November 2001

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

NPR just did a five-minute feature on KDKA and the Conrad Garage project, including an interview with Rick Harris. Info is at: 73, jason (November 30, 2001)

Hi, Eric: Just a note of assurance to all that IF Cumulus is the group to which my good friend Stan Wall is selling WLSW, the oldies–that is, PITTSBURGH oldies that WE know and give a damn about– have a better chance of staying than, say, if Clear Channel bought them. I’m not going to guarantee that the station will stay as is (Cumulus IS a national company, who put great stock in their vanilla true-and-tested-by-cattle-farmers-in-Oklahoma oldies), but Lew Dickey’s group are the least “evil” of all the mega-owners in the business. I had the pleasure of working for Cumulus and running the production department for five of their stations in Lexington, KY (including legends K-93 and The Mighty 590 WVLK). They allowed the radio stations to keep their local integrity (which I believe is most important of all) and improved significantly the other three that needed help. Oh, don’t get me wrong–They’ve had their problems, as the trades have reported. But at least they know how to treat people. When my friend Ralph Hacker (the former voice of the University of Kentucky Wildcats) sold to Cumulus, he had just turned down substantially more for the stations, offered him by Clear Channel. The reason? Cumulus was the only group who gave him their gurantee that “Ralph’s people” would keep their jobs. Now, doesn’t that suggest a bit more class than what we veterans of this now-corporate racket have become used to since this business became, as a Canadian broadcaster called it, “Bean Counter Radio?” (Personally, I believe radio should not be run by accountants; in fact, accountants should only come out from behind their desks once a year: At the Christmas/Chanukka party, so I can make fun of them after I get them loaded!). Don’t hate Stan for this move, folks. He’s contributed more to local radio–and for longer–than anyone (John Longo, owner of WCNS/WLCY, is the only other I’d give that accolade). If you know the history of that little “station on the mountain,” WLSW, and what it took for him to get it running and KEEP it running, you’ll appreciate Stan even more. It’s a shame to see an era of radio end, as it has in Pittsburgh.. but it was inevitable. (It’s also pretty much why I went behind the scenes of radio for good in 1994, with no regrets for doing so.. I’m sure my soon-to-be ex-wife will be thrilled, too, come “pay-up time.”) Happy Holidays! Ed Weigle, Operations Manager WEDJ-FM/WSYW-AM (one of the last remaining small radio ownerships in Indianapolis)

RE: overmodulation It’s called banketing interference, or front end receiver overload even if you are in FCC limits. (November 29, 2001)

Eric, if Cumulus is going to drop the Oldies from WLSW, which seems likely, I have a solution: it’s time for WZUM to pick up Charlie Apple and the others and reclaim its rightful place as the obscure-oldies outlet in Pittsburgh. Michael Horvath should be running to sign these guys now before someone else does. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (November 28, 2001)

Re: What can a 36 year old female in this town do for music? I’m afraid you’re stuck listening to the #1 competitor of every music format in radio today. And it’s a competitor that none of the tight-playlist, personality-free, vanilla formats stand a chance of ever beating. It’s pre-recorded music, aka “CD’s and tapes”. Over the years I’ve worked for one of the leading electronics store chains and for a company that sold aftermarket sound systems for automobiles. I can’t remember ever selling a “radio-only” sound system for a car. And I sold very few “radio-only” systems for home or office use. While every radio station program director in the country is looking over his shoulder at what other radio stations are programming, his #1 competitor is gaining more and more ground as listeners get fed up with the pablum that is broadcast on all music format stations in favor of plugging in a CD or cassette tape. The introduction of CD recorders to record “mix” discs of listeners’ personal favorite songs is only accelerating the process. (November 28, 2001)

How much can a station legally overmodulate its signal? I am having a harder and harder time hearing WEAE 1250 here in Beaver county, without excessive “splatter” interference from WBVP 1230. WBVP’s processing is loud, harsh, distorted, and almost painful to listen to. WMBA, which is now co-owned with WBVP, began to sound equally as bad after the change in ownership. Granted, it’s normal to have a small amount of splash over near the local station’s transmitter, but this interference is a problem at my home, which is 6 miles from the WBVP transmitter. For years, I’ve listened to 1250 and never noticed any of the awful splatter problems like I do now. WAMO 106.7, which currently shares facilities with WBVP, is also a sloppy operation. Their signal is full of harmonics that show up several places across the dial — even car radios. WXDX 105.9 can be unlistenable next the 106.7 transmitter, especially on cheap radios, because of the interference. Apparently the engineer of these stations believes that louder is better: turn the little knobs all the way to the right. I have news for him: louder is NOT better. Louder is louder! It there anything that can be done about this? I find it hard to believe that these stations are operating within the FCC rules. Regards, Steve C (November 28, 2001)

You might want to look through the FCC files and see the part of the WLSW application that putes a sale in effect with the move. Is there much hope for the oldies with Cumulus coming into the picture? (Novmeber 27, 2001)

Eric, WLSW is being upgraded to be sold to WWIZ. with the same program to be on both stations. I think we can say good by to charlie apple and the gang and Hello to more” one dj in many citie’s format” Phil Z. (November 27, 2001)

Eric, I noted with interest that WLSW 103.9 Scottdale has applied to move its tower closer to Pittsburgh, southeast of the city between McKeesport and Irwin, not too far from the new WKHB 620 tower. In addition, WLSW has filed to become a full 6 kw Class A, although with reduced height compared to its present site. If granted, this will result in a much better Pittsburgh signal, which should be good news for Charlie Apple and Porky Chedwick fans everywhere. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (November 27, 2001)

Dear Eric: What I’ve been hearing on Pittsburgh radio saddens me. I’m a “thirtysomething” and aside from Star 100.7 (which was Christmas music all weekend), there is NOTHING of interest to this audience. B-94 wasn’t so bad, but I’ve noticed they’re now leaning toward the hip-hop/urban crowd (as 96.1 did ages ago) and The Beat, well, I hate Christmas music. What can a 36 year old female in this town do for music?? Someone? Anyone? cb (November 26, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I will be very honest with you. It’s the same way no matter what market you’re in. It’s not just Pittsburgh. It’s the state of commercial radio.

Eric, If you didn’t see it, the Sunday 11/25 Beaver County Times mentioned the site. Here’s the link: (November 26, 2001)

hello, my name is MATTY, and I was wondering how the heck do you contact the people of channel 53, it’s about 12:27 and I was all set to watch nash bridges on channel 53 and then the pretender because that’s what it says is sceduled , I go and turn it on and wait and what happens instead , they go off the air for the night, they have programs supposed to be sceduled , it says so all over the tv guide listings, the internet listings and even on theyre own webpage , this is the second week that I have been waiting for something to come on and they go off the air, and it’s not just on sunday either, they did it again during the week, and I’m kinda upset about it, if they are gonna scedule a program then they had better put it on, don’t you think! oops sorrry about that got mad at them and took it out on you , would you please write to me and tell me how to get in touch with them and then I can take my griefence out on them. sincerely, Matty (November 26, 2001)

Eric’s response: Honestly Matty, don’t waste your breath. There could be any number of reasons that the station went off the air. There could be any number of reasons why they decided to change what airs at that time slot. Their sister station WB 22 has done the same thing. Was I disappointed? Only a little cause I realized that I had seen the Mama’s Family episodes at least seven times! If you really think your input will help, there IS the PBRTV address and phone number page available.

what’s going on at clear channel, is the beat gone? what is the story behind bumper morgan?clarke ingram? and others? please let me know thanks az (November 25, 2001)

Eric’s Response: The Beat as we know it, is gone…only temporarily as we can guess. However, Once December 26th rolls around, we will have our answer. It’s all-Christmas but still calls itself “The Beat.” Bumper, Clarke, Kenny Woods and originally Brother Matt and R.D. Summers were given their walking papers a few months back. Because sponsors threatened to pull their ads, RD and Brother Matt were rehired to at least do their respective Sunday night programs. This has become typical for Clear Channel which is trying not to get too big for its britches, but was too big ages ago.

Here’s my take on the possible format change at 104.7…. I think the day after Christmas, there are two possibilities in my mind….If a switch is eminent they either stunt with something from 12/26 til New Year’s or they go ahead and switch on the day after Christmas….My guess is that 104.7 will go head to head with Star 100.7 with a “Mix” name (i.e. “Mix 104.7” or “Mix 105”). And just how Clear Channel has eaten away B94’s listeners with 96.1, they will do the same with a “Mix vs. Star” battle, which in the end will have Infinity looking to change 100.7 towards their “Hot Talk” format…. Then again, I may be too optimistic of wanting Don & Mike and the Sports Junkies on Pittsburgh radio….Although they would be a welcome change to some of the boring stuff that I listen too now. (November 23, 2001)

WZUM may have gotten the idea from me to program Adult Standards. I had taken a look at leasing the station earlier this year and indicated that this would have been my format. ALSO WCVI in Connellsville and WPNT in Charleroi, both owned by Forever Broadcasting and running The Pickle oldies moniker from WPQR are FOR SALE. Problem is the owners won’t indicate a price for prosective buyers. Thanks Chris (November 23, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Hmmm a “name your price” deal. Those aren’t an easy sell!

Eric -What’s going on at WORD-FM? What happened to Don Matzat? Where is Bob Souer the PD? Who is this new guy I’ve heard promoed. Chris Buddha? Thanks! (November 22, 2001)

Hi and Happy Thanksgiving! Another format change at 104.7! How depressing the business has become. Anyone have any idea what the format will be now? Also, as of a few weeks ago, Mike Sherry is no longer at Renda Broadcasting where he was GM of WSHH, WJAS and WPTT. There are some of us that have hidden in the small markets like Indiana, PA. A place where we can continue to be entertainers and program radio stations. Chris Lash and Micheal J. Daniels called “The Odd Couple” prove that personality radio still works and that the type of humor that O’Brien and Gary used 20 years ago STILL works. The morning show is #1 in the county ratings defeating all of Pittsburgh and Johnstown and of course we are on AM. There is good in the radio business but the small markets appear to be where it is. Thanks…Chris Lash Program Director U 92 News Director 1450 WDAD (November 22, 2001)

Eric, Check us out…104-7 the Beat is now Pittsburgh’s OFFICIAL Christmas Music Station! All Holiday Music through Christmas Day. All the faves and more! Hope yinz like it! (November 20, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Yes…even Elmo and Patsy singing Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

Hey Eric! Happy Thanksgiving first of all…secondly, I’m sure I worked in the same bldg. as Dick Grimes did back in 1980…he was at WKPA and I was at WYDD, Nelson Goldberg’s operation in new kensington (my first professional radio gig)…I’m certain of a conversation I had with dick asking him how he got his voice so low! i was 24 at the time and he sounded like God to me! He was a tall guy, with glasses, am I right?..and a very nice guy too, helpful and encouraging to rookies like me…I remember him with Jim Quinn at 13Q…I don’t remember him at KQV…but I’m SURE he was once at WKPA with Ron ( I forget his last name, he was the p.d., rode a motorcycle, heavy-set guy) as the boss…I also met Bob Lavorio there and the legendary Charlie Apple too! not to mention, on the fm side, Herschel, Jack Robertson, and it was Steve Downes who hired me there…Jim Dicesare was there too…Sky Daniels had already left…so had Dwight Douglas and Jesse…I just wanted to pass this along to Dick Grimes’ daughter, who I saw posted here. Sean McDowell (November 20, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Speaking of Herschel, where the heck is he these days? Does anyone know?

Just a little note on one of the personalities from KQV during the Joey Reynolds era and 13Q. Also WEEP and WIXZ. His name is Dick Grimes. He came to Pittsburgh when Joey became PD for KQV. He was the morning newsman and went by the name Peter Jackson. After the big shake up at KQV he went to 13Q and was Dick Grimes, again the morning news guy. He left 13Q under stressful circumstances and I believe went to WEEP where he did a stint. The last station he worked for was WIXZ where he did the mornings with Chilly Billy. He left radio permanently and continued to do spots for people such as Edgar Snyder and Colonial Furniture Galleries. He started his own business in 1980 and today it thrives. Unfortunately he did not. He passed away in October of 1998 after what was supposed to be a routine surgery. He is sorely missed by his family and hopefully will not be forgotten as he was one of the truly talented individuals of that era. You can tell that my opinion of him is high and I will have to admit a great deal biased. Dick Grimes is my Dad and I would hate to have him be forgotten by the many people whom I am sure he touched during his career. Thank You, Ruth Grimes Bovee (November 17, 2001)

Eric’s Response: Ruth, I will gladly post this and hope that many will remember him. We join with you in your loss.

Re: Erie Radio: I stumbled upon your website and would like to share some info about the old Point and the new Planet. I used to go by the name “Leigh Larson” on 102.3 The Point. I was afternoon drive/APD/MD. Now, I do afternoons on the Planet with the name “Carrie Lee.” The Planet has recieved a huge welcoming response in it’s first month of programming. We hope for great things in the future. As for the rest of the former Point staff, I am not sure what has become of “Boomer”… last I heard, he was considering some gigs in the Buffalo and Cleveland areas. “Benny B,” who took over the 7-midnight shift at the Point after Matt Cummings left, is now the night jock at Star 104 with the name “Big Benn.” Just wanted to let you “in” from an insiders point of view. 🙂 (November 16, 2001)

Eric, I’m a long time radio geek and oldies fan. What’s going on with WZUM ? I’ve been a frequent listener to the oldies programs on WZUM and lately when I tune in I’m hearing a canned format of adult standards. Why is Mike Horvath trying to go after the WJAS audience ? It seems to me a small 1,000 watt AM station is better off serving a niche audience that likes “Pittsburgh style” oldies than go after the big boy’s with mass appeal programing. Tom from Munhall (November 15, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I don’t know that he’s really going after the WJAS audience as much as he’s probably just filling in time.

If memory serves, “Rocket Ship to Santa” was a segment on the “Mr. Wrinkle” program, which was a kid’s show on KDKA, It starred Sterling Yates and co-starred Josie Carey. Other segments on the show included Gnorman the Gnome, which was someone (I think it was Yates) shot upside down with makeup on his chin to make it look like the top of his head and a fake beard covering the rest of his face. It was an interesting effect. I was just a little bit too old to watch that show on a regular basis, but my little brother and sister enjoyed it. I think Jonny Costa was also on the show as “Indian Mary”. It wasn’t as good as Knish and Rodney. (November 15, 2001)

Eric, I went to the “Froggy 99.9” Web site, and it looks better than the Web sites of some real radio stations I’ve seen! I’d like to hear some tapes of this station. If they are indeed now running NASCAR and the Steelers without a license, it’s just a matter of time before someone shuts them down, even in Bemis, West Virginia. Regards, Clarke Ingram. (November 14, 2001)

Any info on the show called “Rocket Ship to Santa” from the early 1960’s featuring Sterling Yates? it was on KDKA during dinnertime. Was there a “Mister Wish” character on the show? I have a “Mister Wish” pillow. Jan (November 14, 2001)

Clark Race’s theme song was “A STRING OF TRUMPETS” It was recorded by BILLY MURE. FYI, the flip side was “TEA AND TRUMPETS”. It was on the SPLASH label. The catalogue number is 800. Take care, Tom (November 14, 2001)

Dear Mr. O’Brien, There is a new station in WV. WVBQ, an unliscened station, out of Bemis, WV. WVBQ broadcasts on 99.9 and goes by the name “Froggy 99.9”. Their format is country, but the handle alot of sports including NASCAR, WVU Football, and the Pittsburgh Steelers as well. Their slogan is “We’re your Home in the Country”. Started broadcasting on October 31st, 2001 with the National Anthem and then a Moment of Slience. They have a website at Their broadcast area is about 15 miles, they cover Elkins pretty well. Later (November 13, 2001)

What was the name of the Mr. Race’s theme song and what was the name of the band that recorded it? In case you don’t know who Clark Race is, he was a top disc jockey on KDKA from approx 1958 thru 1970. (November 13, 2001)

Eric’s Response: It was “String of Trumpets.” It’s occasionally played on WJAS. I don’t know who recorded it. I wonder if anyone does.

WSB 750 from Atlanta runs Hanitys show starting at midnight. The station is a 50K blowtrourch and flies into Steubenville load and clear on my clock radio so you should pick it up in the ‘burgh. Best Regards Trefdawg (November 8, 2001)

Eric, What are the chances of Sean Hannity’s syndicated radio show coming to Pittsburgh? I heard this was in the works. You don’t have to post this is in the mailbag if you don’t think it appeals to your readers, you can just respond to me directly. I was just wondering if you had the inside track. -Barb (November 6, 2001)

Eric’s Response: I can’t give you a fair answer on this one. It seems that he is the host of a general interest talk show which could fit in on KDKA or WPTT. Right now both stations are booked with talent – local and syndicated. So my guess would be that if it all, it would be down the road before Hannity’s show was aired here. Anyone else know something I don’t? 

Please let your readers know that on 10/31/01 Christine Bailey producer of the Mike Pintek show on KDKA died at age 38. Chris also worked at the old 96.9. She was a great producer and loved broadcasting. Both she and Patti Burns died on the same day. The viewing is at a funeral home in Munhall and the funeral mass is 10 am at holy angels in Hays (near Sandcastle) on Monday I believe.. thanks vito (November 3, 2001)

Floating around the rumor mill, I hear they are having a meeting today to announce that B94 will soon morph into a KISS/WAMO hybrid: lots more urban music. Artists like Goo Goo Dolls and Barenaked Ladies will soon be left to only Star 100.7 in the Infinity Family. – Jim (November 2, 2001)

WPIT no longer broadcasts Solid Gospel. According to the station manager the current programing suits the audience much more. How great it would be if a radio station in Pittsburgh could broadcast Solid Gospel again. Sincerely, Marianne (November 2, 2001)

Not to take away from todays newscasters, but after watching video clips of Patti Burns I was amazed at how slow and antiquated news was delivered then. The suits in 1997 blew Patti out for youth and her big $$$$$. She was a class act who got to the top NOT BECAUSE OF HER DADDY but because she was born with a gift!!!! Any up and comming news person should watch tapes of Patti and take it all in!!!! She was THE BEST OF THE BEST and Pittsburgh should be thankful she picked her hometown to make a living!!!!! (November 2, 2001)

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