Mel Karmazin pumps WatchDog for info on source
Here is the story I wrote for the Wednesday newspaper about Chris Russo's official hiring by Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
When I was introduced to Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin, the first words out of his mouth were: "Who is your source?" There were other reporters around, so I told him to stop being coy and just admit it was him. He didn't laugh. Maybe he smirked a little. (For the record: It was not him.)
Mr. Karmazin later explained the financial logic behind hiring Russo for about $3 million a year (not that he admitted to that figure). He said even if Russo's show does only $1 million a year in ad billings - a fraction of the $15-20 million that "Mike and the Mad Dog" produced at WFAN - and brings along, say, 5 percent of his old show's audience as full subscribers, he will generate $6 million to $7 million.
Karmazin called the math "a no-brainer."
The big leap here is believing 50,000 fans are going to pay to keep hearing Russo.
Then again, as Russo noted, a Newsday.com poll that has attracted about 10,000 voters shows more than 26 percent would follow Russo to Sirius, while another 51 percent indicated they like him but would not pay to hear him.
Twenty-six percent! If that happened they'd erect a statue of Russo in Howard Stern's studio.
Let's just say Newsday.com polls are a tad unscientific.