Interview: Glen Macnow Stops By

Macnow reviews his notes at Wing Bowl

Macnow reviews his notes at Wing Bowl

Glen Macnow has worked in every field of journalism: print as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and as an author of many books including The Great Philadelphia Fan Book, and 12 Children’s books, television as co-host of a popular Philadelphia TV Show, The Great Sports Debate, and radio as host of The Glen Macnow show, The Ray Didinger Show, and now co-host of the Mid-day Show with Anthony Gargano and the host of the Eagles Pregame Show.

Macnow was dubbed “The Best Sports Writer in Philadelphia,” by Philadelphia Magazine in 1993.

He teaches journalism part-time at St, Josephs University in Philadelphia.

Shay Roddy caught up with him to discuss the Eagles, Raul Ibanez, Cheese-steaks, Rocky and everything in between.

SHAY RODDY: When did thoughts of being a journalist first strike you?
GLEN MACNOW: Back in college. It was the Watergate era and investigative reporters were
seen as really cool. I started writing for the college newspaper, and found
that I really enjoyed it.

You have written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, co-hosted a television show
“The Great Sports Debate,” written several books, and hosted radio shows
with NFL Hall of Fame journalists.  Which has been your favorite?

Tough to say, because I’ve enjoyed them all. Writing “The Great
Philadelphia Fan Book” with Anthony Gargano was really special, because we
thought it was a story that needed to be told. But I’ve enjoyed everything
I’ve done. I’ve had the chance to work with some terrifically talented
people — Anthony, Ray Didinger, Angelo Cataldi. How do you top that?


You still teach journalism, part time at St. Joes.  After establishing
yourself as a successful journalist why do you still find it important to
teach?

Because I want to pass it along. Plus, too many journalism courses are
taught by people who’ve never actually worked the job. They’ve been in
classrooms their entire careers. I’m trying to show what the profession is
really like.

You have had thousands of guests on your shows throughout your career. Who has been your favorite person to interview?
Ronald Reagan was pretty special — and I’m not even a Republican. You know
I’ve had the chance to talk to great athletes, politicians and show biz
types, but I think my favorite all-time interview was with a man named
Charlie Smith from Florida, who, at the time, was the world’s oldest man at
age 136.

On your radio shows you have had less sports oriented topics such as The Movie Club for Men, and the annual Food Hunt.  Why do you find it important to do this?

Because the show is aimed for guys who have interests beyond sports. There
are those days when not much is going on in the sports world. Every guy I
know likes to talk about food and movies — so why not make it part of the
show.

What has it been like working with Hall-of Famer Ray Didinger?

It’s a blast. Not just because Ray is smart and the world’s top football
authority, but also because Ray is funny and clever, which not enough people
know. Ray and I have become friends through working together. We’re writing
a book together that will be out next fall.


Have you ever had an interview that just went really bad or got really
awkward?

Oh sure. Too many. The all-time worst on air was with Derek Burgess, back
when he was with the Eagles. A good player, but the worst talker ever.

How do you prepare for your radio show with Anthony Gargano (610-WIP AM)?

We meet before the show, lay out our ideas and figure out what people want
to talk about. But you know what? A lot of it has to be sponteaneous.
Sometimes, you just need to let it flow.

Can someone who covers a team still be a true fan or does the fan get sucked out of you and replaced by a purely professional relationship with the teams?
Certainly, the closer you get, the less glamorous it looks. And I’ve learned
a lot by knowing people or viewing it close up that can turn me off. But I’m
still at heart, a fan. If you don’t love sports, why bother doing what we
do?

How hard is it to know something that every fan would die to know, but not be able to share it because it was “off the record?”
It’s difficult only when I think it’s something fans have the right to know.
If a player is cheating around on his wife, I don’t really think the fans
need to know. But if it’s something that affects the running of the team or
how a player is actually performing on the field, I have a temptation to get
it out. I always tell people not to tell me stuff that I can’t use. If you
take too much stuff off the record, you find yourself getting trapped.

What has it been like talking to the Philadelphia fans over the years?  Why do you think they get such a bad rap?
Well, that’s the biggest pleasure of my job. I love those people. And they
get a bad rap because that’s the easy cliché — the great unwashed and all
that. It’s just outsiders going for the easy knock.

Does the Phillies world championship overshadow some of the Eagles struggles?
Not really. The Phils win was terrific for the entire city. But the Eagles
are a separate franchise and need to be judged on their own.

Is Philadelphia still a “football town?”

Sure. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a great baseball town as well. But people
here will always live and breathe Eagles football.

How do you think the addition of Ibanez and the departure of Burrell will affect the Phillies?
It’s about a break-even. Ibanez is a good hitter — steadier than Burrell,
but doesn’t have the power. Neither runs too well and neither can field,
although Ibanez is slightly better at both. I’m a little worried about the
overload of left-handed hitters.

Do the Flyers have a shot to become the City’s second World Champ?

Yep. I’m wary about the goaltending, but the nucleus of young forwards is
good enough to get them there. Some of the young defensemen need to step it
up a bit.

What’s going on in Sixerland, they look like a total mess?
That about sums it up. I think Iguodala’s contract is going to prove to be a
real anchor on them.

What books are on your nightstand?
I just finished “How He Did It,” Newsweek’s coverage of the 2008 election.
And I’m reading a book recommended to me by Merrill Reese called, “The
Tender Bar.”

Better Cheese-steak: Geno’s or Pat’s?
Neither. Last year I tasted 45 cheesesteaks in 45 days and both of those
places finished near the bottom. Try the cheesesteak at John’s Roast Pork if
you really want the best in town. Or maybe Chink’s.

Best sports movie ever, Why?
Rocky. The perfect sports movie. Plus It’s shot in Philly.

_______________________________________

Reminder: In early January Shay will interview Michael Barkann of CSN Philadelphia, so be sure to check back with the site.

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