Sunday, August 17, 2008

ON MIKE AND THE MAD DOG'S SPLIT

Thought I would post another "radio is in the tank" post as I learned about bad news for WFAN Radio, the all-sports station in New York City that I listened to ad nauseum when I lived in Ontario. I'm out of signal range where I am now, but I still tune in online whenever I can.

I gotta say, WFAN is going downhill fast. Their number one drive time show Mike and the Mad Dog is no more. Chris "Mad Dog" Russo said no to a new deal (presumably so he can sign with Sirius XM Satellite Radio) and that leaves Mike Francesa all alone looking for a new partner for his show after 19 years.

It was bad enough when the FAN lost all those Madison Square Garden sports to ESPN 1050. (True, they were replaced with better teams in the Nets and Devils, but those teams are in Jersey and it just isn't the same.) It was even worse when Don Imus self-immolated on national radio with his Rutgers women's-basketball remarks that cost him his job. But this is big news. This is the marquee show of WFAN's drive time, and if Mad Dog goes, who's going to stick around? I'd compare it to the CBC trying to break up Don Cherry and Ron MacLean from Hockey Night in Canada!

Anyway, this is yet another example of the decline and fall of AM radio, and further evidence of the rise of satellite radio, which is attracting more and more talent (including the likes of Howard Stern, Opie and Anthony and others). The other thing that I am hearing about is that the next Congress could attempt to force the FCC to bring back the "fairness doctrine" if a Democrat gets in the White House. That would put a ton of right wing talk show hosts -- and left-wing hosts, for that matter -- out of work on terrestrial radio, because these stations would need to put on programming that's "fair to both sides". And it would force all these talking heads onto Sirius XM radio where they'd be free of all these FCC government regulations.

Now granted, some of these political guys on the radio are lunatics, but some are actually worth listening to (ie. Rush Limbaugh). It'll be more of the same: the FCC "socking it to the talent", as usual.

I'd hate to do it, but I may well have to shell out for satellite radio yet.

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