WEST CHESTER — After 10 years at radio station WCHE 1520 AM, morning show host Bill Mason abruptly quit on Wednesday.
Thursday, after a day without a job, the show host still retained his trademark sense of humor.
“I got up this morning and the only beings I could talk to about what our president did yesterday was my wife, my dog and my cats,” Mason said with a smile.
Neither Mason nor station management wanted to talk on the record about the split.
Mason rescued his dog Bernice a year ago and since then she has been a regular visitor on his show Morning Magazine.
“My dog Bernice is going to say, “Shut up already.”
Mason said he wasn’t the class clown in school.
“I try to keep the humor in things,” he said. “A good pun is underrated.”
Mason said the job was one of the joys of his life, but times change.
“It’s difficult financially to keep local radio alive and thriving,” he said. “I believe it can absolutely be done, it just requires, in this case, an owner or group with financial commitment to strengthen and grow the station.
“Hopefully that person is out there in Chester County. Buying the station would be much more affordable than what people think.
“The clock may well be ticking and if we lose WCHE as a community radio station, there are no frequencies available to ever have another one.”
Mason discussed Morning Magazine co-host, Doug Sterling, while sipping on an orange juice at a local coffee shop.
“You won’t find a better human being or more considerate professional,” Mason said. “He was the rock that kept the show grounded and running smoothly.”
Mason talked about the station owner.
“Jay Shur is a very nice man,” he said. “He gave me an opportunity to pursue my dream of trying to keep local community-based radio alive in Chester County.”
Mason grew up in Downingtown and has lived in West Chester for 30 years. He identifies himself as a “Chestercountian.”
“That’s the approach that I took,” he said. “I tried to bring to the station a perspective on all things Chester County.”
Mason has an encyclopedic knowledge of Chester County.
“I’m just a guy who has lived here a long time, paid attention and I have a decent memory,” he said.
Mayor Dianne Herrin was saddened by Mason’s departure.
“Whether or not you agree with Bill’s views, I think we can all agree he has been the quintessential talk radio figure in West Chester,” Herrin said. “He led the local WCHE morning show with a flair for entertainment, even when he was raising serious questions that prompted thought and discussion.
“I have gotten to know Bill, and he cares about our community. We will miss his voice on the air waves.”
The 57-year-old show host never lied to listeners.
“You have to bring energy and a passion every morning,” he said. “I think you also have to be real and if you wake up in a bad mood and come on the air and say, ‘It’s a great day to be alive,’ people will figure out you’re phony.”
Mason’s biggest influence was listening to broadcaster Art Douglas on WCOJ 1420 AM.
“Somebody once compared me to Art Douglas which is the biggest compliment I’ve ever received,” he said.
Will he miss the show?
“I won’t miss getting up at five o’clock in the morning,” he said. “But I’ll miss the show and interacting with Doug, the show hosts and callers.
“I still need to work,” Mason said, “if there is somebody looking for a 57-year-old with a little gas left in the tank.”
Mason wondered if he had an impact.
“Hopefully I made a little difference in our corner of the world.”