Category Archive: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh-specific news items

Mar 23 2017

Ratings

iHeart takes the top 3 spots in February… WDVE (102.5), WWSW (94.5), and WKST (96.1) top the list. WRRK (96.9) is spot 4 and WSHH (99.7) is number 5. The country wars between WDSY (107.9) and WPGB (104.7) have reversed again with the previous up and the latter down. WBZZ (100.7) hits its highest rank in a while. KDKA (1020) is in 6th place.

(Tom Taylor)

Mar 20 2017

Sheridan sued

Tom Taylor reports today that while Sheridan Broadcasting is winding down its dispute with AURN, the company is now being sued by two union retirement funds after missing monthly payments dating back to 2015. The suit is by the trustees of both the AFTRA Retirement Fund and the SAG-AFTRA Health Fund and is alleging that Sheridan owes $45,591 from 2015 and $36,418 for the first seven months of 2016. There are apparently additional amounts owed for the remainder of 2016, but those amounts have not been calculated because the earnings reports have not been furnished by Sheridan. The suit was filed last week in federal court.

Mar 14 2017

Things we missed

It’s not unusual for the PBRTV World HQ to experience some busy times and sometimes we miss a few things.

  • Hearst, parent of WTAE-TV, is now arguing with Dish Network in regard to carriage costs. WTAE and its sisters across the country have been off the satellite provider for over a week now. These battles occur from time to time and are usually a battle between the companies in the “he said, she said” sense over how much one will pay and the other will accept as a fair price. WTAE and WPXI had a similar dispute at the beginning of the year with DirecTV. Cox (WPXI) resolved their issue within hours of being taken off the air. Hearst took a while. Here is an open letter to Dish Network subscribers.
  • Speaking of WTAE, some viewers may have noticed that meteorologist Steve MacLaughlin has left the station. Reduced from weekday mornings to weekend mornings several months ago, MacLaughlin had been at WTAE since 2013 and is now at an NBC station in Miami. His last day at WTAE was February 26. (PG)
  • And speaking again of WTAE, they’ve seen the most growth in the latest ratings. (PG)
  • WPNT-TV (22) dropped Get TV for channel 22.4 and replaced it with Sinclair owned TBD channel. WPGH (53) has taken Grit off the air for “Charge!” with action and adventure movies from MGM. (PG)
  • Bill Rehkopf, formerly of KDKA-AM, is now a full-time correspondent for CBS Radio News in Washington. He had been serving as a part-time reporter for WCBS-AM in New York while also serving as the Associate Editor of The Hill. Rehkopf bounced between KDKA and WNEW, an all-newser in DC until CBS discontinued the format. (AllAccess)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, gets us caught up… for now…

Mar 13 2017

Dunlap featured

Photographer John Altdorfer and writer Kate Benz did a great piece on former WSHH airstaffer, Dan Dunlap. Since Dunlap was let go at Wish in 2014, he has been voicing promos, spots and features for various clientele. Not bad for a “short, skinny guy from Baden” who also has a love for guitars. The story appears in Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine.

Mar 10 2017

Frye announces she has breast cancer

WTAE-TV morning anchor Kelly Frye announced this morning that she has breast cancer. She spoke at the end of the newscast about her plans and her treatment schedule which begins today with 16 Chemo treatments over 24 weeks. Despite the fact that she will lose her hair, she plans to be on the air as much as possible. That, of course will depend on her stamina as treatments progress.

It’s best to get everything in her own words, so here’s Frye’s announcement on her station Facebook page…

Feb 28 2017

Maria Gabriel to WESA

Listeners of KDKA-AM (1020) know Maria Gabriel as a part-time reporter at the station. Now, she’s about to be the new host of WESA’s (90.5) Morning Edition. Christopher Ayers who has been hosting the show since November, will return to his role as producer. Gabriel grew up in West Mifflin, but worked in Harrisburg at commercial and public radio there. She’s worked in Pittsburgh since 1992.

The Post-Gazette identifies her as Maria Gabriel Scapellato, but it’s not clear if she’ll use her full name or continue as just Maria Gabriel.

Feb 25 2017

Ratings

The January book was released on Thursday, and the after-Christmas numbers have very few surprises. WWSW (94.5) has returned to its pre-Christmas number – second place behind WDVE (102.5). WRRK (96.9) is in 3rd with a large jump following a Christmas drop. WSHH (99.7) is in 5th after being second at Christmas time. Christmas was not nice to WDSY (107.9) and WPGB (104.7) got a boost from Y-108’s brief Christmas flip. WPGB still holds a nearly one-point advantage over WDSY which is still two points below its pre-Christmas number.

(AllAccess)

Feb 21 2017

People

Here are some things I’ve read or heard about people while away from the computer over the weekend…

Jon Grayson – I recently learned that “Overnight America” that was heard on KDKA-AM (1020) had vanished from the airwaves. Excuse me if I’m not up all night most nights… and the last time I heard “OA” was in December (on my way to a rare early shift at the mighty KHB Radio Metroplex in the east…) not long before the show was pulled from the Westwood One syndicate. Well now, the host of the program, Jon Grayson, has left KMOX in St. Louis where the show originated. Tom Taylor confirmed that Grayson did, in fact, leave the station and is headed to KTRS for a daylight shift beginning in a few weeks. Meanwhile, if you’re not a night owl, you probably don’t know that Jim Bohannon goes from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on KDKA. The last local show on in that time slot was “The Undercover Club” hosted by Bob Logue for 16 years until his 2005 retirement. Gary Dickson carried it after Logue retired until it was taken over by a syndicated program. Logue still produces the subscription-based Undercover Club Newsletter.

Wendy Bell – Speaking of subscriptions, 11 months after her much ballyhooed firing from WTAE-TV 4, Wendy Bell is about ready to announce her new website, a spin off of her Facebook page Positively Wendy Bell. The new site’s URL has yet to be announced but we do know that Bell i charging a nominal monthly fee for the Positive news she intends to publish on the site. The Post-Gazette did a story about it last week and even though there were a lot of naysayers who commented on the PG’s Facebook post linking to the story, one might safely bet that many of the over 90,000 followers Bell herself has on Facebook, will subscribe.

John Sutton – Several years ago, as a WQED-FM volunteer, I met Pittsburgh native John Sutton who was in town and at the station as a consultant through the firm he founded. John, a regular reader of this site even then… 2003? 04? is now stepping away from his consulting firm and returning to town to be GM of WESA (90.5). Sutton began his Maryland-based consultancy in 1997 and was later joined by Sonja Lee who will continue with the firm. Although the firm consulted with the pubcasters, Sutton was a part of the commercial band for a while (DC’s WTOP and Pittsburgh’s WDVE and KQV) before he became Research Director for NPR. He was the consultant that led WESA through it’s 2011 transition from WDUQ after Duquesne University sold the license. WESA has been without a full-time GM since DeAnne Hamilton left in 2005. Meanwhile the station has also hired Craig Weber as director of finance for both WESA and WYEP (91.3).

Feb 14 2017

WQED benefits from spectrum auction; must change OTA signal

WQED-TV (13) will soon be able to completely retire its long-term debt after having participated in the FCC’s spectrum auction. The sale of its “channel 13” spectrum (which one might remember is a frequency of 210 to 216 MHz) will rake in $9.9 million – enough to retire its debt and have a couple million left over. In exchange, the station will have to move to a lower broadcast frequency which will happen in 2 to 3 years. The change will take place mostly behind the scenes, the station will still identify as “channel 13″and most changes will affect the over the air viewers who will have to rescan their digital boxes and televisions.

According to the Post-Gazette, the auction was conducted to clear space on the broadcast spectrum for wireless devices. The movement is likely to make room for seven new license blocks in the Pittsburgh market each of which will probably sell for upwards of $16 million. Dozens of stations in the Pittsburgh market were eligible to participate but only WQED opted to share the fact that they participated and how much they are expected to make. A station could sell their entire spectrum space, share with another station, or move to a different frequency

Before the stations were required to sign off their analog signals in 2009, WQED operated analog on 13 and digital on channel 38 with the intention of moving its digital signal back to 13 when the analog signal was turned off. It still owned the WQEX channel 16 at the time whose digital signal was on channel 26. It was then moved to channel 38 where WINP, now a commercial station, operates as virtual channel 16.

Feb 14 2017

Teleforum seeks new host as Romigh leaves

Mike Romigh left his radio show and the stations where he had spent 2 1/2 years – WBVP (1230 Beaver Falls) and WMBA (1460 Ambridge). Romigh has taken a job as the sponsorship events and social media manager for the Beaver County Humane Society.

According to Beaver County Times reporter Scott Tady, the station is searching for a new host for Teleforum, the news-talk show that Romigh hosted. This week, Beaver County native and current KDKA-AM host Eddy Crow is hosting the show. Next week Dave Felts will return to host the show he hosted over 30 years ago. The week following, Frank Sparks will move over from the sports show that he hosts to host Teleforum. Then during the first full week of March, “regular folk,” as Tady calls them, will have the opportunity to host for a day. Tady has taken March 7 and if you would like to take one of the other available dates, contact Mark Peterson at 724-846-4100. Teleforum airs from 9:00 a.m. to noon each weekday

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