The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com.

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

66 Ways to Leave Your Flagship

The Mets aired their games on WMCA, 570 on your AM dial, for five seasons. They weren’t much good then, and the sound quality might have left something to be desired, but they and we survived. From 1967 through 1971, the Mets called WJRZ-AM home. As the call letters imply, ’JRZ was a Jersey-based station, in Hackensack. That was the first station on which I listened to Mets games, even if I was on Long Island. It came in OK, apparently. And its geographic location didn’t prevent 1969 from transpiring. The miracle was all right there at 970.

I listened to the Mets on WNEW-AM when they weren’t playing Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald. I listened to the Mets on WRVR-FM when they weren’t playing Miles Davis or Herbie Mann. I listened to the Mets on WNYC-AM when they weren’t airing city council hearings. I listened to the Mets on WHN before and after they went country. I listened to the Mets on a Pittsfield, Mass., affiliate when I was driving home from Boston one Sunday afternoon when I was young and daring enough to take spur-of-the-moment road trips.

Mostly, though, I’ve listened to the Mets on WFAN, which has been a four-letter acronym synonymous with my team (and there are lots of them) since July 1, 1987. Starting with the NLCS pregame Mets Extra of October 7, 1988, WFAN, formerly at WHN’s ancient 1050 slot, could be found at 660 AM. It rained that Friday night, but the Mets were back on the air at their new home on Saturday afternoon and, seemingly, forever after. With the exception of a handful of season or playoff conflicts when you’d suddenly have to rely on a WEVD or a WBBR, you could count on the Mets residing at Sportsradio 66, WFAN.

Count no more.

Word has spread that the Mets will be airing elsewhere in 2014. No more WFAN-AM. No more surpassingly handy WFAN-FM (101.9 comes in beautifully on the 7 train; who knew?). The ’FAN has opted to shift to the dark side. We don’t know yet where the Mets will land. WEPN-FM, 98.7 FM — better known as ESPN Radio — seems a logical fit. Grand old WOR-AM, 710, has been mentioned as well. Other frequencies are out there. How many are a fit for baseball remains to be heard.

This is unfortunate for all the reasons you can conjure. The WFAN brand, despite the presence of objectionable afternoon drive time hosts, is still powerful, and if you’re a sports franchise, you’d probably rather share your air with compatible programming than Rambling with Gambling (or Eye-Rolling with Michael Kay). The WFAN signal is unquestionably powerful on the East Coast, and that’s no small concern if you suddenly find yourself deprived of easy access to it. Habit may be the most powerful pull of all. You flipped to 660 without thinking for a Mets game (just as you tune out your better judgment if you decide to listen to Mike Francesa). It was simple, comfortable and an intrinsic element of the baseball season for a quarter-century.

But so were WHN and WNEW and WJRZ and the rest of the alphabet soup that informs our AM heritage. Mets games will be broadcast (by Howie Rose and Josh Lewin — the team determines the announcers, and the team does that well, at least) and somebody will plug in their microphones so they can be heard reasonably far and wide. Maybe not as clearly or as at great a distance from the originating signal as before or by quite as many people as usual, but the bulk of Mets fans will be served. And of course there’s the MLB At Bat app and SiriusXM and, as I’m sure my tech-savvy partner could rhapsodize over, emerging iFork technology all combining to make the humble radio ever more obsolete minute by minute.

We’ll survive. We always do.

34 comments to 66 Ways to Leave Your Flagship

  • I didn’t read the link, but why would they do this? Who wants out, WFAN or the Mets? I can, sometimes, if the wind is blowing right, actually get WFAN in Pittsburgh. Grainy and garbled, but that’d a testiment to how powerful the signal is.

    You like Howie? I gotta admit, I’m not a fan.

    • John B

      WFAN. Apparently despite the fact that Mets rights cost less than half of Yankee rights, they’re losing money on the Mets.

  • John B

    This is strange for me to say, but I grew up with Murph and Gary Cohen under my pillow beginning in 1996, and I just can’t fathom a half-inning ending with “… on the WFAN Mets radio network” followed by the jingle. Always followed by the jingle. Sadly, that’s what I’ll miss the most.

    It really doesn’t matter if the writing was on the wall, or if it’s a business. We’ve been broken up with, and we don’t even get to keep the cheesy love song we had for over a quarter of a century.

  • dmg

    not liking this, for the reasons you’ve listed, mainly, a weaker radio signal will lead to a smaller fan base.

    one less reason to listen to wfan, that’s for sure.

  • nestornajwa

    As Pete Franklin would say: “$%^&*@!!!” I live in Virginia and I bought a car last week (LAST WEEK!!!), specifically choosing a model that had free “HD radio” so I could get the FAN. That was literally the deciding factor in favor of my car and against a competing model.

    My own interests aside, this is a bad decision by the Mets. In 1987, the Mets were the premiere NY sports property; WFAN needed the Mets. Now it’s the other way around — the Mets desperately need a mega-powerful media outlet. But ownership seems all too willing to accept 2d-tier status in NY and on the national scene. I guarantee the Yankees are already planning to make the move to the FAN. It’s the smart move for any team with a notion to grow its fan base beyond its local community. And the Mets… well, you New Yorkers might be twisting the knobs on your radios to the far ends of the dial to get a game on the radio. Because “good enough” is always good enough for the Mets.

    • dak442

      Read the article – the Mets didn’t decide on this. WFAN is dumping us. I hope they enjoy that imbecile Sterling polluting their airwaves.

      This is a major hit for the Mets. We always got a ton of play on WFAN, primarily because they carried the games. WFAN will now become all-Yankee all the time and we’ll find ourselves marginalized more than ever.

      Hopefully 98.7 will pick up the Mets broadcasts – at least they’re a sports station. And maybe they’ll improve their product. Though anything is an improvement over Francesa. Seriously, whether he likes the Mets or not is irrelevant – he is awful. I listened to his Sunday NFL preview in my car this week and he repeats himself so often he sounds like Rain Man.

  • 9th string catcher

    CBS radio owns WCBS and WFAN, so technically, parentco is paying rights fees for both teams. They could easily shift the games to FAN, but how weird would that be? FAN would not only broadcast Mets games, but by extension become more of a Mets haunt based on the listeners already tuned to the games. Interesting.

    As long as we don’t have a booth with John Sterling and Wayne Hagin, I’m sure I won’t mind listening on other call letters…

  • Dave

    Meh. For starters, airwave radio, either AM or FM, is about as current as vinyl records and cars with manual transmission – both of which I like very much, but I’m older than the people younger than me, and they count more to advertisers. But to me, and sorry if I’m insulting anyone who calls in with boneheaded trade suggestions and the like, WFAN caters to the lunkheads who are more likely to root for that other team anyway. I almost never listen to the FAN unless it’s a Mets broadcast while I’m in my car or lounging in my backyard. We’ve adjusted to watching games on something other than Channel 9, we’ll adjust to listening to Howie somewhere besides the Home of Francesa.

  • Stan

    I can’t imagine Steve Somers following a game from The Bronx.

    That being said, this summer has been murder on AM radio reception on the East Coast. Where I used to be able to pick up WFAN after dark with no problem down here in Charlotte, it’s been almost a no-go due to the almost constant cloud cover. MLB@Bat and a wireless data plan have worked just as well in my car this year, even when I didn’t really want to hear what was going on.

  • Lenny65

    Well, the obvious upside is that I’ll never have to listen to WFAN ever again, which will be nice. Here’s hoping the Evil Empire goes on an oh-for-thirty-season schneid now and FAN changes formats due to overwhelming apathy.

  • Mike

    Well, as someone who lives in CT, this news is really lousy. WFAN comes in quite nicely here in the central part of the state, and I highly doubt whatever replacement station they find will do the same. And there are no Mets affiliate stations up here. (There are Yankee affiliates though; I guess maybe the Mets can swap with them? After all if 660 is available up here, I imagine the Yankees would want to make sure their games get listened to on 660.)

    And I too will miss the jingle. “Let’s go Mets! F-A-N! Da da DA!”

  • Janie

    I’m just hoping that the Mets new radio home won’t have hosts anything like WFAN’s morning lineup. Driving home from night games, I always listen to the fan. Their post-game coverage usually lasts just about until I pull into my driveway. Then the next morning as I turn on the ignition (with the radio still tuned to 660)to drive my 9 year old daughter to school, I barely make it out of the driveway before the morning hosts say something ridiculous and inappropriate and I’m reminded to change the station.

  • Dan

    As long as Howie Rose and Josh Lewin are calling the games, I really don’t mind what channel they’re on.

  • Ron

    Well said Greg … WFAN is synonymous with our Mets, but we will survive

  • Stan

    Also, there would be something fitting about the Mets being on WOR, albeit radio instead of television this time.

  • Neil

    Another example of the fine management of the Wilpon family. If the Mets had a reasonably competitive product on the field that could draw ratings and ad revenue, this doesn’t happen. I live in LA now, so it doesn’t mean much practically to me, but it’s still sad. I remember listening to the Mets on the Pittfield radio station in the ’80s as well when I attended sleepaway camp in the Berkshires.

  • 5w30

    The fine work of Jeff Fredo Wilpon. His sterling moment. Expect the Metsies on pea-shootah WEPN-FM. Except during Knicks or Rangers games in April and hopefully May and June. WEPN already has the Spanish rights at 1050 AM. There won’t be that great feeling while driving to places on the East Coast, from Jacksonville FL to Halifax, NS, WFAN 660 could be picked up as clear as a bell at night. Now it will be a Yankees thing. Between the lack of money in the SNY contract, and now this … A promotion for Fredo awaits. Maybe there’s a Cuban worth $2 million somewhere ….

  • open the gates

    Yeah there’s…66 ways to leave your flagship…

    Your team’s in the red, Fred
    With no end in sight, Dwight
    Thanks to you and that attorney, Bernie
    You no-good bunch of crooks.

    Now they tell us the FAN – man –
    Is gonna switch to the Yanks! Thanks!
    Oh well, that’s how it goes, Rose –
    Put those shnooks in the books.

    Thank you…thankyouverymuch…

    • Move up the dial, Kyle
      Lease time for a fee, Lee
      Tie string to a can, Stan
      Can we still hear Howie?

      Shout like you’re at Shea, Ray
      Out toward the street, Pete
      If anyone’s listening
      Well, that’d be neat

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Heck, I still have to think twice before turning on Channel 11 instead of Channel 9 when watching the games that are on broadcast TV. This WFAN thing will have me looped for years.

    That being said, in my little corner of western Union County NJ, WFAN doesn’t come in all that well. I have several radios and all of them seem to have a weird background whistle on 660. Very slight, but noticeable. WOR would be welcome.

  • since62

    What no one is addressing here is the final landing place for the radio broadcast. We all know the coupons want to build a mall in the parking lot and malls have their own radio broadcasts. What better way to get men into a mall than to broadcast MET games. The only place they will be broadcast is in the new mall. We’ll bring our kiddies and our wives guaranteed to have the time of our lives, while they shop and we sit on the bench and listen to the game. Wonder how much change we’ll need to bring to feed the meter that broadcasts the signal to the bench.

  • Ben

    No biggie. Times and technology change. The only byproduct of the is, Francesa can go into FULL. hate mode. He doesn’t have to pretend for the sake of the station.

  • Paul Festa

    These days, I listen on satellite radio, my phone, or my computer. So I don’t mind where the origin of the broadcast is.

  • Knowing the Mets, they’ll probably end up on some 5,000 watt station out in Montauk…

  • Will in Central NJ

    The bottom line is, the deterioration of the NY Mets corporate brand continues. Having said that, I’m certain we will survive with WEPN, WOR, WBBR or WTH…

  • Don Habermehl

    The last day I listen to WFAN will be 9/29.With John Sterling and Mike Francesa both on the Fan it will be unlistenable

  • Don Johnson

    The bittersweet end to an era….the Fandroids of WFAN have decided to part ways with the NY Mets organization after 26 years and hook up with the Yankees….strange thing is they are shelling out 4 times as much for this mundane act. The Mets contract was a pittance at $6-8 million per season compared to the $26-34 million they will be paying the Yankees as they begin their own downward spiral. They will be paying those mega bucks for the likes of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman who are the worst broadcasting team in NY sports history, notorious bombastic homers…
    The FAN is paying for the rights based on the previous Yankees squad. Next season will be one of numerous changes to both the Mets and Yankees, with one on the way up and the other in a free fall…no Mo, possibly no Jeter…no A-Roid for a season and a half for the Yankees (note: Marquee players), the WFAN will be adding many more “sponsors” to their broadcast, subjecting their new listeners to much more of Sterling and Waldmyn than they can possibly tolerateMets will have many young exciting pitchers to draw more listeners back to the broadcasts as well as a newoutfielder or two to add to the mix…my condolences to Evan Roberts, Joe Beningo and Steve Somers; all noted Met fans; at the betrayal by their employer…I hope WOR or WABC will score the Mets broadcasts next year and do so with great success…my FANdom days end at the end of this season due to this great betrayal…

  • The Jestaplero!

    If this means I never have to hear “1-877-Kars-for-Kids…” again it will have all been worth it. Twenty-five years, shmenty-five years…

  • Howard

    This is what WFAN wanted all along. This was their chance to get those stinkin’ Yankees on the Fan. With the money they’ll be shelling to the Evil Empire broadcasting their games & add that they could be putting out an inferior product on the field in the coming years, the Fandroids will regret it & start bleeding money. As that idiot Sterling would say, “Who’s Sori now???”

  • […] Like my partner, I have all sorts of good memories of listening to the Mets on WFAN, and a long record of doing silly things so I could hear the Mets on the radio. […]

  • […] innings. One run. Hard to believe WFAN didn’t rush to sign up for another few years of this, […]