City Paper, May 1998
Last Wednesday, May 6, seemed like any other day at WYSP (94.1). Midday jock Mel Toxic wrapped up his airshift and handed the mike over to John DeBella. However, Wednesday was Mel’s last edition of the “midday malfunction,” as he called his show, and he walked off the station following his shift. What was it that caused him to leave the station? None other than the ex-zookeeper that followed him up. Toxic, long a supporter of local music, grew increasingly frustrated with on-air potshots DeBella had been taking at him and the local music scene, and finally walked out in protest.
An e-mail to DeBella from local band Six Belly Tango echoes the discontent. “What’s up with your continued public criticism of the local scene?” the missive begins. “It seems idiotic that an employee of WYSP would blatantly put down a WYSP-sponsored program…. Your actions have endangered the one radio showcase for original rock and roll, and we’d like to know why. How about giving the guys in your back yard a fair shake? We seem to recall a certain disc jockey being welcomed back once….”
WYSP’s local music store, Loud N’ Local, is heard on Sundays from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Toxic would like, if nothing else, to continue to host the show, which he’s been doing for close to two years. “There’s a lot of really good bands around here, and Philly’s on the verge. I’d really like to continue fostering the original music scene here in this town.” In addition to being heard on WYSP, Toxic’s Philly radio career also includes time at WDRE, WPST, WIFI-92 (where he began his career) and WKDU (where he began his college career).