Monday, March 23, 2015

My Love-fest for 94 WIP Sports Radio & Discussing (Defending?) Josh Innes & Tony Bruno

It is truly amazing to me how petty many people in my city are who listen to sports radio.  For the life of me I can’t believe how much of a soap opera the roster at 94 WIP has become as well as the mini-feud some of their hosts have with some of the folks over on 97.5 THE FANATIC.

Here, all I thought I needed to do was turn on my radio and listen to the personalities on WIP, which is my station of choice, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  I have to hear all these callers yell at new “youngster” host Josh Innes about how he “isn’t from here” and can’t talk about anything Philly-related.  Heaven forbid if he and his afternoon teammate and Philly alum Tony Bruno go on a tangent and perhaps, try and create a list of say, “The Mount Rushmore of Clowns” since they’ve been referred to time and again (as we’ve been told by Innes) as a “Clown Show.” 

Supposedly former WIP host and current ratings maker Mike Missanelli over at THE FANATIC has called the new Innes & Bruno show a “Clown Show” but I wouldn’t know it because I don’t care to listen to that station.  Nothing personal toward them, but I just have always gravitated toward WIP since I was in my teens calling, coincidentally the Steve and Mike show.

WIP just has always had personalities that I gravitated toward, whether it was the aforementioned Steve & Mike, Mac & Mac or the newer crop of guys like Ike Reese, Rob Ellis and Anthony Gargano.  While I really miss those last two gents, I don’t get why we need to hate the new guys just because well…they’re not any of the people I just mentioned.

I’m in my early 40’s and have got to say that I’ve got a pretty odd personality that makes me believe Innes talks pretty much like I would if I were on the radio. Like him, I love Howard Stern and have that same outspokenness and streak of iconoclast.  While I adore sports, I just couldn’t see myself being so stuffy as many of these callers who want to hear nothing but sports talk 24/7 on the station.  There are other things to my life and all our lives that we can have fun talking about when there is a lull in sports activity. 

If you’re in Philly right now, there IS A LULL IN SPORTS ACTIVITY, Chip Kelly notwithstanding.

I’ve listened to the station long enough to know that there is a ton of different voices calling into WIP than there was when Ellis and Gargano were on and that really surprises me….but should it?  I’ve lived here all my life and know that the people walking the streets can be pretty rock-headed when it comes to what they like and feel that they’re entitled to.

Innes isn’t from Philly, so what. If you’re informed on a topic, where you’re from has absolutely no bearing as long as you know your shit. Gargano, who I truly adored and hope to hear somewhere on the radio soon, wasn’t perfect either.  His insistence of either loving all four major sports teams or not being a Philly sports fan never gelled with me.  And frankly, NONE of the people with the exception of Innis – and Bruno due to his proximity to Josh- on WIP could successfully reference pop-culture without sounding like an old man who didn’t know what was hot at the moment.

It annoyed me that Cuz looked down on say, Lord of the Rings or that neither he nor Ellis could reference music from the last 20 years.

Innes isn’t reinventing the wheel on the radio. Do I love that he can’t stop talking about another radio station and what either of their ratings are? No, but I get the schtick.  Dude loves wrestling and in the WWE the villains are cheered/jeered just as much as the heroes.

The bottom line is that none of these people on the radio will tell us 100% of what we want because that shouldn’t be what they’re there for anyway.  But why does Philly have to just be so reluctant to give someone new a chance or to listen to something different? Why can’t we laugh at a guy (Josh) who certainly laughs at himself in addition to being an all-around radio host when it comes to the ebb and flow of conversation?

Tony Bruno is the perfect co-host for Innes because of his contrasting age and knowledge of the city. It isn’t an accident that they’ve been paired. At the same time, they did try and sit Josh next to the likes of Ike and Ellis and it just didn’t work…though Ike Reese desperately needs someone to push his buttons because he can be so much better than he is currently…and dude is pretty good at the radio thing now.  If only we could all retire and succeed at a “hobby” like Ike has.

I’ve tossed barbs Barkaan on Twitter and while I don’t hate the dude, he just comes off as a flip-flopper of opinion. The WIP used car salesman if you will, who’ll say whatever it takes to incite talk and not really give you any of himself.  Regardless, the man is a good sport and always responds whether I’m poking at him or simply commenting and for that I’m appreciative…despite the fact that I wouldn’t be sad if he wasn’t around anymore on the station.

I can’t believe THIS is the topic that made me use this blog after all this time.  But it wasn’t fit for the website I co-own, mostly due to my not wanting to write a professional level piece.  These are just my opinions about something that shouldn’t even be a hotbed topic.  These guys are simply how I pass my time in the office, nothing more and nothing less.  It is cool that I like them, but I don’t have to like them.  Just like they don’t have to acknowledge I exist.  We’re all doing our thing. 

But the thing is…can’t we just listen and let them do what they’re paid to do?  Do we have to call and tell them that they’re not the people they replaced? I mean, no shit.  Josh is probably the youngest radio talk host Philly has had in a couple decades (and that is being generous). It is great to hear someone that knows sports and can sing a shitty version of “This Used to Be My Playground” from Madonna.

If you want “hardcore” sports talk, I guess you can go and talk to the other station – the one I don’t listen to.  I’ll stick with Philly’s original chatter station and chuckle along with my sports. I could use a laugh during the work day…shit is miserable enough 9-5. I don’t need to take my sad life out on a radio host.

NOTE: I’m done writing now because I need to listen Josh talk about banging aging actress Geena Davis.

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