November 18, 2023

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia 2023 Hall of Fame Gala

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On Friday November 17 the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia honored outstanding members of the broadcast industry by inducting them into their Hall of Fame. It was a night of smiles and memories that all who attended will cherish for years to come.

Those who were inducted included those with a wide range of broadcasting skills. Each making a huge contribution with their abilities and hard work

Terry Belford started his 50 years in television while he was just in his second year of high school in Texas. After working at a couple of TV stations in Texas where he was trained in camera lighting, audio and productions he got further experience through his tour of duty in the Army in a special video unit.

His big break came when he was hired in 1979 to work at WPVI. Terry thought at first that this was going to be a steppingstone on his way to bigger markets. Instead, he has had a remarkable 43-year career at the station working at countless numbers of special events.

Another outstanding behind the scenes inductee is Rodney Byrd. He is a truly astonishing technical wizard. Having worked with Rodney for many years, I can truthfully tell you that it seems there is nothing this man can’t fix or build. Those of us who work with him at Beasley Broadcasting can also rely on him day or night. You don’t panic, you call Rodney. He’s an inspiration to us all.

Because of his hard work and uncanny abilities, Rodney worked his way up to becoming the chief engineer for all of the Beasley Philadelphia stations that include WXTU, WMMR, WBEN, WPEN FM, WMGK, WWDB, and WTMR.

Among his many achievements is the yearly Preston and Steve Camp Out. This champaign to collect food is a week-long live broadcast of both audio and video from a “village” created by Rodney. In a parking lot He does what seems to be the impossible every year.

Debbi Calton’s love for music led her to seek work at her college radio station WQFS of Guilford College in North Carolina. That in turn, led to a desire for a career in radio. Before graduating from college, she left to work at a radio station. She worked her way up from that small radio station in North Carolina, to Tampa, Orlando, Denver, Chicago and finally to Philadelphia.

Debbi’s unique ability to connect with the Philadelphia audience has made her a legend during her 36 years in the city of Brotherly love. While she made a mark at her first station WYSP, Debbi is best remembered for her 27 years of doing middays. Her popularity made her the top-rated DJ and truly beloved personality in Philadelphia. In 2019 she “retired” from WMGK on her own terms. She’s now doing a show on OutsideFM internet radio station and can be heard by logging on to www.outsidefm.com

One of the most knowledgeable broadcasters in music radio is David Dye. His fifty years in radio began when he was at Swarthmore College’s WSRN. His vast knowledge of music and laid-back style (that he learned from the legendary Gene Shay) were major factors in David getting his first job in commercial radio at WMMR. Except for a brief stint at WBLM in Maine, Dye’s long radio career has been in Philadelphia.

After David came back to Philadelphia from Maine, he returned to WMMR and then to WIOQ where his Friday Night Flashback Dance Party became a popular attraction at the Chestnut Cabaret.

Once WIOQ decided to change their format, David found a place that was perfect for him. WXPN not only became his home, but the launching pad for the show he founded called “THE WORLD CAFÉ” The show spread from just being a local show to being aired on hundreds of NPR radio stations. The show’s success can be directly attributed to David’s knowledge of music and his ability to bring out the best in his guests during his over 3,000 interviews.

Rhonda D. Hibbler has always been a trail blazer. With her parents’ blessing, she started out on her own at 16 by getting an early acceptance to the University of Pennsylvania.

Her first stop was to be the first African American Woman in radio history to produce a show for the first FM talk show station in America, WWDB. Rhoda produced their first remote broadcast from the White House, Israel, and the first simulcast with CSPAN .

WIP sports radio was next. She did it all as a producer, engineer, and call screener.

Then on to WPEN. Again, she made history by becoming the first woman to be hired as the production director. When WPEN went to all sports she became the first female production director for an all sports She maintains that position for the Phanatic all sports station. Her vibrant personality and positive slant on life have impacted people both on and off the air.

Helen Leicht got the radio itch at a very early age thanks to her uncle Joe Conway. He was the general manager of one of the world’s most popular radio stations in history, WIBG. What an introduction it was listening to the DJs like Joe Niagara, Bill Wright, Sr., Hy Lit, Dean Tyler and others who introduced her to the music that would change her life. That was especially true of The Beatles.

Her first job was not at a music station, but KYW. After working there as a production assistant, she moved on to WIOQ. It was at the progressive rock radio station that she could put her passion for music to good use.

Not only did Helen perform on the air, but she also served as the music director. One of the most popular shows at the station was a new concept that Helen developed. The formula was simple. Play nothing but The Beatles and call the show “Breakfast with The Beatles”. The fans loved it. So did Paul McCartney. He granted her an interview that was the only one he granted during his tour at the time.

In 1990 Leicht made a change that would end up being her last. She went to work for WXPN. By 1998 she became the midday host and became active in the community. In 2004 Helen became the area’s representative for WXPN’s “Musicians on Call”. This program brings together musicians and hospitals to provide music to patients.

In addition, Helen has served on the Board of live Connections. They are a non-profit educational program that connects city youth to the music industry.

News is in Rob Vaughan’s blood. His father, Robert Vaughan, was a news anchor at WIP radio. Rob followed in his footsteps and served at WIP in the same capacity. Rob’s son is now a news anchor. His brother was a videographer for CNN and CNBC. His cousin was a CBS correspondent until he was killed in a helicopter crash.

After leaving WIP, Rob worked for the Associated Press in Washington, before becoming a news anchor at WFMZ-TV. In his 36 years there he was selected as a three-time Emmy award nominee and in 2018 was named broadcaster of the year by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Rob has also narrated documentaries for the History Channel, Discovery, and other networks.

Cathy Yungmann is a woman who will not be denied. After her college adviser told her that she should change majors because women are just not hired in TV, Cathy found a way.

After Cathy graduated, She found out that the general manager of WKBS-TV lived in her neighborhood. She put her resume in her pocket and walked her dog by his house until she spotted him cutting his lawn. She gave him the resume and later he called and offered her a job. After taking the job, she continued her education and eventually was named Producer/Director.

Yungmann left WKBS and came to Philadelphia where she directed for WCAU-TV, WHYY-TV and eventually WPHL-TV. This led to her being the inaugural director for “Dancin’ on Air”.

Then in 1982 it was time for a second career. Cathy not only taught television production and new communication technologies at Cabrini College, she also designed and maintained a video studio. After 33 years on the job, she retired in 2016.

You will not get too many people that will argue against you if you say that Marc Zumoff is one of the best sports announcers of all time. Here are just some of the reasons.

Marc won the Mid-Atlantic region’s Emmy Award 19 times. Additional awards: National Sports Media Association’s Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year three times, the Bill Campbell Award from the Philadelphia Sportswriters Association and the 2022 recipient of The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters highest award of distinction, the Gold Medal.

During his long career he has covered the Rio Olympics in 2026 for NBC, done broadcasting for the Flyers, The Union and assorted college games. He’s also done reporting for various outlets as an anchor, producer, and reporter.

Marc Zumoff is best remembered for doing his dream job. Broadcasting for The Philadelphia 76ers. His quick insights into the game and keen whit made him perfect for the job for 27 years.

This marked the return of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame. The event was put on hold since the start of pandemic but plans to return again next year with other deserving inductees.


 

 

Reception Party

Reception Party


 

 

BPOP Banquet Hall During Dinner

Banquet Hall During Dinner


 

 

 

Tom Lamaine Person of the Year

Tom Lamaine Person of the Year


 

 

 

BPOP Rhonda B Hibbler

Rhonda B. Hibbler


 

 

Leigh Richards Rhonda D Hibbler Scott Palmer

Leigh Richards, Rhonda D. Hibbler, and Scott Palmer


 

 

 

BPOP Pat Ciarrocchi

Pat Ciarrocchi


 

 

 

Pat Ciarrocchi Tom Lamaine Table

Pat Ciarrocchi at the Tom Lamaine Table


 

 

 

Leigh Richards Marc Zunoff Jeff Ash

Leigh Richards, Marc Zunoff and Jeff Ash


 

 

 

BPOP Helen Leicht

Helen Leicht


 

 

 

Leigh Richards Helen Leicht Jeff Ash

Leigh Richards, Helen Leicht, and Jeff Ash


 

 

 

Debbi Calton BPOP 1

Debbi Calton


 

 

 

Debbi Calton BPOP 3

Debbi Calton


 

 

 

Debbi Calton BPOP 2

Leigh Richards, Debbi Calton, and Scott Palmer


 

 

 

Leigh Richards Debbi Calton Scott Palmer

Leigh Richards, Debbi Calton, and Scott Palmer


 

 

 

BPOP Cathy Yungmann

Cathy Yungmann


 

 

 

Leigh Richards Cathy Yungmann Jeff Ash

Leigh Richards, Cathy Yungmann, and Jeff Ash


 

 

 

 BPOP Jeff Ash

Jeff Ash


 

 

 

BPOP David Dye

David Dye


 

 

 

David Dye Paying Tribute to Jerry Stevens

David Dye Paying Tribute To Jerry Stevens


 

 

 

BPOP Rob Vaughan

Rob Vaughan


 

 

 

BPOP Rodney Byrd

Rodney Byrd


 

 

 

BPOP Scott Palmer

Scott Palmer

1 comment

  • Comment Link Otto Greenleaf Saturday, December 16, 2023 posted by Otto Greenleaf

    So nice for all of them. Helen Leicht once said she gave birth at the hospital while Genesis "Trick of The Tail" played in the delivery room. Hope she likes The Beatles new song.

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