When I went down to the NFL Draft a few weeks ago, there was a large crowd gathered around the 97.5 the Fanatic tent.
Mike Missanelli, the popular afternoon drive host, got up during a commercial break to use the bathroom. One fan, wearing a throwback Wilbert Montgomery jersey, unsuccessfully tried to rally other fans to help him tip over the port-o-john that Missanelli was currently using. On the way back to the tent, Mike was hassled by a drunk woman who wanted a picture, along with a few other folks who yelled one-liners and taunts from 20 feet away.
Love him or hate him, Mike Missanelli has long been entrenched as one of Philadelphia’s most well-known and dominant sports personalities.
On Tuesday, he was back to talking about the Philadelphia Eagles, as usual.
But on Monday’s show, Missanelli took phone calls asking people to explain why they hate him.
It was the product of a station-wide theme of introspection and critique, with callers also sharing feedback with afternoon hosts Rob Ellis and Harry Mayes. One caller on the mid-day show explained that people “hate” Mike Missanelli, resulting in Mike continuing with the topic on his program.
The genesis of the whole thing might be the result of some recent interaction with Crossing Broad, the popular blog that has capitalized on Philly sports radio conflict both internally and externally. Kyle Scott, who runs the site, took a phone call from 97.5 program director Matt Nahigian on Friday afternoon.
Whatever the reason for the topic, it made for some entertaining exchanges on Mike’s show, which I logged with my comments in parenthesis below.
2:02 pm – Introspection
Missanelli – “Now I was listening to Rob and Harry, and they had a great show, the self-evaluation. We kind of touched on that the last few weeks, some self-evaluation. I heard a guy call into them, and the guy told Harry, ‘You’re the mayor, you and Mike Missanelli have the most seniority there. But you’re the mayor because a lot of people hate Mike Miss.’ And I’m going, do they really hate me? And if they hate me, why? I want to know why, because it hurt my feelings.”
Jason Myrtetus (producer) – “Genuinely?”
Missanelli – “Yeah, it genuinely hurt my feelings. Now, as long as we’re on that theme, let me say that I want to apologize to Philadelphia Flyer fans, because last week I said I hate Flyer fans, and I really didn’t mean that. I went overboard. I was emotional with one caller and it (set) me off. I love Flyer fans. I just don’t understand them.”
(Flyers fans can be somewhat “cultish” and defensive, but Mike does trash ice hockey.)
Embarrassing effort all around tonight by Flyers…
— Mike Missanelli (@MikeMiss975) April 19, 2016
2:06 pm – Idiotic Callers
Missanelli – “Now, when somebody calls and is idiotic, I’m gonna tell them they’re idiotic.”
Myrtetus – “We get a lot of that.”
Missanelli – “We do get a lot of that, and I have no sympathy for idiocy, when it comes to like, ‘We should trade Ben Simmons for pick four and five in the draft,’ or something like that.”
(Gotta agree with Mike on this one. Too many radio callers have no idea what they’re talking about.)
Do people hate @MikeMiss975? And if so why? 610-632-0975
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) May 22, 2017
2:18 pm – The guy who called Harry and Rob calls back to explain his “hate” comment to Missanelli
Dustin – “How you doing, Mike?”
Missanelli – “What’s up man?”
Dustin – “You know, it wasn’t like a shot at you. You have strong opinions and you have people that aren’t going to like you for that. Maybe hate was the wrong word to use, but I was calling Harry ‘the mayor’ because I don’t ever hear a phone call where he gets into people like you do, which is great for radio.
Missanelli – “See, they have a different show than we have. They’re a mid-day show. Neither of them are contentious people. So their show comes off as less contentious than mine, where I’m going to give you a strong opinion about something.”
Dustin – “Yea, it was more about, everybody likes Harry, no matter what situation. He’s been with the station almost as long as you have. I listen to you guys all day, every day.”
(The best radio show in Philly was Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes. They didn’t talk a ton of sports, but it was entertaining.)
2:20 pm – Mike Missanelli responds to an email on politics
Missanelli – “This guy emailed me back. He said, I rip the President of the United States a couple times a week. I haven’t talked about Donald Trump in hundreds of days. What are you hearing exactly? I’ll mention a news item where he told some Russians that the FBI director was a goof. Right? That’s a current event that I just put out there. Come on man. The guy’s name is Brian Cobrinski. Come on Brian, be fair. Let’s go to Rob in South Philly.”
Rob – “Michael, listen, I think you’re a jerk, but I’m a jerk, too. But I don’t hate you. I don’t think anybody should hate you.”
(Mike Missanelli does talk about current events every so often, and I do think he leans a little bit left sometimes, but that might be skewed since his audience tends to land center-right on the political spectrum.)
2:28 pm – A caller alleges that Mike Missanelli pushes a liberal agenda
Missanelli – “I’m not a member of any political party. I don’t watch FOX News or MSNBC and I barely watch CNN. I’m an equal-opportunity guy. I’m like a Chinese menu.
Natalie Egenolf (update anchor) – “What?”
Missanelli – “There’s column A and column B. If column A is a conservative view that I agree with, I agree with it. If column B is a liberal view I agree with, I’ll agree with that. People try to put me in this liberal box. I get emails from conservatives all the time.”
3:19 pm – A caller uses an interesting metaphor
Adam in West Chester – “You’ve got the Rick Barry personality, who is one of the best free-throw shooters of all time, but he’s not one of the most liked players of all time, by any means. His wife, parents, and kids all ripped him in his own biography. It says that half the players in the league hated him and the rest didn’t like him very much.”
Missanelli -“Well I don’t think my kids or my ex-wife would rip me. Barry was kind of a jerk.”
Adam in West Chester – “But you do have a bit of a Rick Barry personality. You’re analytical and do things in a way that you think is right. You’re not driven by emotion or perception of others.”
(Rick Barry won a title with Golden State 40 years before Steph Curry came around.)
Podcast is up— the beef with Mike Missanelli and tense call with 97.5’s program director https://t.co/Ytxvk4mZmU
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) May 22, 2017
3:52 pm – Race Relations
Dom on a cell – “You’re down with the brown, bro. You know what I’m saying?”
Missanelli – “Listen, I’m down with people’s rights. That’s what I’m down with, okay? I actually got an email from a guy that says that I hate white people. I love white people. I love being white. I just hate ’em playing in the NBA.”
Dom on a cell – (laughing sound)
3:55 pm – Unrealistic Sixers Talk
Somebody calls in to discuss the trade value of Richaun Holmes, suggesting he could be packaged for the first overall pick.
4:48 pm – A woman calls in to discuss comments made about Miley Cyrus earlier in the show
Kim on a cell – “Hey Mike. I just think that when you talk about women, and not so much Martinez because he’s a little younger than you, but when you talk about women under 29 you sound like an old creep.”
Missanelli – “Well, listen, beauty is beauty, no matter how young you are. Miley Cyrus is a cute girl. What do you want me to say, that she’s not?”
Kim on a cell – “Yea, she is a cute girl, but you just sound like, kinda weird.”
Missanelli – “Alright. I don’t mean to sound weird. I just call it the way I see it.”
Kim on a cell – “I know, but you just sound like a creep.”
Missanelli – (laughing)
Kim on a cell – “It’s not just her. I’ve heard you make comments about other women under 30.”
Missanelli – “Beauty is beauty. What do you want from me?”
Kim on a cell – “Well it’s one thing when you say, ‘She’s a beautiful woman.'”
Missanelli – “Well she is!”
Kim on a cell – “Well you just say it like an old creep and that’s what made me call this time!”
Missanelli – (laughing)
Kim on a cell – “I don’t want you to sound like a creep because I do like you Mike.”
(This was a lighthearted and rather jovial exchange.)
5:08 pm – Clogging the Pipes
Damon – “One thing I don’t like about the show is that I can’t never get a general knowledge question. I always miss it or I always get cut off.”
Missanelli – “Alright, sorry Damon. Next time we’ll try to get you when you’re on the line. See, the thing about general knowledge is, we get this from above. It’s not our choice. We’re always coached. We’re coached by a guy who wants quick phone calls. So, when the phone call runs long, and I’m up against two minutes, then I gotta zip ya because I’m gonna carry on the conversation and it’s gonna take three minutes for you to answer the question. That clogs the pipes, as they say.”
(There should be fewer phone calls in general. Philly is the only city in the world that uses listener phone calls as the meat of sports talk radio. Most local radio shows are severely under-produced.)
Lol the topic on the Mike Missanelli show today is "Why do people hate me?" End sports talk radio, it's done.
— Marc Z. (@jaheemrod) May 22, 2017
5:45 pm Sound-off segment with pre-recorded phone rants
caller 2 – “Mike, I’m gonna be honest, I used to hate you, because you made the switch and kind of killed off a couple of characters at the other station. Then those characters made the switch, too. Then I fell in love with 97.5 the Fanatic. But then you kept the instigating going, especially with your Flyers talk and Lebron love.”
Mike Missanelli – “See? It’s only two topics. It’s the Lebron love and Flyers opinions.”
Jason Myrtetus – “Yea, but he grew to love you, that guy.”
Mike Missanelli – “He grew to love me.”
caller 3 – “Mikey Miss, your opening statement today, right away about and how terrible the Cavaliers were and everything … What?! There was a GREAT hockey game yesterday, where a team dominated and shutout another team and you didn’t even mention it.”
Mike Missanelli – “Dude, please. A 7-0 hockey game? Come on.”
caller 4 – “Mikey Miss, remember when you started this show? Your competition (Howard Eskin) from the other radio station was kind of opinionated, a little bit smug, and sometimes mean to the listeners? It’s pretty much your story, too.”
Mike Missanelli – “Really? I took his ass out in one year.”
caller 6 – “I love the fact that you’re absolutely honest with the people. I’m calling to say that sometimes you’re not honest enough. When somebody calls in with a dumbass trade offer, that you should get on both barrels and say, ‘Did you really just say that out of your face? On what planet does that make sense?'”
Mike Missanelli – “Today there was one. Trade Richaun Holmes and a draft pick and you can get the first pick.”
caller 8 – “There’s no reason to hate Mike Missanelli. He’s doing his job and he’s doing it good. He’s creating drama and he’s creating ideas to think about outside the box.”
Mike Missanelli – “Well thank you. Finally a call that was nice.”
caller 9 – “Hey Mike. I heard what that guy said about you earlier and I kind of agree with him. You’re just harder to get along with. It’s just your personality. You come off as an ass basically and Harry comes off as the cool guy. It doesn’t mean you’re not a professional. You do a great job.”
Mike Missanelli – “I don’t even know what that call is supposed to mean.”
Jason Myrtetus – “We should have quit on the other call.”