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Girardi Wise to Ditch Daily WFAN Segment



By Mike Silva ~ March 21st, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets, Sports Media Commentary.

Last week WFAN’s Mike Francesa announced during his show that Girardi had agreed to appear between 1:30-2 p.m. before every Yankees weekday night game in addition to his regular, lengthier spot on Thursday afternoons. Girardi changed his mind yesterday telling reporters this setup was “not going to happen.”

WFAN Operations Manager, V/P Programming CBS Radio New York, and V/P Sports Programming CBS Radio Mark Chernoff told Anthony Rieber of Newsday that “We had planned to do it every weekday all season, but Joe asked to go back to our previous deal of once a week with Mike. He felt it was going to be too time- consuming having to do it every day . . . We were perfectly understanding of Joe’s feelings.”

Let’s take this news from two points of view. First, the fact that WFAN is trying to turn back the clock and do something that was in vogue circa 1992. When Jeff Torborg was named manager of the Mets he had a pre and post game show on WFAN. I also remember him doing lengthier spots with Francesa and Chris Russo. Before the age of the post game dais, Torborg would appear on the Mets postgame show with Gary Cohen, often minutes after the game. Since the internet didn’t exist this was the 24/7 news cycle back in the day. To say that segments were” must listen to” radio is an understatement. Especially with the “worst team money could buy.”

Today, you have internet clips, post games on YES, Twitter, and beat writers updating blogs on the newspaper website. What could Francesa uncover at 1:30 in the afternoon that hasn’t been discussed? Perhaps an injury or trade, but that won’t be commonplace enough to make the potential five day a week segment worthwhile. Considering that WFAN isn’t full of forward thinkers this probably never occurred to them. They heard Francesa, Girardi, and Yankees and thought ratings. Furthermore, isn’t WFAN the Mets flagship station? Isn’t it kind of a disrespectful idea in the first place? What’s next? Girardi doing a show on SNY?

Second, and more important, this segment is fuel for a slip up. Girardi has learned from his earlier mis-management of the media, but the more time you spend in front of a microphone, the more likely you will say or do something to create a stir. That was probably the intention of Francesa and Chernoff, two that bow at the altar of the days of radio gone by. The Yankees don’t need headaches so Francesa and Chernoff can pat themselves on the back for winning the ratings “shell game.” Chernoff spends a great deal of time telling everyone things at WFAN ‘have never been better.” If that’s the case why bother changing it up? Keep things the same.

Don’t believe the pitfalls in a daily WFAN show? Take this quote in the September 24th, 1992 New York Times from the aforementioned Torborg:

Jeff Torborg said today that he would not conduct his daily pre-game reports on WFAN radio next season.

The Mets’ manager cited logistics as well as concern about his players finding out information before he can tell them.

“It was a show that was not in the best interests of our club and my routine with it,” said Torborg. “I thought it would be the kind of show I could do while on a cellular phone in my car. But I ended up having to plan my day around it.” The manager said he had not decided whether to retain his post-game show.

Torborg created a flap early in the season when he mentioned that closer John Franco had experienced trouble with his left elbow. Franco became enraged, feeling the disclosure was a betrayal of clubhouse confidentiality.

This was a clear attempt to use an old idea

Imagine if Torborg and Franco had to play today? Does clubhouse confidentiality exist anyone? Controlling the flow of information was “child’s play” back then. Just cancel the pre-game show and move forward.

Of course, Francesa spends a great deal of time talking over his guests anyway. He could say the same things during the 1:30 to 2:00 pm hour without Girardi present. I doubt the quality of radio will change.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Girardi Wise to Ditch Daily WFAN Segment

  1. Dos

    “Furthermore, isn’t WFAN the Mets flagship station? Isn’t it kind of a disrespectful idea in the first place? What’s next? Girardi doing a show on SNY?”

    The Mets manager already does a show on YES thanks to Francesa’s show. So who cares?

    Being a flagship station doesn’t matter anymore thanks to corporate synergy. WFAN needs the Yankees.

  2. Russ

    For Girardi, this was a good deal.

    He can say “Hello”, then let Mike ask a question, answer it himself, rinse and repeat and Joe can then say” Good bye” and cash the check.

    In all seriousness, this goes to a bigger issue, the lack of WFAN to book guests for Mike’s show. Whether it’s poor producing or people tiring of Francessa’s rude treatment of guests, this was an act of desperation on their part caused by the minuscule number of guests on Francessa’s show since Dog left. Just check Itunes for the numbers, the guy averages less than 2 guests per day. For a 5 hour, flagship, drive time show, that’s a real bad job by Mikey and crew.

  3. Benny

    Mike:

    Joe Girardi already does a daily show with John Sterling just before the days game on WCBS/Yankees Radio Network. I can tell you that Tim Scheld (EP at WCBS Radio) was probably not happy when the deal with Mike was first announced because it would have diminished the value of Joe’s daily show with John Sterling (advertising revenue), but I think he is relieved now that he is not in competition with his corporate sibling. It goes to the point how much time does a manager really have if he has to do all these shows (YES pregame with Mike Kay, Radio with John Sterling and potentially Mike Francessa). As much as I like Francessa, Mr.Girardi made the right decision.

  4. Mike Silva

    It seems that guests get one of two choices on WFAN:

    1. Go on the morning show (usually coaxed into coming live in the studio), and get asked out on a date by Carton, or ambushed with various nonsense

    2. Do the afternoon show with Mike and get talked over. The only guests that seem comfortable with him are those he has long time relationships with.

    Very rarely do you see Joe and Evan get a crack at these guests. Although they are starting to get some Nets ones (see Avery Johnson) because Evan is a huge fan

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