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Philly Changes Have Pros, Cons

Jason Barrett




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

Hans Olsen Joins BYU Radio Crew

“I’m beyond thrilled to now work with Greg, Mitch and Jason to bring my passion for the game to the BYU fans I played for years ago.”





Hans Olsen spent five years in Provo as a member of the BYU football team. He started on the defensive line for his final two seasons and as a senior was named second team all Mountain West. Now, the Cougars are moving into the Big 12 and Olsen is coming along for the ride.

The school announced on Thursday that he will be the new radio analyst. He replaces Riley Nelson, who resigned in January and will work with Greg Wrubell, who has been the voice of the Cougars since 2001.

Calling games runs in the Olsen family. Hans is the nephew of Merlin Olsen, who worked as an analyst for CBS and NBC after a Hall of Fame NFL career.

“I’ve always loved what my Uncle Merlin did in the booth, and I had a dream to see what it was like,” Olsen said. “I’m grateful to Brian Estridge and Bowl Season Radio for giving me the chance to pursue that dream, and I’m beyond thrilled to now work with Greg, Mitch, and Jason to bring my passion for the game to the BYU fans I played for years ago.”

Sports fans in Salt Lake City know Hans Olsen well. He is the co-host of Hans & Scotty G on KSL Sports Zone 97.5. He and Scott Garrard have worked together since 2014.

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Sports Radio News

Lou Merloni: Sports Talk Radio Was Grinding On Me

“You wake up every day and search for that negative topic and it wears on you and turns you extremely negative.”





Late last year, WEEI afternoon co-host Lou Merloni announced he was leaving Merloni, Fauria, and Mego as part of a larger shakeup of the Boston sports radio station to work as a game analyst for the Boston Red Sox on both WEEI and NESN.

In an interview with The Athletic, Merloni discussed his exit from the program and admitted after a decade and a half, sports radio had become increasingly difficult. But being a game analyst had always been of interest to him.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” Merloni said. “I’ve done games before and that was my happy place. I liked doing sports talk, but after a while, it was 15 years, it started grinding on you more than I wanted it to.”

Merloni — who spent nine seasons in the big leagues with the Red Sox, Padres, Indians, and Angels — added that the negativity of sports radio grew to be an issue for him.

“You wake up every day and search for that negative topic and it wears on you and turns you extremely negative,” he said. “It’s not manufactured, it’s just, that’s your job. If you just talk about nothing but how great the Bruins are, nobody would ever call in. So it’s ‘Why isn’t (David) Pastrnak signed yet?’

“So those are things that get people interacting with sports radio and those are the discussions you have. But you also want to keep it somewhat positive and balanced, it’s just different. There’s always that search for that sort of angle. And that grinds on you, it really does. It turns you into something you’re not, maybe.”

The soon-to-be 52-year-old said joining the NESN booth came at a great time for him.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the TV booth, I just didn’t know when the right time was, so sometimes things work out for a reason,”

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Sports Radio News

Michael Kay: MLB Radio Analysts Won’t Have Time to Talk With New Rules

“I think that’s going to be a really different vibe, baseball on the radio this year.”




Michael Kay

MLB’s Opening Day is upon us, and with new rules implemented to improve the pace of play, many have questioned how the rules will affect broadcasters. New York Yankees television voice Michael Kay said radio crews are the ones who will be hurt by the new statutes.

During a conference call discussing ESPN’s KayRod Cast, Kay was asked how the new rules would alter not only the usual television broadcast, but also his alternate broadcast with former 14-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez.

“I don’t think it’s going to impact television broadcasts that much. Maybe you won’t be able to see eight replays on a simple ground ball to short because there’s not much time between batters, but I think it’s going to have a big impact on radio broadcasts where the analyst simply is not going to have time to talk. They’re just not,” Kay said.

“There’s no pictures that you can talk over like in baseball. The analysts can talk to a couple of pitches, but in radio that’s just not going to happen. It can’t happen. I think that’s going to be a really different vibe, baseball on the radio this year.”

“I do like the changes, and I think the pace is going to be both better to watch and to announce,” Rodriguez added.

Kay mentioned that while the news rules were an adjustment, he did enjoy the overall speed of the game.

“The pace is so much better. I don’t think there should be a complaint about pitch clock or anything like that. That’s how the game should be played.”

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