↑ Return to 2001 – 2003

April 2003

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

Eric, I just wanted to let you know that former KDKAer Joel Zelle is alive and well! He tracked down my email address from your site and dropped me the following message, which he said was OK to share with others who visit your site. If you’re a Joel Zelle fan and want to send him a message, drop me a line at tomlacko@yahoo.com and I’ll let you know his email address. He’d love to hear from old friends and fans. Here’s his message:

Hi Tom, When I left KDKA in 1976, I took the morning show job in Columbia SC, shot over to WSB in Atlanta for less than a year, and ended up in Detroit at WXYZ-AM when ABC was transitioning over from music to newstalk format. I hosted the PM and AM drive shows for exactly three years, and left in 1981 for WJR-AM 760, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes. I was able to combine my love of broadcasting with my love of flying and set up WJR’s first helicopter traffic service. After two years, the station management gave me a music/personality afternoon drivetime shift that eventually evolved into a newstalk/ interview show. During my 13 years of afternoon drivetime work, I always maintained my proficiency as “backup” pilot/reporter for WJR. In 1995, we lost our legendary morning show host J.P. McCarthy to leukemia and the the entire staff was jettisoned for a new line-up of talent including Paul W. Smith mornings, Dr. Laura, and Rush Limbaugh middays and Mitch Albom. awarding winning sports columnist/author (Tuesdays with Morrie) for PM Drive. The management asked me to stay on an assume my original role of Jetcopter Pilot and traffic reporter (split shift AM and PM) which I accepted and have been doing ever since. (10,000+ accident/violation free hours). I love the freedom I have and insulation from ratings pressure. Have used my middle name moniker: JOEL ALEXANDER since 1981. Very active freelance announcer for radio/ TV commercials as well as industrial narration/ training voiceovers (lots of that with the Big Three in Detroit). KDKA was the greatest thing that ever happened me career-wise. The friendships I formed when I first arrived in the Steel City have congealed into twice a year visits back for “reunions” at a camp in Tionesta, PA and of course my wife’s family who still live in Punxy as well as McCandless Twp in the North Hills. Pittsburgh WAS and always WILL BE “Someplace Special”. Feel free to give a shout if you have any questions or comments. What a nice surprise! Sincerely, Joel Alexander Zelle (April 23, 2003)

As a resident of Youngstown, but a native of Pittsburgh, I can tell you that WKTL is the voice of the Wildcats of Struthers, Ohio. It is a suburb of Youngstown a few miles southeast of the city. The play polkas and oldies. I love the oldies of the 70’s and 80’s cause they dig a little deeper than Clear Channel’s retro weekends. Or they just have the same old records from the time period. Either way the student DJ’s are decent enough and they do a good job. If you can get 90.7 from Y-town, try 88.5 WYSU. Youngstown State University It is a solid signal as I enjoy NPR as well. (April 17, 2003)

Eric, Great to hear from Jim Horne on your site. I thought we might have run into each other when I lived in NY, but never did. As I recall, Jim loved Jazz. I think the tight music format I had when I was Music Director of KDKA in the early 70s, must have been a real pain for him, although, he went on to top 40 99X in NYC. Jack Wheeler and I just talked on the phone about a week ago. As you may recall, I hired him to do mornings at WEEP after we both had left KDKA. He’s no longer in Tampa, back in the North Hills after licking some health problems. Jack has a sister-in-law here in Nashville, and he expects to be coming down here and getting together with me soon. Ed Salamon (April 14, 2003)

I was looking for information on WKTL-FM 90.7 and I found you web site on a Google.com search. I found it informative. This kind of information is very hard to keep up to date. A note on WKTL — it seems to be operated by Struthers High School. It sounds like they have student DJs. When I listened before 9:00 am today it was polkas and then at 9:00 it switched to Oldies. One of my favorite stations is WDUQ 90.5 from Duquesne University which is Jazz and NPR. I haven’t been able to receive 90.5 for almost a year because of interference from another station. I was able to hear the interfering station clear enough this morning to hear the call letters WKTL which led me to the google search and you site. Francis J. Hensler (April 14, 2003)

Eric, Jack Wheeler’s appearance on WQED pledge breaks during the Glen Campbell special on April 10 was live. He and TJ Lubinsky were talking in detail about the taping of the upcoming oldies special, which takes place next month. Wheeler indicated he lives in the Tampa area now. Great to see Jim Horne check in. Among his many talents, he is also the narrator on a number of audio books. Maybe Jim would be willing to share some memories of his days as “The Little Round Devil” at KDKA (he has lost a lot of weight since those days). Vic (April 12, 2003)

Dear Eric, While whiling away a few minutes waiting for the feeling to return to my extremities, I came across your little site. Lo and very behold there was the raw youth himself staring out at me. AND a former lovely and mysterious wife behind him. PLUS several disreputable companions of so loong ago. ‘Tis a treat, I tell you. Those pictures were taken in conjunction with our KDKA Croquet Team that played exhibition matches at Gateway Center. Yes and with paper jackets and those boaters. I have indeed lived here in New York for thirty years or so and hammer out a living as an actor. Married, one son in college, one daughter in third grade. And happy as a clam. My best to any and all who may remember. I still love Pittsburgh. Jim Horne (April 11, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Jim, Wonderful to hear from you! I am sure there are people who remember and will enjoy reading this email from you! (Check out the photo of Jim Horne on the Photo Gallery.)

I saw Jack Wheeler on QED last evening. Is he on any local radio at the current time? Thank you, Jim Skolnik (April 10, 2003)

Eric’s Response: What you probably saw (assuming they are still pledging) was a rerun of a show they aired a year or so ago with Wheeler as a guest on the pledge breaks. Not 100% sure as I didn’t see it myself. Wheeler hasn’t been on the air in Pittsburgh since late 2000 when he bought some airtime on WWCS 540 in Canonsburg. You’ll hear him doing commercials for Benson Lincoln-Mercury every now and then though. Last I heard, radiowise, he has been on a station in Orlando, FL since he’s resorted to spending life on his boat. I don’t know if he’s still on the air because of the problems he’s had with his voice or not.

Does anyone know the whereabouts of the lovely young woman that sent me off to school every morning on KDKA-TV back in the Sixties? Marcy Lynn is the name that I recall, not knowing if that was her actual first and last name. She was on Don Rigg’s “Daybreak” show on week day mornings. There was a glimpse of her that I caught on a retrospective that KDKA had done. I would also like to try to obtain copies of these programs, if at all possible. While I was growing up, so was television. Both of us have changed a lot. Thank you for your consideration. RJ Kanary (April 2, 2003)

Just found your website through a link on DCRTV. Good Stuff!! John Paul Dellacamera is the former voice of the old Pittsburgh indoor soccer team, the “Spirit.” He is now doing the NY Metros games in New York City, and the ABC-TV voice of the Woman’s World Cup Soccer championship when the USA beat China. Albert McGilvray (April 1, 2003)