More Culture:

August 21, 2023

Sixers' arena announcer Matt Cord to be next morning host on 102.9 WMGK

The Philly radio veteran will move from his midday show at the station and fill the vacancy created when John DeBella retired

Media Radio
Matt Cord WMGK Source/Beasley Media Group

Matt Cord, right, pictured with Steve Vassalotti. The pair will host a new morning show at classic rock station 102.9 WMGK beginning Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Philadelphia 76ers in-arena announcer and radio personality Matt Cord will host the new morning show at 102.9 WMGK beginning Sept. 5, station owner Beasley Media Group announced.

Cord has more than 30 years of radio experience and has been the public address announcer for the Sixers for 25 years. He became the midday host at 102.9 WMGK in 2020 and previously had hosted a morning show with Kristen Herrmann on sister station 95.7 Ben FM.

Cord's move to WMGK's morning slot follows the recent retirement of longtime host John DeBella, who called it a career at the end of June after 48 years in radio. Cord will be joined in the mornings from 6-10 a.m. by DeBella's former producer and cohost Steve Vassalotti.

“I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to host mornings,” Cord said. “It goes without saying John DeBella is a tough act to follow. I’m excited to have Steve as my cohost as our friendship goes back to his intern days.”

DeBella's career was marked by his snarky humor and longstanding feud with Howard Stern, which began in the 1980s when the New York icon's show became nationally syndicated. DeBella had gained a local following on WMMR's "The DeBella Travesty" and "The Morning Zoo" shows and battled with Stern to stay atop the ratings chart in Philadelphia.

"When I came to Philadelphia in 1982, I would never have believed that I could have gone as far as I have here," DeBella said in May. "I’ve been blessed with a magical life and a career beyond my wildest imagination…and I have you, my listeners, to thank for that."

Cord grew up in Delaware County watching Julius Erving and the Sixers during the team's heyday in the 1970s and '80s. He parlayed his radio career into a job calling the action on the floor at the Wells Fargo Center. Cord is known for the contrast between his echoing enthusiasm for Sixers scorers and the bored, disinterested tone he uses for opposing teams. His voice and those of other public address announcers appeared last year in the NBA 2K video game series, which Cord talked about in an interview before the game's release.

"I truly believe that me and the fans really help get wins," Cord said. "It forces the other team to call timeouts because of us. It forces a turnover because of us, so you know, it's me getting them going and it's pretty neat. It's a pretty special experience."

Cord's radio career began in Long island at 106.1 WBLI and later at WDRE (formerly WLIR), the station where DeBella got his radio start before moving to the Philly airwaves. Cord joined WMMR in the early '90s with an alt-rock show called "Planet M" and later worked on the station's morning show. He also worked at the former Y100.

WMGK's classic rock format sits atop the Philly market in ratings, according to Nielsen data aggregated by Radio Insight.

“This is one of the most obvious hires I’ve made,” WMGK program director Bill Weston said of Cord's move to mornings. "Having Matt’s market experience and music knowledge plus his easy-going nature with the added producing chops and additional perspective that Steve brings to the conversation is just a terrific pairing.”