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
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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

Kick off the New Year with our JANUARY SPORTS SPECTACULAR. The topic is ALL THINGS SPORTS! This is sure to be a blockbuster event because we have the Super Sizzling Seven of Sports with us! Don’t miss this one! Everyone who’s anyone is going to be there!

Our moderator for this history-making event will be Broadcast Pioneers member Tom Lamaine, who said at our September luncheon: “The lesson learned; sports is a business, but fortunately it still has fans.”

Our panel will include these Super Sizzling Seven of Sports:

Don Bell, sports anchor for CBS 3 and the CW Philly 57
Ray Didinger, Sports guy from Comcast SportsNet
Howard Eskin, WIP Radio talk show personality
Dom Giordano, telephone talk host from WPHT Radio
Mike Kern, Daily News Sportswriter & Comcast SportsNet
Tommy McDonald, former Eagle and broadcast sportscaster
Merrill Reese, the radio voice of the Philadelphia Eagles

Members Peggy King (former girl singer of the network "George Gobel" TV show) and Michael Nise, President and CEO of Omni 2000 will present their version of the famous “Who’s On First” comedy routine.

Broadcast Pioneers member George Michael
WFIL Radio Publicity Photo
circa 1974

Also, we'll have a short tribute to Broadcast Pioneers member George Michael, former sportscaster & Famous 56 boss jock. In person, Broadcast Pioneers member Howard Eskin, who was George's engineer will tell us a little about his friend.

News Anchor Doreen Gentzler
WCAU-TV, Philadelphia
Thursday, September 29, 1988

Plus, live on the phone from WRC-TV in Washington will be Doreen Gentzler, former WCAU-TV news anchor who has been co-anchoring the news in Washington for two decades. George Michael did sports on her newscasts.

It all takes place on Wednesday January 20th at the beautiful Bala Golf Club, 2200 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia. Just minutes away from Channels 6, 10 and 17 and the radio stations in Bala Cynwyd. Plenty of FREE parking!

Meet and greet (networking) starts at 12 noon with a full-course lunch including salad, coffee or tea and dessert. Lunch is served at 12:30 pm. There’s also a cheese & crudité table. Cash bar available! The cost is still ONLY $25 per person and is open to all our members, any person in the industry and all associated fields; both people now active and retirees. You do not have to be a member to attend. Make your reservation now by calling (856) 365-5600.

This is going to be another exceptional turnout. Don’t drop the ball: call. Make your reservation today. Be there and be a part of history in the making! Say hi to old friends and make some new ones. Sure to be a great time!

Come out and say hi to old friends (and make some new ones). Get Driving Directions! You don’t want to miss this luncheon! It's the first one for 2010 and you need to be there. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

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There will be three meetings of our Board of Directors in 2010; February. June and October with the next one being on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at Bala. Mark your calendars.


Another memorable event with two great Broadcast Pioneer members; the ever-popular John Zacherle and the legendary Charlie Gracie. John Zacherle had many interesting remarks, not the least of which was he is now in his 92nd year and drove himself down the New Jersey Turnpike to the luncheon! We won't tell you his speed in case the Jersey Police are monitoring this newsletter. Charlie Gracie proceeded to rock the room with many of his famous songs including his number one record in 1957 called “Butterfly.”

Broadcast Pioneers member John Zacherle
holding member Dave Shayer's copy of Zach's 1962 LP
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Photo taken by Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Jerry Klein
(See story below about this album)

Starting the program was Broadcast Pioneers member Jane Norman, better known as TV’s “Pixanne” who sang some wonderful Christmas songs. John Zacherle was introduced by Broadcast Pioneers member Jimmy Hirschfeld who was producer and director of Zach’s “Shock Theater.” Later Jim went on to be Executive Producer for “Captain Kangaroo” for on CBS-TV.

There was also a short tribute to WHHS-FM, Havertown. America’s First over the air High School FM Radio Station. Speaking on behalf of the station was Ed Weiss, faculty advisor and Aaron Muderick (son of member Michael Muderick), an alum of the station. They came on the air in 1949. 60 Years of Success and we wish them at least 60 more.

NOTE: There is HD quality video of some of that luncheon on our website. It was donated and shot by member Brad Seecof and his company, MetraMedia Studios. Brad said, "It's my way of giving back for all my blessings." Thanks, Brad.


Broadcast Pioneers member Charlie Gracie
surrounded by the charwomen (cleaning staff) at the London Hippodrome
circa 1958

“It’s a pleasure to be asked to come here. This is such a treat. I’m happy to be a part of it.” Charlie Gracie

“The reception was just wonderful. The people are so enthusiastic. I didn’t know what to expect. Very enjoyable!” John Zacherle

“The music was outstanding and Zacherle was fantastic. His creativity is amazing!” Les Waas

“This was a trip back in time. This was wonderful. John Zacherle was a part of my growing up.” Michael Nise

“I’m so pleased to be a part of this. I’ve never been to a luncheon that I haven’t really loved.” Jackie Strauss

“This is a class act…Pixanne sang so well and Charlie Gracie is still so remarkably agile on the guitar and Zacherle at 91 was spectacular.” Bill “Wee Willie” Webber, our Chairman of the Board

“I appreciate Broadcast Pioneers recognizing our years of commitment to our students and our radio station.” Dr. Nick Rotoli, Haverford High School Director of Curriculum

“Having Charlie Gracie perform made the day and Zacherle was a cool ghoul. This has been great!” Tom Moran

“Today’s luncheon was outstanding, the entertainment exceptional.” Johnny Lerro

“This luncheon was special. The performers are legends, they’re superstars!” Diego Castellanos

Did you know...

The first attempt to transmit a picture from an airplane to a radio broadcasting station anywhere in the world was made right here in Philadelphia on Tuesday, August 14, 1928. It took place at the Philadelphia Airport (now called Philadelphia International Airport) which in 1928 was located on Island Road just below Tinicum Avenue in Southwest Philly.

(Left to right) John G. Leitch of the Federal Radio Commission
and George W. Humpfer, engineer for Radio Station WFI
August 14, 1928

The picture was that of Charles Lindbergh. The radio outlet was WFI (now WFIL) which was owned at that time by the Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store, and it was the destination or "reception" point. While people at the radio facility could see the features of Lindbergh from time to time, a defective generator on the aircraft prevented a complete picture at the "receiving" end.

There were hundreds of fans of radio at the airport during the test. WFI Engineer George W. Humpfer and John G. Leitch of the Federal Radio Commission (later renamed the Federal Communications Commission) were in the airplane conducting the experiment. Robert P. Hewitt, who was the manager of the airport, piloted the craft. Leitch later became Vice-President of Engineering for WCAU Radio and TV.

More Details!

Just a little trip down memory lane from information in our archives. We are always looking for more material, so please contact us if you have items to donate. Remember! HISTORY IS ONLY WHAT GETS SAVED!


Robert Rayner, has been in the business for nineteen years, beginning at WDAU-TV/WGBI AM/FM in Scranton and working in a variety of positions in TV and radio throughout Pennsylvania. He was Senior Producer of Dance Party USA, air personality for QVC and currently is location video production director for GCV Productions in Blackwood, NJ.

Bob Timms has been in the business since 1973. Most recently he has been at 6ABC from 1989 to present, serving in a variety of capacities and currently Associate producer for Action News at 5 am. Previously he was at WCAM radio (working with Broadcast Pioneers' former President Pat Delsi). Bob was also at WIP, WPEN and KYW-TV.

Broadcast Pioneers member Lisa Thomas-Laury
with United States Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy
circa 1978

Lisa Thomas-Laury joined WPVI (Channel 6) on February 20, 1978, as the noon co-anchor and reporter. In 1983, she became co-anchor of the 5 pm weekday edition of ACTION NEWS, and a substitute anchor for Jim Gardner at 6 and 11 pm. Currently a reporter, anchor for 6ABC, Lisa Thomas-Laury was inducted into our Hall of Fame two months ago.

Johnny B. Hall, of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania has been in the business for over a quarter of a century. He has been with WJTL-FM, non-commercial radio in Lancaster for over a decade and with WITF-FM (NPR) and WITF-TV (PBS) since 1982. WITF is located in central Pennsylvania serving 17 different counties from the state capital, Harrisburg.

Mark Stevens is one of the Dovells. The group started in 1957 as the Brooktones, named after their high school, Overbrook. The Dovells came along in 1960 and tons of hits and many million sellers including "The Bristol Stomp," which held the number one position nationally in the fall of 1961. Follow-up tunes included another smash, "You Can't Sit Down."

Steve Nikazy of KYW Newsradio has been a news anchor and reporter there since 1990. He's currently their daily mid-day anchor and hosts their "Reporters Roundup" segment. Steve also worked at WFIL Radio from 1976 to 1983 where he was News Director. Outside of this market, his career took him to Denver, Austin, Texas and a couple of stations in Florida.

Kevin DeLany is currently the director of Network News and Talk Programming for Westwood One in the nation's capital, Washington, DC. Previously, Kevin was with WWDB Talk Radio here in Philly for almost a quarter of a century, from 1973 to 1996, the Mutual Radio Network from 1980 to 1985 and Metronetworks and Westwood One in Philadelphia.

Welcome! We hope to see you at the luncheons soon.


Broadcast Pioneers sends out a large and very sincere Thank You to member Sylvia Kauders for her pledge of $5,000 for five $1,000 scholarships to be awarded over the next five years (2010 through 2014). Thank you, Sylvia! The timing was perfect and a great way to close out 2009 (an excellent year for Broadcast Pioneers)! The organization invites our members to consider a major donation to support our scholarship program, our Digital Archival Project or other educational Broadcast Pioneers activities of your choice. Remember, Broadcast Pioneers is a federally recognized, state chartered charity with 501(c)(3) status.

And one more thing about Sylvia Kauders. She will be featured in an episode (called "Shadow") of “Law and Order SUV” airing on Wednesday evening January 13th, at 9 pm on NBC-TV and carried locally on NBC 10 (WCAU-TV, Channel 10). We’ll be watching!

Special thanks also to the Adelman family for their donation of $2,000 for two scholarships to be awarded in 2011. The Adelmans are Robin and Ira and their daughters, Marlene and Belle plus Robin's dad, Broadcast Pioneers member Leon Love. The Adelmans had already donated $1,000 to underwrite a scholarship for this current year (to be awarded at our April luncheon). Member Esther Kurtz (in memory of her late husband, David Kurtz, founder of B-101), as we told you before, has underwritten a scholarship this year (fourth year in a row). Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Kal Rudman is also funding two scholarships. (That's 14 in the last four years from Kal). Our people are really a generous bunch, especially in these hard economic times. We appreciate your support! It is YOU, our membership, that makes this organization what it is.

Just a reminder! We are currently accepting applications for our scholarships online here. To qualify, students must currently be sophomores or junior and either live in the Delaware Valley or attend college here. This go round, Broadcast Pioneers will be awarding thirteen $1,000 scholarships (8 of them funded from our record breaking banquet). That's the most scholarships and the highest dollar figure in the history of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. This is just one reason why Broadcast Pioneers is such a wonderful organization. That's why we have 360 members, more than ever in our history. That's why we are constantly setting records in attendance at our luncheons (records were broken four times in 2009) Thanks to all our members for making 2009 the best year in our history. Broadcast Pioneers would be nothing without our members. Give yourselves a round of applause.

(Left to right) Tom Rush, Joni Mitchell, Gene Shay, Ed Sciaky and unidentified male
(seated) Michael Tearson
Backstage at the Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA
after the "Benefit for the Main Point Concert"
Thursday, November 11, 1976

While we're bragging, we wanted to tell you that this month our website, is celebrating its tenth birthday. We have now been online for a decade. We are constantly adding material to the site. Recently, we just added a Jack McKinney interview with Pete Seeger from 1967. Also, from that year, an Ed Sciaky interview with Joni Mitchell (recorded when Ed was just 18 years old), 1969 KYW Newsradio coverage of the splashdown of Apollo 11 and we redid the audio from the 1956 Christmas show of the Horn and Hardart's Children Hour in which we made the audio clearer and added two additional minutes of material. Just minutes before this newsletter was published, we uploaded a 5:47 piece of Jack Pyle doing an ALPO commercial during 1955. Also heard in this excerpt is Bill Givens and KYW Radio's Sales Manager Bob Teter. This is all part of our DAP, Digital Archival Project in which we have digitized at least 5,000 broadcasts and over 10,000 photos.

We are looking for volunteers to assist us with our DAP, Digital Archival Project. We're looking for people with a digital camera with at least 10 megapixels of quality to take pictures of scrapbooks, members with scanners to help scan photos and other items. Also, people interested in writing bios and other stories for our website. People who have the proper software to convert VHS tape or DVDs into computer files. Plus other volunteers. If you're interested, please call us at (856) 365-5600 or e-mail at


We’ve heard from Broadcast Pioneers member and former President Art Moore. He told us how interesting the piece on AM/Philadelphia was. It appeared in the "Did You Know" section (written monthly by our historian and current president, Gerry Wilkinson) of our December newsletter. Turns out, Art created that show and was the Executive Producer and Director when the program started. Art said, “it is interesting how that work is similar to what I am doing now with LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY in National Syndication. You never know in this business how one thing can lead to something even bigger.” Good to hear from you Art!

Sean Ross (Edison Research, Somerville, NJ) and the highly respected's "Ross on Radio" section has selected as the Best Radio Station (on line) and the business model for Internet radio. The station was started by the legendary Hy Lit, who was a member of the Broadcast Pioneers, and is continuing under the leadership of his son, member Sam Lit. Congratulations Sam, Your dad would be proud!

Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Kal Rudman was seen in 33 different stories on "Action News" in 2009. Kal kids, "I was on the WPVI's newscasts more than Jim Gardner was. Some people may even have the mistaken idea that I was Jim's co-anchor."

Broadcast Pioneers Board member Bill Wright, Sr. for the second year in a row did "Uncle Billy's Christmas" on WBCB, Merrill Reese's station in Levittown. Bill was assisted by his daughter Kate and heard from two grandchildren, bunches of former WIBBAGE listeners and a gang of WPEN people. Uncle Bill was thrilled at the response.

Broadcast Pioneers President Gerry Wilkinson and his family went to Washington, DC a couple of days after the major snow storm. They ventured down to the nation's capitol for a look see at the Terra Cotta Warriors from China that are currently on display at the National Geographic Museum. The figures are rarely allowed to pass the Chinese borders.

Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Jerry Klein and his lovely wife, Anne were in Europe (Germany and Austria) last month for a couple of weeks seeing the sights, enjoying life and visiting friends. Their trip included Nuremberg, Munich, Salzburg, Tyrol and Innsbruck. The pictures of the food looked good enough to eat. The Kleins own Anne Klein Communications Group. The firm handles the public relations for this organization and provides the server space for our website. They do all of this for free and are a very generous couple. We thank them for everything they do for the Broadcast Pioneers.


We mourn the loss of Broadcast Pioneers member and 2008 Hall of Fame inductee George Michael who may be best known to Philadelphians as the evening Boss Jock on WFIL Radio, Famous 56 from 1966 to 1974. He was the King. You can read the many tributes to George on his bio page on our website.

We also mourn the loss of special friend Peter Storer. He was well-known in the media industry following in the footsteps of his father, George B. Storer. He served several terms on the National Association of Broadcasters board and was chairman of the television board in the early 1970’s. Of course, Storer Broadcasting owned WIBG in their heyday and also owned WVUE-TV, Channel 12 in Wilmington.

From KDKA in Pittsburgh, Fred Honsberger passed away unexpectedly on December 16th. He was a KYW alum and had worked for decades for Westinghouse Broadcasting and the Group W stations.

Member Joanne Harmelin tells us long-time Philadelphian Stan Vogin passed away in Orlando, Florida after a long illness. Stan worked for here in Philly at WIP for many years, as well as other stations in our area.

Jim Keating lost his battle with brain cancer and died peacefully in the care of Hospice surrounded by his family. Jim managed WCAU AM and FM in the seventies and was actually Jim Nettleton’s General Manager at solid gold WCAU-FM.


Best wishes to KYW alumnus and Broadcast Pioneers member Don Lancer, whose big golden voice on KYW Newsradio started the day for many of us. Don says that he's "battling lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. It’s my own fault, 40 years plus of smoking takes its toll." Good luck Don!

We’ve received an update from Ilse on husband Malcolm Poindexter’s condition. She tells us that Malcolm knows her most of the time as she feeds him and simply sits with him and as she says, “gives me that dynamite smile.” He now weighs between 78-80 lbs. Malcolm Poindexter was a long-time fixture at CBS 3 and has been a member of Broadcast Pioneers for decades. We’re thinking of you both.

KYW-TV Eyewitness News Election Coverage
Dick Sheeran at Courter Headquarters
Tuesday, November 7, 1989

In his over 40 years in the business, Dick Sheeran said he has "covered hundreds of stories where somebody was injured, now it’s me!” Dick was on board the first car of a NJ Transit train (being pushed from the back by a locomotive) headed into Atlantic City on Saturday December 19th during the big snow storm when a bus stalled on the tracks. The bus had been evacuated, was smashed by the train, broke in half and swung around into where Dick was sitting. Dick suffered six smashed ribs and spent 3 nights in Cooper Trauma Center. Dick said, “ it could have been a lot worse, I consider myself lucky." Sheeran said that he knew he was in trouble when the engineer ran out of the cab and ducked down behind some seats. Get well soon Dick!


Remember When” on The Big Talker 1210-AM with hosts and our members Jim Murray and Steve Ross has a new time slot, Saturday nights from 11 pm to 1 am. Former Philadelphia Flyers Hall-of-Famer Brian Propp will be their first in-studio guest of 2010 on Saturday, January 9th. Neighborhood Correspondent Jackie Strauss will be doing her “Times of Your Life” report on each show. Gaze into life’s rear view mirror and admire the reflection with “Remember When.” We’ll be sure to tune in!

Special thanks to Harris T. Bock, Esq. Director of The Dispute Resolution Institute for his generous donation to the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia in honor of Joanne Calabria, Vice-President of CBS Television Stations Group for being named to our Hall of Fame. Thank you. We appreciate your generosity!

A little sidebar about the Zacherle's Monster Mash LP from Broadcast Pioneers historian and current president Gerry Wilkinson. There are two variations of this LP. One side has sound effects between songs. On the variant, the effects are on the flip side. Plus the one variant contains 7 alternate takes from the other. The story goes that the LP was pressed here in Philadelphia. A second pressing was needed (some versions of the story say that the second pressing was pressed on the west coast) and they pressed it with alternate takes by mistake. Wilkinson has both versions in his collection.

Broadcast Pioneers member Mike Brooks played the role of a chef in the film "Julie & Julia" starring Meryl Streep. Mike says; “it was a once in a lifetime experience.” Three questions, Mike. Can we get your autograph? Did Meryl have to eat your cooking? Is she still among the living?

A final thought...

“Philadelphia is a series of neighborhoods like no where else in the world. All these neighborhoods make up a city that we love. By making me a member of the Broadcast Pioneers' Hall of Fame, I can now tell people that the city that I love from the bottom of my heart, has now made me a part of its history."

George Michael
Broadcast Pioneers Banquet
November 21, 2008

We welcome your input regarding content, future stories, suggestions, etc. Please contact ud at Your stories are important, to you, to us, and your colleagues. Contact us today and we’ll include your story in the next newsletter!

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