Sports media mailbag: Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo’s future and WFAN landscape

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: sports media. Will Chris Russo ever be on local New York radio again? — Alice, Brooklyn I’d say that …

You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: sports media.

Will Chris Russo ever be on local New York radio again? — Alice, Brooklyn

I’d say that ship has likely sailed. Years ago, FAN and Russo’s current radio home, SiriusXM, discussed doing a once-a-week simulcast with Mike Francesa, but it never happened.

It took some time, but Russo and SiriusXM have made it work, allowing him to have a successful second act. So never say never, but I doubt it. I will say it would be a home run for WFAN or ESPN New York.

You know where the 60-year-old Russo would be interesting to watch? On ESPN’s “First Take” going at it with Stephen A. Smith. It might be too much, but I think it would probably be pretty amazing. Smith did ask Russo if he were interested in the job after Skip Bayless left a few years ago for Fox Sports.

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How long of a rope will (Joe) Benigno and (Evan) Roberts have until Entercom feels it needs to replace Benigno with JJ (John Jastremski)? — @elvy_landa

The company should give them a long rope, but the last time Francesa retired, FAN/Entercom did not back the team of Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray after one ratings loss. I think you always pay attention to history to see what a company may do.

The ratings for the first book were not good for Joe and Evan against Michael Kay’s show on ESPN New York. Now, with a pandemic and no sports, it is truly hard to fully judge any sports-focused show.

Who emerged during draft coverage and who might have taken a step back? Also, not impressed with Trey Wingo at all. — @jondonbut

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was the standout performer of the ESPN-led draft coverage. Besides giving concise, substance-filled analysis, he had a touching tribute to Chris Mortensen, who was working his 30th draft. Mortensen has been a mentor for Jermiah.

What does ESPN have against Sean McDonough? He never should have been replaced when Jon Gruden left. Light years ahead of Joe Tessitore. — @Football_expert

McDonough is a really good play-by-player, but it was not the right fit for him on “Monday Night Football.” After McDonough was taken off MNF, he said it wasn’t fun. McDonough is doing top college football games, including a national semifinal and college hoops, so I think ESPN has been pretty good to him.

It seems like ESPN has the answer to adding star power to ‘MNF’ in-house. Randy Moss has the personality and the profile. Am I nuts? Is there a reason we don’t hear his name in this conversation beyond not being a QB? — @DemetriRavanos

I think ESPN has thought about Moss. He is a big name, but he hasn’t done games and that is something they are hesitant about considering how inexperience has burnt them the last two years. I wouldn’t fully rule anything out.

Does Jay Cutler go back to the booth? — @mickbricks

If he does, he’s likely going to have to modify his expectations and understand how the business works. He had the No. 2 team role in a three-man Fox booth with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis a few years ago, but went back to play and relinquished the role before he started.

Jay CutlerAP

Now, if he were going to get a job, it would be on a No. 3 or 4 team. It is less money and less prestigious, but, if he is serious about being an analyst, he could work his way up.

Do you see NBC or a different company ending up with some MLB rights in the next CBA? — @bigjimfan

NBC will kick the tires on baseball, but most likely ESPN and Turner will be the ones in play. Fox already owns the World Series and parts of the playoffs for a long time.

ESPN will stay in baseball, but will they add Turner’s playoff games, including its LCS? Will ABC be involved? Will they add an ESPN+ component? Other networks may consider it, but baseball’s playoffs are where the big national money is and there is variability in it because you don’t know how many games you will receive each season.

When did Kevin Kernan give you the nickname “Clicker”? — @jcrasnick

The nickname gained more prevalence when folks like Kernan started calling me it. However, it originated from when I had my first media column in the late ’90s that was named “SportsClicker” by our current sports editor, Chris Shaw. From there, everyone started calling me that nickname. Even Bobby Valentine, when I covered the Mets, referred to me as “Clicker.”

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