RADIO WARS: 97.5’s New Program Director Likes Listener Calls

Eric Johnson, 97.5 the Fanatic’s new Program Director, spoke to Rob Tornoe over at

Johnson talked about the ratings gap with rival 94 WIP, explaining that he sees some “great statistics” that he can work with to become more competitive. He also touched on the idea of making the Fanatic’s shows “a little hotter, a little more fast moving,” so we’ll see how that goes.

On the topic of audience involvement, this passage is relevant:

Johnson has spent a large chunk of his career looking at audience research. When it comes to sports radio, he thinks hosts are just part of the equation.

“Listeners listen for the host’s personality and their opinions, but just as important is they love listening to the opinions of other fans,” Johnson said. “To me, The Fanatic putting more listener calls on the air than WIP is a strength because that’s what people listen for.

Is that what people listen for?

I don’t know if many folks are tuning in to hear Bernie from Broomall or “Ingy” or the idiot Dallas fan who always calls in. I think his name is Levi. Jose from Norristown is alright in my book.

“What up?”

It’s true that some hosts do a better job of getting callers one the air instead of leaving them on hold for 30 minutes, which is appreciated. And I think some of the more educated callers dial up the post-game shows that you find on both stations.

But let’s do more straightforward sports talk and less of Joe from Roxborough.


34 Responses

  1. Can't turn the channel fast enough when Scott from Barrington, Chris from Williamstown and Jeff from Camden calls both stations says:

    Ban these 3 above mentioned callers from calling 97.5(they also call 94wip) and you’ll create more opportunities for new listeners and potential callers to call in.

      1. …check out the big baller with the Sirius account! What important job do you have that enables you to pay for that $10 a month for Sirius? You a high-powered attorney, maybe a brain surgeon? Come on, tell us what it is since you are obviously so impressed with yourself that you have satellite radio

    1. Don’t forget about Levi. That dude must sit home all day every day listening to WIP.

      1. Now he gets to give Levi and Arthur 10 minutes each on Saturday. After spending the rest of the time ranting about the Cowboys and The Process the show is over.

  2. I’d genuinely rather no listener calls at all. Nothing makes me change a station quicker than some marble-mouthed moron from Delco telling me about how he’s 4 for 4 and that “Carshon Wensh is the greatest quarderback he’s ever seen. I’ll hang up and lishen.”

  3. I disagree. There’s only so much Mikey Miss can say. Jose from Norristown, Ingy on a cell, Bernie, Bob from Glenmore, etc… these guys give the show some levity, comedy relief, and sometimes a whipping post for Mike. I think we need more of the better callers, and not more Joey Bagodonuts on from the city.

    — Matt from Philly

  4. ” He also touched on the idea of making the Fanatic’s shows “a little hotter, a little more fast moving,”

    Hotter and faster moving are code words for DUMBER. Can the current sports talk shows in Philly get any dumber?

  5. Would love to go to Chapman fords xmas party this year . A heard they are doing pussy Polyany again

    1. The Champman boys are up to their old tricks? Well I’ll be damned.

    1. Hi Mike, remember me? I’m the guy who gave you a cigar at Fantasy Fest.

  6. Rarely listen to sports radio anymore because it is always the same conversations and the callers (and hosts) are so dumb. The worst are the callers who think they have some groundbreaking insight into sports. “Uhhh, Carson Wentz is good but he has to be careful and not run so much or he is gonna get hurt”
    Hey, thanks for that insight Jason from Upper Darby! Not like that isn’t repeated as nauseum by these hosts all day.

  7. 9 out of 10 callers are terrible. It’s either “I think the Eagles are the best team in the NFL but I don’t think they can even win their division” logic, or “Hey, remember when I called in a year ago and predicted….” .

  8. Eric Johnson comes across as completely tone deaf to what Today’s listeners want. He needs to look at the success of The Ticket in Dallas, which wins Marconis and rarely takes calls (and frequently mocks caller-driven radio). The caller-driven competitor there barely registers a pulse. Hopefully he’s looking beyond the local retread group of past hosts and after the Eagles season will bring in fresh voices. If he thinks doubling down on what most listeners hate and make fun of, this is going to go downhill fast and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fanatic is sold off by this time next year. Both stations are painful to listen to and have driven me mostly to podcasts.

  9. Listener Call Ins are the main reason I’ve stopped listening to local sports talk. So frickin’ boring is that. Give me an articulate, knowledgeable host, and include captivating guests with brilliant insights into a sport. Mostly what the national shows are doing..

  10. If they want to re-energize the sports radio market in Philly I think they need to bring back Josh Innes. Yea, I said it. Guy made listening to the radio fun because he didn’t feed into the ego stroking that is philly sports radio. We are not special. We are not the ‘greatest sports city on earth’ and we are not the most intelligent fans like some need to be told.

  11. You don’t want to hear Ingy, but Jose From Norristown is OK? That dude’s act jumped the shark years ago, I’m so happy that most of The Fanatics hosts don’t entertain his BS anymore

  12. This guy is clueless, I know how to get ratings. Just put me incharge of the promotional tickets.

  13. I yeah callers blow…almost as much as Mike Miss’ white gulit, left wing pinko rants. Sports Radio needs a makeover.

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