Analysis

How Philadelphia’s radio talent and sports writers have reacted to the World Cup

Photos: Courtesy of WIP

I’ve been trying to tell people that there aren’t as many soccer haters in the Philadelphia media as you might think.

Sure, you still hear the comments from personalities who are usually older and almost certainly Caucasian — i.e. soccer is “gay” or “European,” or there’s “not enough scoring,” or you “can’t use your hands,” or whatever.

Those people still exist, and that’s alright. They can believe what they want. I don’t agree with them, but I also don’t think it’s the business of soccer fans to try to convert non-fans, or demand respect, or tell other people what to think.

angelo_cataldi

Everyone’s favorite radio host. Even Angelo was talking soccer during the World Cup.

Being antagonistic towards non-soccer fans doesn’t serve much of a purpose.

You might notice, however, that the sniping has dramatically decreased in recent years.

Here we are, in 2014, with World Cup watch parties all over the city. Sebastien Le Toux is hanging out with Action News. Comcast Sportsnet has reporters at the Piazza. 97.5 the Fanatic actually preempted programming to play the radio feed of the USA and Germany game. Sports Radio 94 WIP took soccer phone calls. Jim Curtin was a guest (twice!) on Angelo Cataldi’s show.

This is stuff that you did not see in 2010.

My main job is over at CBS 3 as a writer and a news/sports producer. I work with some really cool people who know a LOT about sports. Our sister station is WIP, and I’m friendly with a lot of the talent over there. I’ve also been invited to talk soccer with Sean Brace over at 97.5, and I’ve been welcomed into the WURD studios to talk World Cup with Phil Allen, who you probably know as “Phil from Mount Airy”.

As a result of that, I’ve learned that a lot of people in the Philly media actually like the sport. They actively follow it and they like to talk about it. Soccer talk on the radio is never going to replace the Eagles and the Phillies, but programming and topical decisions are usually made by executives and based on demographic and listener-styled statistics anyway. The hosts don’t make the decisions. Everything is based on the demo, and right now, the Philadelphia Union and the EPL simply can’t compete with the bigger sports in town.

I hope it progresses that way. I’m a “five for five” guy – Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, Union, and maybe the Sixers if Sam Hinkie’s draft picks ever freaking play.

Below is a collection of Philly sports media people tweeting about Soccer (or coming out of the closet in a weird way?)

Glen Macnow, Sports Radio 94 WIP host, conceding a point

Ike Reese, Sports Radio 94 WIP, former Eagle

Tony Bruno, formerly of 97.5 the Fanatic (long time soccer fan)

Harry Mayes, 97.5 the Fanatic (Everton fan)

Paul Jolovitz, Sports Radio 94 WIP (long time soccer fan)

Sean Brace, 97.5 the Fanatic

Pat Gallen, 97.5 the Fanatic

Jason Myrtetus, 97.5 the Fanatic producer (making a point that I pretty much agree with)

Steve Bucci, CSN Philly

Al Morganti, CSN Philly and Sports Radio 94 WIP

Reuben Frank, CSN Philly and Sports Radio 94 WIP

Nick Kayal, 97.5 the Fanatic

Brian Startare, 97.5 the Fanatic

Les Bowen, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Daily News

Mike Missanelli, 97.5 the Fanatic

Paul Domowitch, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Daily News

Jeff McClane, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer

John Lamb, 97.5 the Fanatic social media/producer

Bob Ford, respected Philly sports writer taking a stab at soccer tactics

 

4 Comments

  1. Just those pictures of Cataldi make me want to wretch

  2. John Ling says:

    I was listening to Harry Mayes and Nick Kayal on the way in this morning (I was late thanks to an oh-so-fun dentist appt). The conversation was good – some talk about the Union (including encouraging people to go check them out), some discussion about the game (mostly Howard’s performance), and some discussion about “the next step” (which they think is getting the superstar athlete to play soccer instead of football or baseball or basketball, and until MLS can pay up that probably won’t happen).
    .
    All in all, it was good talk. It was nice to hear the Union mentioned positively, and to hear soccer talk that wasn’t, “But you can’t use your hands!”

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    I never understood the hate and vitriol some people spew (in general, not so much in this article) about the sport. I’m glad people have gotten to a level of respect, and even enjoyment. As stated at the top of the article, we as soccer fans don’t have a right to force it down peoples throats. I just hope people see it for what it is, and stay on board with the USMNT, and hopefully get on board with the Union.
    .
    All in all, I’m happy with the positive turn soccer has FINALLY taken in this country.

  4. The only issue I have with the mainstream hatred are the Jim Rome Clones that feel the need to pick a fight with soccer fans. Look, if you don’t like soccer, don’t talk about it. We’re perfectly content discussing it on PSP and in other forums where opinions are appreciated.

    But Kevin, you are absolutely right. The bile that we have all become accustomed to has been lessened. It was a begrudging respect for a while, and then the non-soccer types got caught up in the drama. It was hard not to. But now that it’s over (for the US, anyway), let’s see if things revert back to the normal snarky levels.

    Again, if you’re a talk show host and you don’t like soccer, just take another call from Bob from Fishtown to talk about how the 3-4 will finally get the Eagles to the Super Bowl. (Or whatever inane point the random caller feels the need to bring up.)

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