“Busted Open,” the radio talk show dedicated to professional wrestling on SiriusXM satellite radio, hit a milestone earlier this year: It’s finally being broadcast five days a week. But for Doug Mortman, creator and co-host, the achievement is bittersweet. After eight years behind the mic for each show, his duties as vice president of Sport and Talk Operations at the broadcast giant are relegating him to a once-a-week contributor role.
“Go figure,” he joked. “I go from trying to get us to a big goal of ours; then when we hit that goal, I end up taking a step back from the show!”
Still, Mortman knows the new broadcast schedule is a major achievement, especially since he was skeptical when his on-air partner, Dave LaGreca, pitched the idea to him back in 2009. Up until that point, he and LaGreca had worked as producers on SiriusXM programming, not as on-air talent.
“‘What makes you think we’re going to get a show?’” Mortman recalls asking. “‘What makes you think we’re going to sound any good on the radio? What makes you think that we’re even going to have any chemistry?’”
But the demos they taped were compelling enough to earn them a three-show trial run. The rest is history, Mortman noted. “It’s not your typical content matter. But there was a fan base for it,” he said.
“Busted Open” aired two hours one day a week, then expanded to two days, then three. It now airs five days a week. Early on, the show bounced around the channel listings until it finally landed firmly on the Rush channel.
Mortman, who graduated with a degree in rhetoric and communication, worked on the NFL channel at Sirius before the merger with XM. He said he was bitten by the pro-wrestling bug in the 1980s but traces his real roots in the sport to the so-called Attitude Era of the late ‘90s.
“Some people might take umbrage with the word ‘sport.’ I truly believe it’s a sport – it might be a scripted sport, but it’s still a sport,” Mortman said, noting the athleticism and psychological fortitude demanded of practitioners.
“If you really watch great wrestling, you see how much work goes into it,” he added.