What was Mike Francesa’s reaction to Wednesday’s announcement that Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray will replace him on WFAN in afternoon drive time starting Jan. 2?
“None,” he said Wednesday night after an event celebrating his career at the Tilles Center on the LIU Post campus. “I haven’t given it a lot of thought . . . I really am trying to be very neutral on the whole thing. I think it’s the only fair way to play it.
“The station’s been good to me. Listen, they had to put a show in. Whatever they did, it was going to be hard, the reaction. Unless it was Dog [Chris Russo]. Unless it was him. That would have been the only thing that would have made people happy.”
It was evident that the new lineup has some work to do in winning over diehard Francesa fans based on reactions among the 2,200 people in attendance at the Tilles Center.
Early in the show, Francesa said on stage, “Give the next show a chance,” which prompted widespread booing, at which time he repeated himself, saying, “Give it a chance.”
Later, with Russo on stage with him, Francesa said the first text he got on Wednesday morning was from Russo, who had criticized Scott in particular and the new show in general on Tuesday on his SiriusXM Satellite Radio show.
The implication was that Russo had shared his concerns with Francesa about the new show, but Francesa did not say how he reacted to the text.
When Russo brought up Scott’s name on stage, many in the audience booed loudly.
Francesa said he intentionally kept himself uninformed during the selection process, and added that while he heard candidates mentioned from time to time around the station he did not know who had been selected until he read media reports about it.
“The bottom line is it’s a very valuable, very special piece of real estate, one that ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ crafted, one that I have fortunately been able to maintain at a very high level for a long time, another decade,” he said. “Obviously, they’re taking over rarified piece of air. I think it’s the No. 1 sports media platform in this city.”
Would Francesa root for the new show to do less well than his did?
“Human nature is to not ever want somebody to do better than you did,” he said. “So it is human nature. But I really don’t see myself rooting against them. I’ll be interested in it because I’m just interested in the business, and we’ll see how it unfolds.”
Carlin said on the air Wednesday that he has not spoken to Francesa in several years. Asked about the nature of his relationship with his former “Mike and the Mad Dog” producer, Francesa said, “No comment.”