Mad Dog

For the second time in as many years, Mike Francesa has begun his final month hosting afternoons on Entercom sports “The Fan” WFAN-AM/FM New York (660/101.9). His former partner Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo believes he never should have returned to “The Fan” in the first place.

“Mike should never have come back. He should have stayed retired,” Russo said in an interview with Sports Broadcast Journal. “He had a great run and developed a great legacy. Those last couple of weeks before his first retirement were memorable and wonderful. He had an amazing sendoff. Three months later he was back.”

As earlier reported by Inside Radio, Francesa is stepping down from afternoons for an expanded role with Entercom’s platform.

The New York Post, which has been speculating on the post-Francesa WFAN lineup, and possible staff defections to rival “ESPN NY 98.7” WEPN-FM, made sure to call out the interview as a “parting shot” from Russo aimed at his former “Mike and the Mad Dog” co-host.

“WFAN had already placed his successors on-air. The station had to uproot them,” Russo continued. “All of a sudden, Mike was back in the mix and it created an unhealthy rivalry. Mike would likely not admit it but he might realize that it was a mistake.”

Russo has not spoken to Francesa since his return to WFAN after his short-lived retirement, the Post reports.

In the recent interview, Russo said he also understood both sides of the renewed rivalry between Francesa and Michael Kay, with the latter’s show on WEPN-FM leading the afternoon talk battle 7.5-6.2 in the target Men 25-54 demo in the November 2019 PPMs, according to the Post.

He recalled “ESPN NY 98.7” being “picked on as weak,” adding, “I did some of the picking myself… And now Kay is beginning to win, so let him pump his chest a bit. Then again, I could see why Mike would be annoyed by it.”