July 2000

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

Dear Eric: Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag as of this morning’s paper. Starting next week, I will no longer be covering radio and TV as I move to the Trib’s Greensburg newsroom. There are several reasons, but a big one is that I have decided to work on a new project to bring a low-power FM station to the Mon Valley. I didn’t think it was fair for me to collect a paycheck as a so-called neutral observer — and then get involved with a radio project! We have a board of eight directors and several additional people on a “community advisory committee” at Lightning Community Broadcasting Inc. (P.O. Box 847, McKeesport, PA 15134). Our webpage is at www.lightningFM.org. We hope to begin webcasting soon and if our application is accepted by the FCC in April 2001 (a big “if”), we would launch a 24-hour, volunteer-staffed, 100-watt public radio operation early in 2002. Volunteers are welcome to help this effort, of course! We are also interested in working with local broadcasters. We have no desire to “compete” with local radio stations — only to provide a training ground for students and an outlet for “niche” programming. I’ll still be skulking around on the Internet, of course, and may occasionally contribute some radio history pieces to the Trib. It has been great fun meeting folks who are keeping local radio alive in Western Pennsylvania! 73,Jason Togyer; July 29, 2000

Eric’s Response: Thank you Jason for your good works with the Trib as well as July 29th’s article about PBRTV!

Eric, If you want to place this note on your web site, that’s cool. If not, that’s fine, too. I just wanted to congratulate you for getting some cool recognition vis a vis “The Trib.” You provide great information and it’s a daily must-read for me. Keep up the good work 🙂 Thanks, J; July 29, 2000

Eric’s Response: It was humbling, but really a nice promotion for the site.

Logues’ quick quizs are neat, but sometimes he has the wrong answer. He had one…………What does SOS stand for in reference to the soap pads. I emailed him that the answer he accepted was wrong. I even sent him the SOS web site which explained how they come up with the name. He still didn’t accept that answer. Hey Bob, admit you’re wrong when you are. I emailed KD this a.m., about their Dick’s Sports question: “This morning’s Dick’s sports question was, “What former major league baseball manager is managing the 2000 Olympic baseball team……….Jim Leyland, Sparky Anderson, Tommy LaSorta, or Davey Johnson? FORMER major league manager????? Excuse me John, Davey Johnson is the current manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Has been all season. Who the hell comes up with these questions?” I wonder if I’ll get a reply. Tom July 27, 2000

Eric…I haven’t seen anybody mention that Forever Broadcasting is the owner of WFJY-AM. That’s right, the same folks who are spreading the Froggy format all over Western PA! Last time I was in the Johnstown market, 1470 was dark. This is obviously a way to circumvent the FCC’s freeze on new AM applications. They’ll just move an existing license to a new community, even though it’s quite a distance away! Forever already owns WUZI-FM 105.7 in Portage (formerly WFJY-FM), so Portage won’t really lose anything. Obviously, the AM is worth much more if it’s serving a Top 20 market! July 25, 2000

Eric’s Response: It still won’t be, Pittsburgh is # 22!

Eric, The WFJY application to move to 660 kHz daytime only cites using 220 watts into 4 towers. I haven’t cranked out the pattern from the tower parameters, so I can’t tell you which way the power will go, but I’ll bet it will be south. They are changing the city of license so the proposed facilities will meet the signal coverage requirements while (gasp) servicing a part of some nearby metro. WKTW is seeking to pump out 250 watts non-directional on 770 kHz during the day. Two new apps have hit the FCC this week. WAMO is trying again to move to the site that I have mapped in northern Allegheny County. They’re proposing slightly different power and antenna height this time. WSSZ is looking to upgrade to 6000 watts at 100 meters above average terrain from a site SE from the current location. Dave; July 25, 2000

Eric (and Vito),The WFJY application to move to 660 has no bearing whatsoever on operations on 1080. If WFJY gets approval, they will probably use the same towers as 1080 to broadcast on 660. This kind of operation is called diplexing, and it is happening more often across the country. Regards, Dave Loudin; July 25, 2000

Eric, according to a little digging I did, WFJY 1470 Portage PA has applied to change its city of license to Wilkinsburg and change frequency to 660, directional, using the WWNL 1080 (formerly WEEP) towers in Hampton Township. Portage, by the way, is near Johnstown PA, so this is a rather major facility change. WKTW 1530 Jeannette (formerly WBCW) has applied to move to 770, non-directional, using the new WKHB 620 (formerly WHJB) tower near Irwin PA. Both would be daytime stations, if granted. Couldn’t find any mention of power levels in the FCC database, but at these lower frequencies, both of these stations will surely cover the Pittsburgh area well. I would appreciate hearing from Dave Loudin on power levels for these two stations. WKHB also has an application on file to increase daytime power to 5500 watts. Incidentally, I recall that WPLW 1590 (now WZUM) had a CP to move to 660 (daytime only) some years ago, which was never built. Regards, Clarke Ingram. July 24, 2000

Eric’s Response: Seems odd that a station wanting to be licensed to Wilkinsburg would put it’s transmitter in Hampton. But then again, who am I to judge?! I remember WFJY. I’m working on Johnstown et al on the new page set to be put out very soon. Interesting that they’d want to move the station that far!

Hi eric, could you help me out..I see that the old wbcw is applying for 770. your map shows wfjy applying for 660 at the site of weep 1080 does that mean weep will now be 660. if true why would they apply to change when they have a good signal? thanks for the insite in advance? vito July 24, 2000

Eric’s Response: I honestly can’t tell you. Our maps are done very precisely by mapmaker Dave Loudin who knows more than I do on the applications and so on. I doubt that WWNL (WEEP) will switch to 660, that would be awfully foolish for their great signal at 1080. We shall rely on the great Daveoreenie to help us!

Eric, Just a line to correct your 7/20 hotline story about KDKA’s possible 10pm news cast on WNPA. CBS does not own Viacom, rather it is the other way around (or at least it will be when the sale is finally approved by the government bureaucrats). I know with all the mega-mergers going on, it can get kind of confusing as to who-owns-who. Thought I’d pass that along. Keep up the good work. Greg July 24, 2000

Eric’s Response: Oops!

I was looking at your Pittsburgh area transmitter map, and I notice that there have been applications filed for new AM stations at 660 and 770 kHz. I presume they would have to be daytimers, given the proximity to New York. Do you know what is going on here? It seems strange that we would consider adding new AM stations when so many of the existing ones are so badly under-utilized with infomercials, simulcasts, etc. I am a former Michigan resident in the South Hills who currently has a marginal daytime signal from WJR. I guess I can kiss this goodbye in the near future. Any info. you have on these stations would be appreciated. Thanks! JC July 21, 2000

Eric’s Response: It’s very possible! But I wouldn’t kiss those signals good bye just yet! I don’t know what’s on the horizon other than these stations have applied. We’ll know about it when the papers get to it!

When WPQR comes back on the air in about a month (that’s what a news article said), do you or anyone else have any idea what the format will be? J. Fox; July 12, 2000

Eric, We are losing Lynne Margolis’ weekly column on the Pittsburgh radio scene due to some editorial changes at radiodigest.com. Unfortunately, the focus will shift to syndicated and big market programming leaving markets like Pittsburgh’s out in the cold. Lynne’s done a great job covering local radio and her contribution will be missed. July 12, 2000

Eric’s Response: It’s not a big surprise. RadioDigest is doing some trimming down to cut costs. Pittsburgh is the number 22 radio market and I guess isn’t important enough for RadioDigest!

Eric, Just read that Radio Digest is in major financial trouble and will scale back greatly, just covering the six top markets. Apparently they can’t afford to pay correspondents any longer. Have you heard anything about this? July 12, 2000

Eric’s Response: Indeed I have…listed below is a letter from RadioDigest.com that I (and many others) received as a result of this major decision.

Dear Readers, RadioDigest.com informed several editorial contributors, one copy editor and one associate producer Monday they were being laid off in an effort to control costs. However, despite what you may have read in newsgroups and on other Web sites, we are not ceasing publication, nor did we terminate our entire editorial staff. The segments of RadioDigest.com that generate the highest amount of traffic will either remain unchanged or will be expanded. Those components include our comprehensive listings of AM and FM stations from market to market, our summaries and affiliate lists of several nationally known personalities, our information about sports broadcasts, our popular “Daily Grind” and “PD Chronicles” columns, and editorial coverage in at least nine markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Phoenix and Toronto. We also hope to continue editorial coverage in additional markets and are looking into that possibility. In addition, we are continuing our focus on RadioDigest TalkFax, our fax-based service that provides detailed coverage of the news, talk and sports radio formats. (For information on TalkFax, please visit http://talkfax.radiodigest.com.) Although the quality of editorial generated by those who were laid off was consistently first-rate and I am extremely proud of what our writers accomplished in those markets, it should be noted that the areas in which we have made cuts represent less than half of RadioDigest.com’s overall site traffic. Our traffic tends to be directly related to the size of the market an individual writer is covering, and most of those who were laid off were covering less-populous regions of North America. Like many Internet sites that are dependent upon editorial content, RadioDigest.com is experiencing financial difficulties. However, despite Monday’s adjustment, I remain optimistic that RadioDigest.com will continue to provide top-notch information about the radio industry. I believe the best is yet to come for RadioDigest.com. We appreciate your supportive e-mails, and we certainly hope you will continue to visit the site for up-to-the-minute radio news and information. Sincerely, Jason Jackson Editor in Chief

RadioDigest.com Eric, WELA’s call sign has gone the way of the do-do to become WOGF. Dave; July 11, 2000

Dear Eric, I would like to address a few issues about TV and radio. Remember back in 1994 when FOX acquired the NFC from CBS? Maybe FOX should have went after every city that had a PBS affilliate on the VHF dial. For example, WBIQ-10 (FOX 10 Birmingham), KAET-8 (FOX 8 Phoenix), KRMA-6 or KBDI-12 (FOX 6 or FOX 12 Denver), WEDU-3 (FOX 3 Tampa-St. Petersburg), WGTV-8 (FOX 8 Atlanta), WTTW-11 (FOX 11 Chicago), WYES-12 (FOX 12 New Orleans), WGBH-2 (FOX 2 Boston), KTCA-2 (FOX 2 Minneapolis-St. Paul), KETC-9 (FOX 9 St. Louis), WUNC-4 (FOX 4 Raleigh-Durham), WHYY-12 (FOX 12 Philadelphia), WQED-13 (FOX 13 Pittsburgh), WKNO-10 (FOX 10 Memphis), WNPT-8 (FOX 8 Nashville), KUHT-8 (FOX 8 Houston), and WMVS-10 (FOX 10 Milwaukee). BRING BACK SMOOTH JAZZ!!! Why are there 2 Adult Contemporary stations in the ‘burgh? WLTJ (92.9) and WSHH (99.7) practically play the same thing. As do WPHH (96.1) and WZPT (100.7) ( both of which play ’80s Hits). If we could just “change over” one of those stations’ formats, hopefully the ‘burgh can get back that “smooth jazz” format. I dearly miss it badly. It all goes back to 5/24/99 (Monday), a day that will live in infamy for Pittsburgh area radio— shortly before 12 noon (lunch hour), I was listening to then “smooth jazz” WJJJ (104.7) when during a Kenny G or a David Sanborn tune, I heard some strange static—and moments later I found out that it was another “Jammin’ Oldies” station simulcast out of New York City, and soon after that, other cities followed suit with that same format! I totally sympathize with the woman who called Rodney McCoy on Sunday afternoon (7/9) during WAMO’s “Sunday Jazz Brunch.” Listeners like her and myself must petition. Of course, WDUQ (90.5) is a great Jazz station, but we’re talking MODERN Jazz. BRING BACK SMOOTH JAZZ!!! PAX TV Delayed! Last week I found out that the launch for AT&T cable (In greater Pittsburgh) to carry PAX TV was delayed—thanks in part to WQED. What gives WQED the absolute right for them to tell AT&T cable that they have to carry WQEX, although it simulcasts (duplicates) WQED? Is that a waste of channel space or what? I still say that this channel swap saga should continue. I must admit that this area needs only ONE public television station. Our tax dollars are secretly being wasted on such baloney already, and it still infuriates me to this very day. Of course, we can always find similar programming on such popular cable channels such as A&E, Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, History Channel, to name a few. And by the way, in June 2002, is it true that Sesame Street’s long-term contract with PBS due to expire? WAMO Transmitter Move — DENIED BY FCC(?) Now today I had just found out that the FCC denied and/or dismissed WAMO’s application to move its transmitter just 12 miles north of Pittsburgh (exit 22 off I-79). What will WAMO’s next move be? GOODBYE CLASSIC HITS (104.3 FM) Classic Hits (104.3 FM, East Liverpool, OH) was one of the area’s most interesting stations I can actually relate to — until it fell victim to FROGGY country! A number of stations in the Tri-State area had fallen victim to this FROGGY COUNTRY franchise. I really enjoyed CLASSIC HITS. Not only was its signal powerful enough to penetrate throughout most of Beaver County (actually, I’m from Aliquippa, PA), but they played a mixed bag of hit songs from ALL genres of popular music. It will be dearly but sorely missed forever. That’s all I have for now. I will get back to you soon. Much regards, PATRICK; July 10, 2000

Eric’s Response: I honestly don’t see Smooth Jazz coming back very soon. While it had popularity here, Jammin Oldies is pickin it up much better. It seems to me that Oldies is the answer to the entrance to Pittsburgh’s heart. I have no idea why, but perhaps because many of the oldies groups are still around (Johnny Angel and the Halos, The Vogues, etc). Smooth Jazz MIGHT work on 92.9 or even 96.1. I don’t look for Wish to change or Star 100.7 to do anything again soon. As for WQED, apparently there is a rule somewhere in the FCC guidelines that requires cable companies to carry all public TV stations whether simulcasting or not. (At least that’s what QED says.) I personally feel that the WQED/X is not serving in the public interest in this case. AAAAAAAAAND since the Christians have been told afterall that their programming could fit FCC guidelines on Public TV, then why don’t they go ahead with the deal and let Pax in on 40? I haven’t heard about the Sesame St. situation although I wouldn’t be surprised. 3-2-1 Contact and The Electric Company were other Children’s Television Workshop shows that are no longer on. But to loose Sesame St?! Wow…. WAMO’s stick right off I-79 exit 22 (Wexford) was probably denied because of a number of towers there already. They are right behind the King’s and the Econolodge that are there. Why it was refused, I do not know for sure.

From the July 8 edition of the Altoona Mirror. . . . Cox Broadcasting has purchased WJAC-TV-6, Johnstown, from Sunrise Television Corp. Cox also bought WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio. They already own WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh. This means Cox now owns three NBC affiliates in western PA and eastern OH. John A. Howell, III, vice president and general manager of WPXI will manage all three. . . . July 8, 2000

What 11 did to Dennis Bowman was wrong. I admire for him not getting angry and being a gentleman about it. He is a great weather forecaster and any station would be lucky to have him on their staff. First at Five won’t be the same now. If by chance Mr. Bowman reads this message, I wish you lots of luck. You are one of the best! I won’t watch WPXI anymore, I’d rather watch WTAE-TV or my local stations (WBOY and WDTV). J. Fox; July 8, 2000

Eric’s Response: Here Here!

WFGI 94.5 State College is a simul-cast of WFGY Froggy 98.1 in Altoona. Their web site is www.froggyradio.com This and more Central PA Radio & TV at jeffmock.tripod.com/media.html Jeff Mock; July 7, 2000

Eric’s Response: Jeff has graciously allowed for me to use his site as a reference for PBRTV’s Johnstown/Altoona/State College page coming soon!

Though the stronger 99.1 in Ebensburg/Johnstown is going CHR and the weaker 92.1 is going mainstream rock, I’d rather have that than the “froggy” format go on either or both stations. Speaking of which, is there still a relay of one of Altoona’s “Froggy” stations in Centre County/State College region on 94.5? July 7, 2000

Eric, The FCC has dismissed WAMO-FM’s application to move their transmitter location closer to Pittsburgh. I’m guessing there were some first- or second-adjacency problems with their proposal. Dave Loudin; July 7, 2000

hey eric, just 2 let you and your fellow radio buffs across the tri-state know that there’s a new message board for Pittsburgh Radio at http://www.thetransmitter.net go to Pennsylvania and go to Pittsburgh Radio,where I happen to be the moderator under the name RadioWatcher. post freely and play nice….love to see a Tri-State contingent at the Transmitter cheers…dennard; July 6, 2000

Eric… Dame Broadcasting will be swapping the frequencies of its Johnstown market radio stations at the end of the month. WGLU “Power 92”, a CHR, will move to 99.1 as “Power 99”. The “Quick Rock” simulcast at 99.1 of the Active Rock format from State College will come to an end. A new local rock station to be called “The Rock” will debut at 92.1. Probably a more mainstream rock format. The 99.1 is a 50kw stick licensed to Ebensburg, north of Johnstown. 92.1 is a class A licensed to Johnstown. I suppose they’re putting the most mass appeal format (CHR) on the biggest signal. July 4, 2000

Eric’s Response: Coming soon to our up and coming Johnstown/Altoona/State College page.

just letting you know- 1019 the beat in youngstown moved to 95.9 the beat on 7/1 channel 96 is no longer broadcasting. 102 jams is on1019 and is a mix of r&b hits and oldies 102 i.d. at the hour still says “wbtj hubbard youngstown” and 95.9 says “wtnx sharpsville youngstown” July 2, 2000

Eric’s Response: Coming soon to our Youngstown/Mercer page.

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