Legendary rock DJ Ed Sciaky, largely credited with making Philadelphia pivotal in boosting the early careers of Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Yes, Genesis and others to national stardom in the early ‘70s as a WMMR-FM air personality, topped this year’s class of Asbury Angels at the annual Light of Day induction show during the just-completed Light of Day Winterfest 2016.
“The Guardian Angel is someone who did not live in or come from Asbury Park but had a great influence on the scene,” said Jean Mikle, Asbury Angels Board member and Light of Day Foundation Board president. “Ed Sciaky's strong support of Bruce Springsteen helped establish him in the Philadelphia market and gave a huge boost to his career. He was also a strong supporter of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.”
The mission of the Asbury Angels is to honor and memorialize the lives and history of members of the Asbury Park musical community, including but not limited to, musicians, tech support persons, DJs, journalists, club owners, record company personnel, managers and promoters. Light of Day WinterFest, with ended its 10-day run for 2016 this week, is the annual celebration of the Light of Day Foundation in its global battle to defeat Parkinson’s disease and the Parkinsonisms in our lifetime “through the awesome power of music.”
Springsteen alluded to Sciaky in concert last Saturday during “The River” tour opener in Pittsburgh, as part of his tribute to David Bowie. On stage in Pittsburgh, Springsteen recounted his historic 1974 meeting with Bowie in Philadelphia at Sigma Sound Studios, during Bowie’s Young Americans recording sessions, noting that he “took the Greyhound bus down to Philadelphia, that’s how early it was.” Sciaky not only arranged that meeting, but picked up Springsteen at the bus station and allowed him to sleep on his couch that evening.
Sciaky spent his entire broadcast career in Philadelphia radio. Though he made his influential mark at WMMR, he later spent significant time at WIOQ-FM, WYSP-FM, and WMGK-FM. He was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 2005.
On the night of Sciaky’s death from complications of diabetes in 2004, Billy Joel spent 30 minutes on WMGK in a moving tribute. E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg spoke at Sciaky’s funeral on behalf of Springsteen and his bandmates. Noting Sciaky’s passing, Springsteen called him “the kind of DJ whose passion was the lifeblood for artists like myself. His support for my work brought me to an audience in Philadelphia that has remained one of my strongest to this day. Ed was the DJ as true rock and roll fan, the very spirit of the music he loved. He will be greatly missed.”