Buzz Bissinger quits ‘trivial’ talk radio

Author, columnist and local personality Buzz Bissinger.
Author, columnist and local personality Buzz Bissinger.
Posted: January 03, 2013

The Buzz Bissinger talk-radio experiment is over.

The outspoken Pulitzer winner, author of Friday Night Lights, jousted with callers from 3 to 7 p.m. at 1210 WPHT for half a year, but decided last month to call it quits.

A pending investigation by corporate parent CBS into a verbal altercation with a colleague was reportedly the triggering event, but Bissinger shared another reason:

"This is not how I should be spending my life."

He declined to get into details of his resignation - "contractually, I really cannot comment," he said - saying that it was "a wonderful experience" and he was "treated very, very well" by managers Marc Rayfield and Andy Bloom.

Rayfield responded to a request for comment to say only that no replacement has been officially named: "We are going to conduct a search, but our intention is to continue with all live and local programming." At 3 p.m. today, the hosts were Steve Martorano, Bissinger's ex-cohost, and Rich Zeoli, previously on at 10 p.m.

Bissinger, whose partiality to profanity shows up in his tweets (@buzzbissinger), readily acknowledged he can be confrontational: "I'm in therapy ... on medication ... diagnosed as mildly bipolar ... These outbursts do happen ... It's part of my psychologic chemistry. I am volatile. They knew that when they hired me."

Bissinger said his career as an author seemed more socially relevant.

"I felt increasingly concerned that talk radio is fundamentally trivial," he said. "It made me miss writing even more."

So he'll continue his gig as a columnist for the Daily Beast, usually writing about sports ("NFL's No Good, Very Bad Season," http://thebea.st/VrtyT5) but not always ("Sorry, But Don't Expect Any Change After Newtown," http://thebea.st/UDueUq).

He's working on a profile for Vanity Fair of London Mayor Boris Johnson, a hot prospect to become prime minister, and an article for the New Republic about a long friendship with a Graterford Prison inmate.

His next book's undetermined. He owes Houghton Mifflin Harcourt another one - his latest was Father's Day: A Journey Into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son. The next one is likely be another excursion into "sports sociology," but he has yet to hit on the right idea - one with commercial potential, he said.

Not that he isn't available to share opinions as a radio or TV guest.

For example, on the search for a new Eagles coach: "I'm available."

On some fan animosity for ex-Eagle quarterback Donovan McNabb: "I'm convinced it's based in race."

On the deal averting the "fiscal cliff": "It did not address any of the crucial issues. ... Nobody won. The country didn't win."

On the nation's prospects: "I don't mean to be a pessimist, but our economy is very, very precarious."

On military spending: "Normally there's no argument - you cut defense when there are no wars."


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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