SBD/Issue 228/Sports Media
WFAN Cancels "Mike and the Mad Dog" As Russo Leaves Station
Published August 15, 2008
|Chris Russo Leaves WFAN|
MOVING ON: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports the new show will be called "Francesa on the FAN." Russo and his agent, Sandy Montag, had been "negotiating a possible extension beyond the March expiration of his contract," but Russo was "unwilling to commit to five more years" with the station (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15). Russo, as the result of WFAN releasing him from his contract, will not be allowed to work for rival station ESPN Radio 1050 N.Y., though he will be "permitted to take a satellite radio gig" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes if Russo was "tempted to leave by the possibility of a challenge -- if that's his motivation -- he will sign that deal offered by Sirius," but it would be the "biggest, and riskiest, move of his career." Raissman writes Russo has made a "tough decision, one that might become a lot tougher to live with as time moves on." For Russo, leaving Francesa and WFAN "will be extremely difficult," while "afternoons in New York will never be the same" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15). On Long Island, Jim Baumbach writes, "It's clear there really is only one loser here. Us." Without the show, the "sports radio landscape in New York never will be the same" (NEWSDAY, 8/15). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Francesa and Russo had a "great run," and "for better and worse, they made radio history. ... They made a whole lot of something out of what previously existed as nothing" (N.Y. POST, 8/15).
POINTS OFF TURNOVER: ESPN 1050 Program Dir Aaron Spielberg said the breakup of the "Mike and the Mad Dog" team presents "tremendous opportunities" for 1050. Spielberg: "Any move like this changes the landscape, and I've got a great afternoon guy with Michael Kay. If you look on this as a race, I really really like my horse." Spielberg added, "We're not looking to run down FAN. But I think there's room in New York for two sports-talk stations, and there will definitely be opportunities in this situation" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/15).