Austin W. Culmer Jr., 82, one of the first African Americans to host a call-in show on a big-signal radio station in Philadelphia, died of natural causes Thursday at Montgomery Hospital Medical Center in Norristown.
Mr. Culmer, who grew up in Philadelphia, was a postal worker in the mid-1960s when the radio bug bit, said his son, Austin W.K. Culmer.
Mr. Culmer's first show, about 1965, was
on WHAT-AM (1340). For the next 35 years, off and on, he "did everything on radio," his son said.
In 1968, while hosting a country show on WRCP-AM (then at 1540), Mr. Culmer was recruited to handle weekend and overnight talk shows at 50,000-watt WCAU-AM, now WPHT (1210). He also worked for talk station WWDB-FM until its format change in 2000.
Mr. Culmer, who attended Central and Northeast High Schools, the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism, and Temple University, led the North Philadelphia Housing Committee and North City Congress, and worked with the Mayor's Literacy Program and the World Affairs Council.
He retired from the Postal Service as a public information officer in 1985. He was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's Hall of Fame in 2000 and served for a decade on its board.
In 1986, NBC's
sent a crew to his Mount Airy home to do a piece on procrastination. Mr. Culmer, a member of the Procrastinators Club of America, had not gotten around to cleaning his garage for some time.
Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Michele Bennett; a grandson; and two brothers. His wife of 32 years, the former Ursula Cord, died in 1982.
Friends may call after 8 a.m. Saturday at Christ Church and St. Michael's, 29 W. Tulpehocken St., where a funeral service will begin at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in Mount Lawn Cemetery, Sharon Hill.