PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh radio and jazz legend has died.
Tony Mowod died at the age of 85 on Wednesday. His “Nightside” jazz show was syndicated in 40 cities, but the show originated in Pittsburgh at the former WDUQ-FM.
“What an excellent thing to start off with on this last day of WDUQ jazz,” Mowod said on his last day on the air at WDUQ.
New owners ended the all-jazz format in 2011, ending a 24-year run.
“Not being able to do what he loved was just, it’s the air you breathe,” said John Mowod, Tony’s son.
John is a chip off the old block. He is an actor, movie critic and broadcaster. Growing up, he marveled at the big-time jazz artists who knew his dad.
“Answered the phone, ‘Hi, can I speak to Tony.’ Can I ask who is calling? ‘Yeah, this is George Benson,'” John said of one call.
There were many others, including Rosemary Clooney, Chuck Mangione, Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett.
Fred and Joanne Rogers were big fans, too, often phoning Tony after a broadcast. Tony’s silk voice and encyclopedic knowledge of jazz gave him a unique connection with listeners. Not bad for a kid who grew up in the Hill District with a speech impediment.
“Made you feel like you knew him,” John said. “Made you feel comfortable with what he was saying, what he was doing.”
But at age 85, Alzheimer’s brought Tony’s final sign-off.
Through the magic of radio, you can still hear Tony’s shows. WZUM 101.1 FM replays taped versions of his shows. Specials will air all weekend.