by Brendan Sample
Though he has been a staple of Philadelphia sports radio for 30 years, Angelo Cataldi had never actually lived in the city before 2019. Earlier this year, however, that changed when he and his wife, Gail, moved from Medford, New Jersey, to Chestnut Hill. Though the Cataldis are still relatively new to the area, they have already fallen in love with nearly everything the neighborhood has to offer.
“It’s perfect – just fantastic,” Cataldi said in an interview with the Local. “We wanted to be closer to our new granddaughter in Wyndmoor, so there was about a four-month period where we looked all over the area for a new place. The more we looked, the more we wanted to actually be in the city and in a cool area like Chestnut Hill.”
In the few months that Cataldi has been a Hiller, he has found plenty to love about the area. He lauded the convenience of having just about everything he needs within a few minutes of his house. While he still drives nearly everywhere he goes, the easy accessibility gave him enough reason to cut all ties with Medford and switch all of his services over to this neighborhood, such as his hairstylist, doctor, dentist and more.
Additionally, Cataldi has loved getting out and trying new local restaurants. Some of his early favorites have included McNally’s Tavern, breakfast at Bruno’s Restaurant & Catering, Brittingham’s Pub, Cosimo’s and Paris Bistro, where he had the best meal since coming to the Hill.
“I’ve become much more of a homebody as I get older, so I love the idea of taking five minutes to go out, getting a great meal and taking another five minutes to drive back,” Cataldi said.
Beyond the food, Cataldi has also enjoyed other institutions such as the escape room in the VFW building, Movie Tavern Flourtown and the Chestnut Hill Hospital.
“The hospital is fantastic,” he said. “I remember first walking in there because I had to get some procedures done. I looked around and thought, ‘Wow. This is probably where I’m gonna die.’”
Dark jokes aside, Cataldi and his wife are in fact planning to make the move to Chestnut Hill their last. While he has talked about wanting to move out to California at some point, he now says that was a “fantasy” and that his plans have since changed. Though he does hope to get out there on vacation in the future, particularly to enjoy eating at In- N-Out Burger, they certainly do not feel as if they have had to settle for anything less than what they wanted.
When he’s not taking in everything his new neighborhood has to offer, Cataldi, along with cohosts Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes, continues to be a fiery personality on the WIP Morning Show every day from 5:30 to 10 a.m. One of his most popular topics of conversation remains the Phillies, who are still looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Despite remaining in the postseason mix, the Phils have underperformed this season, and Cataldi has not been shy in voicing his displeasure, particularly in regards to manager Gabe Kapler and the team’s front office. He has repeatedly called for Kapler’s firing, a sentiment that has grown stronger among fans as the season has progressed, and he has a top candidate in mind for who should be brought in next.
“I’d love to see them bring in Joe Girardi,” Cataldi explained. “He does incorporate analytics, but he also thinks traditionally. He’d never put up with someone like [Phillies General Manager Matt] Klentak telling him what to do. He’s smart and has a track record of success.”
Cataldi is also known in the city for the Wing Bowl, an annual eating contest he and Morganti created in 1993 that took place on the Friday before every Super Bowl Sunday. A drop in revenue, complaints about a lack of political correctness and the Eagles’ championship win were all factors in ending the event after over 25 years. When February rolled around this year, Cataldi admitted that it felt strange not having it, though he was alone among his colleagues in that regard.
“I’m the only one at the station who misses it,” Cataldi recalled. “Wing Bowl was a big amazing party every year, but it just played itself out. … We couldn’t make it more politically correct and have it still be the same, but we also couldn’t run it as it was. When we get around to the Friday before the Super Bowl every year, I’m always gonna miss it.”
As he closes in on 30 years with WIP, Cataldi has had plenty of time to look back on his career, including how he went from a career focused on journalism to one as a sports radio talk show host. Though he had wanted to be a writer for much of his early life, he found that there was one particular difference between radio and journalism that made him want to stay in the booth.
“I’ve had a blank page every day, my words aren’t edited and I can express my thoughts in my own way,” Cataldi said. “That’s what really hooked me was the ability to create on the spot without a bunch of other people to make sure you did things a certain way. In the nearly 30 years I’ve done radio, I can honestly say it’s been my project (with the help of my co-hosts, of course).”
Approaching the end of the year, Cataldi will be in an interesting position going into 2020. His contract with WIP is currently set to expire at the end of the calendar year, and while he does not intend to walk away at that point, he realizes that the decision is not completely in his hands. Ideally, he envisions staying on for another year or two, but nothing after that.
“I do want to give other people a chance, but it’s also just so hard to walk away,” Cataldi said. “In the past five or six years, I’ve enjoyed doing this more than I ever have. I’m honestly terrified of what I’m gonna do after retirement. I can’t remember the last time I started a football season without knowing for sure if I was gonna finish it out.
“I do know that whatever happens, I’m gonna stay in Chestnut Hill. Who knows, I might even start walking around instead of taking the car.”
For more information, you can visit 94WIP.Radio.com, follow @AngeloCataldi and @WIPMorningShow on Twitter or email Cataldi at email@example.com. Brendan Sample can be reached at brendan@chestnuthilllocal. com or 215-248-8819.