Philadelphia broadcasters John B. Roberts, 94, and Bruce H. Beale, 82

Two pioneering pubcasters in Philadelphia, John B. Roberts and Bruce Harrison Beale, died on the same day, March 8 [2012]. John B. Roberts, one of the founding directors of WHYY-FM/TV in 1957, died of a spinal infection at his home in the retirement community of Rydal Park in suburban Philadelphia. He was 94. In 1953, Roberts had founded the Temple University public radio station, WRTI-FM, now an outlet for classical and jazz music, and taught communication at the university from 1946 to 1988. “When I was an undergrad at Temple in the 1970s, “WRTI was staffed and managed by students,” said Temple faculty member Paul Gluck, who served as station manager of WHYY-TV from 1999 to 2007.

With Abu-Jamal coming on, WRTI drops Pacifica

The prospect of radio commentaries by a controversial death-row inmate “accelerated” Temple University’s decision to pull Pacifica news off WRTI, the university said. In a memo to Pacifica News Director Julie Drizin, Temple Vice President for Public Relations George Ingram said he was canceling a half-hour news feed and the one-hour Democracy Now to make room for additional jazz and university-related programming. But he also said: “Quite frankly, the decision was accelerated by the news Democracy Now would air the Mumia Abu-Jamal radio commentaries. . .