By Delia Franchi
Special to The Communitarian
Brett “Spike” Eskin, 38, is a resident of Philadelphia and a program director at 94WIP and CBS Sports Radio 610. Originally from Glenn Mills, Pa., Eskin is the oldest of five children. His parents are sportscaster Howard Eskin and Andrea Eskin.
Eskin said he is proud of his achievements in his career so far. “I love my career choice, and I feel it’s the only career for me,” he said. “I enjoy having a personal one-on-one connection with the listener.”
Eskin recently sat down with me in his office at 400 Market St. to explain how he got to where he is today in sports radio broadcasting at 94WIP.
Q: How long have you been working in this industry?
A: 19 years.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your family?
A: My dad has been in this field for as long as I can remember. He works here on Saturdays and I am actually his boss.
Q: What is it like being your dad’s boss?
A: It’s actually pretty cool. Q: What’s cool about it? Q: Where did you attend college? A: I spent my freshmen year at the
University of California and transferred to Syracuse University.
Q: Why did you transfer?
A: I transferred because there was an earthquake that scared me. Every time a truck drove
by me I was scared because I thought it was another earthquake.
Q: How bad was the earthquake?
A: Bad enough that I wanted to transfer.
Q: When at Syracuse University, what did you study?
A: Broadcast journalism, which, at the time, was 70 percent television and 30 percent radio, which I wasn’t a fan of because I didn’t like television.
Q: Why don’t you like television?
A: I was more into music and radio.
Q: How did you get started in your career?
A: I worked at our college radio station, which was called WJPZ [Z89.] It was a top 40 radio station and we had sports broadcasting on Saturday morning, which I helped with. However, I enjoyed the music end much more because I felt radio was more competitive. I also was an intern at WYSP. I worked in promos as well, then was hired to be on air 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Q: How did you get started in your career at 94WIP?
A: I worked at WYSP for a while and became a music director there. I was also hired at a Chicago station as an assistant program director and did middays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The station went off air and I lost my job so I convinced CBS to hire me back. I worked for 94WIP News Radio and CBS 3 and did sports for all of them, then got promoted to my current job in March.
Q: I hear many people refer to you as “Spike” for a nickname. How did that originate?
A: This is actually funny. When I was on Z89 and did sports and music they told me I couldn’t use my first name for both
and I’d have to come up with a nickname, but I didn’t have a nickname. I could only think of how my hair stylist would refer to me as “Spike” because I had bleached blonde hair that stood straight up. It was spikey!
Q: What made you choose this career?
A: I like it! I always feel like there is a personal one-on-one relationship with the listener, and I always thought it was neat that you could have a relationship with people that way. You have the power to convey to the listeners a new song which, when first hearing it, they might turn off because they don’t know it, but if you’re able to convince them to listen because it’s new and a good song that you make appealing, they’re encouraged to listen to it because of you. Sometimes I just felt like it was the only thing I was good at.
Q: Tell me more about that.
A: I feel that everyone has something he’s good at and to me, this is what I’m good at. I like it!
Q: What made you certain it was the career for you?
A: I just know. Every once in a while I think the hours are long, but then I realize I would rather spend 15 hours here than half of that time somewhere else because this is what I love. Most people who are in radio think there is no other option. I don’t mean that in a negative way. For example, if you’re a dancer, you don’t have a backup plan [because] you know you want to be a dancer. Most radio people are like that.
Q: Did your dad or anyone else influence your decision on getting into this career?
A: I don’t think so. Maybe, subconsciously. I never asked him about it and he never encouraged me to get into it. I went into college undeclared, but when I was younger I did listen to Howard Stern and was also a fan of Golden Boy on Powered 99. job?Q: What do you like most about your
A: It’s fun! When I wake up for work, I rarely think, “Oh no!” I have to go to work, I enjoy going.
Q: What makes sports radio different today from 5 to 10 years ago?
A: Sports is much bigger. I don’t know how it happened. We still talk about more than sports while on air, but we just think that sports in general got bigger, so sports radio got bigger too.
Q: Do you have any role models?
A: John Starks. He played for the Knicks. I always loved him. He was more of a hero to me than a role model though. My mom as well was a role model to me. She was always a great person.
Q: How was she a great person?
A: She was always supportive and kind.
Q: What was the most exciting day you’ve ever had broadcasting?
A:ThelastdayatWYSP,Igotto interview Howard Stern. Howard Stern was someone I grew up listening to and he hadn’t been on air since he went to Satellite Radio and it had been a long time since he was on. It was awesome I got to talk to him. It was interesting how it went from being the last day on my show to my interviewing someone I grew up watching to having no job the next day because WYSP went off the air.
Q: I read that you’ve met the love of your life. Who’s the lucky girl and can you tell me a little about her?
A: Well, her name is Valerie DiBaggio. I met her at WYSP. She worked there briefly. Hmm, what can I say about Valerie? We just have a lot of fun together, and I know she cares about me quite a bit. It’s like if someone asked you your favorite song, you would know it instantly but wouldn’t exactly be able to answer why, you just know it’s your favorite song. That’s how it is with her. I just know she is my favorite.
Q: So far, what has been your biggest accomplishment in this field?
A: I think going from music to sports. I had a long career in music radio so I was nervous about the switch to radio, but it actually turned out to be the best thing for me.
Q: If you could have chosen another job profession besides your current one, what would it be and why?
A: It would be a tough gig, but I would love to manage bands. I really thought about it but never really had the right opportunity. If I had the right situation and opportunity, I think it would be an inspiring journey.
Q: What are you hopes and dreams for the future?
A: I hope I still have a job tomorrow. It always seemed when I would plan too far in advance the course would change, so I’ve learned not to plan in advance.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
A: I really have no idea. I just hope to be happy. It’s hard to predict the future. For example, when I started this career, there was no texting or email so that goes to show how much can change in the years.