On any given day, 97.5 The Fanatic host Mike Missanelli could be heard getting into a heated argument with a caller by the name of “Dwayne from Swedesboro.”

Turns out the caller was really "Pat from the Office."

Sources from The Fanatic confirm that producer Pat Egan created the fake-caller persona and has been calling in to speak to Missanelli and other hosts at the station for more than a year.

Working on a tip from a former Fanatic intern, Crossing Broad’s Kyle Scott matched the photos used on the false persona’s now-deleted Twitter account to a hockey teammate seen alongside Egan in photos on Facebook. Egan later identified the man in the photo as "CK" in a tweet responding to the controversy. Efforts to reach "CK" for comment were unsuccessful.

After initially denying on Twitter that he was “Dwayne from Swedesboro,” Egan confirmed that he was indeed behind the made-up character and said it was a “big inside joke” at the station that everyone except Missanelli was in on.
“He had no idea,” Egan said.
A dumbfounded Missanelli discussed the persona on his show Monday with on-air partner Jason Myrtetus, who was one of many people at the station who knew Egan was the fake caller. Instead of revealing the joke on air, Myrtetus continued to act as though “Dwayne from Swedesboro” was a real caller.

Missanelli: "The only thing I can tell you is that 'Dwayne from Swedesboro' showed up live here at the radio station."

Myrtetus: "He was not allowed back here. we were told -- right?"

Missanelli: "He was not, but he was 'Dwayne from Swedesboro.' 'Dwayne' was a real person when he came here. We met 'Dwayne.' "

Myrtetus: "Somebody was breathing."

Listen to the full exchange:

After Crossing Broad revealed the fake caller, Myrtetus declared “RIP Dwayne from Swedesboro” on his Twitter account before defending the show’s use of the character:

Myrtetus shared a 2011 story about fake callers on his Facebook page last month, noting that, "At the Fanatic our callers are authentic."

Neither Missanelli nor 97.5 The Fanatic responded to a request for comment.

One Fanatic staffer, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid getting in trouble at the station, said it's common for radio shows to pull these types of stunts when things are really slow, or a program needs to spice things up.

"It's like learning reality shows aren't 100 percent real," the staffer said. "It's show business."

Ed Ryan, editor of the radio trade publication Radio Ink Magazine, said most industry insiders know calls are staged: "If hosts can write and perform entertaining bits and the caller is an 'actor,' who's hurt if the audience enjoys the content?"

But not everyone shares that opinion.

"There is one basic rule and that is you don't ever lie to your audience," said one former Philadelphia radio executive, who would speak only anonymously. "Seriously, people should lose their jobs over this."

The executive pointed out that, on Saturday, the fake character’s Twitter account was asking for nude photographs in exchange for tickets to the station's Fanatic Fantasy Fest event, a potential problem considering the employee likely had access to free tickets.

Bomani Jones, an ESPN analyst and co-host of Highly Questionable, blasted Egan on Tuesday morning in a series of Tweets calling out the producer's decision to make his fake character black:

Not surprisingly, one vocal critic was Missanelli’s main competitor, Sportsradio 94.1 WIP’s Josh Innes, who labeled the program “a minstrel show.”

“Wacky FM morning shows have fake callers,” Innes said. “Not sports shows.”
Innes, who was suspended earlier in the year for calling an Eagles player a racial epithet, also jumped on Twitter to bash Egan for choosing to make his fake character black:
Egan said on Twitter there was nothing racist about his decision to create a fake black persona:

Tom Taylor, a former Delaware Valley radio program director who writes the Tom Taylor NOW daily newsletter about radio, thinks the situation leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

"Will some fans feel betrayed? How will the cross-racial angle play out?," Taylor wondered. "This is a complicated situation, and it may bring extra attention to the station, because there's lots to talk about and chew over."