Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Catching up with former WYSP and WMMR DJ Anita

Once upon a time, radio personalities not only lived in the same metro area that you did (Ahem - Howard Stern, Mario Lopez, Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Steve Harvey; the list goes on forever), but they were also given the room to have a personality. In Philly, you don't have to go all the way back to Jerry Blavat to find those DJs. In the '80s you had DJs like Anita Gevinson, who did an advice call-in show during her mid-day on-air shift on the old 94 WYSP. "Ask Anita" was such a hit that the station had a promo spoof song about her set to The Cars' "Just What I Needed."

 "I guess I'll just ask Anita/just ask Anita ..." LOL

 Anita has since retired from the radio business, but was tapped by WMGK (where several of her former colleagues are still on the air) to be a judge for their 2014 Houseband Competition. To my surprise, there I was sitting right next to this person that I listened to on the radio in my teens, and thought was the coolest. Working with event emcee Andre "Mr. Beatles" Gardner was an honor, but this was a bonus.

 The above three photos, courtesy of Andre Gardner took the photo above. Our striking-a-pose judge is long-time Philadelphia concert photographer Tom Collins (not his real name).

Anita's outgoing, bubbly persona has not changed at all in 30 years. She still lives in the area and is working on a screenplay of her 2012 autobiography "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio ... My Wild Rock 'N' Roll Life" (Oooh, nice Joni Mitchell reference).
The cover features Anita's infamous racy photo, where she appears to be naked underneath a bunch of scattered LP records. Presumably it includes her observations about working with rocker Billy Squier as one of the backup singers on his song "Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You."

 "He was so Spinal Tap," said Anita of an episode when somebody caught an angry earful from Squier after bringing him a Tab instead of a Diet Coke. I didn't know they even still made Tab in the '80s, did you?
She mused that Billy Squier never seemed to be enjoying his success, which rapidly dried up after 1984.
She also raved about how great the Espy Awards were going to be because of Drake, made some hysterical observations about the fans of one of the Houseband Competition bands, confessed that Googling herself is sometimes embarrassingly unpleasant, and made me crack up laughing a lot.
Well hopefully this sort of changes that part about Google searching her name.
Can't wait to see what a movie version of the book will look like, Anita ... and who plays Warren Zevon.

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