Jerry Reinsdorf never has been a fan of sports talk radio. And he has let his good friend Jeff Smulyan know it through the years.
The Chicago White Sox and Bulls owner took the chance to rib Smulyan Saturday at a 25th anniversary celebration for sports talk radio in Chicago. Smulyan received the lifetime achievement award for founding the first sports talk station, WFAN in New York, in 1987.
Reinsdorf appeared in a highly entertaining video. Keep in mind that this event also was billed as a roast. So Reinsdorf’s needle definitely was out. Then again, if you know Reinsdorf, his jokes probably aren’t too far from his true feelings.
Reinsdorf: Congratulations on receiving the award tonight. There’s nothing in the world that could have made me show up for a dinner or anywhere else. You certainly have the undying, … Continue Reading
They are separate now. It’s Mike. It’s Mad Dog.
The “and the” disappeared in 2008 when Chris Russo decided to end his famous pairing with Mike Francesa and start his own Mad Dog network on SiriusXM.
Yet they will be forever linked. For 19 years at WFAN 660, they were sports talk radio’s most powerful duo. They owned New York and beyond, while helping to define the new genre.
Last week, Russo was reunited with Francesa during the station’s 25th anniversary show. It was a fun segment, reliving old times.
Given all the attention on the big birthday, here’s an interview I did with Russo a while back in which he discusses his famous pairing with Francesa.
How did it start?
I got there in ’88. During that seven-month period, I worked for Imus. Imus said, ‘Listen to this … Continue Reading
In the first part of my interview with Jeff Smulyan, founder of WFAN, he discusses how people thought his idea for a 24/7 sports talk station was “stupid.” A rough first year seemed to confirm that notion.
However, Smulyan’s vision eventually was rewarded when Don Imus became the morning host. He helped saved the station, and likely the sports talk format.
WFAN then hit it big in the afternoon with the pairing of Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, who soon would be known as “Mike and the Mad Dog.”
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of WFAN, here’s part two of my interview with Smulyan. He talks about Imus, Mike and the Mad Dog and the impact of WFAN on changing the face of radio.
Why was Imus so important to sports talk radio?
In 1988, we moved to … Continue Reading
First of two parts
Jeff Smulyan is the proud father of the 24-hour sports talk radio format. Well, make that proud most of the time.
After sports talk radio took a foothold in the early 1990s, Smulyan suddenly found himself on the receiving end of all the barbs and rants by the loud and often out-of-control hosts. Smulyan was the principal partner in the Seattle Mariners during that time. With the situation often proving grim at the Kingdome, the sports talkers took out their rage on the man in charge, Smulyan.
His fellow owners took noticed. They too often found themselves being grilled 24/7 on the new sports talk format.
Smulyan recalled an owner telling him, “I’ve always wondered if there’s a God. Now knowing the guy who invented this horseshit format is getting ripped, I know there’s a God.”… Continue Reading
The rivalry between the Giants and Jets has spilled over to the radio front in New York. Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News reports that Eli Manning no longer will be appearing on ESPN-1050. The QB had been a regular on the station for eight years.
It seems ESPN-1050 is the Jets’ radio outlet. Now, Manning will be appearing on WFAN, home of the Giants games.
Why did the situation change? Who put the kibosh on Manning continuing his relationship with 1050?
All paths lead to the increased flow of bad blood between the Jets and Giants. It finally occurred to Giants brass that having the face of their franchise as a featured voice on the radio home of the Jets was a terrible idea.
Although the Giants walked away from last season on top of
… Continue Reading