WFAN afternoon drive hosts Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott finally responded to Mike and the Mad Dog on Tuesday.
Caller Mike in Montclair prodded the hosts to stick up for themselves after former former WFAN hosts Chris Russo and Mike Francesa made fun of the new show and the state of the station two weeks ago. “I’d like to see a little indignation from you guys, a little outrage, a little comeback,” he said.
Carlin also said he called the pair and gave them a piece of his mind.
“Here’s the deal,” Carlin, a former “Mike and the Mad Dog” producer, said. “We’re at a point now where we’re just trying to get this thing going.”
“Can we compare resumes? Of course we can’t,” he said. “There’s nothing I or any of us can do about anything that anybody else says. So if they’re going to say what they said, that’s fine. I can’t worry about it that much. If it’ll make you happy to know this, know this: I certainly let both of them know that I didn’t appreciate what was said.
“I’m not going to tell you exactly what I said, but I let them both know I didn’t appreciate it. That’s all there is to it.”
Two weeks ago on Russo’s “High Heat” show on MLB Network, he and Francesa took shots at the hobbled WFAN. Mad Dog opened the rips when he said, “I’ll tell you right now, though, there’ll be nobody on WFAN before you know it. I guarantee it.” He later said, “they’ve got nobody on,” and “we can make fun of WFAN all day.”
The station was not amused. Morning show co-hosts Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti responded for “CMB” last week and called Mike and the Mad Dog “idiots” and “classless.” Craig Carton has eviscerated Mike and Dog from his “Carton and Friends” streaming show. All the while, the current WFAN afternoon hosts and the targets of those barbs remained silent. Until Tuesday.
“The one thing is, we’re doing this show for you guys, for the listeners,” Gray said. “We’re trying to gain your trust, we’re trying to build an audience. We’re not doing a show for one or two people out there. We’re doing a show for all of you. We’re trying to do something new from scratch, we’re trying to do things the right way, that’s all we’re trying to do.”
“Let us just try to do what we’re doing for a couple months,” she said. “We don’t feel like we need to use this time slot, this platform, any of that stuff, to start taking shots unnecessarily. So we’re not going to do it.”
The criticism is not new. Russo destroyed Scott in November when the afternoon show was announced last year in a nearly six-minute rant that included this:
“This is a station I trusted for three decades and a piece of real estate from 1 to 6:30 from 1989 to 2017 and the guy that you found to replace him is a linebacker from the Baltimore Ravens who told us four years ago, urinated on us,” Russo said. “And this is the guy who’s my host? Oh my, God. Come on guys, you gotta come up with something better than that.”
“It doesn’t bother me. I’ve been criticized my whole life. If I woke up with any one of their lives, I’d kill myself,” Scott said. “My resume speaks for itself. I’m having fun. You can’t ruin my fun with hate.”
Carlin, who was once mocked, hung up on and called a “clown” on the air by Francesa, said he was mostly annoyed that Mike and the Mad Dog indicated people were going to leave the station.
“I think it was just goofing around and that’s what they do,” he said. “What I said to them privately will stay between us, unless they want to let it out there, but certainly I didn’t appreciate the notion that somehow we’re going anywhere. You want to have trouble with the show, have trouble with the show. That’s fine. You want to get on the show? Specifically with Chris, Chris pounded the show before we even did one. Pounded it. Pounded Bart.”
“Oh, he’s on strike two with me,” Scott said. “Next time, I’m going Waka Flocka after his next one.”
Carlin said he invited Russo to come on the show at the Super Bowl, have some laughs, help get the show going, and Russo declined.
“In the meantime, he went on other shows and pounded us,” Carlin said. “So, my relationship with them was what it was and I will forever be grateful for the roles that they played, just me personally, in my career, and I communicated that to them as well, before we started. But as far as what happened after the fact, we can’t control it and we’re just trying to do this. We’re just trying to do this, and have fun with it, too.”
“We’re still a work in progress,” Gray said. “Hang with us.”
“For the people out there who are hating, we understand that comes with the territory,” she added. “We’re just trying to do something fun. We’re trying to do something interesting and trying to add a little creativity. We know it’s a different voice. Just give us a chance.”
Finally, Carlin wrapped up the most intriguing segment in the two-month history of “CMB.”
“Their legacies are fully cemented,” he said, “and we’re just trying to do our own thing now.”