Buzz Bissinger Leaves 1210 AM Gig

The writer calls talk radio “fundamentally trivial.”

Less than six months after launching a new career in talk radio with an afternoon-drive show on 1210 AM WPHT in Philadelphia, outspoken Friday Night Lights author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Buzz Bissinger has left the airwaves behind.

“While I enjoyed doing talk radio, I had increasingly come to the conclusion that it is fundamentally trivial,” Bissinger told me in an email.

He explained that he is contractually forbidden from discussing the specifics of his employment with or departure from the station. But he did say that he resigned in December, a fact confirmed by Andy Bloom, WPHT’s operations manager. “He had great talent and tremendous potential in talk radio,” added Bloom.

Although both sides maintain that the split was amicable, stories of a tumultuous six-month tenure have emerged from WPHT’s Bala Cynwyd headquarters.

Thanks to Bissinger’s frequent invocation of the F-bomb and other FCC-banned utterances, the station had to employ at least one additional “dump button,” the technology used to make sure that said utterances don’t wind up on the radio. “They had to be certain that there were a number of people who could hit the button when necessary,” says one WPHT employee. “He had multiple outbursts.”

There were also problems off-air. According to one well-placed source, Bissinger was involved in two separate F-bomb-filled office confrontations that resulted in him being charged with “creating a hostile work environment.” Once CBS Corporate in New York was poised to get involved with the second incident, Bissinger resigned, says the source. Bissinger would not comment on the record about the disputes. But clearly the station knew he was volatile. It’s one of the reasons they hired him.

Bissinger says his motivations for leaving were less about the radio industry and more about his true love: writing. “I missed my writing career,” says Bissinger. “And I missed doing things that I believed had some social value. I have plenty of assignments from the likes of Vanity Fair, the revamped New Republic, the New York Times … and another book left on my contract with Houghton Mifflin.”

“Trying to juggle two careers was becoming impossible,” he insists. “But the the management of the CBS group in Philadelphia, Marc Rayfield and Andy Bloom, treated me wonderfully. I appreciate the chance they gave me. Sometimes things are just not meant to work out.”

[PHOTO: Dom Savini]

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  • Buzz Fan

    I will miss the Buzz Bissinger radio show. Although I understand his need to leave the airwaves, there is a void left on 1210 that has me looking for another station. I can only imagine what was perceived as a “hostile work environment.” I am so tired of the degree that political correctness has come to. Frankly, Buzz was not only the heart of the show…he had the intelligence and compassion that Steve Martorano clearly lacked. Buzz, you will be missed.

    • On the mark. Buzz was so different than most what’s on the radio. Will follow Buzz on the Daily Beast.

      • Jane Yavis

        Although I agree with both of you, and can only imagine what was percieved as “hostile work enviornment” in the land of Talk,,,,,,I thought he and Martorano complimented each other. Uunless they follow that fatiguing Angry Victim Agenda or aren’t national,,,,they have no home on 1210 – Never did. .

    • Jane Yavis

      Buzz Fan – With you on the Hostile work enviornment perception. Listen to AM hosts blasting unacceptable opinion of any Inquirer Op Ed Writer who dares not print exact Talk Host approved posts. Today it’s about Ridge supporting Hagel. How dare he. Doesn’t he know Christie is why Obama won, and now Tom Ridge and Hagel are just as bad,,,,New Outrage, same song.

  • Rainman

    Buzz was the only reason I listened to 1210 in the afternoon. Even though the cohost and production was horrible. I hope the fill-in show is not permenant.

  • Buzz had his fans, but this is one Right Winger who prefers Mr. Martorano… But then again, I was never a Three Stooges fan, either…

    • Jane Yavis

      I like Steve also,,,, How long will he last on a station with such a clear angry anti-everything agenda? Poor guy sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s the same assigned outrage all day every day. The pattern has been pretty clear.

      But for one dependent minded host, it’s turned into nothing more than a Mutual Admiration Society training Ground in the land of Never Been Rush/Sean/Beck Stepford WannaBe’s and failed right wing politicians.

      It’s turning into a Patterning for Patriots Capital gold Group/Vitamins/Male Enhancement Info-mercial, with a little Socialist, Communist, Entitlement to make it exciting for the base.

  • Buzz was the best radio host. Super interesting and provocative. He made me laugh but made us think about issues. Where could we get an inside look and listen to so many interesting guests and topics! I never he wouldn’t stay. Thx for the fun, buzz lv j

    • Jane Yavis

      Janet, I’m with you,, especially the made me laugh part. Sorry to see him go. I miss him Unfortunately, he didn’t fit into the “Local” Agenda management of 1210 seems to promote. Now it’s the same angry rants by Wann-be’s wanting to be since I was thin.

  • J.Oz

    Bottom-line: The show was NOT very good at all. Bissinger quitting is a non-event. Bring back Smerconish.

  • The Buzz Bissinger Show was closer to a rock stations Morning Zoo show than to an intelligent, informative political and news show. He had a locker room type of humor, made misogynistic comments and talked about himself way too much. Replacing the excellent and professional Michael Smerconish with Bissinger at the 3 o’clock hour was a disaster from the start. I am not sure if Rich Zeoli will be a permanent partner for Steve Martorano, but the show is markedly better since Mr. Bissinger’s departure.

    • Jack Sherman

      Ken why not sure about Rich Zeoli as permanent partner to Martorano? Agree show is much better.

      • I meant I don’t know if 1210 is planning on making it a permanent thing. I enjoy them together.

        • Jane Yavis

          Maybe Buzz wanted to do something that had more social value, right now I am listening to Dom Giordano rant about him (the world’s only taxpayer) having to pay for Breast Pumps and “C” Sections under Obama care and how much money is wasted on that. – Really, that’s what’s left?? Fundamentally, talk radio is trivial. It has to be frustrating for someone who knows better.

    • Jane Yavis

      I think Rich has been trying for a permanent day spot for a long time,,,his opinions sometimes dampened a little by Mortorano are clearly those of the Station Management and aren’t referred to a Live and LOCAL for nothing. Other than Smerconish, who is National, and has a great following,,,,,the rest of the day, it’s pretty much the same assigned topics. Whether he wants to chance the breaking out of the assigned mold only time will tell.

      • Jack Sherman

        I enjoy the dynamic between Rich and Steve. It’s good to have the opposing viewpoints. They don’t scream and talk over each other, which is refreshing. I never got the feeling Buzz and Steve particularly cared for one another. There always seemed to be a ton of tension between them and they constantly cut each other off. It was tough to listen too. Buzz would have been better solo.

        • Jane Yavis

          That’s because, as much as I hoped I was wrong, Rich, Giordano’s Chauffer needed a real job outside of the Public Sector. He was put there “for a time” in order to edge Mortotano,,,,,hardly the Mini-Dom Rich is,,,OUT.

          Rich has paid his dues and follows the party line. That’s all you have to do on Talk Radio.

  • Jane Yavis

    Good Heavens!!!!! Why would Buzz call Talk Radio trivial, IIf he turns on the radio right no (7AM Friday,,,,,he can can participate in an exciting Bullwinkle Style Civics/History Lesson. – Lordy, Lordy, Lordy

  • Jack Sherman

    Ken, why not sure Rich Zeoli will be permanent partner for Martorano? Not feeling the dynamic? Agree the show is much, much better.

    • Jane Yavis

      Rich was there to push Steve out,,,,Simple as that. Rich fits the mold, Steve and Buzz do not

  • Horngito

    They are all Puppets for the Elites, do not cross buzz and think outside the box, he will go off like a time bomb. What a joke, look at him on the Piers Morgan show making an A s s of himself..

  • Horrid. Face for radio and a voice and talent for writing. It was close to non-listenable. Steve’s not much better but at least there is some radio professionalism there, it’s not just screeching and yelling. If he wasn’t fired, he should have been regardless of the behind the scenes behavior. My guess would be he never listened to a playback of his own show.

    Bottom line, he got canned.

  • chris g

    I thought Buzz was great on WPHT talk radio. I listen to talk radio all the time.What wpht 1210 radio has on now at 3:00pm is boring-will have to go back to music radio-get Buzz back-more enteraining

  • pennmom

    The new guy who took Buzz’s place is horrible. Martorano complemented Buzz but doesn’t connect with this young guy who is arrogant, rude, and stupid. Smerconish is getting too pompous.May never listen to 1210 again.

    • Jane Yavis

      What I tried to not believe is what happenned. Zeoli’s rise to fame in talk radio was to “chauffer” part of that stupid Joey Vento “Speak English” Border Trip to Mexico,,,,,you know, the one that said South of the Border started in NORTH CAROLINA. I wanted to believe Zeoli was more than a Miniature Dom. I WAS WRONG,,, He simply loves the sound of his own voice and thinks he’s a Constitutional Scholar. Like Dom, he is very thin skinned. Any contradiction is met with the He Can’t be Bothered or doesn’t have time. Classics like Moron, Idiot and Lib reign supreme. I knew when I heard his voice, and background, he would soon host his own show. 1210 is little more than a Mutual Admiration Society where original thought is not welcome until it’s cleared with Limbaugh U. By 6AM, we know what the outrage of the day will be, cross that line, and you are OUT!!!

      I guess what troubles me about Dom and Zeoli more than anything is how very little they know (or care to know) about anything outside their own well protected surroundings. It would also be nice to listen to either of them for more than 10 minutes without some sort of racial innuendo connected to Obama coming into the picture.

      Both shows are nothing more than “upscale” Sunday Pasta Dinners. Same rants, new words.

  • Eric John

    Martorano is too pompous. He doesn’t bring anything, just critiques Buzz/Rich/Conservatives/Guests. Last Monday he had to go solo and was a train wreck. He can’t bring up and discuss topics, just criticize what others say.

  • who? 1210 is no longer important and relevant