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Howard Stern: Mike Francesa Should Have Fought To Keep Chris Russo At WFAN

“Stern believed Francesa began to get paranoid of prank calls and social media looking to catch him making a mistake, but Russo could have provided protection from that.”

Brandon Contes

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I can’t help but wonder if my interview with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo last month turned out to be a uniter of radio legends. 

During our conversation, Russo said he missed the discourse he had with his former radio partner Mike Francesa. A week later, Mike was on his SiriusXM radio show for an hour. He also told me how much he enjoyed going on The Howard Stern Show despite it being a few years since his last appearance. Less than one month later, Russo joined Stern for almost two hours.

“I’ve been totally into it. But it’s almost like when he gets Mike from Mahopac (Sour Shoes), he feels like he had Chris Russo on, so it’s been awhile, but I love going in there,” Dog told me as he tried to theorize why it’s been so long since he joined Stern as a guest. 

But Stern quickly nixed the theory to Dog, “I want to correct something right away,” Stern told Russo. “You have this feeling, I heard, that I haven’t had you on in a while because Sour Shoes does such a great impression of you…that I feel like I’ve had you on. But that’s not true.” Stern added that he waits for Russo to reach out, figuring he’ll come on whenever he’s ready. 

Shortly after clearing up why it’s been years since Russo was on the show, Stern dove into Dog’s relationship with Francesa. In Stern’s expert radio opinion, he believes Francesa should have fought harder to keep Russo from leaving WFAN for SiriusXM in 2008. 

Not only would it have kept an iconic sports radio duo together, but Stern also thinks it would have helped Francesa’s career near the end. Stern believed Francesa began to get paranoid of prank calls and social media looking to catch him making a mistake, but Russo could have provided protection from that. 

It was Russo’s decision to go and Francesa’s ego was never going to allow him to beg his partner to stay. If Russo was being forced out, Francesa might have fought harder, but that wasn’t the case. 

Ultimately, they each found success as solo acts. Russo’s solo work took a little bit longer to hit stride and Francesa’s flamed out slightly quicker than his former partner. But there’s no question a side of sports radio will always wish Mike and the Mad Dog never split.

Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named New Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter

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

The Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season and it’s a familiar name in Houston sports talk radio.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former 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.

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 the extra news that Richardson would be leaving the show to pursue the Rockets gig full-time. It appears that Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show.

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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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Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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