Don Cannon, Philadelphia Radio Legend, Has Passed

Even Rocky woke up to “The Dean of Philadelphia Radio.”

Don Cannon, photo via Broadcast Pioneers

Don Cannon, photo via Broadcast Pioneers

A Philadelphia radio legend, Don Cannon, has passed away.

Cannon was known as “The Dean of Philadelphia Radio.” He was a voice on morning radio in Philadelphia from 1969 until he retired in 2004. The “Cannon in the Morning” show started on WIBG and has been heard on WIP, WFIL, WIFI, WSNI and WOGL.

Don Cannon could also be seen as host of “Inside Golf” Saturday nights on the Comcast Sports Network.

You may remember that in the original Rocky movie, when the morning alarm clock goes off for Rocky’s run, it is Cannon’s voice on the radio:

On a personal note, my first job in broadcasting was at WFIL radio where Don Cannon was the host of the morning show, one of the original “Boss Jocks.” He was kind and supportive to a very young broadcaster. I have met him over the years at charity events, where he has always been more than generous with his time. The March of Dimes awarded Don Cannon a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.

According to friends at WOGL, Cannon had been ill for a while and passed peacefully this morning. He had been receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit at Lankenau Hospital for the past month.

On the Broadcast Pioneers web site, President Gerry Wilkinson writes:

“Don was legend among legends. When you thought of morning drive, you had to think of Don Cannon. He was one of the good people in this industry. I can’t remember a time when someone asked Don to do something and he couldn’t or didn’t do it. For decades, Don Cannon ruled the airwaves. Now heaven has a new morning drive air personality.”

WOGL, the radio station where Cannon last worked in Philadelphia, put up a tribute page on its web site. It includes a photo gallery, a recording of a Don Cannon shows from 1992, and this posting:

“It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of a member of the 98.1 WOGL family. Our friend and radio legend Don Cannon passed away peacefully on Friday morning, August 22.

Don was our morning show host from March 1990 to June 2004. He was born in New York but started working in Philadelphia radio at a young age, and Philly became his true home.

Don was a big Eagles fan, and had a great sense of humor.Don is survived by his wife Terri, two sons and two granddaughters. His family asks for privacy at this time.

Services are public and will be held at Joseph Levine & Sons in Trevose on Sunday, August 24.Tune in to The Breakfast Club on Monday, August 25 as we remember Don Cannon. To share your memories, please call 215-238-2098.”

Don Cannon’s given name is Dominic Canzano. He was 74 years old.

A previous version of this story reported that sources indicated Cannon’s cause of death was an abscess in his tooth that spread to his brain. We have been told that that is untrue. 

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Dotcom

    Nice retrospective on the life of Don Cannon – a classy Philly guy
    Great job by Larry Mendte with this. Glad Larry did this write up instead of Mathis

  • HarrytheK

    RIP Don – His cause of death is quite shocking

  • Leigh Richards

    Beautifilly done, Larry- may he rest in peace.

  • Nina Nudelman

    RIP Don…..I will never forget that voice. Condolences to Terri & Chris and the rest of his family.

  • Bob Leonard

    When I was on the air in Philly in the 70’s (Fox & Leonard on WYSP) Don was our direct competition and yet, we would often meet for breakfast after our respective shows. He was a gentleman and a TRUE radio pro. RIP!

  • TJM

    Very sad! Fond memories of listening to Don on WIBG during my adolescent years. RIP.

  • retta

    Don was a big part of Philly life back then. We all grew up listening to him. So sorry and so shocking. Dental issues should not be ignored.


    Wish we could have heard him more since his last days at OGL but his voice will always be unmistakable and his personality was that of your best friend.

  • Anthony Mattia

    Don Cannon, is and always will be the Man in Philadelphia radio, many laughs and with Tony Bruno and Dennis Malloy it was the greatest way to wake up in the morning. Also, had many laughs when Don would do his talent contest at the different clubs in the area. REST IN PEACE! and May God Bless.

  • Tony G. Pizza

    Very sad news. Was not a huge Don Cannon fan but he was always there like all the Philadelphia landmarks. Not to mention his close friendship with Bobby Rydell. What a horrible way for him to pass on! Please keep your dental appointments and I think I will go in for my checkup.

  • Mark Wilson

    Rest in peace, Mr. Cannon

  • Rick

    ’73 / ’74 work started 7:00AM—drove with Don for his first hour every morning, what a blast. Was he the first or just the best with the gag calls and impersonations?

  • Jerry Daley

    What a shame! “Cannon in the Morning” was truly part of the whole “Philadelphia sound” phenomenon, and he remained very passionate for the city for his many years in broadcasting. Quite a loss.

  • fred

    Unbelievable Don Cannon – same old bolshoi (as Mayor Rizzo)

  • Mark Hanna

    Sad to hear of the passing of this radio legend. I spent many mornings over the years laughing in the morning because of Don Cannon. One correction for Larry Mendte though, Don was not one of the original “Boss Jocks.” Other than that, great tribute.

    • Larry Mendte

      Yes, Thanks Mark. He was still at WIBG. So, as I am told, he became a Boos Jock but was not one of the originals.

  • Arthur Scherr

    One of Philly’s greatest of all time. I began listening to him in the early 1970’s on WIFI 92.1 and followed him all along including the great golf series he did on Comcast. He will be greatly missed.

  • Bob Craig

    Don and I worked together back in 1970 at WDRC in Hartford. He began doing the all-night show and instantly built a loyal following. Hell, I even let him room with me for a couple of months until he moved his family up. He made it to Philly several years ahead of me. We competed for awhile as programmers…he at WSNI, me at WMGK.
    It was always great to be with him at radio gatherings through the years. A really super guy and great talent. He’s missed already.
    Bob Craig
    WRTI Philadelphia

    • Samson Tollet

      I would see Don around the area every now and then, several years ago at an ATM in Plymouth Meeting (I live in Plymouth) I told him I recognized him from The Inside Golf program, and we chatted up some golf… Nice guy.. His voice reminds me of being a kid, as my mom would have him on in the house and the car.. I just watched the Eggs scene from Rocky, his voice in the background is classic Philly radio.. I listen to WRTI every night, love jazz and your show

  • Mary McCoach

    New report – Don did not pass due to an infection that went to his brain. But it is sad he passed at the young age of 74.
    Mary McCoach

    • Larry Mendte

      Mary, I got that information initially from three different sources. But it is clear, that even if that was the initial cause of hospitalization, the family does not want that reported and I respect their wishes.

  • trotski

    Don was a wonderful guy who loved to eat hoagies and philly steaks. He used to get a lot of stomach distress from them. Hope it wasn’t the philly fast food that hurt him.
    RIP Bro.

  • Alan Stone

    When Don Cannon came to Philadelphia and become the morning personality at WIBG, WFIL and WIFI, these three stations were on a ratings decline and Don’s high intensive personality kept these stations with their Adult Formats going until he had the chance at a new AC station WSNI. The strong personality style of that station was a fierce competitor in the 1980’s to the other AC Stations. He continued his strong personality morning show at WOGL in 1990 with good ratings until he retired in 2004. RIP. You will live on forever to your large audience and everyone who knew you.

  • Yonkers

    What many of you may not know is that Don was in a group called “The Dreamers” way back when……way before Philly. Teenage Vows of Love and Natalie were two of their songs. He sang base.