So last night I came back to no less than 56 Twitter mentions, a dozen or so texts, and a handful of calls – some of the latter two coming from those with a horse in this race – almost all of which had something to do with Mike Missanelli aiming his missile at Tony Bruno and Josh Innes’ Cuba. Somehow, Howard Eskin became Fidel Castro.
I’m not even sure how to order this post, because when you have two radio rivals going at each other, head-to-head, in real-time, it becomes impossible to parse. I believe the best way to summarize is with a simple timeline and some fact-checking of the nonsense and hypocrisy spewing in all directions. Bring me my war time epaulettes!
1 p.m.-ish: Josh Innes and I have a kinda neutral Twitter exchange – a disarmament, if you will – about what he thinks (my interpretation) is favorable RADIO WARS coverage of 97.5, this a day after I wrote the headline WIP Rules Ratings. His chief beef – couched in a continued insinuation that I’m close with Anthony Gargano, whom I literally don’t know, don’t have an email for, and don’t have a number for – is that I was too forgiving of the 97.5 morning show’s early ratings struggles, which I explained away by pointing out its lack of pre-promotion and the difficulty in going up against the powerhouse WIP show with Angelo Cataldi, Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes.
No big deal. I disagree with Innes that I’m playing favorites. But he can think what he wants. I’ve written no less than three posts declaring him and Bruno ratings champs. And for another feather in my impartiality cap, I’d cite the fact that Innes’ competitor, Missanelli, isn’t exactly thrilled with recent coverage what with his claim yesterday that WIP gives the ratings to people who don’t understand them. As if understanding ratings takes a Widener Law degree.
On to Mike.
3 p.m.: Mike opens his second hour and finally addresses those who shall go unnamed [audio]:
“I’ll speak to this for the first time, because a lot of people wanna hear this. It’s like that other station that constantly brings my name up, this other station in town. I never hear it but people tell me all the time … it’s painful insecurity, and they’re so hurt by being dismissed that it comes out that way, just like Cary Williams, right? Now, if I had to bring up someone’s name on this air because I didn’t have any other content, I would be embarrassed, right? But apparently there’s kind of a lack of pride over there.
So what this other station does is they spin the ratings, and they put out this propaganda about the number and talk to people who really don’t understand ratings anyway. See, here’s the thing about ratings: They’re a long haul thing. They’re not a couple of months thing. So, if they got good numbers, good for them. But here’s the difference: I didn’t proclaim my victory when I ran Eskin’s ass out of town. I didn’t proclaim that triumph until a year had gone by. Because a year is a true measure of the worth of someone’s show, right?”
Ratings are not propaganda. They’re what hosts, producers and program directors care about, because it determines if they keep their jobs and get bonuses. The most important demo, as you know, is men 25-54. And Bruno-Innes have beat Mike for four-straight months there. Is one month misleading? Maybe. But a certain local radio host, touting the virtues of a ratings book, once told me: “The books encompass a period of three months of weekly ratings. It’s all combined and measured at the end. A one month book is practically meaningless.” So the four months here are neither propaganda nor spin. They’re facts.
“Now, naturally a new show is gonna get some curiosity listens. And if after a year you got good numbers I say salud. If that’s what Philadelphia wants on an evening drive talk show, that’s fine. If they want some obnoxious, out of town, interloper who has some Howard Stern For Dummies manual in front of him to do his show, and Tony Bruno — whatever it is he does — obviously we’re well aware of his limitations here at this radio station. But I do what I do. And what I do is I come in every day and I try to give you the best I got. I try to talk about the most interesting, compelling topics. I try to give you the best interviews. I try to be the best advocate for the fans. I try to give you my complete honesty every day, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. I will not change at all, and I know there’s a lot of bluster out there, a lot of nonsense that people get caught up in, a lot of propaganda. At the end of the day if that’s what you want, salud. Good luck to you over there.”
Not a great argument here, considering 97.5’s morning show is decidedly not getting the rubbernecking bump Missanelli claims Bruno and Innes got.
“People explain to me enough what’s going on and it reflects an insecurity and a lack of pride, and I would never do it that way … see, here’s the thing: When I’m their content, they don’t realize that’s actually flattering to me. They’re constantly bringing my name up, that means you have no content. Alright, that’s all I needed to say on that.”
Worth noting: There are many, many insecure egos in Philly media. Also, Mike did almost the exact same thing with Eskin not all that long ago.
3:30 p.m.: Bruno takes to Twitter:
5 p.m.: Josh Innes and Tony Bruno, but mostly Innes, about Mike [audio]:
Bruno: “The outright leader. Doesn’t he have to change his Twitter now since it’s fraudulent? You can’t call yourself the outright leader when you’re in fifth place. That’s not outright leader in my world … Fifth place puts you on the leaderboard. If you’re playing golf you’ll finish fifth, you’ll get a nice paycheck, but you ain’t in the money, son.”
Innes: “And of course we listen to this bit where he was ripping us, and then he goes straight into general knowledge questions, something that we rip that fraud, lame, phony for every day … That’s another thing I find brilliant of his: ‘These bros don’t have any material for their show so they gotta talk about me on their show.’ Well, all of a sudden you’re talking about us now bro. So you say you’re not concerned about ratings, which by the way he calls us liars on the ratings … We can acknowledge that ratings systems in every way are flawed. There’s no perfect way to find how many people are truly listening to a radio show. But I know this: There’s a system that we all go by, and we live and die by numbers … When I signed the contract, it said I’m bonused on men 25-54 and it’s bonused on first or second place, or you’re done.”
“Of course Mr. Missanelli, Mr. Hothead, Mr. Meathead, Mr. go to Twitter and threaten to fight people on Twitter because he’s such a well balanced individual that he’ll go to Twitter and threaten to fight people because he can’t use his words like a big boy. He’s a polished turd essentially. He’s a guy that rolls out, puts on a nice suit, lives in a nice big house, tries to enlighten you with how broad his horizons are. He likes to make you think ‘I’m down with the brothas’ and ‘I’m cool bro.’ 60-something year old guy listening to alt-rock music and going to the Electric Factory with his young girlfriend, who I believe dumped him by the way. She’s gone. But anyway that’s neither here nor there. But this guy, you can sit here and you can paint yourself however you want to but a polished turd is still a turd and a meathead is still a meathead.”
“He’s a lazy bastard just like everyone else who works at that radio station. See: Gargano, Anthony. Because they’re dying too. So you wanna come at this radio station .. That’s quite alright. I’m glad. I’m excited that as we sit here today that there’s competition in radio. It won’t last very long because Angelo, who is the king of talk radio in this town, is already dispatching of Gargano. Despite what you read on Crossing Broad, it’s not close. And that days that it is close, more than likely, has to do with the fact that Angelo is off .. And Mike Missanelli, who hasn’t even smelled the kind of success that Howard Eskin had for 25 years, his reign has lasted how long? Five?”
Despite what you read on Crossing Broad… which was an accurate summarization of the actual ratings.
It’s hard to poke holes in an argument that mostly just amounts to an opinion. But, I think it’s highly unfair to call Mike or Anthony lazy. Complacent? Maybe. But lazy people don’t get to where Mike and Anthony are in a city like Philadelphia (Josh seems to be conflating varying degrees of professionalism with effort). Josh hasn’t been here long enough to realize that. His antics work right now. They’re entertaining. Frankly, I admire his spunk. I think he makes great points about much of the established media around here. They are some of the same points I’ve written for years. But while Philly is a big market, it’s also a small town. The media is highly incestuous, and what I don’t think Innes realizes is that right now he’s winning, and he may win for a long time, but during that time he will also work for, with, or above many of the people he’s spent the last year ripping into. You can only do that for so long before you burn every possible bridge. Consider how Missanelli and Eskin used to be partners and now hate each other. Consider how Gargano and Missanelli (friends) used to be competitors and are now featured on the same banner on 97.5’s website. Consider how Michael Barkann gets a paycheck from NBC (Comcast) and CBS (WIP). There are countless examples. Even as an independent blogger, I’ve realized that you have to pick your spots. Eventually, you’ll need a hand to step up to the next rung. That doesn’t mean Innes shouldn’t continually hammer on Mike or whomever else, but if he does it to enough people, it’ll come back to bite him. Andy Bloom won’t be his boss forever. Tony won’t be his partner forever. Gargano or Missanelli, quite frankly, might not be his competitor forever. And that same logic applies to wearing out the audience. It’s fun in the beginning when you’re outraged about everything, but after a while, you’ll start to get diminishing returns on your bombastry and everyone will just know you as a gasbag… which is what a lot of people think about Howard Eskin, who welcomed Innes’ ICBMs into his war-torn territory…
5:30 p.m.: Howard Eskin, about Mike:
And then the war spilled over into the homeland…
“So, our Twitter Troll is back. Again, we’re pretty sure we know who it is and it’s not who we originally thought it was, it’s even worse!
It still amazes me that someone can be so disturbed & jealous of someone else that he needs to attack them with vicious and hateful posts & lies while at the same time being so pathetic and cowardly that he hides behind fake accounts.
What a sad, sad life he must have. We hadn’t heard from him in a long time because he obviously thought he was successful, and maybe even had a hand, in getting rid of Tony when 97.5 let Tony go, but now with Tony’s success on WIP (and especially yesterdays “Radio Wars” back and forth) he couldn’t stay away or keep quiet. How much more obvious can it be as to who it is? Especially since I am a target as well. Somebody has SERIOUS issues with women.
(And to our troll, because I’m sure you will read this. Stop being such a coward. Go ahead, come tell us all this stuff to our face! Oh, that’s right. You can’t because then everyone would know what a complete and total ass you are and your job, your sympathetic “persona” & “fame” would be history)”
Uh oh. Things are escalating. The children are under their desks. Let’s keep the lines open, Nikita. MAY THE BAND PLAY ON: