Monday, October 11, 2021

Philly Radio: Finding Angelo Cataldi's Successor Is Tall Order For 94WIP

Angelo Cataldi

Longtime 94 WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi has hinted for years that he might retire when his contract expired in 2017. Cataldi flirted with retirement for the better part of a decade only to extend his stay. On Wednesday, he finally followed through and announced he would retire at the end of 2022 — giving the station and Philadelphia parent company Audacy 15 months to find a successor.

The Philadelphia Businss Journal reports Ray Mayo, managing director of MayoSeitz Media, said Cataldi’s 33 years at one station where he achieved such a high level of success is a tremendous accomplishment in the media industry, especially surviving and thriving during the second half of his career when there were more media options available to sports fans.

David Yadgaroff, Philadelphia market manager for Audacy, said he and other company executives have been talking to Cataldi about his retirement plans for several years. He said he and WIP’s new brand manager, Rod Lakin, will work with Audacy corporate executives to find Cataldi’s successor. Asked what he was looking for in that person or persons, Yadgaroff demurred, saying he would rather keep that private. He did say that modern sports talk hosts do need to connect with an audience across all platforms — radio, podcasting and social media.

Mayo said Cataldi has not just a large audience but a loyal one that has money to spend on the products and services being advertised on his four-and-a-half-hour morning drive program.

“Angelo is marketable in multiple categories,” Mayo said. “He’s not just a pitchman. He attracts advertisers from sports betting apps to entertainment to financial services.”

The question is whether those advertisers and sponsors have been institutionalized by WIP and Audacy or will they bolt when Cataldi rides off into the sunset.

“Money follows audiences,” Mayo said. “That’s true everywhere. There is loyalty to an extent. But you have to maintain the audience. Ratings and revenue go hand-in-hand. So if there is a fall off with the program, that could be an issue.”

Cataldi has become so successful because, despite being from Providence.  “He’s not from here but he embodies Philadelphia,” Mayo said. “When things are good, he asks 'How can we keep this going.’ And when things are bad, he asks 'How can we change things.’ Angelo has done something unique. He’s ingrained himself into the fan base. He’s made himself one of the fans. And that’s huge for any kind of sports content.”

While Cataldi has proven that you don’t have to be from Philadelphia to connect to Philadelphia, he might be somewhat of an anomaly. Contemporaries such as Howard Eskin and Mike Missanelli are local products, as are sports talkers such as Kincade, Anthony Gargano and Jon Marks. They understand the psyche of the region's sports fans because they grew up rooting for the same teams.

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