Chris “Mad Dog” Russo put his foot in his mouth this week after a caller named Warrior asked him why his Sirius channel, Mad Dog Radio, had never hired a black host. Russo’s explanation was not exactly eloquent, especially in the wake of the Donald Sterling controversy last week.
Here’s a partial transcript via Bob Raissman of the Daily News:
“What would you like us to do? There are not a million candidates. Would you like us to put on a black host for the sake of putting a person . . . an African-American so we can say we have a black host on?” Russo said on the air. “Or do you want to see if we can find a black host who is worthy of doing a national talk show?”
The comments by Russo picked up some heat on social media on Friday afternoon after the Washington Post ran a post about it.
Raissman later spoke with Russo who offered up an explanation:
“The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk-show host, a Korean talk-show host, or a talk-show host from Mars is absurd,” Russo said. “If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second. Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes.”
According to the News the lack of minorities in American sports talk radio isn’t limited to Russo’s satellite channel.
Still, a radio industry source said the majority of local sports talk radio stations “are too cheap” to beat the bushes, not only looking for minority talent, but any new talent.
“It’s become a good old boys network,” the source said. “It’s a small circle of ‘I know him or her’ (talent) from college, or a small radio station, and they wind up getting the jobs.”
You have to wonder, how does one get qualified candidates in a field if one never hires them?