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July 2005

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

Hi. My name is Stephanie McElrath. I am a totally blind radio listener. I was born in Florda and now I live in Greensburg Pa. First I have a radio dj question. Does anyone remember Debbie Wilde from the x? I know she left the x and then went to Washington D.C. I think. Now she’s gone and I don’t know where she went. Does anyone know what happened to her? Now how I feel about b-94/ 93.7 wbzz/ and its other name/names. I know I should “get over it.” but B-94 and I have an important relationship. First, B-94 when it died was my same age of 23 years old. In other words the station equaled my age in years. Then the “b” was born the same year I was. I was also born in June 27, 1981. Also everybody at the “b” was very nice and told me to call whenever I wanted. I know it’s been almost 7 months but I was reading the former mailbags and I feel my healing I have done is in vain. In fact the next day after the “b” went into cardiac arrest/died (ha ha) I still called the station and actually got former “b” jocks still running the board. Unfortunately I started crying and crying and crying. In fact I took the loss so hard I almost seriously ended up in the hospital. I dispise Stern very much. I think he’s rude, disgusting, and a disgrace to any radio airwaves. I wish the Federal Communications Commission would bann Stern from all radio markets. I mean I found another station, in wrrk but its just not the same. And also I really feel that wrrk might be leaving to because I heard their format wasn’t doing so well. TThey’re telling me one thing and my friend who’s a radio freak was telling me another. So I’m quite confused. Thanks, Stephanie McElrath (July 27, 2005)

Hey guys, I’m not sure who to email this to, so I emailed both of you on this. I was listening to WNCD-FM 93.3 tonight at work. We usually listen to DVE, the X, or WAMO, so this was out of the ordinary. Anyways, I noticed that the station is no longer known on-air as CD 93.3 the Wolf, but 93.3 NCD. Now the station, which has been owned by Clear Channel for years, was basically Youngstown’s version of DVE in terms of the songs played (except they had the syndicated Bob & Tom instead of the DVE Morning Show, obviously), but now the name? I’m wondering if this is another case of CC having stations like the KISS stations. What’s next, 106.1 WBBG-FM, which already plays the EXACT same oldies format as WWSW-FM, becomes 106.1 2BGW? Name’s not as catchy, but 3WS could go back to being 94.5 WWSW. I’d keep an eye on overlapping stations owned by CC in the area. Joe G. (July 27, 2005)

Tom’s Reply: I think part of it is a way to refreshen the station’s image after being known as “The Wolf” for years. ‘NCD has more competition from both sides of the rock spectrum, Real Rock 104 for new rock & Y 103 for classic rock. Talk about being stuck in the middle. I can also see where CC’s overlapping formats can make radio very boring. Hopefully, Cumulus will keep up the good work with their stations in the area.

Eric’s Response: Couldn’t have said it better myself Tom L!

Greetings from a transplanted ‘Burgher who now lives in Tampa. I hope you might be able to help me. Think back to the holiday season in the early 70’s. Remember the WTAE-TV promo that ran during the holiday season that showed a man playing a trumpet, while a message that contained season’s greetings to the viewers scrolled down the screen? The music in the background was “Carol Of The Bells”. It was an instrumental version, and a unique one at that. My quest: Who performed that specific rendition of Carol Of The Bells? Was it possibly the Pittsburgh Symphony? I’ve been in search of this answer (on and off) for about twenty years or so. I’ve called and written WTAE-TV, but to no avail. There has been a nearly complete turnover of staff since then, and no one I’ve spoken or corresponded with recalls the promo. Last year, I even contacted the Pittsburgh Symphony, but ran into a dead-end. So I turn to you, the folks who know Pittsburgh TV best: Can you help me? Thank you very much. Sincerely, Lee Parshook (July 26, 2005)

Eric’s Response: Boy that’s a tough one. It makes me wonder if they have any of that stuff hanging around anymore. When I got your email last night, I dug around the computer archives for the email address of a man who has a “WTAE Shrine.” Reporter Wendy Bell did a piece about Mark Kuhns who has just about everything “4” you can think of in his WTAE shrine…but nonetheless I have lost his email and can only hope he drops by the site every now and again! In the meantime I am hopeful that someone who drops by can help out!

RE: Craig’s question about horror host SIR ROGER on Channel 4, I have an entry about him (including a picture from a late 50s humor magazine!) on my PITTSBURGH HORROR HOSTS website:http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/pittsburghhorrorhosts/. If anybody can provide personal memories or any sort of solid information about this TV personality and his show, or any of the other cool ghouls discussed on my site (including, of course, CHILLY BILLY), please contact me! Dead gratefully, George “E-gor” Chastain p.s. I have a much bigger site about more than 300 of these folks all around the country called E-GOR’S CHAMBER OF TV HORROR HOSTS: http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/tvhorrorhosts/.

Does anyone remember “Shock Theater” that was on Channel 4 soon after they went on the air? Sir Roger was the host, it was on Wednesday nights at 11:15 (I think. The news was only on for 15 minutes in those days). The old Universal horror flicks were the films shown. Later there was also a Saturday night version called “Son of Shock”. I’ve never seen WTAE give this show a mention on their site or the History show they programmed a few years ago. Thanks, Craig (July 24, 2005)

Eric, Don’t know if you know of this site. It is a real gem of airchecks including the link below for Todd Chase’s 1968 KQV-FM show. http://www.reelradio.com/je/index.html#tckqv0868 Take care and keep up the good work, Bill Washington, PA (July 23, 2005)

Dear Eric, Very nice site!…I’ll pass your link onto some Pittsburgh radio fans i know. You might be interested to know that Hank Stohl just released a new self-published book about the golden days of ‘burgh kids’ shows titled “When We Were Kids.” It’s a nice compilation with neat photos, and is available from print-on-demand publisher AuthorHouse.com. Hank recently moved back to Whitehall with his wife Anita, following a stroke and some other health problems, but he keeps active, breakfasting at the Your Way Cafe in Caste Village, which, by the way plays a DVD on Sat mornings on which the only remaining fragments of KNISH performances are compiled! It’s very cool. In his book, Hank laments the fact that so much old kinoscope and video material was tossed out by stations. If anyone out there might have saved any copies of Knish or any other kids’ shows, please let me know and I’ll put them in touch with Hank. best wishes, Sincerely, Buster Maxwell (ex-WRCT, WMBA, WZUM, WYDD (3 times!), & WAMO) musical komedy company Pittsburgh PA (July 21, 2005)

Wouldn’t it be great if one of the local broadcasters like KDKA, WTAE or WPXI put up on one of their digital channels a real-time live radar view? They certainly have the space as you can put 3 SD and 1 HD channel on one carrier. I’ve seen this in several other markets and it’s a nice thing to have. (July 18, 2005)

According to Inside Radio the CBS updates are now 24/7. That’s info I didn’t have when I emailed earlier today. The :31 updates had only been M-F from 5:31AM-11:31PM. There were weekend updates only as events warranted. :31s round the clock keeps the updates running beyond 8:31PM local time on the West coast and allows consistency in the formats of the Infinity All News cluster. FG (July 12, 2005)

Eric, As noted, “That CBS update at :31 was launched a year ago. Bob Taylor WMAJ, State College, PA (July 10, 2005)” CBS radio has been airing the updates for years. Prior to 911 the updates aired when their was a major breaking story. Post 911 they decided to air the updates hourly through the day, giving a 1:00 update on the hours top story. The bottom line is that the :31 updates are nt new. They have been running hourly, without an adjoining commercial, for years. Frank Gottlieb (July 11, 2005)

Not exactly, Eric. CBS would feed updates at :31 (as well as :20 and :50) as stories warranted. Then, the network began to offer such updates regularly throughout the day at :31. Now it appears the network is putting the updates on around the clock. CBS is dressing it up as new news, but it’s simply a progression of a service it was offering when I worked at KQV (5 1/2 years ago) … Pat. (July 11, 2005)

Eric et al.: I am looking to find a record, if there is one done by a girl group that played at the Stanley in the early 70’s. The song is “Shoot the Man Down”. The group appeared on the same bill at T-Bone Walker, and was hosted by Paul Perry of WZUM. I contacted Paul in Chicago and he thought he had a poster from the event but couldn’t find it. The folks at Recrod Rama drew a blank also. Any suggestions. Karl Brandt, Mercer, Pa (July 10, 2005)

That CBS update at :31 was launched a year ago. Bob Taylor WMAJ, State College, PA (July 10, 2005)

Eric’s Response: Radio Ink is giving us OLD news online? Hmmmm.

Eric, I listen to LaunchCast radio occasionally to listen to music at my office or at home. If you use Yahoo messenger, it is available from the friends list too. Anyway, they have a new station added that can be accessed from the free section too and its called “Random Radio”, which for all intents and purposes is Jack-FM. Just thought I’d mention this find to you or other readers in case they were interested. Also, my wife tells me that locally on KDKA-TV, Jeff Verszyla got married over the weekend. Scott PS–I ran spell-check before I sent this to you 🙂 (July 6, 2005)

Hey Eric — I was wondering if you would help me. Years ago, probably the 1970s, WTAE did a brilliant comedic promo for the news featuring Don Cannon and Paul Long. I still remember a couple of scenes — Cannon spills coffee, Long catches the spill in his cup; Long tosses crumpled script which Cannon catches in waste basket. I’m trying to recall the other scenes and the narration from that promo. Do you have more info. about the promo, or, where I might find more info. about it? Thanks, Jeff (July 4, 2005)

Eric’s Response: It’s available at WTAE-TV’s website – www.thepittsburghchannel.com. I can’t remember what it is under, but it was there for a while anyway.

Eric, Thanks to Pat and Denny for their kind comments on my e-mail about WNCC. I think JACK Radio may do well in Pittsburgh. When NY lost WCBS-FM “Oldies 101.1” NY didn’t just lose another format. It lost DJ’s who spoke TO the listener not at them. You were spoken to as a person not as someone fitting a certain demographic who will buy this and that from advertisers. The DJ’s cared about their listening audience and showed it by their enthusiasm and sound of their voice. The Newark Star Ledger asked people to write or e-mail them about the format change. The Star Ledger brought over 2500 e-mails and letters to the new management of 101.1 from listeners complaining about the format change. A protest outside the station during the week a few weeks ago had about 100 people. What’s ironic is that no NYC paper started a campaign to save the “oldies” station. It was a NJ paper who launched the campaign. Robert Jones, Edison, NJ (July 4, 2005)

I have enjoyed your website for quite some time, but you guys really, really need some editing on the grammar! (July 3, 2005)

Eric’s response: When you are a one-horse (with assistance here and there) operation, it is difficult to pay attention to everything. I strive to keep my grammar in check, but sometimes it can slip. So, to all you English teachers…sorry!

Eric, You run a great site here, keep up the good job. I was looking over May 2005 Mail bag, and at the bottom, Evelyn A. (May 3, 2005) asked about the Czech Show with Mary Pospisil. The show is still on RADIO ONLY 9 AM to 11 AM, Sunday’s on 1290 WOMP Bellaire, OH and 1340 WSTV Steubenville, OH. The show is co-hosted by here daughter Georgianna Kurtz. The show is still very much popular and is followed by Theo Kanoski’s Polkas until 1 P.M. I hope this is of help. JJ JUMPER (Froggy 103.5).

Hi Eric, I finally got a taste of the so-called “Jack-FM” when we were coming back from our vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last night. The station was actually called “Joe FM 80s, 90s, whatever we want”. They have a website at 973joefm.com. The station is in Bay City, MI, which is in the Saginaw area north of Detroit. What I heard in the hour or so that I listened to was a mixture of songs from Fleetwood Mac (although curiously they said Christy McVee and later Stevie Nicks, but they were Fleetwood Mac songs), America, David Essex (Rock On) but maybe one song from the present. Looking at the ratings for this station on R&R, from the Spring Book (1.7) to the Fall 2004 book (5.1), it jumped from 16th to 7th after the switch from country to Joe. I must admit I was ready to find another station when it finally faded away as I’m more into active rock and alternative with some country music taste. At age 44, I’m supposed to be a classic rocker I presume, but I personally can only take it in small doses. I strongly believe this format can thrive in Pittsburgh though. I moved to the Pittsburgh area after a few years in the San Francisco/San Jose area six years ago and was surprised how much classic rock is played around here. Thankfully there was 105.9 and now K-Rock 93.7 though for my listening tastes. The people in the Pittsburgh area will embrace this type of a station if promoted correctly. I see WRRK is slipping further down the tubes and can’t believe they haven’t caved in yet. Just wanted to throw in another two cents about this format. Scott (July 1, 2005)

Thanks to Robert Jones for his kind comments about WNCC. It was one of a kind in its day. The place where I and so many other got a start. There aren’t many stations any more who will take a gamble on hiring a teenager and letting him learn from his mistakes and try again. I had opportunities to serve in many capacities there, including being the station mascot “Old King Coal” ( the costume was way too big for me, by the way!) ,but one day in particular, I remember, Pat Cloonan sending me out to do live reports from a local fire hall when a fireworks factory exploded sending shock waves for miles. I remember doing an actuality for KDKA and for a station in San Francisco that saw the story on the AP wire. Ah…”When Radio Was”! Denny Pompa (July 1, 2005)