Friday, February 5, 2016

Butterball has died

Legendary radio personality Joseph "Butter" Tamburro has died at the age of 70.

Butterball has died

Joseph "Butter" Tamburro worked at WDAS-FM for 50 years. (Source: WDAS-FM)
Joseph "Butter" Tamburro worked at WDAS-FM for 50 years. (Source: WDAS-FM)

Legendary radio personality Joseph "Butter" Tamburro has died at the age of 70.

This is what WDAS, his long-time station, said about him in a press release,“We want to sadly inform you that our on air personality, Butter, has passed away this morning at 10am. We are honoring his memory by playing the music and the artists that he broke. RIP to our good friend, legendary broadcaster, civil rights leader, the soul of the station for 50 years and Philly icon, Butter. We'll miss you dearly.”

> See photos of his trailblazing career at

The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia says Tamburro was “an Italian-American from South Philadelphia, Butter (sometimes called Butterball) was always an avid radio listener and admirer of rhythm and blues.” Early on, he decided on becoming a radio disc jockey, and honed his talents,  playing records at various local dances.

More coverage
WDAS-FM: Photos from a trailblazing career

 “In 1964, Butter was able to get his foot in the door of WDAS as an advertising salesman,” according to Broadcast Pioneers. “He was nicknamed "Butterball" by Jimmy Bishop, the program director at the time. Within a few months, Butter became a part-time DJ and he began doing the first oldies show on black radio. Listeners loved both the oldies show and Butterball, and both have remained a hit on WDAS.”

Can't imagine the local music scene without his presence. And how about his old school dance parties? Maybe as a sendoff someone will organize one in his memory. Rest in peace, Butter.

UPDATE 5:35 pm: This just in from WDAS: “Live Nation will give a donation of $5000.00  in memory of WDAS’s Joseph “Butterball” Tamburro tonight at the Mann Music Center concert with the O’Jays, Frankie Beverly and Maze and Patti Labelle.  The donation will be presented to a representative of the Philadelphia American Diabetes Association since Butter was living with diabetes and dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.”

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