Charlie Brown's steakhouse in Garden City Park, N.Y., on Monday night was buzzing with excitement and filled to the brim with enthusiastic Jets fans. Green & White patrons of all ages filled the restaurant and lined up to catch a glimpse of the live show hosted by Bob Wischusen on 1050 AM ESPN Radio.
Wischusen, the Jets' radio play-by-play announcer, relaunched his weekly "Inside the Jets" radio show on Sept. 10, following the Jets' season opener against New England.
"It was a great crowd," recalls Wischusen of his first show of the 2007 season. "It was fun to see some of the people who were so supportive of the show two years ago that followed it here. [Last week's guests] Mike Nugent and Erik Coleman were great. It was not an easy week to do a show after being beaten on opening day, but it was fun."
In 2005, Wischusen hosted a similar weekly program alongside then-Jets general manager Terry Bradway at the Long Island Marriott, with one Jets player occasionally appearing. This season's version of the hour-long show shines the spotlight in a new direction — and giving the fans what they ultimately want.
"The show with Terry was great, but the people weren't really there to see us," Wischusen said with a laugh. "They want to have a chance to meet a couple of players up close and see a personal side of them that they may never have had a chance to see. It gives me a little bit more freedom to give my take on the game and spend a little more time with the players.
"There will be no other radio show this year in New York that will give you live player interviews every single week. If I'm a Jets fan, I would feel that this is a unique hour of radio and I hope they tune in."
This week was a prime example of what Wischusen was talking about as he welcomed in starting wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, coming off his career-high 165-yard game at Baltimore, and one of the most beloved Jets players of all time, Wayne Chrebet.
In addition to these two star receivers, Gina, a member of the newly formed and highly anticipated Jets Flight Crew, was on board to get a chance to mingle with and meet her fans face-to-face.
Chrebet, who has been retired for more than a year, chatted live with Wischusen before making his rounds to meet with his passionate fans.
"It's a little more time for them to show the fans a side of themselves that they may not normally see and a little more time to sign autographs, shake hands and meet the fans," Wischusen said. "Really, I think most of the fans, that's what they want to come and see."
He said of the broadcast, "I hope it will be a show where Jets fans will think that they can turn to the station at 7 p.m. and get a view of the game they wouldn't be able to get anywhere else. I will watch every snap of every game this season in person. Hopefully I will be able to see what guys on other talk shows don't see on television."
For those brave souls who want their opinions heard, care to challenge his wit or just want to ask who, what or why, Wischusen is all ears.
"What makes this show so fun is getting a fan on that you can tell really cares about the Jets," he said. "It can be positive, it can be negative. They can be agreeing with me or yelling at me that I have no idea what I'm talking about. That to me is the unique thing about the Northeast and New York specifically, that we are not short on people for whom a major part of their life is watching the Jets. Fan passion is the best part of a show and Jets fans are not lacking in passion."