By: J. Chevonte’ Alexander
Who would have thought on the rough streets of Philadelphia would be born a radio legend?
Who would have thought that street DJ’ing in the heart of Philly and throwing DJ parties would land him in Richmond, Virginia leading one of the top radio stations?
Well, Phil Daniels, better known as DJ Philly Phil always knew. His love for radio, and his gift to change people’s live on the air, has him making his debut on WKJS 99.3/105.7 April 28 as the new host of the “Quiet Storm”.
He has been a radio personality for over 30 years notably on former Richmond stations Magic 99 and Jammin’ Oldies 105.7.
Flashing back to the 1980s, Phil grew up listening to popular Philadelphia radio stations. On 28th and Montgomery Streets in Philadelphia, in an area plagued with crime and gang violence, music and DJs were an outlet and made him dream of what it would be like to be a radio personality.
“I was fascinated as to how someone could speak their voice and be heard all across the city.” comments Daniels.
Phil was born and raised in Philadelphia, graduating from Dobbins High and attended Temple University’s School of Broadcasting. Before coming to Farmville, Virginia, Phil was an on-air person at WRIT Temple University Radio.
In 1981, Phil Daniels left the mean streets of Philly for a radio opportunity in Farmville, Virginia. “Leaving the big city for a small town USA was extremely difficult” Phil says. “It was just a complete culture shock.” His love for radio and music outweighed his desire to return home. “I grew up fast and learned a lot about myself.”
Daniels had to soon realize that his purpose of this journey was so much more than just him. The challenges of being an air host for an AM daytime station pushed him out of his comfort zone that he began to learn more about himself that he did not know. For an entire year, Daniels would send his income back home to Philadelphia to help support his wife and kids until he could afford to move them to Virginia. They lived in a three-bedroom mobile home that was small but full of love.
In 1983, Phil Daniels received his big break when the late Paul Child’s, Program Director of WPLZ, offered him the opportunity to co-host the Magic 99 morning show in Petersburg, Virginia. Indeed Phil was excited and overwhelmed about the opportunity to be acknowledged by his peers and those he looked up to after such a short time. “I was pleasantly shocked and looking forward to this bigger opportunity.”
“During this time I learned what it means to be patient and persistent.” said Daniels. “Anything you want in life, you have to be persistent but you have to be patient.”
Over the next 20 years, with minimal interruption, Phil made a name for himself in Richmond radio, co-hosting morning shows with popular personalities Gwen Williams followed by Mikki Spencer. In 2003, Radio One who now owned Jamming Oldies 105.7 decided to replace Phil and Mikki’s morning show with the Tom Joyner morning show.
“To lose something that I loved so much was emotionally challenging and physically exhausting.” comments Daniels. “Although radio is what I did, it wasn’t who I was. When I came to the realization this door in life had closed, I wiped away the tears, got down on my knees and asked God ‘What Now?’”
VP/General Manager Linda Forem commented, “The city of Richmond mourned with us the loss of Mitch Malone last November. After a nationwide search, we found Mitch’s replacement in our own backyard. How fortunate we are that Philly Phil will take over the ‘Quiet Storm’, a show that gives so many so much pleasure. Phil is one of Richmond’s favorite DJ’s, and many who listened to him in the past will be happy to have him back on our simulcast signals.”
Urban Views Weekly had the great opportunity of chatting with DJ Philly Phil and getting to know the man and the veteran radio personality.
JA: What are your hobbies outside of radio?
PP: I enjoy meeting people, networking, golf, and just overall trying to be a better person.
JA: What do you want people to experience when listening to you on the radio?
PP: I want people to feel encouraged and excited. I want them to feel challenged when they listen to me and be encouraged by my words and my spiritual journey. I want them to be excited and know that their best and brightest days are ahead. Success is in your future.
JA: As you prepare for the return to radio what will be different?
PP: My understanding of what’s important to people has changed. I want to say things and play things that will create more Love, Togetherness and Devotion.
JA: How have you been feeling as you make your debut back to radio on April 28th?
PP: Relaxed with anticipated anxiety. With a million things to say and music to play I am still trying to decide where to begin.
JA: Who has been your inspiration?
PP: The DJ’s I grew up listening to in Philly like the late Butterball, Dr. Perri Johnson and MiMi Brown. The talented men and women I’ve worked with and listened to over the years continue to influence my thinking.
JA: How has radio changed or stayed the same?
PP: Radio hasn’t changed, but the focus has changed. In my estimation, it has become less about people and more about profit.
JA: In 10 years, where do you want to be?
PP: An empty nester travelling the world enjoying margaritas with my wife Monique.
JA: Any final words?
PP: If it is your desire to be better personally, professionally and spiritually join me inside the Quiet Storm.