CBS Radio’s WFAN Celebrates 25 years
Jul 1, 2012 1:00 AM, By Erin Shipps, senior associate editor
On July 1, 1987, the radio landscape changed forever and history was made as WFAN-AM signed on-air in New York City, providing Tri-state area sports fans with the first and only outlet to hear and talk about sports 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station has been broadcasting play-by-play, opinions from hosts and listeners, interviews with the biggest sports stars and breaking news ever since Suzyn Waldman’s memorable sports update nearly 25 years ago.
Mike Francesa, Don Imus, and Chris (Mad Dog) Russo at the Don Imus Tee”d Off Challenge Golf event at the Fiddler”s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ, in 2006.
Since then, the station has gone on to become the gold standard in sports radio, with many stations across the country looking to duplicate the undeniable success of the nation’s biggest and most popular sports station. The station is anchored by marquee personalities such as Mike Francesa and Boomer & Carton, whose must-listen-to programs consistently rank No. 1 with Men 25-54 in the top radio market. WFAN is heard by more than 1.5 million people each week, making it the most listened to sports radio station in America.
Mike Francesa, Yogi Berra, and Chris (Mad Dog) Russo at Yogi Berra”s Golf Classic at Montclair Country Club, Montclair, NJ, in 2006.
WFAN fun facts
� Suzyn Waldman, the first voice heard on WFAN in 1987, still works for CBS RADIO New York, as Yankees announcer for sister station WCBS 880.
� Morning show co-host Craig Carton interned for WFAN in 1988.
� Morning show co-host Boomer Esiason was a frequent guest on WFAN’s Mike and the Mad Dog program.
� Midday co-host Evan Roberts got his start in radio broadcasting doing updates on WFAN at the age of 10.
� Midday co-host Joe Benigno was a frequent caller to the station prior to being on-air and initially won a fan contest in 1994 to guest host a show on WFAN.
� Afternoon host Mike Francesa worked for CBS Sports prior to joining WFAN.
� Evening show host Steve Somers has been with WFAN in different timeslots since its launch in 1987 and John Minko and Ed Coleman were also part of the original on-air staff at the station.
� Lead Mets announcer and WFAN’s original 7 p.m. – 12 a.m. host, Howie Rose’s daughter Alyssa Rose is an actress who has appeared on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
� Boomer and Carton have twice appeared as guest judges on Iron Chef.
� WFAN was originally heard at 1050AM before moving to 660AM on the dial.
� WFAN’s original morning show was hosted by Greg Gumbel, who still works for CBS.
� CBS 2 Sports Anchor Otis Livingston also anchors WFAN’s 11 p.m. weeknight sportscast and CBS 2 Sports Anchor Lisa Kenney anchors the 5:40AM sports update.
� Boomer has hosted the “Miss America Pageant,” in addition to co-hosting a weekly WFAN football show called “In the Huddle” along with former host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
� Long Island native Jerry Seinfeld is a staunch supporter and friend of Steve Somers and WFAN. They met in the cereal aisle of a bodega.
� Until 2009, WFAN broadcast from the basement of the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, home to television shows and movies such as Sesame Street, Hair and The Wiz.
� Steve Somers won a San Francisco Press Club Award for his work at KPIX-TV.
� Producer Dov Kramer, who’s been with the station since 1987 is an ordained Rabbi.
� Roberts was in the film Private Parts starring Howard Stern.
� Francesa can be heard on the radio in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite.
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