On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
May 26, 2006
Listeners of Phil Neuman’s 1:15 p.m. sportscast on Sunday, April 2, never would have guessed at the time that those few minutes meant the end of his 21-year career at KYW 1060-AM.
In a letter of resignation sent to KYW general manager David Yadgaroff last week, Neuman cited problems with KYW director of programming Steve Butler as the reason for his departure.
He wrote: “The Flyers were playing a key game in Long Island [1 p.m.] that affected playoff positioning in the final two weeks of the regular season. ... Same for the Sixers, who were playing the Knicks that evening. … But shortly before 1:15 p.m. Steve called the editor and ordered him to have me lead with a Phillies EXHIBITION game.
“At 1:15 I said, ‘The Flyers are playing in Long Island. … The Sixers have a big game with the Knicks. … But we start with baseball’ and then went to the live shot. After my 1:15 sports, Steve called me and said don’t even mention the others first. ... An ‘umbrella lead’ he called it. … Just do the Phillies. I tried to explain to him that this was just an EXHIBITION GAME, and the Flyers and Sixers meant more, but I was shouted down. He said, ‘Our audience only cares about the Phillies.’ ”
Neuman later wrote:
“The bottom line is … I WAS EMBARRASED by the product I was forced to put out. (And by the way, I won’t even go into the fact that EVERYONE else in town led with the Flyers and Sixers.) But if I am going to be embarrassed by what I have to attach my name to ... then I am in the wrong place.”
When reached by phone, Neuman said the April 2 conflict with Butler was the “final straw” after years of problems between the two. Neuman said he believed things went south a few years ago after Neuman and Butler had a conflict over an equipment issue.
Neuman, who was a part-time employee at KYW and also worked for his New Jersey-based real estate business, said he’ll devote more time to his real estate job.
In his resignation letter he wrote, “I realize that I am a VERY lucky person. I have a real estate business to fall back on, therefore I can AFFORD my principles.
“I will miss going to the games, but mostly miss the people ... the friends I made ... both with the teams and other media members.”
Butler, who is out of the country on vacation, could not be reached for comment.
“Phil did a great job for us and the listeners,” Yadgaroff said. He would not comment about the specific incident that led to Neuman’s resignation.