Innes leaving KILT Houston for Philly’s WIP

Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Josh Innes, the polarizing but popular co-host with Rich Lord of sports talk station KILT’s (610 AM) afternoon drive time show since December 2010, will leave the station to host an evening talk show at sports talker WIP-FM in Philadelphia, the CBS Radio station said today.

Innes’ replacement at CBS Radio’s KILT in Houston is expected to be longtime KGOW (1560 AM) host Sean Pendergast. KGOW owner David Gow said Wednesday that Pendergast was leaving the station for another job.

CBS Radio Houston officials were not immediately available for comment on Innes’ departure and plans for his successor. Innes will begin at WIP on Jan. 3, the Philadelphia station said.

“Josh has the sports knowledge and strong opinions that are consistent with the original DNA of WIP,” said Andy Bloom, WIP’s operations manager. “Fans of SportsRadio 94WIP will appreciate Josh’s style and instantly connect to his personality.”

Innes, the son of longtime radio host and voice actor Scott Innes, joined KILT in December 2009 from a station in Baton Rouge, La., and a year later was selected by Gavin Spittle, the station’s former program director, to replace Robert Henslee alongside Lord.

The change, combined with the Texans’ improved play, helped launch the all-sports station toward its best ratings performances of the Arbitron/Nielsen Audio portable people meter era.

From a 2.2 percent audience share in January 2011 between 3 to 7 p.m. among men 25-54, the key demo for sports radio, KILT improved to 5.3 in October 2011, the second month of a 21-month stretch in the top 10 during which the station climbed as high as No. 4 among all Houston radio stations.

That streak ended with the April 2013 book, and the station dropped as low as 21st in afternoon drive in the June rankings before returning to the top 10 with another Texans season during the October book.

Perhaps reflecting the station’s ratings boost, Innes proved to be a polarizing figure on the air. He focused daily on his personal exploits, travails and health issues, and regularly disagreed with callers and his co-host on the relative merits of local teams and local athletes while regularly advertising himself as a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, a longtime Astros rival before Houston’s move to the American League.

Still, the program proved to be popular with listeners in the young male demographic desired by advertisers and was recognized by Talkers magazine at No. 44 among the nation’s best sports talk shows.

By joining WIP, where he will host a nighttime show, Innes will be part of one of the nation’s longest-running, most successful sports talk franchises. The station focused primarily on sports talk beginning in the late 1980s and features or has featured such longtime hosts as Angelo Cataldi, the late Tom Brookshier, Howard Eskin and Glenn Macnow.

Originally at 610 AM in Philadelphia, WIP’s local sports lineup now appears at 94.1 FM. CBS Radio began an AM-FM simulcast in September 2011 and last January switched the AM signal to the new CBS Sports Radio network.

Pendergast’s first brush with sports radio was as a caller to Jim Rome’s syndicated show that aired on KILT. Billing himself as the “Cablinasian,” a parody on Tiger Woods’ reference to Woods’ racially mixed heritage, he was a five-time winner of the Rome “Smack-off” callers contest.

He joined KGOW in August 2007 and worked afternoon drive with John Harris and hosted a midday solo show on KGOW and station owner David Gow’s Yahoo! Sports Radio before teaming with Granato in morning drive in December 2011. The pair moved to afternoon drive in March.

KGOW owner David Gow, who confirmed Pendergast’s departure Wednesday, said he would be allowed to work the rest of the week before taking a scheduled two-week vacation.

Gow said no decision has been made on Pendergast’s replacement.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle where this story was originally published.