Closing out a remarkable 30 year run at WFAN, Mike Francesa’s second to last show was a celebration of his industry creating radio career. Five and a half hours, jam packed with 85 surprise guests live from the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan.
Beginning with Jim Nantz, ending with Lawrence Taylor and a full cast of surprises in between, Mike’s second to last WFAN performance was fast paced and unpredictable. Masterfully produced by Brian Monzo, to get 85 celebrities on and off the program in a timely manner was no easy task.
Highlights of the show were hearing Chris Russo and Don Imus back on WFAN. John Calipari was the most entertaining guest of the evening, providing great banter and showcasing a special chemistry between the two.
Near the end of the show, station program director Mark Chernoff informed Mike his studio would be forever named the Mike Francesa studio. A well deserved honorary gesture for the host that not only helped build WFAN, but the entire sports radio landscape.
Lawrence Taylor being the final guest of the show was not necessarily a highlight, but his asking Mike for $100 of stripper money will certainly be infamously memorable.
Three guests that would have been interesting to hear from were Pat Riley, Bill Parcells and Boomer Esiason. Francesa often spoke of his severed relationship with Riley ever since he and Dog criticized Pat’s departure from the New York Knicks. A staple of the program during his time as head coach of the Knicks, Riley was requested by producer Brian Monzo, but the invitation was declined.
During Mike and the Maddog, Coach Parcells and Mike Francesa were very close friends, but they’ve distanced over the years. In a recent New York Post article Mike stated “Wish it was better. Sometimes you can be so close — and we were so close — that a lot of things get in the way,” regarding their relationship.
Francesa and Esiason have not had the warmest relationship, but for the last ten years they’ve both anchored the success of WFAN. A quick passing of the torch moment with Esiason remaining as the station’s most recognizable host would have been an interesting listen.
The full slate of 85 guests is listed below. Jim Nantz, Chris Christie, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Linda Cohn, Rich Eisen, Regis Philbin, Chris Russo and Don Imus to name a few of what made for an impressive send off for one of radio’s most important figures. The full show can be heard by clicking here.
Julio – Mike’s Driver