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September 01, 2016

Howard Eskin to remain at FOX 29, fill in more on WIP

Speculation partly answered in wake of Innes firing

As the pandemonium of Josh Innes' ouster from Sportsradio 94 WIP starts to subside, speculation about a return of the station's afternoon godfather (or king, take your pick) received a bit more clarity Thursday afternoon.

Howard Eskin, whose contract at FOX 29 was approaching its end, has decided to stick on as anchor of Game Day Live, the television station's Eagles pre-game show.

"We are thrilled that Howard will be staying on to anchor our very popular Eagles pre-game show," read a statement from Jim Driscoll, vice president and news director at FOX 29. "Howard's coverage of the Eagles is second to none in this town."

Many wondered whether Eskin's weekday flare would firmly return to the WIP airwaves in the wake of Innes' removal, which came after an ill-conceived repartee with competitor 97.5 The Fanatic over its own troubling use of an in-house, fake African-American caller.

Eskin has remained on WIP's weekend morning roster in a familiar, if slightly toned down, capacity (fewer nitwits up at that hour). His weeknight duties at FOX 29 do not appear to be part of the new arrangement, which pairs him with Dave Spadaro, Gary Cobb and Sean Bell for pre-games. He'll also continue roving the sidelines with injury updates and analysis on game days.

With the extra time, however, and while WIP seeks a long-term replacement for Innes, it looks like we'll be hearing more of Eskin on 94.1. He told the Inquirer on Thursday that he'll be filling in as needed when his son, WIP program director Spike Eskin, requests appearances. That includes this Friday morning with Angelo Cataldi and next Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in place of Innes. With the exception of spot appearances, he's been out of that role since 2011.

For his part, Innes has been fielding questions and insults on Twitter. His general view on the ratings slump during his afternoon tenure seems to be that the teams in Philadelphia were just not good enough to keep people entertained purely by sports talk day in and day out.