Eddie Edwards, former owner of WPTT-TV (22) and pioneer in minority broadcasting is “saddened – and outraged – by events that led to a final sign off for the WAMO stations.” So says Pat Cloonan of the McKeesport Daily News (not online). Edwards suggests that an investigation may be necessary to find out what forced Sheridan Broadcasting to sell WAMO-AM/FM (860/106.7) and WPGR-AM (1510) to St. Joseph Missions. The stations all signed off on September 8. “If I had my way I would have screamed out, ‘no way can we let our one and only station providing music, news and public service get away,'” Edwards told Cloonan.
When the sale was announced, one reason that was given was the use of the Portable People Meter in the Arbitron ratings which apparently has a negative effect on overall radio listening with a disproportionate impact on minority-targeted formats. Edwards argues that Western Pennsylvania has a significant African-American population which WAMO served. He had also heard that advertising agencies had put the three stations at the bottom of the buy list and that’s why he would like to see an investigation. He has also talked to community leaders about the rumors suggesting format changes/purchases of other local stations.
It was over 30 years ago when Edwards helped to launch WPTT-TV (now WPMY) with studios and a transmitter in Monroeville. It was the most powerful Western Pennsylvania station. He hosted “Eddie’s Digest” which focused mainly on issues in the African-American Community. He owned the station two different times selling it to Sinclair both times. It currently operates out of the WPGH-TV facility in Reserve Township.