The “Help Wanted” sign remains out at WFAN, now with gaping holes to fill in both morning and afternoon.
Mike Francesa announced on the air Tuesday that he will leave the station as planned on Dec. 15 after briefly flirting with the notion of staying on in the wake of morning co-host Craig Carton’s resignation last Wednesday.
That means that the FAN will lose two of its three most prominent personalities within a three-month span. Boomer Esiason has been working with fill-in co-hosts, primarily Jerry Recco, since Carton was arrested on Sept. 6.
Francesa said last week that he would not turn his back on the station in a time of need and would be willing to discuss a potential extension of his stay with executives.
On Tuesday he said there had been “conversations” with the station, presumably including vice president of programming Mark Chernoff, but that the decision was to stick with Plan A.
“The station is comfortable with it, and I am, too,” he said. “We’re going to go back to the original schedule and I will be departing on 12/15 as originally scheduled. We have kind of gone through that and met and kind of sorted things out and felt that is still the way to go, so that is official.”
Later, Francesa declined to elaborate on his conversations with management, including how detailed they got.
Francesa is scheduled to appear at farewell events at the Tilles Center in Greenvale on Nov. 15 and the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan on Dec. 14. His last show on Dec. 15 will emanate from WFAN’s studios and feature only callers.
Chernoff had set Labor Day as a goal to name Francesa’s successor or successors. Now he has two key roles to fill, and presumably will need three people to fill them, because there likely would not be a solo show in afternoon drive time.
Carton was arrested on federal charges of conspiracy and wire and securities fraud on Sept. 6. The original plan was for Esiason to work with a variety of fill-ins, but after early appearances by Phil Simms and Brandon Tierney, the show’s usual update man, Recco, has been in that spot.
On a podcast, producer Al Dukes said he suggested to management that it stick with Recco to maintain continuity and keep the show within the regular cast. Recco said on the podcast he does not expect to be considered a permanent replacement for Carton.