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December 2000

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

Belated Happy Holidays wishes and wishes for a prosperous new year! This is John Galloway (a.k.a. DJ JOHN G). You know the person who predicted right about Mix 96.1 as of March of this past year and Fall of 99 (although I liked ‘The River’ with Bender in Mornings (who’s now in Seattle) I have some quick updates on some PGH radio info. First concerning 1550AM. Yes, it was purchased by a New York Company. That company is Inner City Broadcasting. They own Urban WBLS 107.5 FM (www.wbls.com) and Black talkers WLIB-AM (www.wlib.com) in New York and WHAT 1340-AM in Philadelphia. You have listed that the current format is Black Gospel. Gospel is only one part (Sunday Mornings, to be exact)–the overall format is considered Adult Urban. The syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show (www.tomjoyner.com) is in the weekday morning slot. The rest of the day uses ‘The Touch’ Urban AC network programming (www.hitsandoldies.com). WURP’s studios have been moved out of ‘Downtown’ Homewood to new offices in Forest Hills, closer to where the transmitter is (as of May 2000). There was a story in this past Wednesday’s 12/27 New Pittsburgh Courier about the current situation and what the station has or hasn’t done in the past. (December 31, 2000)

Eric, For some reason this hasn’t made the papers here but Mark Madden was fired by the WCW wrestling company. Apparently he defied orders and spoke on the air about subjects that had been ruled off-limits by the company. He had been on their Monday Nitro show on the TNT network and also worked on their pay-per-view programs. There has been quite a lot of dicussion about this on various Internet wrestling sites. I believe it represents a significant loss of income for him, even though he still has his local radio show. VS (December 29, 2000)

Eric ~ I read the article on WNUF & saw the reference to WFUN 970. That signal is located in Ashtabula, not Conneaut Ohio. They are an Oldies station in which has local competition with Conneaut’s WWOW 1360. They recently flipped to Oldies from Country under new Owner John Kanzius. They run the “Good Time Oldies” sat. service. (John was with Jet broadcasting who recently sold WJET fm 102.3 & WFGO 94.7 fm to Next Media.) Also I found a great loop antenna for AM stations at Radio Shack for about 30 bucks. It can either be a plug in or it can sit on top of Your radio & it works great. Tom (December 28, 2000)

Eric ~ I went to Radiodigest.com this morning to find that it has dropped it’s website. It was great at first but was losing it’s appeal recently. I would read on the Cleveland market since they dropped Pittsburgh a while back. Are there any links to Cleveland or Buffalo markets You know of? (December 27, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Can anyone help out?!

Dear Eric, I have found your website to be astounding!!!!!!! Finally Pittsburgh broadcasters have a place to go for information. What an incredible source!! I only wish there was a live chat and/or message board. At any rate, I have loved radio ever since I was a young boy and own a lot of broadcast equipment in my home. I recently read your article on pirate radio and I do not fall in to that category. I do have a Ramsey electronics kit that I operate under the provisions of the FCC Part 15 rules. I have not any idea how far those guys on 94.1 and 88.7 were getting out but my signal only covers my home. I concentrate on how good I can make the FM band sound. A lot of stations do not pay attention tho their audio quality. I will say that Chris Hudak at B94 has a very good track record just as WDVE and 3WS. In addition, I also read your article on the Autumn Arbitrends. Even though your ratings are accurate I really have to question whether or not the arbitrends are fair when it comes to signal strength. Lets face it there are dozens of stations licensed to the Pittsburgh market. None of which have the same signal. There are a lot of great stations in Pittsburgh that have inferior signals due to FCC allocations which are no fault of their own. Lets imagine some examples…. What if KDKA was only allowed to have 5kw of power and KQV was allowed 50kw of power…What would the ratings be then???? Again this is just for our imagination. KDKA has some great personalities as does KQV, however because of signal strength KQV would obviously gain more listeners because it would be easy to pick up without messing around with an antenna even up to 50 miles away. That is just imagination because KDKA has a 50kw “Blowtorche.” I will say for the record that signal is not everything…What a station has to offer is just as important. But if we can not hear them then this is not fair and the FCC needs to change things. In other words I would like to hear KQV and KDKA both with “Fifty Thousand Watt BlowTorches!!!!!!!!!!!” That would be something!!! In closing I just wish to say that it would have been nice to hear the KDKA christmas music in stereo. I have a AM stereo radio which sounds great when an AM station is in stereo while playing music. William H. (December 27, 2000)

I have to say that when I heard about the call letter changes by Keymarket, I was surprised by it especially with WZPR. Those calls go back to ’79 or ’80 at least. From what I am reading, WGYY will be running off this regional network of Froggy country stations? It does have a very good signal along with WMDE (now WHUZ.) Both stations cover Southern Erie County very nicely but Erie itself is somewhat hard for them to cover. Both do register in the Erie ratings with low numbers because of Rocket & WXTA. We already have one Froggy on the dial as in the Oldies station in Erie. I hope the changes on both stations are good but they already have good product on both frequencies. Maybe their AM talk station could change their calls to WRBT from WMGW for “Ribbiting Talk Radio.” Take Care ~ Tom L. (December 26, 2000)

Yes, Captain Pitt and Captain Cheasapeake were one and the same. Arrgh! It was great sadness I read of the death of George Lewis. I believe I learned of the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981 while watching “Captain Pitt” on the former WPTT-TV. Later that same afternoon, I believe Ted Sohier broke into programming (i.e. cartoons) on WPGH-TV with bulletins … perhaps the only time before today’s Fox 53 news that ‘PGH covered “breaking news,” though if I recall correctly, Sohier regularly did “top of the hour” updates on ‘PGH. (Interesting trivia question: Who did the first bulletin on ‘PTT? Eddie Edwards? Did they just use a VO with slide? Funny I don’t remember. I would pay dearly for an aircheck of that break-in, or for an aircheck of Captain Pitt, for that matter! But who had a VCR at home in those days?) I seem to recall the Captain Pitt show opening with him falling off of an oceanliner, then swimming through the river and being rescued by the Gateway Clipper. That’s kind of a long way to swim, if you ask me, but it surely made more sense in “Bal’more.” The show’s theme was a ragtime melody — not a sea shanty, surprisingly — that sounded a little like “Kitten on the Keys.” I cannot think of the name, but if I search my ragtime records tonight, I’ll find it. “Captain Pitt” was the ultimate low-budget kiddie show (think Count Floyd on “SCTV”), in which the good Cap’n introduced public-domain Warner Bros. cartoons and old Hanna-Barbera shorts while interacting with various puppets, all in front of a painted backdrop designed to simulate the bridge of a ship. I believe WPTT also had the rights to “Land of the Lost” and “Dr. Shrinker,” though I don’t remember if they were packaged with the Captain Pitt show or not. I am told there was at least one other “Captain” show, perhaps at the UHF station in Columbus. I’ll just bet he was either “Captain Buckeye” or “Captain Scioto” or some such. There was a vicious rumor circulated at one time that Captain Chesapeake had been involved in a sex scandal, and that that’s why the show was cancelled. There is no truth to that, as far as I have ever determined, and I think every children’s show host has been victimized by similar rumors over the years. More likely, the format was spiked because it was considered old-fashioned. Here’s an interesting obit I dredged up on WPTT’s founder which also includes info about Mr. Lewis: http://www.ststephens-md.org/news092899.html. Ah, well. I shall raise a cup of grog in honor of Captain Pitt tonight. Another piece of my kidhood has passed away! Jason Togyer; Tribune-Review staffwriter/PBRTV columnist (December 25, 2000)

On the WNUF item Milton James Hammond got the Station for $50,000 from WYDD [wide] so they could move to 104.7. WNUF is fun backwards as WFUN was taken by 970 in conneaut Ohio. WNUF played Big band music. The big Band show was on from 7:00 pm to 10:00pm as Mr. Hammond was eating Dinner at the LeMont listening to it. P J Maloney (now KQV, WQED-TV), Bob Curti (now WSHH), Ken Allen started there.The studio’s were in the top floor of the Green Sheet Newspaper. Witch Burned out at least twice, and flooded out a few times. State Sen. Ed Early had a live talk show every Saturday, and your Green Sheet ad was Read on the air and in the paper. Mr. Hammond sold the station in the 1980’s for One Million Dollars.The station was off the air while the studios were moved upstairs of the Lincoln drug store, Call letters changed to WWCL World Class Radio [Classie 101] and a power Increase to 50kw.was taking place. (December 25, 2000)

Dear Eric: In response to a Mailbag query, WNUF signed on Aug. 17, 1967 with 20 KW of power at 460 ft. The station owner was Milton James Hammond and the studio was located at 404 North Ave., Millvale. I got this information from the 1971 Broadcasting Yearbook although I remembered some of it. I used to listen to the station somewhat – they gave station IDs where they sort of whispered “licensed to New Kensington” after the call letters, and then at full volume said “with studios in Millvale.” In early 1969, I drove up to the transmitter site which was about 1.5 miles SSW of Russelton. The WNUF call letters were on the door. They ran a nightly Big Band music show and signed off at midnight or 1 am. They always ran two closing theme songs, one to close the show and one to sign off the station, I think. The latter was “Nighty Night.” Earlier in the day, I think easy listening background music was often played from an automation system but I didn’t listen during those hours except as a curiosity tune in. I often called the DJ on the big band show and learned that the owner would complain if they played a song he didn’t like. The owner also published the Green Sheet advertising newspaper, and mentions of this were often heard on air. I’m under the impression that the Big Band format they ran during that era was unique among the nation’s radio formats. Prior to WNUF’s sign on, the 100.7 frequency was silent for a period of time. WYDD made its debut on 100.7 Feb. 4, 1963 but after a few years, it moved to 104.7, upped its power, and changed its city of license from New Kensington to Pittsburgh but maintained its studio at 810 5th Ave. in New Kensington along with co-owned WKPA for some years thereafter. The transmitter site was just across the river from New Ken – there was a taller and a shorter tower adjacent to each other with both serving as the AM directional antenna and the taller having the FM antenna and also CATV receiving antennas. WYDD had some promotional radios made up which received only 100.7 and someone at the station received a comment that the radios worked again when WNUF took over 100.7. Hope this is of some value. (December 24, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Wow! How very interesting! 100.7 only moved out of the Millvale studios in 1991 or so. Thanks for the great info!

I noticed a story listed in Inside Radio that CBS radio network will be using a new news sounder at the top of the hour beginning 12/26.I wonder if the little bleep before stop sets stays or goes !

Eric’s Response: I think I’d miss that little bleep.

In regards to my post yesterday concerning the passing of Captain Chesapeake, whom I thought had been Captain Pitt on WPTT back in the late 70’s and early 80’s: yes, it was him. I just spoke to WBFF-TV in Baltimore, and the representative informed me that yes, he was indeed Captain Pitt on TV-22. I remember watching him every morning showing The Three Stooges and sailing the Three Rivers. I believe you should look into this and at least make a mention of it. Scott Reppert (December 22, 2000)

Eric’s other response: Ok folks, I mentioned it, now I ask you, who was Captain Pitt? Let us make sure the guy is one in the same!

Eric, What kind of station was WNUF(100.7 FM, now WZPT and owned by CBS/Infinity), and what kind of programs were on that station? Also, the station has had a history of call-letter and format changes(e.g. in the mid-80’s, it was WXXP, with an alternative rock format). When did that station first sign on the air, and where was it located originally? Also, are you ready for Christmas? I certainly am! Martin (December 22, 2000)

Eric’s Response: I don’t know exactly when 100.7 signed on the air, but I do kind of remember the WXXP and then WMXP (Mix Jamz) studios being in Millvale of all places. Right above the pharmacy on North Avenue. The station has always been licensed to New Kensington, so my belief would be that the station originated there. Ironically 104.7 was up that way too until WEZE moved the studios to Greentree in 1990.

Is this “Captain Pitt” from bygone days at WPTT 22 that has just passed away? I believe it is. Check it out. Scott Reppert (December 21, 2000)
Click here for story

Eric’s Response: I don’t think it is. I know he was a popular dude on Baltimore’s Channel 45 though and I never saw anything or have even heard of “Captain Pitt”!

Re: Previous message: It’s just nice to see an arrogant group get slammed, however they are making some inroads in our market on the revenue side.(NOT at WTOV’s expense!) By the way changes on the AM dial in Wheeling Steubenville starting next week. WWVA will become “The Big One…News Radio 1170 WWVA” 6-9am Dimitri 9-12pm Dr. Laura 12pm-3pm Rush Limbaugh 3-7pm George Kellas 7-8 Infomercials 8-1am god ( notice I use a small “g” these are the snake oil, prayer cloth hucksters hiding under the guise (sp) of religion. Overnight another Clear Channel Product The Trucking Bozo out of Cincy. The Rush /Laura switch was a Clear Channel Mandate. Meanwhile changes at WSTV and WOMP-AM 6-9am Pat Campell (was on once before from Erie PA.) 9-12pm Mike Gallagher 12-3 ? 3-6pm Neil Bortz, 7-10 Bruce Williams 10-1am Rollye James 1-5am ? 5-6am WTRF News Simulcast. Margie Defede joins WSTV /WOMP for news (previous WEIR and WWVA) Just thought you’d like to know Happy Holidays Jim (December 20, 2000)

Glad to see the Frogs at the near bottom of the barrel! (December 19, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Well, yeah, they always are. That’s primarily because they aren’t received well all over the Greater Pittsburgh area. Most of their activity is South of the city.

Dear Eric WZUM Radio AM 1590, has been Playing Old Mad Mike Radio shows, on the weekends and evenings.It’s Great to hear mike “back in the day “. (December 19, 2000)

Eric, just wanted to let you know some call letter changes that just took place in Meadville…94.3 changes calls from WMDE to WHUZ. 100.3 changes calls from WZPR to WGYY. both stations are owned by Keymarket…. so I think its pretty obvious what is going to happen to these stations. Wuzz 94, and Froggy 100. Neither of the stations actually changed their format yet, just the call letters. (December 13, 2000)

Here’s the web address for 970 The Burgh: http://www.970theburgh.com/ JDF (December 13, 2000)

terry is a promotion manager at wpgh/wb sadly i under stand that he is losing his job as three of 6 managers with the company nationally are being cut he should be able to be reached at the staion thru the end of december. he was big at the old wzum and wdve as a jock even demitri of wwva was there pre caywood i believe (December 13, 2000)

Eric: WBGG ‘The Burg” is streaming audio through brodcast.com. The easiest way to find it is to go to radio.broadcast.com and type in WBGG in the search window. Ted (December 13, 2000)

Eric, A couple of answers. The Burgh does have a website: www.970theburgh.com. There’s not a whole lot there right now but it does offer streaming audio as well as some photos and past highlights via sound files. Terry Caywood is the regional program director for WPGH/WCWB through the end of this month. His job is being eliminated, according to the P-G article on Jayne Adair’s departure from the same company. You already have the link to that story posted. In the 1990 AFTRA talent guide, Marsy Posner McFerren was living in Aiken, S.C., according to the membership roster. VS (December 13, 2000)

Eric, Just so you know, Sportsradio 970’s website is…. http://www.970theburgh.com Keep up the good work, and happy holidays! -B.J. (December 13, 2000)

The following is a blurb from Jason Togyer answering some format questions about WWCS in Canonsburg. This info was previously published.
WWCS changes to all-oldies format Canonsburg’s WWCS (540) has gone back to its roots. On Monday, the station – previously home to all-day ethnic programming – began an all-oldies format built around jazz, early rock and rhythm & blues. And the station is again billing itself as “Radio One,” the moniker it carried in the 1960s and early ’70s as WARO. The slogan was first resurrected earlier this year when veteran WARO deejay Zeke Jackson returned to the air to host a Thursday night oldies program. Jackson and Brandon Cunning, another WWCS deejay, are currently sharing management duties at the station. They replace former station manager Sam Dellorso, who left WWCS. Cunning said all of the music being featured is pre-Beatles, with a heavy emphasis on artists and songs popular in the Pittsburgh area. The station is beginning its days with big-band music until 10 a.m., then gradually moves to ’50s and ’60s music as the day progresses. Until this year, the bulk of WWCS programming had been the World Radio Network, a mix of shows from international shortwave broadcasters that is geared to public and college radio stations. WRN has been dropped, Cunning said, and comments from listeners about the format change have been positive. Polka and ethnic music continues on the weekend, while Paul Pysh’s sports talk-show, “In the Cheap Seats,” has moved to 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays. In related news, WWCS morning host Jack Wheeler is recovering from recent surgery. The former WJAS deejay has been off the air for several weeks, and no date has yet been set for his return, a station spokesman said.

I am trying to find the internet site for WBBG 970 AM. Do you know if they have a streaming site and if so where can I find it. Thanks John G (December 12, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Well in case you’ve been looking under the wrong callsign it’s WBGG. However, I do not think they have a website as of yet. You might want to call Fox Sports or Clear Channel’s local offices in Greentree for more information.



Eric’s Response: I have already told Mal where Jimmy Roach is, but if you can help out with any others, please send me an email and I will pass them along to him.

Since we’re on a roll with AM chat . . . 1320 WJAS is playing a good deal of Christmas music – and a lot of it is music you won’t here on a lot of other “standard” radio stations. Nice to hear. RT (December 11, 2000)

Eric, I’m 90 percent certain that David Newell (Mr. McFeeley) has held a non-performing behind-the-scenes job at WQED throughout his run as a character on Mr. Rogers. Also, I think it may be a stretch to say that Michael Keaton was a producer on the show. As I recall, he worked at WQED as a college student and may have been more like a production assistant who ran errands rather than someone who actually helped determine the course of the shows. VS (December 11, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Actually David Newell has worked for Family Communications. The jury is still out as to what Michael Keaton did. I know he did do some start up work there, but what it was exactly, I’m not sure. I am sure it wasn’t producer though…I THINK that was held by Paul Lally.

Eric, We all know that Mr. Rogers has retired from his long-running PBS kids show a few weeks ago. Will his show continue to air in reruns, or will PBS get rid of it completely? Also, in its early days, the show went by the weird title “Misterogers”(That was his name in the form of a compound word). Why was that? Also, they used the WQED facilities for the set of his living room. Also, I want to know about the future of Fred Rogers, and of the shows distributor, Family Communications, which is based in your home town of Pittsburgh. I also understand that one of the producers of the show, Michael Douglas, went on to a TV and film career as Michael Keaton. When exactly was Keaton producing “Mister Rogers,” and when and how did he actually become Michael Keaton? Also, what will happen to Mr. McFeeley, the postman, and the castle puppets(e.g. King Friday the 13th)? Martin (Watched Mr. Rogers as a kid.) (December 9, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood will long be a part of PBS for now as I understand it. They figure he’s a “timeless” figure to most children…and most children won’t get to see every episode he’s taped. The show went as “Misterogers” years ago. However, that wasn’t when it was produced at Channel 13. My mind wants to say that was when he did it in Canada or even NBC…fuzzy memory on that one. Family Communications will continue to prosper. According to the Post Gazette, Mr. Rogers has a couple of years of engagements to keep among other things. Plus they market MRN memorabilia too. I’m sure the characters won’t disappear totally. David Newell (Mr. McFeely) makes many appearances as well…so I doubt that anything more than the taping will disappear!

Eric, An engineer once told me that AM stereo can reduce a station’s reach, which is why so many stations abandoned it rather quickly. That, coupled with the fact that most people don’t have AM stereo receiving equipment and don’t really care about it, could be a reason why WWCS would let it go. One other factor: if they’re playing big bands/standards, a lot of that stuff comes from mono source material. VS (December 9, 2000)

Eric’s Response: Good point! When was the last time KDKA was in Stereo?! Loooooooooooooong time back!

I’ve noticed that WWCS has also turned off it AM stereo… at least temporarily. I tuned to 540 the other day, while sitting in the Beaver Valley Mall parking lot, and the signal was very strong and clear, but in mono. I know my car radio isn’t at fault because the stereo kicked on when I tuned to a rather faint WJR from Detroit. I hope they turn it back on! Cheers, Steve (Decenber 7, 2000)

Whats going on at 540 am? Are they trying to put a legitimate format on the air ? Music is unique…needs better air talent that can relate to the oldies! (December 6, 2000)

Eric’s Response: There was something in the P-G at one point…and I don’t think I highlighted it on the Hotline…that said the WWCS format was going to go mostly oldies. I know the station has had a change or two in management. Most of the daytime format matches Jack Wheeler’s big band style with sports in the afternoon and oldies in the evening. The ethnic programming will run on the weekends. I guess the world broadcasting has gone the way of the DeSoto as well….