Ten people making Orlando a better place to be 

People we love 2018

Page 7 of 10

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

Jim Philips

Talk radio host, voice of reason

Since 1972, the Central Florida airwaves have benefited from the presence of Jim Philips' distinct baritone. Philips, the host of WTKS-FM Real Radio 104.1's "The Philips Phile," started out in Central Florida as an AM radio news reporter before landing as an afternoon talk show host in 1986. Along with a motley crew of sidekicks led by longtime producer Jack Bradshaw, Philips has covered local, state and national news with a sense of humor and a low tolerance for political grandstanding from either side of the aisle.

Out of all of the stories from a storied career, Philips is most proud of a single issue: "My defense of the LGBT community," he says. "I know I was the first one whether print or electronic to step forward and defend the LGBT community for many, many, many, many years ... I have no qualms about that. That was the best thing I've ever done on the air."

Though he'd be the first to deflect any credit for Orlando's reputation as a gay-friendly city, it's hard to imagine that having a top-rated drivetime radio host ardently defending gay rights in the homophobic early '90s had no impact on that reputation. At 2017's Come Out With Pride festival, Philips was presented with the Debbie Simmons Community Excellence Award, a lifetime achievement honor for his early and continuous support of LGBT issues.

Last year, Philips announced that he would be retiring from radio as of January 2018, but a deal that allowed him to continue working Mondays-Thursdays – along with a pay bump – secured him to "The Philips Phile" through 2018. After his retirement, don't expect to hear Philips join the throngs of fans who call in to radio station talk shows, though. "Whenever I walk out, I'm going to take a microphone with me, and I'll travel. And wherever I go and someone points at that microphone and says, 'What's that?' that's where I'll retire."

In the meantime, we'll have the rest of the year to eat dessert first, grin like a dog, wander aimlessly, pound your conch as often as you can, buy your books with cash and eat some ants.

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