Wow. Last week was a doozy in the world of sports radio. The internet exploded when it was found out that Dwayne from Swedesboro was a fraud. Then the very next day Josh Innes gets canned by WIP for his comments about that very situation (among other things).
We thought it would be a perfect time to look into who the best sports radio personalities are in this city. We included Innes for fun.
1. Mike Missanelli – Love him or hate him, Mikey Miss is the man when it comes to Philly sports talk. He’s arrogant, funny, righteous and cultured. He’d be a great ESPN First Take kinda guy because he always picks a completely one-sided opinion and sticks with it, even after he’s proven wrong. To his credit, Missanelli is probably the best interviewer in the biz. He’s definitely a huge douche but he’s so good at his job that he’s untouchable, even when his callers are fake. All jokes aside, I honestly don’t think the Dwayne thing was a big deal at all. Radio is supposed to be entertainment and Dwayne was funny as hell. All the people who want to make it a race issue need to stfu. Myrtetus, Egan and Nahigian all got suspended while Missanelli escaped unscathed. I genuinely don’t think he knew but all of this proves that he is indeed bigger than the station.
2. Angelo Cataldi – Angelo is WIP. The Morning Show has been running for over 25 years strong with Cataldi at the helm. Angelo is at times hilarious and other times painfully bad. He’s Philly’s drunk uncle. Angelo mailed it in years ago and basically just hits on chicks 50 years younger than him, which made him the perfect host for the Wing Bowl. He’s been the face of WIP for the last quarter century, and will likely retire when his contract is up next year.
I don’t care if this is acting on his part or not, I’ll always treasure this clip.
And who can forget the good ol days, when Angelo would round up a group of ruthless savages to unload their years of pent up anger at the future of the franchise the moment he became an Eagle.
3. Rob Ellis– Most people will probably call me a Delco homer for having Ellis this high on the list (he’s from Upper Darby) but I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. He’s pretty bland but whatever, Rob’s not really a hate-able guy which is rare for a sports radio host (and probably the reason he won’t ever draw much attention). He’s like the out-of-touch dad who still tries to take like he’s in college. Ellis is extremely knowledgeable and for the most part has pretty accurate takes. The guy also works his ass off. Some days you’ll see him on BOB from 6-8 AM, then the 97.5 midday show from 10-2 then on Philly Sports Talk on CSN from 5-6 PM. That’s like a 16 hour day from start to finish. Gotta respect the hustle. Rob is underrated in my opinion.
4. Anthony Gargano – Cuz. The Big Ragu. Gags. Gargano has long been a staple in Philly sports radio, known for his Italian liveliness and over-the-top optimism, which can be a little much sometimes. He brown-noses every single guest caller to the point where you want to change the station, so he has plenty of critics in this town. But as a fellow sports optimist, he’s always a go-to when I want to hear positive but honest sports chatter on my way to work.Read more
5. Ray Didinger – Say a bad word about Diddy in this city and get slammed. He’s untouchable. Everyone in this city is so dazed and confused when they see an actual journalist that we immediately canonize a guy like Diddy.
But I’m about to go there. I think Didinger’s cool and I respect his knowledge (the guy is in the freakin’ Football HOF), but I’ll never pretend to care about his little 1960 Eagles anecdotes. It was pretty sad when he went on a campaign to get his play “Tommy and Me” funded. I love the Eagles but when a guy who definitely makes some good coin is panhandling to get a stupid play made it rubs me the wrong way. There are way more important things in this country that we can raise money for.
He’s a historian and scholar, and he talks like it. There’s a strong “I’m above all you peasants but I’m also one of you” vibe from him. Like, Ray is the kind of guy to shame you for liking Interstellar because they didn’t get string theory 100% accurate. He’s the kid who punts on 4th and 4 in Madden.
And he’s a pretty subdued birds fan. Knowledge is great, but show me some goddamn passion once in a while my man. I doubt he even hates the Cowboys. It’s hard for me to 100% respect that kind of dude.
That being said, if Macnow and Diddy don’t take over the WIP afternoon show, that station is likely dead.
6. Howard Eskin – The King is way past (passed?) his prime which is never more apparent than when he gives his takes on the Sixers. LAND THE PLANE SAM! Love it. His twitter is so pathetic with his number/letters combo that it’s almost sad (almost). But the guy is a legend and mama always told me to respect my elders. So here’s to you Howard. If you ever run for mayor you have my vote. Eskin could also be the short term replacement for Innes in the 2-6 slot as he is not returning to FOX29.
I am now considering a run for Mayor. Phila needs leadership https://t.co/aYtdUo8AEs
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) October 2, 2015
7. Harry Mayes – Mayes is that dude. The type of guy you’d have a beer with. Might not have what it takes to headline a show, but he’s the perfect sidekick and makes the 97.5 midday show a decent listen.
8. Jon Marks – This guy probably doesn’t get enough credit for his work on the airwaves. When 97.5 runs their promos they call themselves the home of “Anthony Gargano, Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes and Mike Missanelli. Low blow to Marks who has been a staple at the station since they were 950 AM. Sometimes Marks gets overpowered by the boisterous Gargano but I consider him to be a perfect compliment to him in the mornings. He’s always pretty rational and it’s hilarious when he loses his shit on stupid callers every now and then. Marks is also very active with listeners on Twitter which is really important in this day and age.
9. Josh Innes – like Cuz, Innes is a love/hate kinda guy (mostly hate). He’s got a huge personality, and an even bigger mouth, and talks about ratings like Trump talks about polls. But he’s a legitimately funny dude when given the chance. 94.1 fucked up by pairing him with Hollis (who is god awful on the radio), but he killed it going solo at night. His big mouth eventually got him canned amidst the Dwayne from Swedesboro saga, which is crazy considering it was supposed to be a blow to his direct competition (Mikey Miss). Innes was destined to be gone soon anyway. He was highly controversial, getting crushed in the ratings and WIP is set to be sold and he’s the type of guy who could get in the way of that. It will be interesting to see who fills that slot as he was one of WIP’s stronger personalities along with Angelo, who will be retiring soon. WIP is gonna be a whole different station in a few years.
10. Joe DeCamera –Joe is my favorite radio guy to listen to for smart Sixers talk. He makes it a priority to bring something new to the table every day that’s different from the multiple shows ahead of him, which is tough to do. He used to get a lot of complaints for not taking any calls and instead rambling on. He’s gotten better here, but is probably best suited as a podcast guy. Nevertheless, Joey D is making a move up the sports radio ladder.
Written by Eric Quinn and Tyler Cloran
Image Source: philly.com