Josh Innes is back on the air.
The former SportsRadio 94.1 WIP host was taking calls and talking sports at his normal 3 p.m. time slot Monday afternoon -- only this time he was sitting behind a microphone in a studio on the west side of Houston.
Within the first few minutes of his new show, the Josh Innes with whom Philadelphia listeners became well acquainted was on full display for his new listeners in Texas. It barely took a minute for the outspoken host to criticize longtime SportsTalk 790 KBME host Charlie Pallilo, whom Innes replaced, as a has-been.
“I don’t need to hear how I’m replacing a legend,” Innes said of Pallilo, who has been a sports talk host in Houston for more than 25 years. “Generally speaking, legends don’t get shown the door for an unemployed jamoke who was doing a show from his couch.”
Innes referred to Houston as his home multiple times throughout the broadcast, noting his hosting stint on local competitor SportsRadio 610 KILT was his first hosting job in a large market. Still, Innes also referred back to his “ill-fated trip to Philadelphia” several times during his inaugural 4-hour broadcast on KBME.
It look him just four minutes to make a reference to his former boss in Philadelphia, WIP program director Spike Eskin, as he described the ways radio talk-show hosts tend to get fired.
“You either have bad ratings, or your program director is a cowardly scumbag who claims you’re a racist and fires you,” Innes said, noting he “lost interest” with the station after his original boss, operations manager Andy Bloom, was let go as part of budget cuts.
Eskin did not respond to a request to comment.
The combative sports talk host was fired from his afternoon slot on WIP back in August after posting a photograph of 1930s singer Al Jolson in blackface in an attempt to criticize 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli over a white producer creating a fake black caller. He was also suspended back in January after describing Eagles center Jason Kelce with a racial epithet.
None of that prevented Innes from diving head-first into racial humor on the first broadcast with his new station. At one point, he had co-host Jim Mudd play the theme to the 1970s TV comedy Sanford and Son if the caller happened to be African American.
“The 'black phone' is what we’re going to call it,” Innes said before laughing at Mudd’s suggestion to get Frenchy’s, a local fried chicken chain, as a sponsor.
So far, WIP has been tight-lipped about possible replacements for Innes in its lineup. There has been some speculation that former Fanatic host Jon Marks, who left his gig on Mornings with Anthony Gargano last week, might take a job with his former competitor. But Marks has a non-compete clause that will keep him off the airwaves until the beginning of 2017, and WIP is likely to fill the open spot while the Eagles season is still under way.
The only thing certain at this point is that the job won't go to Howard Eskin, who has said repeadedly that he doesn't see himself returning to afternoons regularly.