Marty Moss-Coane, the longtime host of WHYY’s “Radio Times” program and a fixture of the Philadelphia radio landscape for 35 years, today announced her plans to leave the show on Nov. 18.
After Moss-Coane’s departure, station management will discontinue “Radio Times.” What program will fill that time slot in the future has not yet been determined.
“I feel divided, and I knew I would, in part because I still love doing this show,” said Moss-Coane before going on the air Thursday.
“But after 35 years, I know that I am tired. Also, in my 70s. I don’t mind admitting that. I’m at a point in my life and career where I just need to step back. I need to get off the merry-go-round of the daily grind of a daily show.”
Moss-Coane started relieving herself of some of the show’s duties a couple of years ago, by giving Mondays over to an additional host, Mary Cummings-Jordan, for “Radio Times Regional Roundup.”
Citing a “confluence of events” in her life, including two grandchildren ages 5 and 2, Moss-Coane said it’s time to rebalance.
“I just can’t be doing homework every night,” she said. “I cut back to four days a week, so that was more balance in my life. But four days a week is still a daily show.”
Moss-Coane and her staff put together thousands of shows on a dizzying number of topics: from hard-hitting news, to deep explanations of current events, to the creative processes of artists and authors. Guests have included politicians, community advocates, authors, and even musicians sometimes performing live in studio.
Before she got into radio, Moss-Coane worked for the School District of Philadelphia as a counselor. She maintained that perspective through her long career as a call-in host.
“I was a case manager. I spent a lot of time in people’s kitchens or in the principal’s office trying to find some common ground to solve problems,” she said. “I think I brought that approach to radio, which is my belief that we all have things in common, that there is commonality.”
“There are days when I don’t feel like that is working, but in my heart of hearts I do believe in that. Providing a safe place to talk about things has been my guiding light for the show,” she added.
After 35 years of producing and hosting a daily call-in show, Moss-Coane admits that looking back on her body of work can seem like a blur. She does recall at least one stand-out moment when she interviewed former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and author Toni Morrison, back-to-back.
Seeing the two women passing each other in the hallway outside the studio was a shining moment for Moss-Coane.
“These two powerful women hugging each other and exchanging pleasantries,” she recalled. “They were like, ‘Oh, my God, look at you!’ It was great. Very memorable.”
Moss-Coane is not entirely leaving radio or WHYY. She and the station are developing a new show, to be called “The Connection with Marty Moss-Coane,” with plans to air once a week.
According to a WHYY statement, “The Connection” will feature “interviews about the connections and complications that make us human and what it takes to live a life of purpose and meaning.”
WHYY president and CEO Bill Marrazzo said “there aren’t enough words in the English language to say how valued she has been at informing and engaging the citizens of the Philadelphia region over the last 35 years.”
Saturdays just got more interesting.