I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Sammy Mack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 7, 2004

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Q: I was wondering if you could settle a bet for me with a co-worker. We need to know what grade school and high school Jerry Blavat attended here in Philadelphia.

A: The Philly-bred radio personality got his start at Saint Monica's grade school at 17th and Ritner streets. And he still has the seventh-grade class picture to prove it. "I was the first Italian Jewish kid to go to a Catholic high school," says Blavat, aka the Geator with the Heator. High school was at Southeast Catholic, which became Bishop Neumann, then Saint John Neumann, and is now consolidating with Saint Maria Goretti High School. (Blavat MCs the Third Annual Sound Spectacular this Sunday at the Kimmel Center. See Editor's Picks.)

Q: What's Rumor Central? It's a phone number listed in the blue pages section of the phone book, right up there with the mayor's office and all the other important city phone numbers.

A: Don't get too excited. "It's not like Get Smart," says Ernie Greenwood, assistant director of the Philadelphia Committee on Human Relations. Despite its spy-flick name, the Rumor Central hotline is actually designed to demystify major goings-on in Philadelphia. The hotline was originally intended for callers with questions and concerns about safety and terrorism in the area. "What do I do if there's an attack in Philly?" "Whom do I call if I think my neighbors are sheltering Osama in their basement?" Rumor Central was the answer to these sorts of queries. After a brief period in full operation, the 24-hour hotline was scaled back. Now the phone line is manned only when the city expects excessive rumor circulation surrounding events in the area. The last time it was in full operation was for a series of ethnic demonstrations in Philly. During Rumor Central's inactive periods, an answering machine picks up, allowing callers to record questions, and block captains to record tips. The hotline is now in its inactive state. Greenwood says many of the messages left on the machine are really just "all kinds of silliness." While some callers phone in with legitimate issues, many tend to call simply because they're intrigued by the phone book listing.

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Sammy Mack at smack@philadelphiaweekly.com

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