Behind The ScenesESPN Films

“Mike and the Mad Dog” inspired ESPN’s “Stugotz,” part of 30 for 30 doc tonight

Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, co-host of ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, has expressed his appreciation for “Mike and the Mad Dog” — aka Mike Francesa and Chris Russo.

Growing up on Long Island, Stugotz immediately knew he wanted to be a sports radio host after hearing the legendary co-hosts of WFAN 660 in New York. He believes they paved they way for sports talk radio as we know it.

Jon “Stugotz” Weiner (Rodrigo Varela/ ESPN Images)

Stugotz has a brief cameo in ESPN Films’ latest 30 for 30 documentary, Mike and the Mad Dog, debuting tonight (8 ET, ESPN). He chatted with Front Row about how the Francesa-Russo duo continues to influence sports radio today.

You’ve said Mike and the Mad Dog was the reason you got into sports talk radio. What lessons did you learn from them?
Mad Dog taught me the art of the “Hot Take.” He’s the best to ever do it. The most valuable lesson I learned from them was the importance of chemistry and the importance of having different personalities. Look at me and Dan [Le Batard], couldn’t be any more opposite, yet one of things we pride ourselves on is having amazing chemistry. Same personalities with the same viewpoints usually results in boring radio.

How did Mike and the Mad Dog’s chemistry and dynamic influence sports talk radio? 
Naturally, the format has evolved since they got started, but they provided the blueprint that just about every other sports show would eventually follow. Mike, smart, reserved, plugged in and well thought out. Chris, a raving lunatic, emotional sports fan who would just let it fly. As individuals, they were good, as a duo, they were magical. You need multiple voices on a show with different opinions and personalities, they were the first and that blueprint is still something you see today.

You said you first came up with the idea for the Mike and the Mad Dog film. What are your thoughts now that it has been made?
I’m just glad the film got done and I was happy to be a very, very, very, very small part of it. Say what you will about Mike and Chris, but they are certainly deserving of this. Their story is a fascinating one and anyone doing this for a living should be grateful to them at some level. … Also, I’m lying. I’m furious.

What did you think of the film?
I have watched it twice. First time, I just watched my parts so that took about six or seven seconds. Second time, I watched it start to finish. I thought it was really well done. Fans of Mike and Chris are going to be pleased and fans of sports radio are going to be pleased. If you love sports radio, this basically takes you back to how it all got started, which I think is going to be very interesting to a lot of people.

In the video above, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo joined Sirius XM’s Town Hall to discuss their years on WFAN together. The entire Town Hall interview with Mike and Chris is available at SiriusXM On Demand. The video was provided courtesy of Sirius XM.

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