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September 23, 2018

Happy 50th Birthday WMMR!

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In April of 1968 WMMR started broadcasting the Marconi Experiment hosted by Dave Herman from 10 PM until 2 AM. The experiment is now 50 years old and is a total success.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing. From the beginning there was plenty of competition. The very day that Dave Herman launched his program, WDAS-FM, headed by legendary DJ Hy Lit, started broadcasting album rock music on pretty much a full time basis. Both stations were gunning for the rock station WIFI that I formulated the year before.

Not long after I left WIFI to join WDAS, WMMR went full time album rock. WIFI dropped out of the battle early on, but WDAS hung in for a few more years. Those of us who were part of the WDAS staff were always envious of WMMR’s better signal and the money that they had to promote the station. While they didn’t have huge budget, WDAS had almost nothing.

Those of us at WDAS didn’t have to be envious of WMMR very long. Most of us ended up on the staff at WMMR in the 70’s. Ed Sciaky, Michael Tearson, Steve Matorano and myself made the rock station a nationally respected giant. WMMR was largely responsible for breaking so many artists like Bruce Springsteen, Yes, Genesis, David Bowie, and Billy Joel. The latter was able to get a record contract thanks to the WMMR live radio broadcast. WMMR was the station that took chances on new artists that they believed in. The WMMR live radio broadcasts, under the leadership of Dennis Wilen the music director, became the most talked about programming in the industry. Billboard Magazine even ran a front page story about it.

The success of THE RADIO STATION (as it became known) led to new competition in the 70’s. The end of the decade showed a reduction in the ratings, but WMMR never abandoned their rock format.

Instead in the 80’s new life was breathed into 93.3 when John DeBella came to town and created “The Morning Zoo”. It took the town by storm and WMMR’s ratings were higher than ever before. Soon they were the only rock station in town by crushing the competition.

Since then WMMR has never wavered when many other rock stations decided to change formats in the 90’s and into the new century. The remained the highest rated rock station in the country and the only one that has maintained a rock format all these years.

To celebrate, on September 22 they had a huge birthday party at the Fillmore in Philadelphia. All of the current and former employees were invited to attend. There was a lot of hand shaking, hugging, glass clinking and even some tears as all of us came together. Some former DJs came from as far as California to join the party.

During the course of the party, videos of days gone by were shown on a big screen and a few former DJs like Carol Miller, Mark Goodman, Lynn Kratz and John DeBella spoke to the crowd from the stage. Current PD and DJ Bam Bam acted as hosts for the party. A great deal of fun and memories were created. Below are some photos.

 Kratz T Santos

L to R Lynn Kratz the diva of the night at WMMR for 16 years, T. Morgan former PD and afternoon 2-6 host and Alfredo Santos production director and part time on the air


Mark Goodman 3 WMMR

Mark Goodman who started out as an intern at WMMR in the 70’s.


Denny 1 WMMR

Denny Somach former WMMR jock who became an author and nationally syndicated programmer.


Vitka 1 WMMR

Bill Vitka standing by the stage was the news director in the 70’s. His 6 PM news cast became a legend in town. He now works for Fox News.


WMMR Pierre Staff

Pierre Robert on one of the videos


Anita WMMR

Just known as Anita, this former WMMR jock dated Warren Zevon while he lived in Philly.


Ray Koob WMMR

Ray Koob was a mainstay at WMMR during the 80’s.


Bill Weston WMMR

Bill Weston is the current PD.  He planned and organized the event.


 Carol Miller WMMR

Carol Miller who now works in NYC was on WMMR during the 70’s.


Vitka Maggie Mark WMMR

L to R Vitka, MaggY ☺ Sterner on air during the 70’s and Mark Goodman


Rodney WMMR

Rodney Dangerfield visiting WMMR.


Vitka Roy WMMR

Vitka and Roy Perry former DJ talking.


Ed Sciaky WMMR

Ed Sciaky on the screen.


Anita Roy WMMR

Roy Perry, Anita and Steve Lush.


Lush and DeBella WMMR

DeBella talking in the background and Steve Lush in the foreground.