June 2002

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

Eric, do you know of a place where I can find the history of the Steelers on radio? You know what years were they on what stations? Take care, Tom Kanhofer (June 30, 2002)

Love the web site. It was my dream at one point to enter the exciting world of radio broadcasting and I had the short, but wonderful opportunity to meet some wonderful people in the late 70’s and early to mid80’s. I was a “radio geek” who spent a summers interning at WHJB-AM in Greensburg, KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh and got my first board op position at WPNT-FM “The Sound in the Spirit of the Point.” and culminated as sidekick to Captain Video in the “Home Video Show” a talk show on WIXZ-AM in the mid-80’s. Not a great reusme builder, but a fun experiences. I met some really nice people like Jim Burton, Lora Lee and Rod Daniels and WHJB, John Cigna, Art Pallan and Trish Beatty at KDKA and a great man, Nat Humphries at WPNT. While in college Kerri Griffiths (I think 96.1) and Lindsay Robbins (WYDD) did voice work for our small college station. I was not always the best intern as I tended to get to obsessed in being with the talent and not paying attention to the project at hand. I once listed the Dave Clark Five as the Dick Clark Five at WPNT and at KD my career in Traffic and Continuity just didn’t get me close enough to the board and booth. Filing and Scheduling was something I never wanted to do. Thanks for the site which is now on my must see list. Some of my favorite memories as a listener was the “Rocking Easy People” WFFM jingles, some were as long as a couple of minutes I believe. I loved WPEZ and the morning DJ, he used to talk to a guy at a phone booth who was hilarious as I delivered the morning paper and WYDD Block Party weekend and “Cruising the Metro”. Thanks again for the memories. Scott Baird (June 30, 2002)

It’s a sad day to hear of the passing of Pittsburgh Radio & TV legend Al Julius. Al came to KQV in early 1964 along with pd John Rook. In December of 1964 Al became KQV’s News Director. During his time at KQV, Al reported traffic (14 and out) and hosted the Sunday talk show “Controversy”. Al’s commentaries were among the influences that shut down the “Brick Alley” prostitution area in McKeesport. Al had a distinctive style. John Rook suggested to AL that the one thing that would get people’s attention was the sound of silence. That’s where the dramatic pause at the end of Al’s newscasts came from. “This ………. is Al Julius” (June 28, 2002)

Eric’s Response: My friend Keith MacDonald who is a Coraopolis native and has been a Washington, DC radio host/producer for many years once told me he held that cause he was making the board op nervous. The board op would be ready to punch the button as soon as he’d be quiet. So Al would hold it to get the guy all rowled up. One myth goes that he took so much time between “This” and “is” that the transmitter thought the station was off the air and it automatically switched over to the auxilliery. (But I think that IS a myth!) The other one was told by Al himself. I think it was he who said that a driver was driving through the Ft. Pitt Tunnels and drove in hearing, “Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis….” and lost the signal in the tunnels and drove out the other side and heard, “…..is Al Julius.”

(Re: Al Julius) I grew up in Kittanning watching Al on Channel 2. Then I had the chance meeting of working with him at Insight for the Blind, a recording studio creating talking books for blind and physcially challenged adults and children. Al worked with me there in Fort Lauderdale as a volunteer recording books for the blind for the Library of Congress. He was a great guy and will be missed! Thanks, Bill Mattax (June 28, 2002)

I just found PBRTV – what a great site! Just wanted to add my two cents – if I’m repeating anything or bringing up old questions, forgive me. Mr Wrinkle (Sterling Yeates) went to the North Pole every night at 5:55pm on KDKA, starting after Thanksgiving. I LOVED that show, and still remember it. He also had a Sat morning show on WTAE TV. The backdrop looked like a mad scientists studio. Since I grew up in Pgh, I wouldn’t have known how it was in other cities, but I have to believe we had the best kids shows anywhere. About 1-2 years ago, I heard Mike Hambrick doing a very right wing (almost scary right wing) syndicated show broadcast in the DC area. One night in the 60s, during a period of extreme interference, I briefly saw a logo for Channel 2 -LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS appear on channel 2. Does anyone else recall seeing this? I’m sure many people remember Ed King and The Book of Fate. If some of these shows could be put on tape, I think a lot of people in the area would buy them. Maybe they could be sold for Childrens Hosp. fundraising. I’ve emailed KDKA, and they say Wendy owns the tapes, and otherwise KD has no interest. Is there anyone else out there who likes this idea? (June 25, 2002)

Eric’s Response: It sounds like a cool idea to me!

Dear PBRTV, I was doing a search on dogpile.com on Mad Mike and found your link http://pbrtv.tripod.com/nov00.html. I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for keeping this page up. I was deeply saddened to hear of Mike’s passing. We use to hit West View Park Danceland every week. What a Super guy Mike was. I can still see him up on stage playing his moldies. What a great time we all had. He is a legend to Pittsburgh. Times were so great back then. I feel like I have lost a part of myself with Mike’s passing but I know he is up above still spinning his Golden Moldies. If you know of any site with information on Mad Mike I would really appreciate that. I think I am going to dig out some of my old Mad Mike vinyl and listen to some Moldies. Again, Thank you so much for this page. God Bless you Mike where ever you are. 😉 Sincerely, Dave Belin (June 24, 2002)

Dear Eric, It’s Ohio’s loss and Western Pennsylvania’s gain! Nikki Wilson’s talent is no longer on the air waves (WQMX) in Akron, Ohio. Nikki has joined FROGGY 94.9, WOGG and can be heard daily from 9am until noon. She is a refreshing new voice to the area. (June 20, 2002)

Eric, I was the “recorded announcer” at channel 53 the day that it signed off in 1971. I remember it well. I became unemployed that day! Here’s what happened. US Communications was attempting to sell 53 due to financial problems caused by its sister UHF stations. When the deal fell through, they decided to pull the plug. I was off work that day, but had recorded the announcer tape for the day. I was watching 53 and had found that my “continuity” announcements were being pre-empted by an announcement by Ron Stein, our production manager, saying that 53 would be closing due to improper funding. WPGH-TV signed off with the National Anthem at 6PM, August 16, 1971. I remember driving home that night thinking “I don’t believe that we closed a television station today. Things like this don’t happen.” “Scream-In” was originally hosted by Tarantula (Paul Kawecki, a local college student). It was later hosted by Mike Dix from WIXZ radio. If anyone is interested, I have the final audio announcement and other 53 audio clips. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who would like to talk about those days. My email address is bjkrist@verizon.net. Bob Kristof PS. Does anyone know the whereabouts of Ron Stein, the former Production Manager. He is from St. Louis. (June 19, 2002)

Dear Eric: In answer to a Mailbag reader’s question, Ch. 53 signed on as WPGH-TV Feb. 1, 1969 according to an old Broadcasting Yearbook that I have. The owner was U. S. Communications which also put Philadelphia’s WPHL-TV, Ch. 17, on the air some 3-1/2 years earlier. The location was 750 Ivory Ave. where it still is. This is a later facility than the 1953 version, WKJF-TV, which was co-located with 93.7 FM and was owned by Agnes J. Reeves Greer who also owned Morgantown’s WAJR (note the connection with the owner’s maiden name initials). More information is available at:http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/7010/greaterpgh/WPGHTV53.htm. Also see Clarke Ingram’s Dumont Network history Web site, http://members.aol.com/cingram/television/dumonta13.htm. (June 18, 2002)

Eric, About WPGH: It was on the air with those calls in the spring of 1969. I can remember sending in a SASE for their program schedule. They went dark around ’71 or so. They came back in early ’74 and have been on ever since. The increase in cable penetration helped them a great deal. In ’68, you needed one of those “loop” antennas to get UHF and in those days people with older sets probably didn’t even have a UHF tuner on them. Vic (June 17, 2002)

Eric, WKJF-TV on channel 53 was the first UHF TV station on the air in Pittsburgh. Their airdate was August 1, 1953. WENS signed on at the end of the same month, on August 29. WKJF, trying to find an advantage, promoted itself as “Pittsburgh’s Pioneer UHF Television Station” – pretty funny, since they only beat WENS to the air by four weeks. There was also a WTVQ, channel 47, which apparently was never built. WKJF-TV was an NBC affiliate, while WENS was primarily ABC with a few CBS shows that WDTV (now KDKA-TV) did not air. The original owner of WKJF-FM and TV was Agnes J. Reeves Greer, also the owner of WAJR in Morgantown (hence the “AJR” call letters). While WENS was a high-powered UHF facility for its time at 200,000 watts, WKJF-TV only ran a kilowatt or two from Mount Washington; WDTV’s log books indicate it didn’t even come in well on the North Side! WKJF-TV was off the air by July 1954, while WENS hung on with a bare-bones schedule until WIIC-TV signed on in September 1957. Channel 16, of course, went to WQEX a few years later. Channel 53 remained vacant for 15 years until WPGH-TV took over the channel in 1969. It went dark again (but only temporarily) in 1971. Does anyone remember “Tarantula” and his assistant “Hugo” hosting the weekend horror movies on WPGH-TV? I used to watch them regularly. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (June 15, 2002)

Eric, When exactly did Channel 53 sign on thr air under the WPGH-TV calls? I first saw that channel back in June of 1974, when I was visiting my Aunt Clare (yes, she lived in Pittsburgh until she died early on in 1997). There was “The Untouchables”(the old TV show about the Prohibition Era; it was later a feature film with Sean Connery) and then a really, really old movie with a similar theme, “In Old Chicago.” Was WPGH the first indie in Pittsburgh, or were there others before it came?. What was the original owner of Channel 53, and where were its studios originally located? Martin Connolly, PBRTV’s #1 fan and also a big fan of J. Lo.(i.e. Jennifer Lopez)!! (June 14, 2002)

Eric’s Response: Last month it was Britney Spears! WPGH has been around for at least 25 years! I know that much. II don’t think it was the first indie. I think WENS was the first on Channel 16. That didn’t last long. Before becoming WPGH however, 53 was WKJF-TV. Obviously its sister was WKJF-FM which was on the air at 93.7. The stations came from the building high atop Mount Washington at 1715 Grandview Avenue. The building is still there and so is the tower. WBZZ, WZPT and WDSY were all cramped in there until 1998/99 when they moved to Foster Plaza. I was at least able to see one Regatta Fireworks show there in 1997. “GRAND VIEW!”


Eric’s Response: Amanda is a part of the morning team at WOGI Froggy 98.3.

Eric: To the gentleman requesting vintage Pittsburgh airchecks, I’d suggest www.reelradio.com. A few months ago, I had the pleasure of listening to some of Jim Quinn’s old 13Q stuff (I hadn’t seen Jim since our Magic 97 days, so I dropped him a line: He says he’s having more fun today than ever). Occasionally, you’ll see some of the great names from Pittsburgh. Of course, vintage Porky Chedwick airchecks are like hen’s teeth… Hope all’s well! Ed Weigle (June 14, 2002)

Where have all the WZUM DJ’s gone? A tape plays the same few songs at about the same time each day. Once in a while someone sounding like Mike Horvath imitating Charlie Apple mentions a song or artist name, and that’s it? About the only programs left are the ethnic shows on Sunday. I guess it all can be explained by money, somehow. (June 13, 2002)

What the heck happened to the great oldies I used to hear on WZUM during the day???? I’m hearing the same tape day after day. I can’t stand to listen any more. (June 12, 2002)

Kelli Olexia: worked at WTOV9 from 1996-2001 as a news anchor, reporter, and producer. Kelli is now a reporter anchor with KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, PA. Source: WTOV9.com (June 9, 2002)

Eric’s Response: Well that solves that mystery!

Hello, I really enjoy your website. I lived in Pittsburgh in the 1970’s and I was wondering if anyone out there has any aircheck tapes they might have recorded off the radio of the following radio stations: WZUM-AM (in the late ’60’s and early 70’s when they were a progressive rock station); WYDD-FM (in the early to late 70’s when they had great dj’s like “laid back” Larry Allen playing progressive rock); WAMO-FM (in the mid 1970’s); and WDVE-FM (the early to mid 1970’s). If anyone has any tapes from those days, please email me at: robear572001@yahoo.com I’d love to hear some tapes of those old days to bring back some of the great memories I have of Pittsburgh. I will gladly supply the blank tapes and cost of postage if someone has tapes of those radio stations and they can make me a copy of them. Thank you! Bob (June 4, 2002)

Hello, I love your site, I was wondering what ever happened to Chuck the Movieguy? He was on the B94 morning show for like 10 years and I know he did movie reviews for Banana Don Jefferson on Wish for a little while. Do you know where he is now? He was always my favorite radio personality. He made me laugh every morning on B94 Thanks (June 3, 2002)

Eric’s Response: Yeah, where is ole Chuck hiding these days?

(Re: The Orioles on WPTT?!) That’s not a bad theory, but it’s not the case. I heard both games in the 7-8PM time slot, when WPTT is still at full power from their Greenfield tower. (After that time, they could be overpowered by just about anything.) Also, the Orioles flagship station is WBAL, 1090, not the station you mentioned. And the newsbreaks I heard were definitely local WPTT breaks. My theory is that they mis-aim the satellite dish every Saturday, and the engineering department has been cut so low that they get through an entire nine inning ballgame without anyone on staff noticing! Not that I mind….Major League Baseball would charge twenty bucks to hear these games via the internet! (June 3, 2002)

Sure the night of storms was bad…but on TV wall to wall coverage without footage… I thought we were STILL in May sweeps!!! And on KDKA radio….did they bag, baseball for coverage????,,,On Friday I came away thinking it was more hype than anything else! It’s like stations (radio & tv) were trying to make up for past missed Big Stories!! 11 had chopper shots, but all in all the info was spotted, and Kennywood played it close to the vest…..even early on I thought it was blown out to justify air time!!! Anyone agree??? (June 3, 2002)

Eric, I tuned in tonight to WPTT-AM, and for the second time in recent weeks, was surprised to hear them carrying a Baltimore Orioles baseball broadcast from the Orioles Radio Network. I have only heard this twice on Saturday evenings, never during the week. Is WPTT a member of the Orioles Radio Network? If so, they really need to address some issues involving sloppy engineering. Automated commercial blocks and newscasts kept popping-up in mid-inning. I thought the Pirates had exclusive rights to local broadcasts in Pittsburgh. JC, South Hills (June 1, 2002)

Eric’s Response: Call me odd, but I think, and this is a fair stretch of the mind, that you were picking up Baltimore’s 1360 WWLG. That’s the only theory I can come up with…especially if it’s the Orioles! I know that WPTT operates 24 hours a day, but you know how AM radio is!

(From EMRTV’s Tom Lavery) Just to let you know, the Vintage Vinyl Goldmine radio show that was to air on WQLN-FM on June 2 has been cancelled and will not return. However, The WQLN Vinyl Sale at The Millcreek Mall’s main stage will go on as scheduled next Saturday and Sunday, June 8th and 9th. Tom Lavery (June 1, 2002)

WPXI had the coverage during last night’s storm at Kennywood. They had aerial shots while 2 and 4 did not know what to do. So in a rush to journalism, former Groovy QV Poster Girl Yvonne Zanos said that an 8 year old was killed at the park. Kennywood officials said they could make no comment until the family of the victim was notified. But KDKA and KQV radio ran reports that an 8 year old girl was killed. Parents were calling the park to find their kids. Can you imagine how many 8 year old girls were at the park yesterday? Bad job KDKA and bad job KQV for airing the report too. The proper thing to do was wait til the next of kin were notified. I am sorry Channel 2 did not have a copter, but this was no excuse. Everybody makes a mistake, so please next time get it right! vito (June 1, 2002)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code