By Andy Bloom – Operations Manager WIP
Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s publication SportsWeek devoted its cover story to WIP’s formative years. The excellent piece written by Chuck Darrow only began to scratch the surface of WIP’s impact on the Philadelphia sports and media communities, however. Therefore, as the station, which has been broadcasting for over 90 years and is now into its 24th year in the Sports format, we thought we would pull back the curtain on this amazing entity that Darrow referred to as “more than a mere radio station…a public utility.” Introducing, “On the Road to 25 – the History of WIP.”
In a series of twice weekly webisodes we’re going to go beyond where the SportsWeek story left off and give you the inside story of WIP’s nearly 25 years as the sports leader in Philadelphia.
We’ll recall the great personalities both on the radio and on the teams that have thrilled and frustrated us. We’ll separate fact from fiction and tell the story how WIP became more than “a mere radio station and more of a public trust.”
The personalities who have made WIP great, most of whom are still with the station, will tell you the story in their own words and recall the greatest moments of the past quarter century in Philadelphia sports history. Most of our personalities were on the air talking with fans as those events happened and in some cases had a direct role in shaping what happened.
More than a walk down memory lane, On the Road to 25 – the History of WIP, will give station fans insight into what was happening in the WIP studios and offices. When it wasn’t pretty, we’ll let you see the warts. When it was glorious, we’ll bring you back to that moment and your pulse will race.
For me personally, this is a very special project. Very few people have sat in the chair that I have occupied for the past 5 years. Tom Bigby served as WIP’s first program director from shortly after the station became all sports until the mid-1990s. Tom Lee became the station’s second program director and I have overseen all of WIP’s programming since 2007, with Jeff Sottolano assuming the program director title in the past year. It’s a small club.
Programming WIP means that you deal with some of the most talented and experienced sports talk hosts in the industry, with all of the franchises, with clients, and with listeners. No 2 days are ever the same. Over the past year we’ve literally reinvented WIP as we added the broadcast on 94.1 and as more people listen regularly on the stream, but that’s getting to the later years and there is a lot of ground to cover from the days WIP was an MOR (Middle of the Road) station with a couple of hours of sports talk with Howard Eskin in the evening, through the evolution to all sports, the near misses by all the teams and finally the Phillies parade in 2008, and the addition of FM in 2011. This is On the Road to 25 – the History of WIP.