With two sports talk radio stations vying for the ears of a coveted demographic—you—there have been a few shakeups recently on 610 WIP and 950 ESPN Radio, and another one could be on the way. Less than a week after longtime Philly radio great Jody McDonald announced that Friday was his last day with 950, the man who has for better or for worse (you decide) been the most recognizable visage in Philly sports talk over the past decade, Howard Eskin, may be getting a co-host in former Eagle Ike Reese.
Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross, who keeps a pretty close tab on the dials, says Reese could move up to 3-7PM with Eskin, having his 7-10PM slot, which would likely be filled by Rob Ellis. The evening slot was given to Reese, a radio and broadcast rookie, when Glen Macnow moved to middays with Anthony Gargano. For those who follow the radio ratings, a change in the PM drivetime at WIP probably won't surprise you. It's been widely reported that Eskin has been toppled by 950's Mike Missanelli in just the first year of his return to Philly on a rival station. Missanelli and Eskin were of course co-hosts at WIP for a time. We certainly saw which side you preferred.
Gross states that WIP operations manager Andy Bloom wouldn't confirm nor deny the information.
There are also some fairly big programming changes at 950 taking place.
As I mentioned, Jody Mac said goodbye to his 950 listeners rather suddenly and without much warning on Friday. I'd left work early to meet Enrico for a few drinks to start the holiday weekend, and got in the car just in time to hear him respond to a few final favor requests, then announce that it was his last day, a sad one for me. Since his time with WIP years ago, Jody was one of my favorite hosts, and his presence on 950 when they launched the station was essentially the only reason I listened. He was a great alternative to Eskin, his polar opposite, in my opinion, and it became my routine to be up the dial during those hours. I really enjoyed how much he knew about all four sports, including hockey, which is ignored during many of the on-air hours these days. There are some notable exceptions, including Macnow, who along with Gargano, was on opposite Jody's most recent time slot. As someone who enjoys all three of these hosts, I liked it best when they weren't on simultaneously.
Jody said on air that the station had indicated they were going in another direction. Considering that his co-host since his return from bypass surgery, Harry Mays, is remaining in the slot and has been joined by Dan Schwartzman, formerly the evening host at 950, I'm not sure exactly what that "different" direction is, but I'm guessing it's the usual one. Probably because he saw this move coming, Mac-man has been hosting on Sirius/XM satellite radio lately as well, which he will continue to do. It's my understanding that his show runs from 4-6PM, co-hosting with Rob Dibble.
Hey Jody Mac, do us a favor—don't be a stranger.
Schwartzman's move to middays leaves the evening slot open at 950, which will be filled with a variety of football-related programs now that the season is underway. On Tuesday nights, the 7-8PM hour will be filled by the Linebackers Show, with Eagles Chris Gocong and Stewart Bradley. On Wednesdays, the station's Eagles beat reporter, Brian Seltzer, and Joe Decamera will host an Eagles-oriented show. I tuned in for some of the debut last night and was glad to hear that it was more about position depth on opening day than Mike Vick. Sal Pal will be hosting a show on Thursdays. Jon Marks, who produces Mikey Miss's show and gets a lot of airtime there and in other slots, will also be hosting some of his own shows in the evening, which I'm also looking forward to checking out.
I'm not one to pick one sides between the stations on the whole. There are great shows and hosts on both, as well as quite a few I can't listen to for more than a minute. Chances are, in this personality-driven field, you feel quite the same way.
We'll keep you posted as we hear more.