Tuesday, Oct. 10, showcased the second “Pizza With the Pros” of the 2023 Fall Semester, with special guests David Didinger and J.R. Aguila taking the stage. Both are well-known around the area for their respective jobs in the Philadelphia sports world.
David Didinger is a camera operator/cinematographer for NBC Sports, Amazon, and NFL Films. Didinger began his NFL career at NFL Films in 1996, where he has shot 24 Super Bowls. Didinger currently works as a Camera Operator for the Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers broadcasts on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Since 2022 he has been shooting Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime and Notre Dame Football on NBC Sports. David is also the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Journalist Ray Didinger.
Speaking with Didinger on Tuesday was a former Senior Broadcast Producer for the Philadelphia 76ers and NBC Sports Philadelphia, J.R. Aguila. Aguila spent 15 seasons as a Senior Producer of Philadelphia 76ers Basketball for Comcast Sportsnet/NBC Sports Philadelphia. He was the director of Philadelphia 76ers broadcasts for 20 seasons and Philadelphia Phillies broadcasts for 35 seasons. On top of this amazing resume, he is also a multiple Emmy Award winner. Both of them worked together at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Didinger’s father, Ray, was a sports writer and David grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps. Didinger grew up playing baseball and after playing in college and graduating with a culinary degree, he realized he wasn’t going to get anywhere with his sport. He ended up working as a chef for the time being. This all changed when he got invited to a Temple football practice by his father who was there to work on a story about the team. During the visit, Didinger was offered a job in the mail room where the previous mail room worker was moving up to full-time camera work. When Didinger asked his dad if he should take the job his dad said, “Do what makes you happy.” David said those words hit him strongly, which is when he really developed his love for cameras. He accepted the job in the mailroom and through that position worked his way up.
Aguila, on the other hand, wasn’t able to financially go to college right away. He took a couple of years off to work and save his money. Aguila would then end up going to Kutztown University, where he would eventually graduate from. What attracted Aguila to Kutztown was the multimedia program that they had. Growing up Aguila would watch a lot of TV, not only would it be just sports, it would be any kind of television in general. After graduating, he put a lot of effort into learning everything about television, which secured him a job for the Philadelphia 76ers.
One student asked David, “Do you feel your job is rewarding?”
David responded saying, “It’s the greatest job in the world, I would do it until I die.” Later on, Aguila would expand on that by saying, “All I’ve ever done for the past 40 years was do what I did as a kid, which was watch sports on the TV.”
Another student asked Aguila, “What do you think is the most difficult sport to cover?”
Aguila responded with, “I would say Baseball is the most challenging. You never know where the ball is going to go.”
Aguila would go on to speak about having to just trust your guys, where David would add to that saying, “It got to the point where J.R. didn’t even need to have camera meetings with us anymore because we knew what our job was. To have the trust of the director makes the job a lot easier.”
To summarize, David Didinger and J.R. Aguila got a chance to tell their story to the Rowan students. They talked about where they started to where they are in their lives currently. They both couldn’t stop expressing throughout the night how much they love what they do in their careers, which most likely inspired a lot of the students in the room to follow in their footsteps.
They also announced later that night that J.R. Aguila would be the Delaware Blue Coats Broadcast Advisor. The Delaware Blue Coats are currently offering internships to students, so make sure that you keep your eye out for that.
“Pizza With The Pros” will continue next week with Kayla Santiago, a former student at Rowan, who is most notably known for being the Philadelphia Eagles Postgame Co-Host.