After a hiatus from radio that lasted nearly a decade, Northside native Johnny Angel will have his voice and music heard once again over the airways.
The show airs on WJAS 1320 AM Sunday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.
“This one is called the Johnny Angel Heavenly Soul Show,” Angel said. “I’m playing music from the late 50s to the early 70s, and it’s basically soul, rhythm and blues, do-op and early rock.”
When the music isn’t playing, Angel can be heard doing interviews with some of the most popular musicians in his genre.
“We talk to guys like Jerry Butler, Eddie Holman, Mike Vales, even some of the Mo-town people,” Angel said. “I call a lot of the people I’ve worked with over my career and we do interviews of them and then play their music.”
WJAS is an oldies station all the time, and during the day they play 50s and 60s music more from the pop genre. Knowing this, Angel always wanted to keep them open for a prospective job opportunity.
“I had talked with them years ago that if a position opened I would be interested,” Angel said. “Well, the Sunday night position opened up and they called me and offered it to me. Of course, with the staff that they have it was a no brainer for me. I could just go on the air and be me.”
Angel, whose real name is Jack Hunt, has made his living off of live performances and hosting radio shows.
During his radio career, he has worked as a co-host on WWWS Morning Zoo and hosted his own show at WZUM in 2000. After about a year, WZUM sold the station and reformatted, pushing Angel off the air.
His last radio gig came six years ago, when he had a short-term position working as a KDKA fill in for Bob Logan.
Angel said that as much as he loves being on the radio, he would never leave Pittsburgh for a gig in another city.
“I would never leave Pittsburgh, the Northside is my home,” he said. “I’ve been raised on the Northside, I bought my burial plot on the Northside, and I love the Northside of Pittsburgh — it’s very near and dear to my heart.”
But, after spending the past 10 years as a traveling performer, Angel is back to his roots in radio — and people are tuning in.
“Pittsburgh is an oldies town,” Angel said. “From my travels as a musician, I can tell you that even if you go to a city like New York they don’t have the venues for the older style music like Pittsburgh does. There is a large listening audience that still likes it.”
The listening audience, for the most part, has been what Angel expected. Furthermore, he’s even come across some old fans of his who were involved in his shows since his last appearance on the air.
“I used to have a thing called the Johnny Angel Soul Patrol and they actually had membership cards,” Angel said. “A lot of them have found out that I’m back on the air and they’ve been calling in. A lot of my friends who are full of the soul community have been calling me too.”
Just like his fans, Angel never gave up on the radio business and the soul genre.
“I still kept my record collection and still had a passion for radio,” Angel said. “So when this opportunity came about, I just jumped on it.”
For more information, visit WJAS online at www.1320wjas.com.