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Bill Rhoden Says Mad Dog ‘Feeding Into’ White Supremacist Ideology

“This isn’t the first time Russo has been questioned over a racial issue.”

Brandon Contes

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A white radio host of nearly 40 years and a Black columnist of nearly 50 years engaged in an uncomfortable, yet somewhat incredible conversation of race last week. 

What began as a discussion about the NBA players protesting for racial equality, morphed into SiriusXM’s Christopher ‘Mad Dog’ Russo asking former New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden “Bill, do you think I’m a racist?”

Rhoden started to say “yea,” before giving an uncomfortable chuckle and avoiding a clear answer. Instead, he pointed the question back at Russo, who answered “I don’t think I understand the Black community as well as I should, but do I think I’m a racist? No.”

Russo was likely shocked to hear that someone such as Rhoden, who he’s known for decades, might believe he’s racist, but the term ‘racist’ has become more complex than it was years ago. No longer is it just about a blatant act of racism, but it’s about contributing to something that a person of another race believes to be mean or unfair. 

Rhoden did say he believes Russo is feeding into a white supremacist ideology by believing the riots in Portland, OR and other areas of the country are caused by the protesters.

“How dare you, you’re calling me a white supremacist…I’ve been on-air for 40 years,” Russo fired back. “That’s not right, I don’t say that about you! You don’t say that.”

It’s fair for Russo to defend himself from being called a white supremacist. He expressed outrage over the recent occurrences of police brutality in MN, WI and KY, but he questioned the response of rioting. Russo’s argument of being in talk radio for 40 years was odd though. I’m not sure having a long career in radio excludes you from potentially pushing white supremist narratives.

This isn’t the first time Russo has been questioned over a racial issue. In 2014, he claimed the lack of diversity on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio channel was because there might not be Black hosts worthy of a national show and if there were, they haven’t applied. 

But by the end of this interview, both Russo and Rhoden closed the conversation very amicably, acknowledging disagreements are OK, while offering respect for each of their long careers.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami, according to sources.

The radio station has removed his shell from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website. An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. Since being with that group, he has worked with Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson, co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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Vanessa Richardson

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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