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Thursday, August 18, 2011

WIP Going to FM

In an obvious response to competition from 97.5 The Fanatic, 610 WIP has announced it is moving to FM. The new 94 WIP will replace WYSP, and feature a bit of a new lineup as the station adds Comcast SportsNet’s Michael Barkann as a host. The switch happens on September 6.

Angelo Cataldi and crew will continue in their morning slot until 10 AM, followed by Barkann and Ike Reese from 10 AM to 1 PM. Then the somewhat anticipated move of Anthony Gargano taking over for Howard Eskin takes place, but with a twist. Gargano will still be paired with Glen Macnow, and they will be on from 1 to 6 PM.

Remember when Mike Missanelli started at what is now 97.5 from 2 to 7 PM? The station was trying to get him on an hour before his main competition, Eskin, came on the air at 3 PM. WIP was apparently taking notes, and is now trying to turn the same trick. We can only wonder how fast the last hour of Gargano and Macnow becomes a “best of” segment.

I was surprised that Gargano did not get the “drive time” shift solo. It’s always amazing to me that this topic gets as much response as any other on this blog or on my personal Facebook page. Despite my opinion of him as a host there is no doubting that Gargano has his supporters, but WIP apparently wasn’t ready to let him go solo against Missanelli.

The Barkann connection is very interesting. I’m not sure how he’ll play with Reese, and catching the announcement this morning I was reminded that Cataldi’s ass kissing skills have made him difficult to listen to. One more reference from him to how Gargano personifies Philadelphia was going to bring my breakfast back for an encore. Barkann, who will remain at Comcast SportsNet, may be his only rival in glad-handing guests. But when they finally talk about sports they’re both very good. With 97.5 still airing the national ESPN morning show and Gargano safely out of ear shot as 10 AM approaches, I will be tempted to switch back to WIP in the morning.

I also wonder if Barkann brings a Comcast SportsNet connection with him. With 97.5 still attached to ESPN, this seems like it may be a little bit of the television competition between ESPN and Comcast spilling over to the airways.

There is likely one more change coming in the sports talk competition. Tony Bruno is still dropping in on 97.5 in the afternoons despite having left his 12 to 2 PM local show with Harry Mayes, and is filling in on that show this week. He has previously mentioned that the contract for his national show is expiring soon. I’m guessing he’s back to the local airways full-time after that, possibly as a host of a local 97.5 morning show. Again, it’s just a guess.

With WIP going to FM, the main result will likely be Philadelphia sports fans doing even more flipping between the two sports talk radio stations in town.

1 comment:

Amy Silknitter said...

In some respects I think this move has taken WIP too long.  I love Gargano and Macnow..  I do, and when I heard WIP was going to FM I was thrilled I'd be able to hear them at lunch again.  But it's not to be since as you said they're moving to the afternoon.  I'm pretty attached to Missanelli and Marks now.  And though I love Ike, I'm not a huge Barkan fan.  I will go back to WIP in the morning since while I do like Mike and Mike...  I miss my local sports guys the morning after a big win, loss or change.  We got an Audi a little over a year ago and it doesn't get AM which is why I switched over to the Fanatic to begin with.   But I'm attached now and I just am not sure how easy it's going to be to switch back.  If at all.  The move to FM for WIP is long overdue.  But for this fan, it may just be too late.