Dino Costa, the Angriest Man on the Airwaves
Credit: Photograph by Kareem Black
It's three minutes to 7 pm, and Dino Costa is staring out the window of his cramped Manhattan office, looking out onto Times Square. He gets a coffee, tells Caplan and his other producer, Fast Eddie Erickson, to print a few things out. He has done almost no preparation for the show. No real notes, no scripts, no detailed lineup of stories. He doesn't do prep, he says. He just goes on air and starts talking. Four hours later, he stops.

"Ladies and gentlemen across America and around the world," Costa intones at the beginning of the show. "This is Dino Costa speaking."

For the next four hours, Costa discusses, among other subjects, his frustrations with the creative and organizational failings of his bosses; calls an interview Mad Dog did with ESPN's Vince Doria "the worst interview I've ever heard"; and riffs on topics ranging from Bobby Valentine to Jerry Sandusky. He also takes calls from his listeners.

"You jackass," he yells at one of them. "I'm not going to suffer a fool like you. If you're trying to attack me, be prepared." He then transitions seamlessly to "Alan is from Huntsville, Alabama. Hi, Alan."

"I'm in the car all day, and you make my day bearable, bud," Alan tells him. "Thanks, that's very nice of you," Costa says, before returning to his favorite talking point – the cluelessness of elites.

"I love these broadcasters who comment on sections of the country, the heartland or the Southeast, and they have no understanding of the region. Not a damn thing."; This is Costa's singular skill: to take America's favorite topic of discussion – sports – and infuse it with the angst and insecurity of the politically irate. "My show is something the average person driving in their car can relate to," Costa says. "This is good theater. This is good radio."

Costa feels like he is on the cusp of something – greatness, perhaps, or maybe his own television show. He also knows that if he messes up again, it's back to the bush leagues, if he's lucky. But Costa is so convinced of his own greatness, so persistent, so profane, so addicted to the I'm-gonna-do-it-my-way kind of risk, that he can't for a second imagine that will happen. Someday he'll have his own station on SiriusXM. Dino Radio, he'll call it. He is, however, in danger of blowing it: Just last July, he again risked his job by moving the show to Cheyenne, Wyoming, over the objections of SiriusXM's management.

Costa likes to blames his failures on other people: The suits in Denver and Jacksonville and Trenton and Wheeling – all the places where he wore out his welcome – were too worried about their sponsors and producing "content" to know great radio when they heard it. The listeners, too, have trapped him in a world that doesn't leave room for sports talk with politics and political talk with sports. "Radio in America today sucks," Costa says. "It is led by a bunch of brainless fucksticks who are more worried about their cushy jobs than providing the consumers with something worthwhile to listen to."  The scary thing is, he's probably right.