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Chris Russo Explains How YES Simulcast Lifted Mike & The Mad Dog

“Remember we had done 13 years prior to YES and it was a little something different. My old boss said I’m the only guy in America who got paid for doing the same show twice. From that standpoint, it was a plus.”

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This year, the YES Network will reach its 20-year anniversary. When the network began, programming was needed. Eventually, Mike and the Mad Dog with Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo on WFAN was simulcasted on YES and it would remain that way until the show ended in 2008 (Francesa would be on YES until 2014). 

Before Opening Day last Friday, the YES Network aired a Yankees on YES! Welcome to Opening Day special. Part of that special featured a conversation Michael Kay had with Russo about the history of the simulcast. Russo said having the show featured on TV as well as radio gave the show a little bit of a lift.

“I think we kind of needed a little pick me up,” he said. “Remember we had done 13 years prior to YES and it was a little something different. My old boss said I’m the only guy in America who got paid for doing the same show twice. From that standpoint, it was a plus.”

Of course, being on TV had somewhat of an adjustment period for the duo, especially when it came to eating lunch. Plus, when Francesa and Russo were not getting along, it would have been easy for a loyal listener to tell, according to Russo. 

“Remember Mike and I used to have our little battles, so if you were a key listener or watcher, you can tell Mike and I weren’t getting along because we wouldn’t talk during the breaks.”

Of course, Mike and the Mad Dog was already a hit on WFAN. However, Russo felt having the visual element of the show increased its popularity outside of the tri-state area.

“You had a little more juice out of town because they couldn’t pick up the radio signal in other parts of the country. When I go to an event, they would say ‘oh, this is the 2 guys who do the show on YES’. Outside of New York, no question. You definitely felt that there was a visual element that added to your popularity.”

So, while the simulcast can sometimes hurt radio ratings, it did provide Francesa and Russo an even-wider platform to grow the show and their brand. 

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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