The Real Reason WFAN Dropped the Mets

The Mets have no one to blame but themselves.

Not just for another season in the red, their fifth consecutive season below .500 – way below .500 – but for the recent decision by WFAN, their official flagship radio station of the past 26 years, to not renew their contract to carry Mets games to make a deal with their crosstown rival Yankees.

Essentially, WFAN filed for a divorce.

Of course, any corporate decision made anywhere in this country, arguably the world, is ruled by money, but in this case it was also hinged by wins and losses. As in mostly wins by the Yankees, and losses by the Mets.

WFAN waved goodbye because for the past 26 years, the Yankees have won way more games than the Mets, and that translates to more money in the till, but more so, the Yankees have played way more games in the postseason than the Mets, and that’s where the really big bucks accumulate. More games – more postseason games – means more airtime, more commercial time, more revenue, more exposure overall, and so on.

When the Mets season is over, as it has been frequently in the last half-decade with the final pitch of the regular season, they’re left with filling airtime at night with the likes of Steve Somers. Now who doesn’t like schmoozing with Steve Somers, we grant you, an infectious listen, no doubt. But if you’re in the postseason, as the Yankees generally are – even with this season’s conclusion in doubt – those extra games can rake in much more revenue than The Schmoozer (sorry, Steve).

There are some who might believe that WFAN switched because Mike Francesca, their popular afternoon host, is an unabashed Yankees fan, but nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Miked Up has been a Yankee rooter his entire life, and certainly the entire 26-year run of the Mets “on the FAN,” but that didn’t initiate any contractual changes during this time.

No, it’s always about the Benjamins, as they say, and this was no exception.

In 1987, when WFAN came into existence, inheriting the Mets from the reincarnated WHN 1050 AM station, station execs gladly welcomed Mets games into their programming, bracketing the games with longer than was the norm pre and post-game shows while promoting the games literally 24 hours a day as the nation’s first all-sports radio station.

And they said it wouldn’t last!

Actually, they said that about ESPN, too, the first all-sports television station – that launched in 1982 – and now both formats have spawned hundreds of copies.

In a way, you could say ESPN TV gave birth to WFAN radio, but that’s another story.

In 1987, the Mets were the “It” team, the toast of New York, the World Champions of baseball. These were the Doc and Darryl, Keith and Carter, Mookie and Wally Mets. They were on the back pages. They were on the front pages. Sometimes for the wrong reasons, but that’s another story, too. Still, they were the water cooler team of New York.

They Yankees? Yeah, they were good, too, but no matter how many games they won, or how many batting titles and other individual achievements they could muster, they could never find their way into the postseason, despite the heroics of Don Mattingly, the antics of Dave Winfield, and the legs of Rickey Henderson.

WFAN was so enamored with having the Mets that they threw the switch from being WHN to WFAN, from frequency 1050 AM to 660 AM at Shea Stadium on July 1, 1987. Legendary radio host Don Imus, was given the honor of pushing the button, or whatever it was that actually zapped over to the new location on the dial.

Imus was a holdover from the previous regime at WNBC, which held the 660 frequency for many years. His morning show gave The Fan immediate gravitas, humor, and headlines.

And by the way, in case you have forgotten, or never knew, it was Imus who nicknamed Chris Russo, the Mad Dog. One morning, during one of Russo’s wild and crazy rants, Imus proclaimed, “You’re like a mad dog!” It stuck. So next time you listen to the doggie on satellite radio, know where that came from.

So here we are, about two weeks left to go in the season, and the Mets are without a radio home for 2014. But fear not, baseball audiophiles. Mets exec Jeff Wilpon announced immediately after WFAN officially said adios that negotiations were under way with a new radio partner for ’14. You could say the lead horse in the race is WEPN, the radio version of ESPN in New York, but nothing is definite yet, and there could be a dark horse candidate.

WFAN is a 50,000Watt radio station, the strongest signal the government will allow. There are a total of seven such stations in New York Metro, among them WEPN, WABC (a former Mets residence at the very beginning, from 1962-63), WCBS AM, WINS, WOR, WBBR, and WQEW.

In the recent Arbitron ratings “book,” as it is known, three of those stations made it to the Top Ten, including WFAN, WINS, and WCBS AM. In fact, the FAN made a very strong showing, coming in at No. 10 overall, with a 3.8. That means 3.8% of the radio audience listens to the FAN during the course of a week, and that includes all shows and games. WEPN, by comparison, rated just a 1.6.

However, in the all-important category of listeners aged 25-54, the demographics brought this competition a little closer, with the FAN again topping EPN, 5.5 to 2.9.

Those are radio’s stats. Those are their batting titles, win totals, and ERA. Those are the numbers that sets the ad rates, and everything else hinges off of that.

So if the Mets switch allegiances to ESPN does that mean their ratings will suffer? Perhaps a bit, but not necessarily because of the switch to a different radio station.

It’s still all about the wins and losses.

And one last “by the way.” WFAN switched from handling Jets games to Giants games some years ago for the exact same reason they just courted their new girlfriend in the Bronx.

ADDENDUM: METS RADIO HISTORY

In what will be their 54-year history next year, the Mets will have made eight radio station switches. They started on WABC (1962-63), then made their first association with WHN (at the time a country music station, by the way) from 1964-66. They jumped to WJRZ from 1967-71 (which leads to an interesting trivia question regarding what station Mets fans first heard them win a World Championship in 1969). It was back to WHN from ’72-74, then another migration to WNEW AM from ’75-’77. The WMCA “Good Guys” broadcast Mets games ’78-’82, and it was back to WHN from ’83-87 until Imus “pushed the button.”

Posted under Airtime, Andy Esposito, Benjamins, Commercial Time, Corporate Decision, Extra Games, Fifth Consecutive Season, Flagship Radio Station, Mets Games, Mike Francesca, Miked, New York Mets, No Doubt, Pitch, Postseason Games, Real Reason, Schmoozing, Sorry Steve, Top Story, Yankee

Santana Suffers A Twin Killing

New York- One bad inning was all the Minnesota Twins (41-33) needed to shutout the New York Mets (42-32) by the score of 6-0 in Saturday afternoon baseball at Citi Field. The Twins snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, as the Mets have been shut out four different times this season.

The top of the first inning was that one inning as the scored four runs off Mets starter Johan Santana and never looked back as starter Carl Pavano (9-6) went the distance in his second-complete game. The last time Pavano had a complete-game shutout was on June 5, 2009 against the Chicago White Sox. The former Yankee starter struck out four batters while only giving up one walk in the victory. Santana (5-5) allowed five runs for the fourth straight start, and has still not defeated his former team.

“They (the Twins) came out early and put some good at bats on him (Santana) early in the game,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “I thought he made some nice adjustments, he had to use his slider today due to so many lefties in the lineup today and it is a pitch that he can now use to get outs on a consistent basis.”

Double plays along with some key doubles led to the victory for Minnesota as Orlando Hudson got the game going in the top of the first with a two base hit to center field. Joe Mauer laced a single to center field to plate the speedy Hudson to make the score 1-0 Twins. Later in the inning Michael Cuddyer worked the walk to set the stage for Jason Keble who hit a ground rule double (11) down the left field line going into the stands which plated the second Minnesota run. Delmon Young followed up with a double (19) to center field, which made the score 4-0 Twins.

“It was the line drives and double plays that hurt us offensively” Manuel said. “We hit it hard but they were able to make the plays behind Pavano, who pitched very well today.” He would continue by saying, “All of Johan’s starts are usually different as he starts against the other teams’ aces, and there are a lot of good pitchers in MLB this season.”

In the bottom of the second inning the Mets would try to strike back as Ike Davis worked a walk. Unfortunately for the 37,510 fans in attendance Jason Bay would hit a screaming line drive right to shortstop Nick Punto, who turned the six-six-three double play. The first of two for the Twins, as Punto would turn the second double play in the bottom of the third as Cora would pop up to the shortstop, who would throw out Francoeur at first.

Punto would continue his fine day by starting the top of the fourth inning with a single to right field. Carl Pavano laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to second for Denard Span who placed a double to right field (12), Span who plated the fifth run.

The Mets would try to get a rally going again in the bottom of the fifth inning. After a strikeout to Davis and a Bay fly out to right field, back-to-back hits by Rod Barajas, who is returning from a bad back and Jeff Francoeur set the stage for Alex Cora. The rally would soon end as Cora hit a ground ball for the final out.

Minnesota would add the last run in the top of the ninth inning as Mets manager Jerry Manuel called for relief pitcher Fernando Nieve who gave up a home run to Jason Kubel (10) who lifted a 1-0 over the wall in right field.

Pavano who looked as sharp in throwing 110 pitches, with 75 of were in the strike zone, came out in the bottom of the ninth inning and sat the Mets down in order to end the game, and secure the complete-game shutout bid.

These two teams will face each other again in the rubber game on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. as Scott Baker (6-6, 4.61 ERA) takes on Jonathon Niese (4-2, 4.17 ERA)

This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com

Posted under Batters, Carl Pavano, Chicago White Sox, Complete Game, Consistent Basis, Delmon Young, Different Times, Former Team, Game Losing Streak, Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Keble, Lefties, Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Saturday Afternoon, Slider, Top Story, Twin Killing, Yankee

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 27, 2010

Audio: Twins Kill Johan

Bob Trainor of Trainor Communications offers these soundbites from yesterday’s 6-0 Twins  win over the Mets at Citi Field.

Johan Santana wasn’t himself, while former Yankee Carl Pavano sporting a 1970s mustache turned back the clock as the Twins evened the series.

We have full audio coverage below.

Johan Santana

Rod Barajas

Jeff Francoeur

Carl Pavano

Ron Gardenire

For More Info contact Bob at TrainorComm@gmail.com.

Posted under 1970s, Audio Coverage, Carl Pavano, Citi, Clock, Contact Bob, Johan Santana, Mets, Mp3 Audio, Mustache, New York Mets, Rod Barajas, Soundbites, Top Story, Trainor, Twins, Yankee

This post was written by Bob Trainor on June 27, 2010