Saturday, October 31, 2020

R.I.P.: Ed Hurst, Iconic Philly Radio, TV Personality

Ed Hurst
Legendary Philadelphia radio, TV personality Ed Hurst has died at age 94. 

According to the WPG Atlantic City website, Hurst enjoyed a broadcasting career that spanned more than 75 years.

He was so relevant in the radio and television industry that Dick Clark said “without Ed Hurst, there never would have been a Dick Clark.”

Hurst’s radio and television, multi Hall of Fame career began at age 16 in 1943, on then WFPG AM in Atlantic City, the predecessor to now WPG Talk Radio 95.5.

Ed was a pioneer and innovator. He was the creator of the dance club format; inviting people to dance live, where he conducted live interviews on radio and television.

Ed was the first Broadcaster to interview the iconic Tony Bennett. They forged a loyal friendship that lasted more than 70 years.

Tony always remembered to remember and would always say, “Ed is my true friend. He’s the first person to ever put me on-the-air,” said Bennett.

Hurst started his career from 1943 to 1946 at WFPG, in Atlantic City. Hurst then did a radio show on WPEN- 950 AM, out of Philadelphia, called The 950 Club with Joe Grady from 1946 (until 1955) before he teamed up with Joe Grady to do The Grady and Hurst Show on Philadelphia TV, which was broadcast in the tri-state area.

The Grady and Hurst Show, which started in 1952, was the first to show teens dancing (from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday) in a studio. The groundbreaking format influenced programs like American Bandstand and others. The 950 Club on radio, which preceded The Grady and Hurst Show, was the first teenage show to have a studio audience (by invitation only) dance to the music on the air.

Hurst was on Philadelphia television from 1952 to 1978. During that time from 1952 to 1955, Hurst produced and performed on three television shows, all airing on WPTZ-TV. They were The Grady and Hurst Show, The Arthur Murray Party, a formal adult dance program, and The Plymouth Showroom, a variety program featuring popular recording artists. All three programs were rated number one in their respective time slots. In 1955, The Grady and Hurst Show moved to WPFH-TV in Wilmington, Delaware, where it enjoyed continued success. In 1958, the station moved to Philadelphia and became WVUE.

In 1958, Hurst joined WRCV radio and TV, now known as KYW. He produced and performed on The Grady and Hurst Show morning radio program, as well as working on a TV show called Summertime on the Pier. In 1965, Ed launched yet another show, Ed Hurst at the Aquarama, a local variety series.

Hurst returned to WPEN in 1981 and stayed until 2005. His show was called the Steel Pier Radio Show for most of his time at WPEN. Although Hurst then retired, he eventually returned to radio on WIBG 1020 AM, which was followed by WPG, WOND and back to WPG, where he worked until 2016.

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