Some Thoughts on Tuesday’s Double Dose of RADIO WARS

Tuesday was an incredibly hectic day in these parts. Two RADIO WARS posts and a shakeup at 97.5 the Fanatic to follow another miserable Eagles loss and press conferences with Doug Pederson and Doc Rivers. There was a lot to digest.

First, the story of Mike Missanelli and his contract.

It’s not an “extension,” per se, which is why the story headline was written as: “RADIO WARS: Mike Missanelli’s Contract Extended Through 2021.” The way it was explained to us is that this was an “option” that was exercised, though we’re unsure which side did the exercising and/or if it was just triggered automatically. Sometimes contracts are written in a way that if certain parameters are met, they simply kick in. It would be like a Philadelphia Eagle getting a cash bonus for making the Pro Bowl. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one specific party exercised the option; it just happened.

But Mike’s show, despite a dip in Nielsen ratings, is still the #1 show at the Fanatic. He still generates more revenue than the other shows and he’s the face of that station, which is not even 15 years old. Beasley management would be smart to ride it out with Mike, despite whatever ratings hiccups they may experience, or however many disgruntled listeners email the station complaining about political talk subverting the topic of sports.

As for Marc Farzetta’s departure, the immediate reaction on social media seems to be mostly negative. Here’s a sampling:

The 97.5 morning show is always going to be up against it.

First, you have Angelo Cataldi, who is entrenched in that time slot and continues to pull big ratings for God knows what reason. I can’t believe people find his shtick entertaining or funny. It’s unlistenable outside of the interviews with Doug Pederson and Joe Girardi, which are contractually mandated.

Second, Beasley has two strong non-sports morning shows in Preston and Steve and John DiBella, which eats up another large portion of the ratings pie. There is not much pie left.

That considered, one way for Beasley to proceed is to bring in a host who is strong with the sales department and can build relationships with advertisers without necessarily having the ratings to match. Anthony Gargano would be a decent example, because clients will advertise on his show and spend money in other areas that don’t make the Nielsen or streaming data as important as it normally would be.

I’ll say this, and I believe it 100% –

Marc Farzetta made the right decision to leave WIP and give it a shot against his mentor in Cataldi. What exactly was the alternative anyway? You sit behind Angelo for an unknown amount of years, waiting for an opportunity that might not even come? There was no guarantee that the WIP future he wanted would have even been made available for him. Marc took the leap, went for it, and put together a straightforward show that featured some guys sitting around talking sports. The general consensus seems to be that the show was steady, if unspectacular. Maybe it needed a corny gimmick. Who knows?

But going up against Angelo is kind of like going up against Jim Gardner, i.e. it’s pointless to even try. You are best just waiting those guys out and playing the long game, fighting the war of attrition. Philadelphia is an old school, parochial type of town that loves familiarity and comfort and does not willingly step outside the comfort zone. If 97.5 had the patience, they could have kept Gargano or Farzetta in the morning slot, tried to build that audience, and then find themselves with a foothold upon Angelo’s retirement.

Which brings us to:

John Kincade.

He’s our leader in the clubhouse for the morning show and we right now believe that he is going to be the long-term replacement for the Fanatic. There’s too much smoke and too much fire. John is a sports radio veteran and Philadelphia native who has longstanding ties with WIP and was seen to be Angelo’s successor, but in a situation not dissimilar from Farzetta’s, the timing of the arrival and departure just didn’t seem to add up.

I listened to John’s show when I lived in Atlanta and the interesting thing is that it’s different than what you’d normally hear on Philadelphia sports talk radio. He does not lean on phone calls and you’ll hear more from the hosts, more guests, and more content that is non-reliant on listener interaction. If he does take over for Marc, you’ll get a different style and different approach on 97.5’s morning show, and that’s worth monitoring for anybody who finds the typical routine at both stations to be stale and/or predictable. It might be successful, or it might not, but it will be different.

What interests me the most, if Kincade does end up on mornings, is how Angelo reacts. He was not happy with one mentee going to 97.5. Would that situation be the same with a second mentee? Does it result in a renewed vigor? Is there a sense of BETRAYAL?

Cue the music!


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