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June 2001

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

Would you please tell me what ever happen to Channel 19 UBN television station that used to be on. I believe it was Channel 22 WPTT. When it was on TCI, it was listed as Channel 22. Thank You. (June 29, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Channel 19 is UPN. It’s on the air as WNPA-TV. Most of the AT&T Cable subscribers get it on Channel 19. WPTT 22 is now WCWB 22. WPTT’s last network affiliation was with UPN before deciding to go with WB Network. WCWB is now the callsign to show the affiliation with WB. The WPTT calls are now on 1360 AM.

According to FCC records on the web as of yesterday, WRPL in Erie will be on the WXTA Country 98 Tower which is owned by Regent Broadcasting. They will be on lower on the tower than XTA and on a directional antenna. Hopefully it will be pointed toward Downtown Erie. I have seen Classy 100s tower and they are directional pointed toward Downtown Erie. Because of their directional antenna, Classy 100 seems to have a weaker signal to the south than Star 104 which is on a tower about a half mile away and has an omni ank 50k watts. (June 28, 2001)

Eric – I just found out from WJET tv 24’s news that Nextmedia’s new station at 93.9 will be known as The Planet, Hence the call letters WRPL. It will be an Active Rock format, probably placing Rocket 101 as more of a Classic based rock station than it is now. It will not be on till later this year with Nextmedia’s move to the Boston Store and final approval of the sale of The Point 102.3 WLKK to Regent Broadcasting. I’m sure Regent will be changing the format there eventually. Rocket, Star, Jet, and now The Planet. Talk about a theme. Tom L. (June 27, 2001)

Eric, The site looks as good as ever, and I still check it out to keep up to date. What’s all this about WJJJ and 3WS? You didn’t list a source, so I looked into the MAILBAG and didn’t see anything. Did I miss it in the PG or the Trib? Keep on keepin’ on and God bless… (June 26, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Part of the problem when you do things late at night is you don’t have an alert mind! Actually I got it from Clarke Ingram who had it listed on AllAccess.com. I have had some bad luck recently trying to get on to the news at AllAccess and fortunately he sent it on to me.

Eric ~ Now that is interesting. It was 1986 when WJET radio moved from 1400 AM to 102.3 FM. It sounds like things are going backwards with the swap. Now if the WJET Good Guys, Sandy Beach & the Hit Radio 14 Liners return to 1400, I’ll be scratching my head…….lol. Tom L. (June 25, 2001)

Hey Eric….Just a little note to let you and readers know that The Point 102.3 in Erie, has swapped its WJET call letters with Nextmedias WLKK AM 1400…..so now of course The Point is running a WLKK ID. I knew Nrextmedia was keeping those calls, and i’m sure Regent won’t keep them. The deals supposed to close on Tuesday, June 26……we’ll see. I just want to know what Regent will do with it!!!…….It certainly is the calm before the “radio storm”. 102.3 and the new 93.9 frequency are certain to shake things up!! (June 24, 2001)

The “Spiderman” referred to below is the late Joe McGee, a friendly man who also sold flowers (in Oakland then at Station Square) later in life. Joe knew his oldies and hosted a program called “The Sounds of the Night” on non-commercial WYEP-Pittsburgh from the late 1970’s up until the mid-1980’s. — Larry Berger (June 23, 2001)

Eric: In answer to the gentleman’s question about a DJ named “Spider”: Some years ago (mid- to late-’80s), there was a nice fellow who called himself “Spiderman. ” I honestly don’t know what ever became of him, since I left home years ago. He used to wear a floppy black leather hat and had a black moustache (Picture it, if you will) and used to sell flowers on streetcorners from one end of Pittsburgh to the next. He worked as a club DJ, primarily, and was quite the authority on “oldies a la Porky.” Fred Johnson of The Marcels and I used to run in to “Spiderman” as we toured the east coast oldies circuit– so this guy really got around. I seem to think he did an oldies radio show on one of the area’s smaller or college radio stations..or perhaps he just used to hang out with some of the jocks while they were on the air (There were tons of guys who used to do just that who became MORE POPULAR than the actual jocks!) Whether this is a lead–from a market six hours from Pittsburgh– I don’t know. Try the smaller suburban stations. If this is the guy you’re looking for– For God sakes, buy him a new hat! (And give him my best!) Ed Weigle (June 21, 2001)

Eric: From Scott Fybush’s Northeast Radio Watch http://world.std.com/~fybush It seems that WOGH 103.5 has gotten approval to change its community of license from Stubenville to Burgettstown, which would finally give Pittsburgh a strong Froggy presence. This change should take place when the new WTOV-TV (channel 9) tower is completed. Also, 620 WKHB has changed its community of license from Greensburg to Irwin. Just heard the new legal ID the other day. I couldn’t tell if they were running with their new day power of 5500 watts or not. It’s a shame that they are wasting their strong day signal on brokered medical and religious programming. It would be nice if they could get full power at night, move to Pittsburgh and trade dial positions with WPTT or KQV. 620 produces an excellent groundwave during the day and is less cluttered at night. Regards, SC (June 21, 2001)

Looking for radio station in PGH that has DJ named SPIDER. Can u help? (June 21, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I’m not sure that we have a station in town with a DJ named Spider. We have a Bubba, a Trout, and a Spank, but I don’t think there’s a Spider

I recently retired after 37 years working as an engineer for six radio stations in the Pittsburgh PA market. I started at KDKA and then went to WPIT-FM. After that came WKJF-FM [later WBZZ] and WRYT/WTAE [WCAE previously]. Later I worked at 13Q/WSHH [WJAS before and after] and finally, I spent 20 years at WQED-FM. I think I covered most of the popular formats at one time or another. Keeping track of the call signs and assigned locations has become almost impossible. The stations have been bought and sold many times and each new owner changes the call sign. Stations were originally assigned to specific markets, but nowadays, they seem to be able to relocate their studios and antennas most anywhere. It was all a lot of fun, but I’m glad to turn it over to someone else these days. If anyone has a question about any of the stations I worked at, I will try to answer it. Jay R. Conley (June 20, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Note to the readers. This email had included Jay Conley’s email address. If you do have a question, I ask that you send it here. That way we can all take part in the discussion.

Dear Eric,I was just responding on the wareabouts of Terry Lee. The last I heard he was in Warren,Ohio on the radio. Also, I think that WLSW shold move their tower to Pittsburgh and boost their signal. Alot of people from all around the area listen to it now and it is sometimes hard to get in pittsburgh. Although the station does come in pretty good in some places considering how far out the tower is. But even though they are not a big market station they could compete with 3WS. They have a great lineup of oldies and fantastic DJ’s on the weekend and on weeknights. No other station has the DJ’s or plays the type of oldies that they do. Thanks! Jared (June 13, 2001)

Eric ~ It is great that NextMedia is moving it’s 5 (to 6) stations to the Boston Store Building in Downtown Erie. It will definitely be a showcase for the stations in such a historic landmark. It would be interesting if the Fairview station @ 93.9 does go Active Rock & picks up Howard Stern for mornings. I do think it would have some listeners though the Local morning shows on Froggy 94.7, Rocket 101 & Star 104 would still hold their own. It would give Erie the other side to the Stern / Imus battle. (Imus is on The Fan 1330) Wait & Hear I guess. As for 102.3, who knows what Regent will do with that station. Smooth Jazz would work for a short time but would lose interest like it had in other markets like Pittsburgh & Buffalo. The only two Smooth Jazz Sattions I am aware of nearby are The Wave @ 107.3 in Cleveland & WLLF 96.7 in Youngstown. Possibly Urban, Rhythmic CHR or FM Talk could have possibilities. (Or yes, even Standards.) It’s great that there are other opinions concerning the Erie Market, I hope other nearby markets can contribute as well. Tom L. (June 12, 2001)

Eric This is for the mailbag. This is stuff I have seen up in the Erie market. *Froggy 94.7 has now moved their oldies diner to their sister stations parking lot at The Fann and 1400. *Looks like construction is starting on Nextmedia’s new Erie studios in the Boston Store. Today they took down the Brig Niagara displays. This is where three of the 5 stations will have their eye on the world. This is similar to the KQV corner of Walk and Don’t Walk. I read in the Times that they may have a speaker so that people on the street can be put on the air. (June 11, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Sounds very much like KQV when it was on the first floor of the Chamber of commerse building. Sounds rather cool to me…we should return it to Pgh some how! 

I’ve been reading your commentary on the Pittsburgh area stations. That’s great. It’s cool to get a little history of the stations. However, you have the “frog” stations listed as “Forever Broadcasting” stations. Although there are a few common owners of “Forever” and “Keymarket”, they have nothing to do with one another and the Burgh stations should be listed as Keymarket Communications. Later, Bob (June 11, 2001)

Eric, Wow, what a site. Very interesting stuff. In reference to Erie area radio news. There’s a new Arbitron market in the area for those that don’t know. The counties of Crawford and Venango, are now I believe Market #230….This most recent book, which ends in a few weeks, will be the first for this area. Major coverage cities are of course Meadville, and Oil City/Franklin. How did local stations fare? We’ll find out later this summer. Will this make Erie’s market number go down? Some say yes, but i don’t think it should have a major bearing. I read the previous articles from AJ and Tom, and yes, Nextmedia will have that new frequency when it’s all said and done….and will run to my knowledge, a new rock/alternative format…..i think with a syndicated morning show as well..i.e.-Stern or Bob and Tom. Urban radio in Erie? It could work if someone had the guts to do it. It can be profitable i believe as well. I do know Regent is about to take over 102.3 FM, but have no idea what they will do with the format. However i think they’ll scrap the modern ac. I did hear they bought some type of chr jingle package…..but that is definately rumor mill stuff. How about this? Regent has a station in Minnesota that is identical (in logo and sound) to Clear Channel KISS stations, and of course it’s KISS and kind of Rhythmic CHR. I think urban, rhythmic chr, or smooth jazz would go over great in Erie. Clear Channel is Ashtabula? That’s another good guess. Those are a handful of stations that they really haven’t done anything with..and of course it’s surprising. I’m waiting for their announcement on what the format will be for WCUZ, which is currently non-existant on 107.5 and all they have is the CP for North Kingsville, OH. Will they move the tower sites to Girard, PA?. I hear they want to, but who knows. And in defense of Forever Broadcasting, they are the “owners” of the Froggy moniker. Jet Broadcasting borrowed that name from them years ago and went Froggy “oldies”. And i believe only paid them a “buck” a year to use it. Unfortunately now, people are confused in this area and are saying “ahhhh….another froggy station”. But Forever is the original “Froggy”, and can do what they want. Froggy in Erie was “borrowed” and at the time, the thought was never given that Forever would be in the area. Froggy in Pittsburgh can work too. The Mon Valley station in particular. I will agree that they’ve gone a little overboard with changing so many along the Ohio/WV border to Froggy, but that’s Keymarket. Yes, Forever and Keymarket are for the most part, the same, but still technically different, with different goals. Forever is by no means Clear Channel, and really hasn’t acquired much over the years, as opposed to how many “KISS” stations have come to be nationwide since CC went on its buying spree….which voice track with jocks from major markets typically for mornings and evenings both. KISS stations sound good, but there’s overkill there. Where as most Froggys are live and local all the time (some may run after midnight w/b. garner) So, a lot of exciting things going on in the Northwestern corner of PA. Time will tell, but honestly i can’t wait. (June 9, 2001)

Eric, I thought this might be of interest to you and your readers. I think it might be misleading. I’m sure the audience size is more in ratio to the number of stations that carry the show, than in ratio to its popularity. When I’m at VA Beach, I listen to G. Gordon Liddy. I can’t in Pittsburgh. (June 9, 2001)

The Talk Radio Research Project’s(TM) top 10 programs for spring 2001 according to audience size are: Rank Host Audience Size in Millions 1. Rush Limbaugh 15.00+
2. Dr. Laura Schlessenger 14.00+
3. Howard Stern 8.50+
4. Dr. Joy Browne 5.75+
5. Jim Bohannon, Don Imus & Bruce Williams (TIED) 4.50+
6. The Dolan’s, Clarke Howard, G. Gordon Liddy & Mike Siegle 2.50+
7. Neil Boortz, Dr. Dean Edell, Michael Savage, Mike Gallager (TIED) 2.25+
8. Kim Komando, Tom Joyner, Tom Leykis, Jim Rome, Doug Stephan (TIED) 1.75+
9. Bob Brinker & Matt Drudge (TIED) 1.25+
10. Motley Fool, Michael Reagan, Phil Hendrie, Dave Ramsey (TIED) 1.00+

Dear Eric: I saw the post saying that WLSW has only 320 watts of power. Indeed, this is the figure I found at http://www.radiostation.com/kodis/ when I looked up WLSW. I said it was 500 watts and I don’t think I am losing it. I had to wait for another sign off to confirm the 500 watt power that I thought it was; this is the figure that was announced as part of the sign off message. Several years ago, many “Class A” stations were granted a doubling of power on a case by case basis, some being granted less than double. Most such stations used to run 3 KW but are now allowed 6 KW. (June 8, 2001)

Eric ~ I was reading the updated Erie area radio listings on the PBRTV page & You had said a comment about the WNJA 89.7 listing. You had said that You thought that sister station to WNJA, 94.5 WNED in Buffalo you thought was the only Public station above 92 FM. I recall when the Detroit FM stations were coming in strong a few summers ago, I picked up WDET @ 101.9 FM. I guess there could be a few exceptions on the Commercial band. Take Care, Tom L. (June 7, 2001)

Hello again, Eric …First of all, WODZ is now calling itself WSPO and is a Fox Sports Radio affiliate. I’d have to think those who worked the old WJAC-AM when it was the Tribune-Democrat’s radio station are rolling in their graves (if they weren’t when it started simulcasting the former WVSC-AM). Also, just a tweaking of your FM list … WJAC-TV audio is at 87.7, not 88.7. Have fun … Pat Cloonan. (June 7, 2001)

Eric, First, great to see Jason Togyer’s column back. Hope he’ll be able to write more frequently. On a couple of points brought up by the reader from England — WRYT became WTAE around the mid-60s. They finally realized they could cross-promote if the radio and TV stations had the same calls. If he remembers “Cordic & Company,” he should visit the Rege Cordic Tribute website: http:/oldefrothingslosh.homestead.com/. There’s a lot of good material there. His two Ed Sullivan stories have the ring of “urban legend.” I’ve read many histories of the Beatles and never saw any reference to their appearing on the Sullivan show via film before their live appearance in February of 1964. The acknowledged first US TV appearance for the group was indeed on Jack Paar’s show on NBC (via film). Also, I have never read that Sullivan didn’t like the group. In those days, they were completely non-controversial and very likeable. I’m also sure that Sullivan appreciated what they did for his ratings. I have never seem any evidence that Sullivan had any animosity for the group. If he made a comment about their hair style, it was probably in the form of a joke. (June 5, 2001)

Eric ~ While the Froggy name is very much linked to the Erie Froggy Station, bringing the WJET calls to 94.7 also allows the history of Jet Radio to be truly preserved, unlike it is now only as a top of the hour call sign on 102.3. The station @ 94.3 is the station next to Froggy 94.7, “WUZZ 94” out of Meadville. Common mistake since they are that close. Tom L. (June 5, 2001)

Hello, Eric … I read with regret the gentleman’s thoughts on the Froggy oldies station in Erie (94.3) losing that nickname to the Forever Froggy folks. But, it would be a masterstroke for 94.3 to adopt the WJET-FM call sign. I remember when WJET was on AM 1400 in Erie, in a day when Erie radio was worth one’s time. (Of course, this was also when one could pick up some good rock and roll from CKLW 800 Detroit, which came in as clear as a bell, or the CBC on 740 from Toronto, a frequency now used by a nostalgia station.) If the owner of 94.3 wants to bring back good memories (and if it can get the blessing of WJET-TV’s owners to use the call sign), WJET should move in where Froggy is being forced out … Pat Cloonan. (June 5, 2001)

If I recall from Bible history, the ancient Egyptians had to deal with the plague of the Frogs! Hopefully the frogs of today will all croak just like the frogs of the old testament. (June 5, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I’ll have to check my Bible…

Eric ~ I read AJ’s e-mail on this site & it sounds like he has some reliable sources for his info. I too heard the rumor of the Fairview station @ 93.9 becoming Active Rock. Though I heard that NextMedia will have that frequency & may run 93.9 as Active Rock & Rocket 101 going Classic Rock. Wait & see or should I say hear. I too have been waiting for Clear Channel to become more aggressive in the Erie Market with WREO. They have somewhat with sister WFUN 970 going talk with syndicated programs. WREO does have a great signal into Erie but they could offer something different than the AC on Classy 100. I have heard various rumors about WREO, one of which going Country. Maybe Rhythmic Top 40 or Urban would be a good possibility. Urban was tried in Erie before in 1986 when WJET AM 1400 moved to the former WSEG @ 102.3 FM. 1400 Became WBLQ for a short period of time but the format in AM Stereo was not a hit & they went Country with the WLKK call letters. It could be a lot better on FM than AM. (Though I think Standards on FM would be great as well.) One final note, former Classy 100 afternoon Jock Greg Mauz is now Middays in Jamestown, New York on Mix 93.3 (WWSE.) The station has a decent signal into the Erie Market. It’ll be interesting to see how he does there against the new Top 40 station there Kiss 106.9. Take Care All ~ Tom L (June 5, 2001)

Eric, WPGH TV 53 Held a Telothon to raise money for the construction of WPCB TV 22. they even had Billboards advertising it through out the area. Then Commercial Radio Institute[ now Sinclair Broadcasting, current Owner of both tv 53 and tv 22] got TV 22 in the settelment, and Russ Bixler got tv 40. WENS [ Were Entertainment News Sports ] held the Permit for TV 22 Until Aug. 2 1965. WENS was on TV 16 first . and TV 40 WPCB had a Chance to get TV 16. and its still not over. Full Circle. Phil Z (June 4, 2001)

Eric, Just found the site and it’s by far one of the most interesting and entertaining relevant to radio in the region. I have some comments and then questions. First, the new Fairview, PA frequency, which will serve the City of Erie, received its new calls on May 1. They are WRPL and of course, Nextmedia is trying to buy the CP for it. Rumor has it, (from reliable sources..it will be new rock–not modern ac like The Point) Nextmedia of course is already dominant in the Erie market next to Regent. Speaking of Regent, they were approved on the sale of WJET-FM, and this Tom L guy is correct, Nextmedia is keeping the calls, but they are not going to the fairview frequency. I believe since Forever Broadcasting is in the area with the “true” Froggy, Nextmedia can no longer keep that name…so look for a change in the near future on Erie’s Oldies Station. Chances are the JET calls will end up there. Old call letters on an oldies station. Once Regent gets the 102.3 signal, which should officially close anytime…..who knows?? What could the Erie market support?? How about Urban? Don’t say it wouldn’t work, because no one has “really” given it a shot, and many people in Erie like that music. Yeah, they might be the 18-34 demo, but that can be sold as well. I think it would work if given time and done right. If not, Rhythmic CHR which is really another label for Urban. How about the big Clear Channel takeover of Ashtabula? Will Star 97.1 go KISS-FM? It could work as well because Star 104 lacks in many areas..and needs a reality check in the worst way!! How about the new frequency in North Kingsville, Ohio at 107.5 FM which CC owns the permit for too. I’ve seen the calls go from WCUZ to WFXJ-FM…that’s according to the Clear Channel website, not the FCC. Will Clear Channel really move tower sites closer to Erie, like I’ve heard since they moved in just under a year ago??? If they moved 97.1 and 107.5 closer to Erie, they could really shake things up. Any thoughts would be great from others in the Erie/ NW PA region. Thanks….AJ (June 3, 2001)

Eric, the WPTT call letters did indeed stand for Pittsburgh Twenty-Two. In fact, they also owned a Baltimore station, WBFF, which stood for Baltimore Forty-Five. It is a little-known fact that WPCB was originally going to be on Channel 22 (I have an early WPCB-TV 22 booklet which is something of a collector’s item) and that WPTT would have been channel 40. In fact, WPTT was originally assigned the call letters WPFO (for Pittsburgh Forty). However, to avoid a long legal battle over the better channel 22 signal, WPCB agreed to take channel 40 instead. WPTT’s original studios were on Seco Road, but eventually moved to Ivory Avenue with WPGH. As to the question of whether there was another station on channel 22 before WPTT, the answer appears to be no. There was a WENS-TV 16 which operated in the 1950’s, and a WKJF-TV 53 which operated in 1953-54 from the WKJF-FM (now WBZZ) transmitter site on Mt. Washington. WENS went off the air in 1957, although their construction permit was active for many years. When WQEX was authorized on channel 16, the WENS CP was changed to specify channel 22, but to the best of my knowledge, the station never operated on that channel. Ironically enough, WENS broadcast from the Ivory Avenue location that is now home to both 22 and 53. So if the new 22 is considered to be a descendant of the old WENS, the station’s location has truly come full circle. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (June 2, 2001)

Hello, Eric … Just tweaking your recollections for the gentleman living in Britain, if you don’t mind … You’re quite correct, of course, about WLOA-FM, one of the most powerful radio stations in Allegheny County, but WLOA-AM, which simulcast WLOA-FM (both of which were owned by the Matta family that also was involved in construction work), eventually became WCXJ and is today urban WURP-AM. It was and is licensed to Braddock and now airs from Forest Hills. You skipped over WEEP, which on AM is now religious WWNL-AM and in the process of being sold to a Southern chain owner who reportedly would like to turn the station into an all-preacher all-day station. On FM, of course, it’s Infinity’s country-fried WDSY, which faces the Froggy invasion from the Mon Valley. (I’m not sure I could explain that to our friend across the pond. I’m still trying to understand it for “Vast Wasteland” readers.) Thanks … Pat Cloonan. (June 2, 2001)

Eric, Back on May 17, “Scott” asked if Don & Mike were on the air in Pittsburgh anymore. The answer, for sure, is “no.” When WESA AM 940 went away Don & Mike lost their only presence in the area. Hopefully, maybe, someday soon they’ll be back in the ‘burg. For now fans of D&M can keep up to date with the show at http://www.donandmikefans.com/.Tom Lacko formerly of KDKA, WFFM and WESA. (June 1, 2001)