WIP Host Glen Macnow Discusses Philadelphia Journey

Glen Macnow (Courtesy of WIP)

Longtime WIP sports radio host Glen Macnow is not from Philadelphia. He grew up in Buffalo, went to college in Boston and then went on the early career newspaperman’s journey from Cocoa Beach, Florida, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Detroit.

But in 1986, he got a job covering sports business for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He has since left the Inquirer, but he hasn’t left the city. And he probably never will.

Macnow, who lives in Havertown, joined WIP in 1993, just as sports talk radio was becoming a prominent format. In his 31 years, he has developed a reputation as a thoughtful, rational voice in what can be a hot medium.

He had a multidecade partnership with Ray Didinger, the hall of fame football writer. Macnow has also hosted middays during the week and the Eagles pregame show. He is also known for his food hunts, books about Philadelphia sports and craft beer program (he’s a partner in Conshohocken Brewing Co.).

Another interest is acting. Macnow, who is Jewish, is playing Mr. van Daan in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at The Players Club of Swarthmore. The show will run from April 19-May 4. Macnow calls acting in the play “a tiny but positive step in addressing antisemitism.”

The Holocaust “is going further and further back in the rearview mirror,” he said in a previous Exponent story. It also “must not be compared to anything going on in the world today…People toss the word genocide out lightly these days.”

Macnow’s Jewish identity is important to him. While he’s not religious, he had his sons go through the bar mitzvah process at Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley. Macnow had a bar mitzvah, as did his father.

“It goes back, who knows, 40 or 50 generations,” he said. “I was not going to be the one to stop that tradition.”

Macnow never planned to come to the area. But while working in Detroit, he covered a trial in Pittsburgh for a Pirates clubhouse attendant who was giving players drugs. On the first day of the trial, Macnow sat next to Lucinda Fleeson, a reporter at the Inquirer.

They got to talking and went to lunch during a break. When Fleeson got back to Philadelphia, she told her editors that Macnow would be a great writer for their new beat: the business of sports. “It was just who I sat next to on the first day of the trial,” Macnow said.

Once he got to Philadelphia, Macnow loved the city’s “East Coast attitude,” he said. He also loved that it was a “big city that behaved like a small town.” He even appreciated that “the people were more friendly than they got credit for.”

Macnow’s job at WIP gave him the opportunity to talk daily to Philadelphians from all over the region. It was a more personal medium than newspapers.

“People are inviting you to share time with them in their car or in their house,” he said. “Part of the job is not just to tell the story of what the Eagles are doing or who the Phillies have signed, but to really share their lives.”

Macnow also shared his own. He told listeners about an issue with the caterer for his son’s bar mitzvah. Years later, listeners would bring up stories of “my son on the wrestling team or my child’s marriage or things I’ve gone through,” Macnow said.

“You become people’s friends even if you don’t know them personally,” he added.

Glen Macnow with his longtime radio partner Ray Didinger (Courtesy of Glen Macnow)

He also got to talk to them about sports.

“Philadelphia is an amazing city with world-class hospitals and great universities and astounding cultural institutions,” he said. “But nobody goes down Sunday morning at 10 o’clock to tailgate at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Macnow called sports talk radio “a crazy idea” when he started in 1993. He told his wife he would try to make it through five years. He’s still hosting his weekend show with Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski and Jody McDonald (Didinger has partially retired).

“I love just being part of it,” he said. “I consider myself lucky to have fallen into this chance.”

Macnow on Sports

Exponent: Do the Phillies have a weakness going into 2024?

“I’m not sold on the bullpen. They don’t have a set closer, which makes me nervous.”

Have the Eagles done enough to improve their defense this offseason? What kind of an impact do you see Saquon Barkley having on the offense?

“Not even close. Presumably, they’ll address a lot of this in the draft. I’m hoping that their first three picks are on the defensive side.”

“If he stays healthy, he could rush for 1,200 yards and catch 70 passes and give them an element they haven’t had since LeSean McCoy.”

What is your interest level in the Sixers these days?

“The interest is there. The optimism is low. I don’t anticipate Joel Embiid coming back.”

The Flyers might make the playoffs. They are more relevant than they have been in years. Is it a new era of orange?

“It is. I don’t think they’re going to get past the first round. But the one thing they have this year that they haven’t had in a long time is strong leadership at the top in Keith Jones and Danny Briere.

They’re on the way up.”

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