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Angelo Cataldi: I Prep More Than Ever Because It’s Hard To Be Great At 71

“I’ve done this a long time, but I still have a sense of trepidation. I still think about it and go ‘maybe tomorrow is the day I fall flat on my face.’”

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Angelo Cataldi has a little less than six months left before he walks away from WIP. The Philadelphia sports radio legend was a guest on The Press Box this week, The Ringer’s podcast focused on the media.

Host Bryan Curtis asked Cataldi how he is doing with the end in sight and what he thinks he will feel on his last day on air.

“A sense of closure,” Cataldi answered. “I’m hoping to receive that in the next six months. A sense of relief. And to some extent, a sense of accomplishment. I’ve done this a long time, but I still have a sense of trepidation. I still think about it and go ‘maybe tomorrow is the day I fall flat on my face.’”

That last part is why he says he knows it is time to say goodbye. Angelo explained that it’s harder to be great at 71. He preps more than he ever did before to ensure he doesn’t forget an important name or thought in the moment.

He also spendt part of the podcast looking back on his highlights and struggles. Curtis asked Cataldi how he would characterize his relationship with fellow Philadelphia sports talk icon Howard Eskin.

Cataldi said that Howard deserves all of the respect he gets, but they have a classic love/hate relationship.

“‘Love’ in that I really respect what he has done for sports talk, especially in Philadelphia. I respect his work ethic and respect his love for sports. I don’t respect that he’s never been a great team player. He’s never looked out for you. More now than before, but, he’s a big talent, a big talent. 

“All of us that are doing talk radio in Philadelphia took something from Howard’s approach to it. He was very provocative and interesting. I think we’re in a pretty good place right now, but the next time I say something he doesn’t like, we will not be in a good place, and he will come after me, I will retaliate, and then we will have two old men fighting like little children.”

Cataldi also talked about the demise of the famous WIP Wing Bowl. In its 26-year run, the event went from being contested in a hotel ballroom for a cheap hibachi to competitors entering a sold-out Spectrum Center to compete for $75,000 worth of prizes.

It was an event Angelo Cataldi described as full-on debauchery.

“It was the closest thing as you would get to a public orgy. It was bad. By the end, it had gotten completely out of control and it was time to end it, especially given #MeToo and all that’s going on now. We got out at the right time. It would not be acceptable, what was going on in those buildings. But it was a hell of a radio promotion for a long time.”

One interesting moment in the podcast came when Curtis asks Cataldi about his accent. The Providence, RI native said that he wishes he was better at hiding it, but it is about as good now as it is going to be.

He has been on the air in Philadelphia for 33 years, but because of his voice, he knows there are some listeners that will always think of him as an outsider.

“People knew I wasn’t one of them, so when they wanted to hate me, it was easier to hate me.”

Outsider or not, Cataldi is feeling the love from the audience right now. He says the most rewarding thing that has happened since announcing his impending retirement is that strangers are more likely to stop him on the street to tell him how much they have enjoyed his show.

“They reinforce in you that what you did had some value,” he said. “If you’re doing that and they’re paying you well, what more are you gonna ask for? It was a good deal.”

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Mike Felger: iHeartMedia Adding ‘The Rich Shertenlieb Show’ is a Good Sign

“Anything that gets people to turn the radio on I am for.”

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Screengrab of The Off Air Show with Mike Felger joined by Kendra Middleton
Screengrab from 98.5 The Sports Hub Facebook

Mike Felger had Kendra Middleton as his guest on the latest edition of The Off-Air Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Facebook page. In between finding out about Middelton’s influencer career and the dirty pics she gets sent to her from men, the subject of The Rich Shertenlieb Show came up. Shertenlieb started this week on Boston classic rock station 100.7 WZLX after being off the air for over six months since he left The Sports Hub and show partner Fred Toucher.

About the new show, Felger said, “I’ve sampled it, I think it sounds good. It sounds like Rich. It sounds like what it would sound like when Fred was off, and Rich was in.”

Felger has talked before on the show about wanting the industry as a whole to be successful and that was what stood out to him about iHeartMedia adding Shertenlieb to mornings. “I’m glad that he got that gig…Anything that gets people to turn the radio on I am for,” he continued. “I just want the industry to be good, I want radio to be strong, the industry to be strong, I want people to listen to the radio. I want radio companies hiring radio hosts to do radio shows. I take that whole thing as being healthy.”

While Felger wants his company to win, he wants the other companies to have just enough success to continue doing what they are doing. “I hope Fred and Hardy beat him soundly in the morning in the ratings, but I want Rich to do well, do well enough,” he said. “I want ZLX and iHeart to do well and do well enough. I want them to have a good business and a strong revenue stream. I am rooting for that and Rich personally as well, who I know, and I wish personal success to him. I’m more interested in iHeart hiring a real radio host to do a real radio show in Boston and obviously paying him enough to it. That’s a good sign and I hope it does well enough that more radio stations keep doing that and whatever gets you to turn on the radio, I am for.”

Middleton said she had not yet heard the new show but said, “I think the rotating third chair is an interesting concept. I was shocked to see Ted [Johnson] go. The rotating third chair is going to be an interesting thing in the industry.”

The pair talked about rumors ZLX might flip to all sports eventually and try to get the Boston Red Sox play-by-play rights, which are not up again until after the 2028 season. Felger asked Middleton if all of that were to happen, “Is that a good or bad thing for The Sports Hub?”

“I think both,” she said. “Obviously it’s going to pull listeners away from The Sports Hub, but it’s doing that already in the mornings because the nature of another show being in town. But I think the competitiveness and forcing people here to be on their ‘A game’…I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing. Competition is never bad.”

Felger later added, “Sports radio is so lucrative that a third company has decided to come in and do it, that’s how I read that, that’s good…I want radio to be strong. Radio, not just The Sports Hub, radio as a medium, as a business. So, if iHeart flipping to sports means sports radio is strong, I am for it.”

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Sports Media Reacts to the Possibility of Losing ‘Inside the NBA’

“It’s must-see television, it always is.”

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Photos of Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley
Photo Courtesy: TNT Sports

Many in sports media have reacted to the news today that NBC will claim the final NBA media rights package. This means that longtime NBA partner TNT is out after next season and, most likely, Inside the NBA will come to an end next year as well.

On 670 The Score in Chicago, Dan Bernstein said, “I’m genuinely unhappy about it because it appears that the last season of the NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA is next year and then it’s over. Unless somebody just throws a ton of money and picks that whole show up and grabs it and says, ‘What’s your number’ for everybody we want to just take the whole show, everybody involved and make it part of what we do…it sounds like it’s over and that sucks. That’s the best sports studio show ever.”

Steak Shapiro from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta said upon reading the news, “That stinks… What great entertainment does is allow you to be entertained and take a deep breath and say, ‘I just enjoy this, this is my hour and a half or two hours watching Shaq, Kenny, Charles and Ernie Johnson Jr. hanging out.'”

Rich Eisen spent time on his show talking about it and said, ” I’m telling you guys I would be stunned if they were all a package deal going somewhere else.” He later added, about the show, “It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Several others took to social media to post about the show:

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Andy Gresh: ‘Greg Olsen Got Pushed Out for the Greatest Player in the History of the Game’

“Even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

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Photos of Andy Gresh and Greg Olsen and a logo for WEEI
Gresh Photo Courtesy: Audacy Olsen Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

The Sports Emmy Awards were handed out last night and one particular award caught the attention of WEEI’s Gresh & Fauria show in Boston. Hosts Andy Gresh and Christian Fauria talked about the category of Outstanding Personality/Event Analyst where the nominees were Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Greg Olsen, Bill Raftery, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci.

Olsen won the award, and the show played the audio from his acceptance speech. “I think there’s a lot of people wondering what I’m going to say right now,” Olsen said. “Coming into tonight, people asked me, they say, ‘What’s your biggest threat to your future in the business?’ And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, Brady and this,’ and I think it’s Andy from ‘Toy Story.’ If he gets in, (Cris) Collinsworth, (Troy) Aikman, we’re dead. But I really appreciate it.”

Olsen later added, “I don’t know what the future holds, all I know is I love talking football, I love talking ball, I love studying it, I love seeing where the game is going. Wherever that takes me, whatever level it is, I’m more committed to the game of football now.”

It was the “I don’t know what the future holds” part of what Olsen said that caught the host’s attention. They took that as Olsen pouting and not being happy to be on the No. 2 FOX Sports NFL team. Fauria used the term “pushed out” and Gresh wanted to make a point about that.

“Again, Greg Olsen got pushed out for the greatest player in the history of the game,” Gresh said. “And they’re not firing him, they’re moving him to the No. 2 spot… and guess what, if you don’t keep that gig, the only thing that’ll be on the epitaph of the career resume is that you got bumped by Tom Brady. You’re good, settle in for No. 2, wait your turn somewhere else…but even in the world of tight ends he doesn’t scratch the surface of where Tom Brady has been.”

Fauria painted the picture a little differently as he is not of the belief Tom Brady is going to be a great NFL analyst. “It’s funny because here comes a guy who was just recognized by all his peers…deciding between all these guys, he was the best one,” he said. “And he got pushed out for a guy who has never done it before…and there is not some sort of given that he is even going to be good at it. He could suck at it.”

Gresh replied back, “If you are at the FOX upfronts and you got a chance to go in a room, are you going to pick the one with Greg Olsen or the one with Tom Brady? …Brady is not going to let himself fail at this. He is not going to look like a big idiot.”

“Just the assumption that Brady is going to be great at this I think is a stretch” replied Fauria.

As for Olsen, Fauria believes if he continues the way he has started, he will come out on top in the end. “I guarantee you at some point in time, when his contract runs out, and he tells all the streaming services that all exist now, he ends up being the guy. He’s fine. And he lost his job to the greatest football player ever.”

Gresh is not nearly as big of an Olsen fan and said, “If Greg Olsen was so great, are the other networks going to fall all over themselves to try and hire this guy? Will ESPN say, ‘maybe we will get rid of Aikman and put Olsen in there?'”

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