Former WFIL Boss Jock Kris Chandler
Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Luncheon
Bala Golf Club, Philadelphia
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Kris Chandler was born Richard S. Hatch in Framingham, Massachusetts during 1946. He grew up in the Boston area, listening to WMEX and WBZ radio in early 60's. He heard greats like: Jeff Kaye, Dick Summer, Arnie "WooWoo" Ginsberg and lots of other top jocks.
He was a folk singer in High School, and traveled with his Uncle, Dusty Chaulk, a Country Western Singer throughout the Boston area. During this time, he met many of the great Folkies of the era and appeared several times on WGBH-TV in Boston and on Radio with Jerry Williams, who was a fan of his Uncle Dusty. He has a musical background as a sax player and also plays oboe and guitar.
He was always interested in Radio and TV and started working at his college station in Franklin, Indiana in 1965. Chandler’s first professional job was in 1966 at WIFN-FM in Franklin as Part Time DJ doing a Middle of the Road format.
While in college, Kris was picked up by WCSI-AM/FM in Columbus, Indiana as Morning Man and Sports Announcer. He covered the Indianapolis 500 for the station in 1967 and 68 and was fired in 1969, his first time.
Then Kris Chandler moved to Delaware and got a job at WAMS in Wilmington as a Traffic Reporter and night-time Newsman for Bob Wood, well-known DJ at that time. He eventually moved up as the station’s News Director, and then Midday Jock.
Next Kris moved to TV at WHYY in Wilmington to become reporter/anchor/weather/sports for their nightly News show based in Delaware. While doing that, remained as a Part Time DJ at WAMS. He hosted the first three Channel 12 On-Air Auctions in 1971-73.
Kris Chandler tells us:
One day, after filling in for the Morning Show on WAMS, I got a phone call from a man who identified himself as Jay Cook, PD at WFIL in Philadelphia. Thinking it was a joke being played on me by someone at the station, I ignored the message. Later that day, I got another call. This time I picked up the phone and said: Who is this, really?
It turned out that it WAS Jay Cook, and he offered me a job as the overnight jock at WFIL in 1973. He had heard me filling in on WAMS and thought I might make it as a Boss Jock. Since he offered me 3 times more than I had been making at Channel 12, and I had 2 little kids at home, I took the job. Thus began my short, checkered career as a Boss Jock.
Parenthetically, there was a youngster who hung around WAMS back then. He was a student at a local private school and he wanted to get into radio. His name was Mitch Hill.... a few years later, he was hired as a Boss Jock at WFIL, too. Under the name KC Hill.
In 1974, after a little over a year as a Boss Jock, Kris Chandler was fired for the 2nd time. As Kris tells the story:
Luckily, Jay Cook still had a soft spot in his heart and called Jim Nettleton to see if he could use me at WCAU-FM, the Oldies Station. Again, luckily, Jim said yes, and I went from job to job with hardly a hiccup. Then in 1976 I got fired again.
In what Chandler refers to as being exiled to WARM in Scranton for about 6 months, Jim Nettleton rescued him again, this time to work for him at WUSL-FM in Philly. Called US1 (named after the highway that runs thru the city), it was an Adult Rock station that lasted a few years. Kris tells us:
Owned by the same company that owned WFIL, WUSL brought me back into the fold of Jay Cook's protection. He hired me to work at FIL part-time while I was full time at USL. Then everything started to get crazy.”
Kris Chandler replaced Broadcast Pioneers member Jim Nettleton as PD at USL. Chandler says:
Jay Cook moved up the corporate ladder. Then WFIL fell into the abyss of poor ratings. I was named PD of WFIL, we took it Country (as we had taken USL a few months before) and all of a sudden I was in charge of what had been one of America's great Radio Stations. We ended the Pop Explosion. Then a decision was made to take WUSL Urban and I was pushed out.
In 1983 I moved to WKSZ in Media, where we started KISS 100, a semi-successful Soft-Rock station that had about a ten year run. I didn't last that long, though. In 1990, I was fired again.
After a brief stint as a Part Timer at WMGK, I decided that Radio and I had developed an unhealthy relationship. I left the business to develop a full time Voiceover career that has served me well ever since.
I wasn't part of the Pop Explosion, I wasn't even in this area. But I did get to hear and witness many of the greatest years of success of Boss Radio and the incredibly talented people who made it work. Jay Cook remains to this day a great source of inspiration to me. His death was a true loss for all those in the industry. He was one of the few people in this business who actually cared about his fellow travelers as more than just pieces of a radio puzzle. I owe him a great deal. I also owe a great deal to Jim Nettleton, who not only saved my career twice, but also inspired me to get into the Voiceover business. In many ways, he gave me a career after radio.
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