NEW YORK (WFAN) – To kick off the WFAN 25th Anniversary Show with Mike Francesa at 1:00, Francesa spoke with Jeff Smulyan, the founder and CEO of Emmis Communications. Smulyan, who was the owner of the Seattle Mariners in the early 1990s, came up with the idea of an all-sports station.
“I came up with the idea when I was not paying attention in a broadcasting class,” Smulyan told Francesa.
He added that selling WFAN to Infinity Broadcasting for $70 million in 1992 was more difficult than selling the Mariners. When asked if he’s surprised that WFAN is still going strong 25 years later, he replied, “No, because of how it took after after the first couple of years.”
Following Smulyan was New York Rangers legend Mark Messier, who played with New York from 1991-97 and led the team to a Stanley Cup in 1994. Messier is best remembered in New York for guaranteeing a win against the Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals that season.
“I loved the city, I loved coming here and I was looking forward to tackling the biggest challenge in hockey,” Messier said. “It’s nothing that I’ll ever forget.
Mets legend John Franco was next on the air. Franco, a New York City kid who went to St. John’s, pitched with the ‘Amazins. He was a four-time All-Star and recorded 424 saves over his illustrious career.
“I had a lot of fun playing at home for the team I rooted for, playing for family and friends,” Franco said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Franco, who admitted to listening to the WFAN frequently late at night, was told by Francesa that he should be a coach in his future.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin joined Francesa following Franco. Coughlin has been the G-Men coach since 2004, winning Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI over the Patriots. Coughlin came on the air with an emphatic, “Congratulations to WFAN on 25 wonderful years!” The Giants’ win in Super Bowl 42 was voted the No. 1 New York moment in the last 25 years, and Super Bowl XLII was voted the No. 3 moment.