↑ Return to 2001 – 2003

April 2001

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

eric, jim snyder hired my father, al, at kdka in 1955…and my father missed his first day of work at kd becoz of MY birth! he was supposed to start 10/17/55, but i screwed things up by being born! my mother went down to d.c. last weekend for the funeral…she has stayed in close contact with jim and “boots”(jim’s wife) for years and years…the last time i saw jim snyder was at my father’s funeral in 1994…i remember afterwards telling him how nervous i was doing my father’s eulogy and he said to me, “i’m pretty sure the whole room was on your side!” a great man and a great guy…sean mcdowell (April 30, 2001)

Eric: I just heard yesterday of the sale of my old station, 1080 am (WWNL-AM) being sold to an interest from South Carolina. Initial word is that the Contemporary Christian Music format will be dropped, and that the station sold for $900K (making it pretty much a financial wash for Mr. Mortensen and co.). Anyone with details or a yea or nay? Appreciate the help. Blessings, Greg McAtee (April 29, 2001)

I am writing from Lisbon Ohio 55 Miles west of Pittsbrugh Pa. I am in the Youngstown Ohio Market! I can pick up WBZZ 93.7 WKST 96.1 WSHH 99.7, WXDX 105.9,WAMO 106.7 and WDSY 107.9. Froggy 94.9/98.3 are hard to pick in this area. Maybe when WOGI moves to Pittsburgh I might be able to pick it up. Has anyone heard about WOGH 103.5 moving closer to the Pittsburgh Market? I would listen to Froggy 103.5 if they move their tower to Pittsburgh I probably won’t be able to get it. I guess we will have to wait! 98.7 WOVK is hard to here because of WMXY 98.9 in Youngstown Ohio. Their power isn’t much I guess there Transmitter must be high. Also why doesn’t have a another country station. I think WZPT 100.7 FM should be country. Froggy 94.9 is simluscast off of 98.3 and that isn’t a good way to get ratings. Maybe Pittsburgh will change!!! (April 27, 2001)

Eric’s Response: You might recall that 100.7 was country in the early 1990’s when it was known as K-Bear. That station failed because Country Powerhouse WDSY had also owned 104.7 which was WXRB – The Rebel. They beat K-Bear out very quickly and the pressure caused K-Bear to switch formats to all 70’s. (Soon after 104.7 became WNRQ – Alternative.) Ironically enough WZPT and WDSY are sisters now. Actually Froggy on 98.3 is a simulcast of 94.9 and it’s a fine way to get ratings for those stations. They are lower power and serve different portions of the southern part of the Pittsburgh Market. If 98.3 ultimately ends up moving to Pittsburgh (actually Duquesne) then there might be SOME competition for WDSY, but somehow I think WDSY will still have more of an audience. I have also heard of 103.5’s supposed move. However I think the rumor behind that is more so to market the station to Washington County with the pending move of 98.3 to Pittsburgh.

Eric, Was it me that told you Ch35 was in Westmoreland? If so, I apologize. As you remember, information was sketchy then. I have figured it out for sure though, upon contacting the technical director of WONT-LP, that they are in Allegheny County, Channel 62 is the STL, and their transmitter is located on WQED’s tower, in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh (then again, what isn’t on wqed’s tower nowadays??). I apologize for any previous sketchy information. Take Care and “73” –Josh (April 23, 2001)

Eric Please pass on to your Readers. Jim Synder who grew up in Greenfield attending Duquesne University,A news writter with KDKA Radio in the 1940’s, KDKA News Director 1954 to 1959 Leaving to Manage the Westinghouse News Bureau in Washington D.C.,Then on to V.P. of Post Newsweek TV Stations, passed away on April,19,2001. Thank You. Phil (April 23, 2001)

Eric, The Pittsburgh station Don Bombard worked at was WKTQ (13Q). He started the Sunday night oldies show, playing Pittsburgh tracks with the help of Dave Goodrich, the doctor of rock and roll. He did an LP recreating the Sunday night show. He went to New York and did fill-ins at two different stations: he was Don Bombard on one, Bob Shannon on the other. He got hired full-time at oldies WCBS-FM and legally changed his name to Bob Shannon. He’s the afternoon drive personality on CBS-FM. His website downsized and merged with another but can still be accessed at: www.bobshannon.com. VS (April 19, 2001)

Gil Lucas…now, that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time! We used to raise a little heck many years ago. Paul (April 19, 2001)

Your listing for channel 35 says that the Eastland Mall studio is in Westmoreland county. It is in N. Versailles in Allegheny county. gary stewart (April 18, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I knew N. Versailles was in Allegheny, but someone once told me that Channel 35 was in Westmoreland! DOH!

Just found your “Where are they Links.” Great and interesting. I was in the business way back . Helped put WPGH-53 on the air. First Cable person to be elected President of PRTV Club and founder of KBL Sports Network. I am now retired and living in Florida. Gil Lucas (April 18, 2001)

It’s been a week that the “LITE” went to “LITE ROCK” any coments????? (April 18, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Mild changes. Note the slight change in some of the music. I heard “Life is a Highway” yesterday.

If you’ve been in broadcasting as long as I have, you’ll get a chuckle out of this web page: http://www.wvwa.com/ Enjoy! (April 17, 2001)

Scott Fybush’s Northeast Radio Watch website has a section on Pittsburgh radio. There are pictures of the WQED, WAMO/WXDX, and WJJJ/WZPT/WDSY towers. Also there is a small piece about the demolition of the old Conrad Garage. Check out http://world.std.com/~fybush/nerw.html#spcl –Steve C (April 17, 2001)

Ref TV stuff: So That’s why there is a dearth of ABC television stations around here. I live in Garrett County, Md. and don’t mind watching WTAE; however, when the Sporadic-E propagation occurs, the lower channels get obliterated. With CBS/KDKA, I can tune to Channel 10 in Altoona, but the only alternative I have with ABC is Channel 3 from Harrisonburg, Va which suffers the same problem. Which brings me to a question which someone may be able to answer: The current TV database shows Altoona’s channel 23 listed twice with the newer listing showing a significant increase (~6dB) in power and with the antenna’s main lobe pointed south instead of northwest. Is this happening, going to happen or what? It would be nice to have an ABC station which isn’t affected by Sporadic-E (if I can drag it in from 75 miles away). Thanks. (April 16, 2001)

Eric ~ I had read the e-mail from someone else in the Erie Market. He reffered to The New Kiss 106.9 from Lakewood, New York. I have picked it up where I live south of I-90. It wasn’t too bad for a 5k signal. They & the Forever “Kiss” stations @ 99.3 & 104.5 are adult leaning CHR stations playing the hits going back to the 80’s as well as today’s hits. Yes 99.3 when it was WFRA did use the same Satellite service as WREO 97.1 but since the format flip, 99.3 WOXX does simulcast with 104.5 WXXO (Formerly WAQM). As for Star 104, it had a killer signal dating back to the K-104 days. They used to pound everyone else in ratings, partly because of the 50,000 signal. That & the other Top 40 station was WJET 1400 which tried everything to compete with K-104 including going AM Stereo. It took Jet switching to 102.3 FM (Formerly WSEG & WMDI) to really gain an advantage over K-104. That & more formats coming into the market Like AC on FM & AOR commercially to attack that old warship. (Classic Rock was on WMCE 88.5 when they first signed on, filling the hole until Rocket debuted in ‘ 89.) Take Care & Hello to Pat Campbell shaking up the Ohio Valley from “The Burb of Burgh” Tom L. (April 16, 2001)

Eric, Pat Cloonan (who was at WNCC around the same time I was consulting WBXQ in Cresson) brings back some memories. I remember those short broadcast hours on WJNL-TV, probably rivalled only by the even shorter hours of WOPC-TV (channel 38) in Altoona, which was located with WHGM 103.9 Bellwood (now WALY) on top of Wopsononock Mountain. It’s amazing that these two stations survived on UHF in such hilly terrain, with two strong VHF signals (6 and 10) in the market. I suppose in a more perfect world, Channel 3 in Clearfield would have been the area’s ABC station if it had not been reserved for educational television. When Channel 8 was allocated to Johnstown, they sought the ABC affiliation, but faced objections from WTAE-TV, and ABC instead went to the Altoona UHF station (which had moved to Channel 23). WTAE has historically had a huge regional reach (east to Johnstown/Altoona, south to Weston/Clarksburg, and west to Wheeling/Steubenville) which they have fought hard to protect. Regards, Clarke. (April 14, 2001)

Following up on Clarke’s comments on WJNL … Toward the end of its tenure as a CBS affiliate, WJNL-TV only broadcast a few hours each evening, with a five-minute sign-off news capsule recorded at WJNL radio and run with a slide in front of the camera. If memory serves me correctly, that was more of a factor in CBS pulling the plug than any objections from WTAJ. (You may remember this was still an era when CBS might have up to three affiliates in an area, as it did in Harrisburg, York and Lebanon … with the Lebanon station at the time a sister station to WTAJ, by the way … or ABC up to two in an area, as it did in the Cleveland and San Francisco markets, with ABC also on stations in Akron and San Jose, respectively). As WNCC (my station 1976-82) exchanged news stories with WJNL, my voicers sometimes aired on that Channel 19 newscast. WJNL moved its offices and studios to its transmitter building on Cover Hill (the name is correct, the pronunciation by the way is COH-ver, not CUVVER as in “cover my [whatever part of the anatomy fits]”), after the 1977 Johnstown flood, which took out its downtown Johnstown facilities … Pat Cloonan. (April 13, 2001)

Eric, I was reading your mailbag archives – quite interesting. Most of the stuff I am going to mention is about Erie. WKZA in Warren has a pretty weak signal here in Eastern Erie County. I was in Corry last week and tried to pick it up on the scan. My car radio skipped it and got 104. Star 104’s 50,000 watts carries for quite a distance. Classy 100 is at the same power but they are directionally polarized. Their antenna is pointing toward downtown Erie. They also have a lower elevation and shorter tower. As for WFRA – they play the same music that WREO out of Ashtabula plays. FRA has their own morning show and so does REO. (April 13, 2001)

Eric, WJNL-TV was co-located with WJNL-AM 1490 (now WNTJ) and WJNL-FM 96.5 (now WMTZ) on a hill overlooking Johnstown (Cover Hill, I believe) where the studios and tower were located. I believe JNL was the owner’s initials. WJNL-TV was born as WARD-TV (channel 56) in the 1950’s. Their move to channel 19 and the WJNL call letters came in the 1970’s. I do not know the circumstances of WJNL-TV losing its network affiliation, but imagine it must have come after protests from WTAJ-TV 10 in Altoona. I also remember well the doomed WFAT (“Fatten Up Your TV Viewing” was the slogan); it must have been very difficult for an independent UHF to survive in such an economically challenged market as Johnstown was for much of the 1980’s. Here’s a little WJNL-TV history from the UHF section of my DuMont Television Network Web site: “In one of the most convoluted histories of any UHF station, WARD-TV (originally Johnstown’s ABC and CBS affiliate) moved to channel 19, where it became WJNL-TV, then independent WFAT, then WPTJ, then (after being dark for several years) returned as WTWB with the WB Network, then switched to WNPA and successfully petitioned the FCC for a change in city of license to Jeannette PA, which made it a “must-carry” station on Pittsburgh’s cable systems! WNPA was later acquired by Paramount, and today serves as Pittsburgh’s UPN affiliate, even though its over-the-air signal is all but unwatchable in the city.” Hope this helps. On a slightly related subject, can anyone tell me what is now in the Carnegie Building in downtown Johnstown where WCRO 1230 used to be? Or is the building long gone? Regards, Clarke (April 12, 2001)

eric, i was really surprised reading the on-going results of one of your questions on the home page re: “local morning shows vs. national voice-tracked am shows”…i think it doesn’t matter to kids whether the morning host(s) or local or not, but to adults, and especially “native” adults, yeah, it DOES matter! with the exception of what NPR does in the am drive slot, other local radio stations should be catering to local listeners! traffic, sports scores/stories, local news, local weather; issues that matter ALOT to adult local listeners! kids may not care about those things, i didn’t either as a kid…but now as an adult, and a native pittsburgher, i want to hear what’s going on HERE where i live…i was really surprised to see that many of your web site readers who voted on this question don’t place that much importance on “locality”…”valentine” may be a great jock, but he ain’t no pittsburgher and in fact, he could care less about this town or most of the other 15 to 20 markets he’s currently voice-tracking…cyber-jocks may be the future but they leave me mostly cold…and i’ll bet you many adults who still use radio would agree…(April 12, 2001)

Glad to see Dave comming back to the burgh! Dave and I toiled together at WEIR in the early 80’s! Long Live Jammin Oldies. Trefdawg (April 12, 2001)

Eric ~ The PG TV article on WPXI’s coverage of Willie Stargell’s passing & a prepared tribute by Sam Nover reminded me of a radio tribute I heard a few years ago. It was a program prepared ahead of time by Wink Martindale (Heard in Erie on AM 1260 WRIE Noon till 3 on the syndicated “Music of Your Life” network.) It was for Frank Sinatra & I could tell the program was pre recorded ahead of time because there was no mention of the current date. It was interesting but almost eerie at the same time. It is also nice that there is a choice for Standards when 1260 carries the slumping Tribe, AM 740. It should catch on around here for another choice & the personalities are very good like the old days of WEYZ 1450 & LATER 1330. Tom L. (April 12, 2001)

Eric, I remember that back around 1975, I saw listings for WJNL-TV(the old Ch. 19) in Johnstown, PA, in the Pittsburgh Edition of TV Guide. I understand that it was a CBS affiliate for years and then became an independent years later. Where did the WJNL call letters come from, and what were its broadcasting hours(I mean, sign-on and sign-off times) back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s(when the station was known as WFAT)? Also, what kind of programs were carried on the old Channel 19, and when did the station lose its CBS affiliation and become an independent? Where were the WJNL-TV studios located, and who owned the station? I also know from your section that 19 was off the air for a few years before returning as WTWB-TV in early 1995, with the then brand-new WB network. Then early in 1998, when Pittsburgh’s WPTT-TV(22) dumped its UPN affiliation for the WB(and changed its calls to WCWB), Channel 19 left Johnstown to become Pittsburgh’s UPN station as WNPA. The WNPA calls, I believe, stand for “Western Pennsylvania”; I’m not really sure. Also, how are your Pirates doing in this young season. What all do you know about the new PNC Park? Martin Connolly Keeping All of PBRTV Informed!! (April 11, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Well this is interesting info! IF anyone can help Martin out it would be appreciated. As far as the Pirates and PNC Park, the Pirates won their first game at PNC on 4/11/01. Cool! I have not been to the new park yet, but look forward to an opportunity to go soon!

Jim Snyder, former KDKA News director[1954-1959] and retired V.P. of Post Newsweek TV Stations, Washington D C , Living in Bethesda Maryland. Had a Stroke This past weekend. We Wish well to him and his Family. (April 10, 2001)

Eric ~ This is not a radio related e-mail but nonetheless, it is worthy of your website. I had just learned the news of Pirate & Baseball Great Willie Stargell passing away. My condolences go out to the Stargell family on this very sad day. He is now in the ultimate Baseball Hall of Fame with many of the greats, including Bob Prince & of course # 21. Let’s Go Bucco’s & Win one for Willie #8! Tom L. (April 9, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Yes Tom, I can concur, Willie was one of the greatest. I have never really liked sports, but Willie Stargell was definitely one to admire. I found myself tearing up when they did the TV news tributes to Pops. How appropriate that this was the official home opener at PNC Park too!

I hope KDKA-AM’s phones ring off the hook Monday morning!!!! Ms. Liz Day gave her listeners five (5) hours of union bashing. She bashed AFTRA, the electrical workers, the miners, the steel workers, you name it, the bitch bashed it. When union members, stewards would call, defending the unions, she would cut them short. When someone called to agree with her, they had all the time in the world. Some guy called, very knowledgable about unions, was trying to tell her facts from a government *Think Tank* in Washington DC citing how wages and benefits have actually declined with unions having less power, and increased non-union jobs. Even though the guy tried to tell her that these facts DID NOT come from a union organization, she kept telling him that he was NOT telling her listeners FACTS, he was giving them UNION PROPAGANDA!!! She said that even though she’s a paying member of AFTRA (against her wishes), if there is a strike at KDKA, she WILL cross the picket line, not only to work at the station, but to cook and serve food for everyone else who follows her. To her, AFTRA is a third party that does nothing for her or the station. This thinking applies to all unions. When I was drafted into the army, I was a printer making 90 cents an hour with no benefits. While I was in the army the shop organized. I returned to my job after my military service at $3.33 an hour with hospitalization and a pension. The Aetna insurance left me owing NOTHING, NOTTA, ZIP, ZILCH, NOT PENNY ONE to any physician, hospital, pediatrician for the birth and medical care of my two daughters. I have been collecting that pension since 1984. If it hadn’t been for the union, none of this would have been available at our shop. I think she went way over the line on this show. Tom (April 8, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I heard a piece of this show too. Not good

Eric, in response to the question in your Mailbag, Cris Winter is now part of the Scott Paulsen afternoon drive show on WBGG-AM, Sportsradio 970, “The Burgh.” Regards, Clarke. (April 6, 2001)

I’m trying to locate any of the people who were associated with the TV show “The Place”, which aired on WQED from 1966 to 1970. It was a locally produced magazine format show aimed at teenagers that used actual high school kids as “student producers” to put the show together and appear on air. The Student Produce roster included local newsman Bob Mayo and Tim Hayes. The original host was Bill Hillgrove. He was later replaced by Dennis Benson. The program featured panel discussions, interviews, and performances by local garage bands and folk singers. The setting was an imaginary coffee house called “The Place”. It was produced in conjunction with The Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania. There were two spin-offs of the TV show. There was a half-hour Sunday Morning public affairs program on KQV called “The Place-KQV” and a real coffee house on Market Street also called “The Place”. I’ve been trying to get WQED to sponsor some sort of reunion show for the aging Baby Boomers who worked on the Place, with no luck so far. If anyone reading this was ever on either the WQED or KQV shows, I’d love to hear from them. They can e-mail me at erdner@mail.mlynk.com. George Erdner (April 6, 2001)

WDIG AM 950 Has A Great signal over Washington County, And their format the smooth touch sounds good. Even with WPNT AM 940 in the area the Signal is still strong. Good Luck to Del King. (April 6, 2001)

Why did Cris Winter leave WDVE and where did she go? Thanks! Steve F (April 6, 2001)

Why have you not mentioned that Edye Tarbox is now the morning host on Fox News Channells “fox and friends” and is getting killer ratings up against Katie Kouric, etc???http://www.foxnews.com/channel/bio_donahey.smlhttp://www.foxnews.com/channel/fox_friends.smlhttp://shell.rmi.net/~jaded/ed.htm. (April 5, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Perhaps because I wouldn’t have recognized her at all! It wasn’t until I looked at your link that took me to “The Many Faces of E.D. Donahey” that I realized it was really her!

In case you did not know, Keith Richards, morning persoanlity at WAMO was let go. He’s hosted The Breakfast Jamasince Fall ’98 with a number of people, including KDKA-TV news anchor Brenda Waters for the past year. he’s persiously worked at WPEG Power 98 in Charlotte, amoth oter stations. Former WAMO afternoon driver (since ’96) Toss Swaid is now doing nights at a similarly formatted Urban station In Cincinnatti, OH (WIZF-FM) and hosts a weekly Hip Hop and R&B video show on WBGN-TV (AT&T Bradband Channel 5 in the city) called Freshbytes every Friday Night at 8 p.m. ET. The show’s website ishttp://www.freshbytes.com/.