Vernon Odom Honored By Philly’s Broadcast Pioneers

Vernom Odom, a member of the Action News team at ABC O&O WPVI Philadelphia (DMA 4) for 42 years, has been named Person of the Year by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. He will be celebrated by 12 Hall of Fame inductees and nine posthumous professionals on Friday, Nov. 16, at the Hilton City Avenue.

dom’s career in broadcasting dates back to the Martin Luther King assassination when he worked as an anchor, reporter and talk show host for an ABC affiliate in Atlanta. He covered the civil rights movement in the south and the early political campaigns of President Jimmy Carter, Andrew Young, Julian Bond and Maynard Jackson.

Odom graduated from Morehouse College in 1970 and did his post-graduate study in broadcast journalism at Columbia University. He joined WPVI in 1976. Since then Odom has covered every presidential campaign, the Three-Mile Island nuclear disaster, the Move confrontations with Philadelphia police, the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, the Clinton-Lewinsky White House scandal and more.

He has reported from Latin America, Europe and Africa — most notably on the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the free elections in South Africa, the U.S. invasion of Somalia, the fall of the Soviet empire and the release of U.S. hostages from Beirut.

His family history in journalism dates back to the 19th century. Odom’s maternal grandfather was the second African American to publish a daily newspaper. His sister, Maida, was a veteran reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer. And he is married to former Inquirer reporter Wanda Motley.

Hall of Fame Inductees


  • Gene Arnold, air personality, singer and member of the Disco D.J. Hall of Fame.
  • Bob Backman, WRDE-TV owner, aka “Cool Bobby B” on SiriusXM Radio.
  • Amy Buckman, former WPVI “Action News” producer and air talent.
  • Joyce Evans, the 6 p.m. WTXF news anchor, previously with KYW-TV.
  • Diane Cameron Feinberg, long-time CBS 3 stage manager, camera operator.
  • Ted Greenberg, NBC 10 South Jersey reporter, formerly with WMGM-TV.
  • David Madden, KYW Newsradio news anchor, editor and South Jersey reporter.
  • Dawn Stensland Mendte, WPHT newscaster. Former CBS 3 & Fox 29.
  • Anchor Orien Reid, former reporter for WCAU-TV & Eyewitness News, KYW-TV
  • Leigh Richards, third of a century veteran with 25 on-air years as WXTU-FM.
  • Steve Ross, Philadelphia television & radio air personality for a dozen stations.
  • Dawn Stensland, newscaster on WPHT. Formerly Anchor for CBS 3 and Fox 29.
  • Bill Werndl, Eagles broadcasts, radio sports talk host and WPVI sports producer.

Posthumous Inductees

  • Rod Carson, former newscaster, traffic reporter and founder of Shadow Traffic.
  • Frank X. Feller, WIBG Good Guy, GM of WYSP & WWDB talk host.
  • Bill Gregory, former KYW Newsradio news anchor for a quarter of a century.
  • Mel Kampmann, creator of the well-known WPVI, 6abc “Action News” format.
  • Reggie Lavong, WRCV air personality, WHAT Radio owner, WPHL investor.
  • Johnny Morris, owner of Morris Broadcasting and WIMG Radio, Trenton, N.J.
  • Dave Parks, one of the original WFIL, Famous Boss Jocks. He did overnights.
  • Dave Shayer, original WDVR announcer, WWSH DJ, voice of WLVT, PBS 39.
  • Barbara Sommers, first Female WFIL Boss Jock, DJ at many other stations.

Founded in 1962, the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is a nonprofit membership based organization and independent entity. Membership includes station owners and executives, talent, sales, management, engineering, and ad agency personnel among a variety of others in all levels of broadcasting and communications.

Tickets for the event are now on sale. Prices are $88 for members (one ticket per member at that price) and $98 for everyone else. A reception is set for 6 p.m. to be followed by a dinner at 7. For more information, contact Ed Eisen at 215-885-7253.

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