On his Tuesday show, 97.5 The Fanatic host Mike Missanelli reiterated that he didn’t know frequent caller “Dwayne from Swedesboro” was really a character created by producer Pat Egan.
“I didn’t know that “Dwayne from Swedesboro” was not a real person,” Missanelli said to open his show, noting that seemingly everyone at the station, including on-air partner Jason Myrtetus, was in on the bit.
“I would not have authorized a racially charged caller like that,” Missanelli said, noting that a white producer creating a black character with some racial stereotypes might have pushed "racial bounds."
"If I had known it was a fake, I would have shut down this immediately because I was sensitive to the racial undertones involved," Missanelli said.
Missanelli made it clear that neither Myrtetus nor Egan would be punished for the incident, which seemed to anger ESPN’s Bomani Jones, one of the harshest critics of the racial angle of the incident.
“Just remember this when people say we’re so PC and people always get fired for this,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “They don’t.”
Missanelli devoted nearly the entire first two hours of his show to responding to the story, first reported by Crossing Broad’s Kyle Scott, about a fake caller frequently calling into the show. Missanelli apologized to anyone who was offended on racial grounds, but struggled to understand why it had become such a big story.
“We are living in an era of reporters that know how to dig on the big stories of the day,” Missanelli said sarcastically. “Your little Jimmy Olsen medal is coming in the mail.”
Missanelli also called Scott an "ambulance chaser," who quickly took the talk show host to task:
I’m the ambulance chaser… pic.twitter.com/3opAkGhBBn
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) August 23, 2016
As the story of a white producer creating a black character quickly spread across social media, other radio personalities weighed in on the controversy, including a strong response from Sportsradio 94.1 WIP host Glen Macnow:
I've done many things I regret during 23 years of sports talk radio. But I have never, ever used a fake caller.
— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) August 23, 2016
Adam Reigner, a producer at WIP who works on “The Josh Innes Show,” seconded Macnow:
I've been a producer at WIP for like 7 years - nothing happens on a show that the host doesn't know about. Nothing.
— Adam Reigner (@AdamReigner) August 23, 2016
Former Fanatic host Sean Brace, who runs the sports media site PhillyInfluencer.com, noted on his podcast that he knew Egan was “Dwayne from Swedesboro” during his time at the station and didn't consider it a big deal.
“I feel like people are like, ‘I can’t believe there’s fake callers,’ ” Brace said. “Once in a while you’ve got to punch up somebody to rile your host up. … It’s about entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with that.”