Mike Francesa did not take the bait when asked about the current state of sports talk radio. But he did answer this side question while answering listener email on a recent BetRivers podcast: Could a radio station pay two big personalties these days?
The WFAN legend’s answer was interesting. And it suggested that even if things had always been copacetic between him and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, a divorce was inevitable.
“Our bosses used to tell us, ‘There is going to come a point where we cannot afford both of you,’” Francesa said. “We always knew there was that eventuality. Were we eventually headed for that? If we had stayed together for another 10 years, probably. There would have come a point where they couldn’t have afforded us. Not both of us. I think when Dog left in the summer of ’08, I don’t think it was at that point yet. But it was getting close. I heard that a lot from management.”
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One quick thought while we’re driving down a fantasy road: Francesa’s “another 10 years” timeframe would more or less intersect with Craig Carton’s 2017 arrest and exit from the station. Would WFAN have thrown economic caution to the wind and splurged to keep the duo together through Francesa’s retirement?
What a rabbit hole to go down. Russo is probably doing local afternoon drive alone now, right? Does WFAN never hire Gregg Giannotti because it decides to just keep the morning seat warm for Carton? Is Carton doing middays with Evan Roberts? Or does he land in Philadelphia? Or at ESPN Radio New York? So much to consider. Back after this.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.