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Legendary Philly Morning Man John DeBella Announces Retirement.


John DeBella, synonymous with morning radio in Philadelphia for more than 40 years, has announced his retirement. DeBella broke the news on his morning show today (May 11) on Beasley Media Group classic rocker WMGK (102.9). His last show is set for Friday, June 30. “After 47 years on the radio, I really can't believe it's coming to an end,” said DeBella. “I've been extremely lucky to be able to work at a job I love, in a city I love, with a family that has supported and sacrificed a lot for me to fulfill my dream. BTW...my wife likes to shop on Amazon, so she might try to return me.”


DeBella arrived in Philly after a stint at Long Island’s trendsetting alternative WLIR Garden City, landing at rocker WMMR (93.3) in 1982. With co-host Mark Drucker, DeBella’s “Morning Zoo” dominated morning drive during the 1980s with DeBella the ringleader of the station's seminal on-air lineup. His morning show not only became an unprecedented top-rated show in Philadelphia, he also achieved the highest ratings in local radio history at that time, making him the market’s highest paid broadcast talent (radio or TV). While Howard Stern arrived in the market in 1986 on WYSP, his first affiliate, DeBella maintained his morning drive lead until 1990.


One of the city’s most recognizable media personalities, he hosted the annual “DeBella DeBall” that brought fans and celebs together every December. During his reign on WMMR, the Delaware Valley was referred to as the “DeBellaware Valley.”


DeBella left WMMR in 1993, moving to afternoon drive at WYSP (94.1).


DeBella landed in mornings at WMGK in 2002 where he has enjoyed a significant second act with an upbeat show that leans on his decades of interviewing rock stars with informative and often hilarious tales about the stories behind classic rock songs and artists.


“Through 5 decades in the business, 40 years in Philly and the last 20 anchoring WMGK’s broadcast day, John DeBella has simply made our lives better- through a shared love of humor, music and entertainment,” said Beasley VP of Talent Development and WMGK-FM/WMMR-FM Program Director Bill Weston. “His career tally has to be close to 10,000 shows and you can bet he put his heart and soul into each and every one of them.”


Early on in his career, DeBella helped create comedy for “The National Lampoon Radio Hour,” the syndicated radio program that starred John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Dan Akroyd, and Bill Murray, among others.


DeBella has appeared as a stand-up comedian, is a local EMMY award winning host & producer, has co-anchored the Philadelphia Mummers Parade and has won numerous local service and humanitarian awards. Along with his morning show on WMGK, he heads Husky Productions, a local TV production company.


In April 2023, DeBella was officially inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame.


“We are so very proud of John and his many accomplishments over the past four decades,” said Beasley President Bruce Beasley. “The radio industry and the City of Philadelphia are better off because of him. We wish him the very best in his next chapter!”


“I’d like to sincerely thank John for his huge contributions to Beasley and the Philadelphia community over the years,” added Beasley Chief Content Officer Justin Chase. “His creative genius has made such a positive impact on the radio industry overall. We are privileged to be a part of his legendary career.”


Said VP/Market Manager Joe Bell, “Simply put, John DeBella has defined morning radio in Philadelphia for 40 years. He’s a true radio icon!”


Read “An Open Letter From John DeBella” and watch his on-air announcement HERE.

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