WMMR has been on air in Philadelphia since 1968, and we’re lucky enough to have had a few era-defining names on our airwaves. The “Morning Zoo” era of the 80s produced some of the best cuts in our MMaRchives, and is remembered fondly by anyone who attended the show’s raucous live broadcasts. To this day, listeners tag us whenever they find the iconic mustache logo on an old sticker in their dad’s garage, or a vinyl pressing at the local record shop.
The man at the helm of the Morning Zoo was John DeBella, and today on our sister station, he announced his retirement from radio.
In an letter posted by his current radio home, WMGK, DeBella says, “When I came to Philadelphia in 1982, I would never have believed that I could have gone as far as I have here. I’ve been blessed with a magical life and a career beyond my wildest imagination…and I have you, my listeners, to thank for that.”
Before his lengthy run down the hall from us at WMGK, he was the morning host at WMMR from 1982 to 1993, Our resident “professor” Kevin Gunn, who worked as his producer, explains: “What started as the DeBella Travesty soon became the Morning Zoo, and it took the city by storm. Quite simply, it was a club you of which you wanted to be a member. We gathered in the clubs, the stadiums, the shore, at parades and on the streets. DeBella was joined by Mark “The Shark” Drucker, Grover Silxcox, later Earle Bailey, Pat Godwin and Steve Lushbaugh, and a social and radio juggernaut was in full bloom.”
DeBella’s concert coverage, artist interviews, stunts and on air banter will forever be part of WMMR lore. He will remain on air until the end of June, and you can read his farewell letter here. Preston and Steve discussed the announcement this morning:
All the best, John… and don’t take any crap from anybody.