“Oh, Mr. Cake!” Pierre calls off-mic as something goes awry, “can you come in and fix the gadget box, please?”
An odd request like this is a regular occurrence in the Pierre Robert Studios, and the interactions between the host and his producer break down the fourth wall daily. WMMR listeners love hearing these behind-the-scenes glimpses, but it begs the question: why is he calling him “Mr. Cake”? Isn’t his name Chris?
His government name is, in fact, Chris Ashcraft, but “Pancake” is his radio name. Many have wondered how he was christened with such a delicious moniker, and the answer goes back to his early years at WMMR.
In 2009, a young Chris was working as an intern for the music department under the watchful eye of our Rockin’ Rabbi. He’d often drive into the studio early to observe the Preston & Steve Show in action. On February 28th, he heard the morning show mention that it was National Pancake Day during his commute. In honor of the tasty holiday, IHOP was giving out free pancakes. So, being the go-getter that he is, he pulled into the nearest IHOP to bring breakfast to the gang.
The trouble is, it’s not unlimited free food. Pancake explains: “The manager came out, and I said I wanted pancakes for the morning show. In a heavy southern drawl, definitely not a Philly accent, he said ‘no.’ I told him that if he’s not from around here, he may want to ask his boss about Preston & Steve and WMMR… Ten minutes later, he came back with 50 pancakes.”
He delivered the syrupy treats to the studio, where everyone was impressed with his negotiation skills. Later, Casey Boy emailed Chris and asked if he’d want to intern on their show instead of in the quiet music office – a much more exciting opportunity for an up-and-comer in the radio industry.
“I responded that I would love to. He replied, ‘Great! The only catch is from here on out, your name is Pancake.”
And so it was written. The name stuck even as Pancake ascended through the station’s ranks, from intern to production assistant to the producer of the Pierre Robert Show and highlights producer for Philadelphia Flyers broadcasts. The name even extends to his family, with his wife “Mrs. Cake” and his children affectionally refereed to as “short stacks.”
July 12th is Pancake’s birthday! Wish him well and check out his impressive hat collection on Instagram.