On August 29, 1986, Mike Craven, Managing Director of WIP (610 AM), decided to move a bit further from the music traditionally broadcast by his station and move closer to the talk format that would herald the future of the station.
He added an all-sports talk show to the mix of music and general talk he had established. For the show’s first host, Craven brought in one of the biggest names in local sports journalism, Howard Eskin.
Eskin had been on Philadelphia Radio and Television for 10 years at that time. He made a name for himself by offering strong and candid opinions. He had an argument with sports fans on an FM station and had recently shown Channel 3 TV to an emerging show on Channel 29.
In 1988, WIP was all about sporting talk, with Eskin among a legion of moderators who would make IP one of the strongest and most faithfully listened to radio stations in the world.
Cut to September 2, 2011. WIP, enjoying a large audience but not having the exposure it could receive by being on the FM dial, takes over the 94.1 slot held since the 1960s by the rock station WYSP.
WIP and all sports would find a nice home at 94.1 and, again, the host of the first WIP show on 94.1 FM was Howard Eskin.
Eskin was moving to different parts of the WIP rotation, sometimes taking daily shifts, most recently doing a Saturday afternoon show while being heard frequently throughout the week. He worked alone. He worked with co-hosts.
The point is, Eskin never stopped working for WIP. Yesterday marked his 35th birthday at the station, a milestone in any industry but particularly commendable in the volatile realm of local radio.
In total, Eskin has been heard and seen in the Philadelphia market for 45 years, and using his branded line, “I’ve never had a bad day in my life,” he says at age 70 that he has the intention to continue without thinking of relaxing, let alone retirement.
“Well, I went from 18 hours a day to 12 and a half hours a day,” he says of his daily routine.
This routine includes walking 14 miles a day at various intervals.
“I lost weight, 35 pounds, during the pandemic while walking,” Eskin says over the phone. “I go around a paved track and walk while watching TV, listening to the radio and reading the news feeds. The exercise put me in great shape. Since April 2020, I have walked over 8 million steps and walked over 3,800 miles. If I did this in a straight line, I would be somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between LA and Hawaii.
“I don’t let my age influence everything I do. I recognize it, but I don’t think about it.
“The important thing is that I am doing a job that I love in my hometown. I’ve been on the air in other markets, but I’ve done my job here where I lived and grew up. WIP is a big part of this. I am proud of the 35 years that I spent on the air there.
Eskin says his willingness and ability to keep up with the news has helped him stay on top of his game for so long.
“Things are changing everywhere. You have to adapt to these changes. I don’t use terms that I used in 1986. I use terms that my current audience can relate to. For years, I worked solo. Then there was a tendency to pair hosts to spark debate. I had a good time debating with my interlocutors, but if the times say the debate should be with a co-moderator, so be it. I spoke before about keeping myself in physical shape. Moving over time keeps me mentally in good shape.
Debate ”is like Eskin’s sport. He was among the first sports chat moderators to offer opinions and confront callers or colleagues who challenged them.
“I told the story as I saw it. I relayed the information as I received it, ”he said. “If I hadn’t told the truth as I know it, or if I hadn’t adapted as I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t have been there to celebrate a 35th anniversary.
“I never wanted there to be confusion about what I think. People get upset when you don’t agree with them, but they appreciate you being honest.
“They know if you aren’t. The best advice I ever received was “be yourself”. A broadcast coach told me that when I started on Channel 3. In all my years on the air I had two goals, to inform and to entertain, and a way to present. what I had to say, being myself.
“The way I know people appreciate what I said is the number of people I criticized but who became friends and realize that there was always a respect included in what I said. . Charlie Manuel and I had a big blowout, but we’re laughing about it now and are friends. Dick Vermeil is another who didn’t always like to hear what I had to say, but we are friends. He calls during my Saturday shows. TO (Terrell Owens) called one day just to talk.
“Then there are the people who have watched or listened to me over the years. I’m doing my story on the Eagles, and Bradley Cooper walks over to introduce himself, like I don’t know who he is. My question was how he knew who I was. He looked at me when he was growing up. The same happened with Will Smith and others from Philly. I am in awe of them, but they want to meet me.
Eskin says the memories of 45 years, including 35 at WIP, are too numerous to catalog. He talks about the people he met, those he interviewed and those he really met. The highlight, he says, was the day he got to do a show with two of the greatest baseball players of all time, Steve Carlton and Ted Williams.
“Even though he didn’t want to do interviews – well in quick succession, Steve Carlton and I became friends and formed a relationship. Then one day I got to introduce him to maybe the best hitter in baseball history, Ted Williams. It was a great day.
“In my time, I was able to meet Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes, great boxing champions. Think about all the great sports figures who have played in Philadelphia or been in games here. The memories are piling up and I can’t wait to do more.
As his WIP 35th birthday approached, Howard began posting photos of himself with some of the all-time greats on his website, HowardEskin.com. The site is also filled with testimonials and supporters who are helping Howard mark his milestone.
Before starting to make his own programs, Howard made records for Jim O’Brien and did air spots with George Michael, on which syndicated show he appeared for years. Like many with a long career, Howard’s has been a continuous race, and if he succeeds it will last another 35 years.
Fast work at ‘Jeopardy!’
“Peril!” works quickly.
Perhaps it had to be considered that he was in the process of being recorded when the new announced host, Mike Richards, resigned his post after finishing a show.
Stepping in immediately and announced as the host of “Jeopardy!” for the foreseeable future is Mayim Bialik, who has made a successful guest stay and was previously announced to host “Jeopardy!” programs.
Like Richards, Bialik is a good choice. She’s established a quick and friendly relationship with the contestants, shakes the game up well, and seems to have enough knowledge to pull off late host Alex Trebek’s illusion of making it seem like he knew the answers.
Of course, social media does not allow anyone to rejoice over success or good news for a long time. Already the news feeds and the woefully diminished Washington Post have featured articles on “Jeopardy!” fans criticizing Bialik’s selection.
Personally, I would like to know by exact count how many people complaining or signing petitions on behalf of candidates other than Richards or Bialik are actually watching the show.
Meanwhile, “Jeopardy’s” producer Sony Pictures has been cautious in elevating Bialik to the role of lead host and keeping Richards in his role as executive producer.
Hopefully these new decisions will prevail and Sony doesn’t suddenly give in to new, continued or additional pressure.
On television, ratings tell the story. I tell them to let them do their job and rule the decisions.
David Murphy Hanging Up the Card
When David Murphy began his tenure at Channel 6, he balanced reporting by placing magnetic numbers on the iconic, but later rejected weather map, “Action News.”
The map may have been updated, but Dave has been a staple of Channel 6 for 31 years, most of that, 17, spent reporting the weather on the Dawn of Action shows. News, which in Murphy’s time started earlier and earlier until the current newscast which starts at 4 a.m.
Murphy was also the meteorologist on Channel 6’s noon show.
Few on local television are as stable and heartwarming as Murphy, who, while affable and able to endure the ribs of presenter Matt O’Donnell, has kept an eye on his main job and kept viewers informed of the temperatures, precipitation. , consequences of inclement weather and this type of coat might be the best for the day.
The O’Donnell team, Murphy, Tamala Edwards, Karen Rogers and Matt Pellman “The Morning Action News” have been a unit for some time now. It’s hard to think that one of them leaves the others for the rest.
All shows eventually change. Rogers has experience with the weather map and will likely take on most of Murphy’s duties there.
Murphy, who said in announcing his departure: “After 37 years in broadcasting, I have decided that I am an excellent candidate to retire from the workforce”, will make his last appearance on Channel 6 on September 7.
Edwards a star in the morning
Writing about the Channel 6 Morning News, it seems now is the time to say what a great job Tamala Edwards has done replacing some of the evening presenters during their recent vacation.
On his morning shows, Edwards always seemed like a business to me, seriously doing his part at the Anchor Office while Matt O’Donnell joked with Karen Rogers and David Murphy. You could tell she had a sharp brain, a trait reinforced by her appearances on “Inside Story” and her sharp, concise but calm comments on recent Channel 6 public service announcements, but you’ve rarely seen the great personality who usually accompanies being a presenter.
During her evening stints, that personality and a more advanced fashion sense came to the fore.
Imagine, 16 years old at Channel 6, and Tamala is just starting to emerge.
Neal Zoren’s television column appears every Monday.