Thanks to Mike Missanelli for his thoughtful and honest farewell
Mike Missanelli announced his departure from 97.5 the Fanatic on Tuesday afternoon. A shock! It really came out of nowhere. The whispers were drowned out and the news was kept very low key by the parties who knew what was going on. There may be more to discover here!
As we reported last night, Beasley is fielding a trio of Tyrone Johnson, Hunter Brody and Ricky Bottalico to drive the PM forward.
In the meantime, I’ve transcribed Mike’s entire on-air statement. Worth reading:
“It’s hard to pull this out because it sounds so surreal, but this is my last day as host of The Mike Missanelli Show. My current contract expires in a few weeks and the company and I have decided to go in another direction It’s like the guy who comes to Bull Durham and they say ‘the organization wants to make a change’ Well that’s what’s happening The station and I talk about me staying with the company in some kind of role, but who knows.
What I can tell you is that they already have a replacement show under contract and I’m sure you’ll hear about it in the next few days. In the meantime I’ve left a few days off and sick days and I’m going to take care of that messed up foot, I think today is just the time to get up from here.
So change is good. But I must tell you that it is a very difficult day for me because of the long relationship that I have had with all of you. I will say this; I tried to give my heart to every show I did here for 15 years. I’ve had a few missteps in my career, as you well know, but in the end I hope the good outweighs the bad and people think I’ve been a positive part of the brand of this radio.
It’s been a privilege to come here every day and talk with the biggest fan base in America. My only goal every day was to be as honest and trustworthy (as possible) because I think you deserved at least that from me. And if I have offended you in any way with my sometimes arrogant, know-it-all opinions, I sincerely apologize. Just know that I was trying to get you off the beaten path, and sometimes I found it necessary to touch on certain subjects that were a little more serious than sports, but I thought to myself that I had to give voice to certain social issues that were important to all of us.
I’m very proud of the charities (events) we’ve been able to partner with here such as the Mike Miss Open, Fan Fest and many more. I’m particularly proud that we never tried to slow down the interviews we conducted with the various coaches, general managers and players. The tough questions may not have won me any popularity contests, but you deserved to hear the truth and I’m glad that over the years we’ve been able to forge a special bond with the callers. Your callers know exactly who you are. Great callers who were more regular callers here, I really appreciate it and you have earned a special place in my heart.
And there are so many other people to thank here. First of all, I want to thank all the producers I’ve had on this radio station, all the people who have worked so hard to make this show and me look good. Tyrone, you’re obviously the one who stays with me the longest. Thank you for your advice and friendship, and my sincere wishes for future success, and all the previous producers I have had. You are destined for great things Tyrone, and I will follow you and be there whenever you need me.
Jen, you’ve been a great partner. You’ve fit in so well with us alphas and (pause)…before Jen Natalie and her great contributions…all of my co-workers, Cuz, the morning shift, Devon, the staff behind the scenes (starts naming co-workers , guests, sponsors, etc.)…
Listen, it was a great race. I apologize for being emotional, but think about it – I have to be a sports talk show host in this great big city through a Super Bowl, a World Series and two more World Series appearances and a Finals appearance in the NBA and that’s not bad. Good times and bad have made for great sports talk in Philadelphia. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Philadelphia has the most passionate fan base in the country. It’s the best sports talk town in America.
It is more or less that. I don’t know what the next step is for me. I will listen to all the opportunities that come my way. Maybe a podcast, or getting back to some legal work, maybe the Innocence Project, writing another book, or being a Phillies scout. I think they could use me (laughs). Or, I’ll be back here on the station in another role. We’ll see how it goes. Good luck with the new show, whatever it is…. I think I’ll write on my website.. and thank you all, I love you all, and this is the ultimate, drop the mic, but I’ll hang on until the show is over and maybe you can drop some good memories from the show.
That’s a lot to parse, but I have to give Mike a lot of credit. It’s a very comprehensive statement. For Mike, acknowledging “missteps” and speaking of a “know-it-all” attitude in his farewell statement shows a lot of honesty and self-awareness. He didn’t have to, and I doubt you’d see that kind of thinking from big egos working other time slots in this market.
Bottom line, Mike goes on sports talk hosts at Philly’s Mount Rushmore. He always tried to elevate the discourse, whether people liked it or not. This has led to conflict at times (with us and others) as social and political discussions are naturally combative and heavy but even if you were on the opposite end of the spectrum you have to give Mike credit for addressing topics that other media have not covered. I don’t want to hit with a 10 foot pole. I’m talking about Kaepernick, on his knees, etc. – sports stories that turned into socio-political issues. We can sit here and argue for days about whether talk radio is the best forum for these topics, but on the days when other shows were hammering in vapid Eagles phone calls and playing absurdly safe, Mike would try something different.
One thing about Missanelli is that he didn’t do fake contrarian radio takes like some of the other veteran hosts in this town. He didn’t go on air and take a false position or express false outrage. He didn’t call players whiny and morons. He didn’t make grandiose statements about the Eagles or try to force a subject or stir shit up to get people talking. If you’ve listened to his show over the years, it was at the more pragmatic and thoughtful end of an admittedly small Philly radio spectrum. I also appreciated Mike’s knowledge of baseball and his willingness to dig deeper into basketball when other shows were giving us mundane Eagles talk in June. The approach was different and I don’t think people have recognized that over the years.
Like most shows, things get stale towards the end. I swear Mike had the same five guests on his program since 2020. Jayson Stark, Brian Westbrook, Rich Hofmann, etc. Again and again. They are good guests, but they are the same guests. Mike is a solid interviewer and when the cobwebs started covering the rolodex he felt like he was going through the motions. To me, he seemed bored talking about the Eagles and taking phone calls from doofus who didn’t know what they were talking about. Maybe Mike carried some arrogance with him (all the best radio hosts do), but if you’ve listened to “Bobby from Birdsboro” decades saying bullshit like “I think the Eagles should trade for Aaron Rodgers,“then you would probably be exhausted too. You would be frustrated with idiots calling and talking nonsense. 20 hours of radio a week is hard, and when you’ve been doing that since the 1990s, it’s not fresh and it’s been a long time.
For my money I think the peak of Mike’s radio career was either his 90s WIP work with Steve Fredericks or maybe 8-10 years ago at The Fanatic when Tony Bruno’s crossover was a go-to radio and that Mike seemed much more driven and composed. He knocked out Howard Eskin in about a year and was the Fanatic’s top performer in every ranking book. He really made this station what it is, and the heyday of the Fanatic was anchored by a top Mike who was truly at the top of his game. The political and social stuff only really became ubiquitous in the Trump era, when a lot of people in the media let the dividing line fade into nothingness. It wasn’t just him.
But anyway, congratulations to Mike on his great career. He probably should have received the shipment that Ray Didinger received and Angelo Cataldi will receive. Instead, it was a rush job with late notice. This wasn’t meant to be a Coach K retirement tour, but he meant a lot to this station over the years and deserved a different outing.