A new year is under way, and it’s a pretty exciting time on the Philadelphia sports scene, with the Eagles heading to the postseason as the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the 76ers, Flyers and Phillies all heading in a positive direction thanks to some exciting young stars, and Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats again among the favorites to make it to the NCAA Final Four.
It’s also an exciting time for us here at Philly Pressbox Radio as we move into 2018, even though Bill Furman and I know it will be tough to top what we did over the past 12 months. The year 2017 saw us doing 49 live, weekly PPR Roundtable shows, which means we took off just three Wednesdays the entire year. (Counting the Jan. 3 show, we’ve now done a total of 166 shows in the 3 years, 8 months that we’ve been doing this.)
We actually welcomed a total of 53 different guests in 2017 (several programs featured multiple guests), including 27 first-time visitors to our show, such as Philly.com’s Keith Pompey, Paul Domowitch, Sam Carchidi and Corey Sharp. Other newcomers to the show included longtime Flyers PA man Lou Nolan, great Anthem singer Lauren Hart, Wing Bowl legend Bill “El Wingador” Simmons, the colorful Bill Werndl, author Joe Vallee, sports writer Jack McCaffery, sports-collectibles guy Adam Poppel, York-area TV sports anchor Andrew Kalista, and the radio voice of Penn State football, Steve Jones. PSU offensive tackle Ryan Bates became the first active athlete we’ve had visit us.
Other first-time guests included former Flyers greats Bill Barber and Bob Kelly, ex Phils pitcher turned country singer Brett Myers, and a couple other guys who know quite a bit about baseball: Chris Wheeler and Jayson Stark. Other first-timers: Atlanta radio personalities Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (the former Eagles and Falcons wide receiver), plus – for something different – singer-songwriter Willie Nile, WMMR’s Nick McIlwain and personal-fitness expert Ashley Blake Greenblatt.
Of course, we really appreciate the many folks who have made multiple visits to our little show: football talkers Ray Didinger, Mark Eckel, Fran Duffy, Brandon Lee Gowton, Randy Hedberg, legendary Eagles play-by-play man Merrill Reese, the Barkann Foundation’s Mike Barnes, and ex-Birds Kevin Reilly, Fred Barnett, Ken Dunek and Bill Bradley; Sixers insiders Dei Lynam, Jake Pavorsky and Tom Moore, along with Philly hoops legend Andre McCarter; plus, Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, fun PR man John Brazer and former reporter Leslie Gudel. Ex-Flyers great Brian Propp made a return visit to the show in 2017, as did HockeyBuzz.com’s Bill Meltzer and Roller Derby Hall of Famer Judy Arnold.
Then there are those guys who can talk about any and everything in the world of sports like WIP’s Glen Macnow, the Inquirer’s Frank Fitzpatrick and Mike Sielski, and the just-retired Mike Kern from the Daily News. They all made return visits to the show in 2017.
For better or worse, Bill and I are the ones you hear the most on Philly Pressbox Radio, but we also appreciate the help from FredAndButter.com’s Fred Hugo, who was with us through the entire football season, plus Steve Cwitkowitz, who pinch-hit a couple of times and helped us connect with some new guests. Other pinch-hitters were Bill Mattis and good ol’ Carl Henderson from Carl’s Cards & Collectibles.
Of course, we need to say a big THANK YOU to our sponsors, the Irish Rover Station House (especially Christina Preston Gaskill and Ray Crouse) and Bob Sullivan’s LikeYourAge.com. Big thanks also to Matt Costine at Signal77 Media for helping us maintain our PhillyPressboxRadio.com website, which he designed and got up and running 15 months ago.
As we approach our 4th Anniversary this April, Bill and I want to thank each and every one of you who listens to our weekly show and checks out the website on occasion. Happy New Year, and let’s hope for even bigger and better things for all of us in 2018. –Jim “Chet” Chesko