What are you doing Saturday night?
Well, Bob Pantano’s answer is the same every week — actually for the last 40 years. Maybe you’ve heard of something called the Bob Pantano Dance Party? We are talking about the first and longest-running radio dance party in the nation.
This Saturday night (March 4) is extra special, as it marks the 40th anniversary celebration and live broadcast of the show. There is a big night of performances and special guests lined up for this memorable ocassion taking place at The Adelphia Restaurant and Nightclub in Deptford, N.J.
“This is a special event we are dedicating to all of the listeners who have been listening for the last 40 years,” Pantano, who is a native of Seventh and Federal streets, said.
The origins of this weekly dance-the-night-away affair date to the 1960s, when the Bishop Neumann graduate (class of ’67) started spinning at the record hops and then the nightclubs in the ’70s. His professional radio career began on WCAM in Camden in ’71. He pioneered the live-radio broadcast, The Saturday Night Dance Party, in ’77, and has enthralled and entertained Philadelphia audiences with its upbeat dance music.
“I just had an idea that I wanted to do a disco party on the air,” Pantano, who has enjoyed his share of Geno’s, Pat’s and Federal soft pretzels, recalled. “I wanted to bring it to a nightclub and give it a chance. It could’ve lasted a week or two, but it lasted 40 years.”
His knack for playing the best record hop tunes of the ’60s, along with the dance club classics of the ’70s and ’80s, has made him a celebrity around the Delaware Valley. The show originates exclusively on 98.1 WOGL and is simulcast on 96.1 WTTH Atlantic City, N.J. and 93.1 WEZW Wildwood, N.J.
Forty years later, his audience is stronger than ever.
Pantano, who was presented the Person of the Year Award by the Broadcast Pioneers Hall in 2015 and inducted into its Hall of Fame, is №1 in his time slot across the board in the overall ratings as well as every age demographic, including the all-important 25 to 54 — for the first time ever, in the latest Nielsen ratings book. Mr. Saturday Night is now the King of Saturday Night among Delaware Valley radio listeners. This king has no plans of leaving the party scene.
“Let’s go for 10 more. I am going the distance,” Pantano said. “As long as people keep dancing, we will still be playing.”
The Bob Pantano Dance Party 40th Anniversary Celebration & LIVE Broadcast
When: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday (March 4)
Where: Adelphia Restaurant & Nightclub, 1750 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford, N.J.
Special guest performances by: Tavares (“Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel”); The Blue Notes (“The Love I Lost”); Kenny Jeremiah (Soul Survivors original lead singer); Cecil Parker (“I Think I’ll Tell Her”); Jimmy Phillips (“Got to Get You Back”); a Tribute to the Trammps by Night Fever with Jimmy Lee; and Tribute to Donna Summer by Rainere Martin
Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 at the door, and available online at adelphiarestaurant.com.