PHILADELPHIA - Five months of ratings success wasn't enough for veteran radio host Tony Bruno, who is walking away from WIP due to his problems with co-host Josh Innes.
The odd couple of Innes and Bruno proved to be an afternoon ratings juggernaut, dominating the drive time competition over at 97.5 The Fanatic and long-time afternoon kingpin Mike Missanelli.
The marriage was a strange one to begin with as it was obvious about the only thing the 63-year-old Bruno had in common with the twentysomething Innes was a deep dislike for Missanelli, who often belittled Bruno was he was at 97.5.
"The format and industry in general no longer provide me joy and satisfaction, even after reaching number one in p.m. drive in record time in my hometown," Bruno said in a statement posted on his website.
Most believe Bruno did not like Innes' confrontational style with the website Crossing Board claiming Bruno's breaking point was the way Innes mocked an obviously inebriated caller.
Sources told The Phanatic Magazine that the real turning point was Innes going after former FOX29 traffic babe Kacie McDonnell, describing the now Kansas City-based reporter as a "cleat chaser," something Bruno, who counts McDonnel as a friend, was very uncomfortable with even though Kacie's dating resume certainly invites that kind of speculation.
For what it's worth Bruno denied both claims.
"I did not quit in haste because I "hated" or couldn't work with Josh Innes," Bruno said, according to Philly.com "In fact, I feel at peace knowing what I'm doing is right. I totally understand that my radio career in Philadelphia is over and can live with that. I have no desire to look for another radio or TV
Innes, however, admitted he and Bruno were never close saying on-air that "we didn't talk a ton, maybe we didn't prep enough."
Bruno had been off the air for the past several days with substitutes working with Innes, who has been clearly uncomfortable after being muzzled by operations manager Andy Bloom from talking about the rift which began when a number of tweets calling for Innes to be fired were re-tweeted by Bruno before being deleted.
Innes often retweets criticism from disgruntled listeners like a badge of honor and a source claims Bruno believed he could do the same and that there was no underhanded motive coming from Bruno's end.
The same source claims Innes, while talented, is extremely insecure and took the retweets as an attempt to undermine him at WIP.
"The modern world of radio and social media has sucked the fun out of doing this due to "factions" whose sole attempt is to provoke "wars" or have listeners "take sides" to anger or distract the process of doing radio every day," Bruno claimed.
That seems like a direct shot at Innes, who has been very vocal in criticizing Missanelli from Day 1, a tactic that has resulted in short-term success. And to be fair Missanelli employed those same tactics, albeit more tempered, when he took aim at Howard Eskin years ago.
Innes actually disappeared from his show for a bit Wednesday before returning and announcing Bruno's departure. He was then joined by Bloom, who made sure to let his listeners know where Bruno's allegiance lies.
"Missanelli will continue to lose to Josh no matter what, and that’s the best part of this," Bloom said, reading an excerpt of an email sent to him by Bruno.
Bloom is the real culprit here because he hedged his bet on Innes, a witty broadcaster who dwarfs his competition in the talent department but is very controversial and willing to talk about things most others will shy away from.
Pairing Innes with anyone from the old school was not going to work in the long run and Bloom should either run with what he has or go back to the run-of-the-mill Philly broadcast, something a source at WIP called "all-violation radio," a slam at the pandering style of Missanelli and his good friend, former WIPer and current 97.5 morning host Anthony Gargano.