|City of license||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Broadcast area||Greater Philadelphia (Delaware Valley)|
|Branding||The Delaware Valley's 610 AM WTEL|
(also on HD Radio)
|First air date||March 17, 1922 (as WIP)|
|Callsign meaning||previously used on sister station WWDB prior to acquiring the 610 AM frequency from CBS Radio|
|Former callsigns||WIP (1922-2014)|
|Owner||Beasley Broadcast Group
(WXTU License Limited Partnership)
|Sister stations||WTMR, WWDB|
WTEL is a Philadelphia radio station with an all-sports format. Located at 610 AM, the station adopted its current all-sports format in 1988 after making a 2-year transition to the format. Owned and operated by Beasley Broadcast Group, the WTEL studios are located on the 9th floor of 400 Market Street in Philadelphia's Center City and its transmitters are located in the Crescent Park section of Bellmawr, New Jersey.
The station was formerly known for its influence on the Philadelphia sports fanbase. Its prominent hosts included Angelo Cataldi, who arranged for a group of Eagles fans to attend the 1999 NFL Draft in New York and demand the Eagles select University of Texas at Austin running back Ricky Williams with their #2 pick (which led to the infamous booing of the decision to select Donovan McNabb), and Howard Eskin, whose achievements included the Terrell Owens "funeral" (following the announcement of Owens's four-game suspension from the Eagles during the 2005-2006 season), and a short-lived hunger strike in support of trading Philadelphia 76ers superstar Allen Iverson. The station was also known for hosting the annual eating contest, the Wing Bowl.
WIP was formerly owned by CBS Radio, and at that time was considered to be a sister station to another CBS Radio station, WFAN, in New York City. Both stations serve New Jersey in addition to their licensed cities.
WIP was the flagship radio station for the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies. When both teams are playing at the same time, WPHT and/or WYSP usually carried one of the games. WIP was also the flagship radio station for the Philadelphia Eagles until 1992, when Eagles broadcasts moved to WYSP-FM. On February 20, 2008, the station announced that broadcasts of Eagles games would return to WIP, plus remain on WYSP, with each radio station broadcasting different feeds to make it easier for local fans to watch television coverage of Eagles games but to lower the volume on their TV and listen to the game on the radio. The advent of digital television signals was putting television and radio signals too far out of sync. The station also carried Philadelphia Phillies games on Friday nights during the 2005 season, allowing WPHT to pick up some regularly scheduled programming on Friday nights. In 2008, WIP broadcast the Phillies' March 31 season opener against Washington along with WPHT.
Founded by Gimbels department store, the station first went on the air on March 17, 1922 as Philadelphia's first commercial radio station with the call sign WIP, which people mistakenly think stands for "Wireless In Philadelphia," "We're In Philadelphia" or "Watch Its Progress." In fact, WIP was a call sign randomly issued by the federal government.
In the 1940s and 1950s, the station was an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System. From the 1950s until the early 1960s, the station was owned by Metropolitan Broadcasting (successor to Dumont) and had a rock and roll format. In the early 60s the parent company name was changed from Metropolitan to Metromedia, and WIP adopted an MOR format (after an unsuccessful attempt at a Top 40 format branded as Color Radio). With this format, the station played pop hits of the 1960s, along with some 50s pop mixed in. Announcers during this time period included Joe McCauley (the "Morning Mayor"), Ned Powers, Tom Brown, and Chuck Daugherty.
During this time WIP called themselves "The Big W" after a phrase in the 60s comedy, "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," and the slogan was justified. WIP was number one in the market ratings through the 60s and for most of the 70s.
In the late 60s they began including more soft-rock until the format gradually evolved into an Adult Contemporary format which survived through the 70s and into the 80s. The music mix continued to include pop from the previous two decades. In addition, the station was full service in approach, as they had a heavy emphasis on news as well.
After many years of ownership by Metromedia the station was purchased by Ed Snider's Spectacor Group, the longtime owner of the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers, in 1988. Snider sold the station to Infinity Broadcasting in 1994. Infinity later merged with CBS, making WIP a CBS Radio station.
1970s and 1980s
By the early 1970s, WIP evolved to an adult contemporary format, and for a while, they were heavy on 1950s and 1960s rock and roll oldies. At the height of its popularity as a full service/adult contemporary station in the early to mid-1970s, WIP was the home to some of the most well-known air personalities in the city, including popular rush hour host Ken Garland (who had replaced legend, Joe McCauley, the "Morning Mayor,") late morning host Bill "Wee Willie" Webber, early afternoon host Tom Moran, late PM host, Dick Clayton, evening host Tom Lamaine, and overnight host Nat Wright. Weekend coverage included Allan Michaels, Alan Drew and Bill St. James. During this time, Metromedia's station in New York, WNEW, had similar programming and it was not uncommon for DJs to swap back and forth for subbing duties. WNEW's Julius LaRosa was a frequent guest. WIP’s presentation, like other full-service stations, was heavily dependent on its personalities to entertain the audience as much as the music itself.
In addition to music, full-service music stations in that era were typically home to strong news operations, and WIP had local newscasts every hour, seven days a week (at one point they offered half hourly newscasts around the clock). The weekday morning news was so extensive that they had two anchors in later years, and even introduced a 5 a.m. 30 minute newscast. One of WIP’s news reporters, Jan Gorham, remained with the station after the switch to sports and continued to work there until retiring in 2009.
The station hosted a popular radiothon for one weekend a year for several years, raising funds to fight leukemia. The events were staged on a large scale, in venues like hotel ballrooms, with local and national celebrities visiting the live broadcast.
WIP’s best-known contest was Cash Call, a call-out game in which the DJs picked numbers out of the phone book or from postcards submitted by listeners. The intro to the contest was the first 10 seconds of a song called "The Sound Of Money" by the J's with Jamie, a vocal group that recorded lots of commercial jingles and about four commercially available albums, none of which were very successful, despite the group's vocal talents. If the person at the other end of the call could identify the exact amount of money in the “jackpot,” down to the standard 61-cent ending, they won the current jackpot. Players who knew the 61 cents but not the dollar amount typically won a token prize from a sponsor. Every incorrect guess lead to a few dollars being added to the jackpot; a correct guess resulted in the jackpot being reset to $61.61.
Another long-running contest late in WIP’s run as a music station was Team Trivia. Two area businesses competed, one on the morning show with Ken Garland, the other on the afternoon show with (Bruce) Stevens and (Nick) Seneca (who had replaced Tom Moran).
As the popularity of music on FM radio grew, stations like Magic 103 (now 102.9 WMGK) and Kiss 100 began to eat away at WIP’s audience. For a time, the station experimented with general interest talk. Michele Iaia was brought on to host “WIPeople Talk,” a weeknight call-in show from 8 p.m. to midnight. The show would later expand to include a weekend edition, and over time the talk block was expanded to run from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. (with the station touting that it played music all day and talked all night). One of the regular features was a Friday night segment called Desperate & Dateless, a show that eventually spun off into a stand-alone Saturday night program that included music mixed in with the calls from single listeners.
The local talk was scaled back to make room for Larry King’s syndicated radio show in the overnight hours, and eventually most of the local talk was replaced by music once again. The station later tried a programming experiment known as Midday Infotainment, a features-based midday show hosted by Bill Gallagher and Lynn Adkins. That move pushed Bill Webber out of his longtime midday slot into the early evening shift. The show was canceled in less than a year, and the regular music format, hosted once more by Webber, returned.
As WIP continued adding more current music, it also added the weekly countdown show “Dick Clark’s National Music Survey.” WIP aired the version produced for adult contemporary stations, while WSTW in Wilmington, Delaware, listenable in much of the Philadelphia market, aired the top 40 version.
WIP’s transition to sports was gradual, unlike many so-called format flips that happen instantaneously. The station began adding sports programming in the mid-1980s. More and more sports hosts were brought on to replace the music hosts that left, including Ken Garland, who moved to cross-town WPEN, then a nostalgia-based music station. Garland was initially replaced by WIP part-timer Jeff Brown before the sports-based morning show debuted. Bill Webber’s show, then limited to 9 a.m. to noon, was the last regularly scheduled weekday music program. Webber also would eventually join WPEN, hosting his familiar midday slot on Saturdays.
WIP continued playing music on Saturday mornings for a short time before the transition to all-sports (save for an overnight talk show with Larry King/Jim Bohannon) was complete in 1987.
On September 2, 2011, WIP began simulcasting on 94.1 FM, replacing rock station WYSP. The simulcast of WIP and WIP-FM soon began to gradually split, as certain sporting events are not heard on both frequencies (such as most Philadelphia Phillies broadcasts, which began to air on WIP-FM in 2012 but are still carried on the AM dial by WPHT), and the syndicated The Nick & Artie Show was added to 610 AM's programming in February 2012, while local programming airs on WIP-FM; the simulcast ended entirely January 2, 2013, when WIP became a full-time affiliate of CBS Sports Radio, airing national programming to compliment the local programming on WIP-FM.
On October 2, 2014, CBS Radio announced that it would trade 14 radio stations located in Tampa, Charlotte and Philadelphia (only WIP-AM would be sold) to the Beasley Broadcast Group in exchange for 5 stations located in Miami and WRDW-FM and WXTU in Philadelphia. The swap was completed on December 1, 2014. As a result, WIP has changed its call letters to WTEL, the longtime former call sign of Beasley-owned sister station WWDB, as CBS Radio continues to own WIP-FM.
In 2015, WTEL became an affiliate of ESPN Radio, dropping affiliation with CBS Sports Radio. The station began airing Mike and Mike in the Morning on April 20, 2015, on the day that former ESPN Radio broadcaster 97.5 the Fanatic started a local morning show with former WIP host Anthony Gargano. 97.5 continues to be affiliated with ESPN Radio, but only airs live sporting events distributed by ESPN Radio. WTEL airs ESPN Radio shows almost around the clock, except for public access shows.
Notable dates in WTEL's history as WIP
- January 2, 2013 - AM 610 becomes a full-time affiliate of the new CBS Sports Radio network. Local programming is aired exclusively on WIP-FM.
- September 2, 2011 - WIP moved to 94.1 FM becoming 94 WIP, with 610 AM as its simulcast.
- April 1, 2011 - WIP broadcasts Philadelphia Phillies baseball along with WPHT. This would be the first of many Phillies baseball broadcasts in 2011 on WIP.
- January 9, 2009 - WIP Midday hosts Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow simulcast their show with 660 WFAN Midday hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts. Dubbed "Broadway vs. Broad Street," it was one of the first times WIP has linked up with another radio station in America. The show was used as a forum for both towns to squabble about who will win the NFC playoff game between the Eagles and Giants (The Eagles would go on to defeat the Giants, 23-11 two days later).
- March 28, 2008 - Long time midday show producer, Bubba, was unceremoniously "let go". He produced the first show from the new WIP studios and also produced Steve Fredericks' last show as a full-time host on WIP.
- March 25, 2008 - Steve Martorano's last day on the midday show with Anthony Gargano. Martorano, whose contract was not renewed, was replaced by Glen Macnow.
- March 21, 2007 - Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams makes his debut on the WIP Morning Show with Angelo Cataldi.
- April 21, 2006 - WIP rehires Steve Martorano, giving him a two-year contract with an option for a third.
- March 20, 2006 - WIP fires Mike Missanelli for on-air and off-air altercations with co-workers.
- February 13, 2006 - First broadcast of "Mondays with Mo," on the Glen Macnow show, with Philadelphia 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks.
- February 11, 2006 - First broadcast of the "Rhea Hughes show," 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Saturdays.
- October 8, 2005 - The date of the first Philadelphia Phantoms game to be broadcast on radio (on WIP).
- September 16, 2005 - WIP announces a deal with the Philadelphia Phantoms to broadcast games.
- September 12, 2005 - WIP announces that it has obtained the rights to broadcast the "Terrell Owens Show" at 5 p.m. on Fridays during the Howard Eskin show. The show originates from WAXY in Miami, Florida.
- September 12, 2005 - First broadcast of Brian Dawkins on WIP's "Morning Show" discussing the Eagles' game from the previous day.
- July 27, 2005 - WIP signs a long-term agreement with the Philadelphia 76ers to retain broadcasting rights.
- July 5, 2005 - Mike Missanelli rejoins WIP, being paired with Anthony Gargano in the 10 a.m.-3 p.m. slot, Middays.
- June 30, 2005 - Steve Martorano leaves WIP when his contract expires.
- June 21, 2005 - WIP begins simultaneously broadcasting over the Internet.
- September 9, 2004 - Howard Eskin is suspended by WIP for 30 days to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Richard Sprague, a lawyer for former 76ers star Allen Iverson.
- August 14, 2004 - WIP begins broadcasting from its new Bala Cynwyd location.
- July 23, 2004 - WIP program director Tom Bigby leaves to take a similar position with Infinity sister station KRLD 1080-AM in Dallas.
- May 24, 2004 - Intune Media announces the launch of a new website for WIP.
- April 16, 2004 - Steve Fredericks retires.
- May 23, 2003 - WIP sends a "cease and desist" letter to 93.3 WMMR's Joe Conklin over comments made about WIP on-air.
- May 1, 2003 - Mike Missanelli officially leaves WIP to begin a morning show called Philly Guys on 93.3 WMMR.
- January 2003 - Joe Conklin leaves WIP.
- August 14, 1998 - WIP signs a five-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers for broadcasting rights through the 2003 season.
- November 1990 - Angelo Cataldi joins the Morning Show, teaming with Tom Brookshier as "Brookie and the Rookie".
- November 1988 - WIP becomes all-sports talk except for the morning drive.
- September 1986 - WIP starts broadcasting sports talk with Howard Eskin in the afternoon from 5 p.m.-6PM.
- March 17, 1922 - WIP makes its first broadcast.
- March 16, 1922 - WIP is created.
- Philadelphia Eagles games (during football season)
- Philadelphia Union games (during soccer season)
- Philadelphia Phillies games (during baseball season)
- Ed Benkin (late nights and Sports Updates, also a sports reporter for sister station KYW 1060))
- Angelo Cataldi (November 1990 – present) - Morning Show (5:30AM – 10:00AM)
- Big Daddy Graham- (January 1996 – present) - Overnight Show (2:00AM – 5:30AM)
- Rob Charry (Weekend afternoons)
- Garry Cobb (Weekend evenings)
- Joe Conklin (?-January 2003, May 3, 2006 – present)
- Left WIP in January 2003 to begin a show with Mike Missanelli on 93.3 WMMR. Currently in a free lance period, usually on the Morning Show, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Ray Didinger (Saturday Afternoons from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM with Rob Ellis or Glen Macnow)
- Mark Eckel (weekday evenings)
- Rob Ellis(weekday evenings) "Ellis in the evening"
- Howard Eskin (September 1986 – Present) - (Weekdays 3:00PM – 7:00PM)
- Ended full weekday 3-7 pm slot on September 2, 2011. Eskin's final full-time show was the first show on 94 WIP-FM. In 2011, Eskin will begin a Saturday show on WIP.
- Marc Farzetta (Sunday nights 11:00 PM–2:00 AM) (appears on morning show sometimes)
- Reuben Frank (weekday evenings)
- Anthony Gargano - Afternoons (1:00PM – 6:00PM)
- Sonny Hill (Sunday mornings)
- Peter Solomon (Sunday mornings)
- Rhea Hughes Morning Show (5:30AM – 10:00AM)
- Paul Jolovitz (late nights)
- Jon Johnson(late nights and Sports Updates)
- Keith Jones - Morning Show (5:30AM – 10:00AM)
- Glen Macnow - Afternoons (1:00PM – 6:00PM),
- Al Morganti - Morning Show (5:30AM – 10:00AM)
- Steve Trevelise (Friday and Saturday nights 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM)
- Ike Reese - Mid-days (10:00AM–1:00PM)
- Michael Barkann- Mid-days (10:00AM–1:00PM)
Sports Update anchors
- Rob Charry (11:00 AM to 7 PM weekdays)
- Rhea Hughes (morning show)
- Steve Trevelise (11:00 AM to 7 PM weekdays)
- Sue Shilling
- Joe Altimonte (weekends)
- Jon Johnson (weeknights and weekends)
- Marc Farzetta (morning show and weekends)
- Jan Gorham-Recently left the station after working at WIP for over thirty-three years. Jan was known not to mince words "No more misery for Barbaro, he's dead"
- Ed Benkin(also with KYW 1060, a sister station)
- Tom Brookshier (Deceased)
- Tony Bruno
- Bill Campbell (Deceased)
- Craig Carton
- Pat Croce
- Steve Fredericks (1992-April 16, 2004)(Deceased)
- Retired from WIP on April 16, 2004.
- Jody MacDonald (currently filling in at WIP)
- Lenny Stevens (Handicapping show, Saturday late nights)
- Steve Martorano (November 1987-June 30, 2005, April 21, 2006 – March 25, 2008)
- Left WIP June 30, 2005 after his contract was not renewed to make way for Mike Missanelli. Was rehired after Missanelli was fired.
- Last Day at WIP Radio 3/25/2008. Will be consulting for CBS Radio and All Star Promotion, which handles athlete endorsement deals.
- John Marzano (deceased)
- John McAdams(Deceased)
- Sweeny Murti
- Lucy Jones
- Jack McCaffery
- Brian Startare (Now employed at 97.5 The Fanatic-ESPN)
- Donna McQuillan (deceased)
- Jay Sapovits
- Mike Missanelli (1992-May 1, 2003; July 5, 2005 – March 20, 2006)
- Left WIP in 2003 to work for 93.3 WMMR and was fired 14 months into a 2-year contract April 2004. He later returned to WIP in July 2005 only to be fired in March 2006 after both physical and verbal altercations with co-workers.
- Dave O'Neal
- Sal Violante (1993–1995, Hosted Saturday Morning Sports Page)
- Joe Pellegrino
- John Kincade
- Kris Gamble
- Ken Garland (music; deceased)
- Bill "Wee Willie" Webber (music; deceased)
- KJ Fergusson (music)(Production)
- Tim Marshall (music)(Production)
- Tom Moran (music)
- Tom LaMaine (music)
- Nat Wright (music)
- Dick Clayton (music)
- (Bruce) Stevens and (Nick) Seneca (music)
- Mike Stevens (music) Moved on to Television Career as anchor/reporter in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Sacramento, NY, Michigan, Columbus Ohio. Also worked in radio at WCBS am
- Jeff Brown (music)
- Catey Hill (music)
- Dave Zubriski (music)(Production)
Frequent broadcast locations
- Benny the Bums, South Philly (Rob Charry, during NFL Sundays. Stadium Holiday Inn)
- Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa (Howard Eskin's Tuesday show and Morning Show Fridays. One Borgata Way, Atlantic City, NJ 08401. http://www.theborgata.com/)
- Chickie's and Pete's (Midday Show Fridays; Anthony Gargano and Hugh Douglas for Philadelphia Eagles pregames. 1526 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA.) http://www.chickiesandpetes.com/page/page/790062.htm)
- AT&T Pavilion at the Wachovia Center (Philadelphia Eagles pregames)
- Landmark Americana Tap and Grill (Unnecessary Roughness with Anthony Gargano and Jon Runyan. West Chester, PA http://www.landmarkamericana.com/)
- Lincoln Financial Field
- McDonald's (Midday Show Thursdays, McDonalds in Glassboro)
- Slack's Hoagie Shack (http://slackshoagies.com/)
- Wells Fargo Center
- Citizens Bank Park
- Steven Singer Jewelers (Morning Show)
Former special weekly shows
- "The Terrell Owens show" with Terrell Owens, hosted by Dan LeBatard (Fridays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., during the 2005 NFL season. Broadcast live from a 790-AM "The Ticket" in Miami, FL.)
- "Heritage Philly WIP-AM adds syndicated Nick and Artie to all-sports line-up". Radio-Info.com. February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Marcucci, Carl (June 21, 2012). "CBS Radio, Cumulus pact for "CBS Sports Radio" network". Radio Business Report. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- CBS And Beasley Swap Philadelphia/Miami For Charlotte/Tampa from Radio Insight (October 2, 2014)
- Venta, Lance (December 1, 2014). "CBS Beasley Deal Closes". RadioInsight. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Dan Gross, "Martorano's Final Day at WIP" - http://www.philly.com/dailynews/features/20080325_Dan_Gross__Bum_rap_for_Philly.html
- Official Website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for WTEL
- Radio-Locator Information on WTEL
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WTEL
- History of WIP
- Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia website