(above : the Dog, shown during the dark days when he wasn’t allowed to wear a SF Giants ski hat to work)
The New York Post’s Justin Terranova quizzed formerly-popular sports radio host Chris Russo, currently ensconced on SiriusXM’s rarely considered Mad Dog Radio satellite offering. During the brief chat, Mike Francesa’s ex-barking partner expressed gratitude that he’s no longer limited to NYC-centric subject matter.
Q: Nicest part of this format?
A: The fact that I don’t have to break down when Derek Jeter is going to get his 3,000th hit or where Jose Reyes will go on a day-by-day basis, the flexibility of the show is what I enjoy. When the Giants won the World Series last year, it would have been frustrating not to be able to talk about that.
Q: Any regrets with the way your split with Mike went down?
A: Should I have handled it differently? You can certainly make that case. It’s very tricky leaving a place you’ve worked for 19 years. I don’t know if there’s an easy way to do that. I do think I could have been a little more up front about it. . . . But I think Mike and I quietly both know what we meant to each other’s career.
Q: Where do most of your listeners come from?
A: You get a lot of displaced New Yorkers that are happy to get the chance to listen to me, which gives them the feel of being back home. Philly, Boston, New York, the Eastern seaboard we do well in. You have to think where Howard (Stern) is big, too. That helps us. There’s a lot of anti-ESPN Radio feel. Most people don’t like ESPN Radio. They don’t like the vanilla format where all they hear is ESPN guests, nobody is that critical, they don’t hear that many calls.
Listeners familiar with Russo’s work on WFAN over the years will be somewhat shocked to learn he was ever hesitant to mention matters concerning the San Francisco Giants. Presumably, since his current paymasters decided a very long time ago their massive investment in Mad Dog Radio was doomed, there’s no one on hand to helpfully suggest his observations regarding tennis render his programs unlistenable for the sport’s fans and haters alike.