Help Save Irish Radio In Philly

If, as it is for many, your Sunday morning ritual is Mass, breakfast, and Irish radio, you may need to make other arrangements. Two of the longest running radio shows in Philadelphia are in serious financial trouble and may come to an end.

“Come West Along the Road,” with Marianne MacDonald, and the Vince Gallagher Irish Radio Hour, on WTMR 800 AM, rely on revenues from ads that the hosts must sell themselves. If there aren’t enough ads—and there haven’t been—both MacDonald and Gallagher must come up with the difference to pay for the airtime themselves. “Both Vince and I have spent thousands of dollars of our own money to keep the shows on the air, and we can’t do it anymore,” said MacDonald.

Neither MacDonald or Gallagher make money from the shows. “Contrary to what many people believe, we don’t get paid any type of salary,” said MacDonald, who took over her show from longtime Irish musician and radio host, Tommy Moffitt, about three years ago. Gallagher took over the spot hosted for many years by Mary O’Kane. “We took over something that was already broke,” said MacDonald. “Both Tommy and Mary were struggling too.”

For both hosts, the shows are a labor of love. If you love what they’re doing, come to the Philadelphia Irish Center at Carpenter and Emlen Streets on Friday, June 6,at 8 PM, for a meeting to brainstorm ways to save this important part of Philadelphia’s Irish tradition.

Author: Denise Foley

Denise is one of the founding editors of and a veteran magazine and newspaper writer and editor.

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