Gerald Joseph Blavat
July 3, 1940
|Show||Geator Gold Radio|
|Station(s)||WVLT (FM), WTKU-FM, and WXPN|
Gerald Joseph "Jerry" Blavat (born July 3, 1940), also known as "The Geator with the Heater" and "The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce," is an American disc jockey and performer who has been a major influence in promoting oldies music on the radio. A Philadelphia icon, he gained local fame hosting live dances in the area, leading to his own independent radio show, on which he broke many acts in the 1960s, including the Four Seasons and the Isley Brothers. Blavat was born in South Philadelphia to a Jewish father and Italian mother.
In 1953, Blavat debuted on the original Bandstand on WFIL-TV with Bob Horn and Lee Stewart. In 1956, he managed a national tour for Danny and the Juniors, and he worked as Don Rickles' valet in 1958-59. He got his start in radio in 1960. By 1963, his show was syndicated in Camden, Atlantic City, Trenton, Pottstown, Wilmington and Allentown. He said he refused to follow a playlist, "playing music from the heart, not a research chart."  During the 1960s, Blavat was a partner in the Lost Nite and Crimson record labels, along with Jared Weinstein and Collectables Records' founder Jerry Greene. Together, the three also owned Record Museum, a now-defunct chain of record stores based in Philadelphia.
From 1965-1967, Blavat produced and hosted a weekly television show in Philadelphia called The Discophonic Scene, a dance show for "all my yon [sic] teens" along the lines of American Bandstand (which also began in Philadelphia a decade earlier), referring to himself as "the Geator with the Heater" and "the big boss with the hot sauce." He also guest-starred on television shows including The Mod Squad, The Monkees, The Tonight Show, and The Joey Bishop Show. He has also appeared in the movies Desperately Seeking Susan, Baby It's You, and Cookie. In 1972, Blavat purchased a nightclub in Margate, New Jersey, and named it "Memories".
In the early 1990s, an investigation by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation into organized crime's influence in the liquor business made public Blavat's association with the Bruno-Scarfo crime family. During the investigation, Thomas A. DelGiorno, a former Scarfo family capo, testified that Blavat had regularly paid a "street tax" to the crime family, had purchased a $40,000 yacht for crime boss Nicodemo Scarfo and was one of several individuals who purchased a condominium in Florida for Scarfo. In exchange, the criminal organization secured employment for Blavat throughout the state and also kept union organizers out of Blavat's nightclub. Del Giorno also testified that Blavat regularly served as a driver for crime boss Angelo Bruno. Blavat pled the fifth and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
In 1993, Blavat was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance's Hall of Fame. In 1998, he was included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of a permanent exhibit in its Museum of Radio and Records. In 2002, he was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's "Hall of Fame". On January 15, 2010, Blavat celebrated his 50th consecutive year on radio.
Blavat continues to broadcast on local radio seven days a week and perform at several record hops and events a week in greater Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware. He has been producing oldies concerts at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia every year since January 2002. He is a regular columnist for the Atlantic City Weekly. He has been a member of the New York Friars' Club since 2010 and has been the host of Time Life's annual Malt Shop Memories Cruise since 2011. His night club, Memories, where he continues to perform during the summer, has been operating steadily in Margate, New Jersey, since 1972. As of 2013, Blavat is a DJ for oldies radio station WVLT (FM) 92.1 in the South Jersey area, for the University of Pennsylvania's public radio station WXPN in Philadelphia, for radio stations WTKU-FM and WOND in Atlantic City, and for WBCB (AM) in Bucks County and Trenton.
On July 23, 2011, Blavat's autobiography, You Only Rock Once: My Life In Music, was published by Running Press. After its third printing it was released exactly two years later in paperback and as an audiobook in 2014.
Blavat was voted "Best Philly Icon" in a 2018 reader's poll conducted by Philadelphia magazine.
Blavat has four daughters. He has been separated from his wife since 1976 and has been in a long-term relationship since 1989.