It may be hard having fun as a fan of Philly sports, but the Saturday Sports Social host knows how to do just that.
Natalie Egenolf has done just about everything there is at a radio station.
When she was 20, she got her start as a receptionist at Sports Radio WIP. She went on to work in sales, learned how to produce a show and hosted her own segment.
Last year, she got a job handling the sports updates for 97.5 The Fanatic during the popular Mike Missanelli show.
Now, she’s the main woman behind the microphone.
Earlier this month, Egenolf, a 2006 graduate of Cardinal Dougherty High School, became the host of Saturday Sports Social on 610 AM, an affiliate of ESPN Radio.
“I’m trying to help bring in a new type of sports talk,” said Egenolf, who grew up in Lawncrest and now resides in Fishtown. “I want to do a good sports show, but I also want to incorporate things like social media and things younger fans like. I want it to be for everyone.”
Thus far, Egenolf has had two shows and they’ve both been fun. She plans on welcoming a guest host on each show. The first one featured Eytan Shander, a host on The Fanatic. On Saturday, she welcomed fellow Cardinal Dougherty grad Pat Eagn, who also works for The Fanatic.
Egenolf hopes the guests bring a different voice to the show every week, but she’s also putting in hard work to make sure the shows go smoothly.
“I worked with a lot of guys who invented the wheel, when it comes to sports talk radio in Philadelphia,” Egenolf said. “Angelo Cataldi, Tony Bruno and Mike Missanelli are all guys I worked with and are guys who did a great job in preparing for the show. But the thing I noticed was they all prepared differently.
“I am lucky that I’m able to take things that all of the greats do, and I’m trying to find my way. I’m not sure how it will work out, but I’m trying to make it fun. The thing all these guys wanted was to have fun, because that’s what it’s supposed to be.”
With the state of Philadelphia sports, fun can be hard to come by. The Phillies are the worst team in baseball, and the last time a local squad made the playoffs was the Flyers last year.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
“We try and do things that just make people have fun,” Egenolf said. “There aren’t a lot of shows for younger fans. Younger people love sports. The guys who have been doing this for years are great. There’s a reason they’re legends. They are sports talk in this city. But I want to bring something else. And I’m having so much fun doing this.”
According to Egenolf, this wasn’t her goal when she broke into the business or when she was studying at Temple University. But she’s more than happy to have taken this step, especially so early in her career.
“I always thought I’d be in a crew, I never really wanted to be the host,” Egenolf said. “I think it’s because I worked with so many great people. I always just wanted to be one of the people on there. But when I got the chance to do a show, I really wanted to do it. And it’s still early, but I love it so far. It’s really a great experience and I’m having fun with it.”
She’s also having fun in her weekday job, which includes helping Missanelli on his drive time program.
Working on that program has definitely given Egenolf more credibility.
“When I left WIP, I was at a pivotal point in my career,” she said. “I learned so much working there, but I was ready to do something else. In this job, you always have to be learning, and when the opportunity opened up (at the Fanatic), I was very excited.
“Working with Mike has been an incredible experience because he runs such a great show. Working with Angelo and those guys was great, too, but it was more of a morning zoo-type show, it was a morning show. Mike’s show is afternoon, so it’s a different kind of show.
“And Mike is an amazing host and an amazing person. I love working with him. He’s great at what he does and you can see it every day, and it’s why his show is so popular.”
Missanelli isn’t the only star of the show.
The show is named after him, but Egenolf and his producer, Jason Myrtetus, also contribute to the success of the show. Egenolf credits Myrtetus with a lot of the success.
“They are so great together,” Egenolf said. “Jay is a huge part of why the show is so entertaining. They work well together, and I’m really happy to be part of it.”
She’s also happy having the side show.
So far, so good, and she also believes she will continue to get better as she gets more experience under her belt.
There has to be a future in Philly sports talk, and Egenolf is doing her best to contribute.
“Things are changing all the time, especially with social media,” Egenolf said. “I’m happy I can bring those things to the show, I’m also glad we have a podcast of the show up because people can listen to it there.
“So far, I’ve had so much support from the city, my friends and family. Everyone has been great.” ••