A little advice for the executives at WIP-AM (610): If you tell people that Howard Eskin won't be paired with a partner, you really ought to make sure everyone goes along with the charade. Otherwise people look foolish when the stories don't match up.
Yesterday, Inquirer columnist Michael Klein wrote that WIP vice president and general manager Marc Rayfield "emphatically" denied that Eskin would be getting a sidekick. From what I've heard, it sounds like Rayfield "emphatically" lied to the Inky, or at least stretched the truth.
According to a source, as recently as last week WIP reached out to NBC10 sports anchor John Clark to gauge his interest in cohosting the station's afternoon drive show with Eskin "at least a couple days a week." (Clark and Eskin work together on Sports Final, which airs on NBC10 on Sunday evenings.) The source said Clark is currently considering the idea but that no formal discussions have taken place.
Huh. Now why would Clark think about joining Eskin in the booth if Rayfield swears WIP isn't interested in finding The King a partner? That's just bizarre.
The chatter about WIP searching for someone to join Eskin has ramped up lately. Mike Missanelli - who used to cohost a show with Eskin on WIP but who now has a competing afternoon drive-time program on ESPN-AM (950) - recently beat Eskin's ratings in the 25-54 male demographic (though Eskin had a higher cumulative audience). As a result, some WIP insiders believe management wants to shake up the Eskin show and add a new voice.
In the past, Eskin has been periodically joined by station regulars Hugh Douglas and Anthony Gargano, but those arranged marriages never lasted. Then, last week, WIP put nighttime/weekend host Rob Ellis on Eskin's show. Ellis returned this week and will be on the air with Eskin at least through today, after which a station source told me "everything will be reevaluated."
For a guy who's supposedly not getting a cohost, there sure are a lot of names being linked to Eskin right now.
I would love to talk to Rayfield about all this, but for the second straight day he has failed to return multiple messages that I left at his office. That makes me sad.
At least Eskin is good at picking up the phone. Not only did Eskin confirm that WIP has discussed adding Clark to his show, but he said he broached the idea to station management about three months ago. Maybe Rayfield was on vacation or in the bathroom that day.
"I've been talking to John about this for months. Absolutely," Eskin said, though he added that the cohost speculation has gotten a little out of control. "We have a great dynamic [on TV]. It's just a matter of trying to figure out John's schedule."
There's another interesting little wrinkle here. In addition to working with Eskin on NBC10, Clark also cohosts MYPHL17's Sunday Phillies postgame show with Missanelli.
"Working with Mike on the weekends and Howard at night, I already feel like an only child in the middle of a messy divorce," Clark joked. He declined to comment on where things stand with WIP. "I don't want to get in the middle of that."
When former bare-knuckle brawler/Internet sensation/pop culture phenomenon Kimbo Slice made the transition to Mixed Marital Arts, there was a lot of buzz. (If you're unfamiliar with Mr. Slice and the illegal backyard brutality that made him famous, go to YouTube and punch in his name.) Slice signed with a now-defunct outfit called Elite XC. The organization got knocked out around the same time Slice did. He was dropped by a dude as soft as your pillow in October and hasn't fought since.
Yesterday, the UFC confirmed that Slice will take part in its reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. The 10th season of TUF begins shooting today and will air in September. Traditionally, the winner of the show is awarded a UFC contract.
Slice and the UFC make for a very strange union indeed. In the past, UFC president Dana White has called Slice a "bum" and a "joke" and once said he'd "get murdered" if he fought any top-flight UFC talent. But you know what they say: Sticks and stones (and right hooks) can break your bones but words will never hurt a guy who looks like he can crush a Hyundai with his bare hands.
Yesterday, I counted 24 media members at the Eagles' OTA. I wonder what would everyone have written/talked about if Sheldon Brown had shown up. . . . Welcome back, J.C. Romero. . . . Have you seen Party Down on Starz? A friend just got me into it. Might be the funniest show on TV this side of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. . . . Yesterday marked the 30-year anniversary of Philly's semi-official sports anthem, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," reaching No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts. Love McFadden and Whitehead. ... A section of the Spectrum's hardwood floor where Christian Laettner hit his famous buzzer-beater in the NCAA regional finals in 1992 is being auctioned off on eBay. If you're interested, the 12 panels, totaling 1,350 pounds, start at $2,500. So far, not a single person has put in a bid. But don't worry - there's still time. The auction doesn't end until June 11 at 9:55 p.m. And you thought all the Spectrum nostalgia stuff was over. Sucker. The Spectrum is like the St. Joe's Hawk - it will never die.