Jerry Blavat, Philadelphia radio legend, dies at 82

GETTY Jerry Blavat

Philadelphia radio legend Jerry Blavat has died at the age of 82, his family announced Friday morning.

Born Gerald Joseph Blavat, the South Philadelphia native began his entertainment career as a dancer in Bandstand at age 13.

When she was 20 years old, Blavat began hosting her own radio show showcasing her bright and vibrant personality that captivated the region.

GETTY Jerry Blavat

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 15: Disc Jockey Jerry Blavat visits Fox 29’s ‘Good Day’ at FOX 29 Studio in Philadelphia, PA on May 15, 2015 in Philadelphia, USA. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

Along the way, Blavat acquired various nicknames such as ‘The Chief of the Hot Sauce’ and ‘The Geator with the Heater’.

Blavat was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 1998 became a part of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Record and Radio Museum.

Blavat coined the phrase “Keep rocking because you only rock once,” which she later used as inspiration for her 2011 biography “You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music.”

He remained active on radio, conducting the Geator Gold Radio Network and “Memories” at Margate.

Blavat was voted “Philadelphia’s Best Icon” in Philadelphia Magazine in 2018 and was immortalized on a South Philadelphia mural with other local music legends, including the recently deceased ‘Wildwood Days’ singer, Bobby Rydell.

Blavat’s family shared a statement on Friday asking Jerry’s friends to continue sharing their memories of him.

“Jerry proudly said: ‘Life is precious and I am happy. And when I’m happy, I want the world to be happy.’ So he lived life to the fullest and enjoyed sharing life with all of you,” the statement read in part.

Many of Jerry’s friends talked about their many memories with the legend.

“I’ve been dancing on the dance floor since I was 18 years old and Jerry became a big part of our Saturday afternoons and Saturday nights,” said Margate resident Dawn Ranieri.

“I’d be snapping my fingers and giving everyone names,” her friend Ann Catania recalled.

Chickie’s and Pete’s CEO Pete Ciarrochi recalled, “He’s a clicker. He told me, ‘You’re the best, there’s nobody better than you. You’re the best.'”

“I knew Dionne Warwick, I knew Frankie Avalon, I knew Smokey Robinson, but you were just as important to whomever I talked to,” Hughe Dillon commented, with Philly ChitChat.

His closest friends say he was a walking music encyclopedia, a health advocate, and a generous man with a big heart.

“Losing it in Philadelphia is like losing the Liberty Bell. It’s such a big part of the city,” Ciarrocchi added.

“I wanted to be him. He was so good with his energy, his connection to people, creating an atmosphere, a party atmosphere,” Dillon said.

Wherever Blavat went, so did fun and entertainment.

“Geator, your diction, your words, we will always think of you and you will always be a part of Chickie’s, Pete’s and my family,” Ciarrocchi said.

“The world is a better place and a better place because we had him, but sad that there is no Jerry anymore,” Ann added.

Jerry’s Life will be celebrated on Saturday, January 28 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. A viewing will begin at 9 a.m. with a Mass scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

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