“Good evening to you, and how you be? Steve Somers here and you there.” That’s how Steve Somers begins his nightly call-in show – his schmooze, he calls it – on WFAN, New York’s sports radio station. He’s been saying this for 25 years, and it’s a ritual greeting as reassuring to his listeners as the call of a muezzin.
Then Somers gives the exact time, down to the second, and the station’s phone number: 1-877-337-6666. Not that anyone is apt to forget it. On a typical evening the calls have already begun to queue up, like circling planes seeking a landing spot, on the computer screen in front of Chris McMonigle, the show’s engineer. Paul from Hamden, Joe from Staten Island, Josh from Brooklyn, Sam from Bayonne, Bruce from Flushing, all with a point to make, a bone to pick, a tirade to deliver, or maybe just a need to hear their own voice on the radio.
Most of the callers are regulars, and McMonigle’s screen indicates how many times they have phoned in the past and how often they have made it onto the radio. Not long ago, Franco from Danbury was batting over .500. When he went on the air to announce that he was done once and for all as a Yankees fan and was “turning in my pinstripes,” it was his 583rd time talking to Steve in just over 1,100 tries. Somers listened patiently and then said he doubted Franco really meant it.
Read the full story from the New York Times here.