Tony Bruno Departs Wip For A Four-year Deal With Espn Radio

Posted: June 30, 1995

Looks like the WIP-AM (610) morning team has lost a player.

Tony Bruno, who said last summer that he wanted to leave the sports-talk/ mayhem station to join ESPN Radio, where he had been weekending, decided to take the plunge this year. And at least sometimes, he'll be heard on rival sports-talk station WGMP-AM (1210) as a result.

Bruno confirmed yesterday that he had left WIP. He signed a four-year contract with ESPN Radio and television; he has been hosting weekend talk shows on ESPN Radio for the last four years.

He will continue to work the weekend shift, as well as appear on the ESPN and ESPN2 TV networks and sub for the Fabulous Sports Babe, who airs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays on 'GMP, when she's on assignment or vacation. Mark Mason, ESPN Radio general manager, said Wednesday that 'GMP was negotiating to air ESPN's weekend programming.

WIP general manager Cecil "Butch" Forster declined comment.

The 43-year-old Bruno is a Philadelphia native, and he said he would continue to live in this area. He graduated from St. John Neumann High School and Temple University.

Bruno's last day at WIP was June 16; he has been on vacation downashore since then.

"I didn't leave WIP because I was unhappy there," Bruno said yesterday

from his fishing boat, which was somewhere off Margate. He said he had simply become tired of the seven-day grind and the frequent travel from Philadelphia to Connecticut. He will work four days a week - Friday through Monday - at ESPN.

Bruno had been burning the candle at both ends since joining ESPN four years ago; he had been working as much as seven days a week moving from WIP to ESPN, and he was tiring. He wanted to leave WIP last summer, he said. "I told my family that I was not going to do (both jobs) any longer."

However, management sweetened his deal because it wanted the morning team (Bruno, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti, with assistance from impressionist Joe Conklin) to stay intact.

HERE'S WALDO. There's more to Family Matters, the popular Friday night ABC sitcom, than the inimitable Urkel. The show introduced actor Shawn Harrison's endearingly dim Waldo in its second season, and he's been increasingly visible ever since.

"I really have been doing more and more on the show," says Harrison, who plays best friend to Eddie Winslow (Darius McCrary) and irritant to Urkel (Jaleel White). Of late, Waldo, with his 1.0 grade-point average, has found his calling in cooking. Now he attends culinary school.

"I'm kind of a foil on the show," says Harrison, who will be back this fall for Family Matters' seventh season. "Waldo thinks only in the moment. He has no memory of what happened 10 minutes before.

"But he's not stupid; he's pretty complex. He just doesn't grasp concepts in a conventional way."

Harrison, who will attend UCLA in the fall, knew at age 4 that he wanted to be an actor. After he enrolled in a children's workshop, he landed a role as Steve Martin's youngest sibling in the 1979 movie The Jerk.

"Maybe (it's) because I'm in TV right now," he says, "but I'm really interested in producing. I see myself acting for no more than five years.

"I want to produce a show about blacks where we show that the diversity, the black experience, is very universal, kind of like what they do on Family Matters. It's about characters and family, not color."

BACK FROM THE DEAD. McKenna, the latest (and late) Chad Everett series, returns to ABC on Thursday, July 13. Original episodes will run in the 9 p.m. slot through the summer.

That's the same time period - up against the NBC colossus Seinfeld - that killed McKenna after just three outings last fall.

The action-drama stars Everett as Jack McKenna, who's been running a wilderness expedition business for 25 years in deepest Oregon. Eric Close plays the prodigal son, Brick, who returns to the ranch to help Dad run the business.

SHORT STUFF. Glenn Close (no kin to Eric), the toast of Broadway for her starring role in Sunset Boulevard, will be lending her voice to another plum part: Homer Simpson's mother, in a fall episode of The Simpsons. . . . David Ensor, who's in Moscow for ABC News, has been named the network's diplomatic correspondent, based at the State Department. John McWethy continues as chief diplomatic correspondent for ABC. . . . The award-winning and widely traveled C-Span School Bus will be in Washington for most of July, making appearances at historic sites, media organizations, and tourist attractions each morning. Portions of each day's visit will be seen on the network's Washington Journal between 7 and 10 a.m.

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