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August 2000

[important]To read in chronological order, start at the bottom and work your way up.[/important]

Eric, to answer a reader’s question, WWSW moved from 1490 to 970 around 1946 or 1947. The 970 eight-tower array was one of the first “heavy” directionals in the United States, and a bit of an engineering marvel when it was built. I am told that the lure of “5,000 watts full-time” (just like 1250, 1320, and 1410 were at the time, and still are) was the reason WWSW went with such a major array, instead of (say) 1000 watts at night with four towers. Regards, Clarke Ingram. August 31, 2000

Eric, WMBA and WBVP are now co-owned, that’s why the simulcast was taking place. A man by the name of Iorio owns both stations and doesn’t intend to radically change the format of either station. Regards, Steve; August 31, 2000

Eric: As a DX’r and AM fan, I sure enjoy your website. Your station histories are very interesting. I grew up in the PGH area in the 1940’s and remember things like KQV’s “new” 5 towers along Mcknight road, Ed Schaughnessy (and his sidekick Rainbow). When Cordic replaced Schaughnessy I remember my father talking about some very hard feelings on Uncle Eds part, being relegated to the news room from his morning show. I also remember WJAS having the call letters WAMP AND WFMP (AM-FM) sometime in the 60’s or 70’s. Can anybody confirm that?? Also recall parents purchasing a Philco console with AM,FM,Shortwave and 78rpm record changer in mid 1940’s, big deal for the time. One FM station could be heard on the entire FM dial, WWSW, so they have been around a while. Also recall a “tech” coming from the store where Philco was bought to change frequency of pushbutton for WWSW when they moved from somewhere in 1400 freq to 970 where they are today. Im sure you are aware of Radiostation.com from Elliott Broadcast svcs, but in case not it is a good site for station info including am wave patterns. I heard 1230AM WBVP broadcasting on 1460AM for a short while recently, 1460 being WMBA Ambridge. WMBA then came back, whats going on there? Hope some of this trivia is of interest. Sincerely Bill; August 30, 2000

Eric’s Response: Yes WJAS was WAMP/FMP at one point in the latter 50’s and early 60’s I believe. Of course, I wasn’t around then but I think I have that on my “Call Letter Cavalcade”. WAMP was on 1320 and stood for “Amplitude Modulation Pittsburgh”. WFMP was on 99.7 and ironically stood for “Frequency Modulation Pittsburgh.” WJAS came back, at least on 1320 for a while and then became the legendary 13Q as WKTQ from 1973-1980…and WJAS reappeared and has been around for 20 years since. I THINK that WFMP lasted until the early 70’s when WSHH first came on as beautiful music. Regarding WMBA and WBVP, I think the two are owned by the same people, but I am not 100% sure. That may be why the temporary simulcast took place. Incidentally, I have been to radiostation.com, it helped out a lot in plotting the stations in the outlying regions for some of the expansion sites. Fun stuff!

Hello Eric, Another corporate radio casualty: WWMD in Hagerstown, MD has now gone country (just what we need, ANOTHER country station; I can get at least a dozen now). WAYZ in Waynesboro, PA is simulcasting the same thing; it has NOT switched to the easy listening format as was believed. Sad. Howard; August 29, 2000

Re:Youngstown Radio- 1019 became “102jamz” when the beat moved to 959. after about 6 weeks on the air suddenly they are simulcasting 1390am the music of your life. do you know what is goin on? thanks August, 26, 2000

Do you know what’s going on with WWSW 970’s signal? I remember the station coming in decently here in northern Beaver County before the it began simulcasting the FM side. Now, I am able to hear little more than static when I tune to 970, day or night. Once in a while the station will come in with the strength I remember — all day — but it always disappears the next day or two. It’s almost as if they keep the power turned down below the licensed 5 kw for some odd reason. If that’s true, I hope that they turn it back up to 5,000 watts and keep it there after they spin the AM from the FM! I know that the station is highly directional with 4 towers during the day and 8 towers at night to protect WFUN in Ashtabula, OH. But the day pattern isn’t much more directional to the south than that of KQV, whose transmitter is about 1 mile away from WWSW’s and whose wavelengths are considerably shorter with is higher dial position. Any idea of what’s going on? Regards, Steve; August 26, 2000

Eric’s Response: I don’t normally keep tabs on power, although I noticed that even though I don’t live very far from the x-mitter that I had trouble reaching 970 as well…(and it doesn’t matter to me cause I dislike sports anyway!). You can probably also blame atmospheric conditions as well. Sometimes it’s Mother Nature rather than human hands! Does anyone have the right info?

Eric, Couple of things about oldies WBBG-FM in Youngstown: They have a website: www.wbbgfm.com They are moving dial position next Wednesday. They’ll be at 106.1 FM. They moved into a new building as well in the last few weeks. August 24, 2000

Eric, Believe the T-R had a story Wednesday confirming the shift of WWSW-AM to all-sports. Chuck Finder devotes part of his column in Thursday’s PG sports section to the same subject if you’d like to set up links. August 24, 2000

Eric’s Response: I’ve been wrong before….

Eric: Heard that Fox Sports alliance with Clear Channel/AM/FM kicks off next month, and will debut on 3ws AM next month when it rolls out an all sports format on it’s only AM outlet here in town. I was told it was announced earlier this week on ‘DVE, but I haven’t read anything on it in the local papers or your page yet. Got any details? Greg; August 24, 2000

Eric’s Response: The absolute last thing I heard about this was that it was totally false. In fact, somewhere in the mailbag archive (maybe March or April) Kenny Woods said that it was news to him and everyone else at WWSW. The rumors about this have been circulating for quite a while. If it IS true, then we have some good fortune tellers in this town who should be paid for their predictions!


Eric; The Steeler games were on DVE’s Broadcast.com link last season (and on WTAE’s before that). There was also a link off of Iron City Beer’s website listing bars around the country, which were “Steeler bars”—out of town bars that showed Steeler games and also served a certain beer from Lawrenceville. August 22, 2000

Eric, Perhaps you saw Night Talk on PCNC Monday night or maybe someone has checked in already with this news…Jack Wheeler announced he will take over the morning show on WWCS (540 AM) beginning on Labor Day, Sept. 4. He is buying the time from 6 to 9 a.m. and will sell it himself. He said that all of his old WJAS advertisers have agreed to join him at the new station. This isn’t as big an issue as it may be for some on-air people since Wheeler has worked in sales and owned his own stations in the past. He said he quit WJAS because he kept butting heads with management over the direction of his show. He seemed to indicate there were some complaints about some of the off-color humor that caused some of the dispute. He praised Ron Antill as the best PD he ever worked with, which would indicate his friction was with owner Tony Renda. A friend who used to work at WJAS told me that Wheeler was often very difficult to get along with so maybe he’ll do better working for himself. He indicated that Cyril Wecht would be a regular on his new show. August 22, 2000

Eric’s Response: I am not at all surprised. I would hate to see old Cyril out of a radio spot! But this also means that Wheeler will work closer to home I believe…and probably only be heard closer to home!!!

Also, last night on PCNC McCintyre show, Jack Wheeler appeared for half an hour and announced that he has brokered 6-9 a.m., M-F on WWCS-Cannonsburg (540 a.m.) for “Wheeler in The Morning” and that “all my advertisers are coming with me” and “the format will be the same as I had been doing”. Start date is Labor Day. August 22, 2000


Eric’s Response: If you go to www.dve.com you should be able to find links to the “Broadcast.com” site where WDVE broadcasts on the net. DVE is carrying the Steelers this year. Whether or not the broadcast will be put on the net or not, I do not know. Sometimes things like this are not

I’ve heard this talk for some time about PAX trying to get an affilliate in the Pittsburgh area. First with the sale/swap of WQEX 16 and WPCB 40, now with the possibility of the demise of failing UPN (local affilliate WNPA 19). Question comes – does anyone watch PAX? I hear its primarily reruns of “family” shows like Diagnosis Murder. How do its ratings compare with UPN and WB? Since PAX is partly owned by NBC (and some of their reruns come from NBC), would this change the playing field any more? In the Washington, DC market – the local PAX affilliate reruns the local NBC affilliate’s 11 PM news at 11:30! Would that mean that PAX would rerun WPXI’s 11 PM newscast? That would confilict their own local news channel PCNC. Its getting too confusing to know the players in corporate radio and TV without a scorecard! David Perrussel; August 18, 2000

Eric’s Response: Supposedly when and if Pax makes it into Pittsburgh, it will be a cable only channel due to the fact that there are no free broadcast stations. However, if that is the case, I doubt highly that WPXI would re-air a newscast on there. That in itself seems pretty stupid if you ask me! PCNC is the perfect outlet for that.

Eric, Very fascinating story about Viacom wanting to buy the rest of Infinity. Do you or any of our fellow radio junkies know how this will affect Infinity’s underlings (like Westwood One, maybe). I wait with baited breath. Greg; August 17, 2000

hey there…i’m still mulling about the proposed deal between Chris-Craft and Fox. Anyway,it should be noted that KTVU-Fox 2/Bay Area has a ten year deal with the network that can’t be cancelled by either party. in fact,a recent story in the SF Examiner points out that Fox will have the unique situation whereas they have a O&O,in the market,but have another station affilaite with them. http://eXaminer.com/000816/0816kbhk.html if Fox kills off UPN(which has been a money loser-almost a half a billion),look for the strongest programs from UPN to end up on Fox’s second network. But all of this could cause some consternation when you look at it. It could also be a godsend for smaller nets like Pax,WB and to a lesser extent Telemundo and Univision looking for low and full powered affilaites that were orphaned by the demise of UPN. Case in point would be Pax TV looking to find a Pittsburgh home after the three way deal with Cornerstone and WQED was scuttled and WQED recently whined to ATT Cable about plans toelminate the channel for WQEX-TV for a Pax Channel. It would be to Channel 19’s advantage to become a Pax affiliate. Then again,I dunno if KDKA would want Channel 19 to link up newswise with WPXI-TV?(remember,both are owned by Viacom)something to think about…Dennard Summers; August 16, 2000

Eric, I’d like to comment on some of the recent email. For the person wondering if two FM stations had the same facilities (power, antenna height, etc.), would they cover the same area, the answer is, generally, YES. The is no appreciable change in line-of-sight range between 88 MHz and 108 MHz. There can be a difference, however, when unusual propagation conditions caused by sporadic-E events in the ionosphere (stations from the midwest or deep south blot out local signals) occur. It’s rare that stations higher than 100 MHz ever get bounced. On the matter of K-calls, the most detailed explanation I’ve found is at the Early Radio History site . The thumbnail summary: prior to the start of commercial broadcasting, the government issued K-calls to Atlantic-based ships and W-calls to the land-based stations that served them while issuing W-calls to Pacific-based ships and K-calls to the land-based stations that served them. At the time Westinghouse applied for a commercial license, the KD– series was being issued to ships. For some reason, from June 1920 to April 1921, *all* applicants got either KU– or KD– calls. KDKA is the only eastern station that has survived to this day. Regards, Dave Loudin; PBRTV Tech Guru; August 10, 2000

Eric, As noted here before, I’ve been a fan of Jason Togyer’s work and I commend you on getting him to write for PBRTV. That’s a coup for you. Having said that, I also think Jason has missed the mark with his assessment of WJAS and the music they play. It is NOT a big band station. It may have been when they first came on the air almost 20 years ago but not now. That music may be a small part of what they do but they can’t focus on 40s-50s music because that audience is dwindling and those demographics are almost impossible to sell. They have to have music from the 60s-70s and even 80s. Think of it as the format that used to be called “middle of the road.” They need to target the people in their 40s who may have listened to KDKA and WTAE in the ’80s, when those stations still played music. By doing that, they have a chance to pick up some listeners who are bored with all the repetition on 3WS and are accustomed to listening to music on the AM band. There are a lot of good records that were big hits from that era that 3WS won’t touch (Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Vinton Dionne Warwick, Humperdink, Tom Jones to name a few) and WJAS fills that niche. It’s a smart move on their part. Jason is correct that John Garry would be a good choice to take Bogut’s old afternoon spot. (Not so enthusiastic about Jack Etzel in that role). Now that Larry O’Brien moved out of town and an O’Brien & Garry reunion isn’t going to happen, maybe John would like to come back on the air. I’d listen. August 9, 2000

Eric: First let me say that overall you do a great job on your site. I enjoy reading it most of the time. However, (you knew that was coming) I think you are a bit bias in your reporting and it’s painfully obvious. I’m speaking of your report on the regatta fireworks. I know how close you are to the Renda gang and anyone with any sense could see that but let’s be honest here. The fireworks display was one of the weakest shows in years. 3WS brought in the flying Elvi years ago. It made sense for an oldie station. When is the last time you heard Elvis on WISH? The entire delay thing seems to be a problem that follows WISH events. The new years day event that WISH did was delayed because they did not have the Smithfield street bridge closed and there were people on the railroad tracks. Remember that? No offense to Mr. Antil but I thought the soundtrack was mediocre at best. There was no theme or flow at all. From Areosmith to the 5th Dimension the songs sounded like they were just picked at random. I know Mr. Antil has staff jumping ship and he is trying to be morning man/PD/regatta support & soundtrack producer at the same time so I do not fault him. As for FOX 53, I have to tip my hat to them for dedicating that much airtime to a local event. Their news team hosted the whole thing. A regatta accident, such as the one that happened, is news. It is their job to bring us breaking news and that is always a more important then fireworks! FOX had the “scoop” on the other stations and you fault them for going with it. Was the whole thing botched? YES, across the board! I know accidents happen but come on, make sure there are no boats by the fireworks barge, don’t tick off boaters at a boating event, don’t shun the participants that have made the regatta a success in the past and provide skydivers a clear, safe place to land. (Who thought that skydiving onto a barge in a river at night was a good idea?) If I were in charge of the regatta I would be embarrassed. I just think that if you take an honest look at the whole thing, it really was not very good in comparison to the Regattas of the past. August 8, 2000

Eric’s Response: I’m not going to disagree believe it or not. But actually I can’t agree either. Really not remembering one fireworks show to the next, they all seem so wonderful to me. Perhaps it’s the kid in me thinking, “WOW!” Honestly, I don’t know if I could have done any better with the soundtrack. The music did flow well with the fireworks…at least I thought so…and music is a sideline interest! Now, I won’t fault Fox 53 for their coverage of the event. I too think it’s nice to have that. My point with that, and forgive me if I didn’t seem clear, was that if you don’t know much about the situation, find out what the problem is, try to cover it as quickly as possible and then say, “We’ll bring you an update when we know more.” It’s much better than repeating the same info over again minute after minute. It must be a genetic thing…my whole family hates constantly regurgitated info!

Any idea what’s going on with WKHB (used to be WHJB- Greensburg)? Found some info on your site, which, by the way, I enjoy. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks, Alison; August 7, 2000

(Cue the jingle)…Oh Oh Oh, it’s the Tom Joyner Morning Show…in Pittsburgh!? I heard Tom, J. Anthony Brown, It’s Your World and the whole gang on 1550 AM this morning (8/7/00). The call letters were W-U-R-P. Too bad he’s not on an FM (Hint. Hint….) Till next time! August 7, 2000

I caught Mr. Bowman’s farewell message at the end of the 11:00 news and I must say that he ended his run at WPXI-TV 11 with dignity. He is definately a class act and will be missed. Pittsburgh is losing yet another decent broadcaster. August 5, 2000

Eric, I hope you or one of my fellow readers can help to answer the following question. I know that the lower on the dial an AM station is, the inherently stronger its signal will be. But, what’s the deal on the FM side? If WQED (89.3) and WDSY (107.9) had the exact same technical specificiations, which one would be stronger? Thanks in advance to you and your readers. J August 4, 2000

why does 2 have the call letters KDKA? I thought K was for stations west of the mississippi and W for the east? August 4, 2000

Eric’s Response: To give you a perspective of how the rules have changed. KDKA Radio was the first commercially licensed radio station in the world. Therefore the FCC had no regulation in 1920 on how to differentiate the east/west thing. Now to answer your question as to Channel 2. WDTV was on Channel 3…first TV station in town. It was operated by the DuMont network, but as DuMont went downhill, Westinghouse snatched Channel 3 up and made it KDKA TV 2. There was still no regulation in those days. There weren’t many stations! Now there is regulation, but five stations remain K’s and are EAST of the Mississippi. They are KDKA-AM, KDKA-TV, KQV-AM in Pittsburgh and also KYW-AM and TV in Philadelphia. Yes, it IS KQV it is NOT WKQV. WKQV is a station elsewhere in Pennsylvania.