It seemed as if Astoria-based WFAN could do no wrong ever since moving over to the 660 position on the AM dial twenty years ago. In April 2007 however the station underwent an upheaval when longtime morning host Don Imus was booted off the air for making ill-advised remarks against the Rutgers women’s basketball team in an attempt at ribald humor. WFAN program director Mark Chernoff hired former NFL QB Boomer Esiason and one-time Trenton radio shock jock Craig Carton to team up and take the Imus’ old time slot. The end result is that the “Boomer & Carton Show” is getting better ratings than “Imus In The Morning” ever did. Then again, Imus was not a sports talk show host on what is an all-sports radio station, so perhaps the results are not as shocking as it would initially appear.
Chernoff has to hope that lightning will strike twice now that Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo has decided to vacate the “Mike & The Mad Dog” show that had been an afternoon staple on WFAN since 1989. There had long been rumblings that Russo, and his partner Mike Francesa, were going to dissolve their partnership for both personal and business reasons, but like the boy who cried wolf one time too many, it was easy to dismiss these rumors as idle gossip. After all, Mike & The Mad Dog,”with Francesa playing the role of the dour sports know-it-all, and Russo playing the part of the class clown who says whatever he feels, was a proven Arbitron ratings winner that had made both men quite wealthy. With Russo rumored to be heading off the Sirius Satellite Radio, it will be interesting to see how Francesa handles those long weekday afternoon broadcasts on his own.
The U.S. Open gets underway this Monday but you can catch some terrific tennis for free at the National Tennis Center as some of the world’s best players try to qualify for the wild card berths today and tomorrow. While most of those competing are highly ranked up-and-coming players, there are always a few name veterans trying for a last shot at glory.
For those who want to see young ranked female tennis stars who have U.S. Open aspirations, the Sony Ericsson WTA Forest Hills Classic runs though Saturday at the West Side Tennis Club.
The Arthur Ashe Kids Day festival that unofficially kicks off the U.S. Open will take place Saturday. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, James Blake, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic will be giving pointers on the game while tween favorites Demi Lovato, Colby O’Donis, Push Pull and Menudo provide the musical entertainment.
On the golf front, the lone PGA event in our area, the Barclay’s Championship, begins today and runs through Sunday at the Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus. If you don’t want to put up with traffic jams and tolls, there are free shuttle buses to and from the golf course to the New Jersey Transit train stop in Glen Rock. Tiger Woods is recovering from leg surgery but there will still be an excellent field headed by such household names as Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, and rising star Anthony Kim.