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January 2003

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

Just a reminder that Porky Chedwick, who influenced generations of radio broadcasters – including me, celebrates his birthday on February 4th. All yunz in Picksburgh can celebrate by listening to his weekly show on 860 WAMO Saturday from 11:00am until noon. The rest of us can reread Ed Weigle’s fine tribute here on PBRTV! Ed Salamon (January 30, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Actually, Mr. Salamon told us to go to http://www.440.com/_pchedw.html. But heck, Ed Weigle gave it to us to post too!

Hi, Eric: Just wanted to remind you and PBRTV readers that The Bossman, Porky Chedwick will celebrate birthday number 85 on February 4th! If you or any of the readers see our local Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icon, be sure to wish him a Happy Birthday! He’ll also celebrate 55 years on the air, this August (Just got off the phone with him and am convinced he’s in better shape than I am, at 36!). Ed Weigle (January 29, 2003)

Where is Ms. Ann Devlin? A fantastic and attractive announcer. Please respond. THANK YOU…. (January 29, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Not sure, last time I heard anything about her she was on the air online. Checking out the website www.annonline.com/, it doesn’t look all that up-to-date.

Eric: In response to the question in the mailbag, radio newsman-DJ Allen Pettit is now Sgt. Allen Pettit of the Fallowfield Township, Pa., police department (outside Charleroi, Pa.). When I last checked, he was doing PSAs for police-community relations programs, among other things. I interviewed him a few years ago when I worked in Washington, Pa. So be careful … the DJ whom you harass on the phone today could be driving the black-and-white in your rearview mirror a few years later! Jason Togyer (January 28, 2003)

Hearing from Dean Connors from WASP brought back my fond memories from the Western PA area! Does anyone know what ever happened to the outstanding news team of Allen Pettit and Kenny Edwards? I would guess then they have moved onto a bigger market as both had GREAT powerful voices and always kept the news interesting. I used to listen to both of them do the news on both WASP (Fayette) and WANB (Waynesburg). I would tune into WANB at the top of the hour and then switch to the Jimmy Roach show on WASP 10 minutes later just to hear them do the news again. I always wondered HOW they did that because they obviously couldn’t be in different places at the same time, and the Fayette news would always be different from the Waynesburg news, so I knew that it wasn’t a syndicated spot. Did WANB have some type of affiliation with WASP? I came back to the area over Christmas and was somewhat disappointed that they were no longer on the air. A friend of mine told me that he heard Allen Pettit on WJPA (Washington, PA) filling in for veteran Jim Jefferson about a year or two ago, but they haven’t heard from the duo since. Any clues?? – James K. Columbus, OH (formerly of Richeyville, PA) (January 28, 2003)

Dean Connors -worked at WOMP-FM in Wheeling 1987 – 1992 (as Dean Fredericks), moved to WXRB (the Rebel) as one of the original jocks there (as James Dean) Left for gigs in Harrisburg and Chattanooga before returning to program WASP-AM & FM in Uniontown, until they were bought and turned into Froggy stations (yuk!) On the beach now, attending California University of PA. (January 22, 2003)

I just moved back to Pittburgh from the Baltimore/DC area, and was wondering if you had any insight to where I can listen to the Don &Mike Show. I know it is on 1400am in Loretto. Anywhere closer to Pittsburgh or possibly on the internet? Thanks for your help. George in Overbrook (January 18, 2003)

Eric’s Response: The Don & Mike Show recently started airing on 1550 WURP. That’s kind of a joke around here though because 1550 is so weak, it can’t be received across the street from the tower! Ok, so that’s a slight exaggeration…but not far from wrong! I’m not sure whether or not they are on the Internet.

Eric, regarding the fire at WQTW in Latrobe that one of your readers asked about, it happened on New Year’s Eve, 1982. I was on the air at 96KX doing 6-10 PM and got two phone calls. One was from the staff at Q-94 in Cresson telling me that they had all been busted back to minimum wage. The other call was from someone telling me that WQTW was burning down. After I got off the air, I drove to the Stanley Theatre downtown for a Michael Stanley Band concert 96KX was hosting. We handed out concert patches listing all the great shows 96KX would be bringing to town in 1983 (which never happened – we changed to HitRadio 96 on January 17th). I put on a Father Time costume and went on stage at midnight to ring in the New Year, then drove to Cresson and took the staff out for a middle-of-the-night dinner. By the time I started back to Pittsburgh, it was getting light. I passed by Latrobe around 6 AM and decided to stop at WQTW. The station was located on the second floor of a drugstore, and it was a smoldering mess. They were still hosing it down. Helluva night. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (January 18, 2003)

I remember working at WQTW in the early 80s. Can’t remember the exact year but I left shortly before the fire. For being a such a small station in a small market, I thought their studios were top-notch. The interior of their facility looked a lot like the now-cancelled cable TV show “Remember WENN.” Very spacious and in good shape. As for being paid, I never had problems getting paid or having checks clear. Tom Lacko, formerly of WQTW, WFFM, WESA and KDKA Board-Op. (January 17, 2003)

Eric, when I worked at WTAE/WXKX on Ardmore Boulevard, there was a collection of ratings books going back to 1966 (if memory serves). Don’t know if they’re still there, although my guess is no. One night I copied the 12+ front pages, which I still have somewhere, buried under a thousand pounds of papers. I might be able to answer a few questions from memory. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (January 15, 2003)

Eric: I remember Herb Crowe very well, since he lived near my home, in Greensburg. Super nice guy. He was the PD at 3WS and afterwards, seemed to have dropped off the planet. Actually, the Mountain View section, where I grew up, boasted quite a few Pittsburgh radio guys, who lived within about three miles of one another, around 1985: Hank Baughman, Jack Malloy (from WDVE) and I lived across Route 30 from one another. Hank Baughman did indeed own a radio station in Johnstown. I was along for that brief ride at WBEM-AM 1350, licensed to Windber. It’s an experience I actually remember fondly–except for the long winter drives over the Laurel Mountains in my little six-cylinder sub compact. Hank had been talking about buying a station for years and was like a little kid on Christmas morning when the sale went through (Of course, I’d hoped he’s get one closer to Pittsburgh!). “The Beam,” as the station came to be called, originally had a big automation system– one of those damn cart carousels, with the giant tape reels from Drake-Cheault, like we had at WHJB/WSSZ. I took an instant disliking to the ancient thing the second I walked into the station, but Hank assured me, “Don’t worry, it’ll be gone as soon as we go news/talk.” The format in place was a concept of the previous owner, which proved to be little more than a successive train wreck of songs, featuring the word “love” in the lyric..Essentially, you might go from a song by Sinatra into some wild, upbeat song which had no business on the same playlist. The board op could do “live assist,” and fire off songs via a bank of lighted switches, while watching the monstrosity on the other side of a big glass window. One day, while the engineer was working in the studio, the whole system–which had a mind of its own, anyway–decided to take a fit: All of a sudden, the bank of switches started blinking like the friggin’ Hollywood Squares! One song would start playing, then another reel started, until there was one noisy cacophony of six different songs from as many reels rolling simultaneously. I couldn’t stop the thing! I was going ballistic, using words that would put the Osbournes to shame–and the engineer was sitting several feet away from me in the studio laughing like hell! (To this day, I think there might have been more to this than met they eye; after all, he knew I despised that automation abomination). Since I was the afternoon jock and host of a weekend oldies show, I had my records at arm’s reach. At that moment, I exercised the first programming decision of my career, thus ending the former WWBR’s automated music days era. I told the listeners to stand by, then I walked back to the big beast and yanked the plug out of the wall (alright, so I might have kicked the stupid thing a couple times, too!). From that day, thanks to my and Hanks 45s and LPs, we were oldies and doo wop, until we became an ABC Talkradio affiliate. Within two years, the station was sold to a fellow from Altoona and, I believe, is now dark. I had lots of fun at that little station–especially working with another of my radio mentors, Hank. As for the WQTW fire, I think you’ll understand why I’ll never forget it. I seem to recall it was on or near New Years Eve, 1980. Indeed, the arson rumours have abounded for years, because it had fallen into major debt, but the investigation was either inconclusive or discouted any complicity on the owner’s part. (I’ve worked with many who claim they were never paid money owed them by it’s former owner, who went on to own another radio station in Washington, PA.). WQTW was the first radio station to which I sent my first REALLY GOOD demo tape– one I had put hours of work into. Being a kid of 12 or 13, it hadn’t occurred to me to NOT send them my ORIGINAL master. On precisely the day the station would have received the cassette, some relatives we were visiting turned on the 11 o’clock TV news. I’d just been talking about how cool it’ll be when that program director calls with my first actual job in radio–hopefully the very next day (You gotta love that youthful, optimistic naivety!). Just then, the TV showed live footage of flames shooting out of a building in downtown Latrobe–One I’d never set foot in. Pally, If I didn’t utter any Osbournes-type language it was only because my dad was within hearing/ass-kicking distance. There went my (potential) first job. And my demo tape. Stan Wall bought all that was left of the radio station in ’83–it was just a white block building, which housed the antiquated transmitter–for $66,000. I finally worked for WQTW and did fill-in as late as ’91. Ed Weigle; Nick Sommers Productions Engelwood, FL (January 13, 2003)

Hank had a station in Wimber Suburban Johnstown. Station was all talk I believe, originally country. Station is now totally torn down and off the air. (January 13, 2003)

Hi, I’ve been away from Westtern Pennsylvania since the early 80’s, and was certainly glad I stumbled across your site! Whatever became of: Herb Crow, fomerly of WQTW, WDVE, and 3WS (pre- oldies) Hank Baughman (spelling?) former WPXI anchor. I remember hearing he bought a radio station around Johnstown, but lost track of him. Ron Stevenson, former anchor of WJAC-TV in Johnstown. I know he was a county commissioner up there, but don’t know what he’s doing now. Anybody recall the fire that destroyed the studios of WQTW/ Latrobe in about ’83? I recall that there was talk of suspicions circumstances surrounding it (insurance torch-job, perhaps?) but never did get the whole story. Thanks, and keep up the great work! Jim Miller (January 12, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Hank has been at WSHH since 1987 doing the morning news and on an occasional circumstance – hosting the morning show. He has a production company in Greensburg. I’m not sure that he ever REALLY owned a station.

Eric, Do you know of anywhere I can get old radio ratings for the middle to late 1960’s for the Pittsburgh area? Bob (January 12, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Could they be available at Carnegie Library or on Microfilm at the Post-Gazette? Someone’s attic? I’m not sure that they’d be anywhere online.

Back in the 50’s , WLOA was at 1550 and was commercial classical. This predated WQED-FM and I think it had a very loyal following. I know my parents loved it. (January 12, 2003)

I remember that the overnight guy didn’t have to wear a coat and tie at KQV and when Jim Quinn arrived, the station got hipper( even though it was still the #1 rocker in PGH) and he bragged about his defiant long hair on the air. I always assumed that was a publicity stunt and ABC had changed their rules anyways. KQV was a well oiled machine that did nothing risky , but because it was the only 24 hour rock’n’roll outlet in PGH with city coverage ( KD stopped music at 8PM , 1360 had no nightime power, and WEEP was daytime only) —– it achieved its legendary status. Plus is was related to ‘Cousin Brucie” (January 12, 2003)

I was wondering if you had any information as to the whereabouts of of ex-WDVE DJ Herschal…the afternoon driver. I know he spent some time at WJJJ, but suddenly disappeared. I’ve been trying to compile a list of DJ’s from the Pittsburgh area, but can’t seem to locate him. Thank you for any reply, Mark. (January 10, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Good question. I worked with Hercschel at WJJJ for a few weeks, but as to his wherabouts, I am not sure.

Hello, Eric … Why should anyone care about WURP? Good question. Admittedly, if it wasn’t a radio station that covers a lot of Daily News territory, even with four watts (North Versailles Twp. and The Waterfront, for example), I might not. (That criteria, however, would wipe out my doing a lot of radio stations.) And I would rather give notice to a new station that might not make it, than ignore it at my own peril if somehow it finds listenership. A lot of people couldn’t get WZUM in its early days as a station that did polka in the morning and progressive rock in the afternoon. But, even as a daytimer, it gave then-Top 40 KDKA and KQV runs for their money. I can’t say whether there should be a market for some of WURP’s shows. But some of the others are another matter: Don Imus is an established talent (including his simulcast on MSNBC), G. Gordon Liddy has been heard in this market before, and Sporting News Radio (in an earlier incarnation) was here as well. So interest may be out there. Pat Cloonan. (January 7, 2003)

I started listening to WKST 1200am from 3-6 pm about 8 months ago when I heard you carry Dr. Laura. She is a smart, straight forward talk show host who has helped many people with personal problems and situations. Please bring her program back. There are already too many talk shows where people spout off about subjects they know little about to a highly opinionated talk show host like Shawn H. I vote for Dr. Laura from 3-6pm. Colleen (January 6, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Do I look like Clear Channel?!

Eric, Regarding Pat Cloonan’s column, why should anyone care about WURP? It’s a loser of a frequency, a signal that can be received by relatively few people and it’s all satellite programming. I could understand the interest if they were trying to so something innovative or local, but who cares about a bunch of satellite programs that few can hear anyway. Also, the KQV DJs were wearing ties because they were working in the showcase studios. Appearance counted, especially for a station that played Top 40 music and had to sell spots to people who were disposed not to care for the programming. Just smart business. Vic (January 6, 2003)

I lived in Pittsburgh in the sixties when I was a Carnegie Tech hippie drama student. In 1964 Frankie Crocker did AM drive on WZUM. I called him once to congratulate him for his guts in coming out as a Democrat (on the air) when radio generally frowned on DJ’s having opinions. This was back in the day when John Rook made the DJ’s at KQV have short hair and wear ties while on the air. “Ricki in Florida” (January 5, 2003)

Dear Sir/Mam, Happy New Year! I am looking to a job as a mehndi artist.I will be gratefull to you if you refer me to a good shopping mall. Usha Jain (January 5, 2003)

Eric’s Response: I get the most interesting mail sometimes.

Is KDKA for sale? We can arrange financing. Let us know. Dayal. (January 3, 2003)

Eric’s Response: No it’s not…

Eric, Wopsononock Mountain (Pat did spell it correctly) was a terrific DX site back in the day before other stations located their transmitters there. In the early 1980’s, the only radio stations there were WFBG-FM 98.1 (now WFGY) and WHGM 103.9 (now WALY), and they both signed off at midnight on Sunday night. I had great reception there, including Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Baltimore/Washington, and even WCAU-FM in Philadelphia (ironic, considering I was sitting at the transmitter site of another 98.1). By the way, best wishes to you and all your readers for a Happy New Year! Regards, Clarke Ingram. (January 3, 2003)

Hey Eric! It’s Heather from WVA!! You told me to keep in touch about winning tickets to a Steeler’s game… so I am. I’m more than willing to “dress up” in terrible towels!! Hope to hear back! Heather (January 2, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Well this is interesting. I don’t remember saying anything about this. Is this a B-94 contest that I am not in any way involved in? Although I must admit, seeing a female in nothing but Terrible Towels should be quite interesting…🙂

Hello, I am a Sound Designer at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We are currently doing a production of August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” and I am researching local radio in Pittsburgh in 1985. I am wondering if you would know which radio station was the main R&B station in 1985? Also do you know if Frankie Crocker was being broadcast in Pittsburgh in 1985? If you know the answers to these questions or know who someone that I could also contact that would know, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Matthew Swartz Sound Designer, Denver Center Theatre Company (January 2, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Dear Matthew, I believe the main R&B station in 1985 would be pretty much the same one it is today – WAMO. As for Frankie Crocker, I found a site that said he worked at WZUM for a short while, but that would have been in the 1970s. Let me put this on the mailbag and see what people might respond. I was only 8 years old in 1985 so I was probably not paying as close attention as I do today!

(Re: A Message in the December Mailbag) WKBS’ tower is on a mountain known as Wopsononock (I would check the spelling if I were you), overlooking Altoona. This is also where WOPC Channel 38 once was located. (I’m not sure if that is also where Channel 23, for all intents and purposes Channel 38’s successor, is located.) Pat (January 2, 2003)