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July 05, 2024

Angelo Cataldi criticizes SportsRadio 94WIP's response to kissing allegation against Howard Eskin

The retired sports radio host took issue with Audacy's decision not to suspend Eskin or talk openly about the situation on-air.

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Cataldi Eskin WIP Provided Image/Angelo Cataldi

Angelo Cataldi retired from SportsRadio 94WIP last year after more than three decades at the station. After news broke that Howard Eskin allegedly made an unwanted advance on a woman at Citizens Bank Park, Cataldi wrote a blog critizing his former employer's handling of the situation.

Angelo Cataldi isn't pleased with how his former employer has chosen to handle the allegation that Howard Eskin, his longtime SportsRadio 94WIP colleague, gave an unwanted kiss to an Aramark employee at Citizens Bank Park in May.

Eskin, 73, has been barred from the stadium for the remainder of the Phillies season, a team spokesperson confirmed after the Inquirer first reported the incident Tuesday. Sources at Audacy, which owns SportsRadio 94WIP, said the decision to keep Eskin away from the ballpark was suggested by the company after an investigation into what happened. The Philadelphia 76ers later decided to block Eskin from attending team activities at their practice facility in Camden. And the Eagles, Eskin's main focus as a team insider, reportedly are monitoring the situation. 

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Cataldi wrote a blog this week addressing what he called "The Howard Eskin Mess."

"My contentious history with Howard goes back three decades, and I am fully aware of the glee all of the Eskin-haters are expressing in the aftermath of the report. (I have been inundated with emails and text messages.)," Cataldi wrote. "I will not join that chorus. I have no idea what really happened. It would be ridiculous for me to speculate."

But Cataldi said he's bothered by Audacy's decision not to suspend Eskin.

"If the accusation is true – especially in this cancel-culture climate – there is no way Eskin’s show should continue without at least a significant hiatus," Cataldi said. "The fact that Audacy proposed the ban suggests the company sees some merit in the accusation. You can’t have it both ways. Either he committed a serious breach of conduct or he didn’t. The ballpark ban says he did. The lack of a suspension says he didn’t. Which is it?"

Eskin has not addressed the allegations publicly. He will not be on the air to host his regular Saturday morning show due to a planned vacation, an Audacy spokesperson said, but he's expected to resume his radio duties. The company declined to comment about Cataldi's remarks.

At the peaks of their respective careers at WIP, Cataldi and Eskin represented different poles of the station's provocative flavor of radio. Cataldi, who retired from WIP last year after 33 years, tended to rile up his morning listeners by enlisting them in mischievous sports controversies and narratives — most notably, his "Dirty 30" campaign to boo the Eagles' selection of Donovan McNabb in the 1999 NFL Draft. Eskin, who's had a reduced role at the station since 2011, took a more adversarial approach on his afternoon show and often sparred with his callers. 

Before the two hosts were playfully pitted against one another in a 2016 WIP roast, Cataldi admitted that he once considered Eskin "a grandstander" and a "me-first guy." But the two hosts each said they had respect for one another and were not on bad terms. 

In his blog, Cataldi said WIP shouldn't shy away from discussing what's happening with Eskin on the air.

"I have always believed media organizations do not have the option of saying 'no comment' because of the very nature of their work," Cataldi said. "They depend on everyone to comment, and even more so during crises. If WIP won’t discuss its own scandal, why should the next team or player do so when it’s their turn?"

Spike Eskin, Howard's son, briefly acknowledged the situation involving his father at the start of Wednesday's show and said he would not be discussing it in any detail. Spike formerly served as WIP's program director and recently returned to the station to co-host the afternoon show with former Eagles linebacker and WIP veteran Ike Reese and Jack Fritz.

Cataldi drew attention to a 1997 incident in which a Pottstown woman was murdered by her husband after Eskin had sent her roses and exchanged emails with her.

At the time, Eskin addressed the situation on his radio show and spoke about it with callers, the Washington Post reported.

"This is the worst time I have ever had in my life. ... I feel sorry for the situation," Eskin said of the woman's death. "I am sick, and it's hard for me."

Cataldi called on Audacy to welcome conversation about the controversy now surrounding Eskin.

"This is definitely not a good time to clam up," he said.