↑ Return to 2001 – 2003

May 2001

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

Dear Eric, I have finally stumbled onto your site. What a fantastic find!. I, like you, love radio broadcasting. In Britain, you & I would be called an “anarak” by the broadcasters here. An anarak, is a type of “parka” coat – radio “anaraks” eat, sleep, live radio. I have been in the UK since Dec 8, 1963 (“Oh What A Night”-4 Seasons) and came over with USAF. Married an English girl, had a family, made a million ££££, lost it, and am on my way up again. Have worked Freelance, commercial radio stations and also the BBC. The main reason I looked for your Site I’ll come to at the end of this E-Mail. I’m 56, and from Wilkinsburgh, Class of ’63 – this will have bearing on the following info. I was around the time of Rege Cordic (when he had a rating of 85); Larry Aitken on KQV (whatever happened to him?), Porky Chedwick on WAMO, and when “WEEP – – -for joy!” was on. Also, the late Clarke Race. I have looked up on http://www.classmates.com/ for Wilkinsburgh, 1963, and am looking for one Joel Bush, who was a DJ in our school, took theatre, and was to be full-time Jock. He had the looks & talent to go far. Whatever happened to classical station WLOA, a 1,000-watter daytime (can’t remember location)? Whatever happened to WEEP? It was pop, then went country? What happened to WCAE, that went WRYT (elevator music??). The very popular DJ “Jay Bird” left WCAE – -where did he go?? Is WRYT still going?? Can not find it various Publications I have on Stateside radio. By the way, KDKA started about 1 mile away from where I lived in Wilkinsburgh – the plaque was just on the other side of the rail- road viaduct near where Mr. Conrad did his b’casting. Now to my question that has been bugging me. On KDKA-TV, Channel 2, on a Sunday (I cannot remember the date) in January, 1963, I saw The Ed Sullivan Show. The Show was running fast, and a filler was needed – much like the “Bye Bye Birdie” incident (they Birdie incident I BELIEVE was taken from the real thing I saw in Jan, ’63). Anyway, Mr Sullivan introed a group from England they were called the Beatles (the cameras pulled back which showed a large movie being lowered)…….Anyway, they sang, as I remember “Love Me Do”, which I found out when I came to the UK was a hit in October (?) ’62. I have put this into a discussion group on Ron Smith’s Oldies and I’m being told that Jack Par had the Beatles first; Ed Sullivan had them in ’64. In June ’63 I joined the USAF, and while I was on leave in November, President Kennedy was shot. I was then sent to England, arriving Dec 8, ’63. Soon afterwards, girls I had known, where writing me, asking, did I know George Harrison?? How about Paul – what was he like?? ect.. I need to know who as watching KDKA-TV (CBS affiliate) in Jan. 1963 when Ed Sullivan intro’d them – I found out from other Sites I found last year, according to people who knew Ed, he did not want to have the Beatles on his Show ’cause of a moral delima, or something to that end. He had made a derogatory comment about their haircut for starters. Anyway, any help your readers/anaraks can give would be appreciated – –I can’t be the only one to see that Show, and I couldn’t have dreamed it, as it is too valuable a memory for my professional career to be invalid. Thank you!! A Displaced Pittsburgher, John “Peanutz” K., KRS, UK (May 31, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Well it has been a while since you’ve been here! Let me think. WLOA – Gone. 96.9 FM was its location and that is now WRRK a Classic Rock Station. WRYT died many moons ago and became WTAE-AM/FM (FM then became a number of different stations and AM eventually became WEAE). WRYT was the precursor to WSHH-FM on 99.7 which was an easy listening format to 1989 and became soft rock (same station though.) I think too that we lost Mr. Conrad’s garage not too long ago unfortunately. I am not old enough to remember anything about the Ed Sullivan Show, so I invite my readers to share in this discussion.

Eric, When Channel 22 first signed on the air back in the late ’70’s as WPTT-TV, the station was just another independent, with such reruns as “Perry Mason” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Where did the WPTT calls come from? My guess is “Pittsburgh Twenty-Two.” I remember watching 22 when I was visiting relatives in McKees Rocks in the early 1980’s. Later in its tenure, WPTT-TV(it is now WCWB, which is the WB station in Pittsburgh) began airing the Home Shopping Network in the overnight hours. Do they still do that today? Also, do you know of any other Channel 22 that existed before WPTT came on? Where were the old Channel 22 studios located, and who was the original owner of the station? In January, 1995, when UPN started, 22 was chosen as its Pittsburgh affiliate. In one Pittsburgh TV Guide edition, I remember 22 was known as the “Logical Alternative.” Why was that? When exactly did 22 go to the WB(like many UPN stations back at that time)? UPN then landed at WNPA, Channel 19(You know, the former WJNL-TV in Johnstown!!). I also remember that WPTT was on 24 hours during the week in the early ’80’s. One more thing. My Phillies are the best in the National League. How are your Pirates doing? And the 76ers are one of the NBA’s best; if they can beat the Milwaukee Bucks, then they have a shot at the NBA title(that is, if we can put away Kobe and Shaq in the finals). Take care. Martin Connolly (May 30, 2001)

Eric’s Response: WPTT, I do believe, did stand for Pittsburgh Twenty-Two. The calls are at Renda Broadcasting now for AM 1360. Channel 22 no longer airs QVC shopping or anything of that nature. I believe the original studios were on Seco Rd. in Monroeville, but although a few might still be there, I think most of the operations have moved in with WPGH on Ivory Ave. in Reserve Township. Anyone else know more?

Hi Eric, I was saddened to see that John Boyle had passed away. I had the pleasure of working with John at double double back in the early to mid 70’s. He was a joy to work with, a wonderful talent, and as Paul said a gentleman. He will be missed. Rick Pantaleo VOA, Washington (May 29, 2001)

Hi Eric! Found your website through DCRTV. Am a big fan of Pittsburgh in general and my good friend, Jay Silvers, works at WAMO. He and I grew up together in Cumberland Maryland. Just wanted to drop you a note and say hello from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Would love to someday work in Pittsburgh radio…maybe when all the Clear Channels of the world disapear. Steve Williams Program Director WQPO-WAMM-WBHB Harrisonburg, Va (May 27, 2001)

Eric, John R. Boyle died on May 18, 2001, at age 68, of diabetes complications. John was an announcer on Pittsburgh radio for forty years, until he retired in 1996 from WDUQ. In the past he worked at WSHH, WTAE, WRYT, WCAE, and others. He was a gentleman, and a pleasant guy to work with. Paul (May 27, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Thanks for the info Paul! (By the way, WRYT was an easy listening station prior to the arrival of WSHH and others.)

Hi Could you tell me what station Bill Cardille works at? Also does he or the station have a website and/or email address?? Thanks Jim (May 27, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Chilly is hanging out at WJAS these days. The website for the station has been down recently though. For what reasons I do not know.

WLSW has only 320 watts, not 500 watts as another poster stated. In spite of their antenna being 238 meters above average terrain, they are still running low power for that height. Case in point: WWSW-FM 94.5 operates with 50,000 watts at 247 meters of HAAT. Yes, 3WS is an overpowered (at 247 meters) Class B and WLSW is a small Class A, but this comparison illustrates how low 103.9’s power actually is. Regards, Steve (May 26, 2001)

Can you tell me where Margaret Shortridge works now? Thanks, Mike (May 25, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Last thing I knew, Margaret was in Los Angeles. Whether she is working or not, I’m not sure. She moved out there with her husband and had a child or two. At first I think she took time off. Who knows for sure!?

Dear Eric: I saw the letter from someone wanting Pittsburgh oldies on the radio. I’d like to suggest such people try WLSW 103.9 weeknights and weekends. They have only 500 watts but get requests from west of Pittsburgh, so they get out even though they might be hard to get in some places, especially of low elevation. They used to have their program audio on the Internet (wlsw.com) until greed on the part of the music industry made it economically impractical to continue this practice. They want more money for a couple dozen extra listeners out of town who wouldn’t be listening to their local stations which DID pay music fees based on their market size which includes these people. (May 24, 2001)

Eric, I am not the only person in the area that feels the way I do. Take a poll and see how many people want the old Pittsburgh sounds. Some of these radio stations are owned by people that don’t live in Pittsburgh. I realize it’s a big business and these owners don’t care. Making money is the name of the game. When 540 and 1590 were playing the oldies, there were alot of people listening to them. Not just because of the music, but they had good people working on the radio. It was a sad day when Mad Mike passed away. He was fun. (May 23, 2001)

If the last guy who said about “the moron stations” would realize that with what happens with radio today, he’d see there is a wider audience than he thinks! Radio goes on what works on the buisiness perspective, not on what one person wants. If he only wants to hear one format, then he should go buy the airtime. (May 22, 2001)

Eric ~ Tom L. here, Just to let You know that the station I work for (WQLN) is having a Vintage Vinyl record sale on June 2nd. The sale will be from 10 am till 6 pm in Erie at the Millcreek Mall’s Main stage. This event is being presented by WQLN TV 54 & 91.3 FM along with Froggy 94.7 who will be broadcasting live from the sale. All proceeds benefit WQLN. There will be a one hour preview special on Q-91.3 on June 1st from 7 till 8 pm called “The Vintage Vinyl Goldmine.” The program will be hosted by Brian Williams (Formerly of WXTA Country 98 & now on staff at WQLN) And Yours Truly, Tom Lavery. The show will consist of some great standards by Sinatra, Bennett & some other surprises on LP, no CDs’ allowed on this show. You can hear the show online at www.wqln.org Take care. Tom L. (May 21, 2001)

WZUM sounds terrible! Once they changed formats they lost their listeners. I feel they’ll regret any changes. Also old WARO 540 was a good station at one time, but not now. Zeke Jackson and that crew was great. I don’t know of anyone that listens to these two moron stations now. BRING BACK REAL PITTSBURGH OLDIES STATIONS! R.D. and Dougie is not the answer. (May 21, 2001)

“B-94 will win a bitter brawl between them and Kiss-FM. reason, Pittsburgh is a very provincial market and the B will empasize localism with the jocks. Tone E Fly (Kiss-FM) may just drive Spank to a nervous breakdown, but that might not be enough” FYI… I’m winning at night now, and I don’t even know my direct competitor’s name. t. (May 19, 2001)

I am in Pittsburgh often for business and wanted to know if any area radio stations broadcast the “Don and Mike Show” which is simulcast on Westwood One out of D.C. I saw on one “fan” website that the show used to be broadcast on 940 AM – WESA. But according to your website, that station no longer exists. Thanks. Scott (May 17, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I’m not sure if there is a Don & Mike Station around. In fact, I’m almost positive there isn’t a station within the greater Pittsburgh area that carries them. Anyone know for sure?

I did want to write, and let you know, that I think you missed an old call sign on your list. (Maybe I just didn’t see it). But it was WWKS in Beaver Falls. (Kiss 106.7… they were doing Pittsburgh’s Adult Rock back in the early 90’s. I have a rare air-check of them from them on tape, from the period). Randy (May 16, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Ahhhhhhhhhhh yes, the station that became WXDX and was bought by WDVE’s parent “Secret Communications” and then traded signals with WAMO! (I believe there is more of this story below!) Yup, I bet I forgot ole WWKS in the long run. Fear not…it will be added!

WIIC (W 11 See) became WPXI (Were Pittsburgh’s 11) on June 19,1979 (May 9, 2001)

Eric, Thought you’d like to know that Forever Broadcasting actually killed a Frog this week! They blew up Froggy 98 in Somerset (WSGY 97.7), and it’s now simulcasting WUZZ 105 (WUZI 105.7 Portage-Johnstown). No word on the staff, but it appears they’ve all been canned. An unusual move for the middle of the spring Arbitron. I guess there’s hope for all of us sick of the Frogs! (May 8, 2001)

Hello, Eric … When Sheridan Broadcasting swapped its 105.9 Pittsburgh frequency with whoever owned 106.7 at the time, it obtained $14 million and a Beaver Falls frequency that doesn’t reach all the areas the old 105.9 reached with 72,000 watts — including some of the prime listening areas for a Pittsburgh-based African-American-formatted radio station. (In other words, it gained Youngstown and lost parts of Allegheny County.) So it made a deal with the owner of WHJB (again, not the current owner) to purchase 107.1 in Greensburg. Hope it answers the writer’s questions … Pat Cloonan. (May 8, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Exactly! This all took place in 1995/6 when WDVE’s owner du jour – Secret Communications had purchased 106.7. Secret bought it, but wanted it to focus more on Pittsburgh. Therefore they made the deal for 105.9 with Sheridan who looked forward to the $14 million with great pleasure! 107.1 is still legally WSSZ, but simulcasts the WAMO programming so to get the eastern portions of Allegheny. It wasn’t long after that Secret bought 104.7 and 107.9 and then traded 107.9 for a station in another market…oh I could write a book on this saga.

Hello Eric: News from Parkersburg WV. WGGE 99.1 formley WXKX. Froggy 99 is getting a new website. The website is www.froggy99.com. It is isn’t finshed yet. Has anyone heard if WOGH 103.5 has moved closer to Pittsburgh. Why does WMAO 106.7 simlcast onto 107.1FM? Most radio stations have dropped there Live Webcast’s because of FEE’s. Everyone just wants money. Well I hope this infomation is useful. Has 107.5 gotting stronger. Thanks Eric! (May 6, 2001)

Captain Jim was Ted Eckman, he lived in the Shaler Glenshaw Area of North Hills. (May 6, 2001)

In reguards to greg on WWNL sale, WWNL was sold to Steel City Radio INC. of Spartanburg SC. 4-25-2001. Also, Mortenson Broadcasting sold WPGR 1510 to WAMO Jan 2001. Phil (May 5, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I assume Steel City Radio Inc. is not affiliated with Steel City Media which is locally owned and operates WLTJ, WRRK and City Paper.

Hi, Eric! Here’s a question I’ve had for some years: When I was a kid, my weekday mornings always began by watching Captain Kangaroo, followed by WIIC-TV’s Captain Jim. The program also featured “Mr. Magoo” cartoons and Bozo the Clown, who would do exercises to the Robert Preston recording, “Chicken Fat.” (I DID mention I was a VERY SMALL child when I watched this, right?) My babysitters even took me to personal appearances at Winky’s or Burger King by the good Captain– I remember nearly running one elderly sitter off the road by excitedly shreiking from the back seat one day when I SAW CAPTAIN JIM PUMPING GAS at a Greensburg filling station! (My awe has faded since then, I’m afraid..But I certainly envy the price he must have paid for the gasoline!). Years later, I frequently visited WPXI-TV with my friend and neighbor, Hank Baughman. I once mentioned Captain Jim to some of the techs who had been there for many years. They laughed and told me how there was still a tape of burbling “silly mice sound effects” floating around (It was a running gag on his show; “those silly mice”– identified by a sound of a nonsensical voice in fast-forward– were always getting into mischief!) . Silly mice apparently weren’t the Captain’s only irritation, though. A floor manager also told of some rotten tricks they used to play on the Captain– Like sending him to morning appearances at addresses which happened to be pubs. He’d understandably get quite bent out of shape when he’d arrive in his sailor suit, finding no kids, but a bunch of semi-blitzed third-shifters from the local mills making fun of some idiot in a sailor suit! (Apparently, he’d report his experiences back at the station in language that we kids weren’t privy to). I never did find out WHO he was or WHAT HAPPENED to him. God Bless him, he was probably around 70 back then (30 years ago), so I suspect he’s no longer with us. He and “those silly mice” are certainly a warm memory from my childhood. Somewhere, I still even have a picture he signed for me! (Of course, there was a similar show, featuring Captain Pitt on WPTT-TV about 20 years ago– no relation. No silly mice, either.. just a damn invisible bird). Take care! Ed Weigle (May 4, 2001)

Does anybody out there know the exact date when WIIC channel 11 became WPXI? I seem to remember the change occurring around 1980, but I’m not positive. Just wondering. . .Regards, Steve (May 4, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Seems to me it was about 1980 as well.

In the early seventies, we were very good friends with channel 11 WIIC weatherman, Russ Montgomery. A few years later we saw him doing the weather at a station when we visited Cleveland, Ohio, Many years have passed and finally we have internet and feel connected to the world,,,,,,but I just can’t find a source for locating a tv weatherman from the past. He has no phone listing under his real name, Russel Minchew, nor does his family and relatives that resided in Pensacola, Florida. Likewise there is no longer a Channel 11 WIIC in Pittsburgh. I guess what I would like to know is how to find an old friend who just happened to be a tv personality in Pittsburgh in the early seventies. Any assistance or advise is appreciated. Alex DeRose & Sandy Hausman, Miami, Fl (May 3, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Well, the WIIC callsign is gone, but Channel 11 is still here. It’s been WPXI for about 20 years now and up until about two or three years ago, Bill Cardille still worked there! There are few ideas that I have as to go about your search. First thing I would NOT do is call WPXI! However, we have a vast source of readers here at PBRTV and chances are someone might be able to help you out.

Scary to think that a radio station on a hard drive can make it into the top 10 in a major market. Glad I am in sales, but I hope I can make it to retirement before a” virtual sales staff “can be put on the digital street. Long live jammin oldies. Trefdawg (May 2, 2001)