New Bedford City Councilors Seek to Honor WBSM’s Phil Paleologos
Whoever imaged when this tall, handsome Greek-American wandered into town nearly 50 years ago full of zip, zap and probably a few highballs, he'd retire as one of the most beloved public figures since ol' Mayor Charles S. Ashley himself?
Anything can happen when you believe in yourself, your family and God.
Philip C. Paleologos was born on December 22, 1950, in Columbia, South Carolina. He was one of four children.
Phil's father, Father Nicholas Palealogos, a priest with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, was born in Samos, Greece, migrating to the United States in 1927 when he was 14.
Phil's mom, Theodora (Talambecou) Paleologos of Peabody, Massachusetts, became a Licensed Practical Nurse when the family moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas when Phil was just a kid.
Phil's dad moved around with his job, eventually leading the family to Massachusetts. While Father Paleologos found his voice at the pulpit, Phil honed his behind a microphone.
With a Father for a father and a nurse for a mother, it's easy to see how Phil developed his love of people and devotion to the community. The feelings are mutual.
Phil's talent led to radio and television gigs in Arkansas, Virginia and Boston, where he became known as the "Mayor of Park Square."
Phil broadcast his nationally syndicated Talk America Radio Network program from the Shawmut Diner in New Bedford he co-owned with his wife Celeste for over 30 years. An unbreakable bond was formed with the community.
Before ending his daily morning program on WBSM in May 2023, where he became known as the "Morning Mayor," Phil gently woke New Bedford with a solid mix of information and entertainment.
A man is lucky if he leaves his mark in one area. Phil mastered two; as a diner owner and as a broadcaster – and imagine, he figured out how to combine the two.
New Bedford City Councilors Ian Abreu and Shawn Oliver have filed a motion asking the Special Committee on Memorials and Dedications, the Department of Public Infrastructure, and the Mitchell Administration to consider "the feasibility of erecting a dedication plaque" to honor Phil Paleologos at the corner of Shawmut Avenue and Hathaway Road, where the Shawmut Diner once stood.
The plaque would honor Phil's "over five decades of philanthropy and community service to the City of New Bedford."
Abreu called Paleologos a "true champion for those who need a hand up in life" and a "true gem here in this city."
Oliver said Phil is "always full of life and kindness."
"No matter what is going on in his life, he always wants to hear from you, to see how you're doing and how he can help," Oliver said.
What a fitting tribute to a man who unconditionally loves and is equally loved by his adopted city and its people.
While "deeply honored by this recognition," Phil insists it's not just about him.
"This is an 'us' story about Celeste and Phil, not a 'me' story honoring just Phil," he said.
"Please know my years of community service were always accomplished as a team and partnership with Celeste and our kids, who we taught through our example, respect, and love," Phil said.