Banana Joe

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Joe Montione (Banana Joe) with John Lennon at WFIL radio, Philadelphia, PA in May, 1975.

Joe Montione, commonly referred to as Banana Joe, (born in Hartford, CT, January 21, 1954) is a radio personality who currently resides in Los Angeles.

Career[edit]

Montione started in radio when he was 13, when he set up his own radio station in his Pittston PA basement. Kicking off the first FM station to play Top-40 Hits, and becoming #1 WHYI-FM Y-100/MIAMI, Joe was contacted by his long-time mentor, Jay Cook, who was then Program Director at WFIL/Philadelphia, and who helped form and become President of Gannett Radio. After Jay called Joe in Miami, seeing a 25 share of listeners during Joe's show on an FM station. Joe then went on to WFIL to replace George Michael at age 19, when George left to go WABC in New York. Notably, Montione achieved top ratings for his entire tenure there. In May, 1975, Banana Joe Montione anchored the WFIL Helping Hand Marathon, which John Lennon agreed to help kick off with Montione. After having such a good time playing DJ, Lennon agreed to stay for the entire weekend, most of 56 hours. Sadly that appearance became one the last public performances Lennon ever had, as he "retired" shortly after when his son Sean was born. Banana Joe went on to become Air Personality of the Year in 1980 at KHJ/Los Angeles, and was the co-Owner of WTLQ/Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and WHTF/Harrisburg/York, leading them from the bottom of the ratings to the top. After returning to WILK/Wilkes=Barre, Joe formed an investment group to buy WTLQ-Fm, And WHTF/Harrisburg/Lancaster/York, PA, and employed the legendary Michael Sarzynski (WNBC/New York) who was Joe's inspiration at King's College/Wilkes-Barre. Joe was also instrumental in the late 70's early 80's comeback of the legendary 93/KHJ/Los Angeles, beating all of the FM Stereo competition as PM Drive and Assistant Program Director with legendary KHJ Program Manager Chuck Martin.

After moving back to L.A. in 1988, and returning to the stage / film acting but it was back to live radio with an idea whose time had come. In 1991 he premiered the Banana Joe Flashback show on KIIS-FM, which for over five years was a huge success as the first retro 70's 80's based music show on current-based Top 40. Joe also became National Programming/Marketing Director for Premiere Radio Networks, helping them to grow into one of the largest radio networks in the USA. He made time to act in films such as Mulholland Falls and the hit comedy play An Oasis In Manhattan..But that all ended as Premiere purchased their first station in the Denver, CO market, and they tapped Joe launch this all important first acquisition. New Country "Big Dog" 92.5 made an impressive dent in the competitive Denver market, rising to a 5 share of target demographics 25-54 persons, despite having a pea-shooter signal in much of the market compared to leader KYGO who one could hear in their head without a receiver it was rumored.. After that, Joe rejoined his mentor Jay Cook, as VP/Programming Tampa as he needed some help in turning around perennial AC ling to a more Hot AC sound. WUSA was back among the market leaders in short order for Gannett. Cook, former President of Gannett Radio brought in Joe to inject some energy into Gannett's Tampa stations. After it was announced that Gannett would be selling off radio, Montione began focusing his energies on developing a morning show that could actually be fun, informative and play a good amount of music which was accomplished at KTXQ before their sale to Clear Channel, and ultimate format change to Alternative. Today, Banana Joe continues full force in the industry he loves, radio broadcasting as the VP/Programming for cutting-edge tech innovator Synchronicity.co, inc. In addition,Since 2005 Montione has owned & operated Internet channel www.flashback40.com through his company Banana Joe Radio Group, based in Hollywood, CA Now, through the cutting-edge Synchronicity platform, The Flashback40 Radio Network will debut this year (2017)on terrestrial FM/AM radio as a fresh new Adult Hits-Classic Hits channel that plays an expanded playlist of Top-40"Hand Picked Hits" from the 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond ! Live from Hollywood, Banana Joe hosts the stream via voice-tracking, he , programs all the music, and gets a growing listener base since its inception in 2005. With the alliance of Banana Joe Radio Group and the game-changing distribution and automation of Synchronicity, a new direction if syndicated radio is being forged. The Flashback40 Radio Network is one of the first 24/7 formats to migrate from the Internet to broadcast radio, and as Banana Joe says, "We're ready to ROCK!"

Reference

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