If you’re under the age of 50 and above the age of 15, it’s obvious that Philadelphia has a sports talk radio problem. This city is big enough for two separate stations to fill nearly 24-hours of original content every single day, so why do listeners have to restrain themselves from putting a boot through their radio after listening for an average of two minutes?
The answer isn’t an easy one, but I’d like to propose a potential four-step solution that I think will help improve sports talk radio in Philadelphia.
Step 1: Fill a room sky high in both the 97.5 Fanatic and 94 WIP studios with wheels of mozzarella, arms of salami, slabs of mortadella, Rocky Blu-rays, back issues of Playboy from 1984 and knock-off Chinese made Eagles jerseys.
Hang a sign from the door marked “Free.”
Step 2: Wait until room is filled. When at capacity, crack open door and throw in smoke bomb.
Step 3: Amidst confusion, send in army of interns with large burlap sacks. Stuff hosts into said sacks with notices of termination. Tag each host with tracking device to collect valuable data on the mating habits of the morbidly obese. Hire a forklift if interns alone cannot successfully remove hosts from their respective stations. Be prepared to widen doorways throughout each building. Unceremoniously dump fired, confused hosts in alleyway. Congratulate self on job well done.
Step 4: Hire new hosts.
Sure, it may seem harsh, but the unoriginality of the medium is so deeply entrenched in both stations that they need to be completely uprooted. They have such an incestuous relationship that it’s not a matter of “if” a fired host will find another job at the rival station, but only a matter of “when.” Rob Ellis. Anthony Gargano. Jon Marks. Tony Bruno. Mike Missanelli. All failed or otherwise flamed out at their respective stations…all found homes at the rival station.
Did Rob Ellis, the human equivalent of a deep coma, need TWO chances at TWO sports talk stations to put listeners to sleep? Did he really need a daily morning television show? I assure you his failures were NOT due to people being unable to see his weak-chinned face.
If someone’s tired schtick wasn’t getting ratings at WIP, it will CERTAINLY do better at The Fanatic! Anthony Gargano’s “cuz” act had worn out its welcome… uh, everywhere, so of course The Fanatic jumped at the opportunity to hire him to anchor its flagship morning show! At least they gave him a unique slant this time around with Brian Baldinger and human dynamo Maureen Crowley Williams. WHAT FRESH-FACED TALENT! The most interesting thing about Baldinger is his gnarled finger. Has anyone cared what he’s had to say in the past, oh, let’s make it a conservative 25 years? No. No they haven’t. But they’ll reinvent the morning show they will, one recycled bit after another. LET’S GO TO THE MEATLOCKER AND TALK TO FREDDIE MITCHELL FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, WHAT A CRAZY MEATBALL! OH MAMA MIA.
(Just a side note for a moment, can each station please have a moratorium on booking Freddie Mitchell? He played four seasons, very poorly I might add, and he hasn’t stepped foot on a football field since 2004. Do we need to hear him complain about Donovan McNabb again? We do not. You were garbage, Freddie. It wasn’t McNabb’s fault that you washed out of the NFL. I do not need to hear another unsubstantiated story about how everyone on the team hated McNabb…which was probably true, but god damnit I don’t need to hear you tell it AD NAUSEAM.)
Wing Bowl was fun like 20 years ago, right? Tits, wings, huge slobs eating themselves into an early grave as greasy Angelo Cataldi cackles in the background and their soon-to-be widows beg them to stop, disappointed Wingette fathers…it’s a Philadelphia tradition! So what does The Fanatic do? Creates Fantasy Fest, an annual event that gives 35 mouthbreathers from Kensington the excuse to begin drinking at noon and ogle the one unlucky stripper from Delilah’s who is NOT getting paid enough to be there.
This caller to The Fanatic last weekend perfectly encapsulated the Fantasy Fest experience:
Caller: "Hey I just left Fantasy Fest."
Host: "Wasn't that the best party ever?!"
Caller: "I'm not going to lie, no." ::hangs up:
— CogginToboggan (@CogginToboggan) August 26, 2017
I didn’t make that up. That was a real call. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed anything more that has been aired on The Fanatic.
The one host in the past decade who attempted to do anything different was Josh Innes, and he was ran out of town in his husky boy jeans faster than Pete Rose running to an alleged underage sex party.
Innes dared to step away from the tried and true Philadelphia sports talk formula of cliched topics and “hilarious” daily polls. You know the ones…. “Call in, we’re taking your top Philly guys who ever played linebacker for the Eagles…Jeremiah Trotter is up there for me, I tell ya. Call in, 610-632….”
For every one host or producer willing to try something different, there are 25 Jason Myrtetuses in the background rehashing and pushing the same old garbage. “How about a fake caller? He could call in when things are slow, really rile Mike up! Just make him black, don’t worry about it, we’ll call him Dwayne. He’ll be outrageous and say really stereotypical things that I think a black person would actually say if I knew any in real life. THINK OF THE RATINGS!”
In the words of the immortal Digital Underground, “It’s just the same old song.”
Here’s what one of the stations could actually do if they want to break the cycle: You know the person on your staff who is behind the scenes that has pitched an idea for a show that seems “out there” or “too different” from what you’re used to hearing on-air? Promote them to on-air. My god, do us all a favor. I beg of you.
Take a chance, get a different opinion on-air for a change. Do you really need to hear Mike Missanelli or Angelo Cataldi breathing heavily into a microphone every day and taking the contrarian view on EVERY SINGLE TOPIC because it “creates content?” Get a new voice on your airwaves, get someone who is going to take a chance, who will do something we haven’t heard a million times already, and who won’t publish terrible polls on Twitter. Spare us, please.
Or, better yet, listeners should just stop listening. Go ahead and put that foot through your radio and don’t replace it. Read the Coggin Toboggan and Crossing Broad instead. Fuck it. There are a ton of writers here now. Everyone here can mash their hands onto their keyboards and come up with semi-coherent sentences, I guarantee you that. WHAT AN ENDORSEMENT!
All angry emails and letter bombs from WIP and Fanatic hosts/producers should be addressed to Kyle Scott at Crossing Broad. He’s the one who allows this nonsense to be published on his site. [Editor’s note: Shaggy defense.]
Like what you saw? Did you only dry-heave once or twice reading this piece of garbage? Then follow me on Twitter @Coggintoboggan.
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