September 2003

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

Eric, as I recall, KDKA donated a tower and transmitter to WQED-TV when it signed on in 1954. I suspect, and perhaps someone can verify, that the tower behind Pitt Stadium was the original KDKA-FM tower. On the subject of Chilly Billy’s theme music, the song is “Experiment in Terror” by Al Caiola, and it can be found on Capitol’s Ultra-Lounge CD series, Volume 16, “Mondo Hollywood.” Regards, Clarke Ingram. (September 30, 2003)

Eric, Your poster, KGH, who asked about Rege Cordic, may be interested in the tribute website that’s been set up for Rege: Plenty of sound files, photos, articles and listener memories. Also, the Chiller Theater theme song was “Experiment in Terror” by Al Caiola and is available on several different CDs.A “where are they now?” update — Fred Winston, formerly of KQV, is now doing afternoons at oldies WJMK-FM/Chicago. VS (September 30, 2003)

I’m trying to identify a tower in a picture. The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Fine Arts and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania are crating a photographic website. I have a photo of the Civic Light Opera playing at Pitt Stadium in the 1950’s. Behind the stage is a tower with the call letters “KDKA” in neon lights. I know the KDKA tower was out in Butler. Is this the original WQED tower? Thanks for any help. Art Louderback Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (September 30, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Hi Art, I would have to see the photo in order to be able to help you most accurately. However, it is most likely that it would be the WQED tower. The current WQED tower is behind what used to be Pitt Stadium and is a “fork” being that it has two masts. KDKA-TV’s tower is At the corner of Perrysville and Ivory Avenues while KDKA-AM’s tower is in Hampton Township. So why this tower would have had the KDKA callsign on it is beyond me!

Whenever I think of Pgh., where I grew up,(well, OK, Beaver County; Aliquippa), I think of TWO outstanding GIANTS…one was REGE KORDIC, whom I listened to while shovelling breakfast cereal down, before heading off to school…..Whatever happenned to him???….the other was (somewhat) later…CHILLY BILLY CARDILL-Y…and Chiller Theater…(originally on Saturday afternoons, then switching to Saturday nites)…HEY!!!…Does anybodty know who did the instrumental theme song to that show???…Y’know, that wailing saxophone??? ….. Those two guys are the penultimate Pittsburgh broadcast personalities….KGH (September 30, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Rege Cordic passed in 1999 after an illness. He indeed was a classic. Chilly Billy is doing mid-days on WJAS and his theme song was done by Al Ciola.

Does any one remember Davey Tyson? WRS (September 27, 2003)

Eric’s Response: I think there are people who do!

Eric, WRRK is licensed to Braddock, as I know you know. But, then, does it really matter? Especially when a Homestead station (WHOD) now is licensed to Millvale (WAMO)? Or a Duquesne station (WOGI) airs from the outskirts of Carnegie, while a Carnegie station (WZUM) airs from West Mifflin? Oh, well … Pat Cloonan. (September 24, 2003)

Eric’s Response: No probably not at all. A station licensed to Millvale…ridiculous!

Eric, I’m saddened to report that Harry “The Wire” Wagner passed away on 9/23/03 after a lengthy illness. Harry was a well-liked and innovative air personality on public radio in the late 1970’s through the late 1980’s and broke many new wave and modern rock records in the Pittsburgh market. Creative, spirited and full of life, he was a joy to listen to, watch, and work with. Many may also remember him for novelty records he recorded and dances he spun at the Attic, Upstage and other local clubs. — Larry Berger, SLB Radio (September 24, 2003)

Mr. O’Brien, My name is Harry Vogel. Lee Vogel was my father. I am in my 40’s now and just recently I have been given a box with 5 of my dad’s shows on reel tapes along with other artifacts. One I was told contains the show that won him the Peabody Award. I do not know a lot about my dad’s radio history so I have started searching for more info that I could pass it on to my son and I found your page. I would like to ask you where I might find any more info, and also what years Lee Vogel was in Toronto. I don’t recall any info about my dad working in Canada. Could there have been two Lee Vogels in radio back then? My father’s last two stations were WQAM and WKAT in Miami late 60’s. Thank you for your time. Harry Vogel (September 23, 2003)

Eric, In reference to Neal Skidmore’s search for the show “THE TOP 100 OF THE 70’S”, I was probably the one running the show that evening since I worked overnights on weekdays and evenings on weekends. I wish I could say I had a copy of the show but, unfortunately, I don’t. Joel Whitburn has a book of the same title that the show was probably based on. So, theoretically speaking, if you get a hold of the book you could probably recreate the missing hours easily enough. When I worked for WFFM they (the AM and FM stations) were licensed to Braddock and their studios were located on Braddock avenue right across from the Edgar Thompson Works steel mill. Tom Lacko (September 21, 2003)

Nick Sommers worked with Don Cox..He said he remembers him getting suspended after giving away lollipops on the air and calling them “Cox Suckers.” Ed Weigle (September 19, 2003)

Eric, What’s the latest on the transfer on Channel 16(right now, still WQEX-TV) from educational to commercial? When do you think the new 16 will take to the air? Also, what kind of programming will it be? My prediction is that it will be a regular independent station(a la the old 22 and 53) with lots of syndicated reruns, movies, and a local newscast at 10 pm. Also, how are your Pirates and Steelers doing this year? My Phillies are winning this year, but the Eagles are off to an 0-2 start with a bye this week. Do you think Ben and J. Lo. will tie the knot anytime soon? Martin Connolly Long-time fan of PBRTV!! (September 19, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Channel 16 eh? Haven’t heard anything lately. The license transfer has been approved for over a year now. The signal is still on the air simulcasting Channel 13, but I don’t have to worry about it right now because Directv isn’t carrying 16. Pirates and Steelers…eh… Ben and J Lo…puleeeeeeeeeeeeeze!

Dear Eric, Great Web-site! My name is Neal Skidmore. I live in Elkins, WV. Have been travelling to your beautiful city of Pittsburgh since the late 60’s. The reason I know I’m getting some miles on myself is that I’ve been to Forbes Field as well as the old Three Rivers!!! (I’m only 52 so you can see I’ve been coming since I was young) I listened to vast majority of your stations over the years and quickly recoginzed most of them as I travel around and through your city. Here is my situation. We used to listen to a station WFFM in your area. Was able to get perfect reception through our local cable company. Not sure if the statiion was located in Pittsburgh or Waynesburg. Anyway, on New Years eve l979 we had a twelve hour party at my new home. To celebrate we cranked WFFM up and RECORDED a show called THE TOP 100 OF THE 70’S. The show was recorded on 8 track…..can you believe that!!! Now, Eric, I’m a great collector of music as well as the history of music. My problem. My brother who helped me with the recording (and drank his share of beer that eve) had my tapes in what I was told……safe storage. After his divorce I find out that an hour or two of that show is missing….however we have the VAST MAJORITY of the show. Eric, we have looked everywhere. I am soooooo peaved! My brother who is a local radio celebrity here at WBTQ/WELK Elkins/Buckhannon for 34 years has told me to contact someone such as yourself for starters. He believes the show is on records or tapes somewhere. Casey Kasem used to come in on vynal (sp)? Someone somewhere has what I need. It is strictly for personal use. AS I get older, I am converting everything to compact disc for preservation. Some of the archives I have would include the last 400+ shows my brother had on Saturday evenings here in Elkins for 6 1/2 years. It was a very popular R/r oldies live request show. He’s pretty good considering his station/stage name of CHONGO! Enough of that. Can or will you help or can you put me in touch with another “nut” like myself who can and will help. As long as I get pointed in the right direction I may be able to do it itself. How I can return a favor to you will have to be seen. There is no problem in me paying a donation or some type of compensation for this material. It would be great to hear back from you. Keep rockin Pittsburgh!!! Thanks! Neal Skidmore Elkins, WV (September 19, 2003)

Eric’s Response: Wow, what a story…WFFM was on 96.9 and that signal is licensed to Homestead, but is considered a major Pittsburgh station…now WRRK. I have a couple of simple suggestions regarding your query. If it’s a piece of vinyl you’re seeking. I suggest making a trip to Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood to Jerry’s Used Records. (I think it’s right on Murray Ave. – not sure though, haven’t been there yet myself!) Or you can try searching for it on eBay.

Eric, All Access reported today (9/15) that Don Cox passed away on Sunday at his mother’s home in Georgia. He died in his sleep. No further details are available yet. Don worked at 13Q in Pittsburgh between 1975 & 1977. Jeff Roteman (September 15, 2003)

Is it just me, or does KDKA TV have audio quality issues during their newscasts?. The beginning of sentences are almost always over modulated. Raspy ugliness can be heard just about anytime after the initial blast. I spoke to an engineer that I happened to encounter at the transmitter site, about fifteen years ago.The issue at that time was the studio to transmitter microwave link, according to him. The Circle Bar ‘W’ Ranch was not interested in addressing it then, he said. Could it be the same gremlin now, or are there other things, lurking about? RJ Kanary (September 15, 2003)

Hi Folks… Just wanted to throw my name in this particular section of your website, which I found while on a search. I was the GM/PD/morning DJ at WKPA New Kensington in its waning days for 2 years before being sold to WPXI-TV reporter Loran Mann in 1992. Since then, I’ve moved to the former WXRB (now WJJJ), then to WTTF Toledo, WPHM Detroit, WIFN Detroit, WMJZ Gaylord, MI before landing back in the Pittsburgh area at WJPA Washington. Currently, I’m PD and Promotions Director at 1160 WCCS in Indiana, PA acquired in 2002 by Renda Broadcasting with new sister (and former employer) WLCY Blairsville. Thanks…Ken Hawk (September 10, 2003)

Eric, I’ve come back to the ‘Burgh after travels around the country. Worked with Chuck Brinkman, Jay Cresswell and John Summers at KLUV in Dallas. 7 years at Smooth Jazz KOAI, Dallas, and KJZS Houston, and THE WAVE, satellite NAC format. Would love to catch up with folks I worked with at WDVE, the old FM97 in Braddock, and 3WS. Don’t publish the phone#, but pass it on if someone makes contact with you. Thanks, TREVOR LEY (September 10, 2003)

Looing for more information on Jay Patrick. Please help. (September 10, 2003)

Eric, I am impressed with the job Al Blinke is doing as KDKA-TV’s News Director. The 9AM Morning News with Jennifer Antkowiak and Rebecca Hower is an excellent idea. Long ago I had the pleasure to work with both of these lovely ladies when they were in the Erie Market. They are both professionals who embody the spirit of “The Hometown Advantage!” I am still upset about the logo change but you can’t win them all. It looks as if Mr. Blinke has KDKA running on all cylinders. Tim Reed (September 5, 2003) I found this site. Do a search on Pittsburgh and you will find some old WPEZ, 13Q and KDKA airchecks. Anthony Rossi, New Kensington, PA (September 3, 2003)

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