Lexington Smith was a legend. Never heard of him? That's because you knew him as Doug Arthur, a mainstay at WIBG Radio (before the rock era).
(Left to right) Roy Neal and Doug Arthur
WPTZ Television Studio
The above photo shows Doug Arthur, who spent decades at WIBG with WPTZ Air Personality Roy Neal. Before coming to Channel 3, Roy was with WIBG also. Neal later went to NBC News and is best known for his space television reporting of America's space program and the U.S. Moon landing.
An article in a music publication which no longer exists said in January of 1946:
The City of Brotherly Love, birthplace of some of the most distinguished citizens who ever graced our land, has also been the butt of more jokes than any other metropolis in the United States of America.
But, in case the numerous wisecracks about the Quaker City make it seem dismal and behind the times, it must be added in all honesty that when it comes to the buying public, as well as the music-lovers and dance band followers, they are up and coming as anyone else in the land.
The truth is that Philadelphia is America's third richest market, and is located in the second most important of all forty-eight states.
This large coverage pertains notably to the Quaker City's record jockeys, who occupy places of high popularity, as can be seen by a perusal of the voluminous mail received daily by the city's top "deejays."
It is difficult to say which platter programs are most popular or to place them in an order that might not be challenged....
Popular early evening and late night record shows are "emceed" by BOB HORN...six nights a week on WIP, and DOUG ARTHUR, star disc jockey of WIBG, who does two daily "Danceland" shows, the first from 6:30 to 7:30 pm and the second from 10:30 pm to 12 midnight six nights a week....
Doug Arthur did some play-by-play for the Philadelphia Phillies baseball radio broadcasts in 1944 and 1945 working with follow WIBG announcer Roy Neal (both seen in the above photo). You might wonder why two WIBG announcers were doing the Phils games but it makes a little more sense when you find out that the games were aired over WIBG a that time.
Doug Arthur started at WIBG in 1939 and stayed there into 1958. When the station started its rock and roll format, Doug Arthur was still there and for awhile continued playing his big band and pop music in between the rock DJs. Eventually Doug left WIBG and was at WCAU radio for a few years. In 1959, Doug Arthur, along with Broadcast Pioneers members Ed Harvey and Bill Bransome were involved in a hot air balloon race.
Doug was brought to Philadelphia by Ed Clery, WIBG's General Manager. Arthur and Clery worked together in Trenton and Clery knew of Arthur's talent. Besides doing the Phillies games, he also did of the Philadelphia Athletics games for the American League club.
Early in 1958, Doug Arthur was still with WIBBAGE and had two broadcasts, one from 10 am to 1:30 pm followed by Harold B. Robinson, the automobile dealer. Then Broadcast Pioneers member Bill Wright, Sr. from 2 to 5 pm. Arthur came back at 5 and played big bands for another two and a half hours. When Doug left, his time slot with the Broadcast Pioneers member Hy Lit who was brought over from WRCV Radio.
Roy Neal first met Doug in 1941 when Arthur hired him to be News Editor and Chief Announcer. Roy e-mailed us:
Doug Arthur turned out to be a perfectly delightful, freckle-faced gnome who could charm you with his voice. Not a deep, resounding set of pipes but a mild mid-ranged voice with a command of words that was extraordinary. He was a professional musician who coupled his knowledge of music and musicians with his ability to talk to make a golden combination. ...Doug Arthur was a star in Philadelphia! His "Danceland" show played records every evening and Swing was the Thing when I came on the scene. He had the highest ratings in town. His counterpart and friend in New York, was equally successful with "The Make Believe Ballroom."
Sometimes called the "Dean of Philadelphia Music," Doug Arthur was born in Morrisville, PA (near Trenton). He began his career in Trenton and then New York, but Doug soon came back to the Philadelphia area where he was a DJ and Program Director for WIBG, changing its religious format to what the station called "good music."
Doug Arthur was also a song writer. He wrote a song which was entitled, "The Kid's a Dreamer." Rosemary Clooney recorded it and it sold 65,000 copies just in Philadelphia and started Rosie on her claim to fame. In 1951, Doug played himself in the motion picture called, "Disc Jockey" which starred big band singer, Ginny Simms. In 2008, Doug Arthur was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame."
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
1945 Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Allen Stone
1950 Photo originally donated by former NBC-TV Newsman Roy Neal
Researched and written by Broadcast Pioneers Historian Gerry Wilkinson
© 2008, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved
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