"Radio Man of A Thousand Voices" Celebrates 25-Years on the Air

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Although Joe Bevilacqua's voice was first heard on the radio in 1979, the veteran radio personality's career actually began when he was 12 living in Iselin, New Jersey, and his father bought him a cassette recorder in 1972.

"Instead of recording songs off the radio like the other kids, I made funny voices and ad-libbed hour-hour stories on tape," says Bevilacqua. "I invented these characters, Willoughby and the Professor and a lot of others."

Bevilacqua found he could change his voice back and forth so rapidly, he could fool his parents into thinking he had a gang of people up in his room. Soon, the boy prodigy came to the attention of Daws Butler, the great voice of Yogi Bear and all things Hanna-Barbera, who became his mentor, and the rest is history.

(You can hear Joe Bevilacqua's NPR story about his childhood creations and how they led to a career in radio, at:


Now, after 25-years on the national radio scene, Bevilacqua has pulled out all the stops with a new book and several new radio specials, starting this week with his latest version of "Willoughby and the Professor" airing Friday, October 17 at 5:00 – 6:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 9:00 PM; and Sunday, October 19 at 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM, as part of XM Satellite Radio's Sonic Theater Channel 163's “THE COMEDY-O-RAMA HOUR”.

Future specials coming this month include "The Comedy-O-Rama Halloween Spooktakular," "The Comedy-O-Rama Election Special with Al Franken" and "A Comedy-O-Rama Tribute to Daws Butler."

Today, Bevilacqua's list of characters he has created for the radio tops one thousand. He still does all the voices for "Willoughby and the Professor" and he is about 90 percent of the voices on the Al Franken Election Special, which will also be heard on public radio. In it, Bevilacqua plays everything from Ellis the boat-keeper who is afraid of boats to Sgt. Left, the gruff one-armed kid's camp counselor. In one sketch, Bevilacqua does dead-on impressions of Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and their adversary, James Finlayson, all at one time!

"That bit really sounds authentic!" beams Bevilacqua. "A person half-listening will think it really IS the audio to an old Hal Roach short."

Those who listen more closely, says Bevilacqua, will hear a deft satire placing Laurel and Hardy as members of the Department of Homeland Security... in Nazi Germany!

Bevilacqua also has a book coming out on November 16: the authorized biography, "Daws Butler, Characters Actor" through Bear Manor Media (http://www.dawsbutler.com).

The Comedy-O-Rama Hour is a weekly audio magazine of humor and stories about humor, written, produced and hosted by veteran radio personlaity Joe Bevilacqua. The show includes original sketch comedy, radio theater, satire, parodies, monologues, storytelling, standup comedy, songs, mini-documentaries and interviews, and airs five times a week on XM Satellite Radio's Sonic Theater Channel 163, as well as public radio stations around the country. The special will also be made available streamed on the web at: http://www.comedyorama.com.

"The Comedy-O-Rama Hour is one of the most unique and original productions out there these days. With Joe's talent for different voices, I never know what's coming next, or what it will sound like. Another thing that makes these shows stand out is that it is quite obvious to the listener that Joe and his cast are having fun making these shows, and that makes them fun to listen to as well." - Steve Karesh, Program Director, XM Satellite Radio Sonic Theater Channel, 163.

(For more information about XM Satellite Radio, go to http://www.xmradio.com.)

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Lorie Kellogg