[important]To read in chronological order, start at the bottom and work your way up.[/important]
It’s me again,true Rocky 103.5 became the all new Froggy 103 with the calls of WOGE-FM Steubenville. Like the forthcoming cousin WOGI-FM (once the move to Duquesne is ok’ed),they will target listeners in most of Allegheny County (read Pittsburgh).It does look like their current sales office in Pittsburgh will serve as the Pittsburgh sales office for WOGE-FM and the primary office for WOGI-FM pending the shift to Duquesne. I did listen to some of Froggy this morning (insomnia will do that for ya) and they had weather listing for places like East Liberty,Shadyside and Mt.Lebanon during the morning newscasts. They have a toll free line that reaches across the 304(West Virginia),740(Steubenville),330,724 and 412 area codes. Now,it looks like WELA-FM in East Liverpool will stay classic hits from the 70s and 80s (an adventerous version of the old point before the Y2K adjustment). They have been mentioning some places and events in Beaver County.Methinks that WELA-FM will target Beaver County a bit since WAMO-FM(which is licensed to Beaver Falls) targets Pittsburgh. 1 for 2 isn’t bad-but i won’t be shocked if WELA’s operations could be moved to either Uniontown (Keymarket’s corporate offices) or to Steubenville. It should be noted that WESA and WOGI’s operations are in Uniontown. food for thought…(btw Keymarket didn’t buy WANB-FM and WOMP-FM will more likely stay adult Top 40)Dennard Summers; February 29, 2000
6:59 AM-Tuesday Feb.29,2000-WRKY Rocky 103.5 becomes Froggy 103.5,but still with call letters WRKY,for now. Another Gay Frog is born!! What a shock! Plus more Frogs to come,WELA,WANB and WOMP. Cant it be stopped?? B.A. February 29, 2000
Eric’s Response: The good news is that it isn’t another simulcast of WOGG! I also wasn’t aware that there were gay frogs…
Eric, the discourse about 98.3’s application for Duquesne is very interesting. Since Charleroi has another radio station licensed to it (WESA 940), I suspect Forever will ultimately get FCC approval for the change in COL. Coordinates show the new TL as being northeast of McKeesport, which should provide better (but not perfect) coverage of Pittsburgh. (A few more miles to the NE and they could put the bays on Channel 40’s tower in Wall). I wouldn’t be surprised if Forever also tries to acquire the 98.5 religious translator in Glenshaw, which covers a good chunk of the city proper, or 97.7 in Butler, which covers some of Pittsburgh’s burgeoning northern suburbs. If all this takes a few points from WDSY, more power to ’em. Pittsburgh listeners deserve another Country choice. Regards, C; February 29, 2000
Eric’s Response: It would create a little bit of a country war, but perhaps just with Jimmy Roach..er..uh..”Jumpin’ Jimmy”. I don’t know how much else it would affect the Y108 country. Oh and have you heard WRKY 103.5 comes in pretty clearly these days?!
The FCC won’t pay much attention to the citizens of Charleroi over programming matters like the Froggy 94.9 simulcast on 98.3. I think the FCC would look closely at the actual loss of the radio station if the city of license is moved to Duquesne. Myabe this is an opportunity for the people of Charleroi to get involved?; February 26, 2000
Eric’s Response: Unfortunately, the FCC doesn’t really give a hoot what is programmed on a radio station. Their business is to make sure that the transmission power is to code. I believe they step in on programming if the programming becomes graphic, etc. Whether or not the transmitter move is in the best public interest or not, I have no idea.
talk about indirect competition. i read the trib story on Froggy and while they profess that they don’t want to compete with Y108, 98.3’s tower and city of license will move to Duquesne-which brings it closer to the city of Pittsburgh. There’s a ponderable in all this, I know that Y108’s wattage is 17,500 and FRoggy-2’s is 6000 watts. Who would win out of this? I gotta say Y108 simply because they have been here longer and they were the sole survivor of the country FM wars in the 90s. I will go with Lynne’s view that WRKY-FM/WELA-FM will sport green,but the idea of WOMP-FM and WRKY simulcasting to become a Top 40 station does intrigue me. If WRKY did move their COL to say Ambridge or Aliquippa and WOMP-FM moved their city of license to Washington,it may be possible…but as i stated in my recent rant, that the losers in all this are the people in Charleroi that have no place to go for local (neighborhood) news/sports, etc…toodle-loo. Dennard; February 24, 2000
I talked to the folks at WJPA today and they assured me they are not becoming a FROG.. Personally I respect the fact that they enjoy being a community radio station and haven’t sold out. Hopefully they will stick to their guns as the offers escalate because in my most humble opinion the FROGS are NOT good for radio. They’re putting to many jocks out of business and besides that their format sucks!! I hope I never have to work for them. Piso Mojado; February 23, 2000
Eric’s Response: Great work, but why is the floor wet?
Eric, In the old days, there were requirements on where the studio had to be with respect to the city of license plus requirements on having a licensed operator on duty to monitor the station’s technical performance (which turned out to be a pimply-faced dj in a lot of places 😉 Nowadays, I don’t think there’s any restriction of transmitter location with respect to studio location. The important thing is meeting signal strength requirements over the city of license. Look at what WPTT has to do to maintain a decent signal over Pittsburgh (separate day and night sites.); February 23, 2000
THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO THE POSTING ABOUT THE SALE OF WOMP AM/FM, WRKY/WSTV TO STOP 26. FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, STOP 26 PURCHASED THOSE FOUR STATIONS IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THEIR SISTER STATION, STAR 107.9, IN COLUMBUS. THE STOP 26 FOLKS THEN RECENTLY SOLD THE TWO AM/FM COMBOS IN THE OHIO VALLEY TO THE KEY MARKET/FOREVER PEOPLE. THE SALES WERE SO FAST, THE HEADS OF MY FRIENDS AT WOMP ARE STILL SPINNING! DRAKE; February 23, 2000
Eric: In response to Bill’s post from Feb 2nd about Jim DeCesar, Jim is currently The Production director for WCNS Latrobe/WLCY FM (LUCKY 106.3)Blairsville. He is also still doing Jazz Impressions Sunday mornings on WLCY. Ted; February 23, 2000
About WRRK…The FCC busted them for overmodulating a few years back after WDVE turned them in. Could it be that WRRK’s processing is set that way deliberately?? February 22, 2000
Eric, Here’s some tidbits for you: For the person who gave all the compliments to John Trout of the Mix…Explain This….One time I happened to turn on 96.1 when John was in Vegas a few months ago at one of the Awards shows, and was interviewing the guy who played on Will Smith’s Sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire” as Uncle Phil. I believe it was asked by Trout about how it must be great to have a sitcom that’s still going strong on NBC this long, and “How do you still come up with ideas?” To which the guy replied, “John, we’ve been off the network for three years and are only on syndication, where’ve you been?” He sounds like the game’s passed him by and all he has is his voice. Leonardo on the Titanic? Only if Leonardo puked his voice during the whole movie. About Dees, I do think that it would fare better than the four most mismatched people in Pittsburgh Morning radio. Do something though…..Listen to Dees on the B Sunday(?) morning, then listen to Trout. Am I the only one who thinks Trout sounds like Dees w/out a brain? Secondly, as for 3WS-AM, from what’s been said about them moving to Greentree this year from the Northside, they are supposed to get the setup of a Producer’s and Host’s studios to maybe do some Talk shows there. As much as I love listening to “Ego” Madden and Stan Savaran on 1250, having the Pens, Steelers, and more local hosts than your rival on 3WS-AM would certainly make for a very succesful sports talk opponent in the ‘Burgh, don’t you think? Good luck with your webpage! Looks better every day!; February 22, 2000
Many HDTV CP’s are at different locations from the main license to allow the FCC to “shoehorn” as many stations as possible into the UHF band. That’s probably why WTOV-HD is located in PA, not because they have their eye on the larger market. By the way, iS anybody watching any HD broadcasts on the Pittsburgh stations? How about BAD audio processing? WRRK sounds horrible. Can somebody crank that thing up?; February 22, 2000
pbrtv,thanks for the answer to my question,but wasnt wrky,womp,wstv,and wjpa all bought by stop26/riverbend a company in OH,not forever inc.?i thought i remembered u saying this earlier.i have been calling the people at wrky,womp,wjpa,and wasp(or wogg)and they all have no comment on the subject of wrky and womp becoming a froggy too,and just hang up on me,but when i called womp fm in the morning they said something that might tell this true.he said all he can say is big chnages are coming.what ever that means….and wjpa was bought also i heard by forever,what is gonna happen to them?froggy yet again? b.a.; February 22, 2000
Eric’s Response: Is it me or am I hearing evil cackles from Forever Broadcasting?
Re: Earlier message Ooooh!! I KNOW! I KNOW! USA Radio and TV Directory (formerly USATV online)! You can find it at http://www.metronet.com/~chipk . Happy to help! – Mark Ericson of VARTV (now located at http://members.xoom.com/thevartv !; February 22, 2000
Eric, to answer the processing question, we use a digital unit called an Omnia. It’s new and it’s LOUD. Glad your correspondent likes it! Regards, Clarke Ingram. February 22, 2000
Eric’s Response: Thanks to Clarke from WJJJ for answering our question!
for those of you hoping that WTOV would move their station into metro Pittsburgh-hate 2 rain on your parade,but the raison why they moved it was to offer a better signal into their viewing area. The other reason is that WTOV-HDTV station’s tower is in Burgettstown. which may or may not occur…(re HDTV,which could go the way of AM stereo)need another example,UPN 19’s offices are in downtown Pittsburgh,their tower is near Ligonier,PA,but the master control is located at WPSG-TV in Philly.; February 22, 2000
Eric, How about a big salute to Eric Togyer, who is doing a great job of covering radio and TV for the Tribune-Review? I think he’s been outstanding, particularly in the neglected area of radio. I’ve never found Adrian McCoy’s P-G columns terribly interesting or insightful. I guess Lynne Margolis is trying with radiodigest.com but it’s obvious to me that her heart is with music reviewing rather than radio….I read where the 3WS ratings are on a downward trend. Could it be that they’ve played the same songs to death for too long? Expand the playlist. There are hundreds of great songs that were huge hits that they’ve ignored so they can play “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and “Mony Mony” for the millionth time….Why does 3WS waste the best 5,000-watt AM signal in town with a simulcast?….I’d be embarrassed to listen to a station that uses the stupid “Froggy” gimmick….Isn’t it sad what has happened to once-great radio stations at 1020 and 1250?; February 22, 2000
Eric’s Response: Yes I agree, the 3WS oldies are getting stale! Time for some fresh material to get mixed in!
Eric…I enjoy reading your board. I am a first time writer to you. If Forever Broadcasting can move 103.5 closer to Pittsburgh as others have suggested, then the $5 Million they paid for WOMP and WRKY is a steal! They’re going to surround the metro with Froggy clones. What station gets the Arbitron credit if they write down “Froggy”? Doesn’t matter! On another matter, does anyone know what kind of processing WJJJ uses? The low end on that station really kicks ass! Of course, playing that kind of music helps too!; February 22, 2000
Eric’s Response: A good question on compression. Perhaps frequent visitor and WJJJ PD Clarke Ingram can answer for us?
Eric, Shame on you for not looking at the transmitter site map! The site where WTOV 9 has a CP to move to is shown. Coming in the map update (I’m working on it!) is the location of WTOV-DT’s app (yep, the same tower site.) Why would channel 9 move so far into PA? Better coverage of southwestern PA and north-central WV would be my guess (better Pittsburgh penetration would be a bonus.) And, a pox on that person who doubts the need for two VHFers in the Wheeling/Steubenville market! Back in the old days, they were needed to deliver good-quality signals for NBC and CBS programming to that chunk of Ohio Valley! Stations are free to place their transmitting antennas consistent with local land-use regs wherever they want so long as the station delivers a certain level of signal to the city of license. There are many examples of stations (AM, FM and TV) that get licensed to some very small town near a metro area then employ a transmitting antenna that just barely meets the signal coverage requirement to the licensed area while maximizing coverage of the metro area (within protection limits to other stations, of course!) There are some examples here in the DC area (1030 and 700 AM and ch. 53). Since the northern panhandle of WV is so darn narrow, I imagine all of Steubenville’s (except WSTV), Wierton’s and Wheeling’s stations could find sites in Washington County and meet FCC requirements. Regards, Dave L.; February 22, 2000
Eric’s Response: I suppose too that the rule that your transmitter can be anywhere within a certain mileage of your station applies too.
And here’s yet another example of a tower crossing the state line – WTNX 95.9 in Sharpsville PA, which has its tower in Brookfield OH, trying to serve Youngstown better!; February 22, 2000
HERE’S ANOTHER SCENARIO FOR THE NEW KEY MARKET/FOREVER OUTLETS IN THE OHIO VALLEY, A SIMULCAST OF WRKY ON WOMP TO HIT WESTERN PA. MUCH LIKE THEY DID IN THE EARLY ’90S AFTER THE FIRE THAT DESTROYED WOMP. THE 100.5 SIGNAL COME IN LIKE GANG BUSTERS IN WASHINGTON CO. AND 103.5 WILL GO AS FAR AS NEW KENSINGTON ON A GOOD DAY. USING BOTH SIGNALS WOULD GET THEM INTO PGH, BUT AT THE SAME TIME ROB THE OHIO VALLEY OF TWO GREAT RADIO STATIONS.DRAKE FORMERLY OF WOMP-FM; February 21, 2000
Eric’s Response: Let’s hope they decide to keep these stations where they belong…
In response to earlier message:You know, I guess the next dumb question is, what happens to Channel 9 after they move to Washington County? Does it become a must-carry on the Pittsburgh cable systems the way Channel 19 did? (I suppose not, since this doesn’t mean a change in the city of license – YET). If it becomes a “de facto” Pittsburgh station, will we see WPGH or WNPA try to purchase the new signal? This could be interesting. (I never saw the point of having two VHF stations in Wheeling/Steubenville in the first place when Pittsburgh would be so much better served by more VHF channels in this hilly terrain, and open UHF channels in Wheeling/Steubenville remain fallow to this day; February 21, 2000
Eric’s Response: I personally have no clue, but I still think it odd that an Ohio station would have a PA tower…but it’s happenin! Well look at WGAY-FM (oops, I mean WJMO). The main transmitter is outside the beltway and the back-up is in Silver Spring, but the station is licensed to Washington!
Hi Eric,I noted with interest the writer who suggested that WRKY might move their tower into Washington County for better coverage of Pittsburgh. The FCC database shows that channel 9 in Steubenville now has a CP to move its tower across the Pennsylvania state line, to a site near Burgettstown. Wouldn’t it be interesting if WRKY moved to that site? I won’t be surprised if they try. Regards, Clarke; February 21, 2000
Eric’s Response: Good question. That thought did occur to me after I sent the email. It’s very possible that ‘RKY might put it there. It just seems odd that they’d want to try to break Pittsburgh though. Word of the day says that “Froggy” is going to be leaping into Steubenville very soon….yeeeech….
Hey, Eric! I haven’t spoken to you in a couple months (since my thoughts on 100.7 adjusting its format) but I had time to listen to both stations, research my theories and most importantly — critique! Hopefully this is the impetus for something to happen soon…Mix 96.1 vs. the New Point@100.7. Despite the fact that I always enjoy healthy competition in radio, I feel obligated to get this off my chest: Memo to Mix 96.1: You lost!!!! 100.7 is ROYALLY kicking your butt, especially in the ’80’s department. Oh, and the only person who will thank you for banging the hell out of Lenny Kravitz’s ‘American Woman’ is, well, Lenny Kravitz (and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even listen)!!! The New Point @ 100.7 is Pittsburgh’s official station playing the best of what B94 used to play and today.” 96.1’s tries to do the same thing with its sorry “Eighties’ closet classic” sweepers (who cares?!). Infinity/Pittsburgh has pulled out its big guns with respect to the New Point. It must have pooled some of the best programming ideas from its co-owned “Hot/AC” stations around the country including Mix 106.5 in Baltimore, Mix 98.5 in Boston, Alice 97-3 San Francisco and others. The New Point’s turn-around should be an example for other radio stations to follow. Here’s a quick re-cap: By mid-October of last year, the Point sounded like a format has-been. Channel 97 already owned the Classic rock niche after finding its way over the past few years. 100.7 went from the “best of the ’70’s” to “the best of the ’70’s and ’80’s” It could of then called itself ‘Variety 100.7’, but that just didn’t sound right. Bringing back ‘Mix Jamz’ (the CHR/Rhythmic station that what was kicking both B94’s and WAMO’s rear-end in ’92 and ’93) was ruled out–Infinity didn’t want to hurt its cash cow (B94) so it decided to hurt Mix 96.1 where it counted: it core 25-34 listener demographic. Some of you know that this scenario has happened before–almost six years ago — in 1994 — when there were FOUR country stations. Heritage Y108 needed to be protected from cross-town “Rebel Country 104.7”.; So it flipped 100.7 first to “K-Garth Country”, then “K-Bear Country 100.7”. Eventually the Country radio scene was so muddied that 104.7 surrendered and flipped to “the New Revolution ‘NRQ.” Divide and conquer. Initially, I wanted The old Point to flip back to CHR/Rhythmic — because there still is a Top 40 Dance/Rhythmic void in Pittsburgh radio–WAMO only whets one’s appetite–especially with their signal problems. I define a ‘rhythmic’ song as a mass-appeal, beat- or melody-driven song with a reduced emphasis or lack to a guitar or acoustic sound. Its neither Rock nor Country, but could be an R&B song that ‘crossed over’ from Urban radio. Even David Edgar (Program Director of B94) in a recent hitmakers.com interview credited some of B94’s Fall ’99 Arbitron success to the station’s focus on the Christina Aguilera/Britany Spears/Backstreet Boys/ N Sync “rhythmic” type of songs. I then changed from being disappointed in the Point, to being totally impressed with its new sound. Since the first song (Santana’s “Smooth”) shortly after 5 p.m. on October 27th, 1999, I have been glued to the radio on several occasions to just hear what song will come on next. I grew up here listening to B94, among other stations, and the Point will play those songs that will take you back–the blockbuster hits. Then they’ll come back with the best current hits (‘Adia’, ‘I Knew I Loved You’, ‘One Headlight’, ‘Black Balloon’, and list list goes on). Leaving my radio on for hours at a time and not getting disappointed: what a novel concept in Pittsburgh radio!! And their contests such as “Leap over Leap Day” are unique and compelling. This isn’t to say that Mix’s “Put Mix Money in your Mouth” contest, Rod Hendrick’s caller interaction with the ‘Mix Movie Clip’ features weren’t interesting, or even Mike and Lindsey’s morning show an interesting alternative to the FourDJNamesStuckTogether nonstop talk-a-thon (they work for a music station, right?) beginning at 5:30 a.m. Mix’s on-air personalities were unfortunately drowned out by the one-two punch of B94 and the New Point. I also think that John Trout is one of the best new air talents in Pittsburgh — comparable to the much talked about Bender, who is now in Richmond. As recently as Valentine’s Day Monday; Trout attempted to call everyone in Pittsburgh. It was original, funny, and downright entertaining. But he’s like Leonardo on the Titanic–he’s a good talent, but he’ll sink just like everyone else on the ship–if he doesn’t get off soon. The worst crime of all is that Mix just doesn’t sound like Pittsburgh. It has a slick on-air presentation, but you could easily cut out the word ‘Pittsburgh’ on all of the liners and promos (they say it enough) and have the voice guy re-cut them with any other city — Cleveland, Birmingham, Dallas, St.Louis, Tampa, New York, Guam (we could care less–most of Pittsburgh is not listening).Successful radio programmer Steve Smith (of Hot 97 New York and 92.3 The Beat fame in L.A.) learned this hard lesson with a now-defunct Top 40 station he programmed called Energy 96.5 in Houston about ten years ago. He even stated in a online interview last year that the reason why Energy failed miserably was not because of it’s overall sound–the station sounded great–it just didn’t sound like Houston’s radio station. Mix 96.1 sounds great–but I can’t go to Mt. Washington, Wexford, Greensburg or even ‘Dahnntahn’ and stand on the street and say “This is Mix territory”. Urban Programmer Elroy Smith now of WGCI-FM in Chicago has echoed similar sentiments. Mr. Smith programmed the former R&B 102 JAMZ “KJamz” in Dallas in the early ’90’s. He pointed out that the reason why the station essentially fell apart in the face of competition was that KJMZ could not connect with the listener. Mix 96.1 is broadcasting to the clouds while everyone else has their feet on the ground. Mix is more than just a bad version of the old Variety 96 or even The River–it’s the fallout of radio consolidation–what many in the industry term a cookie cutter station. My solution to Mix 96.1: Scrap the current format–tell everyone to take an early Spring Break. Pool AMFM’s best Top 40 resources. Call Tom Poleman (Program Director of co-owned Z100/New York 212-239-2300); Frankie Blue (Program Director of ‘KTU/New York 201-420-3700); Dan Kieley (Programmer of KIIS in L.A., 818-845-1027); Brian Bridgeman (PD of Q102/Philly, 610-667-8100); — and even Adam Cook of AMFM’s Kiss 106-1 Dallas 214-891-3400). It wouldn’t hurt to contact Jerry Clifton, Vallie-Richards consulting, or even Zapoeon Media Strategies. Ask them for HELP. Pick their brains — even fly them in (show off the airport)–do what it takes to turn 96.1 around. Drop the ’80’s. Go Mainstram Top 40. Play nothing but Pittsburgh’s hottest music jockless until at least March 30th (the Spring Arbitron Book starts March 30th). Do off the wall promotions such as .96 cent gas for an hour promotions at area gas stations. Give away $1000 dollars an hour until you go broke. Syndicate Rick Dees in the morning. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll actually get the station above a 3.0–or you could just do nothing and have Mix written off as just another Pittsburgh programming failure. Let’s be honest. AMFM or any other radio company is not going to wait another year for 96.1 to finally DO SOMETHING (yes, it has been a year since the change from 96.1 The River). Pittsburgh deserves much better and the spring Arbitron survey is coming soon…We’ll be listening… Until next time…February 20, 2000
Eric O’Brien, are there any other websites besides DCRTV, NYRTV, NERTV, etc.? (example: CCAYRTV (Cleveland/Canton/Akron/Youngstown, OWRTV (Ohio/West Virginia), JARTV (Johnstown/Altoona), BERTV (Buffalo/Erie) If not, will ther be any in the near future? Thanks; February, 20, 2000
Eric’s Response: It is ironic that you ask. Sometime soon I will be adding Erie, Central PA and Steubenville/Wheeling to the PBRTV family. However, there are no sites to my knowledge that have this info now
hello.i was wondering about a rumor i heard from a friend(who works at wclt in newark,oh):is wrky in steubenville,moving its tower to washington county ,probaly to the washington area,to compete more directly with WDSY? I like WRKY’s way of playing of country,actullay getting new and hot music on the air and i was wondering if this “myth” is true?thanks b.a; February 19, 2000
Eric’s Response: I don’t think that is at all true. WRKY does have sales offices in the city of Pittsburgh (or at least they did when I worked at WJJJ in the same building). However, the station is truely a Steubenville station. Now 98.3 WOGI (WZKT – WESA in the past) is supposedly moving its stick from Charleroi up closer to Pgh.
Hey Eric, Love the page, but as a worker in a Froggy-saturated market (State College, where we got both 98 from Altoona and 94 in State College) I have to say it’s a generic, bland, and the format appeals to the lowest common denominator in the state. What’s funny is, even with a simulcaster in State College, most people here listen to Froggy 98 out of Altoona. I don’t think this format can last, but then again, now that I’ve been in the business for awhile, I’ve learned: People are stupid. They let Beaver 103 get to #1 in the previous book, only because it was a “new” station. It’s strange that great a great Heritage Rocker like Qwik sat behind them for so long and just finally knocked off both Froggy and Beaver. (Both Forever stations which also owns a p***-away AMer in WMAJ.) In short, it’s a pathetic attempt by Forever to create something all their own, and unfortunately, people in this market are dumb enough to buy into it. Chuck; February 19, 2000
Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Dennard Summers…. i had an very interesting rant that i posted on my site and it’s in regards to Z98’s death. I’d thought that I’d share it with the regular visitors to PBRTV…. “You have to feel a bitter bittersweet for the mid-mon valley community of Charleroi. Just like any small hamlet in America, their localAM/FM stations have decided to forsake them in favor of getting a piece of the larger revenue pie of the big city. In this case, it’s Pittsburgh that they’re going for. Recently, Keymarket/Forever Broadcasting acquired Charleroi based stations WESA-AM (940) and WZKT-FM (98.3) from Farr Broadcasting for about three million dollars. Keymarket decides to scrap the local Top 40 format of Z98 in favor of a simulcast of its sister station Froggy 94.9 . Keymarket believes that they can succeed with the format in Metro Pittsburgh. The Altoona based company’s flagship station is WFGY-FM(Froggy 98). That station has been very dominant in the Altoona, State College and Johnstown markets. Keymarket made some inroads into Pittsburgh by acquiring Uniontown based WASP-AM/FM and added the Froggy brand to the FM station. The station acquired the call letters of WOGG-FM. The only problem was that Froggy 94.9’s signal was hard to reach in certain parts of Pittsburgh. Just up the river in Charleroi was an AM/FM combo that had been a decent training ground for radio people. However, just like WASP-FM,WZKT-FM had a less than exciting signal that didn’t allow it to reach most of Pittsburgh. There had been some skinny that they wanted to move a bit closer to Pittsburgh. However,that never came to fruition. Farr decided that the Charleroi stations would be ripe for the taking by Keymarket. Keymarket took the bait. Many of us had assumed that things would remain the same at Z98. Radio wannabes would be able to get their shot at work for the station. Try getting a gig in Pittsburgh,when you’ve just graduated from college. Charleroi would get its share of local news that 2,4,11,53,KDKA-AM and KQV wouldn’t cover because it wasn’t “sexy” enough for Pittsburgh. Keymarket had other plans. The first clue was that they had applied for the WOGI-FM call letters for WZKT-FM. Z98 staff claimed ignorance of the changes. The word in radio circles was that Metro Pittsburgh would get another country station. Keymarket’s Froggy 94.9 insisted that they wouldn’t target Pittsburgh. But those who knew felt that 94.9 wouldn’t target Pittsburgh,but 98.3 would. Even if it took moving the antenna and signal away from Charleroi and placing it near Pittsburgh. So, I need not tell you what happened next. The sale was a done deal, Keymarket flipped Z98 to a simulcast of 94.9. They also began to move the offices down to Uniontown. In effect local radio in Charleroi was dead. Radio majors looking for a chance to work in a small station were shut out. Metro Pittsburgh was bombarded with cheesy liners and slogans proclaiming the ways of Froggy. The question I have to ask is “where do we go from here”? If you’re a radio student looking for a way to get into broadcasting, where do you go? Good luck trying to land work in Pittsburgh. A radio genius in Pittsburgh will tell you to hit the boonies. Only thing is that the boonie stations are trying to get the piece of the bigger radio pie. Hmmm, who’s to blame out of all of this? The blame can be spread among many groups, but for all purposes Keymarket and Farr made a legit deal. The real victims are those looking to become radio personalities and the small towns that would be even lucky if the bigger stations did anything on what washappening in their areas.” – Courtesy “The Pittsburgh Media Insider” Dennard Summers; February 18, 2000
Eric, Re: the age group making new ads for 96.1 – this sounds suspiciously like a move to Radio Disney. The closest affiliates (AMs in Cleveland and Parkersburg, WV and an FM in Romney, WV) do not reach Pittsburgh at all. We shall see…Dave L: February 18, 2000
Eric’s Response: You know, I was going to suggest the same thing, but considering that it’s an AMFM station and not ABC/Disney, I changed my mind!
(Dave L Responds again…)Well, stranger things have happened (and that’s what I thought you were hinting at.) It would seem that ABC/Disney is happy with what WEAE is doing, so that would leave the door open. ?????
Eric, Great page, glad I found it. I worked at the old WESA when the station actually had an audience. Just so your readers know, the best thing the previous owner could have done was sell the place. Previous ownership had not a clue about broadcasting. I could tell alot of stories, some funny — some not so funny, but I think the most tragic thing and what actually started the downturn of WESA was the shift in air staff. More experienced broadcasters either got so frustrated and left on their own, or were dumped because they didn’t quite mesh with the station owner’s child who was given the responsibility of a morning show. He was given that responsibility because he apparently worked in a few comedy clubs — so ownership thought he was funny. Apparently, ownership was the only one. Loyal listeners left in droves, because they tired of the endless tirade of filthy words and foul jokes. Businesses that relied on the station for advertising dropped their schedules like flies. Apparently, the only people listening to Z98 were 11 year old kids. I am sure we can all appreciate how much earned income teenagers spend on cars, homes, and household appliances each year. The airstaff that came into the homes and cars and offices via radio each day were gone — and the audience never established the rapport with the new airstaff. That can be evidenced that this single fact. In the early 80’s, previous ownership maintained a program called “Cash for Kids”. This was an annual radio-thon that raised money for underprivileged kids in the region during the holiday’s. Cash-for Kids was brining in about $60,000 in donations during the 3-day event. This past Christmas, the charity raised less than a third of that. I guess 11 year olds aren’t as charitable as management thought. The new owners probably saw this — and made an offer that the owner couldn’t refuse to take the station of her hands. What is most regrettable is that WESA was the “voice of the Mon Valley”. We helped people there connect and get information. That is gone. They should haven’t stopped trying to be a Pittsburgh station years ago and concentrated on what small market local radio does best –deliver a format that a core audience of 24-54 years olds will like with a mix of local news, weather, local sports. And quite frankly, if Mr. Stevens in Greensburg is reading this ( and, he worked with us, too at one time at WESA), he really should pay attention to the mistakes of his good friend in Charleroi.; February 17, 2000
Hi Eric. I cant receive either WOGI or WOGG up here in slippery rock, but I think that it was just a terrible idea to get rid of Z-98. I feel really bad for the people that worked there. Dont we already have enough country stations around? I get about 5 or 6 up here. Now.. I have heard people talk about 96.1 changing formats again. I would tend to agree that they will try something else pretty soon, except for one thing: They are having a contest where your 5-11 year old son or daughter can appear on their new tv commercial. The fact that they are going to spend money making a commercial makes me think that they must still have some hope for 96.1. I personally think that Mix has a playlist that is way too tight..they tend to play the same stuff over and over. The Point@100.7 is better in my opinion.; February 16, 2000
Eric’s Response: You never know if the Mix is going to announce a new format on that commercial or not. 5-11 years old? Hmmm that’s an interesting age group!
Eric: The Tribune-Review – www.ticketlive.com/frames/tvfram.html – reports that WARO 540 oldies dj Zeke Jackson has returned to 540 (now WWCS) after an almost three decade absence. He has a show on Thursday nights with tapes of his old shows, commercials and all. Also, the T-R reports on another oldies dj, Charlie Apple, and his WLSW broadcast from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last Sunday; WESA/WKZT’s sale and WYEP’s successful fund drive. Bob; February 16, 2000
Interesting operation, WZUM. I paid a visit there in ’97 when it was under previous ownership…then called WPLW….a God station. The only radio station I’ve ever been in where if somebody hadn’t told me it was a radio station, I would never had known it. The station was in the basement of what I think was the owner’s home. Master control was a mess…very dirty….looked like somebody’s garden shed….lots of junk everywhere…I think there was actually a lawn mower parked in the studio! And over in the corner was a little four-pot mixer with a cheap Shure mic clipped to a gooseneck. It ran on automation…some computer system I’d never heard of. The transmitter was ancient….tube-type. One of the towers had collapsed so the transmitter was at half power…very inefficient…I saw the readings! There was no way this could be legal. Now here’s the kicker….when I left the station and was driving back through Carnegie/West End area….I turned on my radio to 1590 and could hear WAKR (Akron, OH) clearer than WPLW!! Fascinating! A station that in the middle of its broadcast day…in its own city of license…was being stepped on by a station on the same frequency but more than 100 miles away! The station was way beyond repair…..I find it unlikely its current owner (Horvath) can do anything…considering the state of disaster he left the Monroeville (1510) station in when he sold it a year or so ago. –Michael; February 15, 2000
Eric’s Response: Let’s be patient and see what happens. He just recently got the signal boosted and back on the air!
(Re: Earlier message) Eric: Nice getting response to a subject. I am well aware of Dick Hatch’s program(Chronicles of Medatron). I’ve known Dick for many years, and in fact, theprogram he did with Dick McGraw did not debut until 1978. Before that, WPIT-FM featured Contemporary Christian Music as a 3 hour block called “SonSongs,” in response to overwhelming audience demand for the new form of Christian Music, in those days labeled as “Jesus Music.” The show had various hosts until “Dick and Dick” took over with the daily show. At the time I was starting with WPLW, who was experimenting with the format as more than just a specialty item. Dick McGraw took over as Program/Operations Director in the early 80’s, and for the first time, CCM was established as a regular format on WPIT-FM. The station continued with a mixture of CCM and block programming until it was sold in 1993. Your reader was right. through the 80’s up til 1991, WPIT-FM played CCM from Midnight to 6am. For reasons unknown, a corporate decision was made to sign off at Midnight, a practice which continued until Salem took over in January of 1993. I had the priviledge of doing the overnight shift at ‘PIT when I came to the station in 1988. I congratulate Mike Komichak for a real gutsy move, which endeared WPIT-FM to the listeners of Pittsburgh and the Tri-state Area for years. If he did not have the vision to get behind Dick McGraw when he lobbyed to make CCM a regular feature of WPIT-FM, Pittsburgh Christians may have never known the likes of such people as Dusty Rhodes, Karen Eden, Brian Brooks, Christa Kelly, Karen McGraw, myself and others, as well as the many concerts and other activities like Family day at Kennywood. Bravo, Michael Komichak, may you richy enjoy retirement!!! Sincerely, Greg; February 15, 2000
I just wanted to add my two cents worth about the former WASP radio station. I really enjoyed WASP, especially Jimmy Roach (jumping) and Dean Connors (oops, I mean James Pond.). The conversations and quips were wonderful. Obviously, I haven’t heard them lately. ( None of Dean and not much of Jimmy) Is there any way to get this switched back to the station we knew and loved? Maybe I’m just “wishful thinkin’.” Thanks, Dee; February 15, 2000
Eric’s Response: The chances are slim until the station does poorly in the ratings and people send hate mail! Even then it’s questionable!
IN RESPONCE TO GREG MCATEE 2/1/2000, DICK HATCH FROM WCLG MORGANTOWN W.VA. CAME TO WPIT IN 1974/75 AND DID A MORNING SHOW OFCHRISTIAN MUSIC FROM 6 AM TO 10 AM,WPIT FM ALSO PLAYED IT ALL NIGHT IN THE 1980’S.I LOVE YOUR SITE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK,ERIC.; February 14, 2000
ERIC WZUM WAS ON THE SATURDAY 2-12-2000 WITH A GREAT SIGNAL IN THE NORTH HILL’S I RECIVED IT STRONG UNTIL 10;00PM WHEN I TURNED THE RADIO OFF.WELCOME BACK WZUM WE MISSED YOU. February 13, 2000
Froggy 94.9 and 98.3 have to be the gayest stations around. 94.9 was better as WASP-FM. I used to listen to 98.3 when it was WZKT and it was good as well. Froggy radio is so lame and cheesy. Pittsburgh’s WDSY will kick the frog back into hibernation. Ribbit, ribbit. Forever Broadcasting will lose more money in the PGH market than it will gain. February 13, 2000
(In regards to previous message) Maybe you have an idea there. When can we do it? When!? When!? :). Its not the music. Its the “Jump into” this and the “Ribbit” that, and that whole Froggy concept. Its all over the dial too, If there would be one station in one city that would have it . That wouldn’t bother me. I know I don’t have to listen to it, but I do think it’s a waste of frequency spectrum that could be used for other formats, say like a “Swing” station. Like the old WNUF. Forever has some good formats though, like WKYE, WJAC-WVSC oldies and such. It does sound like a three year old came up with the frog business.( If you are involved with this, or Forever, My apologies, but it is an opinion of myself and quite a few others in and out of the radio business.Its not directed towards you. It’s that you maintain the site, and thought an opinion from a radio listener be in order). Chuck; February 13, 2000
I see the Frog S**t epidemic is taking over the Pittsburgh area like it has taken over Central Pa. They took over Altoona, with transmitters in State College, and Portage. I think this frog thing is a very low mentality format, and I think it sucks!(Feel free to edit explitatives as you see fit). Chuck, Bedford,Pa. Sick of no originality in radio, and radio being a monopolized mess. February 13, 2000
Eric’s Response: Thank you for your kind words…perhaps we should send them to Forever and their subsidiaries? Anyone else care to add explitaves?
I’ve heard that same rumor about Renda and Bob Stevens…it’s been going around for a while. February 10, 2000
Eric’s Response: Hmmm….who knows…
Dear Eric, Just wanted to say I enjoy your site a lot and it keeps me abreast of what is happening in the local Pittsburgh radio/TV market. First off, for your Art Bell listeners, if they want to catch the last hour of Art, their best bet might be to listen to WLS out if Chicago on 890 kc. Be forewarned, sometimes there could be interference from other stations as the fire up for the day’s broadcast. Now to my main two questions and comments. What happened to WASP-AM? I get from your news letter that somebody has bought them out. I like to listen to Chuck Harder when I can when he is (was?) on from 2 to 5 PM there. I tuned in yesterday and I heard all these old time songs like from the 1940’s, early 1950’s maybe. What happened to them, did they have a format change? If so, I don’t think it was for the better. I’ve known about the change of WHJB to WKHB on 620 kc for some time. I used to listen to them when they played a lot of classic songs from the 70’s and 80’s, a nice mix of tunes. I even used the songs to time myself to flip the steaks when I grilled outside. Also, it brought back memories of when I got my first transistor radio in 1970 or 71, when I was 4 or 5, since it was AM only, I had to listen to the AM stations. Today, they have too many doctor shows and not enough music. I mean, I’m one of these guys who starts to worry about ailments when I hear them discussed. Come on, I want to remember the good and even bad days I remember of the 70’s and 80’s, and not look forward to health concerns I will have when I’m 70 or 80. Well, enough complaining for now at least, I am a ham radio operator, an avid shortwave/scanner listener, and all around radio enthusiast. Keep up the good work! Chuck M.; February 10, 2000
Eric’s Response: Well WASP was bought by Forever Broadcasting. I frankly haven’t heard what they’ve done to it. Considering I live too far north to clearly get that signal, I don’t have any idea what it WAS let alone what it IS. I know WPXI has used WASP for their Radio Network feed. Too many doctor shows is right…let’s live a little…of course maybe some of that music is bad for our health too!
ERIC RUMOR’S ARE THAT IF BOB STEVENS BACKO OWNER OF WKHB 620 AM, UP’S IT’S POWER RENDA BROADCASTING WILL TRADE HIM WPTT 1360 FOR WKHB 620 THUS GIVING MR STEVENS BACKO A CLOSER PITTSBURGH STATION. IN THE 1930’S WHJB AND WJAS WERE OWNED BY THE SAME PEOPLE. PS WKHB HAS A PERMIT TO INCRESS DAYTIME POWER TO 5,500 WATTS. February 9, 2000
Eric’s Response: Somehow I have trouble believing this rumor. Perhaps I am wrong?
A few other clear channel 50kW stations that carry Art Bell, heard at night in Pittsburgh: — WBT/1110, Charlotte (except weekend overnights) –WTAM/1100, Cleveland — WABC/770, New York For complete list, seewww.artbell.com. — Michael K.; February 9, 2000
Dear Eric, I found your website recently and find it very informative. I was wondering if you know why WPTT dropped the last hour of the Art Bell program. I’m a night owl and enjoy the program very much. Many people think only “weirdos” listen to it, but I promise you, I’m not a weirdo, I just enjoy hearing and learning more about “off the beaten path” subjects. Thank goodness, I can still listen to the last hour of Art Bell on 1210 Philadelphia. The program is very different, but it makes one think and form one’s own opinions. Nice change from the saccharin sweet and the ramblings of late night KDKA. Thanks again for your great website and for letting me air my views. A 61 yr. old night owl from Cheswick, Pa; February 8, 2000
Eric’s Response: Glad you enjoy the site! I have no idea why WPTT cut off the last hour of Art Bell. There could be many factors involved but I won’t venture to speculate on any at this time! If I hear something I will certainly alert webpage readers!
Dave’s response: Hi. I do the uploading and site maintenance here at PBRTV and had to respond. Many stations cut the last hour of Art’s show. Even though it runs until 6 AM eastern, many stations including WWRC here in DC, as well as NYC’s WABC, stop carrying the show at 5 AM so they can switch to their morning news blocks. WPHT in Philadelphia is one of the few stations that carries the show all the way to 6 AM when they switch to Don Imus.
Just saw the latest DC radio ratings and WJMO plunged (!) to 16th place, way down from its debut last summer with jammin oldies. Its chief rival, soul oldies WMMJ, jumped ahead of it to 10th place. WJMO is 50,000 watts; WMMJ is 6,000 watts. I wonder if the old WGAY days may be in the future for 99.5????? – Adolph; February 8, 2000
Eric’s Response: Remember my comments in one of my musings columns last summer being Jammin Oldies is not Y2K compatible. Here seems to be proof! Could it be Washington is setting up to “Listen & Relax” once again!
Eric, I spied the pleading from a newly minted resident of the Mountain State (near Fairmont, perhaps?) for advice on getting reception of Pittsburgh TV. Having grown up in northern WV, (and watching all the Pittsburgh stations via cable) I think I can help. The answer pure and simple is to get one of those outdoor antennas from Radio Shack and mount it on a mast up on the roof. Results will vary wildly due to local circumstances, such as a hill in the way or living in an apartment with no roof access. Mounting an antenna in the attic would be the next choice, followed by pointing as large an antenna as feasible out a Pittsburgh-facing window. Failing all that, cable TV will be the only other choice. Regards, Dave L.; February 8, 2000
How’s this for speculating. Happened to see Madden co-announcing a Monday pro wrestling show for the second week a row. Wouldn’t surprise me if he leaves WEAE to go full time with the WCW, and continue to write his PG column. Jim Colony will eventually take over Madden’s spot. Now, if we can just get Jim Penna back. Tom; February 8, 2000
Eric’s Response: Anything is possible!
oh well,as i’m writing this,i’m thinking of a song line from “Games People Play” by the Alan Parsons Project that goes “where do we go from here?” it’s a great way to describe what happened to Z98. while it wasn’t picture perfect,it did offer a training ground for people wanting in on broadcasting. Now,you gotta wonder where do you go for training and yet,stay close to the big city. you certainly can’t go to the small towns where the stations there are either automated or targeting the larger cities. so kudos to all who have stuck it out in radio in one form or another. and regarding 620KHB,why don’t they sell the station to someone who could run it properly. Like for example, Radio Disney would fit perfectly on 620. Just like the current simulcast of WWKB-AM/Kiss 98.5 in Buffalo,it’s nothing more than a waste of wattage. food for thought-btw anyone believes that KD will land Billy DiFabio from ESPN Radio 1250 now that they parted ways? He would be an improvement over Thor Tolo. February 6, 2000
I just turned on WEAE and heard a very familiar voice. Jim Colony! And apparently he’d back in Pittsburgh and will be back on WEAE doing news and sports. Tom: February 6, 2000
Eric, for your mailbag…Bob Stevens has really done it this time. The owner of Greensburg’s WKHB has pulled the plug on school closings. Stevens says they’re “too local.” After all, why bother with local closings and delays on your hometown radio station when you can spend hours listening to Cigna read them from 22 counties? It’s no secret Stevens wants to be considered a “Pittsburgh station.” (That’s why soon after buying the station a few years back he dropped the WHJB calls that had been around since the 1930s — telling one staffer that with a name like “WKHB” people will start to associate his station with “KDKA.”) It’s tough to be a major-market player though when you now sign off at 10 p.m. weekdays and 7 p.m. weekends. Plus you fail to earn respect after giving established talent like Jim Patterson and Ralph R. Conde the boot. The station has no office staff either; try to get somebody with a pulse to answer the phone during normal business hours. And who ever heard of a major-market station with studios in a trailer? Stevens’ plan is to sell his Brown Street building (the most recent bidder: Humane Society; radio has gone to the dogs anyway) and move to a trailer on his transmitter site in the backwoods of North Huntington Township. Just like his last station in St. Mary’s, Pa. Interestingly, the station refuses to recognize its new city of license (Irwin). Stevens still uses “Greensburg-Pittsburgh” for its legal ID. Maybe his decision-making has been clouded by fumes from his freshly-painted studio (color: purple). Westmoreland County radio, what a disaster.; February 5, 2000
Does anyone what happened to Jim “The Caesar” who used to be on WYDD-104.7 during the 1980s? Bill; February 2, 2000
Mr. Eric O’Brien, My name is John, and I happen to work in radio in the Pittsburgh area. I find your web page to be very cool and helpful, but I found a couple of things you might want to change. 620 WHJB is 620 WKHB now. Same owner, same format: oldies with what appears to be pay shows. 620 also seems to be going through some rough times as the station isn’t on the air as much as it usually is. Greg McAtee is no longer with 1080 WNNL. he went back to Metro/Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. Most of the time 1450 WJPA is a simulcast. It does do some of it’s own programming at times though. WRKY 103.5 along with WOMP-FM and others was bought by the same company that got WASP AM/FM and the old WESA (I worked at both places.) Hope this is some help to you. I’ve been around quite a few stations in the area. John; February 2, 2000.
Eric’s Response: “Mr. Eric O’Brien” I feel so formal now! Thank you!
Eric: Was paging through your AM and FM station pages and noticed a couple of items that needed correcting. First off, WPIT-AM was established in 1947 with studios on Smithfield Street, and always had the FM station, hearkening back to the days when FM was in its infancy and the FCC made you take an FM operating license along with granting you an AM Frequency. The studios moved to the old Pick Roosevelt Hotel before settling in the Gateway Towers in the ’70’s. The stations were owned by the Berkman family of Pittsburgh (they also owned a number of other stations, including WRKY and WSTV-AM and the old WSTV-TV9 in Steubenville). Nick Perry and Adam Lynch were some of the well known Pittsburgh personalities who got their starts there. The Berkmans sold their stations (including WPIT-AM and FM) to the former Pyramid Broadcasting of Boston in the 80’s who, in a financial move aimed at paving the way for a merger with then Federated Ventures (who as American Radio Systems bought B-94, the Point and Y-108, Now part of the CBS/Infinity monster), sold the Pittsburgh properties to Salem Communications, who then fired the staff of WPIT and moved onto the 101.5 frequency, keeping the AM pretty much the same. I don’t recall the AM ever doing Contemporary Christian Music, but they do program some Southern Gospel occasionally. It now programs an eclectic mix of Religious block programming, local sports, and talk shows (it’s where erstwhile WTAE garden show host Jane Nugent is talking from now), as well as simulcasts of its FM sister after 6pm. As for the late WPLW, Bob Hickling bought the station from James Psohoulis (Jimmy Pol) in 1975 and changed the format to Religious. It programmed a mix of block programming, music (mostly the Contemporary Christian kind) and weekend ethic programming). It never was able to recover from the massive amounts of debt and other financial woes sustained from its infancy, and not too long after Bob Hickling’s death, was sold to Micheal Horvath, who as you noted, was able to get back the old WZUM calls and after construction of new towers should be signing back on soon. Other than these two corrections, I greatly enjoy your web site and look forward to getting my “fix” of media happenings around Pittsburgh. Keep up the good work! Sincerely, Greg McAtee; February 1, 2000
The FCC has stated that Pittsburgh’s channel 16 was a frequency specifically reserved for educational/noncommercial broadcasting in 1952. However in 1953, WENS began commercial broadcasting on Channel 16 as an ABC affiliate and remained on the air until it ceased operations in 1957. WENS was the first television station in Pittsburgh to broadcast Pirate baseball games. Alot of UHF broadcast operations such as Pittsburgh’s WENS and WKJF Channel 53 failed in the early 1950’s because they did not have the coverage area of the VHF frequencies(UHF’s early transmitters only put out 100,000 to 250,000 watts at best),and also for the reason that most television sets at that time were not equipped with UHF tuners(one would have to purchase a separate UHF converter which cost about $10 to $30). I’m just wondering why all the fuss about wqex, wpcb, paxson communications, the fcc etc., when channel 16 initially was a commercial broadcast operation in Pittsburgh?; February 1, 2000
Eric’s Response: There is no question that 16 COULD be a commercial outlet. However, we have to deal with the present. WQEX has been an educational outlet for a number of years and pretty much been considered such all along. I think to change it over in this day and age would require a lot of debaucle and thus is why there has been a debate for the last 2-3 years. God only knows!