Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Born Monday, April 18, 1949 in Philadelphia, Broadcast Pioneers Johnny Lerro has pursued two careers in his life, the produce business and entertainment. Now you may feel these two industries are not related, but that isn't true. Sometimes, the product of the first business was used to throw at the performers of the second.
While still in high school and unable to get a paying job at any radio station, Johnny Lerro ran errands for the staff at WVCH radio in Brookhaven, just to be near the radio field.
Lerro served in the United States Navy with his duties including participation in Armed Forces Radio and Televison doing commercial spots on TV and a morning music show on radio. It was his first real venture into broadcasting.
For the past thirty years, Johnny Lerro has enjoyed sharing his knowledge (and his vast collection) of oldies and nostalgia music on his own specialty programs at WPGR, Philadelphia, WRDR, Egg Harbor City and now Cruisin' 92.1, WVLT. He has used both his real name on the air and the stage name of Johnny Midnight.
Not satisfied with just playing the records, Cruisin' 92.1, Johnny Lerro formed a ten-piece band, which included a four-voice girl group, to perform music from the 40's to the 60's.
In 1988, he signed with Produce Productions and became the new Green Grocer® on nationally syndicated television. His "Produce Tip of the Day," which aired locally on WTXF-TV, Fox 29, was also part of the in-flight entertainment package for Sony, shown on Delta, TWA and American Airlines. Johnny did guest appearances on cable and public TV on the Lifetime and Discovery channels and at WHYY-TV, Channel 12. Taping segments of the Green Grocer® involved travel in South America and Europe. Nice work, if you can get it, and Johnny Lerro did. Celebrity guests on "Produce Tip of the Day" included such food luminaries as Julia Child, Graham Kerr, Jacques Pepin and Emeril Lagasse. Johnny also provided a weekly column for the Food section of "The Philadelphia Inquirer."
"The produce business, after thirty years, still has its daily challenges," says Lerro. Johnny is Vice President and on the Board of Directors for the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Philadelphia Chapter. He is also a member of the board of the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market and past President of the Philadelphia Credit Bureau.
Johnny Lerro has kept the old reel-to-reel tapes he made at eight years of age, pretending to be a real radio announcer. Johnny muses, "It's some of my best work."
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
"The Green GrocerŪ" is a registered trademark of Produce Productions, Inc.
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