Chris Oliviero has been around New York sports radio long enough to understand that no one generates attention – pro or con – quite like Mike Francesa.
But Oliviero, the Entercom executive who now oversees WFAN, said he continues to be amazed by “the absolute fascination and obsession that people have with all things Mike. Everything he does is like, ‘Stop the presses, we’ve got a Mike headline!’
“To me, it just validates his place as the greatest sports host ever, but also one of the most iconic New York radio hosts regardless of genre or format.”
Francesa left afternoon drive time in December and starting in January began appearing on Radio.com for an hour every late afternoon then for 30 minutes on WFAN. He dropped the digital-only hour last month but added a half-hour on WFAN as the station adjusted its lineup for the COVID-19 programming disruption.
Is that sort of schedule sustainable for Francesa moving forward? Oliviero said he will give him wide latitude in fashioning his future.
“My philosophy with Mike has always been to keep open the lines of communication, understand where his interests are at that moment, then figure out how to marry his interests to the station,” said Oliviero, a longtime CBS Radio / Entercom executive whom Entercom brought back last month as market manager for its New York stations.
“Have those interests changed over the years? Of course, from the platform he’s on, digital vs. broadcast, to how many hours. No doubt . . . But one thing that is certain in any conversations with Mike, he always does look at how he can help the station.
“Whatever Mike does moving forward I think is going to fit in exactly with what his interests are at that moment in his life, how do those interests marry to the station and what are the best interests of FAN.”