Wee Willie Webber

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Wee Willie Webber
Wee Willie Webber, July 1978.jpg
Born(1929-06-11)June 11, 1929
DiedMay 23, 2010(2010-05-23) (aged 80)
Other namesWee Willie, Bill Webber
OccupationBroadcaster, Radio Personality
Years active1948–2010
Spouse(s)
Constance Russell (m. 1958)
ChildrenBill Webber Jr. (b. 1959)
Wendy Webber (b. 1963)

Bill "Wee Willie" Webber (June 11, 1929 – May 23, 2010) was an American radio and television personality and pioneer. Webber worked in radio and television in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, region for more than 50 years.[1]

Biography[edit]

Webber was born in Havana, Cuba.[1] His father was British while his grandfather, an engineer, helped to pave the streets of Havana.[1] His family immigrated to the United States, and Webber was raised in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.[1] Webber graduated from Bushwick High School and attended classes at New York University.[1]

Webber enlisted in the United States Army after World War II and worked as an Army mapmaker while stationed in Japan after the war.[1] He successfully auditioned for the Armed Forces Radio on Honshu, earning the nickname "Honshu Cowboy" because he played country music.[1] His time in the Army allowed Webber to obtain U.S. citizenship.[1]

Broadcasting[edit]

Webber began his broadcasting career in 1948, at a now defunct FM radio station in New York City.[1] He worked for other radio stations in Manhattan and in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during his early adulthood.[1]

Webber was hired as an announcer at WEEU-TV (Channel 33) in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1953.[1] However, the station was unprofitable and went off the air a little more than a year later.[1]

In 1954, Webber began working in Philadelphia at WFIL and WFIL-FM as a "summer relief announcer."[1]

In 1956, Webber became an announcer at WFIL-TV (Channel 6). He began hosting Breakfast Time, a two-hour, morning children's show on Channel 6. The show, which featured cartoons, weather, and sports, aired until the 1960s.[1] In 1963, Webber joined WRCV-TV (Channel 3) as host of a quiz show. However, Webber's quiz show was canceled in 1965 when Westinghouse Broadcasting acquired the station and moved production of The Mike Douglas Show to Philadelphia.[1] In September 1965, Webber played the last song on KYW radio before the station switched to an all-news format.[1]

He next hosted the Wee Willie Webber Colorful Cartoon Club, an after-school show which aired on WPHL-TV (Channel 17) in the late afternoon hours. Wee Willie Webber Colorful Cartoon Club ran for ten years, from 1965 until 1975.[1] From 1976 to 1979, he hosted a similar show on WKBS-TV (Channel 48).

In the late 1960s, Webber became the 10 a.m. to 1 p.m air personality at WIP radio. He would remain in that time slot on WIP into the 1980s. Webber later was heard on WPEN radio from 1989 until 2005.[1] From about 2007 until 2010, Webber hosted a weekday program on WHAT radio and a Sunday afternoon show on WVLT in Vineland, New Jersey.[1]

Webber was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 1999.[1] He served as the president of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia from 2002 until 2004. From 2004 until 2006, Webber served as the chairman of the Broadcast Pioneers' board of directors.[1] In 2006, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia named Webber its Person of the Year.[1] In 2007, Webber again served as the organization's Chairman of the Board, a position that Bill held at the time of his death in 2010.

Death[edit]

Bill Webber died of a heart attack at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia on May 23, 2010, at the age of 80. He was awaiting heart surgery at the time of his death.[1] He was survived by his wife, Constance; daughter, Wendy Scheid; son, William Webber Jr.; and four grandchildren (Taylor, Drew, Owen, and Grace). Webber lived on Rittenhouse Square at the time.[1]

Television[edit]

Year Station City Notes
1952 WBRE-TV Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania First TV job
1953 WEEU-TV Reading, Pennsylvania WEEU-TV was a short-lived TV station replaced by WITF-TV, anchored the weekend TV news at 11 pm and did the weather at 6:15 pm[2]
1956-1963 WFIL-TV Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Breakfast Time[3], substitute booth announcer on American Bandstand[4], host of Hess's Fashion/Toy shows[5] & Thanksgiving Day Parade & Mummers Parade
1964 WRCV-TV Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Hosted TV quiz show Tug-o-War (cancelled so the studio could be used for The Mike Douglas Show)[6] & regionally syndicated Challenge Billiards[7]
1965-1975 WPHL-TV Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wee Willie Webber Colorful Cartoon Club[8], The Bill Webber Show (Philadelphia Phillies Pregame Show)[9]
1976-1979 WKBS-TV Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Kids Block[10]
2000 WHYY-TV Philadelphia, Pennsylvania A Walk Up Broad Street[11]

Radio[edit]

Year Station City Notes
1949 WGYN-FM New York, New York First broadcast job, WGYN-FM became WSKQ-FM[12]
1950-1951 Armed Forces Radio Honshu, Japan Korean War, nicknamed the "Honshu Cowboy" for playing Country music to the U.S. troops[13]
1952 WLAN-AM Lancaster, Pennsylvania [14]
1953 WPEN-AM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sunday shift[15]
1954-1963 WFIL-AM & WFIL-FM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Started as a summer relief announcer, then hosted an evening shift followed by an afternoon show[16]
1964-1965 WRCV-AM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Did celebrity interviews that ran locally on WRCV-AM and nationally on NBC Radio Network program Monitor[17], played last record before switch to KYW-AM all-news format[18]
1966-1988 WIP-AM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Long time mid-day host[19]
1989-2005 WPEN-AM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Long running Saturday show during "Station of the Stars" period[20]
2006-2010 WVLT-FM Vineland, New Jersey Sunday afternoon show[21]
2009-2010 WHAT-AM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mid-day program[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Naedele, Walter F. (2010-05-23). ""Wee" Willie Webber, local TV fixture, dies at 80". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2010-06-23.
  2. ^ "Philly's Bill Webber Dies At 80".
  3. ^ "Bill Webber on "Breakfast Time" WFIL-TV 1957".
  4. ^ "Dick Clark & Bill Webber, WFIL-TV, 1958".
  5. ^ "Channel 6 celebrity Bill "Wee Willie" Webber on the interview set in Hess' Department Store, Allentown, 1965".
  6. ^ "The Set of "Tug-O-War", WRCV Studios, 1619 Walnut Street, Center City Philadelphia, 1963".
  7. ^ Wee Willie Webber on Challenge Billiards in 1964 playlist on YouTube
  8. ^ WPHL-TV Channel 17 50th Anniversary Show - Intro/Sign On/Wee Willie Webber on Vimeo
  9. ^ "Wee Willie Webber Photos".
  10. ^ "Bill Webber".
  11. ^ "A walk up Broad Street [videorecording] : with Bill Webber & Hy Myers / produced by WHYY-TV12 ; producer & director, Ed Cunningham".
  12. ^ "Wee Willie Webber 2010 Tribute".
  13. ^ "'Wee Willie' Webber dies, a beloved radio, TV star".
  14. ^ "Bill Webber".
  15. ^ "'Wee Willie' Webber dies, a beloved radio, TV star".
  16. ^ "Bill Webber".
  17. ^ "'Johnny Carson & Bill Webber in 1964".
  18. ^ Bill Webber on KYW-AM transition from music to all-news format in 1965 on YouTube
  19. ^ "Philadelphia Radio Archives WIP".
  20. ^ "Tribute to Bill "Wee Willie" Webber".
  21. ^ "WVLT (FM)".
  22. ^ "Philly TV Legend Bill Webber Dies at 80".

External links[edit]