More than 30 years after it was pronounced dead, the "Wibbage" radio brand has been resurrected, though at the Jersey Shore and on FM.
Wildwood oldies station WILW (94.3), as part of an impending ownership change, last week rebranded itself "Wibbage." It sounds just like WIBG, Philly's pioneering rock-and-roll station. (Hear it also online at www.943wilw.com.)
Wibbage's heyday at 990 on the AM dial was from 1958 to 1968, when "Famous 56" WFIL unseated it. (Must have been those Boss Chicks.) In September 1977, following numerous format changes, DJs Hy Lit and Joe Niagara announced Wibbage's official demise.
Rick Brancadora - who owns Ocean City's WIBG-AM (1020), a Christian news-talk station - is behind the new Wibbage. He hired Jim Nettleton, who in his days as a "Boss Jock" on WFIL went up against the WIBG "Good Guys." Tomorrow, Nettleton will start a weekday morning show from 6 to 10. Nettleton, who turns 69 today, remembers "the thrill of the competition and professionalism. . . . We had a pitched battle on the field, but off the air we'd shake hands and have a drink."
Wibbage also will air the work of Lit, who died in 2007. His son, Sam, soon will simulcast his Web station, HyLitRadio.com, containing music and Hy-lites, on the overnights.
The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia (www.broadcastpioneers.com) will host a tribute to Wibbage at its May 20 lunch meeting at Bala Golf Club, and such "Good Guys" as Don L. Brink (a.k.a. Scotty Brink), Rod Carson, Frank X. Feller, Ray Gilmore (a.k.a. Sean Casey), Jerry Stevens, Dean Tyler, and Bill Wright Sr. are expected.
We'll be seeing plenty of WPHT's Michael Smerconish, and I'm not referring to his TV appearances tomorrow on Today, Hardball, and Larry King Live to plug his new book, Morning Drive: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking - which he calls a "political manifesto wrapped in a talk-radio memoir." May's Philadelphia Magazine will feature a photo of the talker, shot from the rear and nude. "It's really Pat Croce," Smerconish alleges.
Charlamagne Tha God - not his real name - starts Friday as morning host on urban WPHI (The Beat 100.3). "It'll be music intensive, but they hired me to express my personality," says the South Carolina-raised Charl, born Lenard McKelvey, who was Wendy Williams' sidekick in New York before he was cut in a budgetary move in November. Charlamagne says he despises political correctness and is all about "honest talk." WPHI says morning cast members - DJ Bent Roc, Sheik, and Izzo (also not their real names) - will remain.
Classic hits WOGL (98.1) will mark the first anniversary of the death of DJ "Big Ron" O'Brien with a slew of tributes tomorrow. One will come up at noon, when Harvey Holiday dedicates "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" to O'Brien. "Big Ron and I used to laugh about this song and say its title would be the epitaph on our gravestone," program director Anne Gress says.
Electricians union chief John Dougherty, with 6ABC sports director Gary Papa, will chair this year's "Run 4 Your Life" prostate fund-raiser on the Parkway on Father's Day (June 21). Local 98 will help underwrite and will host a men's health fair, including free prostate screenings by Kimmel Medical Center. Papa, who is fighting prostate cancer, was seen being pushed in a wheelchair by former colleague Scott Palmer at April 18's Harry Kalas memorial and was not on the air last week. His friends don't wish to discuss his condition, and neither has he.
Gov. Rendell auctioned off a summer week at his Jersey Shore house as part of Friday's annual benefit for the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center in East Falls. For his winning bid of $4,200, says Michael Markovitz, a lawyer from East Falls, he plans to take his family, three grandchildren, and three dogs to the Midge Rendell-designed bayside house on the south end of Ocean City. "I'll even throw in my two dogs as part of the deal," Rendell said during bidding.
A house at 12th Avenue and the beach in Longport, N.J., settled a week ago - and the $9.5 million consideration is believed to be the second-highest residential price ever paid in the city. The punch line: You'll be hearing the wrecking ball. Yes, it's a tear-down. The house - once the Shore pad of David Feld, top suit at Today's Man - was owned by Michael Karp of Haverford, according to Atlantic County records. Realtor Joe DiLorenzo declined to name the buyer, tucked privately into public records as an L.L.C.
From all the activity last week around the former Annenberg estate in Lower Merion - including the installation of 30 Norway spruces along one property line - neighbors surmise that Eagles owners Jeffrey and Christina Lurie are to move in within the next couple of weeks.
Former CBS3 anchor Larry Mendte has launched TheMendteReport.com, a blog of "stories, thoughts, rants, and musings from Larry Mendte and family." Included is a longer version of an essay that Mendte published recently in the Chestnut Hill Local. His six months' house arrest - part of the terms of his guilty plea to federal charges of cyber-spying on former coanchor Alycia Lane - is due to end late next month.
Bristol's Charlie Saxton, 19, plays abstract expressionist Mark Rothko in the film Twelve, which director Joel Schumacher is shooting in Manhattan. Saxton, proudly the slowest member of Bristol High's track team, also has a lead in the HBO series Hung, with Thomas Jane and Anne Heche, which launches in June. Saxton stars in the Vanessa Hudgens/Lisa Kudrow teen movie, Bandslam, and has a part in The Lovely Bones. He has been managed since age 5 by Edie Robb.
Dev Patel was feted Thursday on his 19th birthday with a cake in the shape of a fireball served during his lunch break from shooting The Last Airbender in South Philly. Patel, star of Slumdog Millionaire, plays Zuko, Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, in M. Night Shyamalan's film of the Avatar series. DiBartolo Bakery in Collingswood baked the vanilla-and-chocolate sheet cake and iced it with buttercream and fondant.