Now Playing: Nov. 24, 2005
David Kurtz, the longtime co-owner (with Jerry Lee) of Philadelphia AC powerhouse WBEB (B101) [WDVR]died Thanksgiving night (Nov. 24) following a long illness.
...LINK to complete news story Dave Kurtz was an engineering pro, quiet and reserved, always ready to do what it took to make the station sound better technically. According to "Inside Radio", he died on Thanksgiving, November 24, 2005 at the age of 73. The word comes to INSIDE RADIO from a very sad Jerry Lee - Kurtz' business partner and friend for over 40 years. Dave was the quiet half of the partnership that repeatedly made FM radio history - as the first FM to go stereo 24/7, the first American FM to bill $1 million in 1968. He had been fighting cancer for some time. Jerry Lee says shortly before his death, Kurtz signed a contract to transfer ownership of the station over to him.
...LINK to complete news story
On May 13, 1963, Dave Kurtz, then an engineer with Philco Electronics, turned on the master switch of WDVR-FM in the Barker building at 18 W. Chelten Ave. in Germantown.
...LINK to complete WDVR story
Posted on Wed, Nov. 30, 2005
Request for permission to display article made on 1 DEC 2005 and granted by the author....
David L. Kurtz, FM pioneer
By Gayle Ronan Sims, Inquirer Staff Writer
David L. Kurtz, 73, founder of the widely popular B101 - one of the last independently owned FM stations in a major U.S. market - died of kidney cancer Thursday at home in East Falls.
Born in Ephrata, Lancaster County, Mr. Kurtz tinkered with electronics and loved music when he was a child.
"He bought a kit and built his family's first television set," his son, David, said. "He worked part-time at a radio station during high school."
In 1954, Mr. Kurtz earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Lehigh University. He immediately started working at Philco in Center City, designing submarine radar devices. He lived humbly, bringing his lunch each day in a paper bag to save money to fulfill his dream of starting an FM radio station.
In 1963, during a time when advertisers were pouring their money into AM radio, Mr. Kurtz founded WDVR, a 24-hour station playing adult contemporary music. Two years later, he quit his job at Philco and devoted his attention to his radio station.
Crammed into four small rooms in Germantown, Mr. Kurtz and his staff of seven within months made WDVR the most popular FM station within 100 miles of the Philadelphia region.
After a few years, Mr. Kurtz took on one of the original seven staffers, the outgoing Jerry Lee, as partner. Under Lee's direction, the station grew. In 1967, the station moved to its present location on Presidential Boulevard in Bala Cynwyd, and in 1980 it became WEAZ. The station changed its call letters again in 1993, becoming WBEB, nicknamed B101.
"He always owned one more share of stock than I did. In 1968, we billed $1 million," Lee said. "Today we bill more than $32 million."
The two men were a match. While Lee thought big and rode a chauffeured Cadillac to functions, Mr. Kurtz drove an older station wagon and avoided the party life. Both men were named to the National Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.