In the Spring of 2005, WXPN General Manager Roger LaMay went to a dedication of the Philadelphia Mural Arts “South Philly musicians” mural, and ran into Philadelphia radio DJ Jerry Blavat, The Geator With The Heater. One of Philly’s most renown DJs and mega personalities, Blavat, who sadly passed away this past January, talked with LaMay at the mural arts event, and told LaMay that he was looking for a new outlet to do his radio show. Shortly after the event, I was at work and Roger walked into my office and told me about his conversation with The Geator. Without hesitation I said, “What time do you want to put him on?”
The Geator’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rhythm & Blues Express hit the XPN airwaves on Saturday, January 7, 2006. An hour of radio featuring Blavat’s inimitable presentation combined with his encyclopedic knowledge of rock and roll, R&B, Blues, and pop standards, each hour was a history lesson delivered with intense love and passion for the music. The Geator had his own radio language, and for those growing up in Philadelphia, he was as Philly as Tastycakes, soft pretzels, the Liberty Bell, and the Mummers. At the time, The Geator was a wonderful fit for XPN. As Blavat used to say “I play music from the heart not a research chart,” and his show fit perfectly into our mission of music discovery.
With the passing of The Geator, we’re bringing to a close his radio show on Saturday evenings. This Saturday, November 18, will be the last radio broadcast. However, we’ll be making many of his previous shows permanently available on our website. Since Blavat’s passing, Keely Stahl, Blavat’s partner, has been curating the shows that we’ve been broadcasting. Keely will continue to curate the Geator archives, the only official place fans can hear past episodes of his shows.
Join us this Saturday at 4 p.m. ET for our three-hour tribute to the Geator. It will start with an encore of The Lost Dedications at 4, followed at 5 by a special one-hour episode of The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn called “Music The Geator Gave Us” featuring songs from the many compilation albums Blavat released, concluding at 6 with the final Geator radio broadcast.
As The Geator used to say: “Keep on rockin’ cause you only rock once.” The records, the memories remain an important part of XPN, and you can continue to experience them anytime here.