As Mike Francesa signs off this afternoon after 30 years on the airwaves of WFAN, I look back at the impact he’s had on me.
Growing up I have always been a fan of sports. My first love is baseball and as a Mets fan I would ask my parents to put the games on the radio in the car wherever it was we were going. I was then introduced to WFAN—Sports Radio 66—the Mets radio home until the end of the 2013 season.
You would hear advertisements for a show known as Mike and the Mad Dog come on from time to time. I didn’t know much about them but tuned in to the program when I was able to after school. I knew from a young age that broadcasting was what I was going to pursue as my career and I began to watch different types of shows on various mediums. When the simulcast on the YES Network was introduced, I would tune in for Mike and the Mad Dog. That was the start for me and my following of Mike Francesa.
I remember some moments from the Mike and the Mad Dog days but my biggest memories are from the recent years when Mike did the show solo. From the day I started driving at 18 years old and got my first car to this day at age 27, WFAN is a constant in my car, especially on weekday afternoons. Through it all in my life, whether I had a good day or a bad day, I always knew I had a show to listen to on that ride home and catch up on the day in sports. I have lived through a lot of big stories in New York sports and the first place I would hear it was from Mike, who would always give you the best information.
For me, Mike Francesa has not just been a daily listen but a model for how to succeed in a very competitive business. I was able to audition in the station’s Fantasy Phenom contest twice and to have Mike as a judge on those days was an honor. Even though I didn’t win, it was an incredible opportunity to audition in front of him and station management to even be considered for a weekly show. When I was in college and taking radio courses, I modeled a lot of projects based on his show because of the impact it has had on me.
The next few months on weekday afternoons will sound a bit different but I am forever grateful for the years I was able to listen to an icon on sports talk radio. Thank you, Mike, for the impact you had on me and my love for sports and the media.