Behind The Scenes

A new role with ESPN Audio for Phil “The Show Killer” Ceppaglia

ESPN’s Phil Ceppaglia at his desk. (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

After 13 years “behind the glass,” ESPN Audio’s Phil “The Show Killer’ Ceppaglia is taking a commercial break.

Having helped shape the sounds of Dan Patrick, Tony Kornheiser, and most recently Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, Ceppaglia shed his associate producer headphones last month to assume ESPN Audio’s newly created position of Commercial Production Coordinator.

The vacancy was created when ESPN ended its ad sales and distribution agreement with Cumulus Media Networks, and all the commercials, then played from New York, now air directly from Bristol.

A vintage shot of Phil Ceppaglia at a board in the control room. (ESPN)

“Phil becomes the bridge between the Sales group in New York and the Programming group in Bristol,” said Tim Thomas, production director. “His attention to detail is one of his strengths and a key reason I expect him to succeed.”

“I already have a good understanding of integrating commercials into our play lists and I’m excited to start working with our New York Sales and Traffic teams,” Ceppaglia says. “We’re all learning at the same time. Everyone has different terms — Traffic will ask me to ‘Export the XDS log,’ and then I’ll have to ask our engineers, ‘What are they saying?’ But I’m starting to understand it.”

Similar to being in the center of this significant procedural change, Ceppaglia was in the middle of another historic ESPN Audio moment — when it became a 24/7 network in September 1999. He had arrived in Bristol in October 1998 (“I put everything I had in the back of my Grand Am”) from Buffalo’s WBEN-AM and began working part time on the 1-4 p.m. Tony Kornheiser Show.

He stayed in that time slot when The Dan Patrick Show debuted there and Kornheiser moved to the network’s last unprogrammed hours, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., to complete the 24-hour cycle.

That was also the time Phil became “The Show Killer” to the network’s mid-day listeners.

“I was screening calls, and typed a caller’s name and home town onto the screen,” Ceppaglia explains. “But Tony read the wrong town, and when the caller corrected him, Tony called me a show killer on air. Dan took that and ran with it.”

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