Ranking the Ten Best and Ten Worst Sports Radio Callers in Philadelphia
Last week, I sent out an innocuous tweet asking for help compiling a list of the best and worst sports radio callers in the Delaware Valley. I had a basic idea of who I wanted to include, but didn’t have a full list compiled, and was honestly stunned by the fact that 272 people replied to the tweet. There were some really strong opinions regarding the folks who dial up 94 WIP and 97.5 the Fanatic on a regular basis.
Taking those responses into account, then adding input from Crossing Broad staff and local media, quote tweets, and direct messages, we ended up with a sample size of about 300 people who helped put this thing together.
If this story doesn’t win me a Pulitzer, then I don’t know what will. Here’s my top ten best and worst sports radio callers in our region:
The worst of the worst
10. Scott from Barrington
“Brother Kevin, why did I make it on this list?”
Scott always calls people “brother,” which makes me feel like I’m at a church sermon instead of listening to sports radio.
9. Angry Al
For a long time, it felt like I’d hear Al on the radio every single time I turned on either station. He actually appeared, if you can believe it, on an old school Philly Pheud episode where Fanatic hosts competed against the callers. This clip dates back to 2013, and zero of the four hosts still work at the station. Tony Bruno is gone, Harry Mayes is gone, Jon Marks went to WIP, and Jason Myrtetus recently joined the Flyers after he was let go:
Al also calls 94 WIP.
A while back, he went up against the late Levi from Overbrook in what could either be the best radio segment of all time or worst radio segment of all time. It doesn’t feel like there’s a middle ground here:
In doing research for this article, I came across an Inquirer article from 2008 describing an argument between Arthur, an ex-convict, and Howard Eskin:
Howard Eskin spent nine minutes of his 610 WIP show Wednesday berating a regular caller named Arthur because he made an in-studio appearance with SportsRadio 950 AM Monday with morning hosts Michael Bradley and Glenn Foley. In this, Eskin, sounding like a jealous boyfriend, shouts at Arthur, who sounds like Froggy from “Little Rascals,” that he is not permitted from calling another local radio station the same day.
During the exchange, Eskin grows increasingly angry as Arthur wont commit to not calling any other stations as Arthur pretends to not understand. “You are not allowed to call any other radio stations in the Philadelphia area. Do we agree?…You’re a nitwit and a moron. Do you friggin’ agree? If I find out that you did not abide by the agreement, you are done forever.”
Arthur used to call Howard every Saturday. He may still do that. I’m not entirely sure.
7. Kenny from the Dirty 30
One of Angelo’s regulars, I swear to God he appears on the show every day.
Kenny doesn’t seem like a bad guy, but his opinions are terrible and his contributions to the embarrassment that took place at the 1999 NFL Draft can never be forgiven. Kenny could recite the Hail Mary and the Our Father 10,000 times and it wouldn’t be enough atonement for his participation in the Dirty 30.
6. Mike from King of Prussia/Mad Mike
Mike was tagged in my crowd-sourcing tweet and actually contacted me before this article was published. He explained that “sad sacks” in Philadelphia don’t like to hear the truth, that “our general managers suck” and that The Process failed.
Mike stands by his takes and says he is not acting. He truly believes what he says, which I can begrudgingly respect.
An absolute moron with the personality of a wet blanket, Ingy would often dampen the vibes with his negativity every time he called in.
Seriously. Whenever Ingy got through, you could just feel the air leave the room, like a big balloon being deflated. He truly sucked the life out of any show with his horrendous takes and his crappy attitude.
4. Butch from Manayunk
I wrote an entire op-ed about Butch, explaining why I feel like he should be banned from all Eagles-related events.
Just a few months ago he was on Cataldi’s show talking about smoking weed in the Lincoln Financial Field bathroom before driving home from a game. He recently serenaded Greg Ward and Vinny Curry with the worst song I’ve ever heard and is a true embarrassment to Philadelphia sports fans everywhere:
Butch from Manayunk singing for Greg Ward and Vinny Curry 😂🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/nRZj1oIoFt
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) January 3, 2020
3. Eagles Shirley
Shirley is enthusiastic, a true Philadelphia Eagles fan who bleeds green.
Unfortunately she is an automatic channel change whenever she comes on.
2. Dave from Center City
Apparently he got banned for talking about dating a woman who wanted him to “poop on her.” That’s good enough to land you at #2 on the worst callers list.
I’ve also heard that Dave masquerades as “Hodge” in an effort to get past call screeners and try to share his terrible opinions on the radio. This has not yet been confirmed, though I will continue to ‘effort’ that information.
EDIT: it’s not him –
— Pat Egan (@Pat_Egan) March 4, 2020
1. Jim from Havertown
My understanding is that Jim was banned from both stations for saying things that cannot be repeated on this website.
If you’d like an image that sums up what he was all about, check this out:
— Jim The Producer (@Jimproducer) December 28, 2019
That’s a typical reaction to any Jim from Havertown phone call. He was, by far, the absolute worst caller in Philadelphia sports radio history, just a total butthole.
honorable mentions: Jeff from Camden, Arson Arnie, Mitchie Tools, Gus from Allentown, Murray from Mayfair, Jimmy from Mount Holly, Ish, Leslie from Fort Lee
The best of the best
10. Reuben “Big Rube” Harley
Some people said I should put Rube on the ‘worst’ list because he’s always talking about his chicken, but I’m putting him on the ‘best’ list because he’s got a unique success story that was chronicled a few years ago in Philly Mag, reading in part:
After a stint in Brooklyn, his family settled in West Philly, next to a crack house on Ithan Street, between Locust and Spruce. His parents divorced when Rube was three, and eventually his grandmother moved in with the family. She and Rube’s mom were unflinching in their resolve to keep the kids — six altogether; Rube is the second-oldest — on track. Whenever Rube threaded himself into the knots of kids hanging on street corners, his grandmother marched out and yanked him inside by his ear.
“It was embarrassing,” Rube says. “But the guys that didn’t have that structure, they fell like leaves, either murdered or incarcerated. They didn’t have that person to be like, look, you’re not going to be that.” (The strict upbringing worked: All six kids grew up to be successful
I’ve never had Big Rube’s chicken, but I’d like to try it.
9. Mike from South Philly
Gotta be honest, I don’t know a lot about Mike, but in gathering recommendations for this story, a ton of people told me that he needed to be added to the “best” list, so I’ve got him slotted in here at number nine.
8. Pat from Ambler
Good caller, always comes prepared with a challenging trivia question.
7. Bob from Tennessee
Love Bob’s accent. He’s formerly Bob from Glenmoore, which is located in the middle of nowhere, northwest of Exton in Chester County. I laugh out loud every time Bob calls in and starts talking.
6. Phil from Mt. Airy
I have to put Phil on the list because anybody who was able to parlay their phone calls into an actual job at the radio station deserves a round of applause. Phil is also the only person who ever had me on the radio to talk about soccer (during the 2014 World Cup), so he gets an automatic spot in the top ten for that.
5. Vicente from Ecuador
Vicente Morales is actually a PennDOT employee and got a nice write up on their website a while back:
As a pavement management engineer and supervisor, Morales has a lot of responsibilities at PennDOT. He recently made his way to Richmond, Va., to represent District 6 at a peer exchange conference on new composite pavement systems hosted by the Federal Highway Administration. The conference was an exciting opportunity for Morales to build relationships with other transportation departments who have already successfully implemented the “PCC”over “PCC” pavement system.
He also loves to talk sports and began calling into “The Mike Missanelli Show” on 97.5 FM The Fanatic five years ago as a way to decompress after work on his ride home from the office each day. “Vicente from Ecuador” soon became a regular caller on the show, discussing sports with Mike and partaking in weekly trivia.
In 2016, Morales won the show’s general knowledge trivia contest championship. Since then, his voice has become a popular drop for the radio station. Every Wednesday, when a caller answers the right trivia question, Morales’ voice can be heard uttering that famous word “Correctamundo!” The drop has made Morales a sort of celebrity among sports radio listeners.
Here’s Vicente with Mikey Miss:
4. Bernie from Broomall
Bernie Taraschi used to be a 97.5 celebrity and ended up on the soundboard there. He was featured frequently in their off-air video clips and contests, but for whatever reason I don’t recall hearing him lately.
Is he alright? Somebody holla and let me know what Bernie has been up to.
3. Jose from Norristown
We got… HOCKEY action yo!
Jose is still the GOAT in my book. I don’t think he calls anymore, maybe because Bruno and Mayes are no longer on 97.5, but they brought him in a while back to sing Folsom Prison Blues:
2. Dwayne from Swedesboro
The man, the myth, the legend.
1. Linda from Mayfair
Linda is a breast cancer survivor and huge baseball fan who tells it how it is. She recently moved into a new place with help from the WIP community:
I’m delighted to tell you that @SportsRadioWIP’s best friend, Linda from Mayfair, has found new housing near Fairmount Park, which she describes as “a castle.” Thanks to all who reached out to help. The WIP community is a great one.
— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) June 29, 2019
Not sure how many people remember, since it as a long time ago, but Glen and Anthony Gargano actually put together a fundraiser for Linda back in 2011, which was held down at Chickie’s in South Philly. These are the types of Philadelphia sports fan stories that fly under the radar, but need to be told.
honorable mentions: Spanky, Arthur from the Turnpike, VT Ron, Sean from Pine Hill, Graph from Media, Alfie from Abington, Karate Mark, A.J. in West Philly, Henry from Tampa, Rock in Atlanta, Chris from Williamstown, Levi from Overbrook (RIP), Mike from West Chester (RIP)