By now you’ve probably heard that Mike Francesa will be leaving WFAN in 2017. And you know what? His departure cannot come soon enough.
By Chris Wengert
Mike Francesa has been a staple of the New York City radio sports scene for over 30 years.
He began his career as a researcher for CBS Sports in 1982 and has built himself quite the career over a span of 34 years.
Many of Francesa’s listeners will agree that his collaboration with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo was some of the better New York City radio during their 19 year run together. Russo’s bright and chirpy personality was a great fit for the dry Francesa.
Since 2008 the “Sports Pope,” as he is often referred to in the papers, has been a solo act during the afternoon drive on WFAN. For one reason or another, Francesa continues to be praised for his accomplished career.
And it’s time for that career to end…yesterday.
Francesa is everything that is wrong with sports personalities. He is cynical, rude, arrogant, inflexible, and unwilling to admit his mistakes.
Simply put, Mike Francesa an arrogant jerk.
Yet for one reason or another Francesa’a masochistic listeners will return every afternoon, yearning for his degrading comments.
Don’t get me wrong, Francesa knows most of his sports. When it comes to baseball or football, he is the guy to listen to. He also knows a little bit of basketball.
Anything beyond those sports and Francesa is lost.
This would be fine too because it is no secret what sells on the radio. But it becomes a problem when he pretends to know what he’s talking about, doesn’t admit his mistakes, or is just unwilling to address other sports.
Take this instance when a fan asked him about an upcoming New York Rangers-Anaheim Ducks game. For Rangers fans, this game was going to be a big measuring stick for the team at that time.
Now I’m sure the show producer was not aware that this caller was going to speak about hockey. This call happened at the beginning of the hockey season which is prime time for baseball and football.
Hockey is usually a radio no-no September-December.
But instead of politely saying that he will not talk hockey, Francesa decides to shoot down one of his listeners/callers. A caller who probably waited around an hour to speak with “The Pope”.
Plain and simple, he treats his callers/listeners like crap.
The people who call the show are the reason that Francesa has a job, so it boggles the mind why he consistently treats them like dirt.
Maybe it’s Stockholm Syndrome? Seriously, read the definition:
“Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.”
Slightly dramatic? Of course. But if you listen to Francesa for any period of time you will quickly see how nasty he is to his listeners.
Yet they keep returning for more abuse.
It doesn’t end with Francesa’s callers though. He publicly chastises his crew, often like a petulant child, by yelling at them while on the air.
Can you imagine if someone called you out by name in front of millions of listeners?
How unprofessional and unacceptable.
The pinnacle of Francesa’s un-professionalism came in 2013 when he was dropped by the YES Network in favor of ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show.
When asked about the subject, Francesa stated on the air that he left YES because they wanted “editorial rights”. Basically, Francesa was stating that YES wanted to control the show’s content.
This not only was a public shot at the YES Network, but also at Michael Kay and Don LaGreca who co-host the show.
The two shows battled publicity for a couple weeks. Here is one of Michael Kay’s better rants:
Here is the sleeping Francesa that Kay was referred to:
2017 cannot come soon enough because when it does, we will finally be rid of a radio host who constantly bites the hand that feeds him.
For anyone who is still a Francesa apologist, check out Steve Somer’s work at WFAN. He is a prime example of class and respect.
Good riddance Mike.