97.5 The Fanatic's Mike Missanelli says 610 WIP tried to woo him back

97.5 The Fanatic's Mike Missanelli said on yesterday's show that 610 WIP tried to woo him away to replace Howard "The King" Eskin. Missanelli made the vague remarks while announcing that he had signed a multiyear contract extension with The Fanatic, which also airs on AM as 950 ESPN.

"We have had no formal conversations with Mike. However, we are friends and I do speak to him from time to time," Marc Rayfield, market manager for CBS Radio, which owns WIP, told us yesterday.

"I can categorically deny that any sort of offer was made to Mike," said WIP program director Andy Bloom. "He's trying desperately to create a story," Bloom said of Missanelli. Bloom also pointed out that Eskin remains under contract.

"It was suggested to me by a 'high ranking executive' that they would replace the longtime guy they currently have in that time slot with me. I will not name who that is," Missanelli told us in an e-mail late last night.

Missanelli twice worked at WIP, from 1992 to 2003 and from July 2005 to March 2006, when he was fired after punching part-time producer Brian Robbins during a live broadcast at Brownie's 23 East, in Ardmore.

Missanelli's show airs from 2 to 6 p.m. and Eskin's from 3 to 7 p.m., so the pair compete from 3 to 6 p.m. Both stations are primarily concerned with attracting men 18 to 34 and 25 to 54 because those demographic groups pull in big advertising dollars.

According to the most recent Arbitron ratings period, which includes part of December, Missanelli's show was ranked first with men 25-54, with B101 in second place and Eskin's show and 93.3 WMMR tied for third place, while for men 18 to 34, Missanelli was fourth, Eskin 17th (WMMR is first). As we first reported several months ago, WIP teamed Eskin for the first time in years with a co-host, former Eagle Ike Reese, who joined his program on Sept. 14.

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