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HEY, ELI FROM WESTCHESTER, READ THIS ON MIKE AND THE MAD DOG
Published February 26, 1998
With 260 all sports-talk radio stations in the U.S., there are "something like a thousand" hosts, but "none of them remotely as good or remotely as powerful" as "Mike and the Mad Dog," WFAN's Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, according to GQ's Peter Richmond. Through January 1, 1998, the duo had topped the drive-time ratings for eight of the last ten quarterly rating periods in the NYC area, making their afternoon show the "jewel of the nation's most successful radio station," and "one of the most listened-to" local shows in the country. Richmond calls radio "sports' truest voice, the humblest and most democratic medium for the culture's least pretentious enterprise," and adds that the "phenomenal growth" of sports radio "reflects the growth of the sports world." Francesa: "The business of sports continues to explode. It stretches and stretches, and there seems to be enough material to keep stretching it." FRIENDS TILL THE END? Richmond describes Russo as "no more enlightened than the guy next to you in the Midas customer waiting room," and who gives most issues "a good eleven seconds of thought before spouting an opinion." Francesa, meanwhile, "knows what he's talking about ... but often comes off as being overly satisfied with himself." Richmond: "[T]here's no particular magic in their relationship. They're not great friends. There are times when they don't even like each other." Still, their success is unquestioned, and they have "been approached a dozen times about doing a national show." Most recently, they "declined a national talk show on Fox" (GQ, 3/98 issue).