Friday, August 27, 2021

R.I.P.: Pete Gabriel, Former WKBN Youngstown Radio Personality, PD

Pete Gabriel
Youngstown, Ohio radio personality Pete Gabriel, known for starting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Mahoning Valley, has died.

He was 83-years-old, according to The Vindicator

According to 570 WKBN, he was born in Bronx, N.Y. and graduated high school in Sunbury, Pa. He then enlisted in the Air Force and began his radio career in 1958 at Lajes Field, a base 500 miles off shore from Portugal.

After stops at radio stations in Berwick, PA Harrisburg, Kansas City and Columbus, Gabriel made Youngstown his home at WKBN 570 AM.  He hosted programs and served as the program director, according to the station website he was the architect of the transition from music to talk programming,” it said.

His involvement in the long-running parade tradition began with an on-air conversation in 1979 and continued each year, except for 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabriel once commented on his Facebook page: “I am really proud to have created an event involving thousands both in the parade and viewing it. A true family tradition that has been part of Youngstown, Ohio, for half a Century.”

According to WKBN-TV, former WKBN 570 Radio General Manager Bill Kelly issued a statement Thursday on Gabriel’s death, having worked alongside the Valley icon for decades:

It was a joy to work with Pete when I started at WKBN Radio in 1981 until his retirement. Pete was the consummate “Morning Mayor.” He wrapped his arms around Youngstown and Youngstown hugged back. From the founding of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to his transition from playing music in the morning to being a morning talk host, Pete was WKBN Radio, but more than that, Pete was the consumate family man. May his memory be a blessing."

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