Chris Carlin New York, NY – May 23, 2022 – South Street Seaport Pier 17 Studio: Chris Carlin on the set of Get Up!. (Photo by Gabriella Ricciardi / ESPN Images)

Chris Carlin’s love for radio originated from listening to Mike and the Mad Dog — just like every New Yorker. But for someone who planned on going to college to be a lawyer, the Carlin vs. Joe host, said he kind of fell into it “haphazardly” and fell in love with it.

Carlin told Alex Feuz on ESPN PR’s 00610 The ESPN Communications Podcast that once he realized the work that went into being a lawyer, he wasn’t quite interested in it anymore. Fortunately, he’s carved out quite the career for himself and currently owns a piece of the 12-3 p.m. primetime slot on ESPN Radio.

After sending out 100s of applications, Carlin was able to get his foot in the door at WFAN, but it was only an internship. From there, he was able to parlay that into a part-time gig which eventually led to him producing Mike and the Mad Dog at the age of 24.

“I don’t know that that there’s one thing,” Carlin said when asked what he learned from Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. “I would say looking back, people always felt like Chris was the really passionate one and the crazier one. And that Mike was the more knowledgeable one. But I would put Mike’s passion up there with anyone and I’d put Chris’ knowledge up there with anyone. The guy’s an encyclopedia when it comes to sports. I think more than anything, the thing that I learned was that while we’re getting into it, having lively debates all that kind of stuff, we also aren’t splitting the atom here. We’re not doing the real work.

“We’re in the sandbox of life, and we should be able to go have fun doing that. I remember all of the times, where we just had amazing laughs along the way. Just the things I learned from them were more about preparation, more about looking for the nuance of the story where there are angles of something that people haven’t particularly considered. We can all have the obvious opinions on the obvious stories that come out. But I think what I learned the most was to look beyond that.

“If there’s a story that’s reported, and it’s according to sources, not just looking that. Who does this benefit? Looking at that, trying to figure out where does it go when you’re looking at who might be leaking that story. Who really benefits the most for that kind of thing? Really, more of the critical thinking, I learned from the two of them. I think that’s the most important trait that I picked up from them.”

In the sandbox of life, Carlin found his passion and purpose behind the microphone, thanks to the invaluable lessons imparted by his years of producing the No. 1 sports show on the New York sports radio scene.

Francesa and Russo’s infectious passion for sports coupled with a deep knowledge served as guidance for Carlin and his own career trajectory. But beyond the debates and discussions, Carlin derived the ability to delve beyond the surface and uncover the nuanced angles of a story. That’s what made Mike and the Mad Dog great. And its helped Carlin carve out a space in the same industry.

[ESPN PR on X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.