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MDR Radio Done as of Sept 1st, Russo’s Future 50-50

By Mike Silva ~ June 10th, 2013. Filed under: SiriusXM.

Have we seen the last of the Mad Dog?

Sources have told me that Mad Dog Radio will no longer be as of Sept 1 of this year. Additionally, it appears Chris Russo’s chances of staying with company are 50-50.

I am a long-time listener of Russo since he started at WFAN in 1989. He and Mike Francesa were an inspiration, and why I have always been interested in radio. They invented the way sports talk should be conducted. Unfortunately, they both are a shell of their former shelves despite the fact their bank accounts state otherwise. Anyone who listened to “Mike & The Mad Dog” circa the early 90s understands what we hear from the duo these days is a cheap facsimile. Russo specifically has failed in his management role at SXM, and although I think his show is solid, it lacks the “juice” of Mike and the Mad Dog. Russo needs a partner to bounce ideas off to be effective. Furthermore, his brand name doesn’t have the recognition nationally to anchor a station. Russo admitted this last year after the company conducted a brand awareness survey with its listeners.

Where would Russo go if he bolted SXM? There was an unconfirmed Twitter rumor that 98.7 ESPN is looking to team him up with Michael Kay during their afternoon drive show. Right now Kay’s partner is Don La Greca. Although I think La Greca does a great job, his name doesn’t bring the cache of the Mad Dog. ESPN has to decide if they are going to continue to take a regular beating from WFAN and Francesa, or finally come to play. I believe not only would bringing in the Mad Dog close the gap, but it might actually make Francesa sweat for the first time since the 2008 breakup. Another option would be to have Russo sign-on with the CBS Sports Radio Network and host a national show; perhaps going up against Francesa, as well. The problem is that he would eventually run into the same issues that he currently has at SXM. Again, this is all unconfirmed and total speculation.

Where should SXM go post-Russo? There is talk of SXM creating another new channel, described to me as their most aggressive sports radio project since undertaking MDR five years ago. If Russo isn’t going to be a part of it, who will be? I can’t see the suits spending big money for another “name” looking for a retirement annuity. I suggest they fill it with up and coming names that are either on SXM now or trying to move to a bigger platform from traditional radio. It should be about energy and content, not star power. They can’t afford to make the same mistake that NBC and CBS has with their new networks.

SXM’s new station needs an anchor, but who can that be? I think Dino Costa makes the most sense. Costa has alluded publicly on Twitter to the fact there is interest in his show on a multi-platform level. Agree or disagree, Costa has been one of the few members of the station to embrace what new radio is: a combination of traditional radio, blogging, video and social media. He has a strong opinion and knows how to polarize an audience without cheap radio gimmicks. Dino would provide the station with a passionate voice that is looking to be a change agent, not someone trying to collect a paycheck and live off yesterday. Why go out and pay for a big-money free agent when you have homegrown talent right in your own backyard?

This is exactly what SXM needs to inject energy into a brand that, quite simply, needs some traction.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to MDR Radio Done as of Sept 1st, Russo’s Future 50-50

  1. Mad Dog Radio done Sep 1? | Sportscasters Talent Agency of America

    [...] 18, 2013 Courtesy of Sports Media Watchdog [...]

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