Behind the Broadcast: Mad Dog’s rant was a bad stunt
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo was living up to his nickname on his Sirius XM Radio “Mad Dog Unleashed” program last Friday.
He ripped the staff that he hired to fill out the roster of his “Mad Dogs Radio” channel. He called them “untalented” and a bunch of “little bow wows,” and compared them to the Washington Generals, the basketball team that always loses to the Harlem Globetrotters. The day before, Russo fired program director Steve Torre, and did it on the air. Russo complained that he had to cancel vacation plans so that he could make his channel better.
Russo asked for a mulligan, and said he would find people who could talk about sports, as well as movies like “Gone With the Wind.”
Apparently, Russo’s mind was gone with the wind.
All of Russo’s antics turned out to be a publicity stunt, and a bad one at that.
Torre was back in his office on Monday. Speaking on Sirius XM’s “The Howard Stern Show,” he mentioned that he was out of the office on Thursday to fulfill some personal commitments, and was off Friday, anyway. The so-called “firing” was, instead, a planned absence. And Russo is on vacation this week.
Russo, who left the highly successful “Mike and The Mad Dog” on WFAN-AM (660) last summer to join Sirius XM, certainly didn’t think his “attack” through. First of all, criticizing the hosts of the other shows on the channel, hosts that Russo hired, was in very poor taste. If he truly felt that way about them, then why did he hire them in the first place? Does he want everyone to be like him, someone who doesn’t know when to control himself when he rants?
Secondly, I can’t imagine the people that run Sirius XM are too thrilled. To me, what Russo did is a fireable offense. But I don’t believe they want to pay Russo the final four years of his five-year, $15 million deal for not working. If I had done something similar to Russo, I’d be out the door before I could finish my sentence.
What Russo did was a publicity stunt in an effort to get more people to subscribe to Sirius XM. Instead, he lost a lot of credibility. Now, when he goes off on another one of his rants, you will have to question whether or not he means it.
NO BIG BOARD TALK
There will be no “Big Board Sportstalk” on WOFX-AM (980) next week because host Rodger Wyland will be on vacation.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Clear Channel of Albany, which runs WOFX, won’t hire a substitute host when Wyland is away. Instead, it will have live airings of “The Dan Patrick Show” at 9 a.m. Patrick’s show will still be heard on tape delay at 3 p.m.
If I am a sponsor of “Big Board Sportstalk,” I would complain to Clear Channel. The sponsor paid to be on Wyland’s show, and expects to have their spots air on that show. If the spots aren’t airing, the sponsor should ask for a refund, or pull the spots all together from future shows.
Then we will see how quickly Clear Channel hires a substitute host.
MLB STAR RATINGS
Ratings for Tuesday’s All-Star game on Fox and Monday’s Home Run Derby on ESPN were down slightly from last year.
Fox said Wednesday that the American League’s 4-3 win earned a 8.9 fast national rating and 15 share. That’s down 4 percent from the 9.3/16 for the first nine innings of the 15-inning marathon in 2008.
Ratings were up 3 percent for the pregame show, which included President Barack Obama throwing out the first pitch.
ESPN’s Derby coverage earned a 6.0 rating. Last year’s rating was a 6.4, when the All-Star Home Run Derby was at old Yankee Stadium.
However, Monday’s rating is the second highest for the Derby.
The rating is ESPN’s third best of 2009, exceeded only by two NBA Western Conference final telecasts in May (Los Angeles vs. Denver — 6.5 for Game 5, and 6.9 for Game 4).
NHL, NBC EXTEND DEAL
The NHL and NBC announced a two-year extension of their broadcast agreement Wednesday.
NBC will televise the NHL through the 2010-11 season. The first game will be the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day from Fenway Park, when the Boston Bruins face the Philadelphia Flyers.
“The NHL/NBC partnership has been terrific. Our association has led to such technical innovations as the ‘Inside the Glass’ reporting, and to such programming advancements as the extremely popular Winter Classic,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final was broadcast television’s most-watched hockey game in 36 years, which makes clear the NHL and NBC are building an audience, are building momentum and are perfectly positioned to continue growing the game.”
“We’re thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with the NHL, and build on all the positive momentum on and off the ice, NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said. “Together, we have attained viewership milestones not seen in more than three decades. And the Winter Classic, in just two years, has become one of the highlights of the sports calendar. We strongly believe this is a league that is poised for continued growth.”
The Mets-Braves series gets the national treatment this weekend. Fox (WXXA Ch. 23 and WXXA HD) will have today’s game at 4, while ESPN and ESPN HD televise Sunday’s game at 6 p.m. . . .
The ESPY Awards will be shown at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPN and ESPN HD. The awards show was taped Wednesday in Los Angeles. Swimmer Michael Phelps won five ESPY Awards, including best male athlete. Phelps topped golfer Tiger Woods for the award. Woods had won the award five straight years. . . .
Woods will be watching the final two rounds of the British Open this weekend after missing the cut. TNT and TNT HD has coverage today at 7 a.m. and at 6 a.m. Sunday. ABC (WTEN Ch. 10 and WTEN HD) takes over at 9 a.m. today and 8 a.m. Sunday. It’s the final broadcast for both networks. ESPN takes over coverage next year.