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

September Luncheon
Bala Golf Club
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

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

It’s September and time to get back into the swing of things and participate in new, exciting happenings with the Broadcast Pioneers! We had a very active summer as you saw in the previous newsletters, however September always brings an air of excitement as we kick off our new season of luncheons, gatherings and our annual banquet.

On Wednesday, September 16th, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia will present our first luncheon of the new season. This is a get together surely not to be missed. We will be talking about the Philadelphia Eagles, past and present. The Birds are as Philadelphia as Cheese Steaks and Tastykakes. It all takes place at the beautiful Bala Golf Club, 2200 Belmont Avenue in Philadelphia! Just minutes away from Channels 6, 10 and 17 and the radio stations in Bala Cynwyd.

Our speakers will be:

Tom Brookshier, former Eagles' player, WCAU-TV/Radio & CBS-TV Sports Anchor
Tom Lamaine, former KYW-TV sports anchor and play-by-by announcer
Al Meltzer, sports director/anchor and play-by-play on Channels 3, 6, 10 & 17
Jim Murray, former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles Football Team
Bill Vargus, former Sports Anchor at WTXF-TV, Fox 29 here in Philadelphia

Our MC for the event is Joe Pellegrino, former WPVI Sports Director/WCAU-TV Sports Anchor. Make your reservations now by calling (856) 365-5600! Don't delay! Call now!

The 1960 Eagles Football Team
December 22, 2005

Plus, live on the telephone from the Eagles will be Broadcast Pioneers member Merrill Reese, the voice of the Philadelphia Eagles. Shortly before our panel discussion gets underway, there will be an Eagles briefing with the coaches. Merrill will be reporting back with just what happened at that event.

And for as long as supplies last, we’ll be giving away a two-sided sheet, “The Story of the Frankford Yellow Jackets,” Philly’s first NFL team. It’s 1,800 words long & available for free only at our luncheon.

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! Plenty of FREE Parking! The cost is still only $25 per person. This is the 5th year at this price. The luncheon 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). Tons of free parking. Get Driving Directions! You don’t want to miss this luncheon!

FYI - The "Tribute to Gary Papa," originally scheduled for the September luncheon has been postponed to another date.

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Board members take note: The next Board of Directors meeting is on Wednesday, October 21st at 10:15 am at the Bala Golf Club. Make plans to be there.


Our annual banquet is on Friday evening, November 20, 2009. At that time, we'll be honoring our Hall of Fame inductees and our Person of the Year, Bill Wright, Sr. Ticket prices are the same as last year, $70 for the member only, $90 for spouses, family, friends and all others. The invitations will be sent out by mid-month, so look for your invite in your US mailbox.

Did you know...

Broadcast Pioneers member Hy Lit with the Beatles
Philadelphia Press Conference
Wednesday, September 2, 1964

Forty-five year ago this month, during the late summer of 1964, there was unusual excitement building throughout the entire Delaware Valley. Something rather historical was going to take place. A group called the Beatles, part of a British musical invasion was landing in the United States for one incredible tour. Earlier that year, representing all the fans in the city of Brotherly Love, Broadcast Pioneers member Hy Lit traveled to New York’s William Morris agency, to book this new, and as of yet unseen "in person" group.

In the week before September 2, 1964, the legendary Hyski heard from Frank Rizzo, Captain of the Philadelphia Police. He had called to say his boss and children wanted to meet the Beatles. Lit said, "you got it." But there is a problem. "We’re being outnumbered by the fans." So Rizzo said, “The only problem you have is getting them into convention hall, and I’ve got an idea.”

Frank and Hyski O’Roonie McVoutie O’Zoot arranged to have the Beatles smuggled in, from Atlantic City, where the day before they were performing at the Jersey Shore. While a decoy limousine procession traveled up the New Jersey White Horse Pike, a Hackney’s fish truck, carrying the Beatles, slowly rolled up the Black Horse Pike, and casually passed thousands of screaming fans as they entered the food service entrance at Convention Hall. And so it had worked. "We held a news conference that the Beatles are in the building," said Lit.

Philly Beatlemania began with a riddle on a cold December morning. Hy Lit, the No.1 jock on WIBG, the city’s AM powerhouse, walked out to his car. On his windshield are the letters "B" and "E." The day after that there was an “A,” followed by a “T” the next day. Each morning, another letter was added. By the end of the week, the message on Lit’s windshield was complete: “The Beatles are coming!”

Broadcast Pioneers members Joe Niagara & Hy Lit with John Lennon
the Plaza Hotel, New York City
Monday, February 10, 1964

It’s February, 1964 and WIBG jocks Hyski & Joe Niagara (both were members of the Broadcast Pioneers) are knocking back complimentary beverages at a swanky “Meet the Beatles” cocktail party at the Plaza in New York. Hyski staggers out of the cocktail party with one thing on his mind: getting the Beatles to Philadelphia. The next day, Lit calls William Morris, the Beatles booking agency, and asks what it will take. “Twenty-five thousand dollars,” they say. Hy doesn’t even blink. He’ll be there tomorrow with a certified check. The Beatles will be on his doorstep on September 2nd.

Within weeks the Beatles appear on Ed Sullivan, which commands a Super Bowl-sized viewership, and overnight America falls hard for the Fab Four. Watch them on the Ed Sullivan Show! Tickets go on sale in May 1964, starting at $2.50 and topping out at $5.50. Convention Hall’s 13,000 seats sell out in 90 minutes. A mini riot ensues when word of the sellout reaches the scores of Beatlemaniacs still in line for tickets. Hyski will be hit up with so many VIP won’t-take-no-for-an-answer ticket requests that when it’s all said and done and the Beatles have left, he’ll be out $5,000.

In fact, the whole thing will turn out to be a really big headache, with the suits at the station giving him static about that stunt he pulled on a Bulletin reporter who was writing trash about Beatles fans the day of the ticket sales. Hyski gave up the reporter’s office number on the air and told listeners to call him up and scream in his ear. The Bulletin guy complained to his boss, who then turned around and gave Hy’s boss an earful when they were out together on the back nine. At which point the boss comes back to the clubhouse, calls up Hyski and tells him he’s off the air for a couple of days. No pay.

On top of that, Hyski’s getting static from the local 7-UP guy, one of the station's biggest sponsors, who had been demanding exclusive pouring rights for the concert through the station. Hyski told Mr. 7-UP no. The 7-UP guy threatened to stop all soda sales. Hy said, “So what, you ever heard of water?” Well, the station brass wanted to suspend him for that too, but Hyski wasn’t having it. He was, at that point, untouchable, and he knew it. “If you suspend me, I’ll resign and take the Beatles with me,” Lit said. And that was the end of that.

The Beatles concert took place on Wednesday, September 2, 1964 at Philly's Convention Hall. The tour started in Las Vegas on August 20th and ended in New York City on September 20th. No known recordings of the press conference from that day are known to exist. Part of the concert, about 33 minutes of audio and 20 minutes of video, is known to exist. Watch some of the video from that Philadelphia concert! Listen to audio from that concert (in four parts).

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

This concert took place only three weeks after the release of the Beatles first motion picture, "A Hard Day's Night" and eight weeks after the LP with the same title.

The Hy Lit Legacy continues. Both here at and at at, the website started by Hy and continued today by his son, Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Lit.


The Broadcast Pioneers College Student Symposium will take place on Saturday, October 24th at the studios of CBS 3 and the CW Philly 57. This popular event will enlighten and inspire the collegiate attendees. Our MC for the morning is our very own Chairman of the Board, Bill "Wee Willie" Webber. Our panelists are: Jim Donovan, Nicole Brewer, Natasha Brown, Joanne Calabria, Cesar Aldama and Pat Delsi.

Remember TV’s "Dance Party USA" and "Dancin’ On Air" from the early 80’s? Several of the show’s key dancers proved they still can cut it at Charlie Gracie’s Summer Dance Party at Cannstatter’s Ballroom on August 15th. Over 300 attended Charlie’s show! The TV programs, by the way, were produced by Broadcast Pioneers Board Member Michael Nise and his father, Frank.

Broadcast Pioneers member David Kurtz
at the WDVR radio console

Special thanks go out to member Esther Kurtz, wife of former Pioneers member David Kurtz, for the third consecutive year donating a $1,000 scholarship in her husband's memory. Thank you Esther. The pioneers and a lucky college student truly appreciate your support. David Kurtz was the founder of WDVR Radio that is today known as B-101.

Carol Erickson of CBS 3 and Pioneers member was named grand marshal of Ocean City’s 100th Baby Parade, which took place on August 13th according to the Cape May County Herald. During a recent interview, parade director Sue Canale said: “her kindness and concern epitomize what this family resort is all about.” Carol led a parade featuring over 300 participants along with bands, and floats. Nice going Carol!

We’re pleased to have spoken with Pioneers member Ed Hurst to hear about his most recent activity. Ed is doing a radio show on WIBG, 1020 AM in Ocean City called, “The Steel Pier Radio Show.” The format is a music program with cuts of interviews of some of the greatest talent Ed has interviewed over the decades. The broadcast is taped in Ed’s den. Ed says; “it’s a fast half-hour…. After 65 years, they talked me into it, and it’s fun!” The show airs on Monday and Tuesday, 11 to 11:30 am. You can also listen live on the Internet. Great going Ed!

Want a fresh look at Philly? The premiere of “Philly, What’s Up,” hosted by Trudy Haynes aired on Saturday August 8th, at 12:00 noon on the CW Philly 57. The program is a fast paced, weekly 30-minute television magazine geared to inform, enlighten, and enhance interest in what’s happening in our area. Be sure to check it out. As always, Pioneers member Trudy Haynes is at her very best! Way to go Trudy!


Herman Rush is the Chairman of Rush Associates, an organization involved in the packaging, development and production of programs for television and the Internet. Herman is the former chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Telecommunications. He was responsible for packaging and network placement of the Perry Como Show, the Jackie Gleason Show, the Kraft Music Hall among many others. Herman was also President of the Columbia Pictures Television Group.

Michael Anderson is the Public Relations & Marketing Director for the Reading Public Museum. This former broadcaster was co-founder of the Anderson Group, a brand communications agency. Michael was a partner in Stage Right Productions, a marketing coordinator for FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest & an instructor at Kutztown University. He currently serves on the board of the Reading Musical Foundation.

Gene Arnold was with the S. Klein Broadcasting Network which included WEEZ-AM, and WIFI-FM. During the 60’s and 70’s, he worked for WCAM in Camden and WIBG in Philadelphia. He produced Gene Arnold’s Superstar Concerts, 73 hours of syndicated programming including the History of Disco series. He was co-host of "RJ & Company," on Channel 29 and has done over 2000 national and regional radio and TV spot voiceovers.

Ed Gannon started in the broadcasting business in 1956 at WCAU-TV (then owned by the Evening Bulletin newspaper) as a tour guide, teleprompter operator and full time Assistant Director. Gannon has also served as producer and director both full time and part time. He is now retired from television and WCAU and is enjoying life.

Herb Scott started at WCAU as a stock clerk and then became a television stage manager working on many of the wonderful shows to originate out of Channel 10. He later worked in master control and was a TV studio technician. Herb is now retired from WCAU after 50 years of service. Wow. A half-century in the business.

Janice Selinger is a big gun at NJN Public Television. She's their temporary acting Executive Director and acting Chief Operating Officer at NJN. Janice is also the temporary President of the NJN Foundation. She has been responsible for many award-winning shows from the network. Previously, she worked with John Stossel on the Emmy Award-winning program, "On Your Side" at WCBS-TV.

Michael Lopen has had an extensive career including serving as a production coordinator for WKBS-TV (Channel 48), a soundman for the Temple Productions Documentary Film Unit, and a Broadcast Operations Assistant for WCAU-AM Radio. He also worked for TVN, Inc. Newsweek Broadcasting Service, UPI Television News and USIA.

A hearty WELCOME to each of our new members. We hope to see you at upcoming Broadcast Pioneers luncheons! By the way, this sets an all-time high in membership, now at 340. Each month, we seem to be breaking the old records.


Congratulations and good wishes go out to Broadcast Pioneers member John Zacherle, who will be celebrating his 91st birthday this month. John is well remembered for his groundbreaking work as monster movie host Roland on "Shock Theater." He also played the undertaker on "Action in the Afternoon," TV's only completely live western. John continues to enjoy life living in New York City. Happy Birthday John and many more! Mark your calendars. Zach will be part of our December luncheon program.

As part of our continuing Oral History project, we just did an interview on August 25th with John Zacherle conducted by Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Lit of Our opinion is that the Real Audio version sounds better.

Listen in Real Audio!

Listen with Windows Media!

Early in 1968, Bruce Smallwood recorded an interview with John Zacherle. The interview was edited for air. This is the uncut version. The program was called "Thru the Mist" and was produced by Gerry Wilkinson.

Listen in Real Audio!

On March 7, 1958, a home made kinescope (not done by the station) was recorded. It is the only known video recording of Zach on Shock Theater.

Watch an excerpt in Real Video!

Broadcast Pioneers members Ed Cunningham and John Zacherle
outside Zach's New York City apartment

After our September 16th luncheon, you can go home and that evening watch, "Philly's Favorite Kids Show Hosts" on WHYY-TV. Produced by member Ed Cunningham, it features a bunch of Broadcast Pioneers people (including Zacherle) with member Gene London, live in the studio. Broadcast Pioneers member Dick Sheeran was the narrator and the historic consultant for the broadcast was our organization's president, Gerry Wilkinson.

And speaking of our president, Gerry Wilkinson and his wife, Michele took their youngest daughter, Zara, to Pittsburgh recently to start working on another Master's degree, this one in Library Science. He says that Pioneers' members keep laughing at his car, a 1990 Toyota Camry. Well, seems that Gerry has had the last laugh. He was chuckling at the people filling up their vehicle's with gasoline on the Turnpike. Since Gerry's auto gets 34.9 miles to the gallon on the open road with the AC running, he just waved as he drove by. It's sort of his own "Cash for Clunkers" program. He drives the clunker and keeps the cash in his pocket (instead of putting it in the gasoline tank).

Broadcast Pioneers member Pearl Polto, (credit expert, author, talk show host) has given us a heads up about a new book she has coming out. The book titled, “Are We Doomed in America, Enough is Enough,” will tell you about the changes in our Government, what is really going on and all about our economy for all the “people to clearly see.” It's scheduled for release this fall. Sounds fascinating, Pearl! By the way, rumor has it that Pearl and member Valerie Morrison will be taking over the Irv Homer webcast shortly. Watch Pearl on the Irv Homer Webcast from November of last year!

Broadcast Pioneers member Pete Duncan, recently played a musical tribute to John "Johann Sebastian" Beaty using music from John’s collection. His program, Jazz Panorama, airs on Wednesdays from 12 noon to 3 pm on WRDV-FM in Warminster. John Beaty died in 2004, but is still fondly remembered by the station's listeners. Thank you Pete!

September 1st marked the 5th anniversary of WPEN flipping formats from “the Station of the Stars” to oldies. Member Andy Kortman did a live remote broadcast on Tuesday, September 1st for a breakfast meet at “The Diner” to commemorate the occasion. The lists of guests was too extensive to mention here, however a few of the participants were; Dean Tyler, Jerry Stevens, Tom Moran, Ed Hurst, John Carlton and many more. Sounded like a great time, folks!

We’re pleased to report on activities from Broadcast Pioneer member Dan Lerner. Dan and his wife, Lyn spend summers in Maine and have been attracted to, as well as have endowed, what is now, the“Lerner Garden of the Five Senses.” Open to the Public for three years at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, it is already becoming a national treasure. Inspired by a past board member who lost her vision to meningitis, the gardens wanted to create a setting that would not be just accessible, but delightful to all. Summer residents Dan and Lyn Lerner loved the vision and donated a million dollars to bring it to life. Dan says “we could not be prouder to have our names associated with the garden, it’s absolutely beautiful.” Well done Dan and Lyn!

The United Stamps Post Office has issued 20 First Class commemorative stamps featuring TV greats from the early days of national television. More details on the USPS website!

A follow-up to last month’s story. There will be a Red Carpet Premiere and reception at the Reading Public Museum on Friday evening, October 2nd from 5:30 to 8:00 pm in celebration of the new exhibition; "The Magic of Hollywood: The Gene London Collection." The event is open to the public and includes a meet and greet with special guest, beloved Philadelphia-area TV personality, fashion designer and Broadcast Pioneers member Gene London.

A final thought...

"Football is easy if you're crazy as hell."

Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson

Editors note: This September edition of the “Newsletter” marks the first anniversary of the new newsletter format and editor. We welcome your input regarding content, future stories, suggestions, etc. Please contact We need your stories! Keep In Touch!

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