Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is a federally recognized, state chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the Philadelphia Broadcast Community since January of 1962.

December Luncheon
The Bala Golf Club
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet & Greet at 12 noon!
Lunch at 12:30 pm
Ratecard: $28 per person!

CALL (856) 365-5600!

Another "Third Wednesday" Luncheon!
Wednesday, December 18, 2013!



RESERVE NOW! CALL (856) 365-5600!

Our last luncheon for the calendar year 2013 is on Wednesday, December 18th. It's a tribute to Sally Starr with guest speakers Jerry Blavat, Ed Cunningham, Charlie Gracie and Carter Merbreier (otherwise known as Captain Noah) with an original song about Sally written and performed by Broadcast Pioneers Board Member Paul Big Bear.

Plus, Larry Shenk, Vice-President of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team will talk about baseball and the world of sports. He'll be introduced by Broadcast Pioneers member Skip Clayton, host of the Racing Wrap on WBCB Radio in Levittown. Also on the program is Bill Roswell, Director of Digital News and Media for KYW Newsradio who will be singing a couple of Christmas songs and playing his guitar.

Our MC for the afternoon is Broadcast Pioneers board member Diego Castellanos, who is the host of "Puerto Rican Panorama" on WPVI-TV. It's the longest running show of its type. Diego has been on 6abc for 43 years.

(856) 365-5600! RSVP TODAY!

It all takes place at the beautiful and historic Bala Golf Club, 2200 Belmont Avenue (across the street from the State Police) in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia. Only minutes away from Channels 6, 10 and 17 and the radio stations in Bala Cynwyd. Call now for reservations. (856) 365-5600! Don't miss this one!

Meet and greet (networking) starts at 12 noon, and a full course lunch including salad, coffee or tea and dessert will be served at 12:30 pm. There will also be a crudité and cheese table. Cash bar available all afternoon!

(856) 365-5600! CALL IMMEDIATELY!

Plenty of FREE parking. The luncheon is open to all our members, their guests and any person in the industry or associated fields, whether active or retired. You do NOT have to be a member to attend. Call NOW with your reservation(s), (856) 365-5600!

In order to speed up check-in at the luncheon, it would help if you had the $28 in exact change or your $28 check already written. Make it payable to the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.


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Attention Board Members: there will be a meeting of our Board of Directors on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, from 10 am to 11:30 am. Board members should plan to attend. RSVP your attendance with your reservation for lunch.



Broadcast Pioneers member David White toured the country as a child, performing with his mom and dad in their hand-balancing act. In 1955, at the age of fifteen, he formed "The Juvenaires." That group later changed their name to "Danny and the Juniors." Dave has had a wonderful career writing and producing the some of the best talent. Johnny Madara and White are presently writing songs for, and developing a feature film project with Michael Killeen titled “At the Hop.”


Dr. Marilyn Heine, a physician, has been involved in different broadcasts throughout the state of Pennsylvania. She is often heard or seen in broadcasts as a spokesperson, panelist or guest on WITF-FM in Harrisburg, The Pennsylvania Cable Network, WHYY Radio, KYW Newsradio, Comcast Network, Radio PA, Clear Channel outlets, Penn State Radio and much more.

We are thrilled to have these new members. 498 Members. More than ever. We hope to see as many of our members as possible at our December Luncheon.



(Left to right) Broadcast Pioneers members Al Alberts and Stella Alberts
"The Al Alberts Showcase"
WPVI-TV, Channel 6
circa 1975

Here's a clip from an "Al Alberts Showcase" program that aired on WPVI-TV, Channel 6 around 1975. The program ran for a third of a century here in Philadelphia. Al was one of the original members of "The Four Aces."

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Wayne Joel
WDAS-FM Air Studio
circa 1974
(photo taken by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson)

Here's Wayne Joel on WDAS-FM on July 4, 1968. He was doing the 10 pm to 2 am air shift. What we have is some of Wayne speaking from the first two hours of his program on Independence Day. Sometimes you get lucky. Broadcast Pioneers member Elliot Abrams (the Accu-Weather guy) donated a stack of unlabeled seven inch reels of audio tape. He said that he had no idea what was on them. Well, this was one of those reels. We have just put Wayne's voice on this excerpt with no music (because of ASCAP and BMI restrictions). Each cut is separated by one second of silence. At that time, the station was broadcasting Hyski's Underground from 3 pm until 6 am seven days a week. The morning and early afternoon were filled with the Max M. Leon classical music concert, an Italian hour and other specialty broadcasts that were still under contract.

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Next is another tape from that Elliot Abrams' stack. 13 days later, we have Larry Magid (using the air name Larry Magic) on WDAS-FM. His shift was 6 pm to 10 pm. The station had expanded the format with Broadcast Pioneers member T. Morgan doing 1 pm to 6 pm. Now, the underground format was for 17 hours a day. By the way, the double doors that went into the FM studio had "Hyski's Underground" written on it. However, whoever did it left out the R. So it said Hyski's Undergound. Someone took a magic market and added a ^ and wrote a small R in there to correct the spelling.

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Our final cut this month is from WMMR Radio. In 1970, WMMR raided WDAS-FM and took 4 of their air people away. One of those was Broadcast Pioneers member Ed Sciaky. This piece of audio came from the hundreds of reel to reel tapes in the Sciaky basement. Ed saved everything and we are sure glad he did. It's April 10, 1974 and his guest live in the studio is Janis Ian. This isn't the first time that Ed interviewed Janis. While Sciaky was still in college, he invited 16 year old Janis Ian to appear for 5 live hours of Ed's WRTI-FM radio program, "Broadside." WRTI at the time wasn't allowed to play rock and roll and it was simply retitled "Folk Music." (They got away with it because no one from Temple University administration was listening on Saturday evening). Previously, we have given you excerpts of that 1967 WRTI broadcast. However, this month, here's Janis on WMMR in 1974 with friend Ed Sciaky!

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(Left to right) Sir Geoffrey, the Giraffe (a Mary & Paul Ritts puppet) with Bill Sears
In the Park TV series
circa 1953


Talk Radio 1210 WPHT presents the 5th annual Feast of the Seven Fishes, a listener event hosted by Broadcast Pioneers member Dom Giordano and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The event will take place Monday, December 16th, from 7 to 10 pm at the Vie Restaurant, 600 North Broad Street. This holiday celebration and broadcast with Dom will feature dozens of political and celebrity guests as well as the 30-member Bishop Shanahan Choir performing holiday favorites. Some of the celebrity guests include Bobby Rydell and Broadcast Pioneers members Charlie Gracie and Jane "Pixanne" Norman.

Talk Radio 1210 WPHT honored Broadcast Pioneers member Sid Mark and his 57th Anniversary in broadcasting. Broadcast Pioneers member Marc Rayfield, Senior Vice President/Market Manager for CBS Radio Philadelphia, said “Sid is not only a Philadelphia treasure, but a national treasure as well. His legendary voice has insured that another legendary voice has remained quite legendary. We are honored to have him as a member of our team at WPHT.”

Member Sid Mark said, “I’ve loved all 11,856 hrs and 118,856 selections during the 2,964 weekends on the air with Francis Albert Sinatra." Sid launched “The Sounds of Sinatra” in Philadelphia 57 years ago. The legend began with a call from a listener, who suggested that Sid spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank”, as well as “Sunday with Sinatra” which presently airs on 1210 WPHT on Sunday’s from 9-1PM. “The Sounds of Sinatra,” now heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast, is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.

It will be available in a couple weeks. What are we talking about? Why, member Harvey Sheldon's new book, "A Miraculous People - The History of American Jews." In this, his latest undertaking, Sheldon tells us about the accomplishments of Jewish people in the United States. His book will be available at beginning December 10th..

50 years ago comedian Dick Gregory told a story about how he sent free mail. He said that he would put his address in the center of the envelope and the person he was sending mail to in the upper left corner. He put no stamp on the envelope and threw it in the mailbox. A couple days later, it was delivered to the person in the upper left corner (as returned postage) because it didn't have a stamp on it.

Well, one of our members must have remembered this because they mailed something to Gerry Wilkinson, our Chairman of the Board, at his home address. No postage was placed on the Broadcast Pioneers envelope. It was "returned" to our PO xox and Gerry got it when he opened the PO box to check on our mail.

It was just an error that this unidentified person forgot the stamp. Of course, doing this on purpose is a federal crime (defrauding the Post Office), so we don't recommend you try it! If you do, we can always see you on visiting days.

Last month the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania surprised CBS 3 Anchor and Talk Philly Host Pat Ciarrocchi (a member of Broadcast Pioneers), who was emceeing the organization’s 20th annual Spectrum Awards. They presented her with an award created in her honor, the American Red Cross Outstanding Advocate Award. Ciarrocchi has hosted the annual event, which recognizes women as community leaders, for 13 years, and the Red Cross wanted to thank her in a very public way for her support. CBS 3/CW Philly President and General Manager Jon Hitchcock (a Broadcast Pioneers member) also surprised her by attending to help present the award.

This happened some time ago, but here it is in case we never told you before: St. Denis School in Havertown was renamed Cardinal John Foley School. John was one of our members and was our "Person of the Year" in November 2011. Foley was a broadcaster before he entered the priesthood and for a quarter of a century you could hear and see him on NBC-TV's midnight Christmas mass from the Vatican.

Broadcast Pioneers member Bunny Gibson has been keeping busy. While Bunny lives on the west coast, we still hear from her once in a while. She tells us that she recently did a commercial for Toshiba. Gibson also did a new music video by TJ Stafford called "Charly." Bunny, of course, played the lead character. She's involved in a local charity for youth in Agoura Hills and she just received a "Certificate of Achievement" from the City of Los Angeles.

Member Joe Ball, founder and president of ACT, Inc., is the EP of two new weekly programs that will air over WWDB, 860 on the AM dial. The first new show is called "Food Talk" and is hosted by Audra Neff. Unnati Patel is the host of "People of India." Both programs will also have repeat broadcasts.

Broadcast Pioneers member Al Primo e-mails us that a couple of weeks ago marked the 45th Anniversary of Eyewitness News in NYC. However, the real start was here in Philly. In August of1965, KYW-TV went on the air with new set, graphics, music, newsroom studio and a breakthrough idea with some great people. There's a video produced by the Newseum in Washington, DC. that will debut at an exhibit this month.

Did you know...

(Left to right) Broadcast Pioneers member Harry Harris and David McCallum
(McCallum was then on "Man from UNCLE")
(Today, we know McCallum as "Ducky" on NCIS)

Ed McMahon worked in Philadelphia? Well, here's an excerpt from Broadcast Pioneers member Harry Harris' unpublished book "TV Star Secrets." We have the entire manuscript in our archives. This work is protected under US Copyright and is NOT in the public domain. Harry wrote:

Ed McMahon, linked to (Johnny) Carson from "Who Do You Trust?" days when he regularly commuted from Philadelphia to New York through "The Tonight" tenure that ultimately ended on the West Coast, was destined to become a pitchman for mudry products and that multi-million dollar sweepstakes. His father was an institutional fund raiser who traveled around the country arranging for the presentation of outdoor shows under the auspices of organizations like the American Legion, Lions and Kiwanis.

"He'd set up things like chances on cars, getting a percentage," McMahon said. "He'd traveled ahead of a show, and I'd be with it. I was a barker, a mike man, stock, inventory. I worked for carnivals and Harlaker's Circus. I ran a Bingo game. At 17, I was a manger with people 40 and 45 working for me. While I attended Boston College and, later, Catholic University, I sold pots and pans and fountain pens and had a profitable dry cleaning business."

Even when he interrupted his career at WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, when he appeared in numerous local and CBS network shows, for an 18-month tour of duty as a Marine Corps pilot in Korea, he managed between 85 combat missions, to emcee shows with name bands and run the Bingo games at the officers' club.

"The first time I Felt I'd really made it," McMahon recalled, "was when I appeared at Steel Pier in Atlantic City and saw my name in lights six feet high. The big kick was that 16 years earlier, I had a summer job right across the street, selling vegetable-paring gadgets."

During his TV apprenticeship in Philadelphia, McMahon was the most eager of beavers. While there, he was dubbed the city's own "Mr. Television." "They tagged me that because at one time I had 13 shows on the air." (One, the 11:25 pm "Five Minutes More," replaced "Columnist's Corner," in which I alternated as host with three other Evening Bulletin by-liners.)

Even after becoming ensconced as Johnny Carson's sidekick, he repeatedly sought non-"Tonight " programs and projects. In the first TV special in which he received top billing, a circus show, he was hastily substituted on an already completed tape for Tony Curtis, who had alienated sponsors.... "I had to stand in front of a screen," he recalled, "so that I covered Tony, and I had to make similar gestures, so that his arm wouldn't stick out." Being summoned as an emergency fill-in didn't bother him.

"I'll grab anything that comes along, anything that represents a move up for my career. If you're in a a particular category, people tend to leave you there. In Philadelphia, I did everything it was possible to do since the day television was born, but the trick is to convince others. I'm planning on the day the gravy train stops. Things don't go on the same way forever; you can disappear quietly."

(Left to right) Broadcast Pioneers member Harry Harris and Richard Greene
(Greene was then on "Robin Hood ")

Did all this frenetic activity represent an effort to move of Carson's formidable shadow? "That 'reflected glory' thing has never bothered me. Not really. Johnny has kidded me on the air. He'll say, 'You're getting fresh, now that you're doing specials and movies and all. You'll probably only be here on and off.' My answer is, 'No, Mother always told me to stay very close to the well.' My association with Johnny goes back to the daytime "Who Do You Trust?' Everything else stems from it."

"I enjoy my job, and I think I'm good at it. I like the challenge of ad libbing. It's pure live television. ("Tonight" was taped the same day, but usually aired without any changes.) There is very little prepared material. I'd hate to see it end."

McMahon was often accused of being a sycophant, safeguarding his job by laughing it up for every mediocre Carson quips. "That's not so," he said. I don't feel I have to laugh. I can swear to that. One thing people may not realize, before the warm-u[, we spend 10 minutes together in Johnny's dressing room. During that time, he ma do something outlandish.

We never talk about the show coming up, but about almost everything else. Before I leave, he has me bellylaughing. Then just being reminded, by a word, a look, makes me laugh. Sometimes he sets me up in his room and then puts me away on the air. One night, after mentioning that he didn't think a Carnac the Magnificent sketch would work, that it would ' go into the toilet,' he broke me up by saying, 'Carnac is going into the porcelain facility.'"

"If all else fails, he's got me as a 'saver.' People may think I cater to Johnny. Actually, I represent the audience. I'm always throwing zingers at him that a lot of comics wouldn't tolerate. For instance, one time he came on and said, 'I have a very bad cold, so if I'm not so good tonight, I apologize.' He did three jokes, and there was no audience reaction. 'That's funny,' he said. 'With this cold I can't hear the laughs. I can't even hear the jokes.' 'That's a blessing,' I said. He looked at me. Then he said, 'I also can't hear the new announcer.'"

"We keep trying to break each other up. Once he went as far as hitting me with Aunt Blabby's cane. I don't like the 'stuffy' image. It bothers me. I wish I transferred the way I feel. I am a friendly, ahil-fellow-well-met kind of guy. I try to carry celebrityiom in the warmest way I can."



Member Sid Doherty
TV 10 Reports


Member Sid Doherty in the "hair stylist" chair
TV 10 Reports

Here's Broadcast Pioneers member Sid Doherty, who we inducted into our Hall of Fame a couple of weeks ago. He was the host of a 1965 WCAU-TV, Channel 10 broadcast called "TV 10 Reports." It was about hair. This program is 48 years ago and was shot on 16 mm sound film. It was transferred to 2 inch video tape for air. Our digital file came directly from that original air tape. According to the slate, it was tape number 768-30P. It was recorded on July 16, 1965 and aired on July 27th of that same year. Title according to slate is "TV 10 Reports - Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow."

The program was written by Peter Chrisafides and directed by Dave Wilson with cinematography by Charles Gindhart, Jr. and Ed Tycenski. Sound by Jack Betz and Ralph Rodio. Edited by W. Stephan Stephanowich. Production Assistant was Tip Cushmore. Produced by Jim Crum. EP was Inez Gottlieb. We are delighted to have the complete half-hour broadcast in our archives.

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Our first selection of audio this month dates from February1965. It's a WCAU radio editorial delivered by John Downey, Vice President of CBS Radio and General Manager of WCAU. John held that position for 11 years. The subject is subway safety and the need for TV cameras in the underground areas. Downey was Vice-President of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia at the time he delivered this station editorial. John later became President of this organization and then Chairman of the Board. When Frank Rizzo was mayor, Downey was his Deputy Managing Director and later owned Downey's Drinking House and Dining Saloon in Center City Philadelphia. John Downey passed away in 2008 and two years later was inducted posthumously into our Hall of Fame.

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Next is a clip from January 20, 1966 of KYW Newsradio. It is not known who the news anchor was. Sometimes, we get e-mails or phone calls asking why we don't include more material on the cut. Often, the answer is simple (as in this case): this is all we have.

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This excerpt comes from April 11, 1967. It's WUHY-FM (now WHYY-FM). They had just finished airing a seven hour marathon of BBC Radio's "The Goon Show." This is what the local announcer said, followed by the station's signoff at midnight.

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


WPEN Radio Ad
Spring 1944


We were in Trader Joe's in Ardmore in the middle of last month and were stuck by the music they were playing in the store. They were piping through their facilities the 50s and 60s Hits channel from Muzak's Premium Service. We overheard one of the customers commenting to one of the store's employees how much they were enjoying the music. It was good blend of fifties and sixties oldies. According to Muzak, they market it as 35+ with an equal appeal to both men and women. However, we found out that music at Trader Joe's has different dayparts. At different times of the day and based on the crowd in the store, the music changes to fit the shoppers' demographic. Interesting!

As many of you may be aware, WMGM-TV, NBC 40 in Atlantic City has been sold (subject to FCC approval) by current owner Access 1 Communications for a reported 6 million dollars. The new owners are LocusPoint Networks. There is concern in the shore community that the new buyers are more interested in the station's spectrum. There have been reports in the media to this effect. However, LocusPoint and Access 1 are both saying that their plan is to continue to operate the facility with their current team still in placed and that Access 1 will continue to manage the station for the new owners. WMGM-TV is Access 1's only TV station. They own 13 radio stations throughout the country.

To serve the millions of passionate sports fans throughout the region, NBC10 Philadelphia and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia announced a new and expansive news programming alliance that will deliver an unprecedented level of sports coverage within more than 700 NBC10 newscasts throughout the year. Beginning in January, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s award-winning sports, news and information will power NBC10’s sports reports, featured in multiple newscasts every day.

Jim Quinn, owner and founder of Quinn Broadcasting told the world that Ken Pustizzi, co-founder and former president of Irco Lift has agreements to manage Quinn's radio and TV holdings. Eventually, Quinn said, Pustizzi, will buy the radio assets. The deal is expected to be finalized next year by the FCC. Quinn's broadcast facilities employs 10 full-time and a dozen part-time people. The outlets are based in the Vineland-Millville area of South Jersey.

Steve Patterson has joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News team as a reporter. Patterson comes to Philadelphia from KSDK-TV in St. Louis, Missouri where he has been a reporter since 2011. He began his journalism career as a reporter for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, before being promoted to Holland County Bureau Chief there. Patterson covered numerous investigative pieces for the station including one story that led to the license removal and arrest of one of the area's most notorious slumlords.


(Left to right) Broadcast Pioneers founding members Stan Lee and Esther Broza
1622 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
circa 1946


Broadcast Pioneers member Jeanette Grover-Holland passed away on Sunday, November 10, at the Coastal Carolina Medical Center in Hardeeville, SC. She had been living for years in Bluffton, South Carolina, with her husband Arthur. She was born right here in Philadelphia on June 8, 1937. She worked for years in marketing and sales at Channel 6, here in Philly. She loved her garden and her dog Bonnie.

Herbert Weiman, Sr., 88, passed away on November 4th from lung cancer. He was an attorney who specialized in family law and served during the Second World War as aide to the chief defense counsel at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. Herb loved acting and he appeared in local theater and nationally-known motion pictures. He shared this love with his wife of 58 years, member Ruth Weiman (daughter of Max M. Leon, who once owned WDAS Radio).

Member Preston Stover, 95, passed away last month. He was a real television pioneer. He was involved in much of the programming at WPTZ, Channel 3, owned by Philco. Today that station is KYW-TV. Preston produced ove r500 Philadelphia Athletics baseball games along with the Army-Navy contest and Penn football. He was also involved with the production of the 1948 political conventions, which originated from Philadelphia.

Mary "Mimi" Galow, wife of member Ralph "Bud" Galow passed away (very peacefully according to Bud) on Tuesday, November 19, after a very short bout with liver cancer. It was only discovered two weeks before she died. Mimi had 5 children, ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She was 83 years old. Bud is a long time member of this organization and worked at KYW Radio (also known as WPRCV Radio) for decades.


Can you believe it's been 15 months since we have had an "On the Scene" column? We're delighted to have a new column. The writer is, as usual, Broadcast Pioneers member Frank Stone. Thanks, Frank. Here's what he wrote:

Broadcast Pioneers was “On the Scene” at the Event Center in the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa on Friday November 22, 2013 for the 55th Anniversary celebration and live broadcast of “Pinky’s Corner” on WOND-AM 1400.

The 86-year-old Kravitz is working the crowd that has gathered to see him. A loyal audience of listeners over the years sees Pinky as the voice and conscious of Atlantic City. Kravitz has organized or been a force of countless numbers of events in this town, from helping to bring Miss America back to Atlantic City to a special Armed Forces Parade on the boardwalk honoring veterans and today’s military.

Over the 55 years Kravitz has interviewed thousands of people. When we asked who some of the most memorable interviews were, he said Eleanor Roosevelt, who he interviewed while sitting next to her on a bed in an Atlantic City Hotel before she was to give a speech, and Jimmy Hoffa who was in Atlantic City to support a bakers union movement. It was a one of a kind historic moment in radio.

(left to right) Pinky Kravitz with Broadcast Pioneers member Frank Stone
Atlantic City's celebration of Pinky being on the air for 55 years
Friday evening, November 22, 2013
(Photo by Barbara Farley-Stone)

When we spoke with Pinky and talked about his 55 years in the business and all with the same station, he said, “I just began - every day is like the first day, hopefully I’m better now, but it’s just a thrill. The people here are saying thank you; thank you for telling us what’s happening in the community. We tried to help bring a resurgence to the community and get people involved.”

We asked Pinky, what’s next? He said; “I’m going to come to work every day for the next 55 years! We’re going to keep people informed about the community and what’s happening around them. With a new administration in town, now is the time for people to come together in this community. We have a new day in Atlantic City, it’s the people's time!”


The Mafia and Ed Eisen!

Broadcast Pioneers Board Member Ed Eisen told us about the time the mob wanted him to do PR for them. He needed the work,. he thought... but should he do it?

The year was 1977, just 12 months after one of the largest Catholic gatherings in the history of this country had concluded in Philadelphia. More than 2 million pilgrims had gathered from as far away as Australia, including a U.S. President, the Prince and Princess of Monaco, Mother Teresa, and America’s often isolated American Indians.

Soon after that I found myself out of work. The PR company that had retained this Jewish kid from Brooklyn to run world-wide media for the 41st International Eucharist Congress needed a new job, a new way to support a family of six. I was about 44 at that time and despite a glowing resume, there were no special event jobs to be found here now that the city’s Bicentennial had ended. What to do?

One day I received a call from a gruff-speaking man. He said his sister was on another line. The man did not identify himself except to say that he was speaking from Graterford Prison. He was doing time, he said, for Mafia-related activities. “I’ve been reading about you in the media,” he said, his voice distinguished by a thick Italian accent. “I’ve been reading that you are a religious man,” he said. “That you broke bread with Mother Teresa. Is that true?”

I told him that what he had been reading in local and national media was true. “How would you like to come work for us?” was the question that followed. I nearly dropped the phone. “Work for the Mafia?” I stammered. At this point the man’s sister got on and pleaded: “This is not for my brother. We want to hire you to represent Joey, his son. He’s at Allenwood. He’s a good boy. Been named Prisoner Of the Year. He wrote a play about the Mafia. We want you to polish it up. Get his name in the press and get Hollywood to buy the script.”

I was flummoxed. The woman’s brother began to speak again. “How much would you need a month to represent my son? You’re gonna have to talk him up in the press.” Without even thinking the words $4,000 slipped out of my mouth. The next thing I knew an appointment was set for a luncheon with the consigliere for this major Philadelphia Mafia boss. We met the following Wednesday.

The consigliere was dressed impeccably in a dark brown suit. He carried an umbrella and a large black valise. He appeared cool, welcoming, self-assured. “Let’s say if I accept this assignment, what happens if I don’t deliver? What happens if the media does not pick up the story? After all, I can’t hold a gun to their heads,” I explained, my right palm sweating on my lap.

The counselor smiled confidently. “We know you can do this. We’ve already checked you out. If you can deliver media for two pope, you can deliver headlines for Joey.” I told the consigliere that I would sleep on it and call him in a week.

As I left Dave and Busters, I felt a twinge of panic running down my spine. Yes, I needed the work, but if someone finds me at the bottom of the Delaware, $48,000 a year in income would not help support my widow and four children.

When I returned home my wife was not there. She was in California, caring for our 33-year old son who was dying of melanoma. I called Bill Jones, then head of PR for the city’s school system. “What do you think, Bill, should I do this? What’s the downside?”

“Go for it,” Jones advised. I shot back: “But Bill, when word gets out that the Pope’s PR guy was on the take from the Mafia, it could be the last PR gig I’ll ever do. I could be blackballed in the industry.”

Jones, one of the most respected PR guys in the city, said the risk of winding up in the Delaware and shunning by potential new clients was highly unlikely. “Go for it, Ed,” he said. “$48,000 is a good paycheck.”

I shuttered at his advice. A week later my wife returned from San Francisco. My son’s passing and a burial at sea was absorbing her every moment. It was hard for her to concentrate on this suddenly new element cast into our family’s life.

“Eddie,” she said, “tears flowing from her eyes. “You can’t do this. You are risking your life, my life, our whole future together. How will you find work once the world knows -- and they’ll find out – that you did PR for the Mafia? Even the guy running for dog catcher won’t hire you.”

The next day I called the consigliere for the Mafia. The conversation was brief. He sounded disappointed. Shortly after that, I took a call from an editor at the The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. A staff position on the business desk was waiting for me. Mana from heaven.

You can read more about Eisen's career in his autobiography "Soul for Sale." It's available absolutely free from Ed's website.

(left to right) "Hopalong" Dean Tyler
age 4

Ernie Kovacs broadcasts from Trenton!

The March 6, 1950, issue of Broadcasting Magazine tells us about Ernie Kovacs broadcasting from the center of New Jersey. Problems for the housewife are answered by WTTM Radio (Trenton) and Ernie Kovacs daily at 10:45 am. We can just imagine what kind of answers Ernie gave to "How do I get catsup out of my carpeting?"

The program was sponsored by the Trenton Lighting Studios and RCA Victor. The station reported that during the first week of broadcasts, the station's telephones were tied up. Either Kovacs was giving serious answers or doing some of his zany stuff. You decide.

We all know now about the selling power of Ernie Kovacs. Well, his sponsor reported that the telephones were ringing off the hook at the Trenton Lighting Studios. People wanted info about buying RCA Victor television sets.

By the fall of that year, Ernie was hosting a TV Set on WPTZ entitled, "Pick Your Ideal." The program aired weekly on Thursdays from 1:15 pm to 1:30 pm. It was sponsored by the Ideal Manufacturing Company of Hammonton, New Jersey. The program was described as "manufacturer's garments are models by professionals and described by the show's MC, Ernie Kovacs. Andy Anderson was the co-MC and straight man for Ernie on the live telecast.

The TV broadcast was a contest one. Dresses from two manufacturers are shown. One is from Ideal and the other from a competitor. A phone call to viewers who sent in postcards gave them the chance to win the Ideal garment if they selected which one was made by the sponsor. If they guessed wrong, they got a consolation prize.

Pete Boyle and Fun House!

A station's advertisement for WPTZ said:

In One Week - 22.2 rating. 2/3 sold out! "Fun House in the hottest television show in Philadelphia.

Fun House is giving laughs to the whole family every weekday at 6:00 - 6:30 pm over WPTZ. A 22.2 ARB rating after just one week on the air. A viewer per set average of 2.9!

Fun House reaches a total of more than a million and a quarter people every day at a cost per thousand of only 21 cents.

Fun House appeals to the entire family. It has the ideal audience composition of 45% adults (22% men, 23% women) and 55% children. Little wonder that in just one week, Fun House is 2/3 sold out.

Fun House combines three of the most audience attracting elements in television today. "The Little Rascals," formerly "Our Gang," appealing to the whole family, with a phenomenal rating history and the best first run cartoons in television, with a proven record of building big all-family audiences.

To pull these powerful audience-winning elements together, Fun House features Pete Boyle, a veteran of five years of successful Philadelphia TV entertaining and product selling. Commercials are integrated into the show for top effectiveness.

Fun House is beamed to 6 and 1/4 million people over a wider area with a clearer, stronger picture than any other television station in Pennsylvania. Best of all, there are still a few availabilities. Get in touch now with Alexander W. Dannenbaum, Jr., WPTZ Sales Manager, LOcust 4-5500, or Eldon Campbell, WBC National Sales Manager, PLaza 1-2700, New York.

WPTZ, Channel 3, First in Television in Philadelphia.

Circled is Broadcast Pioneers member Stan Hochman
with some of his follow football buddies
Camp Gordon, Georgia
(photo courtesy of Sgt. Roger Mullis)

The Beginning of WHYY-FM!

According to a leading trade publication, WHYY-FM started broadcasting on Tuesday, December 14, 1952. Westinghouse Broadcasting donated the equipment including a 23 kw transmitter and 600 foot tower. Laurence LePage was the station's Executive Director and John Ullrich, formerly of WCAU-TV and WFIL-TV was Program Supervisor. Ullrich was one of two director on "Action in the Afternoon" that originated out of WCAU-TV and aired live on the CBS-TV television network.


As we do every month, we want to thank Broadcast Pioneers member Johnny B. Hall for his monthly cash donation to our DAP, Digital Archival Project. Johnny donates $250 every month. The amount totals $3,000 yearly and really helps us to underwrite this much needed but expensive project. By the way, that's a $600 a year increase over his contribution from last year.

We already have a good start for the April 2014 scholarships. We already have pledges and/or funding for seventeen $1,000 scholarships to be awarded in April of 2014. We received $1,000 for a scholarship in the memory of Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Famer Mac McGuire. The contribution came from member R. Alan Campbell. Also, the final $1,000 scholarship (part of a five year package) from Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Famer Sylvia Kauders. We also have pledges for seven $1,000 scholarships from member Johnny B. Hall and his wife, Ginny. That's one more than last year. Also, a scholarship from the Adelman family for a $1,000 scholarship and also one from Robin Adelman's dad, member Leon Love. Member Harry Hurley has pledged a $1,000 scholarship from the proceeds of this year's Hurley in the Morning Golf Tournament.

Broadcast Pioneers Vice-President Kal Rudman started underwriting scholarships for our organization several years ago. He was the person that underwrote our first scholarship way back when. Now, there are many following in his footsteps. Kal has just said that he'll be underwriting two more scholarships for the coming 2014 year. Thanks, Kal. Another contribution came from Esther Kurtz. Included in her membership renewal was a $1,000 for a scholarship in memory of David Kurtz (founder of B101).She has been doing this now for 8 years in a row.

Plus, we have added two more $1,000 scholarships for April 2014. One is from Bette Lavine of Center City and the other is from Len Stevens, long-time member of the Broadcast Pioneers.

And again, we wish to thank member Jerry Del Colliano for his $1,000 contribution to our DAP fund. This is the second year in a row that Jerry has done this. We thank him so much for his gift to this most important project.

(Left to right) Belle (age 4) and Marlene Adelman (age 13)
with the B-101 Bee
(Their parents, Robin & Ira Adelman are both members
as is their grandfather, member Leon Love)

A little while ago, Robin Adelman (on behalf of the entire Adelman family and Leon Love) presented us with a $1,000 contribution to be split between of our DAP project and our general fund.We welcome other gifts for these and other projects in the form of money and/or donated items like video tapes, audio transcriptions and photos.

We also just received a $1,000 check from member R. Alan Campbell. It is for a scholarship to be given in April of 2015 in the memory of Fred Ruggieri, who used the air name Fred Randall. Thanks, Alan. We also have a pledge for 2015 from member Harry Hurley with a $1,000 scholarship (limited to students either residing in or attending college in South Jersey). The proceeds for this scholarship will come from Harry's Charity Golf Tournament next year.

We would like to thank those who gave a donation while sending in for their banquet tickets. They include: Peggy King, Valerie Morrison, Bill Kelley, Carol Leebron, Corky Warren, Art Moore, Sylvia Kauders, Steve Tatz and Bob Kravitz. Thanks so much for your support.

Our special thanks go to TUTV and The Kal & Lucille Rudman Media Production Center.

They have underwritten a grant to be used to fund an entire year of all our newsletters for calendar year 2013. We thank them so much for their support!


If you forgot to make an extra contribution (cash or memorabilia) and would like to do so now, it's never too late. We would be thrilled to hear from you at: PO Box 2886, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 or call us at (856) 365-5600!


"Other than being a doctor, the greatest thing is to make people laugh."

Thomas "Cozy" Morley
Well-known area comedian

Please contact us by e-mail at or by mail to: Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, PO Box 2886, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. 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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