Ronald Joseph Caponigro
1941 – 2022
Ronald Joseph Caponigro was a Radio/Television host producer pioneer of UHF and Low Power Television. RJ’s fifty year career had radio and television programs coast to coast locally included: WIFI,WCAM,WEEZ,WHAT,WSNJ,WNAR,WXUR,WNJC,WVLT,WTAF-TV,WPHL-TV,WTGI-TV,WRBV-TV,WWAC-TVand WTVE-TV.
Known professionally as “RJ” when initials were never used on radio, Ron began his radio-tv career with “Ghost Riders” children’s TV show in 1950 at Channel 10, WCAU-TV; in 1954 he was invited to be a young panel member of the “Radio Rangers,” a dramatic radio program on Sunday mornings over WCAURadio 1210 with the late Phil Sheridan.
In 1955 Ron published and edited a local newspaper, The Upper Darby Tower, in Delaware County.
But in 1956 television was his love of life. He joined WFIL-TV “Bandstand” with Bob Horn, Tony Mammerella and stayed on when producer Mammerella asked him to join a new host, Dick Clark on ABC-TV as a regular teen dancer.
In 1960 he graduated from Upper Darby High School and the Dick Clark programs.
Ron joined the staff of WEEZ Radio and his nightly program became one of Chester, Pennsylvania’s most poplar top 40 music shows.
In 1963 telvision beckoned him back to Philadelphia where he was given a new TV show on the city’s first commercial station on the UHF dial – Channel 17, pioneering in getting people to buy UHF converter boxes to add the UHF to their present set. WPCA-TV (Young People’s Church of the Air) gave R.J. his first own TV show.
Ron was a big fan of the late John Facenda, and many times Mr. Facenda was seen giving tips to R.J. about the TV business after the 11:15 a.m. Mass on Sundays at St. Bernadette’s Church in Drexel Hill, PA. where they both attended.
In 1966 Ron opened his first under 21 discotheque on Penn’s Campus at 40th and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia and the “Groove” at Broad & Locust where WIFI 92.5 FM broadcast live remotes.
A new television station, WIBF-TV in Jenkintown asked him to recreate a TV version of his Teen Dance Club on the new view.
Ron Joseph was on TV for ten tears and in 1975 syndicated RJ & Company and Disco USA to over 20 cities coast to coast-WBTB-TV 68, -Newark, N.J., KEMO-TV 20, -KTSF-TV 26- San Francisco, and KBSC-TV 52-KSCI-TV-18, Los Angeles.
In 1982, he was on clear channel 50,000 watts “The Mighty 1090” from Los Angeles XPRS Radio covering 16 states on the west coast-Canada and Mexico.
America’s Teen Scene Magazine was his new television production on WRBV-TV channel 65, Vineland, N.J., also on KFTY-TV 50, Santa Rosa, California.
In 1985, he returned to radio on the Philadelphia Wireless Station, WPWT-FM 91.7 and received great reception from everybody in Center City and South Philadelphia. People remember listening to RJ show on car radios while driving on Broad Street and South Street.
Also, in this year he created “Beach Party USA” from Hunts Pier in Wildwood N.J. on new WTGI-61, Wilmington, Delaware.
Yet in 1986, he traveled to Europe for a new teen movie, “Gemini Twin Stars” starring Gene Patrick (McGinty) who was discovered by RJ at his teen club on South Street.
Ron in 1989, bought low power TV to Philadelphia with Channel 7, WO7CB-TV. Also, in that year he started “Open Mike”, RJ’s TV talk show from WWAC-TV-53, Atlantic City.
In 1993 he opened low power channels WO5AX-TV-5 Wildwood-Cape May, N.J. and in 1997 in Willow Grove and Chestnut Hill WELL-TV-Channel 8.
In 1998, most recently RJ began a dico block party Sunday afternoons on WNJC AM 1360, and Friday nights at WVLT-FM 92.1 in South Jersey covering metropolitan Philadelphia. He has syndicated “Disco USA” to independent stations around the nation on the weekends, including KECG-FM 88.1-97.7 in Oakland-San Francisco.
His televisions dance party is still seen in various markets weekly today called “The Nostalgia Dance Party”.
IN LIFE RJ WAS AN INSPIRATION,
IN DEATH HIS MEMORY WILL BE A
Many of us go through life never speaking as we feel, RJ, will FOREVER remain in our hearts for telling us like it really was!
Ron is survived by his wife Cantor Robin Sherman, brother Dennis A. Caponigro, sister-in-law Edith and nephews Derik and Craig, all of Pleasanton, California. Relatives and friends are invited to Viewing Saturday, April 30, 2022, 9am at St. Dorothy Church, 4910 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, PA 19026, where his Funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 am.
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