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

February Luncheon
Bala Golf Club
February 18, 2009

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

Get ready for another fantastic luncheon! The topic will be Eyewitness News. On Monday, February 2nd, Channel 57, Channel 3’s sister station began a half-hour Eyewitness News broadcast nightly at 10 pm. Our guest panelists will include that newscast's anchor, Dave Huddleston. He’ll be joined by Chris May and Susan Barnett, the Channel 3 Eyewitness News Anchors at 6 pm and 11 pm. Plus, Vice President of News for both stations, Susan Schiller. Introductory remarks by Michael Colleran, President and General Manager of CBS3 and the Philly CW57.

Our moderator will be Broadcast Pioneers member Dick Sheeran who worked at Eyewitness News for three decades. Also on hand will be former Channel 3 producer Dave Neal. Plus, LIVE on the telephone from New England will be Broadcast Pioneers member Al Primo who invented the Eyewitness News format in 1965. We'll also have George Sells (you know him as George Caldwell) on the phone from Louisiana.

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 only $25 per person and is open to all our members, any person in the industry or associated fields; both people now active and retirees. You do NOT have to be a member to attend. Make your reservations now by calling (856) 365-5600. It's going to be a great turn out. Be there and say hi to old friends (and make some new ones). Make your own headlines and be an Eyewitness by making your reservation now!

It's Wednesday, February 18th 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. Tons of free parking. Get Driving Directions!

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Our January Sports Spectacular luncheon was a tremendous success! Everyone who’s anyone was there. Moderating this exciting event was Broadcast Pioneers member Joe Pellegrino who did a wonderful job.

Our panelists were:

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 had a Philly sports trivia quiz featuring audio from our archives. What a luncheon! They seem to get better and bigger every month.


There will be a Board meeting before the February luncheon at 10:15 am at the Bala Golf Club. Please make sure you include in your RSVP whether you will attend the board meeting, the luncheon or both!


"King" George Michael, former WFIL Boss Jock and the station's music director later became an NBC-TV Sports Host. George was inducted into our "Hall of Fame" last November and he's a new member.

Michael Barkann of Comcast SportsNet is now part of our organization. Voted Pennsylvania's Sportscaster of the Year more than once, he has won five local Emmys. Previously, Michael worked at KYW-TV.

Amy Buckman of WPVI-TV, Channel 6 is our newest member. She started as a coordinating producer for "AM Philadelphia" and in 1999 became a general assignment reporter for Action News.

Ernest Schmidt, a technician and engineer with WFIL and WCAU from 1949-1960 has joined. He always has outstanding stories about broadcasting during the fifties.

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

Did you know...

(Left to right) Bob Jawer, Pat Moore and Morris "Moose" Charlap
WPTZ, Channel 3 Studio
Monday, March 3, 1947

In the early days of Philadelphia television that the lights were so hot.... (Ed McMahon who worked at Channel 10 in the fifties should be saying, "How hot was it?")

Well, William Craig Smith, who was the Art Director for Channel 3 in the forties (before he went to Hollywood to work in film), told us:

Performers, frequently passed out on camera. I remember one group of nurses from one of the hospitals who did a program of christmas carols during the season. As they sang, they started to slide out of the bottom of the picture and were slid along the floor into the "shady" end of the studio until they came to. The effect on our audience of 300 or 400 must have been fairly startling.

I had of course no budget for what little scenery we built, or props we required and I deemed it quite a coup when I was able to borrow a fine ebony grand piano from the Wanamaker store. It had already been sold (probably eight or $9,000 dollars at the time) and we were cautioned to be extra careful in handling it. Later that day, the pianist discovered that without some protection he could not touch the black keys which had absorbed all that radiant heat from the lights. He covered the tips of his fingers with Dr. Scholl's corn pads which were flesh colored and thought to be invisible. I doubt that these improved his touch. The real horror was to come. When we went on the air, the top was raised on the stick. Now it was closer than ever to all those glowing lamps and I watched in silent horror as the hand rubbed varnish erupted in melting bubble and popped open. Wanamakers piano department was not amused.

Look carefully at the photo. The piano on the right shows the varnish finish being ruined. Broadcast Pioneers member Bob Jawer said that he had no idea how hot the lights would really be.


We’ve heard from Ilse Poindexter, wife of member and 1996 Hall of Fame inductee Malcolm Poindexter that Malcolm has been very ill with Alzheimer's disease. Malcolm has many friends in our industry. Ilse said, “On behalf of my dear husband, I thank you for all the years of friendship you have shown him, the camaraderie, and the joy of being together.” Ilse can be contacted at: We’ll be thinking of you Malcolm.


After 60 years in the business, Sid Doherty retired in December. During the past 21 years, Sid was the weekend announcer at ABC-TV in New York City. Sid tells us that not only does he not have to make the weekend commutes to NYC, but can finally enjoy the weekend parties he’s been missing for the past two decades. And Sid, we were glad to see you at the January luncheon.

Hy Lit
Atlantic City, NJ
Summer 1950

Sam Lit, son of the legendary Hy Lit, is inviting you and everyone in the Delaware Valley to join him for a Live dance party on, every Friday night from 5 pm to midnight, at the Quality Hotel, Philadelphia International Airport. For reservations to the dance, call (610) 521-2400. By the way, Sam will be the moderator of our WIBG Reunion at our May luncheon.

Broadcast Pioneer member and well-known television host across the Philadelphia region, Wally Kennedy is back on television after a few years’ hiatus. This time on a national and global stage as the first co-host of Comcast’s “Seeking Solutions with Suzanne,” joining creator and host Suzanne Roberts. Wally said, “being able to contribute to Seeking Solutions with Suzanne, as well as continuing to anchor at KYW Newsradio, makes me feel very blessed and I’m thrilled to have this unique opportunity.” Nice going Wally!


For those of you who watched the Super Bowl this past Sunday, e-mail the newsletter editor with your favorite Super Bowl Commercial. We'll publish the results next month. E-mail him at:


Pioneers member Jonathan P. Casey tells us that he’s celebrating 42 years in the business, 37 of them with WSNJ, 1240 AM and heard worldwide. This month will be his 5th year of broadcasting “Harmony” with Broadcast Pioneers members, Al and Stella Alberts. Also this month. he will be completing year one of “Rock and Roll with Danny and The Juniors.” During the last year of Hy Lit’s life, he created special features, “Hy Lit’s Music and Moments in Time.” He also does a “Legends Series” of interviews. Many are in the Broadcast Pioneers Archives. Notably, he did the last interview with Dick Clark before his stroke. Good to hear from you Jonathan!

Just a word on the Broadcast Pioneers scholarship front.... We have received an all-time record of applicants for our Broadcast Pioneers scholarships. We have over 210 students applying with a week still to go on our deadline. The generous gifts from Broadcast Pioneers member Esther Kurtz, widow of David Kurtz, founder of B-101 and Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Kal Rudman (who is underwriting FOUR scholarships) plus revenue raised from our annual banquet allows us to award twelve $1,000 scholarships this year. That is also a club record!

Two days after appearing at our Sports Spectacular luncheon, Broadcast Pioneers member Michael Barkann was involved in a minor car accident while broadcasting live on WIP Radio that morning. Barkann is fine.

Broadcast Pioneers member Ray Didinger's father has passed away. Ray, Sr. was responsible for Ray, Jr.'s love of football and sports. While other kids were vacationing at the Jersey shore, Ray and his dad went to the Eagles' training camp in Hershey. Didinger is a Senior Producer at NFL Films and is heard weekends on WIP Radio.


John Facenda
WCAU-TV Official Photo

Here's a rare find from our archives. It's complete audio from a John Facenda, WCAU-TV newscast. Remember, the newscasts at that time were 10 minutes long. It's 11 pm on Wednesday, September 18, 1957.

Real Audio

Windows Media

By the way, WPVI-TV, 6abc is looking for memorabilia that would be appropriate for a collection area in the new 6abc building. They anticipate moving late April or early May and need to know what people have ASAP. Contact person is Mike Monsell, Creative Services Director. Email:

A final thought...

“ It's impossible to reach good conclusions from bad information.”

Mort Crim

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For luncheon reservations call (856) 365-5600 or e-mail us at: