06.22.08

Perhaps There Is A God After All – Francesca, Russo Partnership To End?

Posted in Sports Radio at 10:03 am by

With what can only be considered fantastic news for lovers of intelligent discourse and/or those who’d prefer to see a solid block of “White Shadow” reruns on YES during the weekday afternoons, Newsday’s Neil Best reports WFAN’s Mike Francesca and Chris Russo “may have done their final show together”.

Barring a change of heart, the partnership between Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo is not expected to survive to see its 19th anniversary Sept. 5, industry sources with knowledge of the situation said.

It is not clear which host would remain on WFAN, only that it would not be both of them. One factor appears to be a fraying of their personal relationship in recent months.

Russo, meanwhile, denied knowledge of a potential breakup, and said that his contract, including a no-compete clause, runs through October of 2009.

“That is news to me,” he said. “I have not heard that… That is fascinating information.”

Later, he added, “The only thing I can say is I am signed under contract for another year and a half. I don’t think WFAN is going to let me out of that… I wish I had leverage like that.”

On the air, Francesa and Russo have had some spirited arguments, but nothing out of the ordinary for talk radio. Still, avid listeners had been closely monitoring the show for signs of a rumored rift.

Those signs were subtle, such as Francesa declining to ask Russo how he is after Russo had opened the show by inquiring into Francesa’s well-being.

The odds of Captain Midnight aka Steve Somers being moved to the coveted afternoon drive slot are slightly worse than say, Richard Neer’s Wig being asked to host the program. That said, having already done much to spawn a host of screamy imitators across the continent, this might represent an opportunity for WFAN to smash the sports yack paradigm into little bits and re-establish the station as a pioneer of sorts.

Of course, if Sid Rosenberg offers to do the show for free, all bets are off.

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