Still going strong after 35 years behind the mic at WMMR, Pierre Robert talks about the fortune teller's tale that came true, and going live at Live Aid.
Let’s get this show on the road: WMMR’s Pierre Robert still reports live from Philly’s biggest rock concerts.
On-air record player and rock-music storyteller Pierre Robert has been both the face and voice of Philly radio for more than three decades. But he’s also something of a journalist reporting on the sociology of this city, its stars, and most importantly to him, its music fans—not unlike the kind that he encountered during his career-making move at 1985’s Live Aid.
“I left San Francisco radio and moved to Philly in 1981 to make a career here, only to wind up at Essene, the health-food place off South Street, loading 50-pound sacks of brown rice. Not an auspicious start.” Ready to throw in the towel after months of being denied a meeting with WMMR, Robert went to a palm reader, who told him he would soon receive a letter.
“Next day I got a note from WMMR’s GM who told me to come by and discuss my future.” Just a few years later, Robert found himself at the Live Aid concert for African hunger relief at the old JFK Stadium. Even though rival station WYSP was the megaproduction’s on-air partner, Robert had volunteered for stage clean-up. It proved to be a serendipitous gig: Robert gained access to production and VIP areas that even WYSP didn’t have so he jumped at the chance to interview everyone from Jack Nicholson to Phil Collins.
So began Robert’s famously vivid live concert reports and what he describes as a bond between him and the City of Brotherly Love. “I bonded with Philly that day, and from there, Philly bonded with the planet [through Live Aid]. This city’s true potential debuted that day and I got to help play a part.”