Thursday, July 12, 2007

Porky Chedwick

Porky Chedwick, was a big Rock n' roll DJ in Pittsburgh, he called himself"The Daddio of the Raddio, " "The Platter Pushin' Papa, " "The Bosshoss," among other things. Chedwick did much of what Alan Freed got credit for. He was one of the earliest white DJs to play race records. (he called them dusty discs) Many credit Chedwick with being the father of "Oldies" radio....And he's got a schnoz like Jimmy Durante.

Porky Chedwick was born George Chedwick in 1918, 8th of ten children to a steel working father. Is there a more quinnesential Start for a pennsylvanian? the nickname "Porky" predates his radio tenure. He claims it was given to him by his own mother. Harsh woman if that be the case. More here.

He began his career at 860 WHOD-AM in Homestead (now WAMO-AM) in 1948. He started off doing play-by-play and eventually segued to music. His program became massively popular. Once in 1961 he did a broadcast from the Stanley Theater. An estimated 10,000 teens flooded the streets, and the police had to put an end to the broadcast so that traffic could move through Pittsburgh. He left WAMO for KQV in 1972, and passed through WNRZ and WWSW before ending up at WLSW in 2000.

By the early 1950s, R&B labels had herd of Porky. They didn't much care that he was white. They figured that Porky who was so good to their old R&B material might be interested in new releases. Porky went for it, but he stayed true to oldies and rock & Roll, and unlike Freed, never went the payola route. Forty years later he told the Tribune-Review "I wouldn’t even play Elvis Presley’s version of Hound Dog. I played Big Mama Thornton’s." He took a lot of heat in his day for corrupting white kids with naughty naughty black music.
Porky Chedwick has been recognized on the floor of the Senate for his pioneering contributions to radio and rock and roll (and countless times around Pittsburgh, including a day-long 50th anniversary oldies concert called "Porkstock." He is 88 years old today and still broadcasting, he has a program Sunday nights on 103.9 WLSW in Scottdale, Pennsylvania.