Listeners who tuned into Sportsradio 94.1 WIP late Sunday night were greeted by a familiar voice.
Rob Ellis, who hosts SportsNet Central and other shows on NBC Sports Philadelphia, hosted two hours of sports talk on WIP Sunday, from 8 to 10 p.m., his first stint at the network in three years.
Ellis is returning to WIP. To start, he’ll work as a fill-in host, picking up various open spots in WIP’s lineup. On Twitter, Ellis said he would be back later this week, though he didn’t offer any specifics.
Ellis was a host for WIP for eight years before leaving the station in 2015, after having been demoted from the afternoon time slot after just a year in favor of the since-fired Josh Innes. Ellis famously found out about WIP’s decision to demote him by reading Crossing Broad.
More recently, Ellis spent two years co-hosting the midday show on 97.5 The Fanatic alongside Harry Mayes, but walked away from his show in July 2017 when his contract ended. At the time, he noted that the juggling act between hosting his full-time radio show and his full-time duties at NBC Sports Philadelphia, which at the time included co-hosting the now-canceled Breakfast on Broad, had become difficult.
“More than anything else, I needed a little balance in my life, and I haven’t done the best job at that over the last couple of years,” Ellis said.
The move back to WIP is interesting, considering NBC Sports Philadelphia recently launched a new simulcast with The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli, a partnership that has opened up opportunities for the two stations to share their talent.
WIP also hired Matt Hammond, a New Jersey native who has spent the past four years hosting and reporting for WIP’s sister station in Houston, SportsRadio 610. Like Ellis, Hammond’s role at WIP will be as a weekend and fill-in host.
WIP is coming off its highest-rated winter ratings book in the station’s history, thanks in no small part to the Eagles’ Super Bowl run. WIP finished third overall in the market among men 25 to 54, nearly four full ratings shares ahead of The Fanatic, which ended the quarter in fourth place. Year-to-year, both stations were up, but WIP managed to grow its ratings more than 100 percent compared to 2017.