Hear T. Morgan talk about this event on a podcast by clicking here!
At their monthly luncheon held on May 15, 2019 The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia at the Bala Golf Club, there was a tribute to one of Philadelphia’s most popular and successful stations since 1975. The highlight was a panel of present and past on air talent.
Sadly, the event was scheduled to be televised, but owning to technical issues, it was not. Audio of the entire panel will be available in a couple weeks on the BP website. Those on the T. Morgan mailing list will receive a notice when it becomes available.
The MC for the event was T. Morgan who is celebrating 28 years at WMGK this month. The panel consisted of current afternoon DJ Andre Gardner, Mike Bowe who did afternoons for many on the station, Harvey of Harvey in the morning, Sue Serio former night jock, and Bob Craig former program director.
Twenty one years ago a tradition of having a Rock ‘n’ Roll Lunch was started. The 2019 version took place on Wednesday March 20th at the Bala Golf Club. A large roster of acts had those attending the luncheon dancing and clapping their hands.
Among the many that performed were: Danny & the Juniors, Rich Ritchie of The Rip chords, Kenny Jeremiah of The Soul Survivors. Rich Jordon of The Jordon Brothers, Eddie Collins music director for The Drifters, Billy Carlucci lead singer for Billy and The Essentials and the headliners Jimmy Clanton The grand finale was to have the entire cast of performers on the stage at the same time all singing together.
The old time rockers showed they still had their stuff. “Rock and Roll is here to Stay” by Danny & The Juniors had everyone singing along. The sold out crowd further showed their appreciation with several standing ovations.
While John DeBella broadcasted live from 6-9am at the Kimmel Center, the WMGK DJs and staff were located at various Acmes through the Delaware Valley. The chilly air didn’t keep thousands of people from brining their turkey donations to the drop off points.
T. Morgan was on duty at the Acme in Havertown, PA. Many kind and generous listeners came by to say hello and give us their donations. While each and every one of those donations is greatly appreciated no matter how small, when some people make a huge contribution they deserve special praise.
For a couple of years now we have looked forward to a visit from Nan Lansinger of Pennsylvania Trust located in Radnor. There was some concern that since we no longer had a drop off point in Radnor that we would see them this year.
On November 16, 2018 twenty-one new members were inducted into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia’s Hall of Fame before a sold out crowd at the Hilton Ballroom on City Avenue in Philadelphia.
Vernon Odom was also honored as the “Person of the Year”. For full details click here.
I was delighted to have some friends join me in receiving this prestigious honor (see story here). Leigh Richards and I work together at WMGK. She was also kind enough to write a comment on the back of my book “Confessions of a Teenage Disc Jockey”
Leigh also does work for KYW and prior to that was at WXTU for twenty-five years. She also served as a WFIL “Boss Jock”. Steve Ross and I worked together at WIBG.
Steve and Leigh not only graduated together from Northeast High in Philadelphia, but went in the same limo to the prom together as part of a triple date. While Leigh and Steve were not dates on that night, they did go with their friends in an unusual fashion. The trio of couples were able to borrow a limo from a friend’s funeral home that served as their transportation for the big night.
On Wednesday October 17, 2018 The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia held a luncheon at the Bala Golf Club. A panel of current and former WMMR broadcasters related their experiences with the radio station that is celebrating 50 years of continuous rockin’.
The panel included:
Michael Tearson long time night jock at the station who was there almost at the beginning and was instrumental in established many rock stars.
T. Morgan was both on the air in drive time and served as program director during the 70’s. Currently heard on WMGK
John DeBella who took the station to even greater heights by establishing the extremely popular Morning Zoo in the 80’s. John is now WMGK’s morning man.
Ray Koob was part of the staff during the 80’s and spent several years as WMGK’s nigh jock.
Erin Riley an award winning music director. She was selected by Billboard Magazine as the best music director in the US.
Preston and Steve have been the highly rated morning team at WMMR for many years.
You can see the entire panel presentation by going to the Broadcast Pioneers website. Below are some photos that were taken at the event.
On September 27, 2018 the wife of Marty Balin announced that her husband had died. No cause was listed on her message that was posted on the Marty Balin website.
In many ways the founder of The Jefferson Airplane was not the typical rock star. While he was born in Cincinnati, he spent most of his life in San Francisco after his father moved the family there to take a job.
Very early on he showed exceptional talents for painting (good enough to earn him a scholarship), dancing and acting. He did both Shakespeare and musicals. In what would seem to a real paradox, Marty also joined a gang of toughs in his neighborhood. Since that was so out of character, perhaps he joined simply because he didn’t want to labeled as a sissy artist.
The Doors were not the only LA based band to have a big hit in 1967. There was a group called The Strawberry Alarm Clock that scored a number one hit called “Incense and Peppermints”. It was the perfect combination of the new so called psychedelic sound with a hook that was very pop. The single went gold and they even had a long forgotten follow up hit in 1968 called “Tomorrow” that made it to number 23 on the Billboard charts.
Here in Philadelphia the rock club called The Trauma scored a major booking by getting The Strawberry Alarm Clock to play their small club. There was a long line at the club to see the band and many had to be turned away. I thought I was one of the lucky ones to get in until I saw the concert.
From the opening notes, it was clear that this band did not have their act together. I kept wondering how they ever even got a record contract. It was very evident that the producer did an excellent job in getting their hit single to sound as good as it did.
The news was hardly a real shock since days before Aretha Franklin died her family announced that she was gravely ill and in hospice care, Still, it was hard to believe that one of the most powerful voices of all time is now gone. Her legacy, however, will live on forever.
Despite her obvious talents, Aretha was not an immediate success. The legendary producer John Hammond discovered her and signed her to Columbia Records. While Hammond, one of the best ever at spotting talent, didn’t make a mistake signing Ms. Franklin, Columbia Records dropped the ball. At the time the label was still living in the past and was living in denial that Rock & Roll and R & B were just a passing thing. As a result they tried to change the entire spirit of Aretha’s’ act and made her more like the so called torch singers. It didn’t fly and Columbia lost a golden opportunity to have a superstar on their label.
WMGK’s Big Gig a Big Hit Featured
Classic rock fans gathered at the BB&T Pavilion, the outdoor venue in Camden, NJ on August 4, 2018 to see three legendary players that made up an interesting bill: Ann Wilson, Paul Rodgers and Jeff Beck.
Any one of them could have been the headliner but for WMGK’s Big Gig on Saturday night, that honor went to Jeff Beck.
Things started off at 6:30 pm with a bluesy set by singer Deborah Bonham, who will never escape being best known as the sister of Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham.
Ann Wilson took the stage at 7:00, opening with The Who’s The Real Me, and closing with The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again. With a short set list of only 8 songs, it was surprising she chose two Who songs but with each one, she made it her own. Noticeably missing: any Led Zeppelin song that she’s known to do with Heart.
The title of Buddy Guy’s latest album, THE BLUES IS ALIVE AND WELL, has more than a ring of truth to it. A lyric in the title song “as long as I’m around, the Blues is still alive and well” may even sound arrogant to some casual music fans, but those who really know the Blues know exactly what he means.
Buddy Guy is the last great Chicago Blues man standing. Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Little Walter, and Sonny Boy Williams are all long gone. He is the man who is carrying the torch for the genre and carrying it well.
The new album is available in CD, vinyl (including a special blue vinyl set that includes an MP3 code) and as a download. It’s all good.
While driving my car today I heard the news. Dan Ingram has died at the age of 83. All I could do was say “Oh no!” out loud. Since I was alone at the time, no one heard me. Such was not the case with this legendary top forty DJ.
Millions of people tuned into WABC in New York every day to hear Dan Ingram. He was on the air there for some 22 years. He stayed on the air in the big apple until he retired in 2003.
As I continued to drive my mind was filled with memories of listening to Ingram. Most of the time he did afternoon drive time. I was a faithful listener for many years and as a kid joined his club and got my Kemosabe Kard (see the actual kard - front & back - within this story). This card has been in radio memorabilia since the early 60’s. I tried to listen to him every day until I myself was on at the same time.
On June 24, 2018 WMGK presented a concert at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion with co liners ZZ Top and John Fogerty. With both acts being in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, it was a toss-up as to who should go on first. After all, they both are “Heavy Hitters”.
On this evening it was ZZ Top that took the stage first. They had plenty of material to draw from. Their 1983 album ELIMINATOR alone sold a total of 25 million copies. It stands out among the eleven gold, seven platinum and three multi-platinum albums the group has earned.
Those of us in Philadelphia who were very much a part of those years when radio was playing the music that has become classic Rock, can take pride in the fact that we helped launch a number of legendary acts. But we were late to the table with ZZ Top.
At first glance this may seem to be a very odd title for not only a book, but a tour. Once you read the new Phil Collins memoir it becomes very clear why he chose it as the title of his autobiography.
During the course of the book you get a very personal self evaluation. Throughout you will find a refreshing dose of the Phil Collins humor. He is very open about his feelings from talking about the other musicians in Genesis, his failed marriages, his battle with health issues, and his bouts with drugs and alcohol. He did literally almost die on more than one occasion.
“There have been lots of highs and more than a few lows,” claims Collings about the book, “I’m being completely honest about all of them, embarrassingly so in some cases”.