Francesa also alluded cryptically to a “campaign” to keep him from returning to the station that he left in December. Francesa declined to answer follow-up questions about that or any other aspect of what he said, which was, “I have been working on a project with CAA for months. That will be explained in the days ahead.
“This is for those who started this campaign in recent days. I didn’t decide to go back to WFAN until I was told I better not go back. For those behind it, that was the moment I decided to return. I will do everything to work WFAN into an integral part of the project. It is time to return to WFAN.”
Mike Francesa is back…maybe…I think? I am not surprised that Mike wants to come back to the sports media world. He’s probably chomping at the bits, ready to unleash on Giancarlo Stanton and the QB options for both New York football teams. However, I am surprised that Mike may be coming back to WFAN so quickly.
Ever since the Sports Pope signed off for good, WFAN has tried to move on from Francesa as best as they could and rightfully so. WFAN had to now make a name for themselves without Mike. I’ll get into the Afternoon Drive with CMB in a second. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want Francesa back on the airwaves in some capacity. Sports radio is not the same without him. I’m not sure what this project is all about. If I had to guess, I would say Mike gets his Sunday morning football show back on WFAN as well as a TV spot on a local network. Unless WFAN really lets him come back and gives him a mid afternoon slot for a few hours. That would be nuts. The underrated part about this is how Mike said he’s coming back because there was a campaign to not let him come back. Essentially, Mike is fighting with the station that is going to take him back. What a world we live in!
I want to address the Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Maggie, and Bart. To put it nicely, the show has struggled since its inception. Losing to The Michael Kay Show in the ratings and getting destroyed on Twitter is not a recipe for success. It takes time for a radio show to find its groove so I’m not surprised at all that they have experienced some growing pains. However, there has been a lot of unfair criticism of the show. The biggest thing that is being held against them is their identity. They are not Mike Francesa, and some people can’t get that through their heads. The whole buildup to the show was an immediate red flag. Talks of no clear-cut replacements and the idea of bringing Mike back for another year were in the media constantly last summer. Carlin, Maggie, and Bart were named the replacements to Mike in November, which was not met with a positive reception. I don’t want to say the trio was destined to fail, but replacing Mike was an impossible task. This wasn’t Aaron Rodgers replacing Brett Favre. This process was putting three personalities together in the most important timeslot at a station and saying “make it work.” WFAN should’ve went with an established duo like Joe and Evan or brought in personalities that have had previous experience working together. I still think the show can find its stride, but in the afternoon drive slot, time may be running out.
Mike and WFAN both need each other. Mike realized that he wasn’t in such high demand as he thought once he retired. WFAN realized that putting an inexperienced trio together would not be a ratings hit. They have such a love / hate relationship with each other that it only makes sense for them to reunite. Regardless of whether Mike goes to WFAN or not, I’m just excited to hear his voice and opinions again. Leave it to a Mike Francesa parody account to have the perfect tweet to describe the situation. See you soon, Zaun.