Steel Dreams: Pittsburgh's "93.7 The Fan" Opens Airshift Up To The Listeners







Pittsburgh's "93.7 The Fan" will be holding public auditions for future air talent at various Steel City locations. The winner will be selected on the air on June 27. The process is similar to New York sister sports station WFAN's "Fantasy Phenom" contest, which current WFAN host John Jastremski (shown with Mike Francesa) won in 2011.

Pittsburgh’s “93.7 The Fan” will be holding public auditions for future air talent at various Steel City locations. The winner will be selected on the air on June 27. The process is similar to New York sister sports station WFAN’s “Fantasy Phenom” contest, which current WFAN host John Jastremski (shown with Mike Francesa) won in 2011.

Pittsburgh’s three-year-old FM sports talker, KDKA-FM/”93.7 The Fan,” is seeking an actual fan to host a weekly show.

The station has organized a contest, “The Next Fan Host,” which invites residents of the area, aged 18 or older, to show up at any of five designated locations, starting with Beer And Pop 4 Less this Saturday afternoon, or any of four other taverns, eateries or wireless phone stores over four nights between May 29 and June 18.

All they’re required to do is give opinions on the hot sports topics of the day (you know, kinda like what we do here at SportsRants).

The ten best entrants from these open auditions will be selected to compete in a semifinal round, with the top four advancing to a live final during Andrew Fillipponi’s nighttime show on Thursday, June 27.

If this process sounds familiar, it’s because KDKA-FM’s parent company, CBS Radio, has been implementing this concept at the original “Fan” of sports radio, New York’s 660 AM/101.9 FM WFAN. Dubbed “Fantasy Phenom,” the grand prize is the same as that of Pittsburgh’s “Next Fan Host” contest: a position on the iconic sports radio station for a year.

And it appears that all three “Phenom” winners are still with WFAN in some capacity. The first winner, Gregg Sussman, is still listed on WFAN’s website, as he occasionally can be heard doing weekend and swing duties; he’s still overseeing sports talk programming on a college radio station in Maryland, according to his LinkedIn page.

The second “Phenom” champion, John Jastremski, is the most visible of the contest’s three winners by far. He’s heard regularly on overnights, usually on weekends, and has also been heard nationwide on the CBS Sports Radio Network. And here’s a scary thought: just last week, he celebrated his 25th birthday – which makes the radio station he works for slightly one year older than him. But when you listen to “JJ After Dark,” with the energy in and on the air, you forget that you’re listening to a 26-year-old radio station – one that’s been an AM station for most of its existence (and CBS Radio is looking to fix that, in due time).

The announcement of last year’s “Phenom” champ, Joe Giglio, was about as low-key as his current association with WFAN, where his presence is mostly through a weekly column on the station’s website. But for the lead baseball writer of Bleacher Report, that’s fine with him.

There’s no plans currently available for a “Fantasy Phenom 4” contest, which would be the first one held during WFAN’s history on FM, but you can expect them to be unveiled sometime next month.

As for who will decide “The Next Fan Host” in Pittsburgh, I can’t help but wonder if “93.7 The Fan” morning co-host Gregg Giannotti – an alumnus of WFAN who has been with KDKA-FM since its inception in February 2010 – will somehow have a say in it.

Details on the contest, as well as the official rules, can be found here.

Mike Francesa Talks Islanders Hockey, And A Fight With Michael Kay Breaks Out







WEPN/New York's Michael Kay thought it was a mistake for his rival, WFAN's Mike Francesa, who beats him handily in the ratings, to open his show by talking about the New York Islanders.

WEPN/New York’s Michael Kay thought it was a mistake for his rival, WFAN’s Mike Francesa, who beats him handily in the ratings, to open his show by talking about the New York Islanders.

Mike Francesa is the most popular sports radio host in New York. In fact, he’s strong enough to carry a list of sports talkers coast-to-coast.

So it probably doesn’t matter if he even watches hockey, let alone discuss the NHL on his show.

On Wednesday’s edition of his WFAN radio/YES Network program, he actually did something that few people expected him to do: Not only did he talk about the New York Islanders, in the midst of a first-round series, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece, he actually led his show with the Brooklyn-bound NHL squad.

Perhaps it was because center John Tavares, who scored in two straight playoff games, was scheduled to appear on Francesa’s program in the first half-hour.

“John Tavares on with Francesa in the first segment of the show? After a Knicks win? That’s big time,” tweeted known sports radio tweaker @AirChecked.

But there was a big-time tweaking at Francesa a couple of hours later from the fingertips of his rival, WEPN/”ESPN 98.7″ afternoon host Michael Kay:

And yes, at one point, Francesa actually fielded a call from a listener asking him of he was aware of what people on Twitter were saying about him and his radio opponent.

Anyway, here’s more Twitter feedback regarding Francesa vs. Kay:

Mike Francesa Attended Easter Mass At A Long Island Church (Photos)







WFAN/YES Network's Mike Francesa appeared at a Manhasset church for Easter Sunday mass.

WFAN/YES Network’s Mike Francesa appeared at a Manhasset church for Easter Sunday mass.

Yes, today is April 1.

However, this year, April Fool’s Day happens to fall right after Easter Sunday.

And there just so happens to be a couple of photos circulating of Mike Francesa attending an Easter Sunday mass at a Manhasset, Long Island church.

One reason to be skeptical is that being largely unavailable to the public is one of Francesa’s specialties. And even when he does make a public appearance, he can’t get any peace and quiet, it seems.

But according to one of Francesa’s fellow parishioners, it doesn’t seem like there was any holy hecklement hurled his way. In fact, he even sang along with some of the psalms, says the testamental tipster.

Rather than scare him away by saying “hello,” he decided to stealthily snap a couple of photos and send them in to Barstool Sports. (It’s important to point out that Barstool has the original photos, because, well, I don’t want to be accused of ripping them off, or anything.)

And if it was a doppelganger that looked a lot like Mike Francesa and not the “Sports Pope” himself? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time he punked us (or he would have you believe, anyway).

Mike Francesa Caller's "Homosexual Catcher" Crank Call Dumped Out By YES Network (But Not Quite)







Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza is the butt of a joke from the latest in a long time of prank callers to Mike Francesa's show. But the joke's on YES Network, which didn't dump out of Francesa's rebuttal to the caller.

Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza is the butt of a joke from the latest in a long line of prank callers to Mike Francesa’s show. But the joke’s on YES Network, which didn’t dump out of Francesa’s rebuttal to the caller.

The presence of prank callers on Mike Francesa’s WFAN/New York radio show is starting to rival that of the Steve Urkel character on the show “Family Matters”: what was rare when he first hosted the show solo in 2008 has suddenly become an everyday occurrence.

On today’s edition, “Nick from Bohemia” sounded like a genuine caller, starting with a valid point about the Mets. But then he focused on former Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who once again addressed rumors that he was gay, as he is set to release a new autobiography.

That provided fodder for “Nick’s” crank call.

“Do you think if it does come out that he is gay, that he’d be, the, ugh, you know, the best homosexual catcher we’ve ever seen?”

Francesa’s answer: “I would think he would be the best homosexual catcher. I would agree with that, yeah.”

It was a modest reaction to a prank call – either that, or he, like the Mets, has no clue what a “creampie” is:

While that entire call was heard on the radio, the censors at YES Network pulled out a bit too early, dumping out of the caller’s entire question, but not Francesa’s response:

Could you imagine the conversation between YES Network president Tracy Dolgin and the network censors over this?

“You let Mike Francesa say the word ‘homosexual’ on our air.”

“Did I do that?”

Mike Francesa Defends Snow Job, Claims "No One Died" During Winter Storm Nemo







Mike Francesa's cluelessness was on full display as Winter Storm Nemo delivered up to 40 feet of snow - far more than the "three inches" he said it would bring. (Photo composite/credit: Matthew Funtime.)

Mike Francesa’s cluelessness was on full display as Winter Storm Nemo delivered up to 40 inches of snow – far more than the “three inches” he said it would bring. (Photo composite/credit: Matthew Funtime.)

Many people strive to give a 100% effort.

Mike Francesa, on the other hand, is perfect, only in his own mind.

There’s been several occasions where the WFAN/New York and YES Network afternoon personality has gotten it wrong. He once said after the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLII that he picked them to win, despite him actually saying he sided with the Patriots going into the big game. There was the huge exaggeration that Tim Tebow would not appear in the same room as Rosie O’Donnell due to “her lifestyle,” only to find the two within inches of each other on Rosie’s radio show, moments later. And Francesa claims that ESPN has banned their personnel from appearing on his show, and WFAN, in general; then, come Heisman Trophy time, who should come wandering into his Lionel train-laden but the Worldwide Leader’s dean of college football, Kirk Herbstreit.

His track record is so spotty, he should become a meteorologist.

In fact, as Winter Storm Nemo approached the East Coast late last week, Francesa actually seized that opportunity, as he nonchalantly predicted that New York City would only get “a dusting” once the dust, er, snow settled.

He predicted this on his show Thursday, as he went back and forth with a caller on his not taking the storm seriously. Toward the end of this clip, he has to read “the official weather forecast for the New York metropolitan area” in an attempt to cover his ass.

So the “dusting” that Francesa was prognosticating actually turned into forty inches of snow in Connecticut. And in New York, it was enough for airports to cancel thousands of flights, and for the Governor to declare a state of emergency. Oh, and there were close to 10,000 power outages over the weekend in New York, mostly in Francesa’s backyard of Long Island.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that generator of his was collecting dust last week.

So now, here we are on Monday, where Francesa had to spend the first hour or so of his program, not only making the argument that “I never told you how much snow was coming,” but he dismissed the New York Daily News item I linked right above the video as a “fabrication,” contending that “the idea that I made this huge prediction about how there was not going to be a big snowstorm is a total lie.”

And it was around that time that Francesa, flaunting the ice water in his veins, showed how cold-hearted he truly is by informing – or in this case, misinforming – a caller that there were no casualties as a result of Winter Storm Nemo. Listen as he utters at around 0:35: “No one died in the storm.”

No one, Mike? How about fifteen people? Or did you multiply that figure by your meteorology knowledge – which is zero?

This was the complete opposite of the angry, concerned Mike Francesa who urged New York City to cancel its annual marathon, which would have been run days after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in the area.

This was a Mike Francesa who could not and would not admit that he was wrong.

When it rains, it pours.

And Mike Francesa sure knows how to pour on the ignorance.

Mike Francesa Needed A Police Escort For His Flight To New Orleans







Mike Francesa was accompanied by a police escort for his flight to New Orleans for broadcasts at the site of Super Bowl XLVII.

Mike Francesa was accompanied by a police escort for his flight to New Orleans for broadcasts from the site of Super Bowl XLVII.

Another Super Bowl is upon us.

Which means another Super Bowl media week is upon us.

Which means that many radio hosts will be broadcasting live from the site of the big game once again.

Including WFAN/New York and YES Network’s Mike Francesa.

You may recall last year in Indianapolis, he stirred the pot a little bit by suggesting (lying) that popular Bible-thumping quarterback Tim Tebow refused to appear on Rosie O’Donnell’s satellite radio show due to her sexual orientation – a suggestion that was negated by a photo of the two in the same room, a photo that happened to be taken by Francesa’s former radio mate, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who also dropped by Francesa’s show that week.

So on the Sunday before Super Bowl Sunday – one on which he still did his scheduled “Football Sunday” broadcast, despite there being just the Pro Bowl being played tonight – Francesa had to make a mad dash to LaGuardia Airport for a flight to New Orleans that departed around 2:15 PM or so.

And he apparently brought a companion with him for the trip.

“[Mike] Francesa is on our flight,” tweeted Bleacher Report senior NFL video producer Aaron Nagler. “He gets a police escort. Seriously?”

Ten minutes later, Nagler’s Bleacher Report colleague, Sirius XM executive producer Nick Kostos, confirmed this.

Wonder why that is? So someone can prod him in case he falls asleep on the flight? So none of the other passengers heckles him, or even dare say, “Helloooo” to him?

And is this police escort going to accompany Francesa for the duration of his travails in the Big Easy?

It sure isn’t easy being Mike Francesa.

Below is Francesa’s explanation, but first, here’s more Twitter reaction to the news that he boarded (we’re projecting, based on Twitter times) Delta Air Lines Flight 1705 from New York to New Orleans, with a police escort in tow. (You can already see the “falling asleep” jokes coming.)

And we have a tweet from somebody claiming to be sitting next to Francesa on the flight – and halfway confirming presence of security:

And last but not least, some fan art from Matthew Funtime:

UPDATE, 1.28.13: Yes, Mike Francesa discussed this news in the very first segment of his radio show of the week from Radio Row on Monday. And yes, he spun it as only Mike Francesa can.

And why not – here’s a transcript of the above clip.

Hello Goodbye: Mike Francesa Thinks Boomer & Carton Callers Are "A Colossal Waste Of Time"







WFAN's Mike Francesa calls out his station's morning duo, Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason, for feeding "misleading information" to their audience regarding crank callers he's been receiving from fans of their show.

WFAN’s Mike Francesa calls out his station’s morning duo, Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason, for feeding “misleading information” to their audience regarding crank callers he’s been receiving from fans of their show.

WFAN/New York afternoon host Mike Francesa thinks that a certain caller code that WFAN’s morning team of Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason uses is not very amusing.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you’re a regular listener of “Boomer & Carton,” you may often hear them taking calls from listeners who start the call by greeting them with a distinctive way of saying “hello” from a classic “Seinfeld” episode. Here is a 20-second primer:

So earlier this week, Francesa fielded a call from a listener who hit him with that greeting:

After receiving a couple more such calls on his show, most recently today, Francesa decided it was time to drop the gauntlet on his wakeup colleagues. He replayed a portion of their show in which they replayed the Francesa caller above, as well as another one (“Hey, Mike, this situation with [Darrelle] Revis makes me want to go, helloooooo, la la la”). In the clip Francesa plays, Carton is heard telling the audience that these listeners made the calls during “the Super Bowl ticket giveaway”. Francesa, whose radio show is also simulcast on television via YES Network, immediately shot that down.

“If someone would actually waste their time and line to do that, I’d disconnect them anyway just out of abject stupidity,” Francesa said, while confirming with his producer, Brian Monzo, that “those calls were not part of the contest.”

He added that Carton was giving his listeners “misleading information to make it seem like someone would do that, to, I guess, court favor (I believe the term he’s looking for here is “curry favor”) with them.

“If you’re gonna waste your time in the contest… and you’re gonna waste your time on that, that would be pretty dumb.”

And as you can tell by now, Francesa is far from impressed with Boomer and Carton’s followers playing the “Hellooo!” game with him.

“I guess this is exciting stuff, I don’t know,” he reacted after one of the calls.

After another, Francesa replied, “People have nothing better to do” – a sentiment one of WFAN’s morning co-hosts took issue with.

“What does that mean? What’s wrong with that?”, Boomer Esiason was heard asking after replaying the call.

Francesa was also steadfast that these crank callers punched out on their own, appealing he did not “hang up on” them, like Carton says.

“They hung up right afterwards,” he contends. “I didn’t disconnect them. I don’t disconnect the callers… They just hung up.”

You know that by Francesa addressing these crank calls on his show, it’s only going to encourage Boomer and Carton’s listeners to keep pulling Seinfeldian drive-bys on him.

“I would think there’s gotta be better things they can do with their time, but, hey, that’s up to them,” Francesa said. “Everyone does their own show.

“To me, it’s just a colossal waste of time.”

Here’s video of the segment via YES Network, courtesy of Bob’s Blitz: