Philadelphia Sports Radio Thoughts: Innes, Bruno, Missanelli


In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series and gave Philadelphia it’s first major pro sports championship in two and a half decades. Less than sixth months later, Donovan McNabb, Asante Samuel and the Philadelphia Eagles went on an improbable playoff run that saw them fall just short of going to their second Superbowl under Andy Reid.

Nearly seven years later, and the people paid to talk about the teams that the city loves have become perhaps the most interesting part of the city’s sports landscape.

Since taking over the afternoon drive-home slot for 97.5 the Fanatic in 2008 (then 950 ESPN), Mike Missanelli has knocked both Howard Eskin and his current colleague Anthony Gargano out of the same slot because of their poor ratings in comparison to him.

Josh Innes and Tony Bruno, according to Crossing Broad, Bleed Philly and other outlets, have been the one combination that has been able to beat Missanelli. However, Bruno elected to retire yesterday, leaving Innes on his own to compete with Missanelli. He’ll likely get another co-host, but it won’t be one who brings the track record of Bruno.

So what does the future of Philadelphia sports radio, specifically in the drive-time slot hold? I took a look at all the parties involved below.

Josh Innes

I can’t decide if I strongly dislike Innes or if his style is really growing on me. Is Innes an a**hole? Yup. But that’s not really an insult to him, because that’s his act. He’s a heel, and he wants to be that.

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The idea that he’s going to fall off now that Bruno is gone is laughable. Sure, some people tuned in (and therefore will tune out now) to hear Bruno. But the show was called “Innes and Bruno”, not the other way around.

His audience is very much so going to be a niche audience. But it will be a large niche audience, and others that don’t get him or loathe him will tune in and call in as well.

I’m not an Innes guy (I’m not against him, either), but I think he’s going to hold down the afternoon spot on WIP for years to come. He may never have a long-term co-host, if it’s decided he even needs one, but the afternoon drive-home slot is about entertaining the 18-34 audience, something he will never fail to do.

Mike Missanelli

I understand the critics of Missanelli, but I enjoy him.

He’s entertaining, funny and I happen to agree with him on many of his most outspoken beliefs, including the ones surrounding LeBron James.

Did he overdue it with seemingly talking about LeBron James for a month? Maybe, but that’s easy for me to sit here and say. The reality is that sports radio is about ratings and Missanelli talking about LeBron everyday will draw much more of a reaction than talking about how awful the Phillies are or an Eagles’ season that isn’t even on the horizon.

In some senses, Missanelli is a victim of the times. Howard Eskin held his drive-time position for over two decades, before Twitter. Missanelli worked his way to the number one spot and really hasn’t changed his style, which he shouldn’t have to if he’s number one. The problem in a Twitter-led world is that people build someone up to get to the top, then once they’ve been there for a while, they want a new storyline. So they tear down the person on top and promote the next guy.

And that’s fine. If you like Innes more than Missanelli, you are perfectly entitled to your opinion. I struggle to compare the two because they are two different styles. Really, the only things that they have in common are that they compete in similar time slots and don’t care for each other.

I don’t think Missanelli is going anywhere, even if Innes continues to top him, but it should be interesting to see if 97.5 makes any changes to his show at all. He’s had Johnny Marks, Sean Brace and now Jason Myrtetus as producers that play a role in his show, but he’s never had a high-profile co-host. I’m not sure what high-profile character is left, unless 97.5 creates one similar to Innes to pair with Missanelli. (I know, this is all reckless speculation.)

Tony Bruno

Bruno’s exit from WIP may have been deemed as a retirement to save face — either if he just didn’t want to do radio right now or actually doesn’t like Innes — but for all intents and purposes he is forcing himself into retirement. Bruno is 63 years-old and is leaving WIP, while having gone through an ugly exit from 97.5 the Fanatic earlier this year. In other words, there isn’t another Philadelphia station for him to work at.

I never felt that he paired all that well with Innes, and I don’t think he’s the type of host that can’t be the guy. So leaving this situation may have made sense for him, despite high ratings.

Of course, he still has his internet podcast, which has drawn tremendous ratings on Blog Talk Radio and has a stake in the Liberty Broadcast company. As long as he wants to host anything online, he’ll have his loyal listeners ready to tune in.

At age 63, having done local, national and even Madden radio, he’s done it all. I’m sure he doesn’t need the money. Bruno is probably tired of the industry and ready to do other things. So he gets the best of both worlds in the case because he won’t be on the radio for five hours, five days a week, but he still will have an outlet to host things.


The biggest thing that people need to understand is that sports radio is about providing entertaining sports talk, not necessarily educating sports fans. It’s not that educating sports fans isn’t sometimes mixed in, but facts don’t draw ratings on the radio–opinions do.

I’m able to compartmentalize that and still enjoy sports talk radio. That said, I write and read others who are mostly more of the educational or educational opinion style, because that’s what I like most. For example, if I want to listen to discussion about the Sixers’ draft, I’m probably going to listen to the Rights to Ricky Sanchez Podcast over turning on my radio.

But sports radio is supposed to be entertaining and draw ratings. So it’s serving its purpose currently.

Next: Phillies Young Talent, not Veterans, Carrying Team