Spike Eskin on the “Challenge and Privilege” of going to WFAN

At the Philadelphia Business Journal, Jeff Blumenthal spoke to Spike Eskin about his pending departure from Sports Radio 94 WIP.

Eskin will take over as the Vice President of Programming for WFAN and CBS Sports Radio on the first of July, and told Blumenthal he wasn’t so sure about the move at first:

He came to believe, though, that New York, and specifically WFAN, was a natural fit. Not only is it the largest media market in the country, but it’s also not far from Philadelphia and has the same type of passionate northeast sports fans. Plus, he would get to work again with New York Market Manager Chris Oliviero, who he had known when Oliviero was chief content officer at Audacy predecessor CBS Radio.

“I thought about it and I was excited about the platform of WFAN, the challenge and privilege of working with the hosts and staff there, making them the best they can be and taking the station to its next chapter like we did here at WIP,” Eskin said. “I probably could have been very happy at WIP for the next 10 years but I thought this was a great opportunity.”

Here’s a thought –

There’s nothing left for Spike to do at WIP. It’s not like there’s any unfinished business. They are #1 across the board and beating the brakes off the Fanatic, so going to NY is a promotion and a new challenge at the same time.

Blumenthal also asked about the idea that WIP started doing “takes” when Eskin took over:

“Hosts will take a provocative stance to draw in listeners. Cataldi has been doing this for years, with many seeing him playing a character or at least a heightened version of himself on air. Hosts such as Marks and Giglio have earned similar reputations and Eskin even hired Eagles reporter Elliott Shorr-Parks, (sic) who is also known for taking stances he knows will elicit strong responses.

“Every host is different,” Eskin said. “If everyone agreed with each other, things would be crazy. The idea should be to create conversation and entertain. It’s not about trolling people or being disingenuous. It’s about finding topics where a conversation can be had. Every host should do that. What’s different is how they do it. Angelo does it one way, Jon and Ike do it their way, and Joe does it his way.”

That’s true, but here’s my “take” –

You don’t necessarily have to disagree about something to discuss it. It’s not like two radio hosts just sit there and say, “We both like Jalen Hurts, therefore there’s nothing to talk about.” You also don’t have to feel strongly about a topic to engage. Pragmatic analysis takes all sides of an issue and presents various talking points to support or discredit a respective position. You can be a Ben Simmons “stan” and still discuss with other people the jump shot or the spacing issue. You can play devil’s advocate or exercise any number of techniques for the sake of conversation. You can be informative and entertaining at the same time, and sometimes we get the latter without the former on all media platforms, because there’s an infusion of artificial beliefs to reel in the lowest common denominator of the audience.

Anyway, read Jeff’s full story here: