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Mad Dog on Francesa Reunion: That Ship Has Sailed

“With Francesa recently stating his interest in adding a second voice to the show and Russo’s SiriusXM contract nearing expiration, it seemed like a good time to reignite the reunion rumors.”

Brandon Contes

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Mike Francesa is letting everyone know not to call him, he’ll call you if he’s interested in a co-host.  At the same time, his ex-partner, Christopher Russo made it clear to WFAN, Mike and the Mad Dog reunion is off the table.

Every couple of years, rumors about Russo returning to WFAN pops up.  With Francesa recently stating his interest in adding a second voice to the show and Russo’s SiriusXM contract nearing expiration, it seemed like a good time to reignite the reunion rumors.

“I thought there was a chance, maybe a couple of years ago when that 30-for-30 came out.”  Russo told The Michael Kay Show, referring to the 2017 ESPN Mike and the Mad Dog documentary.  “I thought there was a chance there a couple of years ago that that could occur. That did not, so I would say probably safely that ship has sailed,” Dog said regarding a possible return to WFAN.

Michael Kay’s co-host, Don La Greca pressed the issue, wondering what Russo would do if WFAN and its parent company, Entercom asked him to return.  “They won’t ask, No. 1, so it’s a hypothetical, I probably at this point in my life I would not.”

Kay chimed in on the hypothetical, presenting the “what if” Entercom offered Russo for $5 million for a return to terrestrial radio.

“They won’t,” Russo said. “If they did, I would probably say no.”  Russo went on to compliment his current company, SiriusXM, stating he likes the content he can do on the satellite platform.  

“First off, let’s be fair: I’m not that important,” Russo added.  “Entercom, Mark Chernoff or anybody else, or Mikey, they’re not going to come back and say, ‘hey Chris, by the way, we love you so much, here’s five million, let’s topple ESPN Radio with the ratings.’ They are not going to tell me that.  It’s a nice hypothetical, Mike. I know you’re trying to get me in a little trouble. I would say they wouldn’t want me and I wouldn’t go.”

This wasn’t the first time Russo joined The Michael Kay Show, but it was probably the most controversial as the segment came on the final day of the winter ratings book.  With Kay and Francesa neck and neck in a ratings battle, one that the iconic WFAN host has never lost, it appeared as if Russo was rooting against his former partner.

“Believe it or not, I didn’t even realize that this was sort of the end of the ratings period, this day. . . I can see I’m a pawn and a sacrifice,” Russo said.  

“That would not have been my intention, because obviously FAN was my home for 20 years with Mike. So I did not think that, but listen, the fact that there’s still people who care in New York is a good sign.”

Although the winter book closed on Wednesday, the ratings won’t be revealed until mid-April, when both hosts are likely to claim victory.  ESPN includes streaming numbers in their rating, while WFAN does not, allowing them to sell digital advertising separately from terrestrial radio.  If Francesa’s stream was included, it’s likely he would have a higher number than Kay, but Nielsen will not report the ratings that way.

And by the way, Dog did talk sports while joining The Michael Kay Show.  Dolan, the New York Football Giants, Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame and free agency were all on tap in the 20-minute interview which can be heard by clicking here.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio 94.1 Sells Station Naming Rights To Priority Automotive Group

“The programming on the station does not change.”

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Max Media has found an interesting new revenue stream in Virginia Beach. ESPN Radio 94.1 has sold its naming rights. The station has rebranded as Priority Auto Sports Radio 94.1.

“This is an important partnership for us,” said Priority Automotive COO Matt Elmer. “At Priority Automotive we think sports ties everyone together, so this is a great opportunity for us to be a voice in the community and partner with the number one voice for sports in Hampton Roads, ESPN 94.1.”

The programming on the station does not change. Listeners in the 757 will still hear the nationally syndicated ESPN Radio lineup except for in afternoon drive when The Tim Donnelly Show is on the air.

“The partnership between ESPN 94.1 and Priority Automotive is a natural evolution for both companies,” President and Market Manager Keith Barton added. “From the many youth organizations to college teams, Priority Automotive Has been dedicated to sports in Hampton Roads for decades. Max Media is incredibly proud to be partnered with such a class organization.”

Priority Automotive owns 17 car dealerships across Virginia.

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Sports Radio News

SiriusXM Plots Super Bowl LVII Coverage

“SiriusXM will deliver fans around the country the unique mix of sports, music and entertainment programming that you can only find on SiriusXM.”

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SiriusXM has announced its extensive plans for coverage of Super Bowl LVII and the events leading up to the big game.

A dedicated Super Bowl pop-up channel on SiriusXM Channel 104 will be just one of the avenues SiriusXM plans to cover the event. Amber Theoharis will conduct interviews with players, and personalities making their way through Radio Row throughout the week that will air on the pop-up channel.

Mad Dog Sports Radio will have a large presence on Radio Row, with shows hosted by Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Adam Schein, Dusty Dvoracek, Danny Kanell, and Steve Torre all airing live on location in Arizona. Former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be on hand to host I Am Athlete Tonight from the event, as well.

“With all eyes and ears focused on Phoenix for Super Bowl Week, SiriusXM will deliver fans around the country the unique mix of sports, music and entertainment programming that you can only find on SiriusXM,” said SiriusXM President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.

“With multiple game broadcasts, several channels in Phoenix covering the latest news and providing expert analysis on the teams, interviews with many of the celebrities in town for the game, and our exclusive concert with Luke Combs, our subscribers will have exceptional access throughout the biggest week on the NFL calendar.”

ESPNU Radio hosts Colt McCoy, Rick Neuheisel, and Max Starks will also be in Arizona on Radio Row, in addition to Dusty and Danny hosting their shows each day from Radio Row.

Fantasy football expert Jeff Mans and SportsGrid Radio host Scott Ferrall will also originate content from Radio Row.

SiriusXM will offer four different game broadcasts of Super Bowl LVII. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles home broadcasts will each air, as will the national Westwood One call. Additionally, a Spanish-language broadcast will also be provided. Listeners will also be able to hear the halftime show — performed by pop star Rihanna — on Sirius XM Hits 1, The Heat, and Super Bowl LVII Radio.

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Sports Radio News

BetQL Network Going to Arizona for Super Bowl Week

“Three shows will be at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Glendale.”

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BetQL is headed to Radio Row. Audacy’s sports betting radio network will be in Arizona ahead of Super Bowl LVII. 

Three shows will be at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Glendale. BetQL Daily and You Better You Bet will be live Monday through Friday. BetMGM Tonight will be live Monday through Thursday.

The network’s hosts will stay busy in the desert. BetQL is producing 52 hours of live audio and video content. Hosts are also scheduled to make 25 live appearances across other Audacy radio stations and digital channels.

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