It could have been last week, it might be this week, it may even be today, but sometime this month Pierre Robert will have been at 93.3 WMMR for 30 years.
Robert isn't sure of the exact date because he never thought he would need to remember it when he started in the music library and ended up on an overnight shift that same week in 1981.
"I came out here from San Francisco and I said I'll give it a year or two," said Robert, who can't believe he's been able to do what he loves for so long at a station he loves. WMMR has had a rock format for at least 43 years in a city where format flips are common.
Robert tells us his two radio heroes are Jerry Blavat and Sid Mark. "Sid just celebrated 55 years in radio. Those guys show no signs of slowing down. I'm 56 and I don't feel like I'm even close to being done," Robert said yesterday. And besides, he said, he has a contract for another three years. The radio host who calls his listeners "citizens" tells us, "It may sound corny but I really believe the listeners are part of the extended family. Radio still has the ability to have a personal connection."
Asked about whether he dyes his beard, which has a perfectly symmetrical gray patch in the middle, Robert, on air from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, spun a long tale of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in his youth and "a bolt of lightning hit me and I woke up and a mountain goat was lapping at my face and it's been white ever since. That's my story."
We asked Robert, who worked at San Francisco's KFAN before moving to Philadelphia, why he thought 'MMR has survived so long as a rock station. "They don't f--- with it too much," he said of the formula and roster.
Regardless of when his 30th anniversary is, Robert will celebrate it Friday along with the 30th anniversary of one of his favorite local groups Beru Revue in a sold-out show at World Cafe Live.