Audacy has selected the successor to Spike Eskin to oversee programming at sports WIP-FM Philadelphia (94.1), recruiting Rod Lakin, who was born and raised, and has spent his entire radio career in Arizona. Lakin comes to Philly from Bonneville Phoenix, where he served as PD of “Arizona Sports 98.7” KMVP and “ESPN 620” KTAR. He will join WIP-FM as Brand Manager, effective Oct. 4.
“I’m pleased to welcome Rod Lakin to the WIP team and begin the next chapter for our iconic station,” Senior VP/Market Manager David Yadgaroff said in a release. “Rod brings a breadth of experience and deep understanding of what works in the sports audio format, which I trust will position WIP for much success as the home for Philadelphia sports fans.”
Yadgaroff told the Philadelphia Inquirer Lakin will mainly manage any issues that arise at the station and create an environment where its well-seasoned hosts can thrive. He will also be charged with providing the vision to continue the station’s rating dominance and expand its digital footprint.
“I liked that he had spent the last two decades in the format in a variety of roles and capacities, because WIP is a complex machine,” Yadgaroff told the publication. “As we talked it felt right, it felt like he was a good fit for WIP, and I thought he’d be a good replacement for Spike.”
Lakin first joined the former “ESPN Radio 860” and then-news KTAR in 2003. He was a founding member of “Sports 620” KTAR upon its launch in 2007, serving in a variety of roles over the next several years including director of the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. In 2014, Lakin was named executive producer for “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM,” the flagship station of the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns. In 2018 Lakin added programming duties for “ESPN 620” and was named PD of “Arizona Sports 98.7” in 2019.
“I have the deepest respect for the iconic WIP brand and what it means to the most passionate fan base in the country,” Lakin remarked. “To have an opportunity to join the talented team at 94WIP is truly an honor, and I want to thank David Yadgaroff, [Executive VP, Head of Programming] Jeff Sottolano, Spike Eskin and Audacy for their belief in me.”
Lakin told the Inquirer, “In Phoenix, like in a lot of markets, sports is important. It’s fun. People like to dive into it. In Philadelphia, it’s just vital. It’s necessary. It’s completely different… Combine that with the strength of the WIP brand, which, it’s a cliché but it’s on the Mount Rushmore of sports radio stations.”
He doesn’t believe that the fact that he is from outside the market will affect his ability to excel in his new role.
“I’m just excited to go to a sports market where people are so passionate about it,” he added. “There’s nothing more important than to serve the local sports audience, and that’s what we have to deliver on every day. It really doesn’t matter whether or not I was born in Phoenix.”
Eskin transferred to co-owned sports “The Fan” WFAN-AM-FM New York (660/101.9) in July as VP/Programming, where he also oversees CBS Sports Radio. Eskin succeeded Mark Chernoff, who retired at the end of June.