For all the hype, hoopla and hijinx that WIP puts its audience through the past month in trying to find a replacement for Tony Bruno as sports yakker Josh Innes’ sidekick/sounding board, including a novice-tryout contest that was as cheesy and lame as it was ridiculous, Thursday’s much-anticipated announcement of the final decision pretty much was met with a resounding dull thud … or pin drop.
So Spike Eskin, spawn of the original Philly sports yakker Howard Eskin, and former Eagles defensive lineman Hollis Thomas are the tandem gifted the opportunity by the station to team with the city’s rising radio star? How positively uninspiring. Zzzzzz …
At least to me.
Of course, a future flat line in the ratings would serve as the masses concurring, and, in this case, my often contrarian view may turn out to be the conventional one after all.
Innes’ act is based on being different, on not following the Philly norm at every juncture. This move couldn’t get any more Philly if the station hired a cheesesteak and a slice of pizza. If this is WIP’s way of showing former host Anthony Gargano, now droning on at the Fanatic, how little he is missed, it may have miscalculated what bad pairings can do.
Sure, likeable in their own ways, Eskin adds extra “geek” to a show that swims in it thanks to its ultra-“sensi” host, and Thomas, well, if ever a town fawned over its middling players even after they retire as if they were all-time greats this is that town – so he brings that hook for sure even as he mumbles along incoherently and laughs on cue (and off).
But, for me, the station just “bored down” the best thing it had going – Innes, essentially, unplugged … with no one to cut into his quagmire of rationalizations, righteous indignations and, get this, actual insights that offered his listeners a chance to see outside the “Philly pro sports only” box in order to get a clearer, more realistic picture of those same Philly pro sports.
Why the station felt Innes needed a partner, never mind two, is beyond me. Perhaps it dreaded the inherent non-Philly makeup of the show and its host would, ultimately drive people away.
If so, that’s just sad … both in commentary about sports fans in this city and in reality of what transpired.
Oh, I’ll give the show a shot and check out it. Innes, surprising to me, considering how annoying he was to me initially, has earned that. He has been maddening, annoying, enlightening and entertaining – sometimes all at once. He is a talent, and maybe he will mesh with Eskin and Thomas.
In my opinion, though, WIP just opened the door for many to head back to Mike Missanelli, Innes’ afternoon drive-time rival at the Fanatic.
I’ve enjoyed both anyway, but it won’t surprise me now if myself and others spend a lot more time up the dial these days – just not in the morning when “Ant” is on.