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
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

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

Destined to be another blockbuster occasion, our February luncheon is a Tribute to Broadcast Pioneers member Al Alberts who passed away just after Thanksgiving. For three decades, Al was a mainstay at Channel 6 hosting "The Al Alberts Showcase." He was one of the original the Four Aces, and they had a couple of Academy Awards to their credit and many gold records. They sold over 50 million records!

At this fantastic luncheon, we’ll have kids from the Al Alberts Showcase there (they are now adults) talking about Al and the broadcast. Eddie Bruce will be there as well as Ira Brown (billed at the age of 5 as the World’s Youngest Comedian). He'll tell us some of the same jokes he told on TV 40 years ago. Rick Bossman, aka Rick Douglas, will also join us. All three were on the program when it was on WKBS-TV, Channel 48 and all three stayed when it moved to Channel 6 in 1970.

Broadway Star Jarrod Spector
on the Al Alberts Showcase

And as a special treat, Eddie Bruce will be talking LIVE on the phone with Showcase alumni Jarrod Spector, Broadway star of "The Jersey Boys," and we'll have Broadcast Pioneers member Stella Alberts also on the telephone LIVE from her home in Florida. Don't miss this exciting and fun-filled luncheon.

Plus, we'll have Dr. Brian McDonough from KYW Newsradio telling stories about his time on Al's show (he sang a Jan & Dean hit). Also, Erica Marie Bupp, known then as Erica Gagliardi will be there plus Jennifer Wiener, who was "Little Miss Showcase of 1974 " will be with us talking about her memories of "Uncle Al" and telling us some of the jokes she told on the telecast.

Plus Jami Brenner Green and her husband, Stephen will be with us. Rick Bossman's daughter, Erica-Anne, was also on the show and she'll be with us plus Michelle Lawson and Donna-Lynne Dalton plans to join us all the way from Florida talking about "Uncle Al."

Al & Stella Alberts
on their wedding day

Plus, Rodney Robb, the WFIL-TV Account Executive who brought the Al Alberts Showcase to Channel 6. He was oner the city's top sales TV people and now runs the "Baby Boomers Talent Management" and "The Actors Center," both here in Philadelphia.

It all takes place on Wednesday, February 17th 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. Tons of FREE parking! Come on out and see some old friends and make some new ones! Recent luncheons have broken all previous attendance records and we expect this one to do the same. The Bala Golf Club is the place to be on February 17th.

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. This includes anyone who appeared on the Al Alberts Showcase, their friends and family. You do NOT have to be a member to attend. Make your reservations now by calling (856) 365-5600. Get Driving Directions! Don't forget to reserve.

This is sure to be another great turn-out! Be there and become a part of history in the making! Make your reservations today. Sure to be a great time! We'll be proud to see you in the crowd or if you prefer, "We wanna see your face in that place."

Visit Our Website Often -


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. Starting time is 10:15 am. Members of our board, please mark your calendars.


The first luncheon for 2010 was held on Wednesday, January 20th at the fabulous Bala Golf Club. It was a sensational happening with well over 100 in the audience! This “SUPER SPORTS SPECTACULAR” was truly a landmark and our biggest sports event of the year! If you missed it, you lost out on a great and fun afternoon!

The moderator for was Broadcast Pioneers member Tom Lamaine. It was historic. Their opinions memorable, recollections priceless and predictions fascinating!

The Panel included:

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

Also, members Peggy King (former girl singer of the network George Gobel Show) and Les Waas, former Broadcast Pioneers President did their own (and quite remarkable) version of the famous “Who’s On First” comedy routine.

In addition, there was a tribute to the late George Michael, former sportscaster, Famous 56 boss jock and a member of our organization. Speaking about George was member Howard Eskin, Michael’s first engineer and live on the phone from WRC-TV in Washington, DC was Doreen Gentzler who has been co-anchoring the DC newscasts there for two decades. George did sports on her broadcasts. You may also remember her from her mid-80s days at Channel 10, WCAU-TV.


“This is a super bowl! The people made it so special. I loved every second of it!” Tommy McDonald

“I enjoyed the give and take, particularly getting a feel for how the audience feels about sports." Ray Didinger

“I absolutely enjoyed the panel. I’ve lived through these stories…I was there!” Dave Custis

“There should have been 10,000 people watching this. This was a privilege and enjoyable.” Mark Stevens of the Dovells

“I liked the panel; Merrill Reese and Ray Didinger. I listen to them all the time and enjoyed what they had to say.” John Tuttleman, son of member Dr. Betsy Leebron Tuttleman and grandson of board member Carol Leebron

“It’s always a pleasure to be here. What a day!” Dean Tyler

“Just a hoot to be here. It has been a pleasure.” Rhonda Dee Hibler, Radio 97.5fm

I enjoy every luncheon. They just keep getting better and better. Today was particularly wonderful with these great sports guys.” Paul Big Bear

“I enjoyed Tommy McDonald, because he’s older than I am!” Marc Howard

“I loved it! This is a great, wild sports town.” Peggy King

“You get to hear the inside scoop. It’s interesting hearing the experts. The luncheon was fascinating." Steve Sacks

“Today’s luncheon was top drawer. I’ve been in the booth and it was a pleasure to see these guys today. The Pioneers do a great job. Keep up the good work!" Mike Nozilo

“They talked about why football has become such a big sport. I would have included the gambling element of the game. Americans are gamblers. People will stay in the stands for the last play and bet on the outcome. The gambling element is always present. My advice, hide your money and don’t bet on who’s going to win!” Joe Pellegrino

Did you know...

That the FM radio band wasn't always where it is today?

in the Widener Building
Center City Philadelphia

This picture shows the absolutely beautiful installation of W53PH, the FM call letters before they became WFIL-FM. Note the lower frequency as shown on the wall next to the Call Letters.

W53PH (WFIL-FM) started broadcasting at full power on February 10, 1942. Their permanent license dates to January of 1941. However, WCAU-FM was already on the air in 1939, with 100 watts as W3XIR at a frequency of 42.14 mhz. By 1941, they were operating at 46.9 mhz using the call letters W69PH. Their official permanent license was dated December 1, 1941.

On April 20, 1942, WIP-FM was on the air using the call letters W49PH at 44.9 mhz. That same year, KYW-FM had a construction permit using the call letters W57PH at 45.7 mhz.

Note how all the FM stations in Philadelphia had call letters that were done in this simple formula:
W, two numbers (the frequency 45.7 became 57, for example), PH (for Philadelphia).

Beginning November 1, 1943, W53PH became known as WFIL-FM at 45.3 mhz, licensed to the WFIL Broadcasting Company. Other FM stations were also assigned call letters.

At this time, the FM band was 42 to 49 megahertz. In June of 1945, The Federal Communications Commission decided to move the "FM dial" to 88 to 108 mhz, with 88-92 MHz reserved for noncommercial broadcasting, and allocated 106-108 MHz for facsimile broadcasting. Within the 92-106 MHz spectrum, FM stations were to be allocated as follows: 92.1-93.9 community; 94.1-103.9 metro; 104.1-105.9 rural.

Because of this re-allocation, more than half a million FM receivers and some 50 transmitting stations would be rendered obsolete. Neither the public nor the broadcasters received any compensation for now having useless equipment. New radio receivers for FM would have to be purchased. Those stations that could afford it, would either purchase new transmitters or modify the old ones. The Yankee Network of 45 MHz FM stations in New England did not survive the reallocation. There were also others, but none failed in the Philadelphia market.

By the way, FM stations moved frequencies a lot. In 1947, the FM stations assigned to the "new" band were NOT assigned to the "dial positions" they had later. In fact, most changed frequencies several times. WPEN-FM was at 95.9, then 99.5, mhz (they would end up at 102.9); WIP-FM was at 93.9, then 97.5 mhz (they would end up at 93.3); WCAU-FM was at 95.5, then 102.7 mhz (they would end up at 98.1) KYW-FM was at 93.1, then 100.3 mhz. That frequency would later become WXUR-FM. In the early fifties, Westinghouse gave the 100.3 frequency to a group of educational broadcasters. That station would become WHYY-FM and end up at 90.9 mhz. Finally, that left us with WFIL-FM at 94.3, then 99.9 mhz (they would end up at 102.1). WIBG-FM was at 95.1, then at 97.5 (they would end up at 94.1)

If you think that this is all very confusing, image how it must have been for the listener. Note we used the singular because that's about how many listeners FM radio had in Philadelphia. Well, maybe a few more.

We have in our archives, two recordings from the early days of FM radio here in Philadelphia. The station was W73PH at 47.3 Mhz on the FM dial. It is a very rare example of what FM radio sounded like on the old FM band before moving to the current FM band. Both cuts feature Al Henry, a WPEN announcer. That's because W73PH became WPEN-FM late in 1943. Both recordings date from the first half of 1943, two-thirds of a century ago.

Al Henry on W73PH, cut 1

Al Henry on W73PH, cut 2


We are still 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 many other volunteers. PLEASE! WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you're interested, please call us at (856) 365-5600 or e-mail us at

Why should we be preserving broadcasts and photos? So pictures like these will survive into the future:

The Round WFIL Building

The Round WPVI Building
Thursday, January 28, 2010

The broadcast history that came out of this building is simply amazing. WPVI has a fantastic, state of the art brand new building and that's wonderful. We wish them well in their new digs. But no one should forget the past. Saving historic documents and broadcasts, that's what we do. While no one can stop process, you should also take time to reminisce about the past. It's like remembering your grandparents. It's a good thing. The current WPVI Building is their fourth. The round one was number three with the other two being 46th and Market Streets and their very first location in the Wiedner Building, 13th and Chestnut in Center City Philadelphia.

Remember, History is ONLY What Gets Saved!
(If there were no portraits of George Washington, how would we know what he looked like?)


We are coming down to the wire for college students who wish to enter our 2010 scholarship competition. This year, we will be giving thirteen $1,000 scholarships. Last year, we received 253 applications. This year, we have surpassed that figure. Deadline is Friday, February 12th. All applications MUST be done online (no US mail applications accepted). It takes five minutes to fill in the form. If you know of an area college student studying communications (or a related field) and currently in their sophomore or junior year, tell them about the scholarships and urge them to act fast. They could be a winner.


Member Jay Meyers tells us that he attended the 2010 Phillies Fantasy Camp in Clearwater, Florida from January 20th to January 24th. The Camp MC was Scott Palmer (an inductee into our Hall of Fame) and the Commissioner was Larry Anderson. He said that he had a blast. "I pitched, played short and third," said Meyers. When he's not playing baseball, he's president and CEO of Broadcast Management and Technology wearing a business suit and a Phillies cap.

Clady Records recording artist, Maura McKinney Mastro is sharing the good news that there has been consistent independent airplay of her original songs from all four of her CD releases in Europe, Nashville and locally. Her newest single, “Still A Contender” is slated for her next CD. She is currently performing this and many other songs in her one woman show, “Spreading Joy.” For those who don't know, Maura is the daughter of broadcaster and sports writer Jack McKinney.

(left to right) Larry Daley, mid-day DJ from WDAS, Jimmy Bishop, VP of Programming and evening DJ from WDAS,
Mel Franklin and Eddie Kendricks of "The Temptations," Ray Gilmore from WIBG with Mary Mason from WHAT Radio,
Otis Williams, also of the Tempts and Motown Promotion Man, Weldon McDougal
(front row, left to right) Dean Tyler and Alan Dean of WIBG with David Ruffin of "The Temptations"
The Latin Casino, Cherry Hill, NJ
December 1967

Hailing from West Philadelphia and currently living in Lansdowne, Weldon Arthur McDougal III will be interviewed in front of a live audience at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Foster Theater in Cleveland on Wednesday, February 17th at 7 pm as part of the museum’s From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hitseducational series. Admission is free (but you do have to get to Cleveland). McDougal has contributed to the musical evolution of the Sound of Philadelphia for over four decades. He has helped shape and influence the creation and development of Philly sound since early 1960’s. Along with Jimmy Bishop from WDAS Radio, Weldon produced Barbara Mason's big hit, "Yes, I'm Ready" in 1965. Doing background was a very young Kenny Gamble. Congratulations Weldon!

Member Monica Malpass with son Jake

As a follow-up to a story on and, we spoke with member Monica Malpass about her recent announcement. Sure enough, Monica is happily pregnant with twins, and here’s the scoop, she’s due June 10th! Malpass told the Philadelphia Daily News that she used an anonymous donor through in vitro fertilization at a Philadelphia fertility clinic to expand her family. Both she and son Jake (age 9) are elated with the prospect. Monica we’re so happy for you!

David L. Kurtz Performing Arts Center in East Falls (Penn Charter School's campus) was dedicated on Thursday, January 28th. In true engineering fashion, the building is a "green" energy-efficient site, with a garden on the roof, and more! Public tours available on March 6 & 7 with the first performance scheduled for March 7th.

The time has finally come. Broadcast Pioneers member Pearl Polto's new book titled, "ARE WE DOOMED, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH," is finally available to the public. It's reading you will not be able to put down, a book to change what is happening in our country. IF you are tired of what our government is doing and want a change. "read my book," says Pearl and finally know the truth.


"Sing a Little Song, Do a Little Dance, Get Down Tonight...."
Broadcast Pioneers member Tom Brookshier doing his thing
at Veterans Stadium during Eagles' halftime
circa 1978

Our beloved member Tom Brookshier, former member of our Board of Directors passed away Friday evening, January 29th. He was suffering from bladder cancer. Brookie hailed from Roswell, NM and was on the 1960 championship Eagles team. Then he became a sports anchor for WCAU-TV and radio and then onto CBS-TV. He was truly one of a kind. Tom's service will be Saturday morning, February 6th. Friends may call from 9:30 am to 11 am at the Ardmore Presbyterian Church, 5 West Montgomery Avenue in Ardmore. A memorial service will take place at 11 am.

Ken Matz passed away early on Saturday morning, January 23rd from cancer. Ken anchored the 6 pm and 11 pm news at WCAU-TV. He worked for the station from 1992 to 1998. Matz was originally from the area and started in 1965 at WRAW in Reading.

Arthur Thomas Szcykalski Sr., at age 66, has passed away. Art had a career in the TV business for over 40 years as a cameraman, technician, studio crew chief and Manager of Engineering and Operations for WPHL-TV, Channel 17.

Henry Shaw, a former camera guy for WCAU-TV (1960 to 1974) died from leukemia on Saturday, January 23rd at his West Chester home. For the last third of a century, he had been the owner of a local film and video production company.

Bobby Burnett, singer and comedian died at age 71. Bobby cut many records and performed on many stages. Member Steve Ross, host of "Remember When" on WPHT (1210 AM) said, “Bobby might not have been a 'household name' but those who heard him sing or perform on the harmonica or as a comedian with impeccable timing knew they were in the presence of a great talent."


Board Member Bill Wright Sr. recently fell suffering a concussion. That's why he was missing from our last luncheon. Bill is resting comfortably and expects to re-join us at the February get-together. Get well soon Bill!

Anne Klein, wife of Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Jerry Klein fell and broke her arm while skiing in Vail, Colorado. Anne and Jerry own "Anne Klein Communications Group" based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Take care Anne.


Broadcast Pioneers member Bobbie Shaffner and husband Henry celebrated another magical Christmas Eve, caroling at 17 Beekman Place in New York City, the home of Irving Berlin, which is now "The Luxembourg House" (or Consulate). Sounded like fun Bobbie

Every weekend in March, The Franklin Institute will present "Larry Kane’s Ticket to Ride,” an extraordinary lecture and multi-media presentation featuring the best-selling Beatles author/Philadelphia journalist Larry Kane’s experiences with the Fab Four. The shows will be hosted by rock historian and radio impresario Denny Somach and presented on consecutive Fridays at 8pm beginning Friday March 5th and Saturdays both at 5 and 8 pm. By the way, member Larry Kane will be our MC for our March luncheon celebrating 40 Years of "Action News."

After 38 years, Broadcast Pioneers member Johnny Lerro has sold his produce business and now is actively seeking new opportunities in the broadcast industry. Well known and highly recognized for his “Green Grocer®” segments, Johnny is looking to re-connect in radio, TV, voice-overs etc. If you have an opportunity where he can make some cabbage, please contact him at Best of luck John!

Broadcast Pioneers Member Sally Starr
in front of WFIL-TV cameras
circa 1969

“Our Gal Sal,” Member Sally Starr joyously celebrated her 87th Birthday at Fairchild's Restaurant in Atco, New Jersey. Sally said, “I’m so proud of the baby boomers who came out for the party, particularly in these tough economic times. They get me revived when they’re around. We had cake, cake and more cake; dancing and a great time.” Sally can be heard hosting "Suppertime Jamboree," on Saturdays, 5 to 6 pm on WVLT, Cruisin' 92.1. Many, many more birthdays Sally!

AM1340, WHAT proudly announced the return to the airways of one of Philadelphia’s most prominent broadcasters, Elaine Soncini. She will co-host the Morning Show with Mike Bowe. She spent twenty years as an award-winning news anchor and morning show personality at WPEN, 950AM before “retiring” to Florida. She will telecommute from her Florida home where she does much of her voice-over and commercial work produced by her husband of 15 years Larry Leaf. She began with Mike on February 1st; daily from 6 to 9am. She will make visits to the area for special events. Welcome back Elaine.

We received an e-mail from Kimberly Davidow, who was graduated from LaSalle University in May of 2009. She was the former president of our student group, "The Future Broadcast Pioneers," and winner of one of our scholarships in April of 2008. Her brother, Brandon won one of our scholarships two years earler. Brandon was featured in the scholarship video presented at our annual banquet in November 2009. Both were students of Broadcast Pioneers member Brother Gerry Molyneaux from LaSalle. Kimberly says:

I wanted to let you know that I got a job as an Anchor/Reporter/Producer over at WETM-TV in Elmira, NY. I will be anchoring the noon, reporting for the 5 pm and if I'm not reporting for the 5 pm, I'll be anchoring the 10 pm broadcasts, Monday through Friday. My first day of work is Monday, February 8th.

Also to update you, my older brother, Brandon Davidow (a former Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia scholarship winner like myself), was promoted to Sports Director over at his station KXXV-TV in Waco, TX. He is also a graduate from La Salle University.

Hylit has a new Friday night destination. Meet HyLit and member Sam Lit for food, fun, steak & sushi and some great rock 'n' roll at Spamps, 16 East 1st Avenue, Conshohocken, Pa. It's a live event broadcast from 5 to 10 pm. Keep rockin' Sam!

A final thought...

In 1947, he lived in Roswell, NM, & a reporter asked about the supposed UFO crash & Brookie said, “unless those green guys are good football players & can help us beat the crap out of Carlsbad, I really have no interest.”

Tom Brookshier
November 2007

We welcome your input regarding content, future stories, suggestions, etc. Please contact the Broadcast Pioneers 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!

© 2010, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is
For luncheon reservations call (856) 365-5600 or e-mail us at: