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An era of sports radio in Philadelphia came to an end last month when Mike Missanelli signed off from 97.5 The Fanatic for the final time.
In his 15 years as host of the station’s flagship show, and at WIP before that, Missanelli became a fixture in sports media throughout the Delaware Valley — a polarizing one.
He had few filters, and his passion for Philly sports and defense of the city against national media narratives spilled over into prejudiced rants and volatile behavior, often contributing to the “bad sports fan” trope he sought to disarm.
Missanelli’s departure is part of a massive changing of the guard in Philly broadcast. Longtime sportstalk icons Ray Didinger and Angelo Cataldi are both retiring this year. Outside of sports, TV is losing meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz, while Jim Gardner is dialing back appearances.
It’s unclear exactly what led to his departure from 97.5, though he was reportedly only on a short-term contract. Announcing the split, Missanelli said he and the company had “decided to go in different directions.” As he signed off for the last time, he said, “I had some missteps, but I hope the good outweighed the bad.”
Here’s a look back at some of Mike Missanell’s most obnoxious or outrageous moments.
Telling Eagles kicker David Akers he ‘acted like a girl’
Missanelli was hosting the midday show with Anthony Gargano on WIP 610 in 2005 when he got into a now-infamous spat with David Ackers live on air.
Akers had kicked a game-winning field goal in the Eagles’ 23-20 win over the Oakland Raiders while suffering from a torn hamstring — and cried afterwards, which Missanelli called “dramatic.”
When Akers called in to respond, pointing out Missanelli was never a pro athlete, so wouldn’t know what it’s like. Missanelli retorted that Akers wasn’t a professional athlete, either, but only a kicker. Later on, when Akers’ agent called the station, Missanelli said, “He was acting like a girl.” The radio host eventually apologized.
Getting fired from WIP for (allegedly) punching a producer
In 2006, Missanelli got into a well-publicized fight with producer Brian Robbins, whom he reportedly hit during a remote broadcast in Ardmore.
In a statement released by WIP 610, the station said it was terminating Missanelli for “violating company policy.” Punching your co-worker likely goes against most companies’ code of conduct.
Dropping ‘Google me’ on Skip Bayless
Missanelli made many passionate defenses when national sports commentators attempted to define Philly sports fans as deplorable.
In one of his most well-known of these interactions, in 2009, Missanelli took on talking head Skip Bayless. On ESPN’s First Take, Bayless described a different fanbase as using “Philly-style, rude, crude, dangerous behavior in the stands.”
Bayless agreed to call into Missanelli’s show to discuss — and then claimed he didn’t know who he was talking to. Missanelli responded by saying, “Just Google me when we’re off the phone.”
Being suspended for homophobic taunts in an email exchange
Drawn out, back-and-forth arguments with callers were one of Missanelli’s signatures, but he didn’t just confine that to on air. A 2014 email exchange uncovered by Deadspin shows the radio host’s side of an exchange with a listener.
Whatever the original fight was about is lost, because in sequential messages, Missanelli resorts to hurling insults — or what he believes are insults. He accuses the listener of being gay as a derogatory statement, equating it with “freak” or “weirdo.”
That earned him a suspension from 97.5. And yes, Missanelli yet again apologized.
Celebrating a Giants wide receiver’s knee injury
Outside of the Cowboys, the Eagles’ biggest rivals are probably the Giants. During a Philly-New York matchup in October 2014, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee, a season-ending injury.
Missanelli celebrated after it happened, posting on Twitter, “Hey Giants fans: Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.”
There was immediate backlash, and he eventually deleted the tweet.
“I apologize for the Cruz tweet. I didn’t see that he got hurt on the play,” a new Missanelli tweet claimed. “Was outside the stadium and saw he dropped [the ball] walking to my car,”
Getting fired by 6ABC for sexist comments about an ESPN reporter
Beth Mowins in 2017 became the first woman to broadcast a regular season NFL game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football — and Missanelli decided to weigh in.
“It just to me sounds unnatural for her to be calling the NFL,” he said on his 97.5 show. “Now, in college, it sounds sort of unnatural as well. But I can live with college. But this is prime time, Monday Night Football. I didn’t catch a lot of the game. Was she good? If she did a good job, then I’m wrong.”
It was obvious to many he was wrong to even make the suggestion, and it cost him a weekly TV gig he’d picked up when 6ABC fired him from its Sports Sunday show.
But he continued on ESPN-owned 97.5 The Fanatic all the way through May 2022.
The show is now being helmed by former co-host Tyrone Johnson, working with Hunter Brody and producer Jen Scordo.