Broadcast Pioneers Luncheon
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Broadcast Pioneers member Irv Homer began his talk show career hosting a telephone talk show at WXUR, later he became the top-rated area talk-show host of the Delaware Valley.
Irv Homer was born on Thursday, May 29, 1924 in Philadelphia and grew up in the City of Brotherly Love. During the second world war, he served in the United States Air Force. Irv didn't plan to become the popular and controversial talk-show host he is today. He originally owned three bars in the Philadelphia area. He also spent a lot of time listening to and calling all the different talk-show hosts in the area and even described himself as a talk-show freak.
In the late 1960's, a neighbor of Irv's, Marvin Burak who had a successful talk show on WPEN in the fifties, purchased some time on WXUR for Marvin's "Radio Free Philadelphia" show. Marvin was on Thursdays and Fridays and talked station general manager John Norris into filling Monday through Wednesday with a new show called, "Right-Center-Left." These three days were not paid for, but ran as a public service. Burak took the Left, Jay Parker (later in the Reagan administration) took the right and Irv was the Center. It was Irv's job to listen to the view from the left and the view from the right and then throw both views out the window. The listeners loved it. Sometimes, the broadcasts originated live from Burak's home. Marvin thought Irv Homer would be perfect for talk radio because, "he had a big mouth and wasn't afraid to say what he thought, even if you didn't want to hear it."
Then, Irv went on to the station WEEZ in Chester. He had been calling the station so much to debate the moderators that the program director decided he liked Irv's style and called him to offer him a chance to go on the air. The audience loved him. Of course, the station hired Irv.
In March of 1975 Irv was hired and became part of the family at WWDB. WWDB (96.5 FM) then known as "The Talk Station in Philadelphia".
Along the way, Irv has been involved in many community and national projects. He has been awarded many times over for his generosity. One of his most special services is working for the Philadelphia-based Sunshine Foundation. The Sunshine Foundation grants the wishes of terminally and chronically ill children and their families by paying for vacations, trips or any special requests the children have. Irv is the national Vice-President of the Foundation emeritus.
In April of 1984, at the famed Palumbo's in Philadelphia, Irv reached a special highlight of his career. The event of the year took place when a special roast was served to a delighted and fascinated audience. The roastee-Irv Homer! Many, many friends and devoted listeners were on hand for this truly wonderful and laugh packed evening. The event was sponsored by the Sunshine Foundation and all proceeds went to the organization.
Irv Homer is a man of and for the people. Known for taking the common man approach, his show has always been the jump off point for many of his crusades. Here also do the ideas and ideals of freedom, liberty and personal independence go out over the airwaves to the homes of many of his listeners. Irv wants to make you listen, Irv wants you to think and Irv wants you to act. Irv Homer, also known as Evil Irv, can debate with the best of them and he knows his stuff! He is that guy on the corner who knows everything.
In 1972, Irv ran for Vice-President of the United States on the Libertarian Party's ticket. As Irv likes to say: "It boggles the mind."
Irv Homer died on Wednesday evening, June 24, 2009. On Friday, Novmber 19, 2010, Irv Homer was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Bob Kravitz
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