Jim Nettleton
WOGL-FM Publicity Photo

When we think back to the greatest rock & roll station in the world, WFIL, Famous 56, here in Philadelphia, we just naturally remember one of the outlet's top jocks, Broadcast Pioneers member Jim Nettleton. With a half century in the business and 40 years in major market broadcasting, Nettleton also has 24 years experience in management.

One of the original "Boss Jocks," Jim came to Philadelphia in 1966 to do afternoon drive on the upstart WFIL, Famous 56. The station became the prototype Top 40 model in the United States in the sixties and seventies.

During his radio career in Philadelphia, Jim Nettleton was also heavily involved with outside appearances at dozens of clubs, record hops, etc., and for nearly 10 years. He organized and directed celebrity softball teams as a player-coach which raised considerable sums for charity throughout the Delaware Valley.

In 1971, he formed Cantaur Productions, LTD., one of the early long-form syndicators of radio specials to the industry. Jim built studio in his house. Specials produced there included The Rock Genesis, Beatles: The Echoes and the Dream, The Rock Years and The History of Country Music; The Sound of America. The specials eventually were aired in 24 countries on over 1500 radio stations.

From 1969 to 1971, Jim Nettleton was a mainstay in the Big Apple at rocker WABC. He also was featured on ABC's Contemporary Radio Network, developing, writing and voicing a nightly series entitled, "Retro-Rock," broadcast on 350 stations coast-to-coast.

Next came CHUM in Toronto where Jim was a consultant and air performer and during this time, Nettleton still lived in Philly.

1972 saw Jim Nettleton back in Philly at WCAU-FM, now WOGL. There, he was Director of Programming/Operations and afternoon drive personality, He conceived and directed the evolution of the originally all-automated station to America's first successful 'live-assist' operation, utilizing and integrating IGM equipment with live personalities. Nettleton received Billboard Magazine's Program Director of the Year Award in 1974 for his efforts with the station.

In 1976, Jim moved to WUSL as Director of Programming and co-host of morning show for WUSL, then nicknamed "US-1." Originated the eclectic, adult-oriented format which attained top market ratings in target demo group; format was later adopted by Transtar and successfully marketed nationally under trade name "Format 41."

From 1979 to 1982, Jim did afternoon drive on WPEN. There, he originated, produced and hosted a highly successful Saturday night Big Band show.

Throughout his initial eighteen years in Philadelphia, he concentrated heavily on free lance commercial announcing. He handled over 2,000 different clients, including Strawbridge and Clothier, John Wanamaker, Smith Kline, DuPont, GM Delco, Pep Boys, Morville's, the City of Philadelphia Bicentennial, Rohm and Haas, ARA Services, NFL Films, Caesar's, Playboy Hotels, Sands Casino, etc., as well as political radio and television commercials for over 100 candidates in 45 states.

From 1984 to 1990, Jim Nettleton was Vice President/Operations, at WDAE, Tampa. He also served as the morning show host for the last 4 of those years. From 1984 to 1986, he was also Manager of Gannett Radio Productions, originally PrimeTime, syndicators of complete radio formats to the industry. He consulted and programmed for clients in 33 states.

From 1990 to 1993, Jim Nettleton was a free lance commercial announcer, in the Tampa-Orlando-Miami area. He had several hundred clients, including Delta Business Systems, Jim Walter Homes, Florida Chevrolet Dealers, Florida Pontiac Dealers, GTE, Home Shopping Network, Eckerd Drugs, Resolution Trust Corporation and Derby Lane. He was the Voice of Channel 8, Tampa for 3 years; and the voice of Channel 10, Tampa for 3 years.

In 1993, Jim returned to Philly. He was affiliated with WOGL, Philadelphia and contributed specialty weekend programs, Saturday 12-3 and Sunday countdown show 3-7 from 1993-2000. He did free lance commercial and narrative work in Philadelphia market and in several others around country, both on-site and serviced from home digital studio. His clients included Cadillac, Canada Dry, DuPont, Purchasing Magazine, Donnelley Directory, Medford Meats, Yuengling Beer, Wyeth-Ayerst, Rohm & Haas, etc. Countdown show was two-time winner Best Weekend Show at the March of Dimes AIR Awards.

Then when WPEN switched formats from Adult Standards to Oldies, Jim Nettleton was there doing a wonderful job during after drive. The station flipped format in October of 2005.

Before coming to WFIL in 1966, he worked as on-air personality at WDRC, Hartford, 1963-66, WAVZ, New Haven and WATR, Waterbury, all Connecticut. His career began in Pottstown, Pennsylvania (WPAZ) in 1958.

On Friday, Novmber 19, 2010, Jim Nettleton was posthumously inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Jim Nettleton
© 2006 & 2010, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved

The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is pioneers@broadcastpioneers.com