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July 29, 1951 |
Queens, New York City, New York, United States
|Show||The John DeBella Show|
|Station(s)||102.9 WMGK-FM Philadelphia,
93.3 WMMR, 94.1 WYSP
|Time slot||6:00 - 9:00 AM|
Before arriving in Philadelphia, DeBella did a stint at WLIR Garden City. In the early 1980s he hosted The DeBella Travesty and helped to introduce the Dare to be Different new wave format on WLIR. During that time he befriended singer Joan Jett and received a gold record for his efforts in promoting Jett's chart-topping hit "I Love Rock and Roll".
He became famous in Philadelphia as part of WMMR's Morning Zoo, along with former WLIR co-alumnus Mark "The Shark" Drucker. He was number one in the morning ratings through most of the 1980s and was a popular figure in the city of Philadelphia before being overtaken by The Howard Stern Show. After WMMR dropped DeBella, Stern made sure he worked at exactly the same station he did. Every year he would host the "DeBella DeBall," which was held on December 7, the date was emphasized in promos with Franklin Delano Roosevelt saying "a date which will live in infamy.". DeBella's favorite musician was Peter Gabriel and he enjoyed discussing Gabriel's many hits on the air. Throughout the mid 1980s, DeBella did on-air promos for the morning and afternoon cartoon blocks on WTAF Channel 29.
In 2002, he returned to radio hosting, working with WMGK. His show runs from 6:00am to 9:00am. The show features cohost Jen Posner and the goofy antics of the two are accompanied by producer Rob Calvert. The show is not only a talk format but also plays a number of classic rock songs throughout the morning including a "Breakfast with the Beatles" segment from 7:10 until 7:20am. Additional appearances by comedian Grover Silcox happen from approximately 8:00-8:45am every Thursday. The show almost always closes with the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. Both "Breakfast with the Beatles" and "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" ending the show were also staples of his WMMR show. DeBella then closes out his broadcast with "Have a great day, Philadelphia. Don't take any crap from anybody."
In "tribute" to DeBella, the staff of WMGK, and at one time, the staff of WMMR when DeBella worked there, refers to the Delaware Valley, the Philadelphia metropolitan area that comprises their listenership, as the "DeBellaware Valley".
Every spring, DeBella sponsors an annual Dog-Walk in Fairmount Park, the largest park within city limits in the country. He also heads the annual "MGK Turkey Drop," held every year two days before Thanksgiving, where listeners are encouraged to drop off turkeys or cash donations to a number of pre-advertised drop-off points. In 2006 alone, the event collected over 6,000 turkeys. On June 13, 2014 he hosted the 8th annual Veterans Radiothon that benefits the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center, raising over $144,000, including an on-air $10,000 donation by rocker Rod Stewart.
- Valania, Jonathan (July 3, 2002). "John DeBella is Not an Asshole Anymore". Philadelphia Weekly. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Gibson, Gail (July 2, 1993). "John Debella Files Suit Against Bar In Wife's Death". Philly.com.
- Sokolic, William (October 18, 2013). "Walk raises money for teens with cancer". Courier-Post. Retrieved October 21, 2013.