By Kevin Canessa Jr.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. —
Glenn Beck did it when he had had enough with the suits at Fox News.
Sarah Palin is even giving it a try, though we’re not so sure how much success that’ll have.
But for the first time in modern sports-radio history, which technically dates back to 1987 when WFAN launched in New York, a nationally known sports-radio host has started an online-only, subscriber- based sports-radio network he hopes will make him and his investors big bucks — and that he hopes changes the way his fans get their sports radio.
Dino Costa, who spent the last few years with Mad Dog Radio on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and before that, was on numerous terrestrial radio stations throughout the country, launched dinocostashow.com four months ago when he didn’t renew his contract with Mad Dog Radio and the suits at Sirius/XM.
Bringing Costa’s always entertaining — and extremely controversial show — to the Internet has changed the way sports radio shows are conducted now for many reasons, but most notably, not having to deal with the restrictive rules of the Federal Communications Commission.
“There are no rules, so it’s really the Wild, Wild West of sports radio, isn’t it?” Costa told The Observer exclusively. “When there are no rules, we can truly do what we want. And that’s exactly what we do.”
But it was hardly the FCC’s rules that got Costa interested in doing online-only sports radio. Instead, he says it’s because too often, the suits at Sirius/XM refused to realize his potential — and to market his show and talents properly.
“I was thinking of this prior to my departure at Sirius/ XM, however,” Costa said. “And after that, I had an opportunity to meet with the folks at Fox Sports out in Los Angeles. But long story short, an investor who was also a fan contacted me, asked me if I really wanted to do this, and I realized this was as good a time as any to break into the digital platform.
“So I wrote to the folks at Fox, thanked them, and let them know I was going in a different direction. And on May 5, we launched dinocostashow.com.”
Costa says the digital platform has led to the “most fun” he’s had in his 18-year radio career. Each show is broadcast with crystal-clear video of Dino in his studio. It’s also simulcast audio only. If listeners miss a show, each one is archived for later viewing or listening. The show also now has its own app for iPhones and Androids.
But Costa says the new platform can be trying, at times, especially considering there are no commercials.
“It can be mentally fatiguing at times, but there’s an organic flow to the show we never had before now,” Costa said. “And every time I go into that studio, I have go so with the mindset that the entire world is listening to the show. We have fewer listeners now than when I was on Sirius/XM, obviously, but I must treat every show as if the audience was enormous. People are giving us their hard-earned money to listen.
“So it is a challenge in one way, but an absolutely fun and enjoyable way to broadcast.”
While many in radio say Internet-based stations won’t succeed in the long term, Costa says not so fast to all the naysayers.
Since many cars are now coming equipped with 4G Wi- Fi access, and many more will in the future, Costa believes the digital radio platform is not only here, it’s here for the long haul.
“Let’s not forget that there are some digital-only news platforms that are now out performing traditional newspapers,” Costa said. “If those kinds of sites can succeed, why can’t digital-only radio? It only makes sense that it’s more than possible.”
Ideally, Costa says he hopes this is the last “job” he ever has in radio. But he also says he’d be foolish to cast aside any possible future opportunities that might arise.
“If other opportunities present themselves, I’d be foolish not to consider them,” he said. “But I really believe this is the future of radio, the future of sports talk radio. And each day since we’ve launched, we’ve gained more and more subscribers. We’ve never gone backward. That’s a real sign this is going to succeed.”
Matthew Mandel of Kearny has been a huge fan of Costa’s work, dating back to his arrival at Mad Dog Radio. He says having Costa’s show online rather than on satellite or terrestrial radio has made it significantly better.
“He doesn’t answer to anyone anymore,” Mandel said. “When he was on Sirius, he never got the respect he deserved from his bosses. Now, he holds nothing back at all. He tells it like it is. If a team or an athlete ticks him off, he’s going to say so — and he could do that without the fear of potential consequences.
“That has made the Dino Costa Show so much better than it was before.”
Mike Ranford of Belleville agrees — even though he hasn’t always been a fan of Costa’s.
“He says what he means and he means what he says,” Ranford said. “There were times in the past he’s said stuff that just infuriated me. But when you think of it, that’s what sports talk radio is all about. It’s purely entertainment. And with an online platform, Dino entertains while bringing his fans the best sports radio has to offer.
“He is much better off today without Sirius/XM as far as I am concerned. I just hope the online platform takes off and people are willing to pay a minimal fee to get better sports radio than any of the two terrestrial stations in the area (WFAN and WEPN) can offer.”
Contact Dino by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.