Mike Missanelli Explains Why Nobody Talks About the Flyers

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I totally missed this on Tuesday, but Flyers fans didn’t seem happy with Mike Missanelli. I saw some Twitter arguments and some scraps and scuffles here and there, but was not initially aware of the source.

They weren’t happy with Mike because he began his show by basically dismissing the Flyers’ eight-game winning streak before going on to explain why your team, your town, your Orange and Black aren’t worth talking about on 97.5 the Fanatic.

Mike opened Tuesday’s show with a primer, and said this, in part: 

“Flyers fans do not understand why they are always put at the bottom of the pecking order, and they have a legitimate question. And only the people in this business can answer the question. And we’re going to try to answer that question today. The Flyers have won eight in a row and the kid saved 40 shots (Monday) night, right? 41. They beat the Canucks. I watched a lot of the game and the kid stood tall. Now, here’s the thing we are told in radio – play the hits. Right? We’re told to play the hits. People who play music, they have to play the songs that their audience likes most, because if they’re not playing those songs, they’ll switch the station. It’s the same thing with sports talk subjects. We have to try to figure out what is most interesting to the majority of the fan base to talk about…”


Here’s my theory; there are more natural basketball fans in this city than there are hockey fans, which leaves hockey, unfortunately, at the bottom of the pecking order, and when you’re talking about playing the hits, you gotta play the ones atop the pecking order. The Eagles are always atop the pecking order. We’ll talk about the Eagles today, the Wentz/Foles situation and how he answered this Philly Voice report. Then you go to the Sixers, the Sixers have taken over the #2 slot because they’re a good team, and that makes them talkable. The process was talkable in that they were pursuing these better players to build a foundation and get better. And so Flyers fans do have a legitimate beef… the fact of the matter is that there are just more basketball fans here than there are hockey fans.

Some thoughts, in no real order, after the jump:

  1. We all know the ice hockey demographic is more suburban and more Caucasian than the basketball demographic. I don’t have numbers in front of me that explain how many people like basketball vs. hockey in Philadelphia, but national polls consistently have the NBA way out in front of the NHL.
  2. The Sixers’ Process was interesting from a talk radio perspective because it was controversial and intriguing. It was new and different, and it caused a generational rift that resulted in some passionate arguments both for and against. It was perfect for sports talk radio.
  3. The Flyers have just been sort of half-rebuilding and half-not-rebuilding. They have some great young players, but their rebuild was more traditional and less interesting than the Sixers.
  4. The Eagles are #1 and always will be #1. The Phillies took over briefly from 2008 to 2012 or so, then Chip Kelly came in and the Phils fell off, giving the top spot back to the Eagles. We are all the Eagles’ bitch, whether we accept it or not.
  5. The radio stations barely talk about baseball these days, so it’s not like Flyers fans are in some exclusive diss club. And when they do talk about baseball, it’s never about specifics, it’s macro topics like, “is the game too slow?” and “is Gabe Kapler a Philly guy?” Furthermore, try being a local soccer fan. We are barely even a blip on the radar.
  6. Yes, radio stations always have to play the hits. 93.3 WMMR has been playing the same shit for 20 years now. It’s Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, a work force block of whatever the hell Pierre Robert wants to play, and that Jane’s Addiction song that I swear is only heard in Philadelphia.
  7. Every media outlet I’ve ever worked for, the Eagles pay the bills. Eagles stories are #1 on Crossing Broad, they were #1 at Philly Voice, and they were #1 at CBS Philly. Traffic generated by other teams is not even close.
  8. It’s kind of ridiculous how Mike talks so much shit about the Flyers on the FLYERS OFFICIAL RADIO STATION. If I was a Flyers executive, I’d be super pissed and get on the phone daily with Eric Johnson. But –  where are they going to go, WIP? They can’t go to WIP, because WIP already has the Phillies and Eagles, and WIP probably doesn’t want them anyway. The Flyers are stuck in a radio deal where the #1 show is led by a guy who doesn’t even like hockey. At least Martinez fights for their honor.

The problem is this, and Russ and I discussed this on the most recent podcast, but it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Flyers fans don’t listen to the radio because they know WIP and 97.5 aren’t going to talk about hockey. Then the radio stations say, “well no one ever calls in to talk about hockey.

Yes, no shit. The reason no one calls in is because they’ve already tuned out, because they know that sports radio is going to be 95% Eagles talk over and over again. It’s a circular exercise, like the mythological snake that eats its own tail.

But when media outlets automatically gear 95% of their coverage to the Eagles, they are missing out on the COLLECTIVE WHOLE of baseball, hockey, basketball, and even soccer fans in Philadelphia, which I personally believe matches the size of a strictly Eagles crowd.

I made a helpful graphic to illustrate:

We all know the Eagles are the most popular team in town, so they are the top dog, yes? But when you combine the smaller fan bases of the others sports (plus Villanova, Temple, etc), that overlap is probably larger or at least the same as the cross-section of football fans who would turn the radio off during baseball or hockey talk. I really think the average Philadelphia sports fan would be fine with hearing the appropriate amount of NHL or MLB talk if it was correctly interspersed with the NFL and NBA.

Let me show it to you this way:

If we assume that all of the other teams combined hit (at the very least) the same interest level as the Eagles, then are we not collectively dismissing those fans, who are consumers and possible clients, before we even get started? We are narrowing the potential audience by being conservative programmers, right off the bat.


What if I don’t like the hits?

What if I don’t like Pearl Jam or Bruce Springsteen? I’m hooking up the bluetooth and going straight to Spotify because I want to hear Mudhoney and L7 and whatever else isn’t being played on the radio. I’m putting on a podcast or something else.

And furthermore, what if I DO like the Eagles, but don’t need to hear about them 95% of the time?

That’s the other problem; it’s not that Eagles talk isn’t justified from a money-making and format standpoint, because it is, it’s just that the local sports talk stations are automatically dismissing the alternative without truly exploring if it might be feasible or not. Unfortunately, in an archaic PPM world, people are hired and fired based on a super-small sample size of ratings that really is not truly representative of all Philadelphia sports fans.

So Mike isn’t wrong, and he’s been in the business long enough to know what works and what doesn’t, but the model of OUTRIGHT dismissing large chunks of fans who have other interests just rubs me the wrong way.

The end.

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55 Responses

  1. Mike is 100% right. I love hockey but it’s not to the level of nfl and nba. I love how he didn’t mention baseball,,, the game is totally dead.

  2. i can tell you that if I hear hiockey being discussed I immediately change the channel. I just dont care.

  3. Kink: Is it McDonalds policy that you apply the Ronald Makeup and yellow jumpsuit at home before arrival? Or do you get into character at the store?

  4. So Mike is saying there are more poor black residents in Philadelphia than affluent whites? RACIST!

  5. The problem is they talk about the same Eagles topics every day. How many more days do we need to hear about Wentz/Foles? The effort to talk about the other teams is pathetic. I am a Flyers fan but I know alot of people arent. I dont take offense. What I do take offense to is host trying to put you down for being a Flyer fan. Or painting with a broad brush that since I am a hockey fan, I hate basketball. That’s just a lazy narrative. Mike is just a troll. He does this from time to time to get people riled up. And for some reason people like that kind of talk. No one at the station will fight him on it and he gets no push back from his suck up co hosts. In 5 years him and Angelo will be gone and sports radio will finally get out from the same old boring format that was successful 25 years ago.

    1. Tell me about it. Same old same old. One would think a city this size and Sports Crazy have better Radio hosts

  6. I happened to catch this the other day (don’t listen to sports talk much outside prime drive hours). And the first thing I thought was “self-fulfilling prophecy.” So I was happy to see you say the exact same thing in this article. Mike has always said for years that hockey doesn’t count because there are more basketball fans than hockey fans. Well, if he says it, then it will prove to be true – it’s a nothing statement. But he treats your graph of teams above like it’s a bunch of individual isolated circles, when in fact it’s a much more complicated Venn diagram where fans of one team are interspersed with fans of another team (hello “4-for-4”). So why wouldn’t a Flyers fan want to hear Sixers talk, or vice-versa? But if Mike says it doesn’t matter, then it won’t matter. And a Flyers fan will listen to Snow the Goalie for in depth coverage.

      1. closer to million, this team has been awful for years now and number one reason myself or family care little. I spend more time wating all NHL teams then Flyers.

        1. dude, you’re dreaming. If there was a legit million flyers fans talk radio would be filled with flyers talk. at best its 100K.

          1. do you seriously think there are only 50k Flyers fans in this city? Seriously? Not sure if you haven’t noticed but hockey has exploded throughout the greater Philadelphia area. Multiple new rinks opening up that are packed from 6am – midnight 7-days a week. Just because people don’t have time to call up radio stations to talk about their sport doesn’t mean they aren’t fans. FOH

          2. This topic is crazy interesting to me – I’ve researched a bit on Sports Business Journal about CSN Local TV ratings and from 2001 – 2015, Flyers regular season games had higher ratings than 6ers regular season games, and most years they almost DOUBLED them in ratings. During those years, I literally did not hear ANY 6ers talk on the radio, nor talked to ANYONE that gave a shit about the NBA. Now (due to the NBAs insane rise in popularity since LeBron), it seems like it’s all anyone wants to talk about. Hockey listeners are out there, and there’s a LOT of them – makes no sense why 97.5 is that dismissive of them.

          3. when (if, ugh) the Flyers win another cup, you will see how wrong you are …biggest parade in this city’s history was 73-74 cup pararde …fact

      2. when (ugh, if) they win the cup again, you will see how wrong you are …biggest parade in this city still belongs to the 73-74 Flyers …fact

  7. The hosts dictate the topics, and Mike very rarely comes out the gates volunteering up a Flyers take.

    I’ve called in the past to talk Flyers, but you’re told “(enter host here, Mike or otherwise) is talking (enter other topic here), so you might be waiting a while”…then you just get frustrated and hang up after being on hold for 45 minutes to an hour, and 10-15 other calls have taken place.

    Then if you do get through, it’s either Mike starting off with “You Flyer guys crack me up…” when you just bring up the sport or a tongue-in-cheek dismissal, then he goes on a 15-20 second rant about how he “used to” cover the Flyers 25 years ago…so that somehow means he knows the sport today.

    1. why do you need to call another man about 20 yr old boys playing sports? just have your opinion and go on about life

  8. At this point I would love to hear ANY Jane’s on the radio. One of the least acknowledged important bands of that era.

  9. Why listen to someone like Mike or the majority of the other hosts talk about a sport they don’t care about and know next to nothing about. There are other options for hockey talk since there is satellite radio, podcasts and streaming services of stations that do cover hockey. If you want any hockey knowledge or Flyers information you aren’t going to get it from either station even if they are talking about the sport or the team.

  10. First off. Mike always was horrible with hockey talk. He doesn’t have Al to copy off of now. It use to be at 610 whatever Al said in morning Mike would say in the afternoon he can’t think for himself. He been in Eskin’s shadow his whole career. Always wanted to be hated and popular like Eskin. The real problem here besides Mike not being able to think for himself is that not enough of the sports hosts know about hockey. Who do you have that knows? Al m, K Jones,Glen M, Jodi, and Rob E. Bottom line it’s sports radio not Eagles talk radio. It’s all of sports mainly the top 4 and if you don’t know your top 4 you shouldn’t be in that chair behind that microphone. Just like Mike should never be. Primadonna never good at anything but taking other people’s words. He’s a joke.

    1. Sports radio is about rating. That’s why Pop Pop has been doing a morning zoo for 25 years.

  11. Why didn’t flyer fans complain about lack of coverage when they were 15 pts. out? It’s a niche sport with maybe 30k hardcore fans in Philly.

    1. Where were all these “HUGE 6ERS FANS” the past 20 years? Didn’t that team lose on purpose for 4 years?

    2. So that’s your barometer for measuring a fan base? How many people will take time out of their day to call a talk show that doesn’t discuss their sport or team in the first place?

  12. Kudos and props to you for the nice Peter Cetera reference: “At least Martinez fights for their honor”.

    Myrtetus wishes he was half the man. Half I tell you.

  13. Ever heard of a Venn diagram? I like all 4 teams in the city. You can be a fan of more than one. Just because I love the eagles doesn’t mean I don’t love the flyers too.

    And to whoever thinks there’s only 100 k flyers fans in the city you are a special breed of stupid.

  14. “…try being a local soccer fan. We are barely even a blip on the radar.”

    Unless you read this blog in 2019. Currently it’s a split in coverage between soccer, betting on soccer, betting on anything else… with a few stories mixed in about sports Philly actually cares about.

  15. You just covered many of the reasons I don’t listen to Missanelli anymore. He’s dismissive of anything that’s not important to him or his ratings. As you stated, it is freakin’ Flyers’ station. I’ve been away from home for a long time, but having returned to listening to Philly Sports Radio a few years ago, how dominant the Eagles are on Sports Talk Radio actually surprised me. Then I remembered that I live in a city with one professional sports team, yet what little sports talk radio exists here, is dominated by the NFL team four hours north.

    To the person who wrote “I thought 97.5 was ‘4 for 4?'” No. Anthony Gargano’s show was “4 for 4.” Mike’s has never been and never will be. I am now happy listening to WIP. Their morning show gives me enough Flyers talk.

  16. Kind of a spot on comparison to music stations that “play the hits” and have played the same thing forever. The only time I put on FM radio is if I’m too lazy to set up Spotify or a podcast or if it’s a short trip and I don’t want to mess with my phone. If my car made my Spotify playlists and podcast subscriptions more easily accessible I’d probably never turn on FM again.

    Talk radio is awful. To me, it’s formulaic, boring bullshit. I’m not criticizing anyone for listening to it. Sometimes formulaic is comforting. That’s why I’ll put on a few episodes of The Office that I’ve seen a hundred times. I’m not looking for anything overly stimulating, I just want to dull my brain and enjoy some background noise. Blowhards like Mike Missanelli are just never going to be on my radar for entertainment because their formula for what works is insufferable to me.

  17. How about zero. On Mike F r a n c e s a show from 3-6pm which the top rated local sports show in the country the talk is all about the Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Knicks and once in a while the Nets. Never hear him talk about the Rangers, Islanders or Devils. No one even calls about hockey. What’s amazing is all the calls the Knicks garner even though the team isn’t relevant. If it was the NHL playoffs and one of the teams had a legitimate chance to compete for the Cup he might get some calls.

  18. I listen to hockey talk on the NHL channel on Sirius because I know I’ll get more Flyers talk there than on Philly sports radio. And, aside from Jason Martinez and Glen Macnow, all of the other hosts -especially Mike Miss- talk Flyers with a high level of snark in their voice.

    It’s all Eagles, all the time on Philly sports radio. Unlistenable if you’re a fan of any other team in the city.

  19. Seems everytime you write about a radio host, there are at least triple the amount of comments than any other article. In relation to the radio “hits” I’m curious why there aren’t more articles radio related.

  20. For most of this season the Flyers were in position for the number 1 draft pick because they were AWFUL. When the firings happened it was all the talk (before and after). They haven’t been relevant for a long time. Who do you want the Flyers to draft? How do you talk about that?

  21. Two Mike quotes that explain his Flyers coverage thoughts.

    1. I hate trolls.
    2. I like to troll Flyer fans.

    If the Flyers lose 8-0, Mike will do his nose grunt and talk Flyers in the first segment. When the Flyers are playing well he will dismiss hockey as a sport.

    Mike is childlike. There is a reason he can’t keep a woman or a friend.

    BUT – he is a 60 year old dude that will tell you how tough and hip he is. He listens to Alt bro. Child.

  22. Stop listening to sports talk. Who cares what another listener has to say ,90% of what a caller says is dumb . Listen to podcasts. It will save your brain and maybe they will get new hosts on the radio when the ratings go down

  23. This is why radio is dead. who is still listening to radio? you can simply listen to more targeted less ad podcasts and have a superior experience. I have no idea why people still listen at all to 97.5

  24. Fact is, while hockey is a far superior sport to basketball, it is also much more difficult to actually “talk” about. Somehow talking about how Giroux was 12 of 14 on faceoffs, scored a goal, had an assist, and took 6 shots, isn’t quite as interesting as talking about Simmons’ triple-double, or Reddick’s 3PT shooting %. or Embiid’s big dunk Just is what it is..the other sports are just “easier” to talk about. Heck, I *HATE* basketball, yet, I bet with about 2 minutes of prep time, I could call in to a sports talk show and yap about basketball crap that sounds like I know what I’m talking about for 15 minutes. That does NOT mean the other sports are better. In my opinion, basketball is more of a show than a game…at least for the first 45 minutes. Last few minutes can be interesting, but they even mess that up with endless play stoppages.
    In short…OK, let’s talk hockey! …so what do you want to talk about? (crickets)….then show moves to other sports, usually football or basketball this time of year.

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