John DeBella, Bala Cynwyd Broadcaster, Gets Philly Walk-of-Fame Star

John DeBella
Image via Alan Smithee at the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.
John DeBella, 2023 Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame honoree.

Morning Zoo host John DeBella — who, from the WMMR studio in Bala Cynwyd singularly redefined radio in the 1980s — has been named a Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame honoree. KYW Newsradio reporter Justin Udo reported on the always-looked-upon bright side of DeBella’s career.

DeBella was part of the first induction of Walk of Fame stars since 2019, when COVID-19 sidelined the annual sidewalk honor.

The Music Alliance recognition seeks to immortalize vocal (spoken or sung) and instrumental artists who leave a deep, regional impression. A bronze plaque of each winner is embedded on South Broad Street, like Los AngelesHollywood Walk of Fame.

DeBella came to the Philadelphia market from a Garden City, New York, station. Here, he launched the Morning Zoo concept, a mix of rock-and-raucous format that had evolved elsewhere on U.S. airwaves.

For most of the 1980s, DeBella and his crew were No. 1 in radio ratings, eventually being dethroned by Howard Stern.

‘MMR eventually dropped DeBella, and WMGK picked him up, keeping him in Bala Cynwyd.

DeBella’s other Montgomery County connection is an annual dog adoption event at Green Lane Park.

More on John DeBella and the other 2023 Walk of Fame honorees is at KYW Newsradio.

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