August 31, 2001
The Radio Voices of the South Jersey Shore

Staff Writer

As we come to the end of the first summer of the 21st century, it seems a good time to reflect on some people who have entertained us in Atlantic and Cape May counties during the last century.

We don't have a trophy or a plaque for them. There is no building in which to enshrine them, no website (except this one) where we can permanently post their credits.

But we're going to create the mythical South Jersey Shore Radio Hall of Fame, recognizing the voices who have helped us pass the time on the beach, in the car, at work or at home.

They have played our favorite records, interviewed interesting people and kept us informed. They have taken our calls in talk formats, played our requests and offered our dedications.

Keep in mind, these are the voices of radio we're writing about. There is little doubt that Howard Green is probably the strongest force in radio (and television) along the shore. Many of these people worked for him, at one time or another, alongside such other behind-the-scene stars as Walt Murphy.

There are also others who did not spend that much time in area radio but went on to greatness elsewhere. People like Ed Hurst, Joe Pyne, Gene Hart, Jessica Savitch and Howard Eskin.

And there should be a special area for Jackson T. Chase, who can currently be heard on WTKU. It has often been said that a station is not officially in the shore market until Chase says their call letters on the air. He has been at most of them, giving his voice a great familiarity.

Now, how many of these 20 radio voices, listed alphabetically, have been part of your listening experiences?

Jerry Beebe- Starting as a news reporter (he wanted to be the next Dan Rather) Beebe is approaching 20 years in the market. He is currently one of the Morning Guys on Kool 98.3 where he is also the program director. His dry sense of humor, biting wit and fondness for Jersey clams have made him one of the market's biggest names.

Howard Berger- The voice of news in the area for WFPG, Berger could hit the streets and dig up a story through interviews and research. He could also deliver the finished product as a news anchor. Berger retired from radio and now works for Atlantic County.

Ed Davis- Still working with WMID, Davis spent most of his career with WFPG as a host and news anchor. His distinctive voice was frequently requested by advertisers for their radio commercials. Davis is Atlantic City's on-the-air historian, offering regular glimpses at the resort's past. He also wrote a book, Atlantic City Diary.

Mike Elliot- A smooth midday host on WOND in the 1960s and 1970s, Elliot was also the station's general manager. As such, he crafted some of the most creative contests and promotions the market has ever seen. Elliot, who was also the host of the Miss Atlantic County Pageant for nearly a decade, later did play-by-play for the Houston Astros. He is now in Milwaukee, working on the air and in management.

Red Karr- Norm Karlock (his real name) took the all-night show to a new level at WOND in the 1960s and 1970s. His relaxing style and entertaining mix of music developed a devoted following. And he could work the phones with the best of them. Karlock later worked at WFPG before retiring.

Chuck Kramer- Part of local radio since his teens, Kramer developed a style that was successful as a host or in production. His voice was heard at a number of casinos. He also ventured into ownership, putting 94.3 (before it was "Kool") on the air as WDVR in 1983. Kramer is now host of the morning show on Eagle Country, WEAG-FM in Florida, where he is part-owner.

Pinky Kravitz- The most significant radio personality in the history of the Atlantic City market, Kravitz - still going strong on WOND in his fifth decade - is an unequalled talk host. Connections developed over his long career usually give him the inside story first. He is also rather non-confrontational on the air, developing good dialog by allowing opposing voices to be heard.

Tom Lamaine- The smooth afternoon personality at WOND for over a decade and host of Tom Lamaine's Memory Lane on Saturday nights, he went on to WIP in Philadelphia, when it was one of the city's top music stations. A Holy Spirit graduate, Lamaine is now the popular weather forecaster for KYW-TV and is a host and emcee of many charitable events throughout the Delaware Valley.

Gary Lane- A consummate rocker for well over a decade at WMID, "Daddy G" was one of the biggest voices of the new music. He always made a big impression at personal appearances with his gigantic Cadillac. Lane reportedly left radio and moved to the West Coast.

Jack Lawyer- A smooth, slick music host on WFPG and WOND, Lawyer was a popular afternoon drive host. His success was mainly in the easy listening format.

Ray Martin- The "voice of Wildwood", Martin had two different seasonal sounds on WCMC. During the spring and summer, his unique and unmistakable voice dominated the airwaves on commercial after commercial. During the fall and winter, Martin, who died in 1992, was the voice of high school sports to those living in Wildwood, Cape May and the rest of the southern part of Cape May County.

Spyder McGuire- After more than a decade of success at WAYV, McGuire has moved on to WJRZ, which recently changed to an oldies format. His laid-back, friendly style on the air entertained listeners every morning. He started at WOND before becoming a legend at WAYV. He has changed the spelling of his first name at his new station.

Tom McNally- Still working as an engineering genius for WFPG's stations, McNally's voice could be the most familiar in the area. You probably hear that voice in most casino elevators. Through the years, his booming voice has also been prominently heard on promos and commercials. In addition to his engineering work now, he does a weekend air shift on New Jersey 101.5 FM.

Al Owen- A host for WMID, Owen later went to work as the director of Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. He hosted a daily show over WFPG for the chamber. He also emceed the Miss America Pageant one year, before it became a television event.

Jim Rodio- A longtime voice in the Atlantic City market, Rodio later became an owner, creating WRDR, which was South Jersey's most successful adult-music station until he sold it a few years ago to a company that eventually re-sold it. The station is now Spanish. Rodio, however, has retired from radio after an impressive career.

John Struckell- The popular "Captain John" on WFPG from the 1950s into the 1970s, Struckell was a familiar and important voice in local radio. He developed the Beachcomber Show all-night and later became a station owner. His career came to a tragic end in 1971 when he died in an accident at the station's transmitter site.

Andy Volvo- One of the driving forces behind the success of WMID as a rocker in the 1970s and 1980s, Volvo can now be heard weekends on WTKU. The happy sound of his voice - he always sounded like he was smiling - created a bright mood that attracted listeners.

Bob Weems- Probably the No. 1 "disc jockey" in the area's history. Weems' shows as a morning host on WFPG created legendary stories. Remember the beached whale? He later moved to WOND where, much like Don Imus or Howard Stern today, he followed a different format than the rest of the station. He was also a very successful announcer at the Atlantic City Race Course, Monmouth Park and other locations, eventually retiring from radio to just do that before his death in 1998.

Don Williams- The morning talk host at WOND, Williams is more controversial and confrontational than Kravitz but delivers his listeners an impressive lineup of guests, both local and national. Most of them, of course, lean politically to the right, as he does. Started his talk career in the afternoon opposite Kravitz before the two ended up as the Green Group's two drive anchors.

Allison Wing- Currently one of the "Morning Guys" on WTKU-FM, Wing also was a fixture at WAYV. She is the perfect partner, acting as a valuable audience for the one-liners of her current co-host, Jerry Beebe, and those who came before him. But she has strong opinions, too, as Don Williams, whose studio is down the hall from hers in the same building, found out last year when he invited her to join him.

Let us know if you think we've overlooked one of your favorites. We expect to come back in the future with another "induction" of the special voices that have made radio at the Jersey Shore what it is today and what it was yesterday.

Click here for more Atlantic City area radio memories.