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Sirius launches first-known 24/7 fantasy radio station

Chris

Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, center, is photographed at the Hard Rock Cafe. He is currently a SIRIUS XM Mad Dog Radio host and is taking part in the Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft. (July 21, 2010) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Once upon a time, many said the notion of 24-hour sports talk radio was lunacy.

Maybe it was, but it has proved to be a durable business model. Now, 23 years after the launch of WFAN, Sirius XM has introduced what is believed to be the first 24/7/365 radio station dedicated entirely to fantasy sports.

"You look at all the money spent on fantasy sports - the magazines, websites, how well it's done across so many platforms,'' said Steve Cohen, Sirius XM's senior vice president of sports programming. "We just thought the time was right.''

The big moment came July 1, and Sirius held a celebrity football draft at the Hard Rock Café in Manhattan Wednesday to mark the occasion.

"Mad Dog Radio'' host Chris Russo was among the participants. Even though he acknowledged qualms about fantasy - "I'm a purist, so it bothers me'' - he said given the interest, it deserves a place "under our umbrella.''

The most intriguing host is Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a fantasy team favorite who will appear Friday nights during the season.

Won't that put him in awkward positions as an active player?

"If I do get a call, I might hint at something; I might not come right out and say it,'' he said. "You have to kind of read between the lines.

"I'm not going to say anything if a player is hurt or something like that, but I'll make sure fans get the real insight. I know a lot of players in the NFL.''

Jones-Drew won over many fantasy fans in November when he apologized to them after strategically going down at the 1-yard line against the Jets to run out the clock.

"I have to thank the Jets,'' he said. "If that would have never happened, I probably would have never gotten my own show.

"I appreciate them for trying to let me score and the coaches for telling me to take a knee. It helped a bunch.''

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