Broadcast Pioneers member Allan Hotlen
Broadcast Pioneers member Allan Hotlen, a Philly native, marched out of Temple University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications clutched in his hot little hand more than 50 years ago. That hand would guide him on a broadcasting odyssey that spanned this big wide nation.
In between, that hand would put songs to paper recorded by show biz giants like Englebert Humperdinck, Al Martino, Wayne Newton and the Four Aces. Allan also had a hand in writing and producing hundreds of jingles for radio stations around the country.
His radio business journey began with his first job as an on-air personality at WMID in Atlantic City. It was onward and upward with on-air jobs at WBCB, Levittown-Fairless Hills, WRCV AM (before it went all news as KYW), music director at WIP (BS - before sports), then PD at WIP (1967 to 1969) and General Manager at WPEN from 1969 to 1970.
Then it was up the New Jersey Turnpike for a three-year stint as operations manager at WHN, New York. Back in Philly in 1973 as director of News and Programming at WCAU-AM.
After a while, the West Coast beckoned and across the country he flew to management jobs at KNBR and KYW and KSFO in San Francisco.
Allan capped a life long rise in broadcasting as Vice President of Bonneville stations in San Francisco. Somehow amidst all this he wore the uniform of the United States Coast Guard.
Allan Hotlen is a real Broadcast Pioneer who not only talked the on-air talk but walked the halls of management too.
Late in June of 2012, we received this e-mail from member Allan Hotlen. In it, he talked about his friends, singer Al Martino and producer/arranger Peter DeAngelis. Allan said:
In the early 60s, when I was music director at WRCV, I met Pete DeAngelis, who had arranged and produced Frankie Avalon's and Fabian's early hits. Pete went on to do the charts for almost 2 dozen hit singles and a half-dozen or so albums by Al Martino. The two South Philly "boys," Pete and Al, were such good friends that they (and their wives) bought houses next door to each other in Cherry Hill in the late 60s.
Around that time, while I was at WIP/WMMR, I started collaborating with Pete on some songs. We got lucky early; Engelbert Humperdinck recorded our "Let me Into Your Life" (and still sings it in his concerts). And another Philadelphian, the brilliant comedian, impressionist and (yes!) singer Guy Marks-recorded two of our songs ("Meet me Tonight By The Postage Machine" and "This Is Forever.")
Peter and I would write at Pete's house, with him at the piano and me pacing and scribbling lyrics onto a legal pad. During those visits, I'd often see Al. The three of us would hang out and talk about music and radio. Magical times.
One day Pete said, "Al's recording his 'Mary In The Morning' album in a couple of days and we need one more song for it. Let's write one. So we wrote a ballad called "Now (Before Another Day Goes By)" for that album. Great melody and arrangement (by Pete). And the corniest lyrics I ever wrote. Al was okay with it, though. And he sang it beautifully. No surprise there.
Later in 1968, while I was programming WIP and WMMR, I asked Al to take part in a live "Sing-Off" in Rittenhouse Square. He (and Mike Douglas and Billy Duke's band) did. Great fun. Huge crowd.
Al and I didn't see each other often. But once or twice a year, either in Philadelphia or, later, during my years in San Francisco, we'd have lunch. He had a fascinating life. I loved hearing the stories.
We remained friends till he left us a few years ago. About three years ago, I talked to Al for the last time. He called me while he was in South Florida to perform. We planned to have lunch. His schedule changed and we never did. I'm sad that we didn't have that one last meal together. I miss him. And Pete.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Allan Hotlen
Bio written by Broadcast Pioneers member Dick Sheeran
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