Ava Graham, assistant brand manager for SportsRadio 94WIP, joined “Pizza With the Pros” on Monday, Feb. 27, to discuss her tenure with one of the most popular sports radio stations in the country.
Graham was encouraged by her father Edward “Big Daddy” Graham, a comedian and 94WIP host, to pursue a people-oriented career.
“He said, ‘I want you to come in and start doing the overnight.’ My dad did the overnight shift in Philadelphia for 25 years on WIP,” Graham said. “So his shift was from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. So I, one day a week, unpaid, went in and did it. I didn’t want to do it, didn’t want to work with my dad. Sports wasn’t my forte… but Philadelphia sports is a part of my blood, it’s who I am.”
Graham, who attended Rutgers University as a political science major, became a part of the station’s popular morning show that featured Al Morganti and the recently retired Angelo Cataldi. According to Graham, Feb. 27 marked the first Monday in eight years in which she checked into the station at 9 a.m. Her clock-in time since she officially became associated with 94WIP was 4:45 a.m. every weekday.
Because of her father’s notable role with 94WIP, Graham had been exposed to the world of radio from a very young age. She spent time with people who decades later would become her co-workers despite her having no interest in pursuing a career in the business.
“I’ve known people in the industry since I was 8 years old,” Graham said. “I have that advantage. Some of the questions people might feel uncomfortable asking the hosts, I don’t because I’ve known them that long.”
As assistant brand manager, Graham is responsible for setting up promotional activities for the station and serving as an assistant to the on-air hosts. With her role on 94WIP’s morning show, she had an on-air presence. Though, for now, Graham is working behind the scenes.
“So, right now, my job is to help make WIP the best it can possibly be,” Graham said. “And because I have such background, so rooted in it, I truly believe that I can help and make a difference and get these shows to the top of the charts. That’s my job, that’s what I want to do.”
A week removed from 76ers play-by-play announcer Kate Scott speaking at Rowan’s King Auditorium in honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Graham expressed her desire for more women to become involved in sports radio.
“As a woman in the industry, I want more women in the industry,” said Graham. “I want women to feel comfortable in coming into this boys club — because guess what? Every single person who I’ve worked with at my station has not only made me feel comfortable, but has helped give me the tools I needed to succeed.”
Next week’s “Pizza With the Pros” will feature Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Marcus Hayes. Hayes also works with SportsRadio 94WIP.
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