Monday, August 30, 2021

Philly Radio: Howard Eskin Celebrates 35 Years On Radio

On August 29, 1986, Mike Craven, general manager of WIP 610 AM, decided to go one step further away from the music his station traditionally played and one step closer to the talk format that would be the station’s future.

Neal Zoren at The Reading Eagle reports Craven added an all-sports talk show to the mix of music and general talk he’d established. For the first host of that show, Craven tapped one of the biggest names in local on-air sports journalism, Howard Eskin.

Howard Eskin
Eskin had been on Philadelphia radio and television for 10 years at that point. He made a name by offering strong, candid opinions. He wrangled with sports fans on an FM station and had recently made a television move from Channel 3 to a fledgling broadcast at Channel 29.By 1988, WIP was all sports talk all the time, with Eskin among a legion of moderators who would build ‘IP into one of the strongest and most loyally listened to of any radio station in the world.

Cut to September 2, 2011. WIP, boasting a huge audience but lacking the exposure it could receive from being on the FM dial, takes over the 94.1 slot held since the ‘60s by rock station WYSP.

WIP and all-sports would find a congenial home at 94.1, and, once again, the host of the first WIP show on 94.1 FM was Howard Eskin. Eskin would move to different parts of WIP’s rotation, at times taking daily shifts, lately doing a Saturday afternoon show while being heard frequently throughout the week. He worked solo. He worked with co-hosts.

The point is Eskin never stopped working for WIP. This past weekend marked his 35th anniversary at the station, a milestone in any industry but particularly laudable in the volatile field of local radio.

All totaled, Eskin has been heard and seen in the Philadelphia market for 45 years, and using his trademark line, “I never had a bad day in my life,” he at age 70 says he intends to keep on going little thought of relaxing, let alone retiring.

“I don’t let my age influence anything I do. I acknowledge it, but I don’t think about it.

Eskin says a willingness and ability to adapt to the news has helped him stay on top of his game for so long.

“I told the story as I saw it. I relayed information as I received it,” he said. “If I didn’t speak the truth as I know it, or didn’t adjust in the ways I mentioned earlier, I would not have been around to have a 35th anniversary.

“I never wanted there to be any confusion about what I think. People get rankled when you disagree with them, but they appreciate when you’re being honest.

“They know it if you’re not. The best advice I ever received was “be yourself.” A broadcast coach told me that when I started at Channel 3. In all of the years I’ve been the air, I’ve had two objectives, to inform and entertain, and one way of presenting what I had to say, by being myself.

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