SCRANTON — A SiriusXM Radio DJ has endeared himself to a listenership in Northeastern Pennsylvania and found his face on area billboards for his efforts.
Phlash Phelps, who hosts “‘60s on 6,” which he broadcasts nationally from Washington D.C., has been featured on several Lamar Advertising spaces since 2013. Erected on April 7, the most recent, which celebrates Phelps’ 50th birthday as well as his mission to visit all 50 states in the next year, is bringing the radio personality to Scranton at noon Sunday.
Doreen Yakoski, of Springville, worked for Lamar for 19 years and was the charting manager when she pitched the idea to feature Phelps on a space.
“I was listening to his show as I do every day, and people call in from all across the country,” Yakoski said.
After hearing Phelps take a caller from Scranton to discuss the Steamtown National Historical Site and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Yakoski realized he’d spent time in the area. She went to general manager Tom Donohue with a proposition.
“I said, ‘Do you think if Phlash came to Scranton, we could do a billboard welcoming him to the city?’”
Donohue, also a fan of Phelps’ show, consented to the idea, and Phelps traveled to Scranton to see the advertisement. Grateful for the warm welcome, he befriended the folks at Lamar and several other billboards followed.
Donohue decided to issue a special advertisement letting Northeastern Pennsylvanians know about Phelps’ journey. The billboard stands off the River Street exit of I-81.
“The fact that Lamar right there in Scranton wanted to do that for me is incredible,” Phelps said.
A Baltimore native who worked at 16 different radio stations before landing his gig at Sirius, Phelps was bitten by the travel bug in his 20s.
“I had 47 states finished by the time I was 29,” Phelps said. “In the last 10 years, I’ve been to all 50, but I’ve never been to all 50 in a calendar year.”
Phelps said he talks to people from all over the country and, although he doesn’t know how so many learn about him, he’s grateful they do.
“I have the greatest listeners,” he said.
One of those listeners who stands out in his mind is Father Mike Kloton, of Wilkes-Barre.
“Talk about a priest who loves to tune in and listen to ’60s music,” Phelps said. “He’s a great guy.”
Kloton, who has a background in radio as well, loves the show because he grew up with the music and Phelps is great to talk to.
“He can speak with the president of a music company or a little old priest from Freeland,” Kloton said.
Phelps’ connection to Northeastern Pennsylvania goes beyond billboards. At one point in his career, he began going to every market in the country and taping radio broadcasts.
“I would sit off of I-81 and tape 98.5 KRZ,” Phelps said. “Jumpin’ Jeff Walker was already working there at that point.”
Yakoski said Phelps has become a friend of Lamar’s, and they’re happy to have him back in the region.
“He’s going to get a photo (at the billboard) and Pennsylvania will be one of his 50 states during the tour,” Yakoski said. Pennsylvania is scheduled as Phelps’ second state.
Yakoski said Scranton is essentially kicking off the radio host’s country wide expedition.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts