Legendary local media personality Ray Didinger is retiring.
He announced the news on Sunday’s 94 WIP show alongside Glen Macnow. His WIP contract is up at the end of May and that’s when he’s going to call it quits.*
Said Ray, in part:
“All these years, my family has lived their lives around my schedule. Now I can build my life around theirs. I have a wonderful wife, two accomplished adult children, and four beautiful grandchildren. I’m ready to transition from being Ray Diddy to Grandpop… I love the people I worked with and I’m proud of what we built, but I feel it’s time to go. I’m healthy, I’m happy, but I’m also 75 years old. It’s time. Really. It’s that simple. I’m not being pushed out the door, I’m leaving on my own, but it isn’t easy. I love my life and grew up wanting to be a writer and wanting to be involved in sports, and I’m seeing it all come true.”
Ray turns 76 in September. He could have retired years ago but continued along with his pair of local gigs, co-hosting the popular WIP weekend show while doing Eagles pre and post and appearing on other NBC Sports Philadelphia shows. He’s a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame via the Writers Honor Roll and won four Emmy awards while also turning in decades of NFL writing for various publications. Ray continues to author books and just dropped another in 2021 called Finished Business: My Fifty Years of Headlines, Heroes, and Heartaches. It’s a memoir, and maybe doubled as a bit of foreshadowing as well:
Didinger is an incredibly nice guy. Super affable. Outside of that one time that Mike Missanelli took a random swipe, I haven’t heard anybody ever say a negative thing about Ray. He’s part of a small group that includes Marc Zumoff, Merrill Reese, and other veteran broadcast types who seem to be universally liked by just about everybody.
One of the funny things is that Ray does not have social media and historically has shunned the smart phone, but you can dial his landline and he’ll get right back to you. I think I’ve called Ray’s landline three times in ten years and all three times he got back to me in less than 10 minutes. Ray came on the Eyewitness News show I used to produce back in the day, to promote his latest book, and scheduling him was easier than scheduling dudes with 10 social media accounts and an iPhone. Most people won’t even return your text messages as quickly as Ray returns a landline call. That’s my contribution to what should be myriad personal stories coming from all corners of Philadelphia, explaining how Didinger is just a fantastic and genial guy.
It’s a pretty transformative year in Philly broadcast media if you think about it. Jim Gardner, Angelo Cataldi, and now Ray Diddy are all retiring. Think about the combined years of television and radio those three have done. There’s a big loss of institutional knowledge and longstanding familiarity there.
Good for Ray. The guy has done it all. What a career!
*Macnow went on to note that the decision was made months ago. They’ve done about 2,500 shows together, according to Glen. Now WIP has to figure out what to do with the popular weekend show, but they’ve got options. They could do a Mac and Mac permanent reunion, let Glen go solo, etc. Perhaps we’ll find out more about those plans soon.