NEW CANAAN - The popular radio sportscaster Chris Russo announced Friday that he will be leaving the ?Mike and the Mad Dog? show on WFAN.

New Canaan resident Russo says he faxed a letter to the radio station Thursday night, stating that he will go off the air after his contract expires in March.

WFAN, however, decided to immediately let Russo go.

?The lifeblood of a good talk show is the fans, so I'm going to miss them most of all,? Russo says.

Russo emphasizes that his decision to break with the popular sports show is not connected to his relationship with his co-host.

Russo says he is currently weighing other career options, but says he has not been signed on yet by any other station.

?Obviously that's an alternative. I'm not stupid. I've got four kids to feed,? he says. ?Let's put it this way, I'm going to do a talk show somewhere.?

The show?s fans in southwestern Connecticut were stunned and saddened by the news of Russo?s departure from ?Mike and the Mad Dog.?

?I actually like him better than I like Mike,? says Dan Anderson, of Stamford, referring to Russo. ?It's kind of shocking that he's leaving.?

Russo says it was a tough decision for him to make, but he was driven by the desire to do something different at this point in his life.

For a full interview with Chris Russo about his decision to leave the show, go to Channel 612 on your digital cable box and select iO Extra.