Ex-WIP host Josh Innes suspended, ESPN's Sarah Spain calls out Fanatic producer

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Former WIP host Josh Innes has once against been suspended, while ESPN’s Sarah Spain reminded followers about a fake caller controversy at The Fanatic.

Josh Innes has been suspended from the radio. Again. Apparently.

Innes, who returned to Houston sports talk radio in August 2016 after having been fired by 94.1 WIP, was absent from his Sports Talk 790 show Tuesday and Wednesday after a private feud with colleague Adam Clanton.

According to Clutch Fans, a popular Houston sports forum, the station fired Clanton and suspended Innes for a week. Sports Talk 790 has confirmed that Clanton was no longer with the station, but hasn’t said why it disciplined the hosts.

All we know is Innes spent nearly 10 minutes badmouthing Clanton on the air Monday in a fairly tame segment, mocking Clanton for changing his tone about the Houston Rockets after the team hired him to host its studio show. The segment appeared motivated in part by a tweet by Freezing Cold Takes, which Clanton shared, that mocked Innes for criticizing the Houston Texans for drafting J.J. Watt.

Innes and Clanton haven’t responded to requests for comment.

This isn’t the first time Innes has caused problems in Houston since his return. The outspoken host was banned from Radio Row at the Super Bowl after engaging in a shouting match with fellow Houston sports talk host Seth Payne of SportsRadio 610. The NFL also booted out the entire station, which forced them to broadcast from a Perkins restaurant in Bloomington, Minn.

Of course, most Philadelphia sports fans remember Innes for his chaotic 2½ years at WIP, where he was suspended for using a racial epithet on air to describe Eagles center Jason Kelce and was fired after sharing a photo of a performer in blackface in response to a controversy over a fake caller at The Fanatic.

ESPN’s Sarah Spain shuts down Fanatic producer

Speaking of the fake caller controversy at The Fanatic, the producer who pretended he was Dwayne from Swedesboro got into a bit of a Twitter fight Tuesday with ESPN’s Sarah Spain.

It didn’t turn out well for Pat Egan.

It all started when Egan randomly called out Spain and ESPN colleague Bomani Jones for their regular appearances on Around the Horn, oddly blaming them for the network’s ratings declines (for what its worth, Around the Horn’s ratings have been pretty solid).

Once Spain realized that it was Egan who voiced a fake black listener who would regularly exhibit racial tropes while calling into Mike Missanelli’s show, she discarded her own pledge not to deal with “trolls, fanboys and sycophants” to call out the Fanatic producer.

The bad blood between Egan and Spain likely extends from an interview Missanelli did on Spain’s ESPN Radio Show, where she questioned the behavior of some Eagles fans who engaged in destructive behavior following the team’s Super Bowl victory. Missanelli’s takeaway was that she was pushing a false narrative that all Eagles fans behave terribly.

Spain, who is also a SportsCenter reporter and an espnW columnist, certainly isn’t biased against the Eagles or Philly fans. She picked and rooted for the Eagles (she was raised in the outskirts of Chicago and grew up a Bears fan). Her sister spent years living in Philadelphia and is a diehard Birds fan.

Egan, current afternoon host Jason Myrtetus and former program director Matt Nahigian were all suspended after the fake caller controversy. The Fanatic issued a formal apology to listeners for creating a fictional character that “perpetuated racial stereotypes that are offensive and unacceptable.”

Another departure at NBC Sports Philadelphia

Rachel Micali, who has spent the last eight years as a booking producer for NBC Sports Philadelphia, has accepted a new job with NFL Films in the company’s Player and Talent Relations department.

Micali’s position at NBC Sports Philadelphia was eliminated, though the network offered her another job in hopes of keeping her. Her last day at the network was Tuesday.

NBC Sports Philadelphia has been shedding talent over the past year as the network has rebranded itself from Comcast Sports Philadelphia and shifted its programming away from original reporting to more opinion and debate, aimed at attracting more millennial viewers.

Last month, Marshall Harris was shown the door after nearly 10 years at the network. His role on the network’s coverage of the Sixers and Phillies was filled by longtime host Michael Barkann, who will act as the primary host of all the network’s pre- and postgame shows before and after Sixers, Phillies and Flyers games.

Last June, veteran reporters Dei Lynam and Tim Panaccio left the network. Earlier last year, veteran broadcaster Ron Burke was shown the door. Prior to that, longtime Phillies reporter and anchor Leslie Gudel and her former co-host, Neil Hartman, parted ways with the station.

Following the cancellation of Breakfast on Broad, former co-hosts Sarah Baicker and Jillian Mele left the network to pursue other opportunities. Baicker took a job working for the New Jersey Devils (she now works for advertising tech company Viant Technology), while Mele is a reporter and morning new anchor at Fox News.