Entercom And The Mike Francesa Saga | Showing Comments:

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4/27/18 9:47 AM Quote
Introducing some of the key players:


David Field

CEO of Philadelphia-based Entercom and self described sports fanatic.


Pat Paxton

President of Programming for Entercom

Has held this role since 2004 and most recently led a team that launched Content Innovation Group, which produces original digital and social content and syndicates popular local radio shows.

Holds Bachelor's degree in mass communications from the University of South Dakota.

Paxton is likely a prime mover regarding the negotiation of the optional app that will be available for consumers of Mike Francesa's show content and show archives.

Paxton is the man that the Entercom Format Captains--such as Mark Chernoff--report to.


Chris Oliviero

Executive Vice President of Programming at CBS radio and named Executive Vice President of Programming at Entercom upon completion of the Entercom-CBS Radio merger.


Mike Dee

President of Sports at Entercom

Previously served as President and CEO of the San Diego Padres and prior to that served as President and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.

Before all of that, beginning in 2002, Dee spent eight seasons with the Boston Red Sox organization, the last seven as the team's COO (Chief Operating Officer). The Red Sox won two World Series (2004, 2007) during Mike Dee's tenure there as COO.


Mark Chernoff:

Entercom Format Captain--Sports Department/ WFAN Operations Manager

Father of Cleveland Indians' General Manager Mike Chernoff


Mike Francesa:

On air personality on WFAN Radio beginning in 1986. In 1989, Francesa and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo were paired to host a five hour sports talk show as WFAN became the first 24 hour sports talk radio station in the world.

They succeeded former Cleveland sports talker Pete Franklin, who hosted Sportsline on WWWE from 1972 to 1987, which ran from 7pm to midnight EST. As Franklin arrived in New York in 1987 to become the marquee man at WFAN, his ratings and health suffered and he was gone from WFAN shortly after he arrived.

Francesa and Russo were together for 19 years before a mutually agreed upon parting. They enjoyed very good ratings and were regarded as pioneers and groundbreakers in sports talk radio. Both men are lifelong New York area natives who sport thick accents.

Francesa hosted the show solo for the last ten years (2008-2017) and enjoyed very good ratings success, commanding a reported three million dollar per year salary--without agent representation--at the end of his tenure.


In a most unusual move, about midway through 2016, Francesa announced to his listeners that he was going to leave WFAN, but it was not going to be for about another year and a half. He specified the date: December 15, 2017.

This far-in-advance "retirement" announcement set in place the dreaded "long goodbye", complete with orchestrated tributes and gestures of praise and adulation for the man known as "The Sports Pope".

Though such a thing can be considered quite tedious to many listeners, Francesa came out smelling like a rose, as he projected the image he wanted:

Impeccable family man, prolific contributor to charitable causes, respected and revered sports authority, and adored by his New York fan base.


Mike is back in the Big Chair at WFAN after four and a half months in retirement. He reboots his "Mike's On" show on Tuesday, May 1st, where he will be on air from 3pm to 6:30pm EST, a two hour cutback from his previous stint.

He made a reported three million dollars per year by the time he retired. During that 30 year run with WFAN, Francesa operated without an agent.

However, Francesa's negotiation for his return to WFAN was conducted by CAA Sports, an agency that provides negotiating services to performers and has Mr. Francesa as a client. Francesa reportedly did an end run around upper management types such as Chernoff and Oliviero and went straight to the top, to CEO David Field.

Field reportedly told Francesa he'd love to have him back in the fold at WFAN as the marquee man, but that he would need to accept a substantial paycut to 1.5 million per year according to Hudson Street Stoolies as reported by Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News.

In keeping with current day strategic principles of techno-monotization, the trio (Field, Francesa, and CAA) also negotiated a option for consumers to purchase an app by either subscription or additional fee that will allow them exclusive access to both present day Francesa related material as well as archived broadcast items.


Chris "Mad Dog" Russo

Former WFAN co-host with Mike Francesa of Mike & The Mad Dog Show on WFAN Radio from 1989 to 2008

Host since August 2008 of "Mad Dog Unleashed" on his own channel 82--Mad Dog Radio--on Sirius XM Radio (satellite radio--pay/subscription only).

Host since inception on March 31, 2014 of "High Heat" on the MLB Network (pay/subscription only). Runs Monday through Friday year around. One hour program.


Russo disclosed on Michael Kay's radio show (Francesa's main rival at New York's ESPN Radio) that just prior to Francesa accepting his new job offer with WFAN, he helped spearhead an effort to bring his old broadcast partner on board at Sirius XM Radio. The plan was to have Mike do his own show plus the duo reuniting one day a week to do a show together.

That Francesa passed on that Sirius offer to come back to WFAN at reportedly half his previous salary may be a source of discontent for Russo, though he remains a bit coy at this time.

More to come...

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