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March 2000

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

Dear Eric….As a brand new “on-liner” and one interested in local radio and TV happenings, I was thrilled to find your “site” just this evening. Your radio coverage is remarkable, but – unless I’m still too new to web-site finding, I missed local TV news, especially in regards to local personalitiy profiles,news,comings/goings. For historical reasons, I’m particularly interested in WTAE-TV and the news team members. Heard a rumor this week that Melanie Shaffer is the latest of this rather “youngster” news panel to seek greener pasture. Also noticed (having been away to care for a grandchild recently) that other familiar faces are no longer on the screen, notably Christine Arangio and Wendy Bell. Is there a site (WTAE-TV’s own “personality page” either does not list them or makes no undated information available about them. Perhaps you could recommended a site for current information? Are there certain times of the calendar year when you or a colleague concentrate of local TV personalities and local formatting? Would like to add my name to the list of those wishing WJAS-AM would either boost their power or – at the least – keep it consistent, especially during the “drive home” hours when my FAV, Jack Bogut, is at the wheel. Gosh, how I miss that man on FM where his brilliance and personality made radio worth listening to. Will read you weekly (nightly, when I’m around) for a response. Nancy; March 31, 2000

some random acts of actual thinking…. does anyone think that Mix 96.1 is feeling giddy over their 2.4-2.1 second half beating of The New Point 100.7? Could the fight for Hot AC listeners (Mix and New Point) be sapping listeners away from Wish and Lite-FM? It’s possible…. As much as I would love to hear Jim Rome back in Pittsburgh,970 shouldn’t be a ESPN Radio clone…go Hot Talk if you want to differ yourself from the FM. Closet fave-Classic Hits 104,which is what the Old Point could have been… and for all,who insist that WTOV-9 will move closer to Pittsburgh,let the record show that the antenna site in Burgettstown,near the PG Pavillion (Star Lake) will be the site for their digital TV broadcasts on Channel 57,which means the lptv station,which simulcasts WBGN-TV will move to another slot. the site will cover the same area that WTOV’s current analog site (Steubenville) covers. so please,put it to rest. Many TV stations have their towers in one area and their proposed DTV towers in another,which will allow them to cover roughly the same area with DTV sets. for those who insist that ESPN Radio 1250’s numbers bite because they’re near the bottom. It should be pointed out that sports radio isn’t meant to target women generally and the station fares well with men,in fact in certain demos,they give KDKA’s sports show fits. Sports radio is not supposed to attract women generally,but they make money generally. foor for thought….Dennard Summers; March 31, 2000

Eric, You wrote, or should I say, mused: <> Why should you? Doug Hoerth’s Oldies Show. Every Sunday evening/night starting at 6 p.m.. Best oldies show in the area, bar none. Take care, Tom K; March 31, 2000

Eric’s Response: AH, but when most of the day I can receive WJAS pretty well, why would I want to hear them in 30 second lag over my phone line?

Hello, Just a few notes on the topic of SCA’s. Lafayette Radio (this was a Radio Shack type chain out of New Jersey which lasted until the mid 70’s) used to sell an AM/FM tuner which had an SCA position on the mode selector on the front panel. A friend of mine had one of these tuners; however, when you pushed the SCA button, the output went dead. My curiosity got the better of me, so I popped the cover to investigate. With a little snooping, I found that the audio output became grounded when the switch was in the SCA position. I also noticed a jumper wire on the switch terminals which was obviously put there as an afterthought. A few seconds with the soldering iron removed the jumper and the SCA audio appeared. I am not sure whether Lafayette sold this tuner with the SCA switch active, then got a lot of flak from the paying customers and disabled it. I’d be curious if anyone out there knows the history. This was around the Washington, DC area. There were several background music services (i.e. Musak, and I believe Musicast was the other one), The Washington Ear (a newspaper and book reading service for the blind) and a few other things. I noticed rather soon that the background music was good for only that. IMHO it is very painful to just sit and listen to; the dynamic range is zero db, and the instrumentation is lousy, i.e., it’s meant to be unobtrusive, and it is. One other use for the SCA: I’ve seen it used to send transmitter parameters from a remote transmitter location to the studio. If I remember correctly, WWMD in Hagerstown, MD used to do this (and probably still does) to monitor their mountain top transmitter from the AM transmitter location in town. Keep up the great site. Howard; March 30, 2000

The SCA for 97.9 in Fairmont WV did carry background music around 1980-1983. It, at the time, was WFGM and played “Beautiful Music” and was known as “Stereo 98”. It later became “The Great 98” doing Top 40/CHR, and is now WKKW with a country format. It was never WFGY or Froggy. Scott; March 29, 2000

Fairmont, WV’s 97.9 was never “Froggy WFGY.” Before becoming WKKW and country, it was WFGM and played top 40. WFGM stands for We’re Fairmont’s Good Music and was around for about 20 years before switching to WKKW. March 29, 2000

Dear Eric: By my research, Art is correct. FM’s growth after World War II was stifled when the FCC moved all FM stations from 42 to 50 mHz up to 88-108 mHz. Supposedly they were under political pressure from RCA, but the official reason was to limit TV interference. The band-shift obsoleted the existing radios and transmitters and scared many potential FM users away. The necessity for FM was not immediately apparent. It offered high fidelity, sure, but network programs were distributed over low-fi long-distance telephone circuits or on “transcription” discs. In addition, FM radios were electrically complex and difficult to tune in those days. To promote FM, some AM stations were required by the FCC to take FM licenses and they used them for simulcasting. Other AM stations took FM licenses for what were sarcastically known as “letterhead stations” — they wanted the prestige of saying “WXXX AM and FM.” Before multiplex FM stereo was developed, some experimental stereo broadcasts were done with the right channel on one band and the left channel on the other band. Listeners needed two radios, or a specialized tuner that allowed two different stations to be tuned simultaneously. When the FCC then required AM stations to program FM stations separately for 12 hours per day, half-hearted attempts were made. One story is told of a network official who visited a large AM station in the South and saw a stack of LPs on an automatic record changer on the general manager’s desk. “That’s the automation for our FM station,” he was told. KQV’s FM affiliate, 102.5, simulcast the AM until the early 1970s, when it became WDVE. The letters stood for “Dove” — like groovy, peace, love and understanding, man. Album rock and the invention of high-quality receivers finally made the FM stations take off. “Cousin Brucie” Morrow wrote about FM’s early days in his book, I think. John Mehno’s story in the Trib about KQV had information as well. Point Park College’s library also has some great information. Hope this helps! Jason Togyer Tribune-Review; March 29, 2000

Eric, I’m not that much of an old-timer, I was 4 years old in 1956. I suspect that KDKA-FM was being signed on at 4pm every day so that they could keep the license active. In 1956, about all they would be accomplishing is the waste of a lot of electricity, given the virtually total absence of FM receivers in those days. Of course they were simulcasting the AM full time on the FM, which would explain why they ID’ed the FM over the AM. I recall that they used to identify themselves “KDKA, AM and 50,000 watts FM, Pittsburgh”. I didn’t have much of an idea what FM was. We didn’t even own an FM radio til the early sixties, when my father won an AM/FM table radio as a door prize at his bowling league banquet. When I worked there in 1973, the FM was playing “beautiful music during the daytime, and classical in the evenings, all non-commercial. We had an automation system that ran the whole show. However, at 8AM, noon, and 5 pm, the automation switched over to live source, and simulcast those news segments. The announcers always had to remember to ID both stations at those times. We also had to remember to shut off the silence-sensor on the automation, because if Ed Schaughency or Bill Steinbach paused for more than 5 seconds, which they sometimes did, Otto would “dump out” of the newscast and go back to tapes! Regarding the SCA operation, in 1973, KDKA was distributing Pirate Baseball over the FM SCA. On game days, we would indeed sign on the SCA early, and feed AM programming to the “network”. We didn’t have control of the FM transmitter from Radio master control, it was operated locally from the Channel 2 site, where the FM was co-located. This also explains why the FM didn’t run 24 hours; there wasn’t anyone staffing the TV site after 1 or 2 AM when TV signed off. I think we had to call them to tell them to turn on the SCA when it was time. Once the SCA was up, we would play a cart identifying the subcarrier, and then just feed program. The “Pirates Baseball Network” of those days was pretty shaky the further away you got from Pittsburgh. I remember visiting WVCC in Linesville PA when I was in college in Meadville, and they had built a huge rhombic antenna in the back yard of their station to pull in KDKA-FM better. Seems they had problems keeping the main and SCA channels separate during the ball games. At 100 miles distance from the Ivory Avenue site of KDKA-FM, it was a tough pull to receive a usable signal there. Their other choice was to re-broadcast other affiliate’s signals (I think their backup was to use a signal from an AM station in Mercer or Greenville). The network stretched all the way into Canada, using the bucket-brigade method of stations re-transmitting received signals from closer affiliates. There was lots of bitching when some local jock would “step on” the network feed down the line, interrupting with a local ID or break. Part of the reason FM station program directors don’t like SCA on their signal is the perception that it robs their signal of a certain percentage of the total modulation, thus decreasing coverage area. This was true before the rules were changed to allow higher modulation for stations that had one or two SCA’s riding on their FM Carrier, however, the negative effect on a station’s signal is much less than those PD’s often perceived. I think you now can modulate 110% with one SCA, and 115% with two. Of course, as any radio engineer will tell you, what hurts FM reception most is the composite stereo method of transmission. A mono FM signal can be received over a much larger area than the equivalent stereo signal. Art; March 28, 2000

Dear Eric: I saw a recent mailbag posting of yours from Art, an engineer with KDKA in 1973. This brought something to mind that I have wondered about for many years, and it would take an old timer to be able to answer my question. Whether he goes back far enough or not, I can’t say, but if you post something about this, maybe he or someone will be able to answer. Anyway, back in 1956 (I could be one year off either way), I used to listen to the big 1020, KDKA, and at about 4 pm (I could be off a few hours), I would hear them make an announcement on the AM station to the effect that KDKA-FM was signing on at a frequency of… . I was just a kid of single digit age back then and didn’t know that a megacycle was merely 1000 kilocycles (this was in the days before the elite decided we should express frequency in Hertz), but I did know that FM was on megacycles while AM was on kilocycles because I saw a radio dial. What has been puzzling me all these years since then is that I thought they gave the FM frequency as a low number of kilocycles. I forget the number but wonder if it might not be 67. This of course is a common SCA subcarrier frequency. If this “sign-on” announcement was actually to indicate that simulcasting on FM SCA was beginning, I wonder why it was made over the AM station? If anyone remembers this bit of history, I’d appreciate knowing what was going on back then. I didn’t have a working FM radio at the time to be able to tune in to hear what was being aired, either simulcast KDKA AM or “Fine Music at 92.9 Megacycles” if indeed they used to broadcast this back in ’56 – I know they did a decade or so later. While I’m on the subject of SCA, some years later after having acquired a lot of electronics knowledge, I built a couple of SCA adapters from scratch and heard SCA sign-on and sign-off announcements just on the subcarrier of KDKA-FM to the effect of “This is the 67 kilocycle subchannel at KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. We now start duplicating KDKA AM programs.” SCA, which stood for Subsidiary Communications Authorization but is now called Subsidiary Communications Services since the FCC no longer requires that stations be authorized to broadcast subcarriers, was something that fascinated me from the time I learned of its existence. Because some of the powers that be wanted to keep SCA a “private” service, one couldn’t just go to their local radio store and buy an SCA equipped FM receiver. So if you wanted to eavesdrop on this largely unknown broadcast medium, you either had to hit the classified ads of electronics magazines where you could sometimes find some SCA adapters, either in kit or completed form (you still had to know how to connect it to an FM radio), or have the know-how to build one from scratch. Or be able to follow construction plans since on rare occasion, an electronics magazine would publish plans on how to build one. Another option that eventually came to be is that “FM Atlas” publisher Bruce Elving began selling radios with SCA adapters installed. I hadn’t tuned in to any SCA in years but I did scan the dial just before writing this and was disappointed at the lack of activity. All I heard was the Radio Information Service on WDUQ, vocal rock background music on WQED (a 92 kHz subcarrier), an unmodulated subcarrier on Morgantown’s 101.9 WVAQ, possibly data or remote control tones on WYEP, WOGG, and WORD, and the SAP (78.67 kHz subcarrier) talking book service on WJAC- TV’s aural carrier (most FM radios should be able to receive the sound of Channel 6 as it is just below the bottom of the FM dial at 87.75). By the way, SAP equipped TV receivers and VCRs can be easily bought, unlike FM SCA receivers. There used to be a lot more SCA activity in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. Some history: Up until a few years ago, WBZZ carried the Muzak background music service on a 67 kHz SCA. I built the SCA adapter I use now before the 92 kHz frequency was allowed by the FCC so I didn’t provide a means to tune it. But it will lock on to other frequencies if only one SCA is present and the main channel isn’t modulated too heavily. This can’t be said of WBZZ and most other stations because they slam their modulation to the limit and beyond. Thus, I can’t say if they have moved Muzak to 92 kHz or if they’re even still running SCA. Speaking of background music services, there used to be three in town years before WQED-FM’s offering. In addition to Muzak, which was carried on WWSW-FM at the time, (all SCAs mentioned were at 67 kHz unless otherwise noted), there was the WKJF Fine Music Service (the station is now WBZZ) and Merchant’s Broadcasting System on WAMO-FM. Before WAMO went stereo, they ran two, maybe three, SCAs. Between some songs, “in- store” type commercials for the Foodland chain could be heard on the 67 kHz SCA while the 41 kHz SCA was quiet; the music was the same on both SCAs (you can’t run 41 kHz SCA while broadcasting stereo because the stereo information occupies the spectrum between 23 and 53 kHz). There were Yellow Pages listings under Music – Background for all of these services and eventually Muzak bought out the other two and for a time simulcast their service on all 3 of these stations before consolidating on WBZZ. Those TV-like antennas you see on the roofs of some businesses such as fast food restaurants are used to pick up the SCA background music that they subscribe to. The Pirates Baseball Network used to be distributed via the SCA on what used to be KDKA-FM. When the station was sold, they had an agreement that “The Point” WPNT (now WLTJ) would continue to provide the subcarrier for some years after. They’ve now gone to satellite distribution. KDKA- FM used to sign off at midnight but when a West Coast game went until 1 am or later, they kept the station on with a main channel simulcast of the AM station game until it was over. This was to keep the network feed up. It was illegal to run SCA without programming the main channel back then. By the way, it was a pleasure to listen to the games on SCA because they didn’t compress the audio much if at all on it and the crowd noise was at a pleasant just perceptible level and not pumped up to an annoying 100% modulation level like stations like to do. It almost sounded like you were in the broadcast booth. They would turn the SCA on a few hours before the game during which time you could listen to the KDKA AM program with a higher degree of fidelity than could be achieved on AM. This was to give network stations a chance to check reception. Later, they seemed to run the SCA full time, perhaps to satisfy network stations who wanted to check their equipment at times other than just before a game. There used to be a Physicians’ Radio Network on WDSY. Programming was often a tape which seemed to repeat hourly. Here, you could hear commercials directed at doctors to the effect of “if your patient is suffering from _____, prescribe ______ (the sponsor’s drug).” Going a bit out of town, for a few years, Greensburg’s 107.1, then WOKU, carried another talking books for the blind service (independent of the one on WDUQ). When the service wasn’t “on the air”, they simulcast the main channel on the SCA. I told someone there that they ought to carry WHJB AM but the suggestion wasn’t taken. After all, this was “private” and not intended to provide a higher fidelity outlet for the AM station. Johnstown’s WJAC-FM (now WKYE, 95.5) used to have an SCA background music service. I may have a tape I recorded of their SCA sign off message which aired about the same time that the main channel was also signing off at 1:00 am or so. Wheeling’s WKWK-FM at 97.3 carried Muzak and at night on the main channel ran a lot of commercials for Muzak, saying it was so easy that all you do is just turn it on. Such a description would fit an SCA service as opposed to tape where the tapes would occasionally need attention. The memory is a little clouded but I think the Fairmont, W. Va. station on 97.9 (I forget the call letters at the time – for a while they were “Froggy” WFGY!) may have had an SCA background music service, maybe even picking up the music off of a Pittsburgh station – I seem to recall hearing the same songs at the same time when comparing stations. Altoona’s then WFBG-FM at 98.1 may also have had SCA background music. Earlier I mentioned SCA on Morgantown’s WVAQ. They did a network feed for West Virginia University and perhaps other local sports broadcasts. Like KDKA, they would have it on before the game simulcasting AM sister WAJR. This gave me the opportunity to hear a little of this station – I couldn’t hope to receive the AM at the distance involved. Well, you said you wanted e-mail so this is my first message to you and I managed to say quite a lot about a subject I’m interested in. Personally, I think it is a shame that SCA has been denied to the general public. Think of the possibilities: that local high school girl’s mud wrestling match which only a handful of people are interested in could be broadcast on SCA rather than interrupting the station’s regular music programming. Talk shows, which don’t require the full fidelity of FM but which suffer from all of the static, fading, noise, and interference typical of AM radio could be delivered to the public via a higher fidelity medium than AM and also cover a wider local area (see the comment on WVAQ-WAJR above). The same goes for anything else on AM – it could be simulcast on FM SCA. SCA can have even higher fidelity than it does now by using a 76 kHz subcarrier with dbx companding (as is done with TV SAP). March 28, 2000

Eric’s Response: First off, are there any “old timers” who can answer the question about KDKA? Secondly, I find this SCA very interesting. It is what we who volunteer at Radio Information Service can be heard on. RIS has their own receivers to pick up that signal. I’d like to hear more about SCA if anyone has more info!

Eric, The ability of WTOV to move their Transmitter Location to Washington County is not a “loophole.” For the person who was wondering about this last, the basic principle is a broadcast station (TV, AM, or FM) must provide a certain signal strength (spelled out in the regs.) over the city of license. Licensed stations must also not exceed signal limits towards other stations on the same frequency and adjacent frequencies. These two prime criteria define the region of possible transmitter locations. Since electromagnetic waves don’t pay attention to political boundaries, it does not matter technically what jurisdiction the transmitter is in. The final decision on where to site a transmitter has always depended on maximizing the coverage to the desired audience and minimizing the cost to operate, maintain, and feed programming to it. Stations that have been around a long time now find that the audience has moved and the regulatory (e.g. unattended operations) and technical environment has changed. This has made more distant TL sites feasible. Regards, Dave; March 27, 2000

Eric…FYI, WPQR (99.3) is in the news again. The FCC has fined WPQR a total of $20,000 for two violations. First, for not having EAS equipment installed, and for not having their tower registered. With the ongoing dispute over their transmitter, I don’t know if they own their tower or not. Either way, a $20K fine will make it that much more unlikely that they’ll get back on the air anytime soon. The FCC is really going after stations for EAS violations. March 26, 2000

Hi Eric: I was born and raised in McKeesport, actually Port Vue and am living in Falls Church, VA. now. How can I sign up to receive regular up dates on Pittsburgh radio and TV??? Do you have an E-Mail list???? Thanks…..super information !!!!!!!!!!!!! DOUG; March 26, 2000

Eric’s Response: Hi Doug, and welcome. I do not have a mail list. All you have to do right now is visit the page as much as possible. I usually update on the index page where the hotline is. I am glad to know that you enjoy the site! It’s ironic but my page is a spin off of DCRTV which covers DC/Baltimore radio…right in your current back yard!

Eric, In your mailbox section, there was a letter from someone that said something about a WOGH. 103.5 is now WOGE, not WOGH. Was this just an accident, or will those be the new call letters for 104.3, when they simulcast 103.5, or is this some station that Im not familiar with? Geoff March 26, 2000

Eric’s Response: Yes, 103.5 is officially WOGH. According to FCC files as well. I was just as surprised, but it’s true.

pbrtv, i have a couple of comments & questions for ya’. why dont u include WANB 1580 AM/ 103.1 FM in waynesburg,PA. isn’t greene county a part of the greater pittsburgh area? and about 103.5 fm WRKY/WOGE/WOGH,they have been playing country music since late 94′ or early 95′, so i am curiocs as to why r u making it seem like it recently changed country when it went froggy. they do have a web site, that is under re~construction. http://www.wrky.com i know it still says wrky, but it is still their “official” site. and about 100.5 WOMP, they will not be sporting green like 103.5 after all, a call to the station and an e mail assured me that. also if wtov-tv 9 moves its b.t to burgettstown or somewhere near, would’nt they have to change their “city of liscence” too, please clarify that for me,i dont know as much about TV as i do about radio. thanks, b.a. March 25, 2000

Eric’s Response: Well, considering the fact that WANB doesn’t make it up to where I am is probably the reason I don’t have it listed. Most of the stations included in PBRTV were listed in the Post-Gazette at one point…WANB didn’t seem to be one of them. WRKY’s format change was truly a format change. Whether or not they played country before, they didn’t have the Froggy format. With it being somewhat of a dispute, we covered the WRKY switch because of the two sisters that recently started hopping. Now we have WOGG, WOGI and WOGH! I think there was also some dispute in the past over the WTOV tower moving into PA. If I recall, there is some sort of loophole that would allow them to keep the same C. O. L. Look at all the stations in Washington D.C. where the towers are outside the District yet licensed to Washington.

Eric: I have heard your pleas for help. 🙂 If everyone isn’t sick of the WCVI rumors yet, I drove to Connellsville = last week and interviewed Jim Kenney for my Mar. 18 column. We also had = a story about KDKA radio’s recent outage. It appeared in the Mar. 17 = paper, I think. The stories never made it to the Web site because the entertainment desk = web maintainer was on vacation. The WCVI column is attached to this = message as wcvi.txt. Feel free to excerpt from it (with credit to = Tribune-Review, of course!) The KDKA outage, during Mike Pintek’s interview with Pat Buchanan on = Mar. 15, apparently caused people to flood the switchboard with = complaints that the station was censoring Pat’s comments! I was assured by KDKA’s chief engineer that the problem was in a final = output tube in one of two transmitters at the station’s Allison Park = site. The station switched to the other transmitter after ensuring that = nothing was wrong with the tower circuit. The station was off the air = for only a few minutes. Keep up the good work, Jason Togyer/Trib-Review; March 24, 2000

Eric’s Response: As soon as I have read through the article, I will post excerpts in the next Eric’s Musings due to appear this weekend.

For those of you who need to know, the 98.5 Glenshaw translator WAS originally issued to the 98.7 frequency until WOVK complained. It was on that frequency for a week to a week and half…tops. Want a never issued bumper sticker to prove it? Scott; March 23, 2000

Dear PBRTV, Jack Bogut Art Pallan Terry McGovern Ed & Wendy King Clark Race Little Jim Horn great photos, vito; March 15, 2000

Hi Eric, I remember well those color photos of the KDKA personalities from 1969. They were “baseball cards” of the air talent, issued after KDKA and Arby’s had produced similar cards of the Pirates and Steelers. A different one was available each week at Arby’s or via mail. From left to right: Jack Bogut, Art Pallan and Terry McGovern in the top row. Then it’s Ed and Wendy King, Clark Race and Jim Horne (with his then-wife). Where are they now? Bogut is doing afternoons at WJAS, Pallan is retired to Fort Myers, Fla. and McGovern lives in northern California, acting, doing voiceovers and teaching both of those crafts. Wendy King still lives in the area. Ed died in 1971. Race died last summer and Horne is an actor in New York and also active in AFTRA administration there. That colorful jacket Race is wearing is made of paper. That was supposedly going to be a big trend at the time — paper clothing — and he’s modeling the jacket in Gateway Center. The photos were all shot in Gateway Center with the exception of the Kings, who were photographed on their porch. Terry McGovern, by the way, is one of the most underrated talents to ever work in Pittsburgh radio. He started on KDKA’s overnight show at the age of 20 in 1965 and later moved to middays. He was influenced greatly by Rege Cordic and did some Cordic-styled humor. He also did a weekend TV show for Channel 2. He left for San Francisco in 1969 and has split his time between there and Los Angeles since then. He was in several movies and TV shows. “American Graffiti” is one of his movie credits — he’s the dance chaperone. John Mehno; March 15, 2000

In response to prior email to which Eric responded. Eric: Well, I wasn’t guessing on three of them. I was an engineer at KDKA in the summer of 1973 (during the strike), and worked with Jack Bogut and Art Pallan. The photo of Wendy and Ed King was published last week in the Tribune-Review online, and the Clark Race photo was an educated guess. I suspect that one of the other two photos is of Jim Horn, but don’t know. When I worked there, the lineup was Jack Bogut, Art Pallan, Joel Zelle, Mike Levine (I think) John Cigna, Perry Marshall. I never worked evenings or overnights during those two months, so I am not absolutely positive who was on late then. I really enjoy reading your site and keeping up with my old home town! Regards, Art; March 15, 2000

Eric: Thanks for posting my January 18, 2000 message inquiring about Roy Fox. I was and still am, from afar, a KDKA listener (but I now tune-in WBZ, Boston, 1030 AM with David Broudnoy, for evening AM radio listening). Back in 1969 I sent for the photos of the KDKA line-up. Attached is a file of the six on-air personalities. As always, thanks for your excellent site of past and present Pittsburgh radio. Frank; March 14, 2000

Eric’s note: The pictures appear on our Photo Gallery page how many of these zany personalities can you name? Email me with your answer!

An “apology” from the Tribune-Review’s Jason Togyer. To all of those employees of WPHH-FM whom I unwittingly (and unwillingly) transferred to CBS on Saturday, I apologize. You don’t work for Mel the K, of course. It’s called acute lapsis cutanpastitis, caused when a writer, eager to head home on Friday afternoon, moves text from place to place in a slapdash fashion. A correction is scheduled to run in Tuesday’s paper (March 14). Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Jason Togyer, Tribune-Review; March 13, 2000

Eric, The FCC’s Audio Services Division has some very nice explanations on FM Station regulation at http://www.fcc.gov/mmb/asd/main/fm.html . Explore the links off that page to get a better understanding of what the protection standards are and how translators/boosters fit in. In support of some sort of coverage study, the FCC calculated the predicted contour for all licensed and proposed FM stations *taking terrain effects into account* in 1998 and plotted them. They have saved those plots at http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Databases/mmb/fmdb/index. When looking at the plots, remember that the *protected* contour is shown, which means that the station should be free from interference inside the line. Pretty decent reception is possible outside of that contour, but there is no protection against interference at that point. Regards, Dave; March 13, 2000

wouldnt it be illeagal for 98.5 to move to 98.7?there is already a station in wheeling,wv with 98.7 as a dial position(wovk). March 12, 2000

Eric’s Response: Actually no. 98.5 is a rather small signal not well reached that far out of the North Hills…in fact some parts of the North Hills don’t even get it! Another instance that this could relate to is 97.7. In Butler there is WLER and then another station Southeast of Pittsburgh on 97.7 (which one I don’t recall right now). It’s possible. It just depends on the strength of your signal.

The service on 98.5 in Glenshaw is a translator (FX), not a full-service FM station, and the cp to move is shown on the close-in map. [NOTE: you can tell the difference on the map by looking at the call sign. Translators always have the channel number in their call.] I don’t know what rights they have for protection, but it can’t be much. I would also assume the petition to reallocate 98.3 to Duquesne does not depend on the status of that translator one bit. Dave; March 10, 2000

Eric’s Response: Well actually this is more of a “thank-you”, but This is from our Mapmaker, Dave Loudin. “Mapmaker Mapmaker makes us some maps…”


Does Phil Z. know when this is taking place, and who is financing the move from 98.5 to 98.7? I’d be curious to know. Greg; March 9, 2000


Eric’s Response: Well we can’t be perfect all the time!

in responce to greg mcatee 3-2-2000 the glenshaw station on 98.5 is moving to 98.7 so their is room for 98.3 thank-you phil z; March 8, 2000

hey pbrtv i cant seem to get the right story on this froggy/forever thing.one site tells me something and another tells me soemthing else….. BA p.s. you are probaly right all the time anyway,and all the times i have checked ur info seems to be true….March 6, 2000

Eric’s Response: I like to think that I am right all the time. Chances are there are times when even PBRTV has a few errors!

Eric, I’d like to thank Dave Loudin for the excellent map of Western PA broadcast transmitters and applications. Is there any possibility of Dave doing one for Johnstown, Altoona and State College? I’d also like to see more info on these markets as well. March 5, 2000

Eric’s Response: More than likely that will happen when we get listings for stations in those areas. It’s kind of ridiculous to have the maps and not the listings. As I stated here in the mailbag, it will be worked on sometime this year, but when I am not sure.

Eric, I heard that you will soon be expanding PBRTV to include Johnstown/Altoona and Erie TV and Radio information. When is this going to happen, roughly? March 4, 2000

Eric’s Response: It will happen sometime in 2000. That’s all I can say for now. Fear not though…it will get done!

Eric, The coordinates on the request to change the allotment of 98.3 from Charleroi to Duquesne are within one second of the coordinates for WEDO’s antenna site along Naysmith Rd. in East McKeesport, so I would guess that’s the target “stick” in this case. By the way, WEDO has an application to move it’s transmitter location to a site closer to Mahaffy Rd. in the same area (the WEDO sites are shown on the close-in transmitter location map). Regards, Dave Loudin; March 2, 2000

Allow me this thought on the “plague of Frogs…” In regard to your one writer’s observation regarding moving the former WZKT’s stick to Duquesne and not closer to Pittsburgh (like Wall), FCC regulations prohibit a station from locating closer than 2 adjacencies away from another frequency. Hence since 98.5 in Glenshaw already covers the North Hills and sections of the City (Lawrenceville and the like), 98.3 would not be allowed to move closer for interference reasons. Perhaps they could buy this license as well to get a better coverage of the City and the eastern section of the North Hills. Buying WLER-FM would give them a better reach in Butler and Cranberry. Your observation about WRKY’s signal is correct. I could get them loud and clear in the North Hills for years. Finally, in regards to CTV renting out bays on their tower, If I was Stanley Wall, or any of the executives at the Frog, I would be flooding the switchboards at Channel 40 to seek an opportunity to locate their. For CTV, this could be a great opportunity to recoup the $17 million they walked away from in the Paxson/WQED deal when it went south and counted on for their new digital equipment and tower they purchased (are any of my Cornerstone friends listening?). Those are my thoughts, any response? Greg McAtee; March 2, 2000

Do you have any idea how long it will be before WTOV-TV 9 starts broadcasting from their new tower site? I can’t watch Channel 9 where I live and I hope that this new site will enable me to be able to do so. Thanks!; March 1, 2000

Eric’s Response: I am not sure at all. Anyone out there know?