Walk of Fame

Joe “Butterball” Tamburro

Inducted: 1997

Joe “Butterball” Tamburro, program director and DJ at Philadelphia’s WDAS-FM, has been sending an atmosphere of warmth, emotion, and remembrance across the airwaves for since 1964. The Butterball Show, a musical tribute to the meaning of soul, portrays Tamburro’s ability to sense his listener’s emotional pulse and convert it into musical expressions.

Tamburro creates a special warmth for his listeners by talking to them rather than at them. Best known for his oldies and the “love” portion of his show, he receives loads of mail from appreciative listeners who thank him for helping them remember the sounds.

An Italian-American from South Philadelphia, Tamburro was always an avid radio listener and admirer of black rhythm and blues. Aspiring to become a radio disk jockey, he played records at record hops around town for Hy Lit, a popular Philadelphia DJ. In 1964, Tamburro got his start in radio at WDAS as an advertising salesman. . He was nicknamed “Butterball” by Jimmy Bishop, the program director at the time. Within a few months he became a part-time DJ and began doing the first oldies show on black radio. Listeners loved the show, and both Tamburro and the show have remained a hit ever since.