Ironically, the same day that the sale of WAMO-AM/FM (860/106.7) and WPGR-AM (1510) was announced (May 15), the FCC approved a “Notice of Inquiry” which is to address the claims that the Personal People Meter technology being used by Arbitron “undercounts and misrepresents the number and loyalty of minority radio listeners.” This according to Patrick Cloonan of the McKeesport Daily News (not online). It’s the beginning of an investigation over how the PPM technology will affect the broadcast industry and whether or not the ratings data will be accurate enough to gain merit by the FCC.
Sheridan Broadcasting didn’t have faith in it. It was one of the factors leading to the sale of the stations. A spokesman for the company said that the system has, “negatively impacted the measurement of overall radio listening with a disproportionate impact on minority-targeted formats.” Meanwhile, St. Joseph Missions and Sheridan await approval of the sale by the FCC.
St. Joseph Missions, meantime, is still seeking a non-commercial FM station in Ligonier. But the group, who would put the same EWTN programming on there as is planned for the WAMO stations, is having problems with their plans for the 500-watt signal on a 1000-foot tower = a 50,000 watt Pittsburgh FM. The proposed site is just across the Somerset County line from Ligonier. But there are two other applicants for the same frequency in that region. The Educational Media Foundation would like to use the signal with 2300 watts and a 521-foot tower in Westmoreland’s Derry Township. Meanwhile, WYEP would like to have it for an 870-watt signal and an 837-foot tower in New Stanton. Any of these, if approved, would knock off a Johnstown 5-watt station at 91.7. The Bible Broadcasting Network relays a North Carolina station on there. But at 91.7, WCUC at Clarion University and WNJR at Washington & Jefferson College would both be affected. Both stations reach parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties.
Cloonan’s article states that former Allegheny Energy trader Matthew J. Gorsich is the president of St. Joseph Missions and Thomas Marinchak, Jr. is the Vice President. The company is based in Unity Township, Westmoreland County.
PBRTV Hat tip: Patrick Cloonan; McKeesport Daily News