Q&A With Russ Martin
The former 105.3 talk radio ratings king talks about his arrest and when he might return to the airwaves.
Q: You were arrested last summer for allegedly assaulting your fiancée. She filed charges against you. But later she claimed that the Southlake police coerced her into filing the charges. And now, a year later, right before trial, you go ahead and plead no contest. Why?
A: They offered deals from day one, and I told them I didn’t do it, and I’m not going to plead guilty for any of this just to get your deal. Then, as things went on, the prosecutor started threatening my girlfriend and then eventually her family. One way or another, she and her family were going to get beat up on the stand. The prosecutor didn’t care that she was going to get beat up. He wanted to get her on the stand and try to win his case.
Q: She did have an audio recording of the incident. It didn’t make you sound good.
A: No, it didn’t. I sound like a full-blown ass. But there was also nothing on there that indicated that there was an assault.
Q: Are you guys still engaged?
A: Uh, that’s on hold. We’re still talking about it. We were supposed to be getting married at the end of July, until the court moved my case from March to the end of July. Almost like they found out.
Q: How do you feel the whole thing was treated by the various media?
A: If it was anybody else, and I was watching news stories about somebody else, I’d sit there and go, “Well, obviously the ass did it. Look at him. Look at all the evidence they got.” But, as you find out, there’s no evidence. There’s nothing.
Q: Your mug shot does you no favors. With the longer hair and the mustache and the look on your face—you know you’re going to be haunted by that mug shot forever.
A: I tried smiling. I really thought there was a smirk in that mug shot, and the guy wouldn’t let me take it again. I said, “What if I get arrested again? They let me do it more than once at Sam’s. Why not here?!”
Q: CBS let you go when 105.3 switched formats in December. But they’re still paying you?
A: Yeah, the day they changed formats in December, they came in, and I was already sitting in the studio doing show prep, and they said, “We have some distressing news.” I said, “Okay. I’m under contract for the next three years, so I’m not sure what you’re going to say that’s distressing, but go ahead.” They said, “Well, we’re gonna go in a different direction, and you’re not going to be on the air today. You have any questions?” I just said, “You’re honoring my contract, right? Well, then I think you’ve told me everything you want me to know.” David Henry, the general manager, looked like he was going to cry. Did I mention I got a raise back in April?
Q: How does that work?
A: It was the first year my new contract kicked in. And if I were to go another year, next April I’d get another 10 percent raise.
Q: You said “if.” So surely you’ve talked to someone else, right?
A: I can’t talk to anybody else. That’s in the contract.
Q: I asked you if you’ve talked to anybody and you said your contract would stop you from doing that. You didn’t say you haven’t talked to anybody.
Q: All right. So you haven’t talked to anybody, then. That’s what that means.
A: I haven’t talked with anybody.
Q: You haven’t. I understand that.
A: I haven’t. [laughs]
Q: Your contract expires in April 2011. Is there any chance at all you’ll be on the air before then?
A: I would like to be back on the air. As fantastic as it sounds, being off the air, having days of nothing but leisure, I was bored after about the first month. But I’ve got that automotive repair shop we opened up over a year ago.
Q: I don’t see you going down to Russ Martin Automotive and doing an oil change.
A: I’ve been down there mostly just to administrate and terrorize the general manager.
Q: I saw on your Twitter feed that you were watching the security cams at the shop and telling your employees to take their pants off.
A: Yeah. I said, “Today is thong oil change day. Thursday thongs.”
Q: How’d that go?
A: Half the guys wouldn’t do it.
Q: Do you still own two Batmobiles and the General Lee?
A: I sold the Batmobile and the Mach 5 back in January because my builder is supposed to be finishing up the Munster’s coach.
Q: Well, good luck with that two years of probation. It’ll give you something to talk about. I mean, if you’re going to have a show—I’m saying if—that would provide content.
A: It would provide 20 years of content if I were talking to somebody.
Q: Right. And we’ve established that you’re not.
A: I’m not talking to anybody. [laughs]