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Boomer and Giannotti criticize Francesa and Russo’s comments

Boomer Esiason in the WFANs morning show studio

Boomer Esiason in the WFANs morning show studio on Oct.15, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

WFAN’s morning team of Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti sharply criticized former WFAN afternoon hosts Mike Francesa and Chris Russo on Monday, with Esiason calling them “classless.”

It happened during a studio visit from vice president of programming Mark Chernoff, who was discussing schedule adjustments in the wake of the Yankees’ home opener being snowed out.

Esiason and Giannotti asked for his reaction to an exchange between the former “Mike and the Mad Dog” hosts Wednesday, when Francesa visited Russo’s MLB Network show, “High Heat.”

At the end of that show, Russo said, “I’ll tell you right now, though, there’ll be nobody on WFAN before you know it. I guarantee it.”

Francesa laughed and said, “Oh, geez.”

Said Russo, “I shouldn’t have said it. Forgive me.”

Said Francesa, “Who’s leaving? Benigno?”

Said Russo, laughing, “Boomer. Then they’ve got nobody on. Where’s Sal Licata?”

Said Francesa, “Maybe Steve Somers is retiring.”

Said Russo, “Oh, we can make fun of FAN all day.”

When asked about the exchange on Monday, Chernoff said on the air, “I don’t think it was the nicest thing that someone could have said. You’re right about that . . . Knowing Dog, I think Dog thought he was being funny. It wasn’t funny. I agree with you. It wasn’t funny.”

Said Giannotti, referring to the new afternoon show featuring Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott, “They’ve been on the air for 2 ½ months, and by the way, they’ve been genuflecting to those two, our afternoon show now, nothing but respect they’ve shown to those guys. I mean, it’s totally uncalled for. It really was.”

Asked again whether Wednesday’s exchange bothered him, Chernoff said, “When I read the headline I was upset. I didn’t watch the show. Then I saw the quotes.”

So why did he not speak out publicly about it?

“Not my way of doing things,” he said. “I’m voicing my upset-edness right now. I don’t have to make public statements right now.”

Giannotti and Esiason got increasingly upset as they spoke about it.

“They do act like this place did them wrong in some way,” Giannotti said. “It would be one thing if our new afternoon show was crushing them all the time and they had their shot to get back at them. I mean, it’s the ‘Mike Francesa Studio’! They opened the first show saying ‘Mike and Chris, they built it,’ and Mike this and that, and then the second that they have a shot in the first 2 ½ months they’re on the air they’re talking about there’s going to be an opening at FAN? I mean, that’s wrong man.”

Said Esiason, as he and Giannotti spoke over one another, “Classless, it really was.”

Said Chernoff, “It clearly was annoying that Dog had to say something.”

Said Giannotti, “It’s disappointing to me, too, because they inspired me to do this and it just [expletive] to see them act like that.”

Later, Giannotti said, “I hate getting involved in that stuff and everything, but that whole thing bothered me, it really did.”

Said Chernoff, “You’re right, they absolutely should not have said that.”

Said Esiason, “I tell you what, that [Francesa] retirement party lasted 19 months here and boy, I tell you what, nobody’s [expletive] got kissed more than his. I’ve never seen anything like it . . . It went on longer than [Derek] Jeter’s and Mariano’s [Rivera]. I think combined it went on longer than those two.”

Said Giannotti, speaking over Esiason, “Every inch, and then the first opportunity they get . . . “

Said Esiason, “This station couldn’t have been more professional and handled [Francesa’s departure, in December] better . . . I don’t know, man, I don’t get it. I don’t get the whole thing.”

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