April 19, 2022

Philadelphia Legend and Jazz Radio Disc Jockey Sid Mark Known for "Friday with Frank" and "Sunday with Sinatra" Programs Has Died

Sid Mark the legendary Philadelphia radio disc-jockey known for his long association with the radio program that featured the Sounds of Frank Sinatra has died at the age of 88. Most people will remember him for hosting "Friday with Frank" and "Sunday with Sinatra" programs but Sidney Mark Fliegelman began his radio career which lasted for 65 years at 1340 WHAT and 96.5 WHAT-FM. Both stations were Black music (so-called race music of the early and mid 50's-- Rock 'n Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Gospel, and Jazz) formatted stations with Sid Mark's signature program known as "The Mark of Jazz."

According to Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, it was just by chance that Mark, filling in for a "no-show" disc jockey on a non-jazz program on WHAT-FM, was on the air without the records to program the show. In a pinch he began playing songs from the only two albums he had in the studio that weren't Jazz. The two albums were Frank Sinatra albums. That was 1956 and the rest as they say is history.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia website posted an email from a reader:

...While Sid may have been hosting "Sunday With Sinatra" for 45 years, I can tell you for a fact that he spent far more time on hard-core Jazz than on Sinatra, right on up through at least 1967, and perhaps much later. As I'm sure you know, he had a 6-hour radio show on WHAT-FM for 6 nights a week. I visited him on-air, still doing that show, in 1966. I know he continued on after that.... 

His love of Jazz and his smooth delivery is apparent on this TV show he hosted from 1976:

In 1975 WHAT-FM 96.5 dropped the jazz format and became the nation's first FM talk station as WWDB-FM. The popularity of the Sinatra programs compelled the program director to let Sid Mark continue his Sinatra shows on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. Marks eventually went into syndication on over 100 stations and hosted in New York City's WYNY-FM on Saturdays. Sid Mark transitioned to another talk station when WWDB dropped it's talk format and became a popular mainstream music station in 1999. Mark continued his shows for the last 22 years on the former CBS Radio owned and now Audacy owned station 1210 AM WPHT.

Audacy Philadelphia SVP/Market Manager David Yadgaroff shared his thoughts in a staff memo:

"We lost a man who speaks for a living, whose audience has been enraptured by every word — eloquent and articulate. Sid’s radio career spanned 65 years, the last 22 at Talk Radio 1210 WPHT and 43 years of national syndication. He presented the music of Frank Sinatra from the standpoint of a friend as well as a fan. As the host of the longest running, single artist, syndicated radio program in America, Sid was the leading authority on Frank Sinatra and his entertainment legacy. His personal relationship with Sinatra began in the mid 1960’s and allowed Sid to offer more than just the remarkable music but insights into Sinatra’s career with personal anecdotes and stories behind the timeless music.

I first met Sid as I was trying to break into our business and, as expected, he was the consument mentor and gentleman offering sage advice. Decades later, I was honored and thrilled when we had the chance to work together at WPHT. I would visit him on the weekend at the studio and watch him deliver his legendary show while enjoying the camaraderie and stories. We developed a true friendship and for that I am eternally grateful. I know I speak for everyone when I say this is a profound loss for all of us and Sinatra fans around the world. May his memory be a blessing."

The family asks that donations in Sid’s memory be made to Best Friends Animal Society at bestfriends.org

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