Saying One Nice Thing and One Negative Thing About Each Show on 94 WIP and 97.5 the Fanatic

bringing back a classic RADIO WARS image

The old saying is that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

So instead of going negative in this radio-focused post, we’re going to make sure we do it fair and balanced, like FOX News. It’s coverage you can count on, from Crossing Broad.

For this exercise, we’re going through each show on 94 WIP and 97.5 the Fanatic and saying one nice thing, and one negative thing. We’re keeping it to the main daypart shows, and we threw evening host Joe Giglio in there, too. We didn’t include the smaller evening shows or weekend shows that have rotating hosts, and wanted to narrow the focus instead.

CB staffers volunteered to write these blurbs about each show, and I filled in some of the entries that went unclaimed.

 

Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team

Nice thing: 

I know there are a lot of younger people who don’t particularly like the WIP morning show. Many of them are overly vocal about it. Hell, as a Morning Show listener, I’m in the minority here at Crossing Broad, and maybe it’s because I’m one of the old guys here (not the oldest… but close). But the fact is, Angelo is still the No. 1 show in town for a reason – and that’s because he gets the more fanatical fans in this town better than anyone. I sit on Twitter and fight with fans constantly who I think are out of their minds. I read fan group message boards on Facebook and crack up at the absurdity of the commentary. But the reality is, that represents the majority of Philadelphia sports fans. Do you think of yourself as more of an intellectual, heady, rational, objective? That’s awesome. Then this show isn’t for you. No, this show is for the people who go to extremes. Those who see a championship after every win and want to blow up the roster after every loss. That’s the majority of Philadelphia sports fans. And no one knows them better than Angelo, Al, Rhea, and their crew. – Anthony SanFilippo

Negative thing:

Anthony’s defense of the WIP morning show is absolutely ridiculous. The show has been unlistenable for 10 years, and the only thing worth tuning in for is those exclusive interviews with the Eagles head coach and Phillies manager (as a result of WIP’s multi-million dollar partnership with the Birds and flagship status with the Phils). When Ant writes “this show is for the people who go to extremes,” what he means to say is that it caters to the lowest common denominator of dumbass Eagles fans, who overreact to every single stupid thing that took place the previous Sunday. Angelo thrives on anti-pragmatism, fake outrage, and getting morons riled up, then his supporters have the audacity to call it “entertainment” while being too stupid to realize they’re being played. It’s one thing to be entertaining, but when that comes with keeping the average Philadelphia sports fan in the IQ toilet and lowering the overall level of sports discourse in this region, then you don’t get a gold star. You have to go sit in the corner and wear the dunce cap. – Kinkead

 

The John Kincade show

Nice thing:

This is going to seem weird, that I am writing the positive about both morning shows in town. And, I already said I was a listener of the WIP morning show. So, let me clarify. I’ve been listening to WIP in the morning for decades. Before I worked there. When I worked there. And since I left the station. But I do admit to being somewhat of a sports snob, and as much as I love their show, sometimes even I need to turn off Butch from Manayunk. I never felt like there was a viable alternative though… until now. What I like about Kincade is he understands that most of us, when we listen to talk radio, we are listening for the hosts (and potential special guests) and not to listen to the callers. As such, you can ensure that whenever you flip the dial to Kincade, you probably aren’t going to join the show in the middle of a random caller but rather are in the midst of insightful sports conversation. And that’s definitely more palatable than a Butch poem, or Jason from the Dirty 30 giving an Eagles cheer (I was on that bus by the way). It’s a different style than Angelo, but one that also works in the morning. Oh, and as a former hockey coach, Kincade can talk all four sports with ease. That’s refreshing too. Maybe it’s my Delco bias, but once Angelo retires, rather than flipping back and forth, my morning radio will be locked on Kincade. – Anthony

Negative thing:

Nobody claimed the negative entry for John’s show, so I’ll handle it. If there are two things that I think could use improvement here, it’s chemistry and transition. The first part, the chemistry, will come with time. Obviously when you throw a new lead host into a show with three people he doesn’t know, it’s going to take some time to build a rapport. That seems to be improving as the supporting cast of Bob Cooney, Jamie Lynch, and Pat Egan settle in with a new host.

The other thing, transition, centers on phone calls, and I’ve gone on the record 100 times saying that I enjoy this show because there are very few check ins from moronic people like “Ingy” and “Jim from Havertown.” But when you don’t have those natural breaks in the programming, sometimes the segueing in and out of topics can be abrupt and rough around the edges. Naturally, when a host is done making a point, he can just go to the first caller on the board, but with John’s show it can be a little herky-jerky when you put four guys in a room, ask them to talk for four hours (minus commercial breaks), and eliminate the transitional crutch that every other show leans on.

Oh yeah, and Kincade spells his last name incorrectly. It’s a bastardization of an honorable name. – Kinkead

 

Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie

Nice thing: 

When you want a job done right, hire a St. Joe’s Prep alumnus. That’s exactly the course WIP chose when it tapped longtime 97.5 the Fanatic host Joe DeCamara to helm the 10 AM-2 PM shift with former Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie. I can’t claim to be an avid listener; there are simply too many options nowadays, particularly in the podcast game, for a potential listener looking for informed and entertaining sports talk. Nonetheless, DeCamara and Ritchie have a solid on-air chemistry, and they have a nose for developing the kinds of contrarian takes that generate audience interest. You may not want to hear that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman had a good offseason, for example, but DeCamara is able to build a case compelling enough to at least get you to consider rethinking your reflexive frustration with Roseman. For his part, Ritchie allows DeCamara to steer the ship, but he also delivers solid if unspectacular insights of his own. I do wish sometimes Ritchie would leverage some of his football experience to speak a little more in-depth about the Eagles, but this is a show that is designed to appeal to a general audience. DeCamara and Ritchie know their lane, and they stick to it. The result is a decent product, and a solid bridge connecting Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team with Jon Marks and Ike Reese in the afternoon. – Tim Reilly

Negative thing:

Let me premise this by saying I think Jon Ritchie and Joe DeCamara are both fine fellows and know quite a bit about sports. Where the show loses me at some level is when it feels like DeCamara slips into a “be a contrarian for contrarian sake” to carry a show. If there’s a popular opinion to be had, you can be sure to find DeCamara on the opposite side of it. It may just be me, but at times it feels like Ritchie can barely hide his disdain for some of the opinions brought forth by Mr. DeCamara. Also, we get it… DeCamara’s seen like 10 movies in his life. No need to keep dipping into that well of “hilarity.” I will say, though, his performance on “Beat the Hammer” is insanely impressive and the free throw shooting prowess he put on display several years ago puts Ben Simmons to shame. – Coggin Toboggan

 

Anthony Gargano and the ‘Ciunas

Nice thing:

Anthony has a reputation for being this overly-excitable guy who goes overboard with the South Philly/Italian shtick, which may or may not be true. That depends on how you feel about him individually. But when you put that aside, this show is probably the most “take-free” of all of them. He and Andrew Salciunas don’t do the fake outrage or contrarian routine. There’s no haughty discussion about social or political issues. There are no absolutist type of statements. It’s pretty much straightforward sports talk, without the “I’m gonna tell you why Carson Wentz is a horrible person” type of shit that doesn’t really serve any purpose. His show is pretty honest and open and when the “Cuz” persona takes a back seat, you get a guy who will do things like call out “weak minded Eagles fan boys,” which we need more of in this town. – Kinkead

Negative thing: 

Anthony Gargano seems likeable enough, but he’s been doing a Mike Missanelli impersonation/tribute for so long that Gargano’s own identity seems like it’s been subsumed by the effort the way cover bands start to think people are listening to them and not the hit songs they didn’t create. Plus, it’s beyond enough with all the verbal tics and gibberish — this week for example he referred to off-brand  goods as “Bo Bo.” You shouldn’t need an Ant-to-English dictionary to listen to sports talk. – Phil Keidel

 

Jon Marks and Ike Reese

Nice thing:

When you go through all of the shows on this list, I think that Jon Marks, Ike Reese, and Jack Fritz have the best chemistry. The way they bounce off each other as a trio is seamless, and the show has a lot of laugh out loud moments because it’s light and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s an appropriate balance between entertaining and informative.

Another thing worth mentioning, and I think this is understated, is that Ike Reese has really come a long way from the early days of co-hosting with Mike Barkann. I was talking to a WIP host a few months ago, and he said “somebody should do a story on how good Ike is in 2021,” and that’s very interesting. When you listen to him now, you’d think he was a 30-year veteran, and not an ex-athlete who had to learn an entirely new career. – Kinkead

Negative thing: 

Nobody claimed the ‘negative’ entry for Jon and Ike, so I’ll fill it in.

My only criticism of this show is that it can be extremely “surface level” at times. It can be very “safe” from a content standpoint. What I mean by that is the daily topic often centers around whatever the fuck is going on with the Eagles at the time, which means we get a LOT of Carson Wentz and Howie Roseman talk on P.M. drive at WIP. This shouldn’t surprise anybody, because 94.1 is basically just 24/7 Eagles radio, but I think this show is at its best when it diverts from the beaten-to-death Birds topic of the week and strays into different territory. – Kinkead

 

The Mike Missanelli show

Nice thing: 

Mike Missanelli loves to remind us that he’s smarter than us, but to be fair to him, especially as compared to the average caller, he is absolutely the smartest guy in the conversation. It doesn’t happen often enough, but occasionally a caller will make a cogent point or ask a good question and in those moments Mike is almost always thoughtful and engaged in his response The problem, obviously, is that the other 99% of the time he’s rehashing an Eagles argument or playing the hits in some other fashion. It’s tough to fault him, though, because no matter what anyone thinks of his show, Missanelli continues to hold down his slot on 97.5, and there isn’t a challenger to his position at that station anywhere to be seen. – Phil

Negative thing: 

People think I hate Mike’s show, because we’ve had a couple of on-air arguments and he appears frequently on this website, but that’s not true. When he’s on topic and talking about sports it’s still a very good show, without the hot take approach that you find on some of the WIP shows. The problem is Mike’s hard left political turn, which took place during the Donald Trump years, and now we can’t get through 2-6 p.m. on the Fanatic without some kind of tiresome virtue signaling or a holier-than-thou lecture about white privilege or any similar topic that people don’t want to hear on this platform. Some of the recent conversations about Odubel Herrera were completely unlistenable, because it was just three people agreeing with each other in a hardline way that eschewed any kind of nuance or openness to differing opinions. And again, it’s not that these topics aren’t important, but this is sports talk radio, not The Huffington Post. – Kinkead

“Stay in your lane”

 

Joe Giglio on WIP evenings

Nice thing:

Everybody likes to criticize Joe for taking the contrarian viewpoint, but there are some important things to consider here. The first is that he is excellent at supporting his positions with logical and data-driven responses. Whether or not you agree with his opinions, they are never lazily constructed or formed simply to appease listeners. Ultimately, Joe has one of the market’s few shows that challenges groupthink. Sometimes, his positions are uncomfortable because they force you to consider potentially devastating scenarios.

As an example, despite popular opinion, the Phillies’ struggles in 2018 and 2019 were not all because of Gabe Kapler. Many of the same issues haunted the team in 2020 with a more established manager. It was easy and convenient to blame Kapler, with his eccentricities, but his missteps were exaggerated to the point where he became the sole source of blame. As it turns out, not every player who struggled in those seasons did so because of him — the problems ran much deeper. The other notable situation was with Carson Wentz. Joe was one of the first radio personalities in the city to question Wentz’s no-brainer standing as a franchise quarterback. At the time, many thought it was laughably ridiculous to make such an assertion. Sure, the jury is still out on Wentz ahead of his new start in Indy, but the guy isn’t here anymore, and Giglio deserves credit for being ahead of the curve in challenging conventional wisdom. – Bob Wankel

Negative thing:

Joe and I are starting to find some common ground. When he was deciding what steak place he liked best in Philly and picked Jim’s, as a kid who was West Philly born-and-raised and had Jim’s as a neighborhood staple, I texted him to tell him he couldn’t be more right. And when he was interviewing Ruben Amaro, Jr. recently and expressed his biggest concern for the Phillies in 2021 is their starting pitching depth, I tweeted him and said we are agreeing too often, we must be living in the upside down.

And although if we keep agreeing on things, we could be headed toward an unexpected, budding friendship, I still can’t get past the annoying, Skip Bayless, “takeiness” of his show. If Eliott Shorr-Parks didn’t have a platform on WIP, I’d consider Giglio as the worst take artist in Philly media. It’s not that the guy is dumb. It’s quite the contrary – Giglio is brilliant. He knows how to get your goat. He knows how to make an argument in such a way that he will get callers who are livid and disagree with him as much as he will the fringe lunatics who say, “I’ve been saying this to my friends for years, and none of them agree with me.” From a business perspective for radio, it’s smart as hell. From an entertainment perspective, it’s annoying as hell. Joe pokes the bear a little too much for me, and because I know he’s doing it on purpose and he’s not just some dolt with a misinformed opinion, it bothers me more. When he’s right about something, he’ll remind you. When he’s wrong about something, he’ll remind you what he’s right about. And again… it’s done intentionally to get your goat, which is the worst thing about his show. – Anthony

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