Beloved Mon Valley disc jockey defined the Pittsburgh sound
The B side, “Thank You Anyway, Mr. DJ,” of a 1962 Lou Johnson song still had airtime a half century later because Mon Valley disc jockey Terrance “Terry” Lee Albert Trunzo, liked it.
It capped his “Music For Young Lovers,” an old WMCK-1360 program, and appeared on his online radio show.
Trunzo, 70, lost his battle with lung cancer on Tuesday at his home in Bellville, Ohio.
“That is the way you would fall asleep at night, listening to ‘Music For Young Lovers,'” said Fred Bohn, owner of The Attic Records in Millvale.
Trunzo's widow, Carol, said late on Thursday, “For almost 30 years, I have had the privilege of being the wife of the most wonderful husband and father anyone could have, and my children and I will miss him terribly. We are planning a huge celebration of his life in the McKeesport area, for the people who not only embraced him, and gave him the chance to grow in his career, but also gave him the key to their city. We hope that everyone will join us in honoring a man who brought joy and cherished memories to so many loyal listeners.”
A date and location for the memorial will be announced at a later date.
“I started listening to Terry Lee in 1964 and met him a little after that when I started going to the teenage dances,” Bohn said. “He was one of the classiest DJs that there was.”
Bohn recalled Trunzo arriving at dances “in a chauffeur-driven limousine.”
“I actually drove the limousine for Terry Lee,” Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey, D-West Mifflin, said. “I was 17, 18 years old and I was doing that.”
Macey once hung out at the old WMCK studios in the Elks Temple in McKeesport. He presented a proclamation at Trunzo's return to McKeesport's the Palisades on Feb. 13, 2010.
Trunzo, known professionally as Terry Lee, was born Aug. 27, 1942, in Monongahela to the late Albert D. Trunzo Sr. and Pauline Carlson Trunzo. According to an obituary provided by The Snyder Funeral Home of Lexington, Ohio, Trunzo left the entertainment business and moved to Bellville with his wife and children in 1991. While there, he farmed and ran a family-owned trucking business.
In 2010, he brought the “T.L. Sound” and “Music For Young Lovers” back to the McKeesport area.
“It was a thrill to work with him,” said Bill Korch, associate operations manager for three Broadcast Communications stations in North Versailles Township.
Korch listened to Trunzo as a youngster and in the mid-1980s was his co-worker when WMCK successor WIXZ-1360 was in East McKeesport.
“It is truly an end of an era that spanned a half a century,” Renda vice president and one-time WIXZ owner Alan Serena said. “The ‘T.L. Sound' will live in our minds forever.”
“Terry Lee brought a lot of wonderful music to everybody. He will truly, truly be missed,” Candy Long said as she and husband Mike capped a Trunzo tribute on WEDO-810. “We pulled out all of his old music and played it.”
Bohn later advertised on Trunzo's radio and Internet shows.
“He'd come down and said, ‘Can we do anything?'” Bohn recalled. “I said ‘I would be glad to support you.'”
“Terry Lee will always be remembered as one of the three disc jockeys whose record discoveries helped define what we now call the Pittsburgh sound,” said former area broadcaster Ed Weigle.
“To this day, oldies record collectors categorize songs as either ‘Porky Records,' ‘Mad Mike Moldie Oldies' or ‘The T.L. Sound,'” said Weigle, who did voice overs for Trunzo's Magic webcasts. “He was unique among the three jocks (because of) his movie-star good looks, which brought him quite a bit of local success on television.”
Trunzo hosted shows on WIIC-11, KDKA-2 and WPGH-53.
Trunzo is survived by his wife Carol, formerly of West Mifflin, as well as three sons, two daughters, a stepson, two grandchildren, a brother and two nephews.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.