ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo will wrap up his show this week and fully depart ESPN next year, the network announced Wednesday.
In a statement, ESPN senior vice president of audio Traug Keller said Friday will mark Russillo’s final show on ESPN Radio but that the host will stick around through next summer to host a weekly podcast.
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) December 20, 2017
The ever-candid Russillo addressed his departure on his show Wednesday, explaining that ESPN was willing to extend him — but only at the same salary with added responsibility. He turned them down, saying he needs a better work-life balance.
“I just said, ‘Is there any way we can talk about an extension?’ ESPN said, ‘Absolutely. We’ll do this.’ I was offered an extension, and it was the same money that I made now. And in the grand scheme, in the way the world works, it’s a lot of money, and I get that, but my days were gonna be different. I was gonna be here on NBA hits for SportsCenter. I was gonna be here like 10 hours a day. I don’t have a lot of a life now. I don’t really have any balance. I’d be lying if I told you I’d been super happy lately. I know people who know me really well here, I don’t think they’re entirely surprised by this. So it would have to be something where I also felt like I was also growing creatively outside of ESPN Radio, some other entities, something else in television where I’m going, ‘I’m really, really growing here.’ I don’t know if that was going to happen.”
Russillo said his split from ESPN has been “super amicable.”
“A lot of time when your run is over or your job is over, it’s a weird thing, people get mad at each other. That is not the case right now. I’m having moments, I’ll admit, where I’m in the car being like ‘Are you seriously going to do this. And every moment of fear is trumped by a moment of excitement about what I’m going to do next.”
Russillo has had one hell of a year. He was reported to be part of ESPN’s layoffs in April, to the point he sounds to have been fairly panicked. After surviving those cuts, he was arrested in August after drunkenly wandering into the wrong apartment while on vacation in Wyoming. For that, he received a brief suspension before returning to the air with a frank apology.
When ESPN announced its 2018 national radio lineup last month, Russillo was listed as hosting an afternoon show with Will Cain. With Russillo’s departure, ESPN can either let Cain host that program alone or find him a new co-host.
Russillo has been on ESPN Radio since 2009, hosting alongside Scott Van Pelt, then Danny Kanell, until Kanell was laid off in April.