Mike Missanelli announced his 97.5 the Fanatic departure on Tuesday afternoon. A shocker! It really came out of the blue. The whispers were hushed and the news kept very quiet by the parties that knew what was going on. Perhaps there’s more to uncover here!
As we reported last night, Beasley is lining up a Tyrone Johnson, Hunter Brody, and Ricky Bottalico trio to do P.M. drive moving forward.
In the meantime, I have transcribed the entire statement that Mike delivered on the air. It’s worth reading:
“It’s difficult to get this out because it seems so surreal, but this is my last day as host of The Mike Missanelli Show. My current contract expires in a couple of weeks and the company and I have decided to go in another direction. This is like the guy who comes into Bull Durham and they go ‘the organization wants to make a change.’ Well that’s what’s going on. The station and I are talking about me remaining with the company in some kind of a role, but who knows.
What I can tell you is they already have a replacement show under contract and I’m sure you’ll be hearing about that in the next few days. In the meantime, I have left some vacation and sick days and I’ll take care of this messed-up foot, I think today is just time to get up on out of here.
So change is good. But I have to tell you this is a very difficult day for me because of the long relationship I’ve had with y’all. I’ll say this; I tried to give my heart with every show I did here for 15 years. I had some missteps in my career, as you well know, but in the end I hope the good outweighed the bad and that people think I’ve been a positive part of this radio station’s brand.
It’s been a privilege to come in here each and every day and talk with the greatest fanbase in America. My only goal each day was to be as honest and trustworthy (as possible) because I think you deserved at least that from me. And if I offended you in any way with my sometimes arrogant, know-it-all opinions I sincerely apologize. Just know that I was trying to make you think outside the box, and sometimes I found it necessary to discuss some subjects that were a little more serious than sports, but I thought I needed to put a voice to some social issues that were important to us all.
I am very proud of the charity (events) we’ve been able to partner with here, such as the Mike Miss Open, and Fan Fest, and so many other things. I’m especially proud that we never tried to soft pedal any of the interviews we did with the various coaches, general managers, and players. Tough questions may not have won me any popularity contests, but you deserved to hear the truth and I’m happy that we were over the years able to form some special bonds with callers. You callers know exactly who you are. The great callers who were more regular callers here, I really appreciate it and you won a special place in my heart.
And there are so many more people to thank here. First of all I want to thank all of the producers I’ve had at this radio station, all of the people who worked their butt off making this show and me look good. Tyrone, obviously you go back with me the longest. Thanks for your guidance and friendship, and my sincere wishes for future success, and all of the previous producers I’ve had. You’re destined for great things Tyrone, and I’ll be following you and I’ll be here any time you need me.
Jen, you’ve been a great partner. You blended in so smoothly with us alphas, and (pauses)… before Jen Natalie and her great contributions.. all of my colleagues, Cuz, the morning crew, Devon, the staff behind the scenes (starts naming co-workers, guests, sponsors, etc)…
Listen, it’s been a great run. I apologize for being emotional, but think about it – I got to be a sports talk host in this great big city through a Super Bowl, a World Series, and two other World Series appearances and a NBA Finals appearance and that’s not bad. Both the good and bad moments made for great Philly sports talk. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Philadelphia has the most passionate fan base in the country. This is the best sports talk city in America.
That’s about it. I don’t know what’s next for me. My ears will be open to any and all opportunities that may come my way. Maybe a podcast, or get back into some legal work, maybe the Innocence Project, write another book, or be a Phillies scout. I think they could use me (laughing). Or, I’ll be back here in the station in another role. We’ll see how that plays out. Good luck to the new show, whatever that may be…. I think I’m gonna be doing some writing on my website.. and thanks everybody I love you all, and this is the ultimate drop the mic, but I’m gonna hang in to the end of the show and maybe you can drop some good memories of the show.”
That’s a lot to parse, but I have to give Mike a lot of credit. That is a very comprehensive statement. For Mike to acknowledge “missteps” and talk about a “know-it-all” attitude in his farewell statement reveals a lot of honesty and self-awareness. He didn’t have to do that, and I doubt you’d see that kind of reflection from the big egos working other time slots in this market.
Bottom line, Mike goes on the Mount Rushmore of Philly sports talk hosts. He’s always tried to elevate the discourse, whether people like it or not. That sometimes resulted in conflict (with us and others), because social and political talk is naturally combative and heavy, but even if you were on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have to give Mike credit for tackling topics that other outlets didn’t want to touch with a 10-foot pole. I’m talking about Kaepernick, kneeling, etc – sports stories that crossed into socio-political issues. We can sit here and argue for days whether talk radio is the best forum for those topics, but on days when other shows were hammering vapid Eagles phone calls and playing it absurdly safe, Mike would try something different.
One thing about Missanelli is that he didn’t do hot take, faux-contrarian radio like some of the other veteran hosts in this town. He didn’t go on the air and take a fake stance or express fake outrage. He didn’t call players crybabies and morons. He didn’t make grandiose Eagles declarations or try to force a topic or stir up shit to get people talking. If you listened to his show over the years, it was on the more pragmatic and thoughtful end of an admittedly not-expansive Philly radio spectrum. I also appreciated Mike’s baseball knowledge and willingness to get deeper into basketball when other shows were giving us banal Eagles talk in June. The approach was different and I don’t think people recognized that over the years.
Like most shows, things get stale towards the end. I swear Mike had the same five guests on his program since 2020. Jayson Stark, Brian Westbrook, Rich Hofmann, etc. Over and over again. These are good guests, but they are the same guests. Mike is a solid interviewer and when cobwebs began to cover up the rolodex, it felt like he was going through the motions. To me, he seemed bored talking about the Eagles and taking phone calls from doofuses who didn’t know what they were talking about. Maybe Mike carried some arrogance with him (all top radio hosts do), but if you did decades of listening to “Bobby from Birdsboro” saying dumb shit like “I think the Eagles should trade for Aaron Rodgers,” then you’d probably become burned out, too. You’d become frustrated with idiots calling up and talking nonsense. 20 hours of radio per week is hard, and when you’ve been doing it since the 1990s, it’s not fresh and hasn’t been for a long time.
For my money, I think the height of Mike’s radio career was either his 90s WIP work with Steve Fredericks or maybe 8-10 years ago at the Fanatic, when the Tony Bruno crossover was must-listen radio and Mike seemed a lot more motivated and dialed in. He took out Howard Eskin in basically one year, and was the top performer at the Fanatic in each ratings book. He really made that station what it is, and the halcyon days of the Fanatic were anchored by an apex Mike who was really on the top of his game. The political and social stuff really didn’t become pervasive until the Trump era, when a lot of people in media let the line of demarcation fade into nothingness. It wasn’t just him.
But anyway, congrats to Mike on a great career. He probably should have received the send off that Ray Didinger got, and that Angelo Cataldi will get. Instead, it was a rushed job on late notice. This didn’t have to be a Coach K retirement tour, but he meant a lot to that station over the years and deserved a different exit.