Russ Martin: A Radio Legend Who Died of Alcoholism

Russ Martin was a popular radio host in Dallas, Texas, who worked in the radio market for 31 years. He hosted the No. 1-rated The Russ Martin Show on various stations, until his death on February 27, 2021. He was known for his hot talk style, his humor, and his charity work for the Russ Martin Show Listeners Foundation, which supported the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Early Life and Career

Russ Martin was born on October 4, 1960, in Dallas, Texas. He grew up in Pleasant Grove, a large, working-class neighborhood in southeast Dallas, where he graduated from W.W. Samuell High School. Martin’s radio career began in the 1980s at KGVL 1400 AM in Greenville, Texas, working 6:00 p.m. to midnight running the board for religious programs. He then worked for several other stations in Texas, playing country music, oldies, and rock. In 1987, he was hired by Top 40 station KEGL, The Eagle, in Dallas, where he also hosted a talk show on Sunday nights. He also hosted the television shows Hot TV and Hot Tickets, which ran from 1988 to 1994 on the local FOX affiliate KDAF. (According to Wikipedia)

The Russ Martin Show

The first incarnation of The Russ Martin Show began in 1997, following the departure of The Howard Stern Show from KEGL. Martin was asked to fill the morning drive time slot, and within two years, his ratings surpassed those of Dallas veteran radio personality Ron Chapman. In 2000, Martin left KEGL following a contract dispute, and moved to KYNG, a station that had previously been country-western music. Martin began his first show at KYNG on April 6, 2000, once again filling the morning drive time slot. When Howard Stern was picked up by KYNG, The Russ Martin Show moved from its morning drive slot to 3:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. In 2003, KYNG changed its call letters to KLLI and took on the Live 105.3 branding. The Russ Martin Show had consistently high ratings for KLLI since his show debuted on 105.3. In August 2005, D Magazine named Martin the best radio talk show host in the DFW area. In December 2008, Live 105.3 changed its format to include more live sports programming, and Martin was eliminated during the switch. (According to Wikipedia)

On July 12, 2010, Martin returned to radio with his afternoon show on 97.1 “The Eagle” (KEGL), where he remained until his death. He was joined by his longtime co-hosts Dan O’Malley, Clo, and Alfie Coy. Martin also had a home studio, where he occasionally broadcasted from. He was known for his loyal fan base, his prank calls, his celebrity interviews, his segments such as “Stupid News” and “Ask a Cop”, and his controversial opinions on various topics.

Health Issues and Death

Martin had been suffering from health issues for several years, including heart surgery, blood clots, and alcoholism. He often talked about his health problems on his show, and sometimes missed work due to them. On February 27, 2021, Martin was found dead in his home in Frisco, Texas, at the age of 60. The Frisco Police Department said there was no suspicion of foul play for his death. Based on the official Collin County Autopsy Case No 2021-01024, Martin died of chronic alcoholism with hypertensive cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor. (According to Reddit and

Martin’s death shocked and saddened his fans, friends, and colleagues, who paid tribute to him on social media and on the air. His co-hosts continued to air The Russ Martin Show for a few weeks after his death, sharing memories and stories of Martin, and thanking the listeners for their support. The show was officially canceled on March 31, 2021, and replaced by The Eagle Rocks with Cindy Scull. Martin’s legacy lives on through his foundation, which has raised over $2 million for the families of fallen first responders. (According to