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Philly Changes Have Pros, Cons

Jason Barrett

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I don’t want to talk bad about Josh Innes. I really don’t. I listened to his show a few months back, and while he’s not my kind of sports talk host, I don’t want the guy to fail.

Despite what people thought after I wrote a very critical blog about him last year, I certainly don’t dislike the guy personally. And I wanted to write something positive about his new show with Tony Bruno. But after listening for a few minutes Friday, I lost my mind and also my desire to write something positive.

Innes started talking about how Rob Tornoe, the great cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, drew one of Innes and Bruno yelling at Fanatic drive time host Mike Missanelli. He then said something along the lines of this being a big boom in Philadelphia radio, and said something to the effect, and I’m paraphrasing, that Angelo Cataldi has been a legend here, but this – the pairing of Innes and Bruno – is the biggest thing that ever happened in Philly radio.

Seriously, he acted like this was the biggest thing ever.

Bigger than Wing Bowl.

Bigger than booing Donovan McNabb.

Bigger than Angelo throwing a ball from, I believe, the 700 level to past home plate at Veterans Stadium.

Bigger than “Honk for Herschel!” the “For Who, For What?” scandal and the 15-hour pregame show from years ago when the Eagles played the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

Bigger than all of the great things Howard Eskin did, bigger than all the great things The Morning Guys have done.

This is it!

This is the greatest boom in Philly sports talk! And it means WIP is having its greatest success ever!

Or are they?

WIP was Comcast. It was a monopoly.

It was the sports station. When people thought Philly sports talk, it wasn’t even a question where they turned. It was WIP.

Now “Radio Wars,” a great phrase coined by Kyle Scott on Crossing Broad, is a huge thing and an extremely popular feature on that site.

Is that really a good thing that a battle between the station that has been king forever against the competition is now an all-out war? Why would the station that had always been in first place even talk about the war?

The reason is because Innes would much rather talk about himself than he would talk about sports.

It’s not terrible radio, either, because some people enjoy Innes’ shtick. He is a charismatic guy who does have stories some might find entertaining. It’s about 20 percent sports, and the rest is stories about his life. That’s fine. There are talk radio shows that have nothing to do with sports on stations across the country. He does entertain people.

But don’t gloat that you’re now in a war with a station you previously demolished.

Facts remain, there is a radio war going on, and it’s almost incredible that this is the case considering WIP’s former dominance in the Philadelphia sports market.

When WIP didn’t bring Glen Macnow back to the midday show, they lost me as a consistent listener because, from that point, they went downhill drastically in my book.

They took Rob Ellis, who was a vanilla guy who knew sports, and made him do shtick with Anthony Gargano. They were fans who talked sports. They weren’t the most informative duo, but at least they gave you sports talk.

Then they don’t renew Gargano’s contract and that absolutely killed Ellis. In a year or so, they killed his credibility, and then asked him to be credible again. That’s impossible and it was unfair to Ellis.

I agree, Ellis in his new form couldn’t work the earlier shift, but I’m not sure other hosts needed to bury the guy. Ripping teammates is fine behind the locker room door, but doing it on the air is unprofessional at best.

Pairing Bruno and Innes together for the afternoon show is probably the best WIP can do right now. But chances are that they’re going to continue to lose to Missanelli.

I’m obviously not their target audience, but here’s my advice to them: stop talking about Missanelli. The people who are listening picked you over 97.5, so why would you talk about the competition? Do your own thing. Do your bits, make your jokes, do what got you there. The station obviously thinks you have what it takes to win, so do what you do best. Talk about yourself. Talk about strippers or bacon or whatever. And let Bruno be Bruno. Run your offense, as they say.

It might work. There are a lot of kids and young adults who like that kind of show, and there are older people who love Bruno. See how it goes. But do what you do best and don’t make the show about the competition.

I agree that sports talk is doing great right now, but it has little to do with the afternoon shows.

Eytan Shander and Harry Mayes are now on 97.5 from 10 a.m. to noon, and that’s the must-listen to show these days. They do this crazy thing where they find sports topics and then talk about them. It’s cutting edge!

Mayes has always been a very great host for 97.5, and Shander has been great since he was on nights at WIP years ago. Even my wife will listen to these guys, and she’s not a big sports talk fan.

Last year, Eytan took us all the way from Bucks County to Wildwood and she only asked to change the station once, and that was when we started to lose the signal. You don’t get higher praise than that.

Two other people at 97.5 who should also get a little love are weekenders Phil from Mount Airy and Kwame Fisher-Jones.

I’ll listen to Fisher-Jones when I’m up in time, and while I don’t always agree with him, I do always enjoy his show.

Phil, on the other hand, got a bad rap from me years ago (and still does) because he always loved Michael Vick, but would bury Donovan McNabb. But when he talks other sports, he’s great. Just lay off my boy Donnie.

I really hope we get a new era of great Philly sports talk, but it looks like the next era won’t be my kind of shows. Oh well, at least I’ll have the comments on Crossing Broad.

Credit to the Bucks County Courier Times who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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