Sports talk radio


Was driving through town today when I turned the dial to 660 AM, home to WFAN here in New York. Mike Francesa, the station’s superstar afternoon host, was doing what, in my opinion, he does best—talking over his guests, bellowing his own points, speaking as an authority when, in many cases, he’s a semi-authority.

I don’t know Francesa (we met once, when I wrote a profile on him for Newsday was back in the day), but I’m not a fan. He represents much of what I dislike about sports radio—obnoxious, loud, rude. Worst of all, he’s a very, very, very poor listener. The key to conducting a good interview is listening to the other viewpoint, then responding to the spoken words. Francesa, however, always seems to have his opinion loaded and ready. He almost never reacts properly, and specializes in talking over people. And talking over people. And talking over people. I especially loathe when he has an actual athlete (or ex-athlete) on, because he’ll hijack what should be a very good interview. For example, if, say, Carl Banks is on talking about the 3-4 defense, Francesa will inevitably interrupt to either:

A. Tell Banks why he’s wrong.

B. Educate Banks on the true strength of the 3-4.

Now contrast Francesa with Bob Costas, on whose radio show I appeared yesterday. Costas, too, likes to speak authoritatively—but it is never condescending, and it is always backed by fact and insight. He never yells, never seeks to embarrass, refuses to try and put someone in his place. He’s a classy act with a classy show—the way I wish all sports radio hosts would behave.

Again, nothing personally against Francesa, and he deserves credit for his success.

But do I enjoy listening to his spewings? No.

* The photo above? I Image Googled Francesa, and it came up. Weird.

5 thoughts on “Sports talk radio”

  1. I’ve always been a pretty big Mike and the Mad Dog fan…the show started on my 5th bday and I grew up on the guys. To me, they represent sports. That said, in the last few years they’ve become caricatures of themselves. Chris, before he left and presumably now on Sirius, went batshit crazy and would scream about everything and nothing at the same time. He wouldn’t listen to anyone and would just lose his mind over trivial things. Like I said, a caricature. And Mike just became the most pompous guy in the world. I still listen to Mike sometimes, mostly when Cowherd or Van Pelt aren’t on ESPN, but only because it makes me think of growing up a sports fan in a NY suburb, not because I will learn much about sports.

  2. The woman in the photograph is Chantal Sébire of France, who likely killed herself in 2008, after being disfigured by a rare form of cancer from whose agonies she tried, unsuccessfully, to relieve herself via pleas in the French legal system for permission for medically-assisted suicide. In Spanish-langauge news reports, her being French made her a “francesa”.

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