Question of the Week
What Philadelphia radio broadcaster was the longtime host of the Irish Hour?
Answer: Patrick Stanton
Patrick Stanton, born in County Cork, Ireland, became one the most prominent promoters of Irish American culture in Philadelphia in the 20th century. Stanton was the longtime host of the radio show Irish Hour and produced a number of Irish films. He spent so much time supporting Irish culture that he was referred to as an “Irish consul without portfolio.”
Stanton was born the eighth of 16 children in 1907 and came in Philadelphia in 1912. He moved to New York briefly, then returned in 1926 and began working at a local radio station. His program Irish Hour remained on the air for almost 50 years. Stanton eventually established his own radio station, WJMJ (the call letters reportedly stood for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph). The station featured primarily Roman Catholic programs, foreign language programs, and music.
Stanton also served as press secretary for former Philadelphia Mayor James Tate, and he produced and presented a number of Irish films. He traveled to Ireland often and produced travelogues, including Here is Ireland, the first all-color travelogue about Ireland.
HSP has a sizeable collection of Stanton's records and photographs (MSS031 and PG108) that are open for research. Overall, the collections document Stanton's radio, film, and charitable activities in regards to Ireland and the Irish American community.
About the Author
Look for these history stories every Sunday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The stories, called Memory Stream, are published in the Currents section of the newspaper.