OK, perhaps Andrew Ridgley would’ve been a better analogy. On the occasion of WFAN’s 25th Anniversary, Mike Francesa’s former co-conspirator, Chris Russo tells the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman that he’s not ruling out a return to the New York terrestrial station, though given their success without him (and the commercial/artistic failure of Sirius/XM’s Mad Dog Radio), who’s to say he’d have an opportunity?
“You never want to say never. You know how the radio business is. So, you never say never, but I haven’t thought about it in my crystal ball, let’s put it that way,” Russo said. “But I’ll tell you right now, if Mike and I did shows together we would have no trouble picking right up where we left off.”
Russo knows the business. He knows Francesa, as a solo act, has maintained the kind of ratings the two of them produced. He also knows through all those years together he figured out a way to deal with Francesa’s mood swings, using humor to soften his rough edges and oversized ego.
“I am who I am. My nuttiness cannot be duplicated. They miss my nut sensibility,” Russo said. “They miss the things that just came out of my mouth. From that standpoint I had some impact.”
The decision to part ways with Francesa was the biggest one of Russo’s life. It’s one he made himself. To this day he still asks, “You think I did the right thing?” Yet, when asked to reflect on his years at FAN he’s fuzzy.
“It’s almost like in the last four years, it’s almost like I’ve forgotten I was at FAN for so long. This (Sirius/XM’s ‘Mad Dog Radio’) is a different kind of element, a different kind of show. It’s all-consuming. It’s so different than what I was used to,” Russo said. “You forget what you accomplished in that 20-year period. It’s almost like I forget I was at FAN for 20 years.”
When Russo’s deal is up in 2013, I suspect he’ll find gainful employment somewhere on the radio dial. Conversely, it’s probably gonna be overnights (at 7-11) or podcast-city for the man with more pseudonyms than cogent thoughts that follows him on weekday evenings.