Friday, August 15, 2008

Not mad about Mad Dog

My disdain for sports talk host Chris Russo was documented on a blog months ago. So pardon me if I don't shed any tears about his departure from the "Mike and the Mad Dog" show on WFAN.

Now that he has a brand name, Russo will likely succeed financially on his own (although he'll virtually disappear from the public consciousness if he goes to satellite radio, as reported). Francesa, arrogant, but incredibly knowledgeable, will do much better as a solo act than his former partner.

But there's no denying Russo and Mike Francesa were a remarkable presence on the air. They took a format essentially invented by Bill Mazer in the 1960s and refined by Art Rust Jr. a couple of decades later, and elevated it to new heights. For proof, look at the amount of coverage their split garnered in the metro dailies, and the emotion it prompted as callers paid their respects this afternoon when Francesa began his post-Russo career. (Russo also broke down when he phoned in a brief farewell. It will be repeated this evening at 6 p.m. on WFAN and YES.)

New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick - conscience of Gotham sports scribes - incisively dubbed Mike and the Mag Dog, "The Know It All and the Village Idiot."

You have to hand it to them, though. They sure were successful.
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