The WDAS Gang
(Left to right) Vice-President of Programming Joe "Butter" Tamburro
General Manager of WDAS AM & FM Robert A. Klein
Assistant Chief Engineer Tony Evasew
WDAS Newsman Steve Schorr
Home of WDAS Operations Manager Gerry Wilkinson
Saturday, August 27, 1977
Joseph "Butter" Tamburro has been sending an atmosphere of warmth, emotion, and remembrance across the airwaves and into the hearts of faithful listeners for more than four decades.
An Italian-American from South Philadelphia, Butter (sometimes called Butterball) was always an avid radio listener and admirer of rhythm and blues. Aspiring to someday become a radio disc jockey, he played records at record hops around town for Broadcast Pioneers member Hy Lit, a legendary Philadelphia air personality.
In 1964, Butter was able to get his foot in the door of WDAS as an advertising salesman. He was nicknamed "Butterball" by Jimmy Bishop, the program director at the time. Sometime later, Butter became a part-time DJ and he began doing the first oldies show on black radio. Listeners loved both the oldies show and Butterball, and both have remained a hit on WDAS.
As Program Director for WDAS, Butter is highly attuned to what listeners want to hear and closely monitors the sound of the station. Working with the exceptionally skilled and professional WDAS disc jockeys, he is able to balance their talents to achieve high station quality and ratings. Extremely committed to the community, he works diligently behind the scenes for many causes, yet he never seeks personal glory or recognition for his efforts.
"Butter" talks to his listeners rather than at them, which creates special warmth that comes through the radio. People think of him as a friend. He feels that the reason for the soothing sound in his voice is the fact that "I smile when I speak on the air."
Throughout the years, Butterball has been honored for excellence and service by two of the City of Philadelphia's former mayors (W. Wilson Goode and William Green). The NAACP, F.B.I., Philadelphia City Council, Pennsylvania State Legislature, Martin Luther King Center for Social Change, American Jewish Committee, and numerous other organizations have also paid tribute to Joe Tamburro. He has received awards and honors in the music industry from The Black Music Association, and from many trade publications such as R&R, Billboard Monitor, B.R.E. Magazine, Gavin Magazine, Impact and Jack The Rapper. Joe was the 1997 recipient of the Ken Garland Lifetime Achievement Award from the March of Dimes' A.I.R. Awards, and a 1997 Philadelphia Music Alliance inductee onto the Art Bank's Walk of Fame. Joe is the 1998 recipient of the Salute to Excellence Award. However, of all of his various accolades, he holds dearest the love he feels from his listeners that welcome him into their homes each week as they listen to his broadcast and continue to support his show and WDAS-FM with high ratings.
Joseph Tamburro, born 1942, is married and the father of five children and the grandfather of five. He collects old records and classic cars. He once aspired to become a race car driver. He is also a skilled auto mechanic, a lover of good foods, and a connoisseur of restaurants.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
Bio courtesy of WDAS-FM
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