This sporting life

Cataldi bids farewell to on-air rage, controversy and hijinks

by Tom Beck
Posted 4/1/23

Angelo Cataldi has finally called it quits, even though he didn't get his storybook ending.

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This sporting life

Cataldi bids farewell to on-air rage, controversy and hijinks


Angelo Cataldi has finally called it quits. After 33 years at the helm of 94 WIP’s flagship morning show, Philadelphia’s zaniest sports radio host almost had the storybook ending he wanted…

He would have loved experiencing his last day at WIP during the Eagles championship parade after the team’s victory in Super Bowl LVII. 

Unfortunately, that plan was scrapped in favor of a more traditional retirement when the Eagles lost to the Chiefs, 38-35. So instead, the 71-year-old Cataldi signed off, not from Broad Street, but from the WIP studios on Feb. 17, leaving behind a career of rage, controversy and hijinks. Nowadays, he plans to keep himself busy mainly by writing a memoir.

Wissahickon Magazine met up with Cataldi to discuss his post-retirement plans, the future of Philadelphia sports and becoming a writer again. 

When did you start thinking about retirement?

I guess it first occurred to me when I turned 62. Because I was like, how many more years am I going to be doing this? It's very draining. Seriously, at 65. So that would have been six or seven years ago. Again, when they won the Super Bowl because I really wanted to leave on that note, but I wasn't ready yet. And really intensely, the last three or four years. Really intensely. Every year, 'come on, is this enough? You know, don't overstay your welcome.' That kind of thing. 

And then I was leaving a year ago. We had agreed to leave. The contract was over and everything was done. And then Spike Eskin went to New York, they brought in a new program director and people who run the station who have been extremely good to me said 'Is there any way we can do one more year while this guy gets his feet on the ground and gets the lay of the land?' 

So that's how we came up with this weird formula for this year where they said 'Well, what would it take?' And I said, well, five days in a row is just eating me alive right now. I could have a break in the middle if I could have Wednesday off? And we worked out all the details and we agreed to do this one last year. 

What are you looking forward to most in retirement?

I'm looking forward to setting my own schedule. I'm looking forward to sleeping later. I'm looking forward to not having this incredible challenge every day now that I'm in my 70s, and I'm looking forward to my grandkids and my family and a chance to sit down and write a book. All those things are in my next year or two and I'm looking forward to all of them. 

What inspired you to write a memoir?

I was a writer originally and I had all this material for all these years. I got 33 years with the most passionate fans in Philadelphia, why don't I try to put it down on paper while it's still fresh in my mind? So that's my first assignment after I retire. 

Some people say that Philadelphia sports teams are in for a sustained period of success. Do you agree?

Yes. Definitely with the Phillies and the Eagles. The Phillies and the Eagles are in very good hands. They have really good general managers. Those guys can bring in talent. They've got ownerships that are making a commitment to the city. So yeah, those two teams for sure. 

The Sixers I'm a little less certain about because Embiid is the reason that it's good right now, and he's not getting younger. He's getting closer to 30. And their ownership is more money-oriented. They're hedge fund guys. It's not a real sportsman-type like the guys are in the other two sports. 

And the Flyers - they're rounding the bend. They're getting back to where they're going to be. They're going to be relevant again, which is the first big thing that has to happen. They may be a ways away. But all in all, if you look over the years I've done it, this is probably as good as it's been for the four major pro sports teams for most of the 33 years I’ve been at WIP. Three of them have a fighting chance and the fourth one seems to be making some inroads.

Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie are taking your spot on the morning time slot. What advice do you have for them?

If I had to give them one piece of advice – and it's the hardest part of the job – it’s know what fans care about and talk about it. That's the hurdle. You gotta come on at 6 o'clock in the morning and you have to read the mind of a sports city and say what's the most important thing on their mind on this day. And then express it. I know they can express it well. I've heard them work. They're pros. Identify what they care the most about. Do that and they'll love you. 

Do you have any non-sports related passions?

No. None. I'm not a foodie, I'm not a wine guy. I'm sports and I'm family. I've been on air for 33 years and I've never been one to hide whatever's going on in my life so they probably know as much about me as there is to know. There's not a lot else here. There's no secrets. I'm inept. I can't fix anything, I'm an awful driver. I've said all these things. I've pretty much shared with the people whatever was going on that day. I'm not good at hiding stuff.

Is there any chance you’ll develop a hobby or a new passion in your newfound free time?

My wife thinks so, but I'm dubious. 

What would it be if you did?

It wouldn't be golf. I tried that. I was horrible at it. I don't like trendy things, so I will never try pickleball. I don't really like to move too much, so I wouldn't want to do anything too active. I'm at a loss. I'm sure my wife, who is very active and does a ton of stuff, will try to drag me along for a while and see if I pick up any interest, but like I said, I don't think so. I doubt it.

Our editor, Carla Robinson, asked me to extend an invitation to you to write for your community newspaper, the Chestnut Hill Local, in your retirement. What are your thoughts on that?

Tell her the answer is yes. My price is $5,000 a week. Just tell her that for fun. The lowest I'll go is five grand. It's non-negotiable.