Thursday, June 28, 2007

The FAN is Turning 20

This weekend, WFAN, the groundbreaking sports-talk radio station that many thought wouldn't last, will celebrate their 20th anniversary. The station debuted on July 1, 1987 at 1050 on the AM dial. If I recall correctly, the station debuted at 3:00 PM, replacing the former 1050 WHN, a country-music station. I know for a fact that the first voice heard was that of Suzyn Waldman (yes, "Oh my goodness gracious", the same one), who did a sports update. Then - again, if I'm recalling correctly - Jim Lampley was the first show host. The station would move to 660 AM on October 7, 1988 at 5:30 in the afternoon and in the process acquired a program named "Imus in the Morning." The station became the most successful in the country (financially, that is).

Nostalgia will be king this weekend, beginning today, as the Mike and Mad Dog radio program will play the top 20 sports moments in the past 20 years. They will have guests related to each of those moments, along with key audio from each. Expect the spring of 1994, when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup and the Knicks were a shot away from winning the NBA Finals, to be the number one moment. I've heard the Giants Super Bowl XXV win will be number two, and the Yankees 1996 World Series run to be third.

(Incidentally, Suzyn Waldman's opening sports report, and many other highlights, are located here.

Mike and Chris will be back tomorrow morning (from 6:00-10:00 AM) and they will feature highlights from the Imus show. Rumor has it that a deposed cowboy will join them live for the first time since being fired back in April. It wouldn't surprise me if that leads to the announcement that the I-man is coming back - but that is purely a guess on my part.

Come Saturday, WFAN will feature an "old timer's" roster (that is, when the Mets aren't spoiling things by breaking up the schedule). Suzyn Waldman will do an hour, as will Bill Mazer (the only time I ever appeared on 'FAN was during Mazer's show, in 1989), Russ Salzberg, Jim Lampley, and more. Many other 'FAN alums will call in as well.

While on the subject of The FAN's roster, boss-man Mark Chernoff has added a female voice who critics are ga-ga about early on, Lori Rubinson. I have not heard her yet, other than a cut here or there as played by Mike Francesa. In the one piece I heard, Ms. Rubinson said that, "in the interest of full disclosure" that she is a Mets fan. I'll be damned! A Mets fan at WFAN? I'll leave the statement at that.

To finish, Yankees beat reporter Sweeny Murti posted his thoughts about what life was like on July 1, 1987. You can read his thoughts here, including what the starting lineups were for the Yanks and Mets on that day.

Happy Birthday, WFAN - an important piece of the history of radio. We have had many battles, but it's still probably my favorite frequency on the dial. That is, when I'm not on 1490.

Oh, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that for the first time since DECEMBER (!!), I will be on 1490 (that's WGCH, friends) filling-in for morning man Tony Savino. I will do the news next Thursday and Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 AM and again from 12:00 to 12:30 PM.

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