↑ Return to 2001 – 2003

August 2001

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

By the way, here’s an important announcement for the mailbag — this Saturday on Jet-Prop Electra (possibly the last time in the current slot) … at 8:20 a.m., we’ll have an interview with a certain famous children’s television host who’s retiring after 34 years. You won’t want to miss that! Wake the kids, phone the neighbors, it’s Jet-Prop Electra, 6 to 9 a.m. Saturday on WRCT, 88.3. – Jay Thurber, Host…A.K.A. Jason Togyer(August 31, 2001)

Eric ~ Yes it is WQHZ @ 102.3, My error but it is good that people are out there watching for things like that on this page. It should be interesting when the change occurs @ The Point in Erie. Of course the loss of Alternative / Active Rock will not be for long after The Planet @ 93.9 comes on sometime. One more thing on two am stations in the area. WPSE 1450 has been a disaster since going Business Talk from Regular Talk. It would be interesting if Penn State Behernd College (Owner of WPSE) would go with a younger leaning talk format that would give the area another choice in Talk besides WJET 1400. As for WEYZ 1530 in North East, Corry Broadcasting should Either try a 100% Classic Country format on it or sell it. Possibly to North East high school for the students there to run & learn some technical skills going into college for communications. The Phone quality simulcast of WWCB’s signal during the day is a waste. Tom L. (August 30, 2001)

Tom has made a slight mistake. Regent has filed for the calls, WQHZ, not WMHQ, on 102.3 in Erie. These were filed pending the sale, which should be any day now. Another note, every station, just about everywhere, identifies the owner with the calls at the top of the hour these days. Clear Channel has finally received the calls for their new FM in North Kingsville, Ohio…WFXJ, and according to someone in sales over there, Clear Channel is building new facilities for all stations, WZOO, WREO, WFUN and WFXJ in North Kingsville at or near the new transmittor site. And remember to update the stations page because WLKK AM is now WJET AM 1400. (August 29, 2001)

Hi Eric I’m Bob Corbin the VARTV page editor. If you go to my page there is some information about Pat Parris (sports anchor) returning to Pittsburgh that might interest your readers.(http://www.geocities.com/~dcrtv/vartv.html) (August 29, 2001)

Could the move also be a defensive move if 940 WPNT tries a talk format. Could Dr. Laura Clear Channel go to 970 Clear Channel? the KDKA suggestion for Dr. Laura would be the loss of another local job .. i hope not (August 29, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Obviously the big announcement on KDKA is not the fact that Dr. Laura is arriving. We found out that she is headed for WPIT-AM which is flipping to talk on Labor Day. I would not ever look for her on WBGG because it’s all sports. I somehow get the feeling that guys into sports wouldn’t want Dr. Laura’s sometimes-sappy, often-crappy attitude interrupting the sports programming.

Eric, the Post-Gazette reports that Dr. Laura is moving to WPIT-AM 730, which will be dropping its Southern Gospel format for Talk starting Monday. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (August 29, 2001)

Eric: I would hope that Dr. Laura’s star will soon fade from existence–just as her former boyfriend, Bill Ballance, disappeared from Pittsburgh radio more than 20 years ago (At least he was creative!). I’ve never heard a more self-righteous, moronic, egotistical yenta in my life. The fact that there are people who actually idolize that creature (“Oh, Dr. Laura! You’re my idol!”) actually makes my skin crawl. I would hope that KDKA–of all people–would promote the myriad LOCAL talk talent with their 50,000-watt clear signal, instead of taking the easy way out and forcing such dreadful rubbish down everyone’s throats. Art Bell, Joey Reynolds, Tom Leykis–ANYBODY but her! I know–Let’s see if Michelle Maddoff wants to come back…Ed (August 28, 2001)

Loved catching up on where the former Pittsburgh jocks and TV stars have gone since I used to listen to growing up in Franklin Park. I worked as a part-time jock on WMYG, Magic 97 back in the 80’s and then returned to do middays at that frequency in the early 90’s when it flipped to the hard edge sound of 97 ROCK. In 1993, I moved to Washington, DC to do mornings on WCXR a classic rocker which we later flipped to Smooth Jazz. Currently, I’m programming the station and occasionally filling in (when I have time). Good job on your site. Best wishes, Kenny King Program Director WJZW ABC/Disney (August 28, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Oddly enough, when I am in DC I stay right across Wisconsin Ave. at the Embassy Suites Chevy Chase Pavilion! I have visited the old World Bldg. WGAY/WWRC studios and the current Clear Channel FM complex on Rockville Pike. But it’s only been in the last couple of years that I realized I was “across the street” from your complex. Must be the Mazza Gallerie in the way!

A few thoughts on the big announcement to be made on KDKA on September 6: In view of the deal announced the other day for Sean Hannity to take his WABC show national, maybe The Big K will pick up the show, move Honsberger to mornings, and Cigna retires? Or now that WPTT is dropping Dr. Laura, that her show is moving to 1020? I agree with your contention that KDKA will not change formats; I don’t see what else they could do. (August 28, 2001)

(follow up to previous message) Also, Eric, while scanning the dial this morning, I heard Jerry Bowyer announce that Dr. Laura “would be gone” next week and that he will now be on from 8 to noon. Hmmm…KD’s announcement must include the arrival of Dr. Laura to their schedule. My musings: Cigna to retire or part-time, Honsberger to AM drive, Dr. Laura, Rush, Pintek to PM Drive. Even better (but unlikely), creation of KDKA II (on FM) with syndicated Infinity programming skewed younger than “KDKA I”. As always, keep up the good work on the site. LB (August 28, 2001)

WPTT 1360 is “1360 The Point” as of Monday 8/27/01. There appears to have been no offical call letter change but the change has been full and well-executed, including on the many pre-recorded promos. Either someone recognized the image needed to be tightened and the station given a nickname or…could it be a gradual transition or phase-in to something bigger (FM simulcast?) — LB (August 28, 2001)

Eric’s Response: It’s interesting to me that “The Point” keeps coming back. First you might recall WPNT-FM on 92.9 in the early 80’s. That was Beautiful Music. Then of course in the 90’s we had WZPT-FM act as “The Point” with 70’s, then 70’s and 80’s and then 70’s – 90’s. Now WPTT. Perhaps this is a situation in talk radio of “GET TO THE POINT!”

Ref: CHWO am740. Glad to see Tom’s post. The Friday night Prime Time Bandstand program really does it right. It not only runs until midnight, but then, the oldies continue all night as I found out in the wee hours as the song goes – tossing and turning. I just wish I was in ground wave range of CHWO; all the evening programs are a refreshing oasis on the AM (and FM) bands. They even rate a button on my car radio much like WABC, WKBW etc did when all these songs were new. Good stuff. Howard (August 26, 2001)

I had an email from Don Jefferson saying that hopefully some things are in the works for He will let us know when the time comes. PBRTV Eric (August 25, 2001)

Eric, I know Don Jefferson left Pittsburgh and was on WQEN in Birmingham, Alabama. However, I think he is no longer employed there. Can you find out why and where he is headed, like maybe back to PGH? Phil Pusateri (August 20, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Don left WQEN in July. In fact his cohost left too. I have not heard from him as of yet, but I hope to hear something soon.

Eric, To answer a reader’s question regarding WZPT accepting tapes and resumes for the mid-day shift… Kate Harris, formerly of middays, is currently on Star’s morning show. She probably will get the nod to that position freeing up middays. Ex-WJJJ employee, Kerrie Griffith, is handling the 10a-3p show for Star now. My bet is Kerrie becomes full time there, but perhaps Infinity has to post the job to meet EEOC requirements. In my humble opinion, Kate sounds great in the morning and Kerrie sounds wonderful in her slot. –Anonymous (August 19, 2001)

Does anyone know why Star 100.7 is accepting applications for the mid-day shift? (August 19, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I know that Vicki Cohill left WZPT for WLTJ about a month ago, but she hosted the morning show.

What is the big secret at KDKA? Is roy fox coming back to replace the retiring cigna? Maybe Jimmy Roach or Larry Richart or Quinn. or is it something so simple as they will be the official radio station of Heinz field or something like the pens are coming back to kdka? does anybody know? (August 16, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I would imagine it might be one of the latter. Although, who knows. Heinz Field would be claimed by Clear Channel since the Steelers are on 102.5 and 970. Pens? Nah, 94.5 and 970. Roach, Richart, Quinn or Fox? Probably not…

Eric, as long as WOGH puts a city-grade signal over Burgettstown from their present transmitter site, they can ID as Burgettstown, even if they haven’t moved the site yet. Burgettstown is 13 miles from Steubenville, so they should be fine in this regard. I’m sure that their application to move to WTOV’s new tower will follow shortly, if it hasn’t already. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (August 15, 2001)

Eric ~ Not much shaking in Erieland but I wanted to make a comment. This concerns the coverage on Fox Sports Pittsburgh of the Bill Mazeroski ceremony before the Pirates game. (By the way it was great that 2 legends are finally in the Baseball & Football Halls’ of Fame, “Maz” & Lynn Swann.) I thought the numerous commercial breaks during the Mazeroski ceremony broadcast were tacky. I feel that the ads could have waited until the ceremony was over. It would be interesting to find out why the ads were running during a special ceremony for # 9? And a bit of radio news……..The powerful CHWO am 740 from Toronto is featuring speciality programs 7 till 11 each weekday evening. One program I find interesting is called “Prime Time Bandstand.” A show that features alot of Rock & Roll from the 50’s & 60’s. Alot of the music is Pre Beatles & can take you back to the days of WABC & CKLW, per se. It’s on Friday nites & hopefully WPIT 730 will not cause alot of interference in picking up the show in the Burgh. The times are changing, as the Oldies format is leaning more 70’s while the Nostagia format is more 60’s leaning. What do You think? Tom L. (August 15, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Yes, you would think that stations and networks would have more of a reasonable thought when it came to things like commercials during the ceremony. I also notice the oldies changes and I find them sad. It means that while most stations have a large amount of music they play only a small selection of it. It’s why I still like the easy listening format. You have different renditions of a tune that could be repeated…and you’d never get bored. Oh well, more on THAT topic soon.

Brett, Tom Leykis isn’t available locally, but you can try to catch his show on 810 WGY from Schenectady, NY, via skywave. Of course, you will have to wait until local WEDO signs off and for the nighttime skip to cooperate. WGY runs the show from 6-10 pm. This time of year, I am usually able to pick it up by 8:30, but can catch the whole show in the winter. If the rumors that Infinity may flip 100.7 to hot talk are true, there’s a chance that Leykis may be part of the lineup, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. –Steve (August 14, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I wouldn’t hold it either.

Eric: Years ago, for a project a fellow named Bob Nelson was doing at WLTJ, he had Pete Morley bring me by to record a mock-up of a CKLW newscast– done in the once-popular dramatically graphic fashion: “The car struck the man in the intersection, dragging him from ‘Walk’ to ‘Don’t Walk’… Bob was in his final days as Production Director there, before taking off to points long forgotten. I just though of him the other day when my mother in Greensburg told me of finding some old KQV charts, which Bob gave me (This guy had hundreds of ’em! Jeff Roteman ought to find him!). Anybody know what happened to him? Is Pete Morley still in this racket? Ed Weigle (August 13, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Mr. Morley is still in town doing production work at Clear Channel. He went from WLTJ to WJJJ as production director a few years back and then got gobbled up into the six stations of Clear Channel.

Eric, WOGH cannot change city until they have the new site appproved! You have to have the signal in the area before you can re-locate the license. A CP does not give authorization to change city of license without coverage. (August 13, 2001)

Do you know if we can listen to the Tom Leykis show in Pittsburgh? I just moved here from Florida. Brett Lawrence (August 13, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Can anyone help us out?

Eric, Some great hits this past week, enjoy your site…..you’re a radio NUT!!!!! Some thoughts on the first week of girl talk on LTJ!!!!…. I found it un-even, and lacks flow…..local or not…..Delilah has that formula, be it local or not!!! (August 13, 2001)

Dear Eric: In response to a few Mailbag posts, cable companies often carry local channels on other than their assigned frequencies in order to avoid interference from their direct signals. If there is leakage anywhere along the route from the headend to the viewer’s receiver due to inadequate shielding or having a strong direct signal, or both, there will be interference in the form of ghosting and a wide dark bar (which is actually a ghost of the horizontal blanking signal). Radio signals travel slower in cable than they do in the air; also the signal will usually arrive at the headend at a different time than it does at the viewer’s location, and when the same signals but with different timings are combined, ghost is the result. — In many types of coaxial cable, it takes about 1.5 nanoseconds for a signal to travel one foot, but in the air, it takes only about 1 nanosecond to go a foot. It takes 53,386.7 nanoseconds to trace one line of picture from the left visible edge of the screen to the right edge so the delay of a few miles of cable will cause a noticeable ghost if there is significant signal leakage. Channel 11 is often carried on 12 to avoid such interference, and in localities near TV transmitters, such strong channels are also shifted to others on the cable. If the cable company does any frequency conversion where the output freq. is not locked to the input, there will be beat interference as well which shows up as bars or a herringbone pattern. — In my opinion, carrying a local channel on a different cable channel will not increase susceptibility to interference due to storms. I am NOT a cable subscriber but am one of the remaining 15% (the number keeps dwindling) of people who do not pay a monthly fee for TV reception. Nonetheless, I occasionally experience heavy interference on Ch. 2. This is due to “skip” where unusual conditions in the atmosphere cause bending of radio signals that normally travel only in straight lines, thus bringing in other Channel 2s from hundreds or thousands of miles away, resulting in interference. If the cable headend is some distance away from Channel 2’s transmitter in the North Hills, it will be just as susceptible to such interference as are farther away off air viewers and the only solutions would be to set up a receive site much closer to the transmitter or get a direct feed from the studio and microwave or fiber optic link it to their headend, expensive propositions which would raise sky high cable bills even more. Channels 2-6 are the most susceptible to skip interference, particularly Ch. 2; it is rare on 7-13 and very rare on UHF (but I’ve seen it!). It’s a good thing that Ch. 1 didn’t have any early takers because such interference would be even more worse there; 1940s FM radio was in this spectrum and below, and FM is much more resistant than TV to such interference. — Regarding WAMO, at the corner of Eighth Ave. and the Homestead High-Level Bridge used to be a business called the Radio Center Sweet Shoppe. It might be that the WAMO studio was on the second story of this building, but when I first saw this shop, WAMO had already moved to the Blvd. of the Allies where their call letters were in large neon lights on the side of their building. It later dropped “Radio Center” from its name in consideration of the fact that the station had been gone from there for some years. — Regarding WOGH, with little exception, a legal station ID consists of the call letters followed by the city of license, so if they are legally Burgettstown now, it should be identified as such regardless of the transmitter location. (August 13, 2001)

Eric, Just checked your Site – how great a readership you have! Thanks to Ed Weigle who set me right about John Christian with “faux” accent. I don’t know what that is Ed, but when I listened to “Sir Walter” ( Mr. C), and have remembered his radio accent, it is VERY much sounding of a well-educated (university) Carribbean/Jamaicaian(s) who I’ve known over the years. Thanks also to the anonymous E-mail sender on Aug 11 about “Chaos”. He has the synopsis of the record right – so I guess he has listened to his tape. Being young I was impressionable, so I thought it ran for weeks. Thanks to your writer for correcting me, that it was only 1 day (seemed like weeks). “If you’re 13 or 8, and you’re thinking it’s great…radio!”. . .”An engineer has just been shot here in the KOS news room…wherever it happens..even if we have to make it happen on KOS!” (then group sings jingle). Ah, the memories. . .it could only happen in the States, and Pittsburgh in particular. By the way, you’re anonymous E-mailer is right – it was “Chaos – Pt 1 & 2” by Robert Arbogast & Stan Ross, and it’s on Liberty 45-LB-966 Asa Music, F-55197 Vocal & Instrumental 3:12 & 3:17…..those were the days! Thanks Eric for space & for your correspondents!—John, ex-Pgher, UK (August 12, 2001)

Eric, Effective July 27, 2001, WOGH was approved to change their city of license from Steubenville to Burgettstown. And as of today, August 12th, they have yet to change the ID. Who out there wants to notify the FCC of this!?!? This was not a tower relocation. At least not yet. They have a CP or App. up for a new tower to the east of Burgettstown now, which has yet to be approved. They tower they are transmitting is from Steubenville, still. But, yes, WOGH is breaking a rule and the FCC needs to do something about it! But, I doubt they even care about official legal IDs anymore…WPQR Uniontown has officially changed their call letters to WPKL. Also, WZNW Wheeling is now WVKF, another “kiss-FM” CHR station. In my opinion, WVKF does a helluva better job at the CHR format than our WKST does. They actually have a much better variety, play ALL of the top 40, and have live and local jocks. I actually wish CC would flip 96.1 and 105.5 WVKF …lol. (August 12, 2001)

Hello Eric: Has anyone watched WPGH Fox{53} lately. I have a good picture, but the sound is terrible. Also whenever it storms KDKA CBS {2} gets real a real bad picture. I have cable TV, you would think my cable system would try to improve it. KDKA on my cable is on Channel 16. Years ago when it was on Channel 2 on my cable it was clear, and when it stormed it never messed up. Does anyone agree that my cable company put it on the wrong channel postion? In my option it should be on Channel 2. Does anyone agree with me about that. Also I have listed to WOGH Froggy 103.5 to the ID check, they still say: WOGH Steubenville/Pittsburgh/Wheeling. I thought they changed city licned. Thanks for your time.Great website Eric!!!!!!! (August 12, 2001)

Eric’s Response: This is becoming an all-too common complaint that apparently is denied by the station. I have never noticed any problems with WPGH myself…and maybe because I don’t always watch it. WOGH probably should be “Steubenville/Wheeling/Pittsburgh” but yes, there was supposed to be a transmitter relocation to Washington County. I don’t think, however, that it will mean a change of city of license. As long as a transmitter is located with in range that it can reach 75-100% of the city of license, then it’s a legal license. I don’t think Burgettstown is close enough to make that impact on Pittsburgh unless the signal is super strong. I can receive 103.5 here in the greater North Hills though.

to whom it may concern, i’m looking for a video(vhs) copy of the steelers/falcons game played on aug. 3rd could please direct this email to the right ext. thank you’ jason foster (August 11, 2001)

Eric’s Response: While I have no interest in sporting events, I know some of you folks do. If you have a way to provide Jason with a VHS copy of the August 3rd Pre-Season game, please email me here and I will direct it to him.

Dear Eric: In response to your Mailbag writer who wants to know the record played on WCAE as it changed to WRYT, it was Chaos by Arbogast & Ross from 1959, for KOS Radio. This ran for just one 24 hour day, not 2-4 weeks (it only seemed that long). I phoned someone who worked there at the time and he confirmed the length of the run. I remember tuning in for a while (this was probably in 1959 on the last day that 1250 was WCAE before changing to beautiful music WRYT – “In the air everywhere over Pittsburgh”) and I specifically remember the DJ introducing “Travelin’ Man” by Rick Nelson and then playing Chaos. This was done for many other song titles as well. I just dug out and listened to a tape of Chaos to refresh my memory. It has a “station jingle” that sings “K O S, Chaos Radio.” It does several put downs of the 1958 Ritchie Valens tune, “Donna” by having a groaning voice singing “Oh Linda,” “Oh Emily,” and “Oh Blanche,” among others. It has a newscast where background sound effects are so loud that the announcer can’t be heard, and it has an engineer being shot so they even make the news. Sports scores are given without the team names and another jingle sings about if you’re 8 or 13, 13 or 8. It ends with the station being sent into orbit over the DJ’s protests of just working there for the money, followed by a classical announcer introducing Rachmaninoff. (August 11, 2001)

Eric’s Response: The author of this email, who chooses to remain nameless, said that at the time of this happening, 1250 WCAE/WRYT was located in the Carlton House in Downtown Pittsburgh (Now the site where the Mellon Building sits today – 500 Grant Street.) before its move to 400 Ardmore Blvd.

Hi, Eric! Sir Walter of WAMO was (is) John Christian of WPXI-TV. He used to dress up in an English butler outfit, wear a monacle and talk in a faux accent. I’ve never heard that he was Jamaican. He was one of the “Big Three” in the early days of WAMO, with the late Bill Powell and the very-much-alive Porky Chedwick. Does anyone know if The Pittsburgh Courier still has the photos they took at some of the early rock and roll/ R&B shows? While I was on the air in Chicago, about seven years ago, I bought some framed photos– credited to that pioneering newspaper (America’s first Black newspaper, I believe)– for about 60 bucks a pop of Jackie Wilson and Roy Hamilton. How an antique store there came to acquire them, I don’t know; the shop owner was rather vague. There were also shots of Clemente and other sports figures, including players with our local Negro League ball teams. I even remember some candid photos taken on the streets of Pittsburgh of African Americans at a bus stop, one of whom was holding a city newspaper with the banner headline “Grosso Indicted,” or something to that effect. If those photos exist, what a great showcase it could be in book form of not only Black history, but our city’s history. I’d certainly buy it. Ed Weigle (August 11, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Ah John Christian. Such a distinctive man, but I am sure he wasn’t Jamaican!

Dear Eric, I’ve not been on the Net for yonks so I’ve had to do a lot of “cramming” of your interesting column. 1.) It was interesting to read Skinny Kenny’s info on WZUM. Ironic, but I came home on leave in the USAF a few days before President Kennedy was shot. Being a radio freak (anarak( then as now, I wasn’t even aware of WZUM. 2.) Whatever happened to “Sir Walter Raleigh”, WAMO?? Was he REALLY Jamaican?? 3.) Many (!) years ago when when WCAE changed to WRYT, does anybody remember the record that was played 24/7 for more than 2 weeks – or was it 4 weeks?. . .day in day out??? It has surfaced in my collection. . .which I got from Woolworths 5 & dime store in Wilkinsburg (in ’63-?) which was called a “Grab Bag” of either 5 or 7 45-RPM singles (remember them?) for $1 plus tax. Anyway, can anyone remember that record??? It drove Pghers nuts! John, UK (August 11, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I thought Sir Walter founded North Carolina! (That was supposed to be funny.) WRYT annoyed Pittsburgh with a song? I thought WRYT was an easy listening station way prior to WSHH’s arrival. 

What a great blast to read Kenny Reeth’s email! I remember well the “Reeth and King” show, and Kenny’s later work on WAMO. One name stands out from Kenny’s note: Tony Quinn did some of the best production work ever done on WAMO. I worked in WAMO engineering for Jim Herbert at the time (in the early 60’s) when Kenny and Tony worked there. BTW, I think Kenny has been away from Pittsburgh for a while. If he thinks about it, he will remember WHOD/WAMO was on the air from Homestead, rather than Homewood. Paul, aka Eddy Current. (August 10, 2001)

Dear Eric, Well,well. Just out of curiosity I punched in my father’s name, and found your web site. I was VERY surprised to find ANY mention of Ted “Cap’n Jim” Eckman anywhere. I read a letter from Ed Weigle asking about him. My Dad was Cap’n Jim from about Sept. of 1959 to around 1965. It was an after-school time slot with Popeye cartoons and skits borne of my Dad’s creativity. Even my memory is faulty on the dates,etc. He was out of work for about 5 years,doing this and that ’til Channel 11 brought him back around 1970 for a few years, in a morning format for much younger kids. He had to run the syndicated “New Zoo Review”,so had little time for his own creativity. I think that show was only a half-hour,his first show was an hour. Before coming to Pittsburgh in 1959, we lived in Youngstown, Ohio where he worked for WKBN as other children’s characters…Grizzly Pete (old cowboy),and Major Ted (space explorer). Any old Youngstowners out there remember THOSE?? Dad died in 1991 at the age of 79 (yup, only 79!)about 6 months before his 80th bd. He did his own makeup…he was only 48 years old in 1959! He was survived by his wife and three daughters of which I am the eldest. My mom,Martha, is 13 years younger than Ted…she remarried (an old high school flame) in 1995,and is now living in Florida. I’ve often thot about doing a little book on my Dad’s life,so I’d love to hear from anyone who has memories of Captain Jim,or any of my Dad’s characters. He also went by the name of Ted Niemi in Younsgtown on WKBN radio or TV. I don’t have a website, by you could email at cjpip50@hotmail.com Thanks from “CJ” (August 10, 2001)

As I live and breath, Skinny Kenny is still around! He’s the man who hired Brother Matt when he was still in high school. He’s also the guy who hired me as a glorified board op in 1966 because I knew how to cue records. As Brother Love (along with Raymond the Condemned) he allowed this Freak to crack open the mic. Remember, we are the ones who first brought Pittsburgh In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida. Good to hear the rumors are true that Ken is alive and well and living in San Diego. Brother Love still cares. And the Freak is still in the biz. Frank the Freak (August 9, 2001)

Eric, I have enjoyed reading looking at your sit the past few years! I am from Johnstown, but I have lived in Pittsburgh and now I am out in York, PA. I have always been amazed at how far 95.5 WKYE’s signal gets out. I frequently listen to WKYE during the mornings in York, PA. WPGC in Washington, DC usually overpowers WKYE out here in Central, PA, but in the right spots WKYE sounds as clear as a local station. WKYE also can be heard clearly as far west at the Pittsburgh International Airport, and all the way up in Elmira, PA! That covers about 75% of PA! Amazing for such a boring station. Channel 19 has always had a low-budget “community access” look. My father knew some people at the station and took me to the studios back in the early 80’s. The studio was just a tiny little building hidden on a dirt road on top of cover hill in Johnstown. The TV and FM antenna shared the same tower until the mid 80’s and was located just a few feet from the studio. This building is still the studio of WNTJ AM and WMTZ FM. Channel 19 always had bad picture quality and the sound was even worse. I don’t remember too much about WJNL in the early 70’s since I was just a baby. In the later 70’s they had the usual independent format with kids shows in the morning (New Zoo Revue, Speed Racer….etc.), religious shows during the midday(Jim Baker) and older syndicated shows in the evening (Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres…etc.) I also remember watching the SHA NA NA show at 6:00 pm every night. In the early 80’s they attempted a 6:00 news program which only lasted a few weeks. I wish I could find tapes of WJNL’s news at 6. It was so bad it was funny. I think they just used there DJ’s from both radio stations (1490 AM & 96.5 FM). They also attempted to run the Jerry Lewis Telethon locally in Johnstown. The live, local telethon was hilarious! I can remember they ended with just a few thousand dollars for the entire telethon!!!! One nice thing they did back in the early to mid 80’s was provide a simulcast of NBC programming when the local WJAC affiliate (WJAC-6) carried the Pirates TV Network. They also carried alternate NBC NFL Football games when WJAC was showing the Steelers game. Nothing like this would ever occur with today’s strict network agreement! Not too much changed when 19 changed to WPTJ. I believe they still had kids shows on in the morning and religious shows in the afternoon. I can’t remember any of the prime-time schedule. I think it was mostly bad B movies through a national feed? They also had Dr. Gene Scott on overnight. This guy would sit in a chair and mumble all night. One thing that always hurt Channel 19 when it was a Johnstown station was where the Johnstown Cable Company would locate the station on the cable lineup. Back when cable was just channels 2-13, Johnstown Cable would put Channel 19 on Cable Channel 6. This made channel 19 almost unwatchable because of interference from WJAC-6’s over the air signal. Later Johnstown Cable moved Channel 19 to Cable Channel 19 which also was an interference filled spot on the Johnstown Cable System. So most people with cable in Johnstown never could watch Channel 19 unless they tried to receive the over-the-air signal. Hope this helps you!!! Keep up the good work on the site!! Joe Esposito (August 9, 2001)

Eric, Greetings from San Diego. I discovered your page while surfing the net. It was great reading about radio in the Burgh, especially the Memory Section, since I spent a dozen years of my radio career in Pittsburgh and qualify as a “vague memory” to some. I’d like to fill in some early blanks regarding the uniquely wacky history of WZUM. I am eminently qualified to do so, since I am the guy who signed WZUM on the air in the summer of 1962 and remained there for a year and a half, before joining Sir Walter, Bill Powell and Porky at WAMO, which was then in Homewood. In 1961, my partner, Eddie King and I were working at WDRC in Hartford, when a friend hired us to do mornings at WZUM, a new station he would be managing in Pittsburgh, one of the first integrated format radio stations in the country. Eddie and I were to be the white guys. WZUM was scheduled to commence broadcasting in March, 1962. The operating license was owned by Rollins Broadcasting, the company which was building the station. When Eddie and I left our Hartford job and arrived in Pittsburgh, we found the “WZUM Building” atop a steep ravine. It fronted Ewing Road, a narrow wooded back thoroughfare between Crafton and Carnegie. The “building” itself was nothing more than a shell and raw wood framework. No broadcast equipment. No offices. No control rooms. No interior wall. No paycheck. The completion of the building proved to be an extremely slow process. Since we were a former night club comedy team, Eddie and I contacted a few agents and hustled up gigs at the Twin Coaches and several other Pittsburgh area clubs, so we were able to wait it out. While we waited, Jimmy Psihoulis, who worked for a Top 40 station in Wheeling, acted. He was hired to spread the word and line up accounts in advance of the day we went on the air. Before long, the guy who hired us was fired and Psihoulis named, General Manager. Finally, in July, I signed WZUM on the air. Eddie King and I worked Morning Drive, Bill Hall, from Detroit, did mid-days and Buddy Lowe, came in from Texas to do PM Drive. Bob Curti, a Pittsburgher, also pulled an air shift, until he joined the Navy. We called the station, “The Big Zoom”. Jimmy Psihoulis and Buddy Lowe had an instant, major personality conflict and Buddy returned to Texas. Big Bill Lee came from Chicago to replace him. In May of 63, Bill Lee and I rented the Syria Mosque and presented James Brown and the Famous Flames, plus Tammi Montgomery (before she became, Tammi Terrell). It marked the first Pittsburgh theater appearance for James and The Flames. During a fierce after-hours programming dispute with Psihoulis, my partner walked out. I stayed, with the understanding that I would do afternoon drive. Psihoulis and I shook hands to seal the deal. I called myself, “Skinny Kenny”. Bill Hall was replaced by, Wild Bill Curtis, a terrific DJ, from Philly. “Three D” Lee Dorris, Al Gee, Tony Quinn, Andrea Griffin, Milt Nixon and Terry Lee all worked at WZUM, during the first two years. I was on the air at WZUM when President Kennedy was assassinated. Out of respect, all the Pittsburgh music stations dropped their formats and played classical music until after the funeral. Psihoulis handed me a Beethoven LP from our production library and told me to play it and read bulletins. Then he left. I sent everyone else home and stayed on the air with that damned LP for six hours. In retrospect, it was the worst day of my forty year radio career. I saved all the wire copy and it still gives me chills to read it. One day, Jimmy Psihoulis said he wanted me to return to the morning show. I reminded him of our handshake agreement promising, no morning show. He told me to take it or leave it. I left. By noon, thanks to a door-opening personal recommendation from Bill Roberts, at the time, a top Promotion Manager for several major labels, I was hired as Operations Director of Dynamic Broadcasting. I programmed the Dynamic stations in Boston, Buffalo and Miami, as well as “The Double WAMO”. Later, we moved from Homewood, to new studios in the old MGM Building, on the Boulevard of the Allies and I was named, Vice-President of programming. The original WAMO (WHOD) studios became headquarters and studio for the new, Dynamic Cablevision. As BROTHER LOVE, on WAMO-FM, it became my pleasure to introduce Underground, Psychedelic and Album/Rock radio to Pittsburgh, but the 60’s are another story. Somewhere along the line, I heard that Jimmy Psihoulis came to own all, or part of WZUM. Word was, he was backed by, or in partnership with the owners of National Record Mart. Fact is, work on WZUM was well under way, when Psihoulis arrived on the scene from Wheeling and was hired as a salesman. I have the first WZUM newspaper ad and some other memory stuff, which I shall forward to you in the near future. In any event, it’s comforting to know that WZUM remains on the air. Over the years, nice people have worked hard and good music has originated there. I salute those who currently supply the spark of life and wish them well. Ken Reeth (August 9, 2001)

Eric’s Response: WZUM’s old location remains there, however it was last used under the WPLW religious moniker. (If anyone would like a tour, I’ll be happy to conduct them.) WZUM is broadcasting out of the White Oak neighborhood nowadays and is owned by Michael Horvath. The only name I remotely recognize out of the list mentioned is Bob Curti. Bob is the weekend morning host on WSHH these days and has had past stints in town including the original WPNT and maybe even WJOI.

Dear Eric: Regarding the 7/13 post that said that the FCC is worthless for anything but fines for Stern and EAS, I’d like to add that they’re also good for busting “pirates” which in these days of corporate radio represent about the only “fun” radio left on the air, and the only radio that often really IS in the “public interest, convenience, and necessity,” that is, until they are caught. It’s a crying shame that the FCC couldn’t see through Keymarket’s smokescreen about providing new radio service to Burgettstown and Duquesne and allowing them to move the only commercial FM services from Steubenville and Charleroi, thus depriving the latter of local radio service (the fact that AM stations remain in those locales is irrelevant with nearly 80% of the audience being on FM. Keymarket isn’t going to serve these new markets any more than they’ve served the old – they’re going after Pittsburgh, and the FCC has to be out of touch with reality if it believes otherwise. It’s also a shame that the FCC let Keymarket buy WPQR (which has been testing the last month or so and now is running a test program identifying as WPKL) when the owners of WMBS also were interested, but this is in keeping with what your writer said about the FCC coddling accountants. As for format, on the morning of July 16, they were simulcasting WOXX from the Meadville area, but later that day, they went back to the test announcements and instrumental music. From a Jason Togyer Trib column about WMBS from a while back, it seems like they would have programmed it locally as the article made WMBS appear to be a well run LOCAL operation. I can’t say – the station is stuck with antiquated technology (AM) while I’ve long ago switched to the (potentially) high fidelity of FM for all of my radio listening. I say “potentially” because most FM stations are making a mockery of the capabilities of this transmission system, intentionally putting out far poorer quality audio that what it can deliver. Believe it or not, there’s an FCC rule stating that “precaution must be taken so as not to substantially alter the dynamic characteristics of programs” but, well, see the comments about the FCC above. (August 9, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Another thing we could say is that there is no enforcement of the fact that a radio station’s main duty is to inform the public! Sure they are all required to have the EAS, but you could be killed by a tornado before someone comes on the air and tells you about it. It COULD be due to automation or it could be due to the fact that it can be considered a “tune-out” factor. BULL! Tell me about the storm before it gets here! Sure, TV stations will show you a map with the “absolute path” of the storm, but some of us don’t have a TV everywhere we are. Oh brother….

Eric, I don’t have any specific information on WPTJ’s schedule, but your reader may be interested to know that Channel 19 has one of the most convoluted histories of any UHF station. Originally Johnstown’s ABC and CBS affiliate, and on Channel 56, WARD-TV (then co-owned with WARD-AM-FM in Johnstown) moved to Channel 19 in 1970, where it was WJNL-TV for more than a decade. WJNL-TV later changed to independent WFAT, then WPTJ, then (after being dark for several years) returned as WTWB with the WB Network (simulcasting low-power WBPA in Pittsburgh), then changed calls 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. (The FCC database indicates that WJNL-TV changed to WFAT on 3/1/83, WPTJ on 8/6/88, WTWB on 1/1/95, and WNPA on 9/2/97.) Channel 19 was later acquired by Paramount, creating an incredible profit for owner Venture Technologies Inc, which bought the dark TV station for a five-figure fee and sold it for $38 million! Today, owned by Viacom and sister to KDKA-TV, WNPA acts as Pittsburgh’s UPN affiliate, even though its over-the-air signal is practically unwatchable in the city (they might have been better off buying Channel 8 instead). Regards, Clarke Ingram. (August 9, 2001)

(Regarding Eric’s musings): Most people (like me) hate pledge break time on WQED and other PBS stations. The only saving grace is that they put on good programming (like the doo wop specials) that make it somewhat bearable. The problem is that the ONLY time they put on these specials is during pledge break weeks. Talk about misleading! WQED isn’t the only one that does this, as PBS has specials made up just for beg-a-thon time. So why should I (or anyone else) give money to local PBS stations when they don’t have the programming I want until they beg for money again in a few months? (August 8, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Well then they wouldn’t be public stations with quality programming!

I was using the “seek” button on my car radio to re-set all my buttons when it stopped at 99.3. They were playing classical music a la WQED-FM, which is unusual for any station higher than 91 on the dial so I listened for a moment. After the selection, a voice said “Testing”, some mumbled call letters I couldn’t make out, and “Uniontown”. The signal came through clear and strong in Washington, PA. It appears Uniontown is getting a new FM station. Any advance word on format? (August 8, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Hang on. It’s not a “new” FM station per se. It’s a station that’s been through a very big “custody debate” over the last several years. 99.3 has been known as WPQR Connelsville/Uniontown. WPQR and its AM sister WCVI have been a part of an ownership debate (as well as several FCC violations) which caused the commission to cancel the licenses for the stations, thus they have been off the air. The stations were “auctioned” off and they’ve been bought up by “the Froggy people” Keymarket (either them or Forever Broadcasting…I always get them confused!) The violations are being cleaned up and who knows what the new formats will be, but we’ll soon find out I suppose.

Eric, I have a question about WPTJ-TV(Channel 19, back in the late ’80’s)? What kind of programs were aired on WPTJ, and when did that station go off the air? (It returned in early 1996 as WTWB, a WB affiliate, then moved from Johnstown to Pittsburgh to become UPN affil WNPA). (August 7, 2001)

For those of us who may be interested, it appears that WZUM has gone “back to the Oldies”, since they have been playing Oldies every time I’ve tuned them in over the past week or so, with the exception of weekend ethnic/gospel shows. Some of this is obvously replays of previously aired Oldies programs, but it still beats that six-hour “Smooth Jazz” loop I heard about a thousand times. Check it out – they’re certainly playing a very eclectic collection of “Pittsburgh Oldies.” Enjoy! Clarke (August 7, 2001)

Hi Paul…yes I remember you well and would love to know what you’re up to…also the great WEEP/WDSY marketing team that included Paul Kress, Mike Civiletti, TJ Feola, Greg Perich and others. Oh, to go back in time for just one more broadcast from the 3 Rivers Regatta! Or to make the long trip down 51 to the State Music Theatre in Uniontown for an Oak Ridge Boys or Ronnie Milsap concert…(We used to record the country shows long before it became fashionable to do so)….or to watch Art Pallin broadcast from the KDKA Rainbow Machine! Bill White is now PD at WBT/Charlotte…Keith Abrams, last I heard was PD at an oldies station in Salt Lake City…and I’m sorry to say that we all lost a dear friend when Sharon Lee passed away in 1997. She had been at several Tampa stations before coming to Detroit in the mid 80’s…where she enjoyed success at WWWW, WKQI WLTI & WDRQ. I’d look forward to an email…Mardit5@aol.com…if you like! (August 7, 2001)

Re: WEEP mailbag posting. Bill White now PD at WBT-AM, Charlotte. — Michael Kunkle (August 7, 2001)

Newsblues tip……..“Is KDKA-TV giving its successful “Hometown Advantage” campaign the boot, and re-imaging itself a la other CBS O&O news operations??? A demo I got in the mail from voice artist Mitch Phillips, dated fall 2001, contains the following sample…….. “In Pittsburgh, something important will happen today….when you need to find out the facts…to find out who has the answers…it’s all here on CBS 2 NEWS…seven days a week.” This would mark a major change for Pittsburgh’s Channel 2, which has touted its “Hometown Advantage” slogan since the mid-90’s, and has always used its heritage call letters in promotions. The station is also in the midst of unveiling a new 10 p.m. newscast on sister UPN 19. This would be Pittsburgh’s third newscast at 10. The others are on WPGH-TV (Fox) and PCNC, the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel which is run by WPXI-TV (NBC).” I’m a former Pittsburgher, and would be very interested to see if KDKA would comment on this……..(August 7, 2001)

Eric’s Response: It was apparent to me last night when I caught a portion of KDKA News that the graphics and music were different. I honestly didn’t notice that they called it “CBS 2 NEWS”. I also took a peek at the news on WNPA last night. It had a very nice set and naturally it looked like KDKA News…in fact it was even announced, “Live from the KDKA Studios in Gateway Center…”

First off, this is a great site. It is nice to see a site dedicated to the TV industry in Pittsburgh. I have two entries for your “Where are they now?” page: Mike Stone – former weatherman at WTAE-4 is now at WKYC-3 Cleveland doing weather for the weekday morning and noon newscasts. Jacque Smith – former weekend anchor and reporter at KDKA-2 is now at WJW-8 Cleveland where she performs the same duties. Jeff Kitsko (August 7, 2001)

Greetings, Barry! (Ref: Barry Mardit formerly of WEEP/WDSY) Long time, no speak! This is Paul Beran. (Remember me??) Here’s what I know: Not too long after you left, Jonathon and Terri broke up. Terri, at last report, is still on the air on San Francisco’s only Country station. Jon, however, a/k/a Jim Berrila, owns and operates a Cleveland hobby shop specializing in model railroads. I recently visited him — he looks good! Keith James is in the ad agency biz here in Pgh, and seemingly doing well! I’d like to know how Keith Abrams, Bill White, and Sharon Lee are. Can you update? (August 6, 2001)

Jason (Togyer), I’m a longtime lurker on PBRTV. There’s been more than one thread of conversation I’ve been tempted to comment on. The time has come. So I read your column shortly after 9am Saturday and… damn… you have your very own not-ready-for-fall-semester show early Saturday. It pays to check PBRTV on a regular basis. I’ll set the alarm next week. Although I missed your show I did make it to the Regatta. That’s a yearly show they say ya gotta go and see. Point Park was a sea of food booths offering $2 bottles of 99-cent water. Interspersed in the dual line of food booths were “no obligation” offers for a “free gift” just for trying a low-interest credit card. And everywhere were people wearing “Froggy” stickers. Why were there so many Froggy fans wandering Point State Park? I found out when I passed their booth. Yellow police tape blocked off a portion of the grass where the Air Force skydivers had just landed. That meant a squeeze past the Froggy booth, where an overeager intern attempted to place a sticker on my shirt (to win prizes in the park, I was told). I respectfully declined. Frank the Freak (my non de plum for this list, and onetime radio name) (August 6, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Oh those overeager interns…I was always the calm one!

Greetings from Michigan! My name is Barry Mardit…AKA Glen Barrie Midday Air Personality/Program Director of 1080 WEEP. (1978-1981). I Have been in Metro Detroit since leaving WEEP (January 1982)… Longtime Program Director at W4 COUNTRY …WWWW (106.7) Detroit…1982-1994 I have programmed WODJ (107.3) Grand Rapids (Oldies) Now reunited with WWWW (102.9) Ann Arbor/Detroit (also W4 Country) Glad to have found your Website… You should know that former WEEP/WDSY News Director/Anchor Jeff Gilbert (from that era)…is a popular news reporter for Infinity’s 950am WWJ/Detroit…often heard on CBS Radio Network news reports…He is also host of the “Car Chronicles” feature heard on that station and other CBS affiliates. I know the whereabouts of many other former Pittsburgh broadcasters as well! Not sure if they are “hiding” for some reason! Remember the following?–
Jon & Terry Rhodes (husband & wife morning team)
Jay Stevens (Middays)
Glen Barrie (Middays)
Keith James (PM Drive)
Sharon (Lee) Foster (PM Drive)…she was also on WDSY (“Daisy”)
Bill White (Weekends)
keith Abrams (Weekends)
Jeff Gilbert ( News)
Dave Berner (News)

Regards, Barry Mardit (August 4, 2001)

When I said that Channel 4’s color lacked depth, I meant to say that the color looks faded. My interests lie in radio, not television, so I apologize for my ignorance. –Steve (August 3, 2001)

Dear Eric: As an interested observer, I’d hope that your Mailbag correspondent who complained of Channel 4 having a lack of “depth” of color would give a more “in depth” explanation as to what he means. Thanks. (August 2, 2001)


Eric’s Repsonse: Well of course! That would explain why it was at Broadcast Plaza…that’s also the home of U.S. Events and Marketing…the operating body behind the Regatta!

Looks as if Clear Channels new FM in Northeast Ohio is about to sign on anyday now at 107.5. According to Clear Channels website, the calls will be WFXJ, and according to the FCC’s website, they just filed for those calls on 7/30. (The frequency is currently assigned the calls WCUZ.) They already have the FXJ calls on an AM in Florida. It will be called WFXJ-The Fox 107.5……Bob and Tom in the Morning….Great Classic Rock All Day. How do I know that?? The station, which isn’t even on the air yet, is sponsoring x number of days during the beginning of August at the Great Lakes Medieval Fare south of Ashtabula, OH. The station will penetrate a nice chunk of Erie and Crawford counties. So, a new classic rock station, with Bob and Tom in the morning and the soon to sign on Planet @ 93.9 with new rock and who knows what morning show. There will certainly be more choices than ever in this area for new and classic rock lovers. (August 1, 2001)

Hello, I’m the person who has put together the transmitter map for Eric. Here’s the scoop on 92.1 – it’s licensed to Washington and Jefferson College and broadcasts 13 watts from an antenna that’s 56 feet above ground level. Attached is a plot of a closer-in view of where the tower should be. Since this is likely a station run by students, its schedule may not be 24/7. The license was renewed in 1999, so I don’t think W&J has shut it down. Hope this helps! Dave Loudin (August 1, 2001)