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August 25, 2016

Black Lives Matter to meet with 97.5 over white producer's black character

After it was discovered that "Dwayne from Swedesboro," a regular "black" caller to Mike Missanelli’s Tuesday afternoon show on 97.5 The Fanatic, was actually station producer and white person Pat Egan performing a stereotypical character, the backlash was swift. Several national pundits and media outlets criticized the ongoing bit as racist.

In response to that backlash, the station's programming director will meet with the head of the local Black Lives Matter chapter to discuss the incident. As with pretty much every story in the ongoing saga that is Philly sports talk radio, Kyle Scott at Crossing Broad broke the story Thursday morning.

Asa Khalif, head of Pennsylvania's Black Lives Matter chapter, confirmed to PhillyVoice he will meet with Fanatic PD Matt Nahigian.

Khalif recently made headlines when he organized a protest at the statue of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo in front of the Municipal Services Building. He placed a white hood over the statue and ended up in a shouting match over the phone with Rizzo's grandson, Joe Mastronardo.

Khalif, 34, wouldn't comment on what BLM's specific agenda would be with the meeting. However, he said the group had a plan and the meeting would revolve around "accountability" for the producer's actions and the beginning of the healing process.

He also said BLM wouldn't rule out mass protest, but said he hopes it doesn't come to that. Nahigian was not immediately available for comment Thursday morning.

The "Dwyane" incident — which Missanelli claims he didn't know was a prank until Crossing Broad revealed the hoax – started a chain of events in Philly sports talk radio that sent shockwaves throughout the industry.

Sportsradio 94 WIP afternoon host Josh Innes, who has been a vocal critic of Missanelli's since entering the same time slot, lambasted his rival Tuesday for running a "minstrel show," even tweeting a photo of someone donning blackface to mock Missanelli.

The very next day, Innes was canned by WIP. Some speculated that Innes' response to the "Dwayne" story was too over the top, leading to his firing.

But Innes had been getting killed by Missanelli in the ratings, and a source at the station told PhillyVoice his personality and attitude was rubbing many at WIP the wrong way.

"There are a lot of people at 97.5 -- and 94.1 -- that are really happy to see this finally happen," the source said of Innes' firing.

PhillyVoice's Matt Mullin contributed to this report.