Though my own Mount Rushmore of WFAN telephone fixtures would sooner include the likes of Eli from White Plains, Doris of Rego Park and the one-and-only Jerome From Manhattan, Newsday’s Neil Best pays homage to longtime Jets obsessive Ira Lieberfarb, aka Ira From Staten Island, whose musings on all-things Gang Green have graced the airwaves for the past 23 years.
He is so successful at getting through that many people assume he has a special hot line to producers. “Nope, nope, nope,” he said. “Nobody believes me, but it’s the same number everyone else dials.”
How does he do it? “Persistence. Re-dial. You usually can get through if you stay with it.”
Surely, though, he has the juice to get priority over other callers on hold, right? “I might not wait as long,” he said, “but there have been times I’ve waited an hour, too.”
“Um, why do I do it?” he said, repeating the question. “Well, over the years I feel like I’m part of the family. I’ve gotten to know pretty much all of the hosts.”
Has he ever called in on a subject other than the Jets? He vaguely recalled a couple of basketball-related discussions with Mike Francesa long ago, “but you can count them on one hand. It’s 99.9 percent Jets.”