WIP Publicity Photo
When it comes to remembering the late Joe McCauley, thousands of Philadelphians think of him as "the Morning Mayor" and the man who "started the day right" on the WIP Radio morning show. They recall, too, Joe's friendly, relaxed manner coupled with his musical standards which he interspersed with the beat of the new records of the day. This combination made Joe a favorite with Delaware Valley homemakers who enjoyed their second cup of coffee after their spouses and children were off for the day.
A native of Philadelphia, Joe began his broadcasting pursuit at WHAT Radio, then he was hired in 1941 by Ben Gimbel to be the voice of WIP-FM, the forerunner of Metromedia's WMMR. The following year, Joe took on the pivotal assignment of his career. He became host of WIP (AM)'s "Dawn Patrol," the nation's second all-night radio program which he piloted for 12 years (1942 to 1954).
Many Dawn Patrol listeners may remember Joe from the days of World War II, when the "Bluebird of Happiness" became his trademark. His all-night audience ran the gamut of defense workers, show business celebrities and devoted nightly listeners.
In an article published in "Band Leaders Magazine" dated January, 1946 said: "Joe McCauley's 'Dawn Patrol,' which goes on from 1:00 to 6:45 am on WIP, the only twenty-four hour station in Philly." By 1954, the hours of the broadcast were from 12:30 am to 6 am.
Frank Sinatra, for example, called into the show every time he appeared at a Philadelphia night club. And Joe used to like to tell the story of a special call-in request to play the "Dorsey Musical Montage." The caller was the mother of the late, great Jimmy and Tommy. Joe's radio personality was so well known that he was constantly in demand as a speaker and as emcee for the over 25 crowd who loved the Big Band sound.
Joe was introduced to daylight at WIP in the fall of 1954, when he succeeded Mac McGuire at the helm of the morning drive. His 14 years on his morning show coupled with his previous 12 years on his all night show made him a top WIP personality who was on the air for 26 consecutive years. To his family and his fans, Joe was a great guy. He will long be remembered with great affection as an extra special Broadcast Pioneer. Joe passed away during the summer of 1968. He was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1999.
By the way, Broadcast Pioneers member Sam Bushman has told us the story about "the Bluebird of Happiness." WIP subscribed to an electrical transcription service, World Broadcasting. World would obtain rights to recordings, many of them radio broadcasts, and sell them to local stations. One such song was "The Bluebird of Happiness." The World Broadcasting version gave no credits. However, Joe McCauley liked the song and started playing it. Later, this came to the attention of record company executives who tracked down that it was Jan Peerce doing the vocal. Re-recorded and released commercially, it became a big hit.
Kate McCauley Hathaway (Joe's daughter) went on to be a famous actress. Kate's daughter (Joe's granddaughter) is award winning actress Anne Hathaway who was born 14 years after her grandfather's death.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Roger Hendler
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