“What’s It Like To…” is a series that looks inside the worlds of extreme sports, professional athletics, and sports careers.
Most women don’t listen to sports talk radio, and I was one of them. As I became more obsessed with the athletics of football, however, I wanted to understand the game better. Why would the defense still make a defenseless receiver hit, when the penalties are now so high? Why would Brady deflate footballs when his team really doesn’t need the advantage gained by cheating? When Marcus Mariota still hadn’t signed with the Titans, was that a glimmer of hope that he might come to Philly?
None of my friends and colleague wanted to talk about these finer points of football, so I started looking elsewhere. When I found the afternoon show on 97.5 The Fanatic, I was hooked. The host Mike Missanelli obviously knows sports. What’s more unusual is that his show isn’t one guy yelling at some other guy. He’s respectful to those who call in, quickly zeroes in on the point of their call, and insists that callers support their view or he will point out the errors in their thinking.
In addition to sports talk, what I love about the show is Mike’s discussions about other subjects – for example, race, and relationships between men and women. Callers seek advice, (“Can I give my girlfriend just one gift if her birthday is near Valentine’s Day?”) and ask for rulings on potential “violations”, (“Is it still ok to wear a Shady McCoy jersey?”). And my most favorite part is the banter between Mike and his producer – it can be like the best Seinfeld episode, (“What’s the best scent for your bathroom’s hand soap?”).
Mike Missanelli began his sports talk radio career in 1992, and has hosted both locally and at ESPN in New York City. He’s been the host of the Mike Missanelli Show, 97.5 FM The Fanatic, since 2008. He’s analyzed sports in many TV positions, and prior to radio and TV, worked in newspapers for 15 years, including 10 years with the Philadelphia Inquirer. He got his Journalism degree from Penn State, and is a graduate of Widener Law School, admitted to the PA Bar in 1986.
Q: Best thing about being a sports talk host?
The freshness of daily conversation. Philadelphia is the best sports talk town in the nation. And being able to engage fans live and interactive each day is a wonderful experience. There is always a fresh take and a fresh angle evident in a sports crazed town like Philadelphia.
Q: Most difficult thing about being a sports talk host?
There’s nothing really difficult about being a sports talk host except when there is a dearth of conversation about sports. We just went through perhaps the most barren period in my sports talk career following the Eagles season. The Sixers and Flyers had non exciting seasons, and we were left without ANY baseball talk for an entire summer because of the poor state of the Phillies. That really tests the limits of the host’s creativity to talk about other subjects.
Q: Besides understanding sports, what top 3 qualities make a successful sports talk host?
The ability to handle both sides of an argument is the most important aspect. Bringing both sides into an argument makes it a much better and more interesting conversation. My law school training was essential for that. Also, I believe that some athletic experience gives you an edge when talking about the game. You can relate to certain aspects of sports better than someone who has never played. I was a three sport high school athlete and a varsity baseball player at Penn State, which means I was tutored in the finer arts of the game by some really good coaches. You also have to have a bit of ham in you. After all, you are trying to entertain people for four hours as well as educate them.
Q: How do you prepare for shows?
My preparation begins in the morning. I still read the newspaper, but I have a series of websites that I will consult in order to formulate talking points for the show. Watching ESPN sports center and CSN are essential. I will try to develop a hub, a main topic of the day, then spin off into various other topics, which may include aspects of modern culture or current events that have nothing to do with sports. By the time I go to the office, I have done all my preparation. I read a show sheet prepared by my producer Jason Myrtetus, and consult with him on various other ideas we can implement on the show.
Q: If you were to have a show about any other topic, what would it be?
I’m a huge proponent of social discussion, especially racial issues. I treat my show sometimes as a town hall show where all opinions are welcome. I am flabbergasted by small-minded ideas on racial progress and I feel it is my duty to try to broaden some listeners’ horizons in those matters.
Credit to Philly.com who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Nick Wilson: Deshaun Watson Press Conference ‘Insulting’ To Local Media
“You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters get to say, ask, or think.”
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson met with the media for the first time yesterday since being reinstated by the NFL after the league ruled he was guilty of violating the Personal Conduct Policy due to improper sexual advances towards more than two dozen massage therapists. 92.3 The Fan afternoon host Nick Wilson called Watson’s press conference “trash” and “insulting” to local media.
Watson told reporters he would only answer football related questions from the assembled media members, which Wilson took issue with.
“You can’t bury this story simply by saying ‘I won’t talk about it’,” Wilson said. “It is insulting to the media who covers this team. This is not about Nick Wilson, I promise. This is about the beat reporters who cover this team. It is insulting — intentionally or not — to say ‘You know what, guys? I love y’all, but I’m going to dictate what you ask me’.
“You don’t do that. You dictate when you speak, your opening statement, or how you respond. You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters — who work very hard day in, day out covering this organization, covering Deshaun Watson, covering this town — get to say, ask, or think. That was trash.”
Co-host Dustin Fox added the whole job of the media is to bring information to fans, and Watson wouldn’t allow reporters to do that Thursday, and may never do that.
Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN
“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”
A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.
During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.
“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.
“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”
Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.
The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”
“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”
“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.
“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”
After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.
“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”
Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’
“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”
Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.
That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.
Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.
“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”
Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.
“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”
Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.