Imagine a world without sports radio. Many would say it would be a better place, but for those who live, breathe and die with their teams there is something cathartic about listening and participating in a discussion of the triumphs and tragedies that befall our favorite teams.
It wasn’t so long ago that a world without sports radio existed. It was 21 years ago that 1050AM in New York became WFAN, the nation’s first all-sports station. It wasn’t long after that that the station moved to 660 and that Mike Francesca and Chris Russo became the preeminent duo in the genre.
“Mike and The Mad Dog” appeared every afternoon from 1-6:30 and while you certainly didn’t agree with everything they said, it was compelling radio for most of its run. Mike provided the knowledge and Dog provided the attitude. It was entertaining and informative at the same time. But, like everything, age was not kind to the program. Mike became more and more dismissive of any opinion except his own. Chris’ rants against all things Yankees and Mets grew old and his tendency to just scream without thinking became too much to take.
So, their “divorce” this week with Mike staying at WFAN and Chris reportedly headed to satellite is not something that will be mourned in this corner. But, we owe them both a thank you for the format they helped create. Like it or not, sports radio is here to stay, something that will bring immense relief to fans across New York the next time the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Knicks or Nets make a stupid play.