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January 2006

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

WCWB – “We’re the “CW” for the ‘Burgh!” Oops, wrong station! Sorry. Albert McGilvray WAZT TV10 Woodstock, VA (January 30, 2006)

I’m sending this to any station I can find and you were the first. I found this both interesting and informative and I’m hoping that you will also. The web site is http://thestrokesong.com Have a blessed day, Maryfran (January 25, 2006)

Eric’s Response: Ooooooooooooooooooook

So Eric, I have several questions to ask to you about the CW–likely standing for CBS-Warner Bros.–replacing both the WB and UPN. With WNPA picking up the affiliation, will WCWB become an independent, or possibly pick up Pax or maybe even Telemundo? (I know the Hispanic population here is low, but it is a suggestion.) Sinclair currently has two independent stations in Las Vegas and Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL, and since they have several more WB networks, it will be interesting to see what programming WCWB will have as an independent. In addition, what will the future of WBGN be now that they’ll likely have a rival now for independent programming? I guess independent stations are making a comeback. (January 24, 2006)

Eric’s Response: I don’t know what will happen to WCWB once the change is made. But it will be interesting to find out. It is doubtful that 22 will pick up the Pax (lately renamed “I”) Network. I don’t see a crying need for Telemundo here, but then again stranger things have happened. It would be hard for me to believe that 22 will go long without an affiliation of some sort. It was probably 10 years ago when 22 was still WPTT and it carried Home Shopping Network for a good portion of the day. It started to carry UPN and then dropped it for WB. Most independent stations on the air today are low-power.

Speaking of Jimmy Pol, I’ve been trying to find out if he is still among the living. I found this link http://www.slovakshop.com/index.html to order a cd with all the fight tunes! Best Regards Trefdawg (January 23, 2006)

Hi Eric, I am trying to get the email for Stan Wall. In the 1950’s, I was from Pittsburgh, had a hit record and did quite a few record hops with Stan. I wanted to send him an email just to say hello. Do you know how I can contact him? If you want to see some info on this, go to www.rockabillyhall.com and click on Kathy Zee. Kathleen Davis (Kathy Zee) (January 23, 2006)

I don’t know if you can answer this for me or not. On one of the A.M. radio stations. It was wond off the lower number stations. There was a guy on named Dave? He was a psyical fitness expert and taked to people about depression, axiniety etc. His show was only on on Saturday nights. It had to be about 10 years ago. Would you happen to know who I am taking about? thank you, lisa (January 17, 2006)

At the risk of being in the minority, but with some thought that there just might be a “silent majority” out there, I risk writing to ask “Is anybody else fed up with all of the hype and overkill being given to the Steelers on all of the local newscasts?” While I follow the Steelers to a degree and read selected articles about them in the paper, and want them to do well, I can’t wait until they either win the Super Bowl, or fade away next Sunday. Local newscasts leave something to be desired to say the least, but devoting over 75% to the Steelers is just ridiculous. Why not just have a special program related to the Steelers each night as is done on Sunday nights, and that way we have the option to watch or tune out. I don’t watch too much local news as it is, but now I am watching it less. Go Steelers! (and hurry.) Mike Smalley (January 17, 2006)

Hi Eric, Great job with this board! When I saw Dano’s message, I had to send in one of my own. After hosting and producing WDUQ’s weekday afternoon newsmagazine lead-in to All Things Considered during my sophomore through senior years at Duquesne University, I worked as a writer/producer at 3WS during the early 80’s. I started on the morning show (the day WPEZ became 3WS), and later in the newsroom, with a few evenings filling in as Doug Hoerth’s evening producer along the way. Dan Blankowski, Ray Walker, Dave Morrison (WPXI) and I were among the station’s production staff. It was a great time, working with such talents as Dano, Ray, Dave, By Williams, Nat Humphreys, Herb Crowe, Jane Clark, Bob Mayo, Jerry Kelanic, George Hart, Cynthia Harris, Keith James, Trevor Ley, Jim Merkel and many others. I also did the hands-on production for the first few installments of Mike Harvey’s oldies programs–research, recording music and splicing tape.Today, I have a public relations, ad and marketing communications business, John Fries Communications (www.johnfries.com) here in Pittsburgh and continue to be active as a journalist. Because of the work I do, I still get to be in broadcasting when opportunities permit. Recently, I designed KDKA-TV Health Reporter Dr. Maria Simbra’s web site (www.drmariasimbra.com) and have a few more media sites on deck. Also, I’ve been listening to my buddies John McIntyre and Shawn Israel in their respective AM and FM gigs. Thanks for a great way to stay in touch with fellow broadcasters! John Fries (January 16, 2006)

Hi Eric, I spent 1979 through 1989 in Pittsburgh radio, mostly behind-the-scenes, but working at WWSW-AM, which became WTKN-AM (970) in its failed attempt to unseat KDKA and WTAE in the talk market. I had the privilege of hosting Pittsburgh’s highest-rated Saturday morning show, “Dan Blankowski’s Comedy Showcase” for five years on WTKN-AM (1984-88), and served as Executive Producer & APD at WTKN, producing the high-quality “Scott Cassidy Show.” (Mornings) As a life-long resident of Carnegie, I was also an elected councilman there, prior to leaving Pittsburgh for News/Talk 580, WDBO in Orlando, and then into Atlanta, where I still freelance at WSB-AM and WSTR-FM, along with voiceover work. Radio is now part-time, and I own Magical Music Machine Entertainment with my wife, Conni, one of Atlanta’s best wedding reception companies. (www.MagicalMusicMachine.com). BTW, both Scott Cassidy and Tom Daren, formerly of WWSW/WTKN/3-W-S, are working in publicity and radio production at Walt Disney World. Enjoyed your website – I’ll be checking back often! DANO (January 16, 2006)

Hi…let me add my name to your informative list of Pittsburgh radio people. I was hired at KQV in 1967 to do mornings during the Groovy Q-V days….went off the air in 1969 to assume production duties and as FM director, put WDVE on the air. Began freelancing the first week I was on the air at KQV and before long the freelance business became more than the station salary…this evolved in being hired in 1973, to be 13-Q’s (and Heftel Broadcastings) Creative Director. Opened Bob Wilson Productions in 1975 and counted many Broadway shows as clients (Hair, Superstar, Beatlemania, Sly Fox, Liza Minnelli and corporate voice of ALCOA, about 10 years as Gimbels voice and hundreds of film and industrial presentations for Westinghouse. In 1988 I was coaxed by an old friend L.David Morehead to help him at K-98 in Austin, Texas and became a liberal, outrageous, slimeball, reactionary of a newscaster. I took that rep to Dallas and worked KJZY-FM for 18 months, again with L.David. When David returned to Las Vegas, I returned to Pittsburgh and resumed free-lancing occasionally. However, a demo tape from my Texas days wound up on a desk at K-Bear in 1993 and I returned to do morning news and opinion there and infrequently, on B-94, until late 1994. Then I flat-out retired. I currently spend half the year in Largo, Florida in the perpetual sunshine and the remainder of the time back in semi-cloudy, Western Pennsylvania. In that your list seems to include ‘after’ Pittsburgh histories, I’ve not included the 20 years prior when I enjoyed being one of the first of the Top Forty format announcers where it all began in Omaha, Nebraska. Cordially, Bob Wilson (January 15, 2006)

Dear Eric, no too long ago the paper had info that mayor murphy had said something about making a housing development on rising main avenue where wpxi is now and for tax reasons..wpxi was going to move out somewhere near where 53 is now around Ivory Avenue. Could this joint news effort just be the start of a series of things going on. I would hate to see wpxi move out of the city limits because of taxes. vito (January 14, 2006)

Eric’s Response: WPXI had planned to move to the empty plot of land right below WPGH at the corner of Ivory Ave. and Peoples Plank Road. If anything it is RIGHT on the border of the City and Reserve Township. I think WPXI’s main intention of moving was due to space issues…and a less-hilly site for wintertime commutes. (Those hills up there on TV Hill are steep!) Anyhow, I think the folks in the community raised a fuss in the sense that “Chopper 11” would cause too much of a raucus. That and the fact that they didn’t seem to want yet ANOTHER TV tower in the vicinity. I don’t think it had anything to do with the 11/53 news partnership.

Are plans continuing for WPTT 1360 to switch frequencies with WAVL 910. I remember reading in the Post Gazette months ago that the switch was to occur in early 2006. WPTT would relocate to 910 AM and increase their transmitter power to 10,000 watts and WAVL 910 would relocate to 1360 AM and continue their power at 5000 watts (January 12, 2006)

Eric’s Response: Last I heard, talks were still going on but no word about whether the change was on or off.

I have three questions for you. First, when did Wish 99.7 begin its annual tradition of playing “36 Hours of Christmas Music?” Second, I know they became a soft rock station in 1989, but do you happen to know the exact date that they did it? I’ve decided to ask you one more question. About how long were 1320 WJAS and WSHH 99.7 on Crane Avenue? I used to pass it when I was going to Eat ‘n Park with some of my relatives. Plus, I remember seeing a sign that said “Wish 100” on there. I hope you remember when they became “Wish 99.7.” Thanks a lot — anonymous (January 8, 2006)

Eric’s Response: As for the “36 Hours of Christmas…” There seems to be some confusion as to whether the Christmas tradtion was started by Tony Renda or whether it was formatted by the companies (Shulke Radio Productions and later Bonneville) who provided the Beautiful Music recordings and logs. The station became an “ALL VOCAL” station on December 26, 1989 ironically. It had to be sometime during the afternoon hours because, being the avid listener I was, I remember waking up to the Easy Listening with Jack Bogut that day. It was still called “Wish 100” for about a year or so afterward. The vocals were all mellow and included the Carpenters and many of the vocals used during the mostly-instrumental format. WSHH and WJAS were on Crane Avenue from the mid-70s until 1997. To my recollection, Nationwide Broadcasting owned the stations when they (WSHH and 1320 WKTQ “13Q”) were moved from the Kossman Building Downtown to Crane Avenue. Ironically I was an intern at the stations when they moved from Crane Ave. to their current location.

Eric, I agree with most everything Jason Toyger said about KDKA-AM in his column the other day. I think CBS should go ahead and pull the plug on the “newstalk” format and go 24-hour news ala KYW Philadelphia. KQV might not like it but that would be the way to go. KDKA has been around forever and is starting to get long-in-the-tooth. Why not do something that would really shake things up? KD should go for it! What have they really got to lose? The market is big enough with more than enough news to pull it off. They could do some interview shows on late at night but mostly just do the news. Just think of the slogans, “KDKA Newsradio 1020: All News All The Time” or “KDKA Newsradio 1020: If We Say It’s News Then It’s News! (HAHA!) Sorry, got a little carried away there. Let’s start the push…make the big KD 24/7 news all the time. Thanks Tim Reed Corry, PA (January 4, 2006)

Is Kelly Olexia out at KDKA? I noticed she wasn’t on this AM and she is not listed on kdka’s bio page. (January 3, 2006)

Eric’s Response: As we reported (actually the Post-Gazette reported) on December 6, Kelli Olexia made the decision to work closer to home (in the Wheeling/Steubenville area) to be nearer to her family…and get more sleep!

Eric – I agree almost completely with all of Jason’s thoughts on KD. They’ve been able to get away with mediocrity for YEARS just because of a) the signal and b) who they used to be. But young people don’t even know that AM exists. They look at it like we did 78rpm records. When I moved to Pittsburgh and Bogut was on the air, I didn’t get him at all. I’d come from a smaller market and was amazed that THIS GUY was the top gun at the top station. Jack is a real gentleman and I like him personally, I just never thought he had the kind of talent that was needed for that monstrous morning slot. Ditto everyone since then. Larry (another nice guy) is a minor talent who sounds way too much like AN ANNOUNCER! If KD wants some morning numbers, they better give people a compelling reason to listen — other than school closings. I think the shake up is long overdue, but I’m not sure it’ll make much difference. I think McIntire is a very solid and interesting guy and will bring some freshness to the station. but it remains to be seen what they do with the rest of the slots. And a note on KD’s website. It is an ugly mess and I run into all sorts of bugs on it. KD TV’s site was redone recently (apparently along CBS standards) and looks great now — but the radio site looks like a home job. They need to spend some serious time on this as well. Of course, the bottom line with all this may be; how cheaply can they run the station for and still get (at a minimum) enough listeners to sell. And turning it all news would be a great idea. Piltdown Man (January 3, 2006)

Hi. Thought you all might like to know that former KDKA morning news anchor Susan Barnett, who left KD in September 04 for Florida, started as morning anchor at KYW TV in Philadelphia this morning, Jan. 2nd. (January 2, 2006)

Being from McKeesport I remember WMCK 1360 in 1963 switching to WPQR for a year or two before returning to WMCK, and Terry Lee comming to WMCK. I remember Pat Hailey calling it Western Pennsylvanias Quality Radio . Im 56 so i lived thru that time and wonderfull memories. The station was owned by Robert Cox of Coxs department store in Mckeesport. Your web page is great keep it up. Craig Kirschner (January 2, 2006)

Eric, Could you please give us some insight into the aspects surrounding the changes with KDKA Radio? I understand and agree with the recent changes that have occurred last week, except for the the dismissal of the reporter. I cannot understand how a reporter would have an affect on ratings. The reasons given have included a change in format due to KDKA trying to capture a younger audience. That reason is understandable. I think Marty Griffith may work out with his investigative reporting angle, but I am just wondering if this will not get repititious, since he has already made it clear that he does not want to delve in “regular” talk-radio. How much investigative reporting can be completed while still holding onto an auidence on a daily basis? The second question deals with Chris Moore. I think if you listen to Chris Moore that he does capture a segment of the younger population. In your opinion, what is holding him back? His on-air criticism of KDKA and the other media outlets? Is he a threat to “rock the boat” and could may be diffifcult to manage? His affiliation with KDKA? KDKA Radio has stated in their e-mails to audience members that Chris’s other employment prevents him from being expanded in regards to programming. On ther hand, Moore has stated that he would consider a position if offered to him. The two responses seem to contradict each other. Now, we hear the name John McIntire being volleyed around for a full-time position, possibly the 9:00 p.m. slot. McIntire seems to be way over-the-top for the Pittsburgh market. Steve Hansen stated today on the air that Pittsburgh is a unique market and how mainstream themes may not necessarily work in this area. Since taking over Moore’s slot on weekends, McIntire does not seem to be able to draw the same amount of callers. Not saying that McIntire is not a good host, but I have not heard anybody raving about his show. Why is KDKA really try to force-feed McIntire to the audience with an unproven track record? The release of Romigh, Pintkek, and Alexander was not surprising to me at all. The thing that has surprised me is that KDKA Radio seems to have lacked any type of planning in replacing these people. You would think that they would have a plan in place. They said today that they are still in discussions with people to replace these people. Steve Hansen has seemed to contradict himself a few times during this whole process. He said that those three people had been put on alert earlier and they accepted their releases graciously, but then you read Pintek’s reaction in the paper? I am just wondering if KDKA Radio is maybe in need of better prgoramming management? Thank you. Keep up the good work. (January 2, 2006)

Eric’s Response: There never seems to be a straight answer when it comes to something like this. It often tends to be a feud. I honestly cannot see 3 hours of programming 5 days a week devoted to investigative work either. However, we might find that it works out to be more of a public service than we think. Chris Moore’s program probably does attract a younger audience. I, myself, always thought that he preferred to spend more time with his work at WQED though. Perhaps I am wrong. I don’t really know what is holding Moore back. I always thought he made his points rather clear and that he had no problem letting his voice be heard. As for McIntire, I’ve always felt that you either love him or hate him. His personality is NOT that of your everyday news anchor, talk host or what not. His program may seem pretty wild for the audience that KDKA has historically served, but I think if there is an attempt to create a younger audience, he has the ability to do that.

“Eric: My thanks to JM, Dec 29, 2005, RJ Karany, Dec 30, 2005, for the information regarding Compo Verde’s “The Carrillon” as played years ago by KDKA and to you for the interest in my question. I figured correctly that you and your readers of pbrtv.com site had the information. What a resource you have created! My order is placed with the referenced internet site. Thanks to all. Frank, Parkton, MD.” (January 2, 2006)


Eric’s Response: Cordic moved to California in 1965 and while he came to Pittsburgh frequently, he never moved back. He died in 1999 due to an illness.