There’s So Much Wrong With 97.5’s Fake “Dwayne From Swedesboro” Caller

A popular caller turned out to be the invention of the station's producers. Mike Missanelli, apparently duped by own staff, is caught in racial controversy.
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97.5 producer Pat Egan via Facebook.

You know the protracted rivalry between sportstalk radio networks 97.5  and WIP (which hasn’t been much of a rivalry of late) has reached a new level of disturbing oddity when a tweet like this one, from WIP blowhard Josh Innes, shows up in your feed last night: 

Yes, that Josh Innes — the guy who was suspended by his station earlier this year for directing a racial slur at an Eagles player and whose Twitter profile picture isn’t exactly a beacon of racial sensitivity — went on the 97.5 offensive last night by calling Mike Missanelli‘s program a “minstrel show.” Innes was having a bit of schadenfreude (in his own questionable way) following a detailed report from Kyle Scott over at Crossing Broad on longtime 97.5 caller “Dwayne from Swedesboro.” It turns out that Dwayne was nothing but an elaborate hoax — apparently unbeknownst to Missanelli (who thought he was real) — by radio producers on the program to get a rise out of the flamethrowing host. (Missanelli has been a contributor to Philadelphia magazine.)

For the past two years, Dwayne — supposedly a black guy who was deathly afraid of paternity tests  — would call in to Missanelli’s afternoon program and engage in the type of misogynistic, toilet-bowl banter that defines sportstalk radio in this city. In many ways, Dwayne was the spitting (disembodied) image of racial stereotypes that have been perpetuated about African Americans for generations. And all along, Dwayne was actually white guy Pat Egan, a 97.5 producer.

After being outed by Crossing Broad, Egan declared “Gotcha!” on his Twitter account last night, and was quickly making light of the matter:

https://twitter.com/Pat_Egan/status/767863608772558848

As you might expect, the story has elicited outrage from members of the media and public, both locally and nationally. And there are several bizarre elements to the still-evolving fallout from yet another sizzling scoop by Crossing Broad.

First, there’s Innes trying to claim the racial high ground in the middle of a breaking controversy (and doing so with extremely poor taste, see above), which is surely the eighth sign of the apocalypse.

Then, there’s the notion that Missanelli’s producers have essentially been laughing behind his back all this time. And fake callers have apparently been part of the secret sauce that’s led to pummeling Innes and WIP in the ratings. (Attempts to reach Missanelli and 97.5 were not returned.)

And there’s the fact that not only was 97.5 promoting racial stereotypes on air, it was also confirming longstanding suspicions from listeners that some of the call-in guests were fake — concoctions by the station to engender commentary from Missanelli. “Many hosts and employees have tweeted about Dwayne in some manner, including promoting his Twitter account. There is also some belief amongst insiders that Dwayne isn’t the only fake caller,” Scott writes. (Ironically, Egan refuted those suspicions just a month ago, according to Philly.com, proclaiming that “At the Fanatic our callers are authentic.”)

Most importantly, there’s the question of what — if anything — 97.5 will do to address the racial controversy, especially in light of Innes’s suspension this past winter.

There sure will be a lot to talk about on Missanelli show this afternoon.

Follow @malcolmburnley on Twitter.