On May 29, 2022, Ray Didinger will retire at 75-years-old. As he explained several weeks ago during an announcement on WIP, he isn’t being pushed out the door. It’s just time.
If only we could all be so lucky as to hang up our microphones or yellow legal notepads like he will choose to do so. Maybe we are lucky. For decades, he has enriched the lives of so many sports fans around the Philadelphia area and even when we found new places to call home.
Ray Didinger retirement leaves an irreplaceable hole in Philadelphia sports.
Ray Didinger first landed on my radar back in 2010 when I began listening to sports radio religiously. Having moved to South Jersey with no cable, internet, or any other means of distraction, I turned to an old radio to find some background noise while at home.
94.1 WIP is where the radio dial landed. The oldest sports radio station in Philadelphia, I didn’t know at the time that it would become a big part of my life. The midday show with Glen Macnow and Anthony Gargano became my favorite program. The eventually split up, the radio business took some victims, and other responsibilities took over.
After moving a little closer to New York a few years later, I discovered there was another chance to listen to Macnow. On Saturdays and Sundays, he partnered with Ray Didinger for three hours each. Didinger’s specialty was talking about football—a sport I don’t follow all that closely—and yet I grew to have an appreciation for what he could tell me about the game and how to sometimes win a stupid sports bet.
There’s something special about Ray Didinger.
The Ray Didinger-Glen Macnow pairing is one I am going to miss after May 29. From about 2013-2017, I did my best to never miss a show of theirs on the weekend. Having listened to an ungodly amount of Philadelphia and New York sports radio since 2010 (sometimes literally from the time I woke up until I went to sleep), no show has compared to theirs. Saturdays and Sundays would literally be planned around being near a radio to listen.
It’s not just two old guys talking about sports. It’s two buddies with distinctive personalities. Their show is what every sports fan secretly wishes they had.
Didinger is perhaps the most unique person on Philadelphia radio despite Joe Decamara’s attempt to weird everyone out. Didinger doesn’t own a cell phone. He doesn’t have a streaming service despite offers from Macnow weekly to pay for a subscription if he’d watch a particular show or movie. Didinger is admirably invested in the work he does involving sports. He wants to know everything he can about the local teams as I’m sure the case was when he was first getting involved in the media.
Didinger is a Philadelphia sports lifer. And while I’m sure he’ll still pop in occasional on WIP, it’s selfishly depressing to know there will no longer be the Prof and R. Diddy on my weekly listening schedule.
As someone who is literally less than half the age of Didinger, it’s astonishing how much he has been able to turn me into a fan without any shock jock stunts. In a strange twist, it’s almost as if I care more about the person he is than the sports he loves so much.
Although this goes against the regularly scheduled programming on Section215, I felt an obligation to write something about the greatness of Ray Didinger. How can someone I’ve never met make me care so much about topics I don’t even follow? Jordan Mailata should mean nothing to me.
Ray Didinger (along with Glen Macnow) have gotten me through life, through working weekends at times, and even a few long drives. Unlike so many other loves in life, my enjoyment of their show was something I was never able to share with anyone else. Radio may not be what it once was in our culture yet it’s still possible to make friends just by tuning in.
Life will go on in Philadelphia sports and Didinger will get to enjoy not having to watch every play, every pitch, or every dramatic moment from an athlete in town. His gain of retirement is all of our loss. Try as they may, no one will ever come close to replacing the great Ray Didinger on-air, in print, or in Philadelphia sports.