By James Kratch
Mike Francesa says he’s coming home.
The legendary sports talk radio host told Newsday’s Neil Best he plans to return to WFAN in some capacity following a New York Post report he “desperately misses” radio and was seeking an avenue for a return just months after his much-ballyhooed departure.
“It is time to return to WFAN,” Francesa told Best, adding, “I have been working on a project with (entertainment and sports agency) CAA for months. That will be explained in the days ahead. … I will do everything to work WFAN into an integral part of the project.”
Francesa didn’t offer specifics, but he also referenced a nefarious-sounding “campaign” to prevent him from returning to WFAN in his interview with Best – one that seems to have given the big guy the necessary motivation to re-join the station.
“This is for those who started this campaign in recent days. I didn’t decide to go back to WFAN until I was told I better not go back,” he said. “For those behind it, that was the moment I decided to return.”
The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported Monday Francesa or representatives from his camp had had discussions with ESPN Radio New York and WOR. Marchand also said a return to WFAN could not be ruled out.
Well, here we are.
The news of Francesa’s apparent return comes after his WFAN replacements, Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott of “The Afternoon Drive,” finished slightly behind longtime Francesa nemesis “The Michael Kay Show,” which is broadcast on ESPN Radio New York, in the winter ratings book. Francesa never lost a ratings book to Kay.
Francesa had shopped his long-running NFL Sunday show to ESPN, according to The Post. That may be the most-likely role he could play in his WFAN return.
According to The Post, Francesa could have stayed at WFAN in a reduced role – the report says the station was willing to shorten his hours – but he declined. Francesa also passed up the chance to stay following the September arrest of former morning show host Craig Carton. Francesa asked for a raise, according to the report, and talks with the station went nowhere.