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Dec 18 2013

Radio speculations

If, in a the future, someone told me that the now failed contract talks between Clear Channel and Quinn and Rose included a stipulation that they would be moving from FM to AM, I wouldn’t be surprised. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but given all of the speculation floating around out there – and not mine, mind you – it certainly is possible.

The speculation of which I speak is that Clear Channel is presumably looking to unseat KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan) as the only FM sports talker in Pittsburgh. Further speculation from armchair prognosticators is that such a station will appear on WPGB-FM 104.7. Given that, further speculation says that we’ll see the “News Talk” (AKA “Syndicated Yakfest”) format moved to WBGG-AM (970).

It makes sense if you think about it. The ESPN outlet (currently on 970) moves to FM – that means that Stan Savran, Tunch and Wolf, and David Todd. It would probably mean a move for Mark Madden too, thereby allowing Clear Channel to focus on the new rock format, for which WXDX-FM (105.9) is apparently known, and Madden to focus his expertise on sports.

Meanwhile, there are those who have theorized that Conservative Talk Radio has had its day in the sun and is dying a slow death. Well, okay. WPGB has done fairly well over the last 10 years its been on the air, and I know the ratings are not as strong as they once were. But if you compare the ratings of WPGB to sister WBGG, you’ll see a huge difference. WPGB’s average rating for the last six months is 3.6 with the highest being 4.1 for November. WBGG’s is 0.3 with the highest being 0.4 for September through November. (Source: AllAccess Jun’13 – Nov’13Such a change would likely “kill off” the syndicated format.

Most would say that WBGG’s ratings are due to “signal issues”. The 970 daytime frequency has a 5000 watt signal with some serious nulls to the Northwest to protect the Ashtabula Ohio’s WFUN on the same channel. The nighttime signal looks like a comic strip character with a “nose” to Washington County and “chin” to Westmoreland and Fayette Counties. So moving the news talk format there will probably send the format into the tank.

Of course advertising (on buses, TV, billboards) that a station even exists in the first place might be of benefit to any of the stations’ successes.

Keep an eye and an ear out in 2014 to see if the armchair prognosticators see their shadows.

Meanwhile at KDKA-FM

Vinnie Richichi and Paul Alexander are out from “The Fan”. According to Bob Smizik though, the moves seem to be precipitated by internal drama among co-hosts of their respective shows. It seems to be a fact that Richichi and Ron Cook didn’t get along on or off the air. Meanwhile, Paul Alexander’s co-host – Greg Giannotti – apparently spoke out publicly about not enjoying working with him. I’m going to stick with the fact that these were budget cuts and leave the apparent drama at Foster Plaza and leave it be.

Comment Policy

Earlier today I refused to allow a comment to post because the writer was calling a particular personality some cruel names. It’s fine to have an opinion about the person – positive or negative – but name-calling is not acceptable in my book. I don’t care to whom one is referring. Posts of that nature are not tolerated and will not be allowed to go through.

3 comments

  1. Glenn

    Honestly I didn’t care for Vinnie from day one because he “wasn’t from here” despite his trying to fit in. But then I don’t like Cook as a radio personality either. Just too abrasive and out of his element it seems to me.

    But *IF* 104.7 goes to sports I think they run The Fan out. Except for Pirate baseball the local guys on 970 are just better “radio” people.

    Picking up 970 on the radio here in Fayette County can be a trick, but I Heart Radio works everywhere. Do they consider that when doing ratings?

  2. Creighton Rabs

    Congratulations, Glenn… Please let us know when you get your check from CC for that glowing review.

    The fact is that Savran and Madden are two Pittsburgh media personalities who’ve jumped the shark (Madden more so than Savran). The Fan will still draw their strong ratings, and I believe Mueller and Starkey will trounce Madden if/when Muddy Channel decides to flip 104.7 to sports.

  3. Glenn

    I wish I got a check from them since I have railed against the big corporate influence in local radio since *I* was in radio 20 years ago.

    LOL!

    I stopped listening to the “fan” over a year ago. Cook and Vinny’s fights on air became tiresome. Cook is boring most of the time and combative the rest. As I said about he’s out of his element where he can write an opinion and ignore everyone who disagrees.

    And the awful three headed dog they had on in afternoon drive was worse. The day I tuned in to hear them asking “fans” what their favorite chocolate bar was enough for me. Although their occasional hanging up on “fans” and then spending 15 minutes talking about dumb the “fan” was was also a great highlight.

    Their Pirate post-game shows were very good, however.

    But again, I stopped listening at some point so I couldn’t even tell you the guy’s name.

    I *can* tell you I go the extra step of listening on line just to hear 970 am at work rather than listen to what is being passed off as “sports talk” on 93.7 on the radio.

    Madden is shtick…and it works for him. Is he currently losing to 93.7 during his show?

    Savran is the heir to Myron Cope in this town. People know he knows what he’s talking about…but he doesn’t have the “Pittsburgh angle” that Myron could pull off as a true homer.

    Dejan Kovacevi has a better podcast than those two shows on the Fan IMHO.

    So its not backing CC…its my opinion that if the Fan doesn’t start actually talking about sports with people who know sports they’ll get it handed to them.

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