December 27, 2011

1480 WDAS AM Launches its Rebirth as the "Soul of Philadelphia"




1480 WDAS AM "The Soul of Philadelphia" has dropped the sounds of the season and has launched the Soul music format of the '60's and early '70's as of today. The station is offering up the music of James Brown, the Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Delphonics, Jerry Butler, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, and more.

The format represents a return to the music that was programmed on WDAS AM for many years. Joe 'Butterball' Tamburro, (pictured in the promotional flyer from the 1960's below) will have a hand in the programming on 1480 WDAS AM which means the station should have a decidedly Philly flavor in the music that is played. So expect something different than what is offered on satellite radio stations like Soul Town and other internet only pure play stations. Tamburro is currently the Operations Manager and host the Sunday Night WDAS 105.3 FM Oldies Show.


Even though there hasn't been an announcement as of yet if the Clear Channel owned station will go with live on-air personalities, they are featuring commercial spots from local Mom and Pop establishments, which is definitely something different from what is normally heard on corporate owned stations today. Listen here to WDAS AM, which can also be heard on 106.1 HD2.

Sam Lit, the son of Hy Lit one of the legendary Philadelphia DJ's and TV host tells more of the history of the station:

1480/WDAS-AM was a legendary Rhythm and Blues heritage station located in the beautiful Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia. I had the privilege of growing up there are a kid, with my step brothers and sisters, as my stepfather Bob Klein was General Manager and owner. The term legendary does not even capture what WDAS-AM was to Philadelphia or the role it played as setting the standard of urban radio, both locally and nationally. WDAS’s influence was unequalled, where Philadelphia and the country heard the Rhythm & Blues hits and the sound of Philadelphia first. It was unique and magical, with an extraordinary on air presentation that began at the dawn of Rock and Roll in 1951, when Rock and Roll meant Rhythm and Blues. WDAS was an influence that was heard and woven into the fabric of our society, as well as the broadcast industry, nation wide.

The WDAS studios in beautiful historic Fairmont Park were one of the most exciting full service, on air engineer broadcast assisted, RCA blue print facilities that I have ever seen. And I have seen them all, including as you know WIBG, where I also grew up as a kid. The Disc Jockeys were true radio wizards, and the home of legends like Jocko Henderson, Georgie Woods, Kae Williams, Jimmy Bishop, Larry Daily, Carl Helm, Louise Williams, Joe (Butterball) Tamburro, and many more. Even Hy Lit was on WDAS-AM in 1969 from 1-4pm, as he launched WDAS-FM into contemporary underground radio beginning in late 1968. Joe "Butterball" Tamburro who began his career spinning records for Hy Lit at record hops in the late 50's and met my stepfather, Bob Klein through the association with Hy, started DJ’ing on WDAS-AM in the late ‘60’s and began programming WDAS FM in the 70’s. (It was announced that he will be involved with the rebirth of the AM station) (see http://hylitradio.com/index.php?page=6 for a history timeline).

But no matter how big the musical high points, WDAS News was there. The WDAS newsmen and women were a group of brilliant journalists, where many prominent broadcast journalists, including Ed Bradley, Bob Perkins, and my stepsister Wynn Alexander, professed an award winning level of reporting, at a time when radio was where people turned to hear what was happening now, fast and factual.



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