Missanelli: Innes and Bruno Partnership Melts Down — I’m Still Standing

I'm the guy truly serving the Philly sports fan. My ratings prove it.

Many people lately have asked me to comment on the state of Philadelphia sports talk radio, which finds a competitor station acting out a myriad of desperate acts and claims that attempt to prove their viability.

They have used personal insults, sophomoric phone calls and embarrassing bits on the street, in the wake of the Caitlyn Jenner announcement, that had 19-year-old interns go up to random men on the street and ask whether they would “hit” Caitlyn Jenner.

The topics discussed at that station — where I worked during the time of the true Genesis of sports radio in Philadelphia, when most of the hosts came from legitimate sports reporting backgrounds — during evening drive became so distasteful to one of the co-hosts of this evening drive show, this week he abruptly resigned.

I have been doing sports talk radio for 20 years now. And while I have pushed an envelope or two over the years, my discourse has always served what I think is the most important part of this industry: the great sports fans of Philadelphia.

I read the chat boards, too. Many of the folks who criticize me for my daily discourse from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on 97.5 The Fanatic, say that I condescend and that I’m a “know it all.” If I do that, I certainly don’t mean to. I’m an average guy who grew up here rooting for Philly sports teams. I’ve been able to achieve a little bit of success in the industry through some luck, hard work and diligence. Sports talk kind of happened in my career as an accident. But as a sports talker, my goal every day is to give the listener the best of what I have inside, the most honest opinions I can muster about the state of Philadelphia sports, which en toto, is in the lowest ebb I have seen in a long time. Sometimes, I push harder on a certain opinion — maybe that’s where the know-it-all tag comes from — because I believe it’s something that really needs be said.

I have always looked at my role as a sports talk host in Philly as a total advocate of the fan. I rail often against the sports organizations in this town, including the ones with which our station has a broadcasting partnership. That doesn’t make me any friends with those teams. But I have to walk that dangerous line. My first obligation is to the listener. I have to ask the hard questions for which the listener and the Philadelphia sports fans need answers. My goal is to make my show informative, entertaining, and fun — every day. Some days are harder than others, especially when three of the town’s teams are in the toilet. But I’d like to think that that methodology has helped my show retain a No. 1 rating with the listeners in evening drive for the last seven years. I’m honest. That’s what Philadelphia fans deserve.

From this other station come claims that their ratings are now beating mine. Claims like that resonate with the average Joe because the average Joe really doesn’t fully understand how ratings work. There are different measurables in radio ratings, the numbers are grouped by different age group listeners. There are elements like TSL, which is the amount of time an audience spends listening, and CUME, the overall number of people who listen to you. Other stations can fudge numbers publicly to make it look like they are winning.

Fact is, my show still has more listeners.

Ratings numbers also work like this: ANY new show is going to get an automatic boost in the ratings. It’s called “sampling.” People will tune in to a new show just to see what it’s about. At first, perhaps, a show that sends interns on the street to ask men whether they’d “hit” Caitlyn Jenner, might be amusing. At first. And then anything akin to that is simply a cheap and bad imitation of Howard Stern, which is better served as a morning zoo, than an important evening drive slot.

The concept of “sampling” is not unlike the concept of opening a new restaurant. People will flock to something new. And maybe in the first couple of weeks of the restaurant, the food and the ambiance are an interesting change. But unless that restaurant stays excellent, people won’t come back. It was just a blip on the radar screen.

As time goes by, a year or more of such, through a football season and then through the Flyers and Sixers, if I see that my ratings are losing to a morning zoo, then I will realize and accept that sports talk tastes of the great Philadelphia fans have changed. And I will gladly fade into the sunset.

Mike Missanelli is on 97.5 FM The Fanatic every week day from 2 to 6 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMiss975.