Steve Somers signed off of WFAN late nights for the final time on Friday night, and he said one final goodbye on Monday from 1-2 p.m. ET.
WFAN began 34 years ago, and Somers has been there every step of the way, a consistent lighthouse guiding nighttime listeners in the city that never sleeps. ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play voice Steve Levy paid tribute to his old friend.
“I just wanted to thank you for how you treated me when I was so young and knew nothing,” Levy said as he called into Somers’ final hour. “You taught a lot of people about the industry. How to respect your audience, how you treated them, and the last thank you, Steve. You were a piece of the success in the first-ever all-sports radio station in the country.”
Levy got his start in the industry doing score updates on WFAN. He parlayed that into success at ESPN and the eventual MNF gig.
“I travel around a lot now,” Levy continued. “You see these all-sports radio stations, and they go to network programming at night, and it’s awful. You need the local flavor. You were one of us.”
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo couldn’t wait to give Somers his praise. Russo chatted with Somers during his final scheduled show this past Friday.
“Yours is a little different because I was gonna still work,” Russo said about his transition from WFAN. “I was just gonna do it in a different venue and look for a new challenge. You’re gonna go into a retirement scenario where you can do whatever you want. You can wake up at 2:00 in the afternoon…go see a movie, you can do anything you want. For the first time in your life, you’re not constrained to a time schedule.
“Your situation is more about making the adjustment to keeping busy and keeping your mind active when you don’t have a place to hang your hat every day. For anybody that’s worked as hard as you have for as long as you have, that’s probably an adjustment that’s going to take a little while.”
Before taking the airwaves for one final sendoff thanks to Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray stepping aside to let the Schmoozer connect with fans and special guests from 1pm-2pm ET, Somers was honored by the radio station. In a video posted to social media, Gregg Giannotti and Craig Carton thanked the longtime WFAN host for being a class act, great teammate, and leaving an unforgettable mark on the radio station and industry. The station announced the break room inside the building would be renamed in Somers’ honor.
For his final hour, Somers welcomed longtime friend and nationally recognized comedian Jerry Seinfeld to the show, as well as WFAN’s longtime afternoon show staple Mike Francesa. Additional appearances were made by former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, and WFAN past and present members such as Mark Chernoff, Eddie Scozzare, Rich Ackerman, and Paul Arzooman who Somers credited for some of the exceptional production which had been done for his show. John Minko also returned to reunite with his longtime friend and colleague.
Seinfeld told Somers during their on-air discussion he was one of the greatest sports voices in New York. He then thanked Steve on behalf of all NY sports fans who enjoyed his rhythms, humor, and humanity. Seinfeld concluded by telling Somers ‘Nobody put the work into openings like you did.”
During his chat with Francesa, the former afternoon king told Somers he was ‘as big a part of it as anyone who has ever stepped through the doors.’ Francesa praised the impact Somers made on the station to which Somers added afterwards ‘I’m surprised Mike didn’t refer to me as a compiler for lasting 34 years.’
Upon signing off, Somers mentioned that the attention has been overwhelming, and some could make the argument that it’s been over the top, but it’s been absolutely appreciated. He thanked the audience for making the last 34 years, the happiest of his life.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
NHL All-Star Game Airing Exclusively on SiriusXM After Contract Extension
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter.
SiriusXM and the NHL have reached an extension that will see the satellite service continue to carry every league contest. The new multi-year deal will run through the 2028-2029 season.
Part of the deal includes the NHL All-Star Game airing exclusively on SiriusXM. The game had previously been distributed by Westwood One before Sports USA Media took over the rights in 2021.
The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter. All three are regulars on NHL Network Radio. Stellick and Laughlin serve as hosts of NHL Morning Skate, while Kouleas hosts the station’s afternoon show, The Power Play.
NHL Network Radio will also provide live coverage of the league’s All-Star Media Day on Thursday, February 2nd and the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 3rd.
The deal includes SiriusXM continuing to produce and distribute SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on the platform for the duration of the contract.
“Hockey fans are among the most passionate sports fans, and our long-term relationship with the NHL enables us to deliver those fans across North America comprehensive access to the league, offering them live broadcasts of every game and the only 24/7 NHL channel in audio,” said SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.
“Live sports, coupled with great, in-depth sports talk, is one of the key elements of our programming and we are very pleased to be extending our content agreement with the NHL for many more years.”
Peter Rosenberg: Gio’s Rant ‘Gimmick Infringement’ of Don La Greca
The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay.
The war of words between WFAN’s Boomer & Gio and 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show continued Monday, with a quip from Peter Rosenberg about a rant from Gregg Giannotti.
Giannotti, a Vikings fan, was discussing his viewing situation during Monday morning’s show as the franchise played the New York Giants. His wife, two daughters, mother, mother-in-law, and best friend joined him to watch the Super Wild Card game, and the WFAN host detailed that the situation grew more tense with each passing moment due to comments made by those in attendance.
Giannotti eventually admitted to yelling at his friend, and jokingly shouted “Not the time, Louise!” after his mother-in-law commented about how good the Giants had gotten during a Saquon Barkley touchdown run.
The rant didn’t go unnoticed by Rosenberg, however, and he replied to Giannotti’s video clip of the segment by saying “Fake Don Lagrecca (sic) much? This is called gimmick infringement”.
The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay after walking back comments he made about getting a producer at the station fired by calling them “performance art”.
While criticising Kay, Giannotti could not identify Rosenberg, only calling him “whatever his face”.
“He’s gonna retire. It doesn’t matter whether you kiss his ass or not, it’s not gonna be the difference in you getting that job when he leaves,” Giannotti said of La Greca and Rosenberg. “Just stop it. Just stop kissing his ass.”
Rosenberg responded to the disapproval from Giannotti last week by tweeting “My favorite part of the trash talk from the guy on the fan is ‘pick on someone your own size Michael Kay… pick on me’…LOL who are you?!!!!”
Jim Rome: Sad Paul Allen Is The Saddest Thing Ever
“Never mind letting yourselves down, never mind letting your employer down, never mind letting your fans down, you let the great P.A. down.”
One of Super Wild Card Weekend’s biggest upsets came in the Giants/Vikings game on Sunday afternoon, and Vikings radio voice Paul Allen obviously wasn’t thrilled about the final offensive play.
Jim Rome picked up on that listening to Allen’s call of Kirk Cousins finding T.J. Hockenson short of the line to gain, ending Minnesota’s season.
Rome said he hurt for Allen, who like many followers of the Vikings were shocked to see the second seed in the NFC playoffs bounced the first weekend.
“On the one hand sad P.A. is the saddest thing ever. I hate that so much,” Rome said Monday. “But he turns into pissed P.A. too. I mean that is a brutal way to lose. And what’s sadder than sad P.A.?”
Allen went viral halfway through the 2022-23 season, with his calls of a wild game against the Buffalo Bills on November 13. Allen went through a complete roller coaster of emotions as Buffalo fought to win 33-30 in overtime.
Rome added that he thought disappointing Allen was the worst of all for the NFC North champs.
“Never mind letting yourselves down, never mind letting your employer down, never mind letting your fans down, you let the great P.A. down,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.