On Monday, Oct. 3, SportsRadio 94 WIP morning show host Rhea Hughes, joined “Pizza With the Pros” to talk about her busy career in sports radio and women in sports.
Hughes, who graduated from Temple with a degree in Radio/Television/Film, has been a host at 94WIP for 26 years. Her time at the station is highlighted by her role as host of its vaunted morning show alongside Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti.
Cataldi, a Philadelphia sports radio icon, is set to retire this year after over 30 years with the station. Hughes says that she owes a lot to Cataldi.
“He gave me the opportunity here [at 94WIP] 26 years ago to do the job,” Hughes said. The two are close friends both inside and outside of the station. “We talk all day long… I talk to him probably five, six, seven times a day in addition to emails. He has said that he probably would’ve retired five years ago but I’ve kinda forced him to stay around. We work really well together.”
94WIP’s popular morning show runs Monday-Friday from 5:30 to 10 a.m. and, for Hughes is a demanding show to host. Hughes’ day begins a bit after 3 a.m. when she makes the commute into Philadelphia to meet with producers, Cataldi, and Morganti before the show begins. This is followed by hours of prep work for the next day’s show.
Hughes prioritizes watching that day’s 76ers, Eagles, Flyers, or Phillies game – if there are any – in preparation for future shows. And she is also responsible for booking guests for the show which can sometimes come just hours beforehand if something important breaks.
In her own words, Hughes has become a “relentless worker [with a] willingness to do anything.”
To Hughes, working in sports radio was a dream she had since she was about four years old. At Temple, she initially established herself as a writer whilst holding onto her dreams of calling games on the radio. She etched her first mark in her collegiate résumé covering Temple’s field hockey squad – a sport she knew nothing about. By the time she graduated, Hughes had experience calling games as a color commentator on both Temple football and basketball radio broadcasts.
Recurring talking points of the evening’s discussion were Hughes’ thoughts on her being a woman in a male-dominated field and where the field now stands.
Hughes said of her days at Temple that you typically “never saw a woman in the business.” Though Hughes added that she personally did not encounter any problems while in the workplace throughout her career.
Where the industry has seen great strides is in the current amount of women working in sports, and where they’re working. Hughes shared her inside perspective on seeing women with prospects in today’s field.
“You’re just not going to not get the job because you’re a woman… you don’t have that hurdle,” Hughes said. The removal of this long-standing barrier has opened up tremendous gateways for young women looking to make names for themselves.
Deputy commissioner of the Big East Conference, Vince Nicastro, will headline the next “Pizza With the Pros” on Oct. 10.
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