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December 2004

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

Speaking of 3WS, a few other things ended along with the all-holiday format. Word is that one of their production directors and weekender Clarke Ingram have left the building, along with the Friday night disco show. (December 26, 2004)

Eric’s Response: True. As reported at North East Radio Watch. It is also fair to note, and we haven’t, that Clarke’s mom, Alys, passed away last week after a long illness. To him we extend sincere condolences.

Bravo Jason! Speaking as one who was FORCED to listen to 3WS-FM each and every day over the interoffice music system, I couldn’t agree with Jason more wholeheartedly. I’m no Scrooge and I enjoy the holiday as much as anyone, but enough is enough. Overkill is unappreciated by this Pittsburgher. name withheld, please! (December 26, 2004)

Well, Marty Griffin is still around… he filed a report on police overtime tonight for the KDKA 6 PM news. (December 24, 2004)

Hi Eric, Ok, I have a theory as to the format change. I won’t place any bets on this, but how about the format that seems to be sweeping the nation “Jack-FM”. Apparently its the #1 format in Canada, and several markets in the U.S. are trying it out. I found a website for www.jackfm.com and its in Vancouver, BC. Their slogan is “Playing What We Want”. I was on long enough to see rock from the 80s and 90s, but it was stuff from like Duran Duran, etc. You can also listen to them live over streaming audio to get a better idea about this format. Maybe this could be what Steel Media has in mind? Could Pittsburgh be receptive to this format? It would certainly seem to fit what Brian Cosgrove is talking about. They certainly can play local stuff and adult AAA stuff that WYEP won’t play. Who knows, but just an idea I had. Scott, Cranberry Twp. (December 23, 2004)

Eric, There is word that 96.9 WRRK will become a new Top-40 outlet….they may change call letters as well…and i know you also know in a couple months or so 96.1 Kiss will change as well…maybe to Hip-Hop and R&B…you have to think Clear Channel owns 6 Stations 102.5 DVE(Classic ROck), 105.9 WXDX(Rock), so thats 2 rock stations then you have 94.5 WWSW(Oldies) 970 WBGG(Sports) 104.7 WPGB(Talk) and 96.1 WKST(TOP-40/Hip Hop)…SO Pittsburgh Has 3 rock stations….They don’t need another one. Clear Channel never had a Hip Hop and R&B, Adult R&B, Soft Rock, and 80’s station in pittsburgh. So well see what happens in 2005. Vic (December 23, 2004)

Eric’s Response: I’m still not going to place bets. “The All-new ‘RRK”…doubtful that we’ll see a new callsign.

Sorry Eric, unlike my last email, I wanted to get more in depth about WRRK’s changes, since their web site, RRK.com, posted that the new RRK is coming January 5th. I realized that many radio stations in the past year alone have had major format changes. 104.7 FM probably had the most drastic, going from jammin oldies station 104.7 the Beat (WJJJ-FM) to news/talk station FM News/Talk 104.7 WPGB-FM. B94 (WBZZ-FM) became 93.7 K-Rock (WRKZ-FM), Star 92.1 (WJST-FM) became Pickle 92.1 (WKPL-FM), and now WRRK is changing. And does it also strike you odd that thye’re changing exactly one year to the day that WJJJ-FM became WPGB-FM? Let’s see, we already have KDKA Radio, WPGB-FM, and WPTT-AM as right-wing conservative talk stations (though WPGB is somewhat more moderate), KQV as a newsradio station, the former WTAE Radio as ESPN Radio (WEAE), the former WWSW-AM as Fox Sports Radio (WBGG), do we need another talk station? Thank God for satellite radio. At least among stations that changed formats in the past year, the Pickle and K-Rock are in a close tie as the best ones worth listening to, though all of the stations that changed are much better off as the stations they became, and not as they were. Of the four stations, WRRK’s changes may be the most stunning. Also, I saw an old bumper sticker recently that said “KQV NewsRadio 1610.” Was KQV on 1610 not too long ago before moving to 1410? I thought only Interstate highways used stations in the 1600’s. (December 22, 2004)

Eric’s Response: Before I begin, I have to say that I marvel at your interest in radio. You keep pretty good tabs on things. That said though, let me clear up a few things. 1. Yes, it’s pretty odd that WRRK will change the same day as WJJJ did one year before. It could be, but I doubt it, a planned thing. I’m thinking that it’s mere coincidence. Anyone can choose to dispute that. 2. You mention KDKA, WPGB and WPTT being right-wing conservative. Well that’s partially true. If any is the most conservative it’s WPGB. KDKA and WPTT have hosts who tend to lean liberal or moderate. And no, we don’t need another talk station. 3. I’m interested in seeing what WRRK will do, however I don’t expect anything major. The people I have talked to have expected “tweaks.” An “all-new RRK” leads me to believe that it will be somewhat along the lines of WSHH going from Easy Listening to All Vocal and eventually into a soft rock format. 4. KQV has been on 1410 since Noah built the ark. Well…maybe not that long, but you either saw a mistake or a pile of dirt on the ad. Or perhaps you were sleepy and your eyes weren’t focused!

Hello, I am ‘despertately” trying to find information about the Josey (could be Josie) Carey Show. I don’t recall what tv station she was on but recall watching the show as a child when I lived in Pittsburgh. More specifically, I am trying to find out if anyone recalls a little ‘character/puppet’ she had on the show called Fenwick Bitty Bit Bit (I’m really not making this up). The show was on in the late 50’s or early 60’s. If anyone can direct me how/where I can get information about the show, please let me know. I would be most grateful. A. Mitsch (December 22, 2004)

Eric’s Response: I don’t think Fenwick was a part of Children’s Corner, so it is probably from her time on commercial TV…and I think that would have been KDKA.

I recently went to Niagara Falls on vacation, and since I drove, I had the chance to listen to radio in the Erie and Buffalo markets. One thing stood out. On stations that play Top 40 music like what plays on 96.1 FM, the songs sounded slower than what I’m used to hearing on KISS-FM here in Pittsburgh. Is it possible that KISS is speeding up the songs to fit more commercials in? I know KDKA was caught doing this a while back, but I haven’t heard of an FM station doing something similar. (December 22, 2004)

Eric’s Response: Typically, it has been my understanding that many stations have sped up the pitch on the songs for many years…usually “+2.” Perhaps that was not a station that did that.

Hey Eric, I checked http://www.wvtx.com, and it said “WVTX-TV This page is under construction. Check back here real soon! WVTX-TV”. Just letting you know. As for WRRK’s pending changes, if they lose Bob & Tom, my parents will probably listen to CD 93.3 the Wolf (Basically Youngstown’s version of WDVE, as it’s a classic rock station owned by Clear Channel.), or whatever Pittsburgh station will pick it up. Maybe WRKZ is picking it up, with Howard Stern leaving for satellite radio. (December 22, 2004)

Eric, I saw Marty Griffin doing an investigative story on KDKA-TV tonight. So, he is still kicking around Pittsburgh. On another note, I didn’t listen to WRRK-FM too much since I moved here in 1999, but didn’t they always go by “Channel 97”? Tonight I turned it on out of curiosity and heard about one hour of Pink Floyd (was still going on when I turned off the radio). They seem to be just saying WRRK and doing the countdown to the “New WRRK”. Lets see, we have numerous country stations, got a new active rock station (K-ROCK – and they’re really good for the most part), 2 rap stations, FM Talk station, and an Alternative station (thats going downhill). I can’t imagine what format tweak they’ll be doing….if at all? Scott in Cranberry Twp. (December 21, 2004)

Hi Eric, Just letting you know there is a new Adult Alternative station coming to Wheeling. WVJW 94.1FM (lp) is schedualed to go on the air Jan. 01, 2005. They have a website up. You find it at this url, http://wvjw.info/. The site is still under construction, but they have their playlist and transmitter information up. Also WVTX CH28 billboards are going up around the Valley. I was wondering if you had any information on when they are going to start broadcasting? Has anyone found a website yet for them? Regards, Will Nelson (December 20, 2004)

Hi, first time writer here, it has been 1 month and 20 days now since WBCB was scheduled to air on Time Warner Cable here in the Warren area, and I read that a dispute prevented it from airing on TWC. It’s been awhile since so is there an update on this situation with Time Warner and WFMJ/WBCB? (December 20, 2004)

A few notes to add for the mailbag… Marty Griffin has his website at www.martygriffin.com and it’s listed as “formerly of KDKA-TV”, so it makes me wonder if he has quietly slipped out the door. I haven’t seen Kristine Sorensen (his wife) recently on KDKA, though she still may be on maternity leave. Marty has a link to Dallas/Ft. Worth’s WB 33 (KDAF) on his web site. WTRF-TV and WYTV-TV both used to be owned by Benedek, who then sold WYTV to Chelsey broadcasting, while WTRF joined the WV Media Holdings family of Bray Cary’s creation. Cary owns 4 stations in WV (WTRF, WOWK (Charleston), WBOY (Clarksburg), WVNS (Beckley/Ghent)), along with the State Journal newspaper and other holdings. Steve, South Hills (December 19, 2004)

KDKA’s Web site still lists Marty Griffin as a reporter, which makes me wonder if he’s not doing that talk show on KRLD Dallas via satellite or Internet: http://kdka.com/bios/local_bio_113084828.html/ KRLD is an Infinity/CBS station, so it’s not beyond the realm of reason. (December 19, 2004)

Hi Eric, For a short while, Guy Junker had a WPGB sports talk show on Saturdays…I believe he was there when the talk format debuted. Now a question: when did Marty Griffin leave KDKA TV for a second time? Didn’t I just see him this week (mid December)? He was also doing a lot of afternoon fill-in on KDKA AM. Lastly, I’m interested in seeing what happens with the “new RRK.” Flipping through the dial Firday night, I heard the Bee Gees on 96.9 FM. I just kinda stared at the radio. Tom, Pittsburgh. (December 19, 2004)

Hi Eric, I heard that in 19 days 96.9 will be called the new WRRK. Do you have any idea what format the station may change to? Thanks, Todd (December 17, 2004)

Eric’s Response: Hmmmmmm…these two WRRK emails arrived within 15 minutes of each other. Wonder what’s going on. A total format flip? A new morning show? Gotta be more than a new logo!

Eric, I was listening to WRRK today and they are airing a promo counting down the days (19 as of Friday Dec. 17) until the “New WRRK”. Have you heard any talk about a format change? Personally, I think this is the time. Let Clear Channel and Infinity duke it out over classic/new rock. Steel City Media has an opportunity to create a station totally unique to Pittsburgh. DJ’s that truely speak to Pittsburgh. I’ve always found it interesting that they are the publishers of the City Paper operate two radio stations, competing with similar formats, for an older demographic. It would make more sense if they had a radio station similar to their publishing demographic. Some stuff from the 80’s, 90’s classic alternative, buzz bands out now like Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, Tv on The Radio and an outlet on the FM dial to promote smaller level indie shows coming into town to help our currently dreadful concert market. Brian Cosgrove http://www.pittsburghnetradio.com. (December 17, 2004)

Eric, Do you or anyone else happen to know if all the ‘Froggy’ Stations that broadcast Country music in our local tri-state area (94.9,98.3,103.5,104.3 FM) have one central studio in which they broadcast all the material for all four stations? One their website for each of the individual stations, it seems as if they all have the same DJ’s but they gave no indication to where they broadcast out of. Happy Holidays and thanks for doing a great job with PBRTV.com! – Chris (December 17, 2004)

Eric’s Response: Thanks! The Froggy stations are often simulcast…except for a few day shifts. Their main offices are in Carnegie. If you are driving along the Parkway West coming from the airport toward town, you’ll see the big sign on your left just after the I-79 Overpass.

Thor Tolo has landed at KGNW in Seattle, here’s the link: www.kgnw.com. Show– “Live from Seattle” (December 16, 2004)

Eric, I saw in the Post Gazette awhile back that KDKA – TV’s “Pittsburgh Today Live” with Jennifer Antkowiak will be having a co-host on her show. Do you know who it is? When it is going to take place? Thanks Happy Holidays, Ryan, Kennedy Township (December 15, 2004)

Eric’s Response: No, but I’m not surprised that it’s happening.

When did Guy Junker leave WPGB and why? (December 14, 2004)

Eric’s Response: Guy Junker on WPGB? I don’t remember him being on there. However, he and Eddy Crow host a show on WEAE AM 1250.

Hi I’m righting you from Warren Ohio about the new wb affiliate for Youngstown Ohio which said that time Warner Cable would make wbcb available on there system Nov. 1 they did not so I called Wfmj they said do to a contract dispute it would be on by the weekend that weekend came and went dose any one know what’s going on they also said that it would be on direct TV by January I’m starting to think that may not be true (December 14, 2004)

Bill, you probably are thinking of “Frontier Christmas” by Hudson & Landry, and you probably heard O’Brien and Garry play it over WTAE. You can find it on the disc “The Best of Hudson and Landry,” which came out in 1996 on Dore Records (now out of print, but used copies can be had through Amazon.com) or “Hudson & Landry’s Greatest Hits,” which can be ordered through Laugh.com. Hee-haw! (Jason Togyer, PBRTV Columnist) (December 8, 2004)

Hey Eric, Someone asked about Jessica Borg. I believe she moved onto a station in Philadelphia. On a related note, when I was freelancing for the Tribune Review at a Baldwin High School Board meeting, I met Ms. Borg as we waited for a controversial story to break on the agenda. Let me tell you that she was one of the most delightful people I’d ever met in the business. And while she only appeared “okay” on KD-TV, she was (and most likely still is) absolutely beautiful in person. The Burgh’s loss is Philly’s gain, for sure. Tom Leturgey, Pittsburgh. (December 8, 2004)

Eric, When did you work at WMBA? I used to own it. John Bride (December 8, 2004)

Eric’s Response: I’ve never worked for WMBA. My first “radio station” was WMVB which was a two-bit, closed-circuit station in the basement of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when it was at Penn and Sixth. From there I was an intern at Renda Broadcasting in 1997 and then Promotions Assistant at WJJJ for a brief spell in 1998. My radio bug continues with volunteer news broadcasts at WRCT. I would certainly love a paying gig!


To whoever suggested that “UPN 28” in Wheeling/Steubenville is about to go on the air as WVTX, here’s something to confirm this: The FCC’s web site has under its call sign reservation page that WVTX-CA is taken in Pittsburgh by Turnpike Television. I do believe they also operate WFXI-CA/WYFX-LP with Piedmont Television up in Youngstown, which owns WKBN-TV. Speaking of Youngstown TV stations, WYTV has changed their logo–again–and is somewhat similar to WTRF’s logo (both stations, BTW, are owned by Chelsey Broadcasting, so there is a corporate connection). Their web site has yet to update it, but then again, neither has WPXI’s. And their updated logo came out little over a month ago. For some reason, all of Youngstown’s TV stations except WKBN-TV and WNEO/WEAO change their logos on a very regular basis. (December 8, 2004)

Just found your site and reviewing the mailbag brought back tons of memories. I started my career with Dino at WNUF in 1978. I worked through high school and college. Milt Hammond was a “classic” and I will always be indebted to his employing me, a teenagers DJ playing Big Band Tunes. I recall one night when the transmitter was acting up (which was quite often) I was on the air around 8:30pm during Cafe Continental. Cafe was our version of beautiful music till the Big Band Show at 9pm. In those days we signed off at 1am. That particular Friday Night Mr. Hammond was on his way out for a big night on the town and couldn’t pick up the station. Told me to sign the station off and go home since nobody was listening. I did. Mr Hammond always liked my musical selections. Never forget the smell of his cigars in the record library. Bill White Program Director News/Talk 1110 WBT Charlotte, NC (December 8, 2004)

Just want to let the guy who asked abotu Jessica Borg know that her bio has been taken off of KDKA.com, as have Bill Flannigan, even though he left for Channel 11 over a year ago. (KDKA took forever to delete his bio from their web site.) As for WWCP-TV, I was asking about it interrferring with NBC affiliate WGAL-TV in Harrisburg in particular, since Harrisburg is how close to Altoona & State College. (Eric, you might want to talk with DCRTV about this one.) Johnstown is nowhere near Cleveland to be interrfering with Fox O&O station WJW-TV in Cleveland, although you can only get WNPA-TV on cable in the part of the area I live in (Beaver County/Lawrence County area) b/c Cleveland’s CBS affiliate WOIO is on channel 19 as well, and is one of that market’s largest TV stations in terms of viewing area. But then again, Baltimore also has channels 2 (WMAR-TV), 11 (WBAL-TV) and 13 (WJZ-TV)–all channels that Pittsburgh has. (December 8, 2004)

I wrote you about a UPN affliate in Wheeling last week. I just saw a billboard for it yesterday that added call letters:WVTX. Maybe this will help to shed some light. Thanks,CJ (December 6, 2004)

I am curious what happened to KDKA’s Jessica Borg? Has she left the station? Thanks. (December 6, 2004)

Eric’s Response: I seem to recall that she has.

To the gentleman inquiring about Channel 8 in Johnstown, its signal was constructed in such a way as to fit, short-spaced, between WGAL in Lancaster and another Channel 8 in Cleveland. But, for what it’s worth, Johnstown’s Channel 8 is receptable over-the-air across most of Westmoreland and Armstrong counties, sometimes better than Pittsburgh’s WPGH-Fox 53 (even in the Norwin area). Checking its listings in the local press, Channel 8 does not appear to have any time for UPN programming, though it is possible at some time in the past that there was an agreement to carry UPN as a secondary affiliation. Incidentally, to the writer, it might be interesting also to note that Johnstown’s Channel 8 provides news and programs the ABC affiliate in that market, WATM-TV23. Pat Cloonan. (December 6, 2004)

In response to the guy who inquired about a UPN affiliate coming to the Wheeling/Steubenville area. According to UPN’s web site, there is currently no affiliate in the state of West Virginia, and there are six affiliates in Ohio: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and strangely enough, Lima. It’s not like the area needs a UPN affiliate: WNPA-TV more than covers that area. I would assume that the station would either be owned by Cox Broadcasting (which owns WTOV-TV, as well as WPXI-TV, et. al) or Chelsey Broadcasting (which owns WTRF-TV and Youngstown’s WYTV-TV) for 10 PM news-based reasons. I checked both WTOV’s web site and WTRF’s web site, and there is no anything about an upcoming UPN affiliate. I might actually see Chelsey lean towards that, but not just for the Wheeling/Steubenville area. Like I said, the company also owns Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV. Although Youngstown doesn’t need a UPN affiliate either (WNPA-TV and Cleveland’s WUAB-TV do a good job covering the entire Youngstown area, depending on where you live.), channel 33 might need it to compete with CBS affiliate WKBN-TV (which owns Fox affiliate WYFX-LP/WFXI-CA) and NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV (which owns the recently-launched WB affiliate WBCB-TV). That station has always been a third wheel in Youngstown, anyways. While on the topic of UPN affiliates, UPN’s web site does have Johnstown/Altoona station WWCP-TV as a UPN affiliate, even though its actually a Fox affiliate. And speaking of that station, when it’s “free, over-the-air”, does it have interferrence with Harrisburg NBC affiliate WGAL-TV, which is owned by WTAE-TV parent Hearst? I live on the other side of the area, so I wouldn’t know. (December 2, 2004)

Eric: Channel 28 in the Wheeling area is “WVTX-CA,” also known as W28AS, licensed to Bridgeport, Ohio, and operated by the Bruno-Goodworth Network, a chain of low-power community TV stations based in Pittsburgh. The UPN affiliates page shows no stations currently serving the Wheeling market http://www.upn.com/affiliates/index.shtml, and there’s nothing (yet) on the WBGN webpage (http://www.wbgn.com/newcoverage.htm) either. Channel 28 was first licensed in Wheeling in 1989, according to the FCC database, and later moved to Bridgeport, which is right across the river. (http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/tvq?list=0&facid=68408) I will forward the poster’s question to WBGN and see what they say … so stay tuned! Jason Togyer, PBRTV Columnist (December 2, 2004)

1450 WPSE Erie, PA Known as WWGO radio in the 1960’s (WWGO and WJET were the rockers) WICU which I think became WRIE was easy listening or MOR and WWYN (studios on the street next to planters peanuts on state street) was easy listening and sports. Back to WWGO. There was a bottle of scotch hidden in the piano in one of the large studios used for live broadcasts in the 50’s WWGO distributed a “Silver Dollar Survey” they called it Erie’s most accurate music survey and featured such radio legends as: Robin Scott, Larry Allen, Dan Ryan, Johnny Holiday (moved to WJET in the mid 60’s) Tom Lopez (went to school with me at Erie Tech-I worked at WJET) was a DJ along with Ron Seggi who later owned WSGI which I think became WJET FM. I was with WJET in the 60’s, AFVN radio in Quang Tri Vietnam in 1968-69, AFRTS Adak, Alaska 1970-72. WRIE in 1972-73, WIDG (St. Ignace, Michigan) in 1973-74 (went to the 5 K station with Del Manning (Don Angelo-from Buffalo-wish I could find him now) then to WFRA/WVEN in Franklin 1975-1989, WDUQ in Pittsburgh and now I am a professor teaching Interactive media and digitizing all my 45 rpm records and old radio tapes. Dennis Woytek (December 1, 2004)

I saw in an advertising circular that Wheeling was getting an UPN station. I believe it said 28. Does anyone have info?-CJ (December 1, 2004)