WDAS/Philly Legend Joe 'Butterball' Tamburro Passes Away
July 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM (PT)
ALL ACCESS is saddened to report the death of legendary PHILADELPHIA air personality JOE "BUTTERBALL" TAMBURRO, who passed away this morning at 10a (ET) at 70 years of age.
"BUTTER" had been associated with CCM+E Urban Oldies/Urban AC combo WDAS-A&F for 50 years, and had served as OM/PD of both, and most recently was heard doing afternoons at WDAS-A.
CCM+E/PHILADELPHIA President DENNIS LAMME said. "BUTTERBALL was a broadcasting icon." WDAS-A&F and WUSL (POWER 99) PD KEN JOHNSON said, "I have met and worked with quite a few legends in my career. BUTTER was the pinnacle. He will be missed but never forgotten.
PHILADELPHIA Mayor MICHAEL NUTTER remembered listening to BUTTER growing up. "He communicated the mood and attitude of the times. We celebrate a wonderful person, a great man and a kind individual. I will never forget him."
ALL ACCESS Pres./Publisher JOEL DENVER noted, "When I was in PHILLY at WFIL, I met BUTTERBALL and we hung out quite a bit. We'd often meet up at some of PHILLY's finest restaurants as eating, telling radio stories, and enjoying life and music were some of his favorite things to do. He had a passion for his community and his listeners that was unrivaled. We will miss you BUTTER. Rest In Peace."
WDAS-F was in the process of planning at 50th anniversary of his career in broadcasting. BUTTER was a broadcasting icon who never lost personal touch. Throughout his years in radio -- BUTTER was responsible for giving many R&B artists their start. In addition to his contributions to broadcasting and the music industry, butterball was also an important figure in the local civil rights movement offering the airwaves to leaders like the Reverend MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. and CECIL B. MOORE.
In 1964, Butter was able to get his foot in the door of WDAS as an advertising salesman. He was nicknamed "BUTTERBALL" by former PD JIMMY BISHOP. Within a few months, BUTTER became a part-time DJ and he began doing the first oldies show on Black radio. Listeners loved both the oldies show and BUTTERBALL, and both remained a hit on WDAS. BUTTER was PD for WDAS-A&F until a recent illness but was still active as an on air personality on WDAS-A. "BUTTER" spoke to his listeners rather than at them and created a strong connection. He once said, "I smile when I speak on the air."
Throughout the years, BUTTERBALL has been honored for excellence and service by two of the City of Philadelphia's former mayors (W. WILSON GOODE and WILLIAM GREEN). The NAACP, FBI, PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL, PENNSYLVANIA STATE LEGISLATURE, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, MARTIN LUTHER KING CENTER FOR CHANGE, and numerous other organizations have also paid tribute to JOE TAMBURRO. He has received awards and honors in the music industry from The Black Music Association, and from many trade publications such as R&R, BILLBOARD MONITOR, B.R.E. MAGAZINE, GAVIN MAGAZINE, IMPACT and JACK THE RAPPER.
Joe was the 1997 recipient of the KEN GARLAND LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD from the MARCH OF DIMES' A.I.R. AWARDS, and a 1997 PHILADELPHIA MUSIC ALLIANCE inductee onto the ART BANK's WALK OF FAME. JOE was the 1998 recipient of the SALUTE TO EXCELLENCE AWARD. However, of all of his various accolades, he held dearest the love he felt from his listeners who welcome him into their homes each week as they listened to his broadcast and continued to support his show and WDAS-F with high ratings.
You can post your messages about JOE below, or on FACEBOOK. An on-air tribute, anchored by PATTY JACKSON, was simulcast on WDAS-A&F.