Mike Francesa To Exit Full-Time Role At WFAN Next Month
Mike Francesa is "set to leave afternoon drive time on WFAN for a second time next month," citing a "desire to spend more time with his three teenaged children -- and more time in Florida in winter," according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. Francesa on the air yesterday said, "It's time for the next generation. It's time for the next group to come along." Entercom Regional President Susan Larkin "confirmed Francesa's departure from drive time but stressed he will have an ongoing place in the company." Francesa is "expected to have a regular show, but one shorter than his current one, on Radio.com, the digital arm of Entercom." There also will be a "role for him at WFAN." Francesa, 65, said that this "could mean anything from promotional appearances to interacting with sponsors to an on-air presence 'here and there.'" While Francesa "did not specify a departure date, the autumn ratings period ends on Dec. 4, so a logical guess is shortly thereafter, perhaps as soon as Dec. 6." Francesa said that he "initially planned to leave in August, but Entercom executives asked him [to] stay for another ratings book." It is "not clear what WFAN will do to replace Francesa." Evan Roberts "appears to be the strongest candidate to move into that slot" (NEWSDAY, 11/6).
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: In N.Y., Andrew Marchand writes the end of Francesa's full-time radio career "has been ugly." At the moment, Francesa is being "crushed in the ratings" by ESPN N.Y.'s "Michael Kay Show." He has also left WFAN in "serious disarray and ripe" for ESPN N.Y. to "make up even more ground in the market." With two months until a new WFAN lineup needs to be in place, Entercom is "very leveraged after Francesa's announcement." It "has holes everywhere" (N.Y. POST, 11/6).
WAIT & SEE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes the Radio.com show will "put the Pope in a place where he must do a 'national' oriented show, definitely taking him out of his comfort zone." But sources said that WFAN VP/Programming Mark Chernoff "still would like as many hours out of Francesa on FAN that he can get." Francesa remains "locked into a three-year deal," so he "always will be lurking" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/6).