Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

Rod Lakin Knew There Was No Replacing Angelo Cataldi at WIP

“‘I’m not looking to replace Angelo. I’m looking to create a new show on morning drive that can hold up the standards Angelo created.”

Derek Futterman

Published

on

blank

Last October, Rod Lakin joined SportsRadio 94WIP in Philadelphia as its brand manager. Three days into his first week on the job, Philadelphia sports radio staple and morning show host Angelo Cataldi announced that he would be retiring from the station in December 2022.

The search has been on to determine a new sound for morning drive programming on the station, a profound responsibility placed on Lakin who recently completed his first year working in “The City of Brotherly Love.”

Lakin succeeded Spike Eskin at SportsRadio 94WIP when Eskin took over as vice president of programming at WFAN in New York. Before moving to Philadelphia, Lakin worked for Bonneville in Phoenix as the program director of Arizona Sports 98.7 and ESPN 620, an outlet where he began as a technical director and producer before overseeing station programming.

Angelo Cataldi has encapsulated what it means to be a sports fan in the city of Philadelphia. While he will remain on the air until the Philadelphia Eagles’ season comes to an end, Lakin and his team at SportsRadio 94 WIP have concluded their process to name a new morning show.

Last week, the station announced that midday show hosts Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie will be the new hosts during morning drive. DeCamara and Ritchie began working together on their midday program at WIP in October 2016. Previously, DeCamara worked as a local weekday evening host on 97.5 The Fanatic and national weekend host on ESPN Radio following a brief stint in Levittown, PA with 1490 WBCB-AM. Ritchie began working in sports media upon his retirement from the NFL in contributing roles at both ESPN and NBC Sports and as the co-host of The Artie Lange Show on DirecTV.

“They have a really good feel for each other [and have] worked together for a long time,” Lakin said. “Joe is kind of the ultimate Philadelphia sports fan. There’s a segment we do called ‘Beat the Hammer’ where he does Philadelphia sports trivia every Friday, and Joe could tell you who pinch hit in Game 3 of the 1993 World Series. Jon is on the other side of the spectrum as a former athlete – a successful one in the NFL – and I think they have a really good rapport and chemistry with each other; two very, very different perspectives.”

Additionally, it was announced that the morning program will continue to feature Cataldi’s longtime co-host Rhea Hughes. Morning show producer Joe Weachter will remain in his role but will also be joined by current midday producer James Seltzer. The next step for the Audacy-owned station will be to form a new midday team which it says will be named in the next few months. Regarding the morning show, the search process was thorough but having a local connection to Philadelphia from the onset was not necessarily a job requirement.

“Certainly it’s a benefit to have people that the Philadelphia sports audience are familiar with and hosts that have a familiarity with the market too,” Lakin said. “It wasn’t a non-starter for somebody that didn’t have Philadelphia ties, but at the same time – and especially in the case of Joe DeCamara being a lifelong Philadelphian who has seen all the great ups and downs [with] the sports teams – I think it is going to bring tremendous value to the new morning show.”

Cataldi was not directly involved in the search process, not being informed of the decision that had been made until it was completed and ready to be announced. As a longtime employee of SportsRadio 94WIP, he planned to support the decision no matter what and favored being kept out of the search, instead focusing on his ongoing role as a host.

“Angelo Cataldi is an institution in Philadelphia sports,” Lakin expressed. “…When people asked me about replacing Angelo, I said, ‘I’m not looking to replace Angelo. I’m looking to create a new show on morning drive that can hold up the standards Angelo created.’ For three decades, Angelo was the driving voice of Philadelphia sports media. He set the tone in this market and there will never be another Angelo Cataldi.”

Throughout the search process, Lakin did not feel a tremendous amount of pressure regarding making the right decision but was cognizant of its impact. It was not until closer to the announcement when he began to feel the weight of the decision being made and the enduring significance morning drive shows have with the fervid sports culture of Philadelphia.

“The effect Angelo’s had for three decades in this market is incredible,” Lakin said. “Really to see and to hear the responses… after we made the decision was the only time I felt the enormity of that decision.”

Lakin and Audacy Philadelphia Market Manager David Yadgaroff worked closely together in making the decision, but that started with defining just what they were looking for in the search. The key to finding the right fit was determining what they wanted the end result to be and how it would resonate with consumers and advertisers. Ultimately, the choice came down to three determining factors, creating a “strategic clarity” in planning ahead.

“We knew it had to be a show that was going to be the voice of the fan because that was the brand Angelo established so well over the last 30 years,” Lakin described. “We knew it had to be a show that had strong opinions and had the ability to define the sports narrative in Philadelphia [as] that’s critical for a morning show and Angelo has done such a great job with [it.]… Also, we know the show needed to have personality. When you’re talking about a morning drive show, you’re talking about an audience that’s coming in every day and they’re at their peak in terms of their mood and optimism for the day and they want to have fun.”

According to a study published in Emotion, people who operate on morning-driven schedules tend to wake up feeling more positive emotions than those who stay up late and do their work later in days. Furthermore, it was determined that as people age they usually become in favor of waking up early and doing things earlier in the day. The coveted 25-54 demographic aligns with these data which correlate positivity with those who start their days earlier, and sports media has the responsibility to know its audience in this regard.

“I think the best shows in this format, in particular in morning drive, are the ones that combine two things,” Lakin said. “They have a better personality sense than any straight sports talk show; and they have a better sports sense than any personality-driven radio show.”

Rhea Hughes got her first opportunity to join the morning show from Cataldi, and the two have worked together since she joined the program in 1997. She will remain on the morning programming with DeCamara and Ritchie, providing a source of experience and understanding regarding how to appeal to the morning audience.

“She’s a super-talented anchor and co-host and has great connections in the market,” Lakin said of Hughes. “I think it’s important to have some of that connective tissue to the old show. Angelo’s show has been very successful so I think it was a very natural partnership for Rhea and Joe and Jon.”

Al Morganti has been with Cataldi from the launch of the morning show in 1989 but will not be a part of the new program. While the exact capacity has yet to be determined, Morganti will continue working at SportsRadio 94WIP in a new role.

Additionally, Morganti will continue with his job as a studio analyst for Philadelphia Flyers live game broadcasts on NBC Sports Philadelphia. His presence on Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team has, according to Cataldi, been fundamental for the success and longevity of the program.

“[Al] was critical, and Angelo would tell you this, to the development of the show over the years,” Lakin said. “He’s had so many great ideas for WIP – events; programming initiatives; content. He’s just been such a great guy and such a great advocate for WIP over the years.”

Coinciding with the search to form a new morning show has been a period of sustained success for sports across the city. The Philadelphia Eagles remain the only undefeated team in the National Football League. Sports fans in Philadelphia and around the NFL expect them to make a deep playoff run, therefore delaying the launch of the new morning show and fans surely hope Cataldi’s tenure concludes with the Eagles’ second Super Bowl championship in five years.

As the radio station gets set to launch its new morning show, Lakin remains optimistic about the future of the format amid changes in technology and consumption habits. Management believes that DeCamara, Ritchie and the rest of this new morning show team will be a successful combination, and perhaps the familiarity among each other may catalyze the adjustment period, but it will be critical for the show to uphold the high standards established by Cataldi.

“It’s being the voice of the fan; it’s being the show that helps define the sports narrative in Philadelphia; it’s being the show of record in many ways,” Lakin said. “I think Joe and Jon are up to that task – it’s a big one – and at the end of the day, we’re going to put [on] a very, very quality show to the Philadelphia sports audience.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

Continue Reading

BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.