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Call letters stood for: "Delaware River Ferry"
Announcers | Recollections
Photo of a Master
Control similar to that of WDRF
(Photo courtesy of Frank Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org)
WDRF's offices, studios and towers were located on Edgmont Avenue in Brookhaven, next to Cullis Memorials. The station's owner was the same Louis Kapelski who for many years was the general manager of the Chester-Bridgeport Ferry.
Prior to Kapelski's ownership, the station's call letters were WPWA.
By the mid 1960's the station featured a country-western format. However, it first produced a true Rock & Roll legend...
was musical director, a part time Disc Jockey and hosted some programs from there when the
station was still WPWA.
Bill was also at the time a part-time Bartender at a bar on Market Square. He was quite the scrapper in those days and even showed up at the radio station one evening with a bloody nose.
Bill Haley was born in Highland Park, Mich. His family moved to Boothwyn when he was in early teens.His first Band was BILL HALEY AND THE FOUR ACES OF WESTERN SWING. Disbanded in 1948. Next he formed THE SADDLEMAN.
The radio station manager suggested he change the name to BILL HALEY AND THE COMETS (cashing in on HALLEYS COMET). The rest is, as we say is history!
Rock & roll was born in Chester! Bill had his headquarters in Chester on E 5th. St. near Welsh. There was a sidewalk slab in front of the building (both long gone).
Bill was probably the most famous product ever of Chester."
Our thanks to Paul Crowther, email@example.com, for this contribution!
Joe M. DiPlacido, firstname.lastname@example.org adds:
"... Bill Halley and the Comets had their studio across the street from the [Hanley] firehouse."
"The sidewalk slab with the music notes
were saved and were placed in the sidewalk behind Chester Water Authority's employee
parking lot. Thought you would like to know...."
Lord Jim (Ferguson)
Cris Harwood (the Man of a Thousand Voices)
Jim Reeves ("Judge Rhythm's Court")
Cal Shull (record librarian)
"My name is Frank Kelly. I worked at WPWA
through the changeover to WDRF, from 1953 through 1957. I started in my junior year
in high school, more or less hanging around and learning to run the control board. One
night Duke Whitfield, the evening counrty music DJ asked me if I'd like to do the
headlines, and I was hooked on radio. I worked at the Brookhaven location all day
Saturday and Sunday, as DJ, staff announcer, newsreader, and engineer. Sunday
mornings I was alone and also answered the door and the telephone. I stayed, never
making more than $1.75 an hour, until I went to WDEL in Wilmington for less per hour but
more total salary.
Cy Swingle was the Station Manager.
"I can't recall if it was WPWA or WDRF at the time but we [the kids from Parkside] hung out at the "Station". We danced at the "Patio" a new addition on the side of the station. One of the bands we danced to was Bill Haley and the Comets or Saddlemen. I can't remember which name they used but they were still country and western and Bill was just a local DJ with a band. It was the early 50s and I also remember a DJ by the name of Jimmy Lynne. We thought he was a lot cooler than Bill Haley. We were also members of the Uncle Ah Ha show. I'm not sure about the name but, we believed he was a professor at a local college. Among the advantages were being Jr. DJs, newscasters, and sportscasters. This was great fun until one of the guys used a word, over the air, that was not very acceptable and so ended our stint as Radio Broadcasters. By the way Cal Shull was the Record Librarian at the time and could name any popular song after just a few notes. We knew Lou Kapelski [my brothers worked for him on the Ferry and he lived in Parkside] and thought he was the richest man in the world. Maybe he was...HE GAVE US A DIME FOR HALLOWEEN!!"
- John Winfree, email@example.com
© 2000, 2001, 2007 John A. Bullock III.
This page last updated 04/22/07