Ryen Russillo revealed more about the decisions that led to his upcoming departure from ESPN on his radio show Wednesday.
On The Ryen Russillo Show, Russillo was transparent about discussions between him and ESPN. He stated that while he expressed a desire to move to a different time slot, which would in turn provide a greater commitment to ESPN each day, management presented a new contract that did not include a pay raise. Russillo made it clear that he has no bad feelings toward the company, and that this was an opportunity for him to try something different.
From what he described in his show opening, Russillo intends to move to California to write. He stated that it’s always been a dream of his, and that he now has a chance, maybe for the last time, to venture west. Russillo added that he’s lived on the East Coast for his entire life.
Other than stalwarts like Bob Ley, Ryen Russillo is one of the longest-tenured talents at ESPN. He started making appearances in 2008, and started working appearing on radio with Scott Van Pelt in 2009. SVP and Russillo lasted until 2015, when Van Pelt became the new face of the evening SportsCenter. Russillo has had trouble with consistency in the slot since then, sticking with Danny Kanell for a few years until his departure, and working with Will Cain until today’s announcement.
When he wasn’t on the radio, Russillo has been a multi-tool for ESPN. He has also hosted college football and NBA programs, and made countless appearances as an NBA analyst. There aren’t many talents who can function as the host, and then sit on the other side of the desk and field questions with well-informed opinions.
In his opening, Russillo also detailed his previous experience in developing a television show, which also helped fuel his desire to make this decision. He said that he was developing a dramatic script for television, but through rewrites and opinions of others, the story and presentation of the show changed. The show didn’t get picked up, and Russillo said that while he can acknowledge the project didn’t succeed, he felt regret seeing it leave his hands and fail.
Russillo’s last show is on Friday, but it won’t be his last appearance on ESPN media. Because his current contract runs through August, he will be appearing on a weekly podcast. Russillo’s current show is the fourth-most popular podcast among ESPN media.
The Ryen Russillo Show can be downloaded as a podcast every weekday after it airs. You can download and listen to Russillo’s opening here.