Monday, January 27, 2014

Dawn Patrol!

Nat Wright played the last song on the last episode of Dawn Patrol back in 1984 when WIP-AM switched from an AC format to all talk radio. It started with a single talk program at 8:00 PM called “WIPeople Talk” hosted by Michele Iaia. But perhaps that's not fair. Maybe it started with WIP-FM siphoning away their own music listeners. Regardless, eventually talk programming would run from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM and slowly the station transmogrified into sports talk over the next decade. the turning points was the end of Dawn Patrol.

Nat Wright hosted Dawn Patrol for 17 years. He took over the program from Gene Milner who hosted it from 1958 to 1967. Prior to that, Joe McCauley hosted the program since before 1940. Mort Lawrence had hosted it since 1942, and Fred Wood in 1941. Tom Livezy was host somewhere in 1943 as well. . The show was an all night record flipping program that ran from midnight to 6:00 AM. Back in the 1940s WIP had been one of the few 24/7 operations. So the program was very popular by default no matter who was the host.

Dawn patrol began as a swing program: Glen Miller, Count Basie, Ray Anthony, Ralph Flanagan. as WIP-AM became more of an AC station the playlist took a required turn to continue being relevant to the station as a whole. Nat Wright had joined the station in 1961 filling in and flipping records.  In 1967 he was tapped to host the program and in that era still free to play his own picks. The show ran for

Wright died in 12009 at the are of  82 of a stroke at home on Thanksgiving. McCauley, who had hosted the program's 5,000th episode in 1953 died in 1968. McCauley was inducted into the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers hall of fame in 1999. [SourceFred Wood later started WWOC-AM in Avalon NJ and WMVB-AM in Vineland, NJ. Tom Livezy, and Mort Lawrence... I have no idea what became of them. Nat Wright is long overdue for a nomination.