Philadelphia sports fans are tough critics, and that’s even the case when you ask them about Philly sports-talk radio. Mention almost any name – Cataldi, Gargano, Eskin, Carlin, Missanelli, etc. – and half of the people you ask will admit to listening, while the other half will say (regarding any of those hosts): “I can’t stand that guy,” or “he’s an idiot.” Or much worse.
There’s a notable exception: the WIP (94.1 FM) weekend duo of Glen Macnow and Ray Didinger, or “the prof and R-Diddy,” as their opening theme identifies them. I’ve truthfully never heard any Philly sports fan say anything negative about the Saturday and Sunday morning show those two guys have been doing for “about 15 years now,” according to Ray. (Neither can pinpoint exactly when they began doing the weekend show together on a regular basis.)
For myself — and a number of sports-fan friends I’ve talked with — the Glen & Ray Show is the best three hours of sports-talk radio in Philadelphia. Every weekend, they’ll cover the Philly sports scene, but will also mix in some talk about movies and television … and occasionally food and beer, as Glen is a part-owner of the Conshohocken Brewing Co. and conducts an annual “food hunt” to find the best bacon creation. Or best pizza. Or best meatball.
Both hosts have been part of the Philadelphia media scene for decades. Ray, 71, graduated from Temple in 1968 and later worked for the Philadelphia Bulletin, the Philadelphia Daily News and NFL Films (in Mount Laurel, NJ). Glen, 62, was raised in Buffalo, went to Boston University, then worked for newspapers in Florida and Detroit before accepting a job with the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1986 and then joining WIP in the 1990s.
In one of his frequent visits to Philly Pressbox Radio, Ray told us in September that — although they had occasionally crossed paths — when he and Glen were first paired together, they “didn’t know each other very well at all. But over time, we developed a real genuine friendship … and a really good, healthy chemistry. We have a lot of common interests … and enough differences that we can kind of kick around and debate. It just works!”
That’s similar to what Glen had to say about the weekend radio show’s popularity when he visited Philly Pressbox Radio last November. “If the show works, it’s because people genuinely know that he and I enjoy being with each other … and we just invite the listeners to hang out with us. We have a good chemistry.”
Glen typically plots the agenda for the weekend show, which these days includes lots of Eagles talk, predictions for the Birds’ next game, an update on Glen and Ray’s annual “stupid football bet” (don’t ask!), plus a weekly “What We’re Watching” segment regarding movies or television shows the guys have checked out. Fun stuff!
In a comment that made me chuckle, Ray noted that Glen is “really smart. He knows a lot of stuff.”
So does Ray, of course. Both he and Glen have written several books, they co-authored “The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies,” and Ray is a Pro Football Hall of Fame sports writer and a fixture on Eagles Pregame and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Of the weekend radio gig, Ray said “It’s really like not working — I mean, don’t tell the bosses we said that! It really is just like shooting the breeze for three hours. It goes incredibly fast and people enjoy it and, believe me, we enjoy doing it.”
NOTE: Glen Macnow joins Bill Furman and yours truly on Philly Pressbox Radio this Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. ET. You can listen live via www.BlogTalkRadio.com, or later via iTunes or the TuneIn app. –Jim “Chet” Chesko