JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Sports talk radio

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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.