The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is a federally recognized, state chartered charity. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation serving Philadelphia since 1962.

Frank Stone
Newsletter Editor

January luncheon
Bala Golf Club
January 21, 2009

Reception at 12 noon
Lunch at 12:30 pm
Ratecard: $25 per person
Reservations Required
(856) 365-5600

It’s the NEW YEAR and time to step up to the plate for our ever-popular “Philadelphia Sports Spectacular” luncheon. Be sure to mark your 2009 calendar for Wednesday, January 21st. We’ll gather at 12 Noon at the Bala Golf Club for networking and beverages and lunch at 12:30 pm. The cost is still only $25.00. Make your reservation now by calling (856) 365-5600.

We will have an all-star panel moderated by Broadcast Pioneers Board member Joe Pellegrino. He did such a wonderful job last year so he's back for 2009.

Our panelists will be:

Michael Barkann, Sports Anchor for Comcast Sportsnet
Bill Campbell, Dean of Philly Sports, heard on KYW Newsradio
Leslie Gudel, Sports Anchor for Comcast Sportsnet
Jim Murray, former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles
Merrill Reese, the voice of the Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Vargus, Sports Anchor for Fox 29 in Philadelphia

Plus, we'll also have a Philly sports trivia quiz where you will be able to win DVDs of Classic TV Shows! The questions will feature audio from our archives. So brush up on trivia! You coule be a winner.

You can’t miss this exciting panel and the fascinating insights they will share with us. Don’t STRIKE OUT or FUMBLE. Step up to the plate and hit a grand slam! Make your reservations today!

(Left to right) member Bill Campbell and member Jim Murray

Meet and greet (networking) starts at 12 noon with a full-course lunch including salad, coffee or tea and dessert being served at 12:30 pm. There's also a crudité and cheese table. Cash bar available! The cost is still only $25 per person.

It's Wednesday, January 21st for our Philly Sports Spectacular Luncheon at the beautiful Bala Golf Club, 2200 Belmont Avenue in Philadelphia! Just minutes away from Channel 6 and Channel 10 and the radio stations in Bala Cynwyd. Get Driving Directions!

If the Philly Sports Scene is YOUR THING, then you simply must be here at this wonderful and informative Sports Spectacular luncheon. Snooze and you loose.

Visit Our Website Often -


Our holiday themed December luncheon presented a wonderful panel talking about Christmas time in Television. Our moderator was our very own Chairman of the Board, Bill “Wee Willie” Webber.

Our panelists were:

Donald Barnhouse, commentator from the John Facenda Big News
Trudy Haynes, former Channel 3 news reporter & TV Personality
Bill Henley, co-star of NBC 10’s daytime show, “10”
Pretty Perky Peggy King, of “The George Gobel Network Show”
W. Carter Merbreier, our very own Captain Noah
Jane Norman, Channel 10’s fairy star studded fairy, Pixanne.

Plus live on the telephone from their home in Florida, TV’s favorite “teeny-bopper,” Al Alberts and his charming wife Stella. Carter hosted the conversation.

We were also very pleased to present “The Broadcast Pioneers Service Award” to Ray Fiedler, a half –century veteran Director at Channel 10 and Walt Beaulieu, long-time tech from Channel 6. Walt's grandson reports that Beaulieu's plaque is hanging on their living room wall. Congratulations to both!


SUE SERIO of WTFX-TV. Sue joined the “Good Day Philadelphia" WTFX –TV team as weather anchor in December of 1997. Before joining the Fox team, Sue was the co-anchor of “Wake-Up,” the top-rated morning show on WIVB-TV; the CBS affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y. Serio also previously worked at Channel 12.

DAVE SCHRATWIESER of Fox 29 News. For six years, Dave worked as WCAU-TV’s New Jersey correspondent, logging thousands of miles reporting from a “live” truck and breaking the biggest stories in the Garden State. He left broadcasting and was appointed director of communications and public affairs for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and press secretary to Governor Jim Florio.

We’re delighted to have you with us! Hope to see you at a luncheon real soon!

Jere Sullivan Remembered!

Broadcast Pioneers member Jere Sullivan passed away on December 9 from a massive heart attack. He had been out from work with a heart attack for several months and was planning his return as Vice President of Operations for, in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Jere's Bio!

Watch video of Jere from 12-21-05


In October, member Nat Wright was so anemic he was hospitalized, then in rehab for a couple of weeks. On November 5th he had open-heart surgery. He was recuperating well for few days when everything but then his heart shut down. He was hospitalized for 21 days and then in rehab returning home for Christmas. His wonderful wife, Sue will see him back to better health in the coming weeks with the help of Abington Hospital’s Home Health Care professionals. Welcome home Nat!

Broadcast Pioneers member George Finkel underwent a “standard” heart cath trying to locate the cause of some breathing problems. They found 85% blockage everywhere, plus a defective aortic valve, which was replaced with a pig valve. Officially, it was triple bypass and valve replacement surgery. After five days in the hospital George went home and is going through five weeks of rehab, when he is looking forward to returning to work. Keep going George!

We have learned Pioneers member Bill Marshall has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Bill worked at quite a few stations in New Jersey including WVLT where he was Program Director. We wish you well, Bill!

Broadcast Pioneers Board Member Mike Nise, President of Omni 2000 Inc. will undergo rotator cuff surgery on January 12th. Good luck Mike!

Did you know...

By Saam

As a follow-up to our recent story in last month's newsletter about the Phillies' announcers, we heard from member Mike Nise of Omni 2000 and member Bill McCloskey of WIP ('61-'66). They reminded us not to forget Gene Kelly who worked with By Saam. Gene called the winning home run in the Dodgers loss to the Phillies for the National League Pennant on October 1, 1950.

But do you know the rest of the story? Up to and including 1949, Philadelphia radio stations carried ONLY the home baseball games (only a few rare away games were previously broadcast). This meant that By Saam could and did do play-by-play on both the Phils and A's games. By had been broadcasting the Phils from 1939 to and including 1949. He also did play-by-play for the A's during the forties. Since both teams used Shibe Park (later called Connie Mack Stadium) for their home field, only one of the Philadelphia baseball teams could play at a time. This meant that By Saam could broadcast for both teams.

In 1950, stations started broadcasting both home and away games. When they added away ones into the schedule, By Saam couldn't broadcast for both teams, so he went with the Philadelphia A's. This meant that the Phils needed a new announcer and that was Gene Kelly. Bill Brundige also started doing announcing chores. The two did the 1950 and 1951 seasons. In '52, Brundige was replaced by Claude Haring. George Walsh, who had done the 1949 Phillies season with Saam returned to the broadcast booth replacing Haring in the 1953 and 1954 games.

When the A's left Philadelphia for Kansas City, By Saam was again available. He was immediately snapped up by the Phils taking Walsh's place. Since games were now also being aired over television, Claude Haring returned to the announce booth and in 1955, for the first time in history, the Phillies had three announcers.

George Kelly left after the 1959 season and was replaced by Frank Sims. Two years later, Bill Campbell got Sims' job with Haring being replaced by former Phils outfielder Richie Ashburn.

And now you know the rest of the story!


At our December luncheon was Tom McDonald, former production manager of the Mike Douglas Show sitting with Broadcast Pioneers member Neil Harrison. Tom tells us he’s enjoying St. Pete Beach until next spring. He usually meets Neil (of Weightman Advertising) for a few brews at Woody’s. Cheers!

On Christmas morning, Board of Directors' member Bill Wright Sr., also known as Uncle Billy, hosted his famous program “Uncle Bill’s Christmas” on WBCB, 1490 AM through the courtesy of co-owner and Broadcast Pioneers member Merrill Reese.

Bill Wright, Sr.
Raymond Rosen Auditorium


The program was produced by his daughter Kate and was streamed on the Internet and over the station's, resulting in calls from San Diego, Rochester and Rome!

Bill tells us, “the experience was wonderful and scintillating. Uncle Billy is looking forward to doing it again!” Bill Wright, Sr. was one of the original WIBBAGE Good Guys. Nice going Bill!

More In Touch:

Special thanks goes out to Board member Dave Custis for once again making our holidays special by producing and giving a free CD to everyone who attended our December luncheon. Tuscan Mills Christmas 2008 featured a delightful assortment of 25 Christmas classics. Thanks Dave! We appreciate your efforts and thoughtfulness.

We’re happy to pass along that Sally Starr is going strong. When we spoke with her she was preparing for more personal appearances.

Rock & Roll Legend Charlie Gracie with TV Legend Sally Starr
(Both of members of the Broadcast Pioneers)

Sally shared with us that she is 85 years young, still enjoying “a wonderful career” and expects to have many more years ahead. Sally has completed two chapters of her new book and hopes to have it released in the not too distant future. That’s our gal Sal!

A final thought...

“Jackasses are hard to recognize when there’s so many of them”

Joe Pellegrino
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Broadcast Pioneers Luncheon

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