The John DeBella Show

Broadcast Pioneers John DeBella Luncheon at McCall Golf Club

June 21202312:00 pm - 3:00 pm
McCall Golf Club, 201 North Lynn Boulevard, Upper Darby, PA, 19082 + Google Map
John DeBella, Steve Vassalotti & WMGK Program Director Bill Weston.

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia will honor John DeBella with a special luncheon at McCall Golf Club in Upper Darby, PA on Wednesday, June 14 at 12pm.

DeBella is going to sit down and have a long conversation with his program director, Bill Weston.

In the world of radio, this normally means you’re about to be unemployed. It’s true in John’s case, however, this time it’s actually of his own choosing.

His retirement comes after a 41-year career in the Philadelphia market and 48 total years in radio. From his success during the 1980s as the host of The Morning Zoo on WMMR to his 21 years with WMGK, it’s safe to say he has a few good stories to share.

John will answer questions from Bill and look back on all the memorable moments from his career on the air. They’ll also cover what’s next for DeBella as he heads off into the unfamiliar world of retirement.

T. Morgan, MGK weekend DJ and member of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, will also be the MC for the event.

The general public can purchase a limited amount of remaining tickets for the event.

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is a non-profit membership-based organization, founded in January of 1962 as a chapter of the national organization of the Broadcast Pioneers. Membership includes station owners and executives, management, talent, sales, engineering, ad agency personnel and many others in all levels of broadcasting, communications, and all related fields.

See John DeBella announce his retirement:

John DeBella 41 & Done

  • John DeBella Interviews Pete Townshend In 1993

    Musician Pete Townshend of The Who performs during Desert Trip at the Empire Polo Field

    (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    I know you.” And that’s when John knew this would be good.

    It was the longest and probably best interview of his career, according to John. Well at least, that’s definitely what he was thinking in the moment. It was then he realized his lifelong idol was sitting at the table across from him and he was just as drunk as John was. Pete kept a copy of the interview on his own desk for years.

    Click to listen to the interview

  • Mick Jones And Lou Gramm With The Morning Zoo

    Mick Jones and Lou Gramm of Foreigner

    Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    For this edition of 41 & Done, our very own John DeBella tells the story about the Morning Zoo’s dinner with Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm. Find out why to this day, John’s wife Lisa’s favorite rock star of all time is Mick Jones from Foreigner because he was her champion.

    Click to listen to the interview

  • Becoming Family With Listeners

    Louie Louie Parade '83 41 & Done: Becoming Family With Listeners

    Photo by William Thomas Cain

    For this edition of 41 & Done, John tells the story of a listener who used The Morning Zoo and The John DeBella Show to get through some really tough times. Becoming family with listeners has been one of the greatest honors of John’s career.

    Listen to the audio button

  • On Stage Announcement During Pink Floyd Show At JFK

    john debella and david gilmour, on stage announcement during pink floyd show at JFK

    Photo by Brian Mark

    John sat with the press at the absolute top of JFK Stadium. At some point, there was an intermission in the show. All of a sudden, there was an announcement: “John DeBella, would you please come to the backstage area? Please come to the backstage.” He gets to the backstage area where Gilmour says, “come here, come here. We’ve got a problem.”

    Listen to the audio button

  • Mungo Jerry In London

    General Views Of London mungo jerry in london

    Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

    There happened to be some musicians in there helping with the show, so they had some instruments set up. When in Rome, right? Instruments, Mungo Jerry, a captive audience. DeBella figured, why not ask? So he convinced him to do a song. And the whole group is going along with it. Everybody in the restaurant was listening to it.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Hawaiian Shirts And Nikki Hoi

    morning zoo sporting Hawaiian Shirts and singing Nikki Hoi

    Photo by Mike Johnson

    For this Friday edition of 41 & Done, John celebrates Hawaiian shirt Fridays. It was a tradition he wanted to let go of. Something he was maybe a little embarrassed by. For years, DeBella avoided all things Morning Zoo.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Comedian Bob Marley

    comedian bob marley

    Photo by John DeBella

    Beyond a shadow of a doubt, John loves comedians. The first time comedian Bob Marley came into the studio, DeBella did not know what to be prepared for. But there is no one comic like Bob who provides enough gold for a flashback. We laughed just as hard at it as we did the first time listening back to these. When John saw him in the club the first time he came really close to yelling out “Stop, stop!” Because he was in so much pain from laughing.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Takin’ It To the Streets And Robin Williams

    Michael McDonald And Robin Williams Split Screen

    (Photos by Jason Kempin/Getty Images, Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

    In 1978, Warner Brothers decided to throw a debut party for the new Doobie Brothers album, Minute by Minute. The Doobie Brothers had been on A roll for the past couple of albums. A couple of years earlier, they had the single “Takin’ It To The Streets” out and Warner Brothers decided to have a “takin’ it to the streets” party. They closed off the intersection of Mulberry and Mott streets in the middle of Little Italy in Manhattan. These parties were always special, but DeBella was used to going to them. John assumed that this would be like any other party, but for some reason, this one became a huge Hollywood event. There were more actors at this party than there were radio and record people. 

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  • Braces To AARP

    from braces to AARP

    Photo by John DeBella

    When you do this for a living, you don’t necessarily on a daily basis understand how involved people are with the radio program. Since he made the retirement announcement, though, John has gotten e-mails from people that have brought him to tears. Here is one that reminded him why he loves radio.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Morning Zoo And Paul Chan

    Elvis impersonator

    (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

    During the course of the year, the Morning Zoo did the Atlantic City broadcast and also a week of shows in London. When in London they heard about this guy. He had the “Graceland Chinese restaurant.” Graceland? What the heck did those two things have to do with each other? They went to the restaurant and Paul Chan, who was the owner, was also a huge Elvis fan. And performs an Elvis show every night. In his restaurant. 

    Listen to the audio button

  • Christopher Walken

    Christopher Walken at "The Family Fang" Premiere - 2016 Tribeca Film Festival

    Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

    In 2011, The John DeBella Show got to speak to Christopher Walken. And in that conversation, John asked him about who does the best impression of him. Because everybody at that time was doing impressions of him and, well, the conversation went like this…with a big surprise

    Click to listen to the interview

  • Led Zeppelin In A Bar

    Led Zeppelin With Jet - when john saw led zeppelin in a bar

    Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Any night of the week, you could go to a club and see any a band that was coming through town. DeBella’s friends and him frequented this place called The Action House more than any of the others. It was close by. They wouldn’t check our ID and we could drink. Yeah, they were underage drinking. Someone said they heard good things about this band that was playing at The Action House that night.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Warren Zevon And The Morning Zoo In Atlantic City

    warren zevon and john debella

    Photo by John DeBella

    When The Morning Zoo would do the shows in Atlantic City, Warren Zevon would come. When people would come in, they would come in the afternoon before they were going to appear. They’d get themselves settled in and then they would rehearse with the Flaming Caucasians and they would figure out what songs they were gonna do the next day. The Caucasians could do anything. There was nothing you could throw at that band that they could not do.

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  • Bill Wyman In Studio

    Bill Wyman And Fans

    Photo by Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    You have to have this piece of context before you listen to the interview. Paul McCartney once told a story about how him and John Lennon were walking down the street and a cab came by. It was Keith and Mick inside. The two of them said, “Hey, give us a lift!” So, they jumped in the cab with them. They started talking about music. At the time, Paul was working on, “I Wanna Be Your Man.” The Stones were looking for a song. Listen to Bill set the record straight. 

    Click to listen to the interview

  • Partying At Bob Marley’s House In Jamaica

    Bob Marley Performs On Stage Partying at Bob Marley's house in Jamaica

    Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images

    So this one particular year DeBella was going to stay at a hotel most musicians hung out at. A man was outside the hotel waiting for John to arrive. He said, “Don’t check into the hotel. Bob Marley has made arrangements for you to use one of his properties.” They drive a little further up the road and off the beaten path, and they pulled up to this really nice house. If Bob Marley wants to take care of you, you’re gonna let Bob Marley do that.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Some Guy Peed On John DeBella

    some guy peed on John DeBella

    Photo by John DeBella

    John was doing his business. Some guy, drunk out of his mind, comes in and needs the urinal also. The thing was 20-some-odd feet long, but where does he stand? Right next to John.  Standing is really in question, as well, because he was weaving from side to side. DeBella made the mistake of turning and looking to his left to make sure the guy wasn’t going to tip over. At that very moment, the guy turned his head and saw John. In 1984, John’s notoriety in town was really beginning to build. So he wasn’t the most anonymous person on the planet. As he turns and sees John, there was a look of recognition. 

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  • Calling John Entwistle

    Two Who calling john entwistle

    Photo by Mike Lawn/Fox Photos/Getty Images

    On this one particular day, when Roger Daltrey was there on the show, John said, “Tomorrow, Kenny Jones is going to be here, and Pete was here the other day. You’re here today and the one person we unfortunately weren’t able to get a hold of was the ox. So we have his phone number here. So what we’d like to do is call him.” 

    Click to listen to the interview

  • Final Chris Epting Hit


    Photo by Chris Epting

    John touts Chris as hands down, one of the most interesting characters he has ever had on his radio show.  Their bond was definitely one that was destined to happen. Over the years, the two got close by swapping rock stories. He is one of John’s favorite recurring guests ever.

    Click to listen to the interview

  • Jon Anderson In Atlantic City

    jon anderson

    Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    John was not gonna let an opportunity pass. John thought if he could get Jon Anderson to sing, it would be epic. When they came down to Atlantic City, they thought they were coming to do a live radio show. Or, a live show from a radio station. They didn’t realize that the show itself was being broadcast as well.

    Listen to the audio button

  • John Oates Set John DeBella Up On A Date

    Great Googa Mooga 2012 - Day 2

    Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

    Things went relatively smoothly at first. But, John was definitely dressed wrong for the club. Not that he looked unhip. He was wearing too much clothing. It was hot in the club and he was sweating bullets. To calm himself down, he decided to drink Jack Daniels. So we’ve got nerves, overdressed, hot room, bourbon.

    Listen to the audio button

  • Jerry Seinfeld In Studio

    jerry seinfeld in studio

    Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images for Comedy Central

    When he came in, this was at the time when most radio stations and people weren’t putting comics on the air. Most of America really didn’t know about him. But he had just been on The Tonight Show. It was one of his earliest appearances. We got him to appear in Atlantic City as well years later because he always loved Philly. This clip is likely from 1984/85. Jerry Seinfeld in the studio.

    Listen to the audio button

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