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In all his loud-mouthed chaotic antics, Chris Russo is now a living legend in the sports radio industry.
And a real pioneer at that, too!
After hours of research and nostalgic Mike and the Mad Dog replays, we’re excited to bring you Chris Russo’s net worth!
This time, we’re not only diving deep into his net worth and earnings but we’ll also be taking a look at:
He’s got one of the best voices in radio and we just can’t move on from his debating and argumentative ways with Mike, as well as their tearful farewell!
So if you’re ready ‘have a good day’ as he puts it…
…stay tuned now!
The undefeatable, chaotic, and compelling sports radio talk show host, Chris Russo, the mad dog.
If you love sports, it’s impossible not to know him. And if you still don’t, it’s impossible not to get curious about the loud-mouthed opinionated sports radio pioneer.
He might be one of the highest-paid radio personalities, but his long road to success isn’t an easy one. Read on as we dive into how he made the great worth and iconic image that he has today.
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|Chris Net Worth: $26 million|
|Source of Wealth: Radio programs|
|Spouse/ Relationship: Jeanne Lavelle (m. 1995)|
|Date of Birth: October 18, 1959|
|Place of Birth/Nationality: Syosset, New York|
|Height: 6 ft 3 in|
Considered one of the pioneers of all-sports radio programs, Chris Russo has been on the radio for decades and decades now.
His career started during his years at Rollins College where he covered the sports segment for WPRK, Rollins’ radio station.
He always knew that he wanted to be a radio personality.
After graduating, Russo worked on several entry-level radio jobs in Orlando and Jacksonville, and soon, the unapologetic young man was making waves little by little.
As a matter of fact, he was removed from his position as the host of the Central Florida football pre-game show because of his negative comments about the Knights.
That contributed to him being noticed by people in the industry. I guess being too opinionated has its perks after all!
On the other hand, it made Chris nervous. He said in an interview that he almost went home and worked with his father in Mr. Russo’s jewelry shop instead!
But it gets better.
Between the years 1984 and 1987, the future American sports radio personality Mad Dog then worked for the station WKIS in Orlando, Florida, and then in WMCA in New York City from 1987 to 1988.
It was when he realized that the Central Florida listeners were having difficulties understanding him with his accent. He was then speaking in an almost rowdy New York accent that some people found too fast and too aggressive to understand.
As a result…
…Russo was then sent by the company to see a speech therapist twice a week. According to him, it was an unpleasant experience but he hoped that it somehow helped him in the long run.
That was also when Chris Mad Dog Russo was born.
During that time, Chris was already gradually being known for his radio rants. One powerful radio critic Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News Sports TV and Radio then noticed him and compared him to a pro wrestler named Mad Dog Vachon (Maurice Vachon).
And that’s how he came to be known as the Mad Dog of sports radio.
Chris Russo was also then getting paid around $13,000 a year and making a name with his unique and remarkable voice and trademarks.
Actually, he still wasn’t that well-loved then. As a matter of fact, in his first rehearsal show, Chris Russo got no calls at all. But the kicker is, he was able to carry the show by just talking and talking.
According to him:
“If you can do that, you can do a talk show.”
And in 1987…
…The Fan was born. It was the first-ever all-sports radio station.
The American sports radio personality Don Imus personally brought the talented young man aboard his show Imus in the Morning.
In 1988, Chris Russo officially joined the WFAN family.
At first, he worked as a fill-in overnight host for the weekends while Don Imus continually promoted his nickname. But by next year, in 1989, Chris’ work on the Imus show gave him an opportunity to have his own regular weekend radio show every Saturday morning.
Until one day…
…another radio personality, WFAN’s Pete Franklin’s 3 pm to 7 pm drive time show was not renewed. As a result, the station paired Chris Russo with the sports show host Mike Francesa and a legendary partnership then began.
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Chris Russo’s booming voice and energy combined with Mike Francesa’s argumentative style created the most iconic duo in sports radio.
Their show was dubbed Mike and the Mad Dog. It was launched on September 5, 1989 at 3 pm.
Mike and the Mad Dog’s chemistry was a success. People loved their friendly but rough debates.
And to add to that…
…Chris Russo and Mike Francesa duo and hosting style is also considered by many people as the pioneer of those in-your-face debates and shouting fest on television that we see today.
“We’re rockstars. We’re billing $70 million a year.” Chris Russo looked back in an interview.
They did that for five hours each episode for 19 years…until they got fed of each other.
After 19 years of ‘marriage’ as people call their partnership…
…Chris Russo signed an agreement with WFAN to release him from the remainder of his current contract with them.
It was quickly speculated that it’s because of his never-ending beef with Mike Franchesa.
But regarding this, the Mad Dog denied that it’s because of Mike.
When asked about the reason for his leaving WFAN…
…Mad Dog said that it’s not about money but “Stupid stuff. We’re fighting like cats and dogs. Maybe I didn’t like some of Mike’s idiosyncrasies. Mike was getting sick and tired. Maybe money had something to do with it. Mike was probably making more money than I was at the time. So maybe there’s a little something involved there. Thrown in the fact that, you know, I have my people, he has his people. Mike getting married the second time, saved the show because he had no choice but to invite me to his wedding.”
For Mike’s wedding, people were already asking him if Chris Russo the Mad Dog will be invited. And why not? He’s his greatest partner after all.
Pressured, Mike invited Mad Dog and they’re able to patch a few things up because of it.
On August 15, 2008…
…Chris Russo called Mike Francesa for the last time in a phone call on air to say a very emotional goodbye.
The next year in 2009, The Mad Dog and Mike joined together for an hour of a reunion show at the Yankee Stadium where both of them broadcasted in adjacent booths.
In 2016, Mike and the Mad Dog Reunion happened at the Radio City Music Hall.
The same day of their first reunion…
…Chris Mad Dog Russo signed a deal with Sirius XM radio. It’s a five year contract with approximately $3 million paycheck every year, further shooting Chris Russo net worth to the sky.
In addition to that, he was also given a whole new channel made just for him called Mad Dog Radio.
Chris Russo brought in Steve Torre, a long-time WINS anchor but this time, to be the new program director of Mad Dog Radio.
He also got Bill Zimmerman to be the executive producer of the show Mad Dog Unleashed.
In Mad Dog Radio, Chris Russo interviewed different famous sports personalities and most of them ended up overwhelmed, amazed, and compelled with him all at the same time and many sports personalities remarked about his “always screaming” way of talking.
Talk about standing out!
But his career was never with humps and bumps.
In 2009, Chris Russo released his inner Mad Dog when he reacted to his Mad Dog Radio station not being in the Top 100 radio stations on satellite radio along with berating his own staff and bringing on the nighttime host Andy Gresh for a dress-down that’s in-person while he fired his director Steve Torre.the second
Soon, Steve was re-hired and people were confused whether the incident was just a radio skit or a real event that happened.
…Chris Russo signed yet another renewal of contract for 4 more years.
Born on the 18th of October 1959, Christopher Michael Russo was born to Tony Russo, a hardworking jewelry salesman, and Molly Russo who came from England.
Did you know?
Chris Russo once stated that he can remember 3 vital traits that shaped him from his childhood. The first one is his obsession with sports, the second one is his remarkable memory, and the last one is his “contrarian streak ten miles wide.”
”I was a big Green Bay Packers Fan ‘cause I love Lombardi,and everybody in 1966 was sick of Green Bay Packers winning and the cowboys were the new team.So Dallas played Green Bay in the championship game in the ‘66, I remember watching that game and everybody in that room was rooting for Dallas.”
“And me being the contrarian as I always am, I’m the only guy in New York radio for 30 years who rooted against the New York teams. So I rooted against Dallas. Now that I’m 60, I see that early development 50 years ago.”
The future iconic American sports radio personality attended Darrow School in New Lebanon in New York City and later on, Rollins College in Orlando, Florida, bagging a degree in history.
In addition to this…
…Chris Russo also attended the Cranleigh School in the south of London for one spring and then another semester at the Sydney University in Sydney, Australia for Australian history and literature studies.
Despite this background…
…Chris Russo didn’t really plan on taking on careers that are connected to history or literature as he had always known that he wanted to be a sports radio host.
So why the historical studies?
Chris stated in an interview that studying history helped shape his thinking and make him much smarter and wiser.
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How Old Is Chris Russo?
Christopher Michael Russo is 62 years old, born in Syosset, New York on Long Island.
Chris Russo Height & Weight
The star of the Mad Dog Radio, Chris Russo is 6 ft 3 in or 1.9 meter (190cm) tall and weighs 63 kg or 152 lbs.
Chris Russo Body Measurements
Chris Russo may be a personality that’s bigger than life. But he’s also real big in person!
The Mad Dog measures 6 feet or 182.9 meters in height and a healthy 165 pounds of weight.
In case you didn’t know…
…Russo trains thrice a week and also loves to play golf so it’s not a wonder that he’s able to keep a fit figure!
Other Quick Facts:
Chris Russo Net Worth Year By Year
Chris Russo Book
The Mad Dog 100: The Greatest Sports Arguments of All Time
In this book, Chris Russo analyzes the 100 greatest sports arguments of all time and in the classic Mad Dog fashion, tackes debates and step-by-step opinions.