94 WIP head honcho Spike Eskin is going to New York next month to take over as Vice President of Programming for WFAN and CBS Sports Radio.
That’s a huge deal. Awesome job. It doesn’t get any bigger than media market #1. Spike is going to be tasked with replicating the success he found at WIP up there in The Big Apple.
Whenever people think about the job that Eskin did over the years, you have to begin with where the station was when he took over. WIP was coming out of the Josh Innes/Andy Bloom era, which left fracturing in need of repair. Spike left the morning show alone, put Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on middays, paired Jon Marks with Ike Reese, and gave the evening shift to Joe Giglio. That resulted in WIP finding stability and then proceeding to crush 97.5 the Fanatic in the ratings. The operation was humming along as the RADIO WARS drama of years past subsided.
Of course, there were always gripes. People believe Spike is a hot take guy. They claim nepotism is the reason he got the WIP gig in the first place. Fair or not, you see these complaints in the comments that follow any Twitter or Facebook post about the topic.
But the bottom line is that WIP has been a juggernaut for several years now, so whether you like the changes or not, you should give credit where it’s due. That station is a well-oiled machine and pretty much everything Spike did over there ended up working. He was very good at keeping the peace behind the scenes and turning the focus to the important things.
That said, here are seven suggestions for the new Program Director, whoever that ends of being:
1. Reinstitute the old caller rule
I listen to Marks and Reese every day while driving home after picking up my daughter, and I swear to God that “Chuck from Mount Airy” calls at the same exact time. Every day.
Years ago, the late Tom Bigby introduced a rule where callers were only allowed to dial in once per week and once on the weekends. That eventually went out the door and resulted in this situation where now you began to hear the same people, multiple times per day.
That’s cool if you’re somebody like Levi (RIP), who became somewhat of a cult figure on the station. But the callers are not the stars of the show. They are typically the least informed and least interesting people speaking. The stars are the hosts and the guests, and we don’t need to create a platform where Bobby from Boyertown gets an automatic three minutes every single day at 1:30 p.m. on his lunch break. More often than not, Bobby from Boyertown adds nothing to the program.
It’s time to reinstitute the old caller rule.
2. Fewer phone calls in general, more guests
Some of the best radio WIP does is when they have experts on the show. I want more of Ross Tucker and Baldy and Sheil Kapadia. Angelo had Laura Rutledge on his show last week for the ULTRA RARE mention of college football, which is sorely underappreciate in this town.
As such, the new Program Director should add a new rule:
Reduce the volume of listener phone calls by 25%, and each day part must book two more guests per week.
3. Spare us the banality of offseason Eagles talk
I know the Birds rule town and WIP is the radio partner, but holy shit, we do not need to hear about Howie Roseman every five seconds, especially during the offseason.
WIP and 97.5 continually ignore interesting national and/or niche topics because we have to hammer home the same Eagles shit over and over again. They talk more about the Eagles than every other local team combined, even when the Eagles aren’t even playing.
The new Program Director should let the hosts branch out and talk about other topics they enjoy, because it keeps things fresh and energetic. It keeps them engaged without the banal burnout. One of the best days WIP had in recent memory is when Jon and Ike went into reactionary/freelance mode after John Chaney’s death and got some former Temple players on the phone. That was really good radio with a lot of interesting stories being shared.
4. Ban several callers, for life!
The following callers should never be allowed to dial the station again:
- Eagles Shirley
- anybody from the Dirty 30
- Butch from Manayunk
- Andy from Deptford
- Angry Al
- Jim from Havertown
Enough already. This group adds absolutely nothing of substance to any program they appear on. Specifically INGY, who has some of the most asinine opinions of anybody this side of the Mississippi.
5. Continue to promote and develop unique daily segments
Text line, Beat the Hammer, Stump the Millennial, etc –
All of these segments are entertaining. They help break up the monotony of Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts talk and provide laughs at the same time. WIP should continue to build on these daily and weekly productions and see what else they can come up with, because right now this is some of the best material they are currently doing. Glen and Ray’s weekend interviews are also really enjoyable.
6. Take Eliot’s phone away
No more of this, please:
The Giants might have the worst HC, QB, O-Line, D-Line in the NFC East
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) May 13, 2021
Make it stop. Merciful God in heaven. The new PD should sit down and say, “you’re pretty good on the radio with Seltzer, so let’s leave the hot take thing in the past and introduce a new ESP.”
7. Time for Angelo and Howard to take a hike
Enough already. Let’s move it forward in the mornings and usher in a new era of pragmatic sports talk without the fake outrage. Without calling people “morons” and “dopes” and “nitwits.” The caveman Philadelphia sports fan stereotype exists as long as these two remain associated with 94 WIP in any way, shape, or form.
Anyway, congrats to Spike on the new gig. He did a really good job turning WIP into a machine.