Mike Francesa has spent much of his 30 years in WFAN afternoons as Numbah One in the ratings. If you are a listener of his program, or even if you’re not, you may have heard him mention this before. But, as we have continually mentioned, his content has had a major slide of late. Apparently it’s had an effect on listenership.
Francesa’s longtime foe Phil Mushnick relays this juicy anecdote:
Seems Mike Francesa isn’t made of the stuff that would allow him to bow out graciously or gracefully. Last week, as per reliable sources, another in-house screaming match, this one with WFAN boss Mark Chernoff, whom Francesa apparently blamed for losing a head-to-head ratings period to Michael Kay’s ESPN-NY radio show. Chernoff, we’re told, shouted back.
But how can we expect Francesa, such a bad winner, to be a good loser?
[UPDATE: has denied this reportFrancesa .]
Some more details here would be nice — and if you know more about it my DM’s are open — but it would be fascinating to know how long this period in which Kay beat Francesa was. It would also be great to see a chart of how Francesa’s ratings have been doing in the last several years. You’d expect him to lose some listeners to news in the past year, just like sports coverage on television and the web has experienced some attrition, and then perhaps some more listeners on top of that on account of the fact that The Pope has become increasingly irritable and less prepared. I’d also love to know how any of that is Chernoff’s fault.
It hurts me to keep harping on this because Francesa is a true legend in this industry, and I’ve been listening to him for literally as long as I can remember.
Here is what I wrote, verbatim, last week when Craig Carton said Francesa has become a caricature of himself and is tarnishing his legacy:
[Francesa] gets things wrong, loudly, has been caught in moments faking his way through segments he didn’t prepare for, and wades in some waters that could get him in trouble. Earlier this week, I opined, without inside information, that there could be a possibility that Francesa does not make it all the way to his planned December 15th exit date on WFAN.
That being said, I do not believe Francesa is tarnishing his legacy, which as Boomer said is very much intact. Mike and the Mad Dog have had a lot of influence in where sports media is today, and there’s almost nothing Francesa could say in the next few months to erase those memories.