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

December Luncheon
Bala Golf Club
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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

The holiday season is here and we have another wonderful luncheon program planned. A double hit luncheon features two Broadcast Pioneers members; the "Cool Ghoul," John Zacherle (also known to Philadelphians as “Roland”) and the legendary Charlie Gracie. Sure to be informative and entertaining, these two legendary members will provide the “added value” our luncheon meetings always deliver!

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.

Yes, it's the always fascinating Broadcast Pioneers member John Zacherle. You'll remember him as the undertaker in "Action in the Afternoon" that originated from WCAU-TV's backlot and broadcast live on the CBS Television Network. Then John became known to Philadelphians as "Roland," the Channel 10 monster movie host. He also had a hit record on Cameo Records called, "Dinner with Drac."

Watch John on "Shock Theater" as Roland!

Watch John at the Broadcast Pioneers in 2006!

Listen to John Zacherle interviewed in 1968 (produced by Gerry Wilkinson)

John Zacherle on "What's My Line" (from You Tube)

Listen to Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Lit interview John in August of this year. It was recorded just weeks before Zach's 91st birthday.

Listen in Real Audio!
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And we also have the ever wonderful Broadcast Pioneers member Charlie Gracie who had a number one record in 1957 called, "Butterfly." His recording was also on Cameo Records, so make plans to be there.

Watch Charlie Gracie Live in 1957 singing "Butterfly" (from You Tube)

Charlie Gracie singing "99 Ways" (from You Tube)

Head Home Honey sung by Charlie Gracie (from You Tube)

Rarely heard demo of "Butterfly" (from You Tube)

Rarely heard demo of "99 Ways" (from You Tube)

There will also be a brief tribute to WHHS-FM, Havertown, America’s First over the air High School Radio Station which is celebrating 60 years on the air this month.

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 or use the valet! Your cost! The cost is STILL only $25 per person and is open to all our members, guests, any person in the industry or associated fields; both people now active and retirees. You do NOT have to be a member to attend. It’s going to be another great turnout! Make your reservations now by calling (856) 365-5600.

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 last one for 2009 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 next year; June 2010, October 2010 with the next one being on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at Bala. Mark your calendars.


What a spectacular evening we had at Bala Golf Club on Friday, November 20th. A sell-out audience of 250 witnessed history in the making at our 41st annual banquet. Anyone who is anyone was there. It was a celebrity-filled room, complete with camera crews from the major stations to record the memorable moments of the evening.

Our Person of the Year was:

Bill (The Rebel) Wright, Sr., former WIBBAGE "Good Guy" & WPEN jock

Our 8 inductees into our "Hall of Fame" were:

Elliot Abrams, Accu-Weather's Senior VP, mornings on KYW Newsradio
Joanne Calabria, VP of Public Affairs for CBS 3 and the CW Philly 57
Renee Chenault-Fattah, co-anchor of the NBC 10 News at 11 o'clock
Mort Crim, former "Eyewitness News" TV Anchor on KYW-TV, Channel 3
Gene London, former Philadelphia TV Children's Celebrity and Host
Al Meltzer, sports director/anchor and play-by-play on Channels 3, 6, 10 & 17
Irv Ross, Channel 6's very first Director of Engineering, there for 50 years
Lisa Thomas-Laury, 6ABC "Action News" Co-Anchor and Reporter

We also inducted 12 persons into our "Hall of Fame" posthumously. They were:

Joey Bishop, nationally known comedian from South Philly
Jay Cook, former Program Director & Boss Jock at WFIL, Famous 56
Hugh Gannon, former sportscaster for WCAU (Radio & TV) and Prism
Powers Gouraud, the ol' nightowl, who ruled the airwaves in the 30s & 40s
Florence Hanford, Philly's pioneering TV chef who started in 1947
Wally Kinnan, the Weather Man, the city's well loved meteorologist
Siani Lee, former news anchor on WCAU, NBC 10 and CBS3 (KYW-TV)
Tony Mammarella, the producer for ABC-TV's "American Bandstand"
Jack McKinney, the telephone talk show host on both TV and radio
Jack Pyle, air personality extraordinaire for Philadelphia broadcasting
George Thomas, former announcer for the WCAU broadcast stations
Long John Wade, the pleasing voice of WFIL, Famous 56 and WIBG Radio

This was a fundraiser for scholarships to area college students. Four were underwritten by individuals. Robin, Ira and Marlene Adelman and member Leon Love funded one $1,000.00 scholarship while member Esther Kurtz underwrote one in the memory of her late husband, David Kurtz, founder of B-101, and two grants for $1,000 came from Broadcast Pioneers member Kal Rudman.


“ It was wonderful. Having worked with some of these guys and listened to many of the others, it’s magic.” Steve Levy

“A great honor to be with all these wonderful people. Dad would have been so proud.” Maura McKinney Mastro (Daughter of Jack McKinney)

“A great night to hear stories. Just to be in the presence of this great history in Philadelphia and these wonderful broadcasters who have accepted me…and for such a good cause, the scholarships.” Dave Abramson

“Really proud of my Dad. Doing his Christmas show with him is pretty awesome.” Kate Wright (Daughter of Bill Wright)

“Very excited to turn a new chapter in my life and go forward. This is wonderful. In this room, memories and broadcast history are beyond anything in the world.” Dave Roberts

“I had a great time, the memories are amazing.” Bobby Kravitz

“A very special night, with very special people. Wonderful to be here to experience all this means to so many.” Nessa Forman

“ I am feeling really blessed and so thankful for this honor. There is nothing greater than being recognized by your peers.” Lisa Thomas-Laury

AM/Philadelphia Advertisement
May 1978

Watch a 1985 AM Philadelphia excerpt with members Wally Kennedy, Liz Matt & Kal Rudman

Did you know...

that Channel 6, WPVI-TV premiered a new TV show on Monday, May 22, 1978. It was called AM Philadelphia.

"Dave Roberts and Claire Carter are co-hosts for this weekday program featuring interviews with visiting celebrities, conversations about topics of interest and highlights of local events."

On the first show, the guests were Dick Van Patten from the "Eight is Enough" TV show; actor John Raitt and Dr. Edmund Amidon of Temple University. The next day, Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski was guest.

WCAU-TV Advertisement
May 1978

The program was on Channel 6 from 10 am to 11 am. Its competition on KYW-TV was two games shows, Card Sharks and Hollywood Squares. Channel 10 aired two other game shows, Pass the Buck and The Price is Right, which was a half-hour in length back then. Channel 17 aired the The 700 Club and Channel 29 carried the PTL Club. Channel 48 broadcast "The Edge of Night" from ABC-TV (Channel 6 didn't carry it but went with the syndicated Merv Griffin Show at 4 pm) and "Delaware Valley '79" with Marty Jacobs. Channel 12 sent a children's program into our homes, "The Electric Company."

Other local programs of that day included Farm Market Report with Gary Geers, Morning with Diane Betzendahl (better known to us as Diane Allen). Interesting to note that John Raitt who was on the debut show of AM/Philadelphia was on Diane's live program, one hour before. Captain Noah, Al Alberts, Chief Halftown, Larry Ferrari and Puerto Rican Panorama with Diego Castellanos were on Channel 6 on the weekends.

Evening Magazine Advertisement
May 1978

You Tube has a half-hour WRCV-TV Documentary, Profile: Prince Bertil Returns. It dates from 1963 when David Brenner was a writer/producer in the WRCV documentary department. This half-hour program is in four parts and runs a half-hour. It was written by David Brenner and his name is in the credits. Bob Bradley was the narrator. By the way, the Evening Magazine mentioned above had David talking about his days working at Channel 3.

Watch Part 1
Watch Part 2
Watch Part 3
Watch Part 4

Evening Magazine was telecast at 7 pm and on the same day as AM Philadelphia came on the air, David Brenner was featured. Brenner spoke about the early days as a documentary writer/producer for KYW-TV.

Some local programming on Channel 10 included Gene London on Saturday mornings, Joel A. Spivak with a live talk show which was repeated at 4:35 am and a best of show Sundays at noon.

Channel 29, then called WTAF-TV had Sunday afternoon Bowling that originated live from the bowling lanes on the first floor of the station's building. AT 7:30 pm, it was Newsprobe with Michele Iaia.

There was a local interview show on Channel 17 called "Delaware Valley Forum" which aired Saturdays at 6:30 am, hosted by our very own Dorie Lenz. The program was repeated at 2:30 am on Sunday morning. And later on Saturdays at 10:30 am was "RJ's Disco USA" hosted by member Ron Joseph.

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.


We’re pleased to note Broadcast Pioneers member Sylvia Kauders, President Sylvia Kauders Enterprises, has two national commercials on air. One is for a new acne medication called "Epiduo" and the other for "Boar's Head" roast chicken. Sylvia tells us the chicken commercial was “a hoot to shoot.” Sounds like fun, Sylvia!

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, Sister Francesca Onley, president of Holy Family University, and William Gault, president of Fire Fighters Local 22 presented Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Kal Rudman with the 2009 “Public Safety Champion Award,” for his continuous commitment to providing scholarships to members of the Fire Department pursuing degrees in Fire Science and Public Safety Administration at Holy Family University. Keep up the good work, Kal!

Broadcast Pioneers member Charlie Gracie, Philadelphia’s very first rock ‘n’ roll star is at it again. He has just completed a year's worth of recording sessions for his new CD entitled, “Charlie Gracie: All Out!” The album features many of the artists that he inspired: Graham Nash, Peter Noone, Ray Davies, Al Kooper, Keb Mo and more. Charlie Gracie has been working on a book with New York writer, Ronald Sklar, covering his more than 58 years in the entertainment business. Says Charlie, “It’s been a great and fascinating run…I feel blessed to still be doing what the Good Lord put me here to do; entertain people.” Charlie hopes to wrap up this project by spring 2010.

We’re pleased to report former Broadcast Pioneer member, 2000 Hall of Fame inductee and 2004 Person of the Year Harry Kalas, was posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame on November 7th in Chicago. Two of Harry’s sons, Brad and Kane accepted the award on behalf of their father. The National Radio Hall of Fame is part of "The Museum of Broadcast Communications." Congratulations to the Kalas family!


(Left to right) Charlie Gracie, Lou Marks (front), Bobby Roberts (rear), Al Alberts & Ronnie Hines
circa 1968

Broadcast Pioneers member Al Alberts, 87, passed away on Friday morning, November 27th. Al and Stella have been living in Florida for the last decade. The apparent cause of death was from kidney failure complications. Al had been sick for a month or two with circulatory problems in his legs. A memorial will be held in Florida at a later date with his ashes scattered in the ocean.

Less than three months ago, Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Lit spoke with Al on behalf of our organization. It was one of Alberts' last interviews. It runs a little over 21 minutes and can be heard below in its entirety.

Listen in Real Audio!
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Pioneers member Valerie Morrison's husband, Charles, passed away on Tuesday, November 24th at 2:30 pm at the age of 81. Valerie says that she "is in such pain. The house is empty...and now, the quiet is taking me to a place I have never been." Valerie, you are in our prayers.

(standing left to right) Jim Leaming, Pete Retzlaff, Joe McCauley, Jim Tate and Dick Carr
(lower center - left to right) Ned Power, Nat Wright and Dick Reynolds and Harry Glascock (at the extreme right)
February 1964

Broadcast Pioneers member Nat Wright, 82, died on Thanksgiving Day from a stroke. In October of 2008, he was hospitalized for being anemic. Then, he went to rehab. On November 5th of 2008, he had open heart surgery. He was hospitalized for 21 days and then in rehab returning home for Christmas of last year. Wright would have turned 83 next week. In our archives, we have an audio clip dating from July 14, 1965. It's 3:30 pm and WIP Radio is airing a special report about the death of Adlai Stevenson. Nat Wright is the newscaster.

Listen in Real Audio!
Listen in Windows Media!

Jared Weinstein, co-owner and co-founder of Lost Nite Records and the Record Museum, a well-known area music chain 40 years ago, passed away the day after Thanksgiving. A service was held on Monday, November 30th.


New Jersey State Senator and former TV anchor Diane Allen, 61, is fighting an “aggressive cancer.” Diane is a leader in the legislature, and formerly worked as a news anchor on Channels 3 and 10. She was a 2005 inductee into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

Broadcast Pioneers Board member John Roberts fell and broke his arm a few weeks ago. John is home and taking it at easy. We hope to see him at one of our luncheons real soon.

Broadcast Pioneers member Ceasar Berry had by-pass surgery recently. He's now home and on the mend. We wish him well. Ceasar is part of the music group, The Tymes who had many hit records.


Things are moving on our our DAP, Digital Archival Project. We received a donation of $410 from Judith Hibbs, in memory of her father, member Doug "Bud" Hibbs who passed away earlier this year. Doug was in the business for 75 years (not a typo). Doug's father started WTEL Radio, now WWDB, 860 on the AM dial. We also received contributions from member Ed Cunningham and member Valerie Morrison in memory of her late husband. We also received some Jack McKinney radio broadcasts from Jack's daughter, Maura who sang the Star Spangled Banner at our annual banquet. We need your materials for this archive. We can return them once they are in a digital format. History is only what gets saved!

We heard that Donna and Tom Lamaine recently visited Harrah’s in Atlantic City to take in the Kenny Jeremiah show. If it was anything like the October luncheon, the room was rockin! No doubt you folks had a great time! Both Tom Lamaine and Kenny Jeremiah are members of the Broadcast Pioneers.

We’ve heard from Marty Jacobs, former Manager of News and Public Affairs for WKBS-TV, who was sharing some memories about his time with WKBS.

…a snow storm that snowed early arrivers in and everyone else out…and the on air snow fight with the crew…the only TV host in history to give blood live while discussing its need and uses…how I created and distributed the first news for children distributed to their 5 stations. Thanks for sharing Marty!

"The Magic of Hollywood: The Gene London Costume Collection at the Reading Public Museum" will undergo changes with the December 15th roll-out of a dozen magnificent costumes from "Gone with the Wind" (1939 ­ now celebrating its 70th anniversary), arguably the most beloved and enduring film of all time. In 1989, the Ted Turner organization selected Gene London to recreate the costumes from Gone with the Wind for its Golden Anniversary celebration. Costumes from some of the most legendary moments in the film will be on view. This will be a limited-engagement feature, on display through February 15th with the entire costume exhibit ending on May 30th.

Unless you've been living in a cave, you probably already know that Broadcast Pioneers member Dave Roberts is retiring from his duties at 6ABC, WPVI on Friday, December 11th. Dave has been as the station for 31 years and has become a fixture for the Channel 6 parades and, of course, his wonderful weather forecasts. We'll miss him on the air, but now, he'll have no excuses not to attend our luncheons. Hope to see you there on December 16th, Dave. And speaking of Dave, his son, David Boreanaz, is still going strong on the FOX TV Series, Bones. It's currently on Thursday evenings at 8 pm on FOX TV Network and Channel 29, here in Philadelphia. The show is also in reruns on TNT daily at 7 pm.

Watch Video Retrospective on Dave Roberts' Career

Frank Stone's House
West Wildwood, NJ
November 2009

So much for coastal living! Newsletter Editor and Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Frank Stone, living in West Wildwood New Jersey is pleased to report he survived the recent three-day nor’easter. With 19 plus inches of water around his house, he evacuated at 1:30 am on Thursday November 12th, meeting the National Guard on the bridge, on the way out. Frank said, “they told me, we think you can get out, if you do, don’t come back until it’s over. We won’t let you in!” Some minor damage to the house. “ I still love it here, living my dream!”

A final thought...

“I have never gotten to the point during an audition where I said, 'OK, kid, that's enough.' I let them have their three minutes in the sun."

Al Alberts

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

© 2009, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved

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