John Paul Weber
JOHN PAUL WEBER, a member of our organization, died on Thursday, July 6, 2000 of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a brain infection, at the Health Center at Galloway in Galloway Township, N.J. He was a mainstay at WIP Radio for 45 years (from 1937 until his retirement in 1982) and has lived in Pennsauken, NJ for the last half century.
Weber learned his craft from John Facenda, an icon in Philadelphia broadcasting. Most people not in our business do not realize that Facenda started at WIP shortly before Weber. At one time, the WIP staff included the deep tonal qualities of Weber, Facenda and By Saam.
John Paul broke into the industry in 1936 at WTEL, 860 on the AM dial, shortly after he was graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, his hometown.
In 1940, a year before Pearl Harbor, Weber was drafted into the army in this nation's first peace-time draft. He served five years in the service with the Armed Forces radio network. At one time, he broadcast from an observation balloon over a French battlefield. Another time, he was broadcasting from an Allied submarine off the coast of Normandy. WIP kept his job open and when he returned, he became one of the most recognized and respected voices in the industry.
Weber regularly walked at least two miles every day until his illness started in May of 2000. He attended meetings of his union, AFTRA and gatherings of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, of which he was a member. In 1996, the Philadelphia Press Association inducted him into their Hall of Fame.
Someone once said that a person never really dies as long as he lives in someone's memory. In his four and a half decades in Philadelphia broadcasting, John Paul Weber touched millions of lives and he will be remembered and thought of for decades and decades to come. John, you will be missed...but also long remembered.
On June 16th of 2000, we recorded one of our exclusive webcasts of "Pioneers in Broadcasting" with Bill "Wee Willie" Webber, a member of the Broadcast Pioneers. During that interview, just 20 days before John Paul's death, Bill Webber (no relation) talked about the other Weber.
The day after John Paul Weber's passing, fellow WIP air personality Nat Wright (also a member of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia) spoke about his feelings and memories of John Paul.
Listen to John Paul Weber on WIP in January of 1966.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Chapter of AFTRA
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