When WFAN went live on-air for the first time in 1987, Steve Somers was its original overnight host. While hosts like Mike Francesa, Chris Russo, and Don Imus, were able to break through and become nationally recognized personalities, and eventually moved on, Somers remained a mainstay of the New York sports talk radio station. In fact, “The Schmoozer” is the last remaining original host to still be on the air following the retirements of Mike Francesa and Joe Benigno. At least for now.
The 74-year-old announced on Thursday’s show that he will retire from WFAN “more sooner than later” after 34 years with the station. Somers said he came to the decision after refusing WFAN’s offer to return to his old overnight role and he is currently talking to executives with the station and its owner, Audacy, about the specifics.
“Yes, sadly it is true,” Audacy senior VP Chris Oliviero told The New York Post. “Steve will be wrapping up his full-time run at WFAN sometime this fall. He is without a doubt one of the most important building blocks in the history of WFAN. Steve and The FAN became stars together in this town. The voice, the wit, the humor, the catchphrases all iconic. Now we have to convince him to give us all, especially the listeners, a chance to celebrate him because he is worthy of the accolades.”
Unlike Francesa and Benigno, Somers told Newsday that he doesn’t want to draw out his retirement for too long.
“One thing I don’t want to do is have a farewell tour. (Mike) Francesa had that, and Joe Benigno had that, and I don’t want to go through all of the gladhanding, the hugging and the kisses and all that stuff,” said Somers. “That would embarrass me, number one, and number two, I would rather share the information with those people who gave me the support and gave me, really, a life and gave me a career as far as that goes and that’s the audience late at night.”
He also reiterated that “I’m not being fired” and that the door will still be open for him to return for occasional fill-in shifts and special events.
Somers, who currently works on the evening broadcast, is best known for his many catchphrases, honed for decades working at WFAN. New York sports fans are familiar with “schmoooooozing S-P-O-R-T-S,” referring to the Mets as “The New York Metro-Politans” and to the Islanders as the “Ice-landers.”