Fallout from Mike Francesa’s app surrender could change everything
Mike Francesa’s deal with Entercom for his ill-thought out app may be the beginning of — mostly — the end of his legendary run on WFAN.
At the start of next year, Francesa and FAN’s parent company, Entercom, have contemplated moving the majority of his content to Radio.com with a small amount remaining on WFAN, sources told The Post.
Francesa, though, has been known to change his mind, so stay tuned.
What seems certain is that more upheaval at the iconic station is around the corner.
From the start of the $8.99 per month “Mike’s On” app, it was obvious that charging so much and offering so little didn’t add up.
Francesa ranted and raved about its success before finally officially retreating. Good for him for lasting 12 months.
Upon his unretirement in the spring of 2018, Francesa, 65, originally unseated Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott in the afternoon.
If Francesa does indeed only have a limited role on FAN’s radio stations after this fall, then this move could create a scenario in which part of the in-limbo trio of Carlin, Gray and Scott may survive. FAN can contractually sever their relationship with any of the three by the end of the year.
As for Francesa, he needed to find a way out of his — to borrow a line from his former partner — “poorly produced!” app. He did, but his original business plan failed.
If it were successful and Entercom truly purchased an actual successful model, the company would not immediately change the subscription rate from almost $10 to nothing per month.
That said, Entercom’s goal with Radio.com did align in taking Francesa’s digital rights. They are trying to grow Radio.com even more and hoping Francesa’s legacy can help bring more people to its advertiser-supported platform.
There is some sense in this strategy for Entercom. It is uncertain — even if it is slightly illogical — whether Francesa will still have the same level of appeal if he is not mostly associated with WFAN.
His allure is his legacy with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, his pomposity and his ratings war with ESPN New York’s Michael Kay. If he is just an online offering — even one much more easy to access — it may not hold that same sentimental tug.
But change is coming to FAN’s lineup — with or without Francesa. Entercom, as The Post has previously reported, is determined to have a more traditional three-show (morning, midday and afternoon) format as its daily WFAN lineup. Currently, the company is paying eight hosts to do four shows.
Francesa still runs the station and, umm, he has been known to waver. He brilliantly used the fact he hadn’t officially signed a contract as leverage, and Entercom executives fell for it.
What started with the legendary “Mike and the Mad Dog” might be basically coming to an end in months. Russo has been long gone to SiriusXM, while Francesa may just have a smaller role on the station.
The news of the day is the much-talked about, but not listened to, app. It is now dead. It goes quietly, which is probably a good thing for Francesa.
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