(Joe “Butterball” Tamburro sketch by Kev Ross)
Philadelphia PA, July 30, 2012 ““ iHeartmedia (formerly Clear Channel) Media+Entertainment in Philadelphia announced today that funeral arrangements have been confirmed for WDAS Radio Legend Joseph “Butterball” Tamburro, who died Friday at the age of 70. Funeral Mass will be conducted at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 1723 Race in Philadelphia on Thursday August 2, 2012 starting at 10:00 AM. In lieu of flowers the Tamburro family is requesting that donations be made in his name to the American Diabetes Association (150 Monument Rd. Suite 100, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.) WDAS FM devoted the weekend to remembering the broadcasting and civil rights icon with everyone from devoted listeners to recording artists who got their start from Butter to national figures such as the Reverend Al Sharpton calling in to the radio station.
WDAS FM was in the process of planning at 50th anniversary of his career in broadcasting. “Butter” was a broadcasting icon who never lost personal touch. Throughout his years in radio ““ Butter was responsible for giving many R&B artists their start. In addition to his contributions to broadcasting and the music industry, butterball was also an important figure in the local civil rights movement offering the airwaves to leaders like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Cecil B. Moore.
In 1964, Butter was able to get his foot in the door of WDAS as an advertising salesman. He was nicknamed “Butterball” by Jimmy Bishop, the program director at the time. Within a few months, Butter became a part-time DJ and he began doing the first oldies show on black radio. Listeners loved both the oldies show and Butterball, and both remained a hit on WDAS. Butter was Program Director for WDAS FM and WDAS AM until a recent illness but was still active as an on air personality on WDAS AM. “Butter” spoke to his listeners rather than at them and created a strong connection. He once said, “I smile when I speak on the air.”
Throughout the years, Butterball has been honored for excellence and service by two of the City of Philadelphia‘s former mayors (W. Wilson Goode and William Green). The NAACP, F.B.I., Philadelphia City Council, Pennsylvania State Legislature, American Jewish Committee, Martin Luther King Center for Change, and numerous other organizations have also paid tribute to Joe Tamburro. He has received awards and honors in the music industry from The Black Music Association, and from many trade publications such as R&R, Billboard Monitor, B.R.E. Magazine, Gavin Magazine, Impact and Jack The Rapper. Joe was the 1997 recipient of the Ken Garland Lifetime Achievement Award from the March of Dimes’ A.I.R. Awards, and a 1997 Philadelphia Music Alliance inductee onto the Art Bank’s Walk of Fame. Joe was the 1998 recipient of the Salute to Excellence Award. However, of all of his various accolades, he held dearest the love he felt from his listeners who welcome him into their homes each week as they listened to his broadcast and continued to support his show and WDAS-FM with high ratings.
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