Cody Anderson, radio pioneer and long-time general manager of WDAS 105.3, dies

Philadelphia radio legend Cody Anderson has died.

Cody Anderson served as the first general manager of WURD (Philadelphia Tribune file photo)

Cody Anderson served as the first general manager of WURD (Philadelphia Tribune file photo)

This story originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.

Philadelphia radio legend Cody Anderson has died.

“Cody was a pioneer and giant in broadcast journalism in the Black community in Philadelphia for decades. He was a consistent, constructive, confident, voice on the air. He encouraged persons of color to enter politics, to serve people, and make their communities better places to live,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke via Twitter after learning of Anderson’s passing. “A symbol of positivity, class and achievement for our community is gone. It is on us now to carry on in his memory and in service to others. Rest in Power, my good friend.”

Anderson co-hosted “The Electric Magazine” with Vikki Leach on Saturday mornings on WURD 96.1FM/900 AM.

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“Cody was instrumental in breathing life into WURD and shepherding it over our almost 20 years, first as General Manager and most recently as a beloved host, mentor and friend,” WURD President and CEO Sara Lomax-Reese said in a statement. “Like his biological family, the WURD family will miss him deeply. But we are grateful for his tireless and generous support of independent Black media, which he championed every day of his life, especially through his advocacy of WURD Radio.”

Lomax-Reese went on to say, “Up until the time of his passing, Cody Anderson was actively involved at WURD Radio in a myriad of ways. He was the co-host of The Electric Magazine with Vikki Leach every Saturday from 7-9am; co-host of bi-weekly 9am Saturday morning shows with City Council President Darrell Clarke and Philadelphia School Superintendent Dr. William Hite; co-host of the weekly Laborer’s Live show every Friday from 4-5pm; and he regularly guest hosted wherever and whenever we needed him. His office was in the same building, on the same floor and just a few doors down from WURD’s offices. He flowed in and out of the WURD headquarters, offering gentle but firm guidance to our hosts, producers, sales team — all of us. He offered me wise counsel cultivated from a long career as a radio manager, entrepreneur and community servant.”

A former owner of WHAT 1340 AM and general manager and president of WDAS 105.3 FM, Anderson has touched the hearts and lives of many in the Philadelphia region.

After getting his break in the radio industry as an account executive for WDAS, Anderson later managed the station during what some would call their heyday. He worked with personalities such as Jimmy Bishop, Georgie Woods and Joseph “Butterball” Tamburro. Anderson became a leader in broadcast and the community.

He went on to serve as the first general manager of WURD, the only African-American-owned and operated talk radio station in Pennsylvania.

The station honored Anderson during their annual Empowerment Expo in December. Lomax-Reese said that it was a caller’s idea to give Anderson his roses while he was still there.

It was also during that occasion that Iyanla Vanzant, known for her “Fix My Life” series on OWN, revealed that Anderson gave her a start in radio at WHAT. Vanzant said that Anderson’s personality and friendship inspired her to be a better person.

Though he has referred to himself as someone from outside, Anderson found himself in the heartbeat of Philadelphia. Becoming one of its most trusted figures and household names in the African-American community.

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“Cody Anderson had been a big part of my life,” said Vincent Thompson, president of Mediaman Communications.

“He has been a mentor, a friend, somebody you can always bounce ideas off. He would tell you if you weren’t doing what you needed to do to succeed and as far as Black people in this country who have had an impact on radio, Cody is right up there,” he said. “If there were a Mount Rushmore of Black folks in radio, Cody would be right up there.”

Anderson was also instrumental in starting the Unity Day event that WDAS put on for many years in Philadelphia.

“We wanted to put on an event that would bring political leaders together with the community. Where they would have the chance to interact with them in a fun environment. So, we decided to do it and call it Unity Day,” Anderson told WDAS Insight host Loraine Ballard-Morrill recently during an interview celebrating WDAS’ 70 years in radio.

When asked what he thought would be his legacy, Anderson responded, “I would imagine the commitment to the community.”

Anderson said he believed that no voice is special until it has been heard. He will be remembered for allowing people that had no voice to have a voice.

Anderson leaves behind his wife Verna, daughter Teresa and sons Bill and Kyle.

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