Sports talk radio station WFAN celebrates 25 years of broadcasting this week. A unique broadcaster to the Metropolitan area the mosaic of radio has been forever changed.
Originally located at 1050 on the am dial the former home of WHN, sports radio in New York on a full time basis was a huge gamble at the time. The key to the initial success of sports radio WFAN was the fact that the station had an anchor or lead program if you will that everyone in this area could recognize---radio personality/shock jock Imus in the Morning. For those that tuned in for the laughs and/or insults from the I-man, it was easy if not routine to listen for the scores or highlights of last night's games. This idea was combined with the fact the guys and girls loved talking sports, and especially liked to be heard talking sports...ie "first time caller, long-time listener." And the rest is history.
Over the years the station has made its foundation wall-to-wall coverage of area pro sports teams in baseball, football, basketball and hockey, with additional coverages of other sports as warranted. Combined literally with the FAN sports talk radio is now copied in every major market in the United States. WFAN has had many different personalities host talk shows on the air and the variety is also a staple of its excellence. Here are some of the flavors of WFAN past and present:
- Mike and the Mad Dog - This duo was together for 20 years. They were a better listen as a team than any of their solo work. In this case, two voices are a lot better than one.
- Steve Somers - He thrives on solo work, based on excellent writing and timely production. Efforts to team up Steve with a partner have not been fruitful.
- Joe Benigno - The best overnight host ever on WFAN, unfortunately he now co-hosts middays. Joe was at his best working solo, particularly during misery of following the NY Jets.
- Richard Neer - The best-sounding voice of WFAN. Neer has worked in this area forever in radio as a music DJ at WNEW and as a sports talk show host filling in often on WFAN. Over the years he had grown to be more opinionated...and that's a good thing.
There are others at the station, but as someone who has hosted music programs on the radio, it is refreshing and interesting to see an actual industry, sports talk radio, bloom in front of our eyes and in our ears.
Happy birthday, WFAN!