Broadcast Pioneers member Les Waas had been an active member of Broadcast Pioneers for five decades. He served as our President and then as our Chairman of the Board. He had been on our Board of Directors for over four decades, longer than any other member. On Friday evening, November 18, 2005, Les Waas was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame."
Les had been President of Waas, Inc., an advertising agency for more than a half century and is owner of New Sounds, a creative service specializing in jingles and humorous commercials, and winner of most major creative awards. He had performed voices in hundreds of commercials for radio and television.
Les had written and produced 973 jingles for such advertisers as "Mr. Softee" (heard on thousands of ice cream trucks), Holiday Inn, U.S. Coast Guard, Kiddie City, Acme Markets, Genuardi Super Markets, Breyer's, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Department of Virginia Tourism and the longest-continuously-running jingle in advertising, the Melrose Diner. He had also written 22 published/recorded songs and two of them became the official themes of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.
As an artist, he had created ad layouts and cartoons, and had designed logos for such firms as Colonial Village Meat Markets., The Simco Co., Diet III, Super Value Beverage Stores, Action Duplication, plus many restaurants, auto dealers, etc. He designed the current logo of Broadcast Pioneers. As a writer, he had produced articles for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bulletin and Daily News, and for several national publications.
Waas had appeared on scores of national and local TV programs including Prime Time Live, David Letterman, The Today Show, To Tell the Truth, Mike Douglas, Maury Povich and Tom Snyder (just to name a few). Les was also on many network news shows and had appeared on many radio talk shows worldwide. Waas had been featured as "Mother's Whistler," the notorious "Congressman Schwerbitz," and other characters and had been in four major films and served as guest lecturer on broadcast advertising at Temple University.
Les Waas had served as president of the regional chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Independence Toastmasters, the Procrastinators Club of America and the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. He had performed as the entertainment for eleven Broadcast Pioneers Person-of-the-Year awards banquets (we threw rocks at him at most of the events).
He was a member of American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, the Air Force Association., the National Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Philadelphia Ad Club and other organizations. He was candidate for the Pennsylvania State Legislature and was the creator of the "number system" for announcing school closings on radio & TV. He was considered to be a leading authority on "Phillyspeak" and was a World War II B-17 pilot. He lives in Huntingdon Valley, PA and had been married to Sylvia for 50 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Mike Jawer, a visitor to our website, is the son of Broadcast Pioneers member Bob Jawer. Mike e-mailed:
I had no idea of the sheer creative output of one Les Waas. Les and his wife Sylvia always used to send around humorous holiday cards around Christmas - and I knew about the Procrastinators Club, but didn't realize how many commercial jingles he composed, such as for Mr. Softee. Nor that he'd been on To Tell the Truth, etc. Now when I speak with him, I'll do so with even more respect. He and Sylvia have two great kids, too. The son, Murray, is an investigative reporter living here in Washington. I met him 15 years ago when he was dating a friend of mine. Since then, I've seen Murray's name from time to time on ...articles written for the New Republic, or the Nation, or the Washington Post. And their daughter, who also lives in the DC area has recently published a book of poems.
Member Les Waas passed away on Thursday morning, April 19, 2016.
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