May 18, 2005
Broadcast Pioneers member Barry Reisman is the host of one of the longest-running radio programs of any kind in Philadelphia. His Jewish/American radio program has been on the air since 1965, and is currently broadcast weekday mornings from 9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. on Beasley Broadcasting’s WWDB AM 860.
Reisman began his radio career in 1962 at WRNJ-FM, a “beautiful music” station in Atlantic City. In 1963 he switched to a contemporary format at WSLT in Ocean City, New Jersey and then returned to Atlantic City in 1964 to play “rock & roll” on the shore’s top-rated station, WMID.
In 1965, Reisman combined his understanding of contemporary radio formats and his love for Jewish music and began “The Barry Reisman Show” on Philadelphia’s WTEL. Unlike other ethnic programs of the time, all the talking was done in English and it had the style and fast-moving pace more closely related to popular “hit music” stations. The program was an instant success and quickly moved to WQAL-FM where more time was available.
In 1969, WQAL was sold and the program moved to WIBF-FM where it changed from being a Sunday specialty show to a major part of the station’s programming in Monday – Friday afternoon “drive time.” It became known as the source for music, news, and interviews of interest to the Philadelphia / South Jersey Jewish community. Some of the famous guests on the program have been Yitzhak Rabin, Theodore Bikel, William Shatner, Jackie Mason, Peter Max, Allan Dershowitz, Myron Cohen, Tovah Feldshue, Aliza Kashi, Joel Grey, Jan Peerce, Neil Sedaka, Simon Weisenthal, Joey Bishop, Don Rickles, Connie Francis, and Milton Berle.
The show remained at WIBF-FM for what is considered a lifetime in the radio business --- twenty -three years! In 1992, that station was sold and its format was changed. Once again Reisman packed up his thousands of records, tapes, and compact discs and moved to Camden, New Jersey’s WSSJ-AM which carried the program for five hours each Sunday until December 1998 when it, too, was sold.
In January 1999, Reisman delighted his listeners and advertisers by returning to weekdays on WNWR AM 1540 in Philadelphia. Barry’s broadcast duties greatly expanded as he began a weekly food and travel program, “Dining & Destinations” which included on-location broadcasts from places like Bermuda, Jamaica, Riviera Maya Mexico, Las Vegas, and London.
In June, 2011, WNWR changed formats and Reisman was immediately welcomed to WWDB AM 860 (the same spot on the dial where his program began back in 1965) to continue his program in his same 9:00 A.M. timeslot, where he continues to broadcast every weekday morning.
Barry Reisman was elected Vice-President of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia in June of 2003 and served four terms. He continues to serve our organizations one of our Board of Directors. On Friday evening, November 18, 2011, Barry Reisman was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame."
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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