Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Blog and The Dog: One is Back and One is Gone!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand good afternoon everybody how are you today?

It's interesting to note that the FAN announced the Doggie departure by proclaiming that Francesa had signed a new deal to be the "solo" afternoon host. Also, keep in mind there is a new NY state law that doesnt allow "no compete" clauses anymore, a broadcasting industry twist that changes the playing field that used to keep media personalities off the airwaves after they left one station to head to the next. I remember Arnold Diaz appeared mustacheless on 20/20 one night, the same night he appeard on a spot on Channel 5 to announce that he was coming back to NY TV real soon.. with a mustache! Good thing there isn't a no compete clause in the mortgage industry: Last month I left one job at 10:05 AM and was at my desk at my new job at 10:10 AM!

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I have been following the saga on the terrific Neil Best's fine blog....(Not to be confused with Neil Fein's best blog). But I am wondering if this move was iniated by Dog's desire to expand his career elsewhere or was this a move engineered by Francesa? He saw that the station took a hit losing Imus... did he gamble that they would find him valuable by telling brass that he would only stay if the station allowed him to sign a "solo hosting" gig? Now with much fanfare lauding the new Mike solo gig, Dog is gone... even as the FAN website was touting a number of Russo promotional remote appearances?

I really like the Doggie - I met him many many years ago pre WFAN when he was hosting a little weekend talk show on WMCA where I did one of my two college internships... (the other was at WFAN). Here is a coincidence nobody caught. Mike's first show Friday featured a number of car commericals voiced by Patricia McCann. Back in the WMCA days, Doggie's talk show was on right before a show hosted by.... Patricia McCann! Russo was exactly the same way off the air then, as he is more than 20 years later on the air! And he was a really nice friendly fella too. I actually told him that one day he would replace the late Pete Franklin as the afternoon host on WFAN! And with Pumpstradamus like accuracy - I was right! Dog actually took me to Shea for Tom Seaver Day, and used his press credentials to get us out on the field to watch the ceremonies. What a day that was! Seaver was my hero at the time and it was fantastic. Later, Doggie and I sat in the Press Box during the game and I rattled off some stat about the game that was repeated a moment later by the Press Box PA announcer to which he exclaimed in typical doggie-esque fashion "Good job Nate! Good job!" A newspaper reporter heard this exchange and approached Dog and asked him if he was Chris Russo. I wondered if it was the first time he had ever been recognized in NY. Perhaps a star was born that day!

While still toiling in the obscurity at WMCA, Dog started moonlighting at WFAN picking up odd over night fill in shifts. It didnt take him long to get noticed as his loyal San Fransisco Giant fan-dom led him into a fiery on air debate with Mike Francesa over who is a better player - Will Clark or Don Mattingly. The 2 kept battling it out on the Imus show, and on Sept. 5, 1989 - (exactly 15 yrs before my wedding day!) the Mike and the Mad Dog show was born.

I think they actually did some shows together before the official 9/5/89 premiere. I thought they were on the air the day Bart Giamatti died which was September 1st 1989. The only reason I remember was I was working at a now defunct little AM station in Plainfield, NJ and I was anchoring a 30 minute news show at 5pm. At a few minutes to 5 the AP wire had an urgent announcement that Giamatti had suffered a massive heart attack. I had no way of leaving the studio during the show to get more AP updates, and there was nobody there to check the AP machine in the next room. So I was resourceful - I took a transistor radio to the studio and monitored WFAN and while I read other news stories about local mashugas I was getting Giamatti updates. I was really hoping he would be okay because I really admired him... but unfortunately his death was announced on WFAN near the end of my 30 minute broadcast, which was repeated by myself with the announcement that "Broadcast Reports indicate that Baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti has died". I more than made up for that theft, when I moved to a different station and the competing station always listened to me and stole my news stories.... even the ones where I mispronounced names (purposely).

Mad Dog picked up the nickname from NY Daily News Media Columnist Bob Raisman who like myself tends to pin nicknames on people - most of which don't stick. The Mad Dog moniker stuck.

I think the FAN made a mistake and the way this contract signing unfolded, makes it appear that Francesa played it out to have his own show. Unless Russo was behind the scenes clamoring for a solo show elsewhere these last few months, it just seems like the Doggie got stabbed in the back. But in his defense, Francesa was very humble and polite on Friday's show which consisted of hours of pro Russo calls. Who knows what the real story was... and who knows if we will ever know... until of course one of them publishes a book.

There was other stuff going on during our little blogging break:

OLYMPICS - Memo to NBC: Is there anything else going on besides swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball? With all these skimpy outfits.....All Ive seen all week are tuchises!! Michael Phelps has already dethroned Eli Manning as Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year... even if Bret Favre leads the Jets to a 16-0 season!But c'mon let's get to the track and field already!

THAT POOR MISSING KID - Why do I get the feeling that the cop with the missing wife Drew Peterson is wathcing this since it is keeping the news talk shows away from him. But this story gets stranger by the day as the kid's mom is in jail, yet it looks like her only crime... and its a pretty big one... is not reporting her kid missing. But is the kid missing? Why do I get the impression this kid was sold to somebody else? And these grandparents - c'mon their daughter is a single mom - she only has a part time job, yet they dont find it odd that she would leave for work and then a long vacation afterwards. What single mom can afford to take such a long exotic trip? And this "babysitter" who the mom says took the kid? They found her.... she claims she doesn't know the family.... yet the mom knew her name and where she was from. And then the bizarre love hate relationship that the grandparents have with the media just makes it even stranger since one minute they are begging the media to spread the word to help find this poor kid and the next minute they are snapping at them like bickering afternoon drive sports talk show hosts! It gets weirder by the day!

JOHN EDWARDS - Wow, are the Republicans having a field day or what? My original prediction of a Edwards vs. Giuliani election never materialized, and maybe thats a good thing. But wait a minute.... wasn't Rudy also committing adultery by two timing his wife Donna Hanover by publicly cavorting around town with his girlfriend Judy Nathan? Amazingly Republicans say what Edwards did was worse because he lied when confronted by reporters who asked him if he was cheating on his wife. Rudy was not such a tzaddik either publicly dumping Hanover by announcing his intentions during a press conference! And then... last weekend I was watching Geraldo Rivera's show on The Fox News Channel and Geraldo of all people had the audacity to rip into Edwards for two timing his wife!! Geraldo?? Who does he think he is... Mother Teresa?? Look at his sordid past!

THE NEW AND IMPROVED KOSHER- Speaking of Conservatives....The Jewish Conservative movement is behind a new idea to make food officially "kosher" if it passes stringent religious requirements AND the company that produces the food treats its workers properly and respectfully. There has been a lot of controversy lately because of the raid on the Rubashkin plant in Iowa that led to the arrrest of a huge number of illegal immigrants who were working at the slaughterhouse. This led to this new kosher concept, and amazingly the ultra-Orthodox, and the plant owner is one of them, seem to mock this attempt to avoid the embarassment of this type of news story. I see in the new Jewish Week that Rabbi David Lincoln is being ripped by Ultras after he criticized them on a cable tv show for trying to minimize wrongdoings in their community when they become public.

A periodical published for an ultra audience really took some shots at the Conservative attempt to correct this - or as they call them the "deviationist Conservatives". This periodical also had a glowing review of a tour of the plant that sounded like Mike Francesa touring the Yankee Monuments. The best line of this journalism described the "huge air conditioned dining hall where the employees ate". But how do you explain the large number of illegal immigrants that were discovered at the plant? Did they all coincidentally arrive there to watch Lucha Libre on the TV in the "huge air conditioned dining hall"??

Don't get me wrong - I like my ultra Orthodox brothers and sisters, but maybe they should write their newspapers in Yiddish so my fellow "deviationist Conservatives" won't understand what they are writing about!


Earlier in the year I wrote about Andy who used to own the deli in my former office building. He was kind of forced out for a new deli whose owner bolted out in the dead of night breaking his lease and leaving the building deli-less until a new caterer moved in. Anyway, a tribute video was put together for Andy that I just recently discovered on You Tube and here it is - if you go to approx 8:50 of the video you will see what the big problem is in America - Shoplifters!!


I get a kick out of the Chinese introductions to the National Anthems... not to mention the little music breaks piped in during the breaks on beach volleyball while the women adjust their wedgies. Here is an old clip of the Chinese version of Hava Nagila!

1 comment:

Nate said...

Nate stands corrected! Mad Dog signed an elaborate contract with satellite radio just days after leaving the FAN which makes it look unlikely that his departure was orchestrated by Francesa. Now the 2 will be on opposite each other.

Hey maybe in '09 NBC will bring them on the Football Show like they're doing this yr with their Keith Olberman-Dan Patrick reunion?