Jon Gruden would be endorsing the language they used, either inadvertently or very much on purpose. Try explaining that to a sponsor.

People at Tyler Media may know Sam Mayes’s heart. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy. The fact of the matter is, once the audio became public, their hands were tied. There is no mistaking what was said or who said it.

How can any seller or manager take Mayes to advertisers now? How can they put him in front of the Lucky Star Casino, one of the station’s biggest advertisers? They can ask for an audience to let Sam explain himself and try to make amends. The Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes, who own the casino, are under no obligation to forgive or even listen.

All About the Lucky Star Casino in El Reno, Concho
Courtesy: TripAdvisor/Adam Knapp

Maybe the day will come where Sam Mayes bounces back. I hope it does. I hope he gets the chance to address his comments with members of Oklahoma’s Native American community and listen to what they have to say in response. I do think it sucks that this is how his time at The Franchise comes to an end, but I get it.

If I have to explain to you why not to say dumb, racist shit, then I don’t think we have much to talk about. But, it is worth noting that the recording of Mayes and Rice’s conversation is proof that privacy is always an assumption, not always a fact.

In his audio statement, Mayes admits it is his voice on the recording. He also says that he was uncomfortable with Rice’s comments and he tried to end their conversation. I’ll take him at his word, but I will also point out that before he tried to end the conversation, he joined in on the jokes. Maybe when someone says that Native Americans are “too drunk to organize” it isn’t a great idea to respond. All it leads to is proof of you saying something dumb and racist.

Again, I’ll reiterate that how these comments came to light is unfair, but they did come to light. That is Sam Mayes’s voice on the recording. He is joining in on the jokes about Native Americans being drunks and addicts. At the end of the day, the only thing that was done to him was the audio being released. He fully and willingly committed the firable offense.

May be an image of text

What is the response to a client or potential client when they bring that up? All Tyler Media can do is try to recover and move forward. The company cannot do that with Mayes on the payroll.

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BSM Writers

Stop Prospecting, Start Strategizing!

“You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days.”



Struggling to get new business appointments? Dreading making prospecting calls? Having trouble writing creative emails that seemingly never get a response?

Generating responses to new business outreach is easier than you think. Just make sure you do your homework first and keep it “Simple Stupid”.

To do that, start with asking yourself these (3) simple questions:

#1: Did I do my home work on the business itself, their competition and those I plan on reaching out to?

#2: If I were on the other end of the phone and/or email with myself would I want to engage in conversation and/or reply to that email?

#3: Am I prepared to make a one call close given the opportunity to?

If the answer to any of these is “No”… do NOT pick up the phone and by all means do NOT hit the send button on that initial outreach email! Doing so will all but ensure you fall flat on your face. On the off chance you do happen to get the decision maker on the phone you won’t make that great first impression that sometimes can be so crucial. First impressions are always important… ALWAYS!

Skipping over these critical steps is a sure-fire way to ensure your email is completely ignored and will not generate the engagement from the prospect you’d hope for. Successful prospecting is all about the front end digging and research. Do your homework first then strategize a plan of attack for your call and/or email. Taking these extra measures on the front end is absolutely “Mission Critical” and will set you up for much more success with your prospecting endeavors.

Now once you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above, you’re ready to attack with the knowledge and confidence that should set you a part from your competition. It’s all about the Game Plan, and if you don’t have one, you’re destined for failure time and time again. Incorporate these (5) things into your prospecting Game Plan for your next call/email and watch your results dramatically improve:

#1: MAKE IT PERSONAL & CASUAL – Be informal, find out something interesting about them.

#2: MAKE IT SHORT & CONCISE – Be straight forward and to the point, people are busy.

#3: MAKE IT TIMELY & RELEVANT TO THEM AND/OR THEIR BUSINESS – Give them a good Valid Business Reason.

#4: MAKE IT INTERESTING, COMPELLING & INFORMATIVE – Be the expert they’re missing.

#5: MAKE IT FUN – Fun people are easy to do business with and make it less like “work”.

Lastly, and most importantly, Be Yourself! You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days. When clients do find it trust me, they value it and appreciate it way more than you’ll ever know!

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BSM Writers

Good Producers Can Teach The World A Lot About Christmas

“A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition.”



Who is Carl Christmas in your house? Who is the one that makes sure everyone that needs to get a card does? Who comes up with the plan for the lights? Who takes the reins on the shopping?

Chevy Chase, aka Clark Griswold, to light up stage in Berks | Berks  Regional News |
Courtesy: Warner Bros./National Lampoon

Every home needs one and in my house, that’s me. December (including the last week of November) is my time to shine, baby!

One thing I have tried to impress upon my mom and wife this year is that shipping and supply chain delays are real. So, if you are planning on procrastinating on your online shopping this year (you know, like usual) someone (me) is going to have no presents under the tree.

Veteran producers are used to operate this way. Young producers, listen up. Your job involves the most delicate balance of any in sports radio. You have to help bring your host’s and PD’s visions to life. That means you have to be able to take their direction. But you also have to keep the host on target. That means you cannot be afraid to be forceful and lead when the moment demands it.

There’s no value to being an unrepentant asshole to people, but you do have to hold them accountable. Look at that Christmas shopping example again. If you want to get what you want, you need to keep on task the people you know aren’t paying attention to the potential roadblocks. It isn’t selfish. It is making sure everyone gets the holiday W they are expecting. Sure, you would be disappointed if your gift doesn’t arrive on time, but so will the gift giver.

Being a stickler for the clock or moving a host off of a topic that has no value is the same thing. Of course there is something in it for you, but you are also helping the host do his or her job better. They may get annoyed with you now, but if you save them from an ass-chewing from the bosses or slipping ratings, then they have reaped the benefits.

I guess the unfortunate difference here is that there may be no acknowledgment of what you did or helped them to avoid. Oh well. Every producer has to expect a certain level of thanklessness.

Producers have to take on that Carl Christmas role in dealing with sales too. Remember, just because the producer’s name isn’t on the show doesn’t mean that isn’t every bit his or her show that it is the hosts’.

It’s like decorating your house for the holidays. You may have a certain design in mind. Maybe you have a traditional look you stick to every year. If your spouse or your kid comes home with a giant, inflatable Santa Claus in a military helicopter that they want on the lawn, you have a decision to make. Are you going to say no and suggest an alternative that aligns more with your goal or are you going to let your plan get run over?

25 Best Christmas Inflatables - Top Inflatable Christmas Decorations

Sales has a job to do. It is to make sure their clients’ messages are heard and to make money for the station. Both can be accomplished without sacrificing your show’s quality.

If a seller comes to you and says he wants his client to come in for five minutes and talk about now being the time to book an appointment to have your garage floors redone, you have to speak up. You have an obligation to make sure that the seller knows that even five minutes of that will hurt the show and have listeners diving for the preset buttons on their car stereo. That isn’t good for the station or his client.

Instead, offer to work with the seller and the client to come up with a piece of content that the client can put his name on and a 20-second ad read behind. Will the audience stick around to listen to some dude named Jerry talk about garage floors or will more people listen to you talk about the NFL playoff picture in a creative way and then still be there to hear Jerry’s message about garage floors? The answer seems obvious.

A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition. If the background work wasn’t done though, the problems would be right out on the front lawn for everyone to see.

“Gatekeeper” is a term I really hate. It implies that someone is telling others what they are and are not allowed to enjoy. It is a necessary term though to properly describe what it is that a great producer and a great Carl Christmas do.

We don’t shut people out from being able to enjoy or be a part of what it is we are creating. We set or are handed down expectations and we block anything that can get in the way of achieving them. Sometimes, that is more thankless work than it should be. It is necessary though.

Kevin Anderson on Twitter: "Just noticed that I've been blocked by the  international civil aviation authority @icao Have others working on  aviation emissions also been blocked? Appears to be that their commitment

As my home’s self-appointed Carl Christmas and a former producer, let me give my countrymen the thanks others forget. We are the ones that make it possible for everyone else to be mindless. Wear it as a badge of honor. We may not get the kind of recognition we deserve everyday, but when plans go off without a hitch, we are usually the first to be recognized for making it happen.

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