Broadcast Pioneers member Frank H. Jelinek was the host of "Dining Around" for more than three decades on three different stations, WWDB, WCAU (AM) and WPEN.
The program started on WCAU Radio in 1974 after his involvement with another radio project, "The Ed Harvey Show," hosted by Broadcast Pioneers member Ed Harvey. Five years later, Mary Jelinek (the former Mary Molnari) joined her husband on the broadcast as co-host. That was in 1979.
Jelinek was graduated from the Bloomfield High School in Northern New Jersey where Frank was born and raised. It was at Bloomfield where Jelinek became a state swimming champion. From there, he went to Rutgers University and became a member of the swim team.
Then came the Second World War and Frank continued his education at the U.S. Army War College. For three years, Jelinek worked in the Pentagon's Office of Chief of Staff of the War Department (now the Department of Defense). Then he was assigned to the U.N. Military Staff Committee where he stayed until 1947.
Back in civilian life, Frank Jelinek became the National Sales Manager for the Fels Naptha Company in New York City. They transferred him to Philly in 1955 where he would live for the next half century. Frank then started his own business, the Jelinek-Ronon Food Brokerage firm. Being an extensive traveler, Frank ate often in restaurants. His radio broadcast became an offshoot of this love for dining out. It is said that he has visited over 100 countries and ate in 8,000 different restaurants.
They flew on the Concorde to Europe, sailed on two dozen different cruises and traveled by all kinds of travel including hot air balloon, sailboat, private yacht and by camel. Frank Jelinek was taught cooking by James Beard.
After 14 years with WCAU Radio, the Jelineks moved their program to WWDB-FM in 1988 and 13 years later, during 2001, the show moved to WPEN. The program originated from over 220 different locations, possibly a record for a program of its type. The Jelineks retired from broadcasting from WPEN Radio went to its all sports talk format on October 1, 2005.
On Thursday, February 23, 2006, Frank Jelinek passed away at the age of 86.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written and researched by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
© 2006, All Rights Reserved
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