The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir provided chilling news this morning for the constituents of New York’s WFAN radio. In the wake of Don Imus’ firing, the station plans to fill the morning drive slot (temporarily) with Mike Francesca and Chris Russo — while still keeping the duo on throughout the afternoon.
Yesterday there was clearly no succession plan in place for Mr. Imus, but for the next two weeks, Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo, who are the co-hosts of the afternoon œMike and Mad Dog show on WFAN, will fill in, working from 6 to 10 a.m., tweaking their two-man act to have a slightly more national flavor. After the midday hosts, Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, expand their show to 2 p.m., Mr. Francesa and Mr. Russo will return to the air for the afternoon drive shift, from 2 to 6, which will be cut temporarily from their usual 1 to 6:30 p.m. slot.
Mr. Russo also said the program would be heard on all the stations that received œImus in the Morning, except those in Boston and Washington. A Westwood spokeswoman said she could not verify that.
Mike Barnicle, a frequent guest of Mr. Imus and the host of a talk show in Boston, was considered as an interim replacement, œbut it didn™t work out, said Karen Mateo, a spokeswoman for CBS Radio.
Mr. Francesa said the plans for the morning show were confined to a period of two weeks, œso they can get their ducks in a row.
œThe station needs to gain a little equilibrium, and this was the easiest thing for them to do, he added. œWe didn™t want to leave the afternoon open, so this made sense.
Mr. Russo said the station didn™t have a staff personality who could be a permanent replacement in the morning for Mr. Imus. œThe company made a huge decision, he said. œIt™s a Friday. This place needed to be stabilized. They would have split us up, with one of us doing the morning, one doing the afternoon, but then you weaken the afternoon.
I think we all know what happens when we’re blessed with too much of a good thing. Well, that won’t be remotely similar to coping with 8 hours of Francesca and Russo each weekday. I’ve never been a big “Fear Factor” fan, but surely there must be an aspiring daredevil willing to risk their own sanity by submitting to 40 hours of the FranDog Experience?