Sportswriters in Philadelphia leave Inquirer for radio p.

By: Mark Fitzgerald FOR THE MOST part, the addition of newspaper sportswriters to broadcast or cable sports programs has gone fairly smoothly.
The newspaper, the electronic sports program and the sportswriter all generally seem to see advantages in the arrangements.
One big exception, however, is in Philadelphia.
In a tug-of-war between their newspaper and all-sports radio station WIP-AM, four Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriters have left to work full-time on the air.
The most recent writer to leave was Glen Macnow, who for seven years covered sports business and the National Football League at the Inquirer.
In November, Macnow became co-host of the Mac and Mac Attack, a five-hour midday discussion and listener call-in show.
In joining WIP, Macnow is reuniting with three former newspaper colleagues: longtime Eagles football beat reporter Angelo Cataldi and former Flyers hockey writer Al Morganti, who co-host the morning drive-time program, and Mike Missinelli, who co-hosts the afternoon drive-time show.
Macnow said leaving the paper was the result of an either/or choice that he would have liked to have avoided.
"I wanted to do both, but they wouldn't let me," he said.
Inquirer executive sports editor Nancy Cooney said Macnow never put it that way to the newspaper.
"He submitted his resignation. For someone who wants to stay on, that's not what you'd expect . . . . The choice to leave or stay was one he made by himself," Cooney said.
Both agreed, however, that the Inquirer has a policy of discouraging its journalists from going on broadcast programs to give opinions in areas they cover.
"When they go on a program . . . we want them to stay in a role consistent with their role on the newspaper. We don't want [an Inquirer baseball beat writer] going on and saying, 'Mitch Williams stinks . . . .' " Cooney said.
The paper does not want readers thinking that its reporters' articles are biased, she added.
"This is not a sports thing at all," Cooney said. "We couldn't have someone who covered politics going on the radio and doing a political commentary on why you shouldn't vote for this or that person."
But Macnow said the case of the four sportswriters is not so clearcut.
For in choosing WIP, Macnow was returning to a station at which in the late 1980s he had appeared as a regular contributor on the Morning Sports Page while working at the paper. He was one of several Inquirer sportswriters who were regulars on the station.
Until only a couple of months ago, WIP was owned by Spectacor, which owns the Flyers and operates the Spectrum sports arena.
"At the time, we asked them if it would be a conflict of interest and they said it was not a problem," Macnow said. "Then about a year and a half later, it became a problem," he added.
Recently, the station was bought by Infinity Broadcasting.
Macnow said there were several reasons that he decided to leave the newspaper for the radio station. One was station's financial offer. Another, he said, was the fact that he is developing "a pretty serious carpal tunnel syndrome problem," which could make writing increasingly difficult.
"The third factor was that I didn't particularly like the direction of the Inquirer sports department. People were leaving and not being replaced. [The Inquirer] was in a cutback posture and WIP was in a growth posture," Macnow said.
WIP was one of the first radio stations in the country to switch to an all-sports format and is regarded as one of the three or four most successful.
After just a few weeks into his new job, Macnow said he was happy.
"I like it. It's very fast-paced and exciting. Something is always going on, where with writing, it seems there was excitement in getting the story and then you write it and then you're done and there's kind of a letdown," he said.
? (Free-lance writer Jim Haughton contributed to this article) [Author's Note]


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