ESPN Audio

As the SVP & Russillo era ends, let’s appreciate 10 great things

Scott Van Pelt often asks “How good’s your good?” when discussing athletes and teams. If you apply this trademark question to SVP & Russillo (1-4 p.m. ET), his ESPN Radio show hasn’t just been good – it’s been great.

For the past six years, Van Pelt and co-host Ryen Russillo have created a smart and entertaining show that reflects the kind of conversations you’d have about sports with close friends. Van Pelt and Russillo have brought strong opinions, humor, wit and always an appreciation for the games that are played and the athletes who play them. There’s been plenty of good-natured ribbing among the show staff too – and even some tales of bad beats along the way.

SVP & Russillo’s final show airs Friday before Van Pelt moves onto his new host role on the midnight ET SportsCenter and Russillo kicks off The Russillo Show in the same time slot Monday, June 22. Before the duo signs off Friday, here’s “10 Great Things about ESPN Radio’s SVP & Russillo“:

1) Rejoin music: The show’s catalog is legendary – Beastie Boys, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Del the Funky Homosapien and more. Playlists are published on Slacker Radio.

2) Pulse of the Nation: Long before Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s “Locker Room Guy” video on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Van Pelt and Russillo channeled wicked Boston accents for Pulse of the Nation set to the Dropkick Murphys.

3) Show staff: From Van Pelt and Russillo to producer Stanford Steve (Coughlin) and board operator Outsider Mike (Constantinou), the show has always featured a close-knit and likeable group.

4) Who’s the Jerk?: An offshoot of Who’s the Nerd?, a segment Russillo devised on a road trip to College Station, Texas, last fall, Who’s the Jerk? was a no-holds-barred airing of grievances between Van Pelt, Russillo, Stanford Steve and former show producer Ray Necci (who now produces Mike & Mike) that shed light on each of their personalities and brought big laughs.

5) One Big Thing: Van Pelt’s signature daily commentary discussed the biggest story of the day, an off-the-radar topic, or even something more personal (i.e., when he announced the end of the radio show). No matter the subject, it’s often the hosts at their thoughtful and introspective best.

6) Chris Long: The St. Louis Rams defensive end has joined the show Fridays this offseason. Whether he’s sharing stories from his NFL Draft experience or talking about plans to attend music festivals, Long is always entertaining.

7) Winners: A staple on Football Fridays, Van Pelt, Russillo and Stanford Steve share their weekend college and NFL game picks (purely for entertainment purposes). The segment concludes with “Carl’s Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week” pick from Cartoon Network Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

8) Tim Kurkjian’s laugh: ESPN MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian makes a weekly appearance in-season. After talking baseball, Van Pelt always tried to make his fellow Marylander laugh using a Baltimore accent.

9) The “Third Hour”: During the final (3 p.m.) hour – when there’s no TV simulcast on ESPNEWS, the show can get a little loose, but that often produces some of the best segments. Listeners ask questions during What? and there’s also story time when Van Pelt and Russillo talk about their friends, parenting, weekend plans and anything else on their minds.

10) “The Duke” Raps: Dan “The Duke” Davis is an ESPN Radio original who joined the network in 1992. While his official job was to anchor update segments through the years, the radio legend has a cult following for lending his voice to rap lyrics for SVP & Russillo.

Editor’s Note: Fortunately some of the things above will continue with Russillo’s ESPN Radio show and might be part of the new midnight SportsCenter with Van Pelt later this year. For more, visit the Best of SVP & Russillo.

Special thanks to freelance illustrator/award-winning designer Kev Roché, SVP & Russillo’s unofficial show artist, for use of the illustration above. To see more of his work, visit

Back to top button