Source: Longtime WIP program director demoted

According to a station source, WIP 610-AM program director Tom Bigby has been demoted to assistant program director and will be replaced by WYSP 94.1-FM operations manager Tim Sabean, who will take over both stations.

A meeting to introduce Sabean to the WIP staff is scheduled for today.

According to a station source, Infinity marketing manager Drew Hilles told Bigby on Wednesday afternoon about his demotion. After word leaked to higher-ups that Bigby was unhappy with the news, he was told to leave the building yesterday morning. At this point his status is up in the air.

This is just the latest in many changes at WIP-AM over the last few weeks. Cecil "Butch" Forster was forced to retire last month. And many believe that Mike Missanelli and Joe Conklin both defected to WMMR because they didn't get along with Bigby.

Bigby, 60, who has been with WIP almost since the inception of the sports-talk radio format there in 1986, is credited for making the station a success, but reportedly was an unpopular figure with the employees there.

According to the station source, "Everyone here had problems with Bigby."

Hilles, Sabean and Bigby could not be reached for comment.

WIP and WYSP are owned by Infinity Broadcasting, which also owns WPHT 1210-AM, WOGL 98.1 FM and KYW 1060-AM.

Air assault

A radio fight is brewing between the morning shows of sports talk WIP 610-AM and the "Philly Local" show that premiered Monday on WMMR 93.3-FM.

The WMMR show, featuring WIP ex-patriots Mike Missanelli and Joe Conklin, took a few shots at their former colleague, Angelo Cataldi of WIP's morning show, in its first few days on the air. Conklin did a character called the "Radio Sports Guy" impersonating Cataldi.

Also on the inaugural show, Missanelli fielded a call from Philadelphia mayor John Street, who has refused to appear on WIP's morning show.

Rocky start

Judging from the first few days on the air, it doesn't seem as if WIP has anything to worry about from its new competition. Though Missanelli seemed to say every few minutes it wasn't "Sports Rock," the disastrous WMMR show of a few years back that featured Howard Eskin and John DeBella, that's exactly what "The Philly Local" sounded like.

Conklin did his impressions of Eagles coach Andy Reid and Flyers general manager Bob Clarke, and the former sports radio personalities used their connections to get sports figures like Phillies manager Larry Bowa and WCAU's Vai Sikahema. That was the best part of the show because the music makes one want to turn the station immediately.

If I were MMR, I'd ditch the music completely and try to compete on the strengths of Conklin and Missanelli, which are impressions, talk and interviews.

Broadcasting, anyone?

If you want to become the next Jim Jackson or Marc Zumoff, then this item is for you. The second annual "Scholastic Play by Play Network Sportsbroadcasting Camp" will be held June 18-20 at Bryn Mawr College for boys and girls, ages 10-18. Zumoff and Jackson will speak at the camp. Other "counselors" include WIP 610-AM and WCAU's Howard Eskin, KYW's Steve Bucci.To register, call 215-546-1608 or go to

In the spotlight

Allen Iverson will be the subject of "SportsCentury" on ESPN Classic at 8 tonight.


Remember when Phil Collins played in London and Philadelphia for "Live Aid" in 1985? The ESPN equivalent happens Sunday when Kenny Mayne will attempt to make live on-air appearances at the NFL Draft, an NBA playoff game, an NHL playoff game, and Sunday Night Baseball in Anaheim. This will be the first time all four professional sports will be broadcast on the same day on either ESPN or ESPN2. Let's hope Mayne doesn't sing "Susudio."

Laura Nachman writes about television and radio sports for the Courier Times. She can be reached at  

April 25, 2003 7:23 AM