After saying goodbye to his listeners in mid-December 2017, Mike Francesa has stunned fans and the New York City radio scene with an announcement that he will be cutting his retirement short and returning to WFAN in afternoon Drive. The ‘Sports Pope’ has been an integral voice on sports radio in both NYC and nationally, what with his endless historical knowledge, gelled white hair and gruff New Yawk accent. His life has been a mix of great success and heartbreaking tumult. How did Francesa arrive at such notoriety, and how much is he worth?
Mike Francesa Net Worth: $16 Million
Throughout his entire career in media and broadcasting, Francesca has earned an estimated $16 Million. Let’s take a look at how he came to earn that much money!
Francesa is a life-long native of the New York City area, which should be no surprise to anyone who has listened to him for more than five seconds. He was born in raised on Western Long Island just outside Queens in Long Beach. Francesa was left with his siblings, older brother John and younger brother Marty (who would tragically commit suicide as an adult in 1990), when their father, Michael Sr., abandoned the family when Mike was just eight.
Francesa would move around Long Island and the NYC area in his ensuing coming-of-age years. He would attend High School in Uniondale and graduate from St. John’s in Queens with a degree in communications and athletic administration.
It was natural given his rabid knowledge of, and obsession with, sports that he would find himself working in that world immediately out of college. He began by working at Football news publications before landing a gig at CBS Sports in 1982, where he would stay in varied capacities for 11 years even as his radio career took off on WFAN. He began at CBS as a behind the scenes college sports researcher, before being put in front of the camera and on-air by executives who were blown away by his encyclopedic knowledge of American sports.
Mike and The Mad Dog & WFAN
In 1987, the now legendary New York Sports radio station WFAN was founded. Eager to test his college-learned communications skills and give radio a try, Francesa applied for a job with the station. After some persistence and patience, Mike was given a weekend slot where he talked college sports. Francesa would garner positive impressions and would move around to various slots before being teamed with the loud and energetic Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo in afternoon drive.
After some initial bumps in the road, the ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ show went on to great success, dominating the ratings for just short of 20 years. ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ worked because of the genuine passion and intelligence both hosts displayed, as well as their understanding of American sports and their history. As far as sports talk radio went, you couldn’t and can’t do much better. By the time it was over in 2008, with Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo burnt out and ready to do his own show on SiriusXM, the ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ had achieved iconic status.
Mike’d Up/Mike’s On
Mike started his own show in 2008 with Russo gone initially called “Mike’d Up: Mike Francesa on the Fan”, later changed to “Mike’s On: Mike Francesa on the Fan”. Francesa continued the rating success of ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ and furthered his legend with his trademark aloof bluntness. He also achieved internet notoriety thanks to a heavy stream of prank calls he had to deal with on a daily basis. The heavy amount of calls producers had to fill made it hard to spot and screen prankers. The predicament was made worse when Francesa appeared to fall asleep on the air in 2012, leaving many mischievous callers to joke about it for years to come. One could feel bad for Mike, but the fact is, he brings it on himself what with his impatient arrogance and dismissiveness.
Either way, Mike Francesa is a New York Radio legend and many are happy that despite his initial retirement, he will be back on the air soon.