RADIO WARS - Some Thoughts on the Changes at 94 WIP
Carlin got on the radio for a few minutes yesterday to confirm his departure, then turned it over to Jon Marks, the evening host who will now do afternoon drive alongside Ike Reese for the foreseeable future. Joe Giglio will take over Marks’ nighttime slot.
I didn’t listen to a lot of Carlin and Reese in that 2 to 6 p.m. slot, but I wouldn’t say I “disliked” the show. It just sort of existed.
Did Carlin’s New York roots bother listeners? I don’t know, but Angelo Cataldi and Jim Gardner aren’t from Philly and they made out okay. Difference is that those guys have been here forever and have their loyal audience, like Mike Missanelli, who was Chris and Ike’s competition at 97.5 the Fanatic. It’s always going to be tough to compete in that time slot, whether it’s Ike, Jon, Carlin, or anybody.
WIP finally had some stability in afternoon drive after going from the Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano lineup, to the Gargano and Rob Ellis lineup, to the Josh Innes and Tony Bruno lineup, to the Innes and Spike Eskin and Hollis Thomas lineup, to the blah blah blah, you get the point.
But ratings are good for WIP. They’re very good. They’re winning every slot in the key demographics (aka men) except for 2 to 6.
That said, I thought they might stick with Marks in evenings, if only for the recency of his hire (February) and the newness of the Sixers post-game show that he had been hosting. Marks was in the early stages of building something through the station’s beefed up Sixers coverage, a strategy that seems to be successful even without holding the team’s broadcast rights. My guess was that the station’s veteran personalities, guys like Jody Mac, Ricky Ricardo, Glen Macnow, and Ray Didinger, might serve as a rotating cast of co-hosts for Ike until the station was ready to make a permanent hire. That wasn’t the case. Apparently Marks was in the plans for some time.
But even though Jon is coming from the evening show, he has experience in every other time slot dating back to his 97.5 days. He produced Missanelli’s show before taking an on-air midday role alongside Sean Brace. That evolved into a morning show gig with Anthony Gargano, who marginalized Marks and dominated the microphone. So Jon is familiar with important time periods, just not at WIP.
As for Giglio, I think Joe is the most underrated host in Philadelphia.
I really do.
Nobody does more prep than he does. He just watches more sports than anybody else. Baseball, football, college, etc., guy is an encyclopedia. His show is very straightforward. No bullshit, none of the “who is the toughest Philly athlete of all time?” crapola, none of that.
And his takes are fresh, too. Joe was one of the first people to really to go to bat for Doug Pederson as a head coach and play caller when everybody else was ripping him:
-26 first downs
-214 yards rushing
-Poised in the 4th
Wake up, haters. Doug Pederson is doing a very good job.
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) October 1, 2017
Joe writes for NJ.com and also does some radio in New York, so I don’t know if those roles continue. He’s covered a lot of shifts at WIP and usually fills in seamlessly. Joe has worked some shitty and inconsistent hours, so he’s certainly paid his dues. He’s extremely baseball savvy, which makes him a perfect fit for the “Leading Off” Phillies pre-game show, as well as post-game coverage.
That leaves a combination of guys to cover nights and weekends, like Rob Charry, Hollis Thomas, Howard Eskin, Jon Johnson, Andrew Porter, Marc Farzetta, Jolly, Roob, Vince Quinn, and the BGN Radio guys. I think Glen and Ray on weekend mornings is the best show on local radio, so sue me. Rich Zeoli from 3 to 6 is a close second.
But does a Marks/Reese pairing move the needle during afternoon drive? I don’t know. I don’t know if anybody competes with Mikey Miss in that time period, but Mike has seemed a little tired and disinterested lately, so maybe you just wait it out here. Play the attrition game and win the other slots. WIP also has to consider Angelo Cataldi’s eventual retirement.
And all of that should wait anyway, since the Entercom merger seems to FINALLY be taking place. I mean, that news was first announced when I still worked at CBS 3, which was more than a year and a half ago. This week, CBS Radio employees finally received information regarding benefit transition, so it appears we’re getting closer to completion.
I don’t know too much about the new bosses that will be overseeing WIP, WPHT, WOGL, and the rest of the cluster. Are they big on sports? Do they have an eye for talent? Will Spike be green-lighted for hirings and firings, or will that responsibility go to someone else? I don’t know. 94 WIP does the highest “billing” (money making) out of any of those stations, so I’m working under the assumption that the focus will be directed there. It’ll also be interesting to see whether Eyewitness News and WIP continue their relationship since they’ll no longer be “sister stations” under CBS ownership. We weren’t allowed to put 97.5 talent on channel 3 for obvious reasons, but WIP personalities were allowed to go wherever they wanted. I always found that one-way street annoying, if understandable.
As far as The Fanatic, I think they’re doing some positive things over there. Mike is Mike. I think Harry Mayes and Jason Myrtetus are a solid combination on the midday show. I honestly haven’t listened to much of the Cuz lately, so I will abstain on judging Bob Cooney’s addition. I enjoy Devon Givens’ Sixers post-game shows and I think Geoff Mosher does a nice job as well on various time slots.
WIP will have new owners while 97.5 adds a new program director, Eric Johnson, so it’s somewhat of a new beginning for each station.
Also, I know he’s happy in Atlanta and isn’t coming home, but I’d still like to see a John Kincade return. I think he’d really push Mike on afternoon drive.
John has always been ahead of the curve with the idea that Philly sports talk falls back on rudimentary “crutch” topics. He did the Crossing Streams podcast with Kyle last year and elaborated on that:
“What (program directors) want to do is ‘Bill from Roxborough,’ ‘Joe from Fishborough,’ – pound calls and everything. There’s no talent in that. You have to entertain. You have to inform. You have to engage in debate. I don’t take one phone call, ever, in my entire career, where I’m taking a survey: ‘Call up and tell us your favorite Phillies moment!’ I hear this crap all the time and I immediately turn it off. ‘Who is the worst Eagles coach of all time?!’ Really? You got out of bed this morning and you’re taking a paycheck and that’s what you come up with? That’s lazy ass radio. It really is.”
I listened to John’s show when I lived in Atlanta for a few months. It’s good. There’s more.. I don’t know, “purpose” in the way it’s produced and delivered. You don’t get the sense that he walks into the station wearing sweatpants and does five seconds of prep before jumping on the microphone. John’s a pro, one of the fewer “big names” out there with a local connection.
Anyway, it feels like the halcyon days of Josh Innes, Andy Bloom, and Matt Nahigian are long gone.
It’s the dawn of a new RADIO WARS era.