Howard Eskin is proof that you can go home again.
No, he’s not returning to the afternoon drive time slot that he had held down on WIP-AM in Philadelphia for nearly a quarter-century.
He is, however, assuming a task at a familiar television station that he first held some twenty-five years ago.
It was on February 17, 1986, that WTAF/Channel 29 launched Philly’s first 10 PM television newscast. And Eskin had been hired away from his sports anchor position at KYW-TV, then an NBC affiliate, to join Channel 29 and become part of their original anchor team.
By the time he left in 1991, WTAF had become the Philadelphia affiliate of the upstart Fox network with the call letters WTXF. In 1992, he returned to KYW-TV, which would become a CBS owned-and-operated station in the fall of 1995, as a result of an ownership deal involving NBC and CBS, which had previously owned WCAU/Channel 10. Coincidentally, Eskin joined the newly-NBC-owned WCAU in 1996, where he has maintained a presence on local television ever since, notably on the Sunday night “Sports Final” program.
And starting Tuesday, September 4, roughly one year to the day he signed off from his daily sports radio gig (he has been hosting a Saturday morning show on WIP-AM/FM since then), Howard Eskin once again has a day job.
He will once again be the sports anchor at Channel 29 – known these days as “Fox 29″ – for the station’s 5 PM and 6 PM newscasts, as well as the 10 PM newscast that he had been involved with for five years. Additionally, Eskin will also contribute to Fox 29’s daily morning show, “Good Day Philadelphia.”
Said the sports journalist and media figure referred to as “the king”: “I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my career, having had the opportunity to cover some of the most memorable games in Philadelphia. But there is nothing like getting a chance to return to Fox 29, where my heart has always been.
“It’s great to be back.”
It should be noted that of the four major stations in Philadelphia with news operations, Eskin has not worked for WPVI/Channel 6, the local ABC O&O whose newscasts have perennially dominated its rivals. And they’re still using the same ’70’s-era news theme, if you can believe it.
While Fox 29 may not unseat “6ABC Action News” overnight, they’ll certainly benefit from having a sports anchor on staff with years of experience and a history of breaking sports news.
There was also that time that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, upon his team’s toughness being questioned after a 3-9 start to their 2007 season, challenged Eskin to a fight.
If the folks that miss “the king” on the radio every afternoon start getting their daily Howard Eskin fix via television, Fox 29 could very well be challenging 6ABC to a fight.