This is a bummer:

Bernie was a regular caller on 97.5 the Fanatic for a long time. He did not actively appear on the airwaves in recent years, but would check in every so often, which was really nice to hear. The last phone call that I can remember was in August of last year, when he debunked a rumor started by Vicente from Ecuador that he had passed, then asked how the Eagles were doing.

Bernie’s real name was Bernie Taraschi. Fantastic caller. He was frequently invited into the Bala studios to do various bits, like a live reading of Green Eggs and Ham and a recitation of The Gettysburg Address. Listeners got to know him as this goofy and fun guy with the quirky voice who always made you laugh.

There’s a Bernie profile that was written by Holly Stupak a few years ago. It’s absolutely worth a read:

Born and raised in south Philadelphia, Bernie grew up working in his family’s butcher shop on 13th and McClean, where his uncle was known locally as the inventor of chicken cutlets. Bernie loved his childhood in south Philly, where he attended St. Thomas Aquinas school. “My favorite part of growing up there was playing half ball [aka half-rubber] with my friends in the street and cheering on my favorite Philly sports teams,” said Bernie.

In 1960, he decided to enlist in the Army. He served his country for several years, and was stationed in Washington and Alaska. When he returned home from the Army, he went back to work in the family butcher shop.

The article says Bernie took over the butcher shop and ran it until 1989, when it was sold. Looks like they moved out to Delco in the 1970s. It’s also revealed that he had been battling Parkinson’s Disease, which I don’t think was ever made public on the radio or on Twitter. There were various unconfirmed reports that Bernie was “ill,” but nothing official that I ever saw before stumbling upon that article this morning.

I don’t see an obituary posted yet, but will certainly update the story. RIP to Bernie from Broomall. A great caller who seemed like a genuinely great dude.