“I wish they hadn’t separated,” the former WFAN program director said on The Jason Barrett Podcast. “It was the most amazing team. But [Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo] were certainly successful on their own.”
Francesa and Russo were established stars when Chernoff arrived at WFAN in 1993. But they became icons under his watch. The trio was together for 15 years before Russo bolted for satellite radio in 2008 after butting heads with Francesa.
Russo is still at Sirius XM (and enjoying a career renaissance thanks to his ESPN First Take work). Francesa stayed atop the ratings at WFAN for another decade-plus and is now hosting a podcast for BetRivers after retiring from WFAN for good in 2020. WFAN nudged Chernoff out in 2021. He is currently doing morning sports anchor work and weekend DJ shifts at Jersey Shore station 107.1 The Boss, which also simulcasts on WBHX 97.1.
Chernoff admitted Russo’s exit caught him off guard and strained their relationship. But they have since made peace.
“I misread, a little bit, the situation with Mike and Chris,” he said. “Mike had said, ‘Dog is going to leave. I know he is going to leave.’ He even intimated he had spoken to Mel (Karmazin, former Infinity executive and then-Sirius executive) and it was likely he was going to go over to Sirius at the time. And I just couldn’t believe it. But Dog, I think, had made up his mind. It was time for him to go solo, be his own person.
“I was sad for a really long time and I was angry, too. I didn’t talk to Dog for a while. But we did reconcile. We have a really nice relationship again. We do text each other occasionally. When we see each other at events, a hug is always there. And I feel there is still a true bond there. I miss him.”
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]