I’m not a big fan of satellite radio’s exclusive sports yack properties ; early exposure to Dibble and Kennedy’s XM show made me a devout champion of terrestrial broadcasters (or an advocate of silence while driving). But I did take the time during a recent business trip to check out Chris Russo’s Sirius venture and found the results downright shocking. Not in the sense the Mad Dog was working blue or anything, but rather that he’d either employed the world’s worst call screener or that Russo’s new audience seemed to consist largely of persons suffering coughing fits or callers familiarizing themselves with telephones for their first time since their release from an institution. Suffice to say, the level of discourse made your average WFAN program — even Russo’s solo outlings on the Queens station — seem like the (fucking) Algonquin roundtable compared to the satellite product.
So with that in mind, what can we conclude from Russo’s monumental shit-fit, as heard (by very few people) this past Thursday? Deadspin’s Barry Petchescky wrote, “If you’ll remember the hubbub when Russo signed his 5-year, $15 million deal with Sirius XM, one of the main selling points was that Russo would be in charge of hiring his own staff. So if we take his comments at face value, that if the problem is due to his co-workers, then there’s no one to blame but Russo himself.” By contrast, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick called it, “a bogus, transparent, desperate, designed-for-suckers publicity ploy — sadly in the WWE mold.”
It’s pretty hard to gauge whether or not Russo’s on the level. He’s certainly capable of such dopey behaviour unconsciously, but when he begins crying for a radio colleague that knows who Eddie Arcaro is, I’m inclined to agree with Mushnick (though I will say Russo’s much funnier cutting a promo on his own employees than I would’ve guessed previously). But I do know there’s one person who ought to be endlessly entertained by the clip and is probably doing everything in her power not to piss herself laughing. So with that in mind, congratulations to Suzyn Waldman ; Russo’s just had his “oh my goodness, gracious” moment.