Ike Reese on With Howard Eskin? Could Happen. Plus: Lineup Shakeups at 950

Ike Reese on With Howard Eskin? Could Happen. Plus: Lineup Shakeups at 950

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's Last PM Drive Show, originally uploaded by Cavalier92.

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. 

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

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USA Today Images

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

It's been nearly two months since Villanova won the National Championship in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history.

Since then, the Wildcats have been honored by the city (parade), the New York Stock Exchange (opening bell), the Phillies (first pitch), the Flyers and the Union. Earlier this week, head coach Jay Wright addressed the Eagles.

But that will all pale in comparison to where the Wildcats will be next Tuesday, when they become the latest championship team to visit the White House and meet President Barack Obama.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

In his pool, President Obama had Villanova finally advancing past the second round — "I know that eventually they're going to break through. They've had some bad luck over the last couple of years," Obama told ESPN.com — but had the Wildcats falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.

He then had Kansas beating North Carolina to win the title.

After surviving the first weekend for the first time since their Final Four run in 2009, Villanova ousted Kansas, 64-59, before shocking Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the national semifinal, winning by 44. The Wildcats then won one of the most memorable championship games in NCAA Tournament history when Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Tar Heels, 77-74.

Union transfer contract of Michael Lahoud to Miami FC

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Union transfer contract of Michael Lahoud to Miami FC

The Union have cashed in on Michael Lahoud.

After terminating his loan to the New York Cosmos on Tuesday, the Union recalled Lahoud and officially sold the 29-year-old midfielder to Miami FC of the NASL for an undisclosed amount.

“Mike always served the club in a professional manner during his time here,” said Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, who loaned Lahoud to the Cosmos this offseason. “We thank him for his service and want to wish him the best of luck in Miami and in his future endeavors.”

Lahoud, whose prorated $115,637.50 guaranteed salary comes off the Union’s salary cap, was acquired in 2012 in a trade with Chivas USA for defender Danny Califf. He made 58 appearances with the Union before being loaned out.

Eagles' left guard job is Allen Barbre's, but backups are pushing

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Eagles' left guard job is Allen Barbre's, but backups are pushing

Allen Barbre is the Eagles’ starting left guard.

For now.

The 31-year-old offensive lineman started all 16 games at left guard in 2015, and as of Tuesday at OTAs, he was still a starter for Doug Pederson’s new-look offense.

But that could change.

There are several players pushing for the left guard spot. Among them are Stefen Wisniewski, Malcolm Bunche, Isaac Seumalo and Andrew Gardner.

“I definitely am trying to start somewhere,” said Wisniewski, a free-agent signing. “I think I would be a good starting left guard.”

Wisniewski, 27, signed a one-year prove-it deal in early April to join the Eagles (see story). After being taken in the second round of the 2011 draft, Wisniewski has started 77 of 80 possible games in the NFL. He clearly views himself as a starter in the NFL.

For the last two weeks, he’s been working with the second team at guard and center.

“Yeah, it’s weird. It’s definitely weird,” Wisniewski said. “I haven’t spent much time with the twos in five years. Probably a week or two. So it’s definitely different, but I’m just looking at it as a temporary thing, though.”

This offseason, the Eagles added veteran Brandon Brooks to play right guard, taking over for Matt Tobin, but Barbre is still slotted on the left side. In fact, to hammer the point home, the starting offensive linemen have their lockers in a row in the deep corner of the locker room, from left to right: Jason Peters, Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brooks, Lane Johnson.

So, as of late May, Barbre is still the starter.

“I really like where we're at. I like the depth at that position right now,” Pederson said last week. “But yeah, Allen Barbre is my guy and he's our starter.”

Wisniewski is the most accomplished of the backups pushing for that starting left guard spot, but he’s not alone.

Bunche, who was on the Eagles’ practice squad in 2015 after going undrafted out of UCLA, has been working with the second team at left guard during practice. And the second-year player thinks he has a shot at the starting job too.

“Oh yes. But not just that one,” Bunche said. “Throughout the season, anything can happen. That’s one thing that [offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland], he talks about it a lot, you never know when you’re number is going to be called. You just gotta stay in tune with what’s being called, the play-calling, the different techniques going into certain games. I feel I have an opportunity to take that spot if I wanted to. My mindset it to come in and get better each and every day.”

Another possible starting left guard isn’t with the team right now. Third-round pick Seumalo, from Oregon State, is back at school because of the NFL graduation rule and Oregon State’s quarters system. He would be a logical choice to compete for that starting job, but he’s missing valuable time at OTAs.

Meanwhile, Barbre, who had started just eight total games in his seven-year career before 2015, is trying to stave off his competitors. The veteran knows the team brought in a bunch of new offensive linemen this offseason (they have 17 on the roster). He just doesn’t care.

“Honestly, I wasn’t really worried about that,” Barbre said Tuesday. “Honestly, I thought I played fairly decent (in 2015), if you studied the film and you understood what went on. There was a lot of stuff that was tough on the O-line, so it made it kind of tough on us.”

The criticism of the offensive line last season was loud, especially criticism of the guard positions, but Barbre did his best to avoid it.  

“I don’t even read it,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t even care. You guys got your jobs and I have my job. We all have different things we have to do.”

Right now, Barbre’s job is to hold onto that starting spot, while Wisniewski and the rest try to steal it away.