Former Philadelphia Mayor James Tate and Pat Stanton
Broadcast Pioneers "Person of the Year" banquet
Patrick Joseph Stanton was born on Wednesday, May 22, 1907 in County Cork, Ireland and became a well known promoter of Irish American culture here in Philadelphia during the last century. For almost a half century, he was the host of the radio show called,"The Irish Hour." He was involved in the production of several Irish films. Some people called him the "Irish consul with portfolio."
Pat was the 8th of 16 children and came to Philly in 1912 when his aunt brought him here. Then he moved to New York City in 1924 to be part of the Mae Desmond Touring Company. Pat also worked in silent films for a couple of years for the Edison Studios in the Big Apple.
He returned to the city of Brotherly Love in 1926. At that time, he started working for a local radio outlet, WIAD. Later, the station became WELK and finally WDAS. He worked at the station for decades starting as an announcer and then Chief Announcer. He later became PD (Program Director), General Manager and finally Vice-President. Shortly after coming to the station, Stanton started his Irish program. Pat became editor in chief of the WDAS Newsletter, “Merry Go Round News.” In the mid-thirties, Stanton wrote a newspaper column called “Philadelphia Notes” which ran in the Irish World and American Industrial Liberator.
In 1937, Pat Stanton married Mary DeMay and the couple had three children, two daughters and a son.
He left WDAS in 1946, formed his own company and started his own radio station. The station’s construction permit was issued in May of 1946. It took two years to get the station ready for broadcast. Originally, the station was licensed for 1530 on the AM dial. In 1949, the station moved to 1540 as to not interfere with WCKY in Cincinnati.
That station was the early home of Broadcast Pioneers member Sally Starr who did a country western show. She took over from her husband, Jesse Rogers, who was too busy with his "Ranger Joe" TV show to continue radio broadcasting.
While urban legend has it that the call letter stood for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we can find no proof to this claim. The station carried various types of programming. In 1964, Pat Stanton said this about his station’s format: “Show music, standard pops, light classicals and news. Programming not carried by any other station in the area.”
The radio station was sold in 1965 to Rust Craft Broadcasting for a half million dollars plus $50,000 for an agreement for Pat not to compete against the stations. Stanton also got a $15,000 a year (for five years) as a consultant’s fee. Stanton then moved his Irish Hour program to WKDN (which later became WTMR).
In the sixties, Pat Stanton was the press secretary for Mayor James Tate for several years, here in Philly. Pat liked to revisit the homeland often and produced several films about the island nation including the first color travelogue, “Here is Ireland.”
Pat was the president of the Poor Richard Club, secretary of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and played a huge part in the city's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. He served as grand marshall in one of those events.
He was our "Person of the Year" for 1972 and was inducted into our Hall of Fame during 2003. Pat Stanton passed away at Bryn Mar Hospital on March 1, 1976.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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