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Missanelli, Shima stopping by Neshaminy Mall

Mike Missanelli and his dog Shima will be meeting fans on Saturday at Barnes and Noble at the Neshaminy Mall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Mike Missanelli is always the leading man.

Whether he’s on the radio, podcasts or television, it’s very unusual for someone else to take top billing when Missanelli is part of the show.

Until now.

Missanelli, the longtime sports talk host on WIP and 97.5 The Fanatic, is gladly playing second fiddle to his pooch Shima, the lead in his children’s book The Adventures of Shima the Shiba.

The book features Missanelli’s dog learning life lessons, and in the process, he teaches the readers what to do. The illustrations are done by Alex Lee, a local artist whom Missanelli found when he was on the air.

You can meet the star as well as her sidekick Missanelli on Saturday at Barnes and Noble at the Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem from 2 to 4 p.m.

Shima might not know she’s a star, but with her buddy’s help, she’ll be signing the book. You can also talk sports with Missanelli and get a copy of the book.

“It’s funny, she’s oblivious to the whole thing, but people will love her,” said Missanelli, who grew up in Bristol. “The reason I did it was because this dog is so unique, the breed, they almost look like you can see what’s in their brain. They’re always thinking, plotting in their head, it’s pretty funny.

“I came up with little experiences that make her unique, she’s pretty independent minded. They do things that are so odd and charming. She’s now 7, but when I got her as a puppy she was a renegade. Anyone who had this breed, they’re almost impossible to train.

“They have a cat-like personality. I’m amused by her, she has facial expressions, they smile and look embarrassed, it’s very interesting to me. It prompted me to write the book.”

The book has a lot of people talking.

Just as Missanelli did during his years on the radio.

He’s no longer hosting daily programs on the radio, but it’s not hard to find out Missanelli’s takes on sports. There are plenty of places to catch him doing his thing, but the best way to do it is probably through The Mike Missanelli Podcast, available on all podcasting platforms.

It’s not exactly like the radio, but it’s a chance for the longtime entertainer to give his opinions on sports and life, and while it’s still new, Missanelli is finding his groove. Missanelli has been able to give his opinions on the Phillies’ run to the World Series and the Eagles jumping out to an 11-1 start to the season. He’s also had on guests, including longtime friend and fellow radio legend Angelo Cataldi, who is retiring from his show on WIP at the end of the Eagles season.

The topics have been great, and so has the podcast, which is recorded at least a couple of times a week, but when the Phillies were in the World Series, Missanelli did daily updates.

“It’s a lot different in that you don’t have the face-to-face interaction with people,” said Missanelli, whose podcast is sponsored by Bet Rivers. “You don’t have the immediate feedback. That was the fun with radio, you could interact with people. It took a while to get used to, I got my producer all hooked up with it, and we have plans to have fans to come on, we’ll be innovative.

“I see from the charts a lot of people are listening to it. Especially after the Angelo interview. It’s an all-new experience. I’m having fun.”

The podcast might not be radio, but it’s a medium many trusted voices are using to talk to their fans.

It’s not Missanelli’s only outlet, though.

This year, he is on the new JAKIB Postgame Show with Seth Joyner, Derrick Gunn and Devan Kaney.

Not only has the new show given him a chance to have another way to connect with listeners, he’s learning about the game sitting next to the former Eagles linebacker.

“They asked me if I wanted to be a part of it, and I did because it’s a chance to work with some great people and we have great chemistry,” Missanelli said about the podcast that streams on YouTube. “It’s crazy, (Joyner) really is a cerebral football guy, he picks up things we don’t. But he’s very opinionated, he played a certain way and he resents it’s changed a little bit. Fletcher Cox can’t play 80 plays, but he’ll say, ‘Get your ass in better shape.’ The game has changed, but he’s an old-school guy.”

After writing a book and talking sports on multiple mediums, Missanelli does deserve some downtime, and now he has the perfect place to relax.

He became part owner of Natali Vineyards, a winery in Cape May Courthouse. As a wine enthusiast, it was the perfect opportunity to buy in.

“I’ve been looking for a long time, I love boutique wineries,” Missanelli said. “This one was for sale before the pandemic, it was sold to this guy. I emailed him out of the blue to say if you’re looking for a partner I would love to discuss it. He got back to me and he knew of me, we corresponded and we made it happen.

“We’ll have events, I’m kind of a silent partner, but I”ll publicize it to my followers on Twitter. I think we have big plans for more vines in rural Jersey. We’re trying to make it a good venture. People that are headed down the shore on a trip Saturday. I think it’s going to be a nice deal.”

Missanelli could have slowed down after leaving radio, but instead he might be busier.

Still, he’s looking forward to meeting his fans and listeners this weekend, and as a bonus, you can meet the star of his book.

“We can talk about whatever people want, but she’s the star not me,” Missanelli said. “She’s great around children, Shima is such an adorable-looking dog, she’s so interesting, you can tell she’s always thinking.”

Just like her dad.

“This is a whole new chapter, taking different projects,” Missanelli said. “I wanted to do some different things, think about different things, a little more creative, the podcast is a total example. It’s going very well.”

For more on any of Missanelli’s projects, visit mikemiss.com.

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