Indiana RadioWatch: January 3, 2018

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[Very Special Note to readers: You get a guest IRW columnist this week, as Blaine had a death in his family. Our condolences to Blaine's family. Scott Fybush/NorthEast Radio Watch]


Adam Solarczyk is the new weekend evening meteorologist on Nexstar-owned WANE-TV (Channel 15) in Fort Wayne. Solarczyk is a graduate of Central Michigan University and worked at KLST-TV in San Angelo, TX before coming to Fort Wayne. He replaces Hannah Strong, who is now at WDRB (Fox 41) in Louisville, KY.

From the viewing pile: a random phone call to SagamoreHill's Fort Wayne ABC affiliate, WPTA (Channel 21), led to a documentary special that aired Dec. 21. "Lost and Found: A Soldier's Story" tells the tale of Erven Oetting, a World War II soldier whose dog tags were blown off in a battle with the Japanese on a Pacific island. The dog tags turned up many years later, and have now made their way home to the 94-year-old veteran. Viewing options: Preview or the entire documentary.

Where are they now?: Former WPTA meteorologist Chris Bradley now works for WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, where he is battling leukemia. Bradley underwent a stem cell transplant in 2017, and then was hospitalized in November with pneumonia. He spent Christmas at home with his family..


Weigel's WBND (ABC57) in South Bend loses two of its newspeople: Julia Palazzo, who's been a multimedia journalist and weekend anchor since 2016, moves to Dayton, Ohio and WDTN-TV (Channel 2) to work on its morning "Living Dayton" lifestyle show. Anchor Brian Dorman has moved to KOTV (Channel 6) in Tulsa, where he's now working alongside another WBND alumna, Ashley Izbicki. She worked at ABC57 in 2011-2012.

Across town, Alexandra Elich has left her multimedia journalist job at WSBT-TV (Channel 22), moving to WCCB in Charlotte, N.C.

Congratulations to Jason Samuel and his team at WGCS/91.1fm at Goshen College. "91.1 the Globe" has been nominated for the eighth consecutive year as a finalist for “Best College Radio Station in the Nation” by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems (IBS). WGCS won the top prize in 2011 and 2013. Nine students were also named as finalist in ten categories for the IBS awards.

“We are honored that our first-year students through seniors and transfer students have been recognized as national finalists again,” Samuel said. “This supports our belief that any student can contribute right away and achieve success at the highest level of college broadcasting.”

Goshen College students will attend the College Media Awards at the 78th annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting Systems Conference in New York City on March 2–4.


The biggest format change in the region over the holidays was at Cumulus' WRWM/93.9fm in Indianapolis. After stunting with Christmas music as "North Pole Radio," the former classic hip-hop signal emerged Dec. 26 as "Energy 93.9," the third top-40 signal in the market. Jay Michaels of sister station WJJK is PD for Energy, which is getting new calls WYRG. The syndicated Bert Show airs in morning drive, followed by Michaels at 10 AM, Rachel Ryan at 1 PM, Justin Luvv at 4 PM and the syndicated Zach Sang at 9 PM

Down the hall, country WFMS/95.5fm introduced new middayer Jack Shell on Dec. 26. Shell had been working at WLYF in Miami and before that in Detroit at WYCD. The Peoria, Ill. native says he's happy to be returning to the midwest: "I have loved Indianapolis all my life, and I look forward to planting roots here, playing here and most of all winning here. Let’s DO this!"

"ALT 103.3" (WOLT/103.3fm) in Indianapolis is among the iHeart modern rock stations adding the syndicated "Woody Show," based at KYSR in Los Angeles. Woody replaces "The Todd Show" on WOLT.

TV people on the move: WTTV (Channel 4) morning meteorologist Lindsay Riley moves to Phoenix as the new chief meteorologist at KPNX-TV (Channel 15), Scripps' ABC affiliate there. Pat Costello, who started his career as a photojournalist in Indianapolis, closes out his management career by retiring as news director at Sinclair's KOMO-TV in Seattle. Costello had also served as station manager at Seattle's KING-TV.

Over at CW affiliate WISH-TV (Channel 8), Patty Spitler has ended "Boomer TV" after almost three years. The 10:30 AM Sunday slot it formerly occupied will now be home to her new show, "Great Day TV," which is aimed at a broader demographic than just baby boomers. Spitler continues to produce "Pet Pals TV," which airs at 10 AM on Sunday.

Public radio WFYI/90.1fm is overhauling its "Art of the Matter" show. The broadcast will leave the air in late January, to be replaced by a new arts and culture desk in the WFYI newsroom that will produce a replacement show. "Art of the Matter" host Sharon Gamble will be a contributor to the as-yet-untitled show, which is expected to launch in early 2018, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. WFYI "All Things Considered" local host Jill Ditmire will leave that position to lead the arts and culture desk, which will join other newsroom desks focused on education, health, economy and city politics.


Is a format change coming to WLRS/1570am in New Albany? The New Albany Broadcasting Company has registered, reflecting the frequency of translator W270CR/101.9fm. WLRS/W270CR currently operate as Brokered Regional Mexican “Poder“.

In Batesville, Ron Green is retiring after 40 years with WRBI/103.9fm. Green has been with the station since original owner Don Davis secured its construction permit in the late 1970s. He has served WRBI as general manager under current owner Leeson Media for years. After leaving the station, Green says he plans to spend more time visiting his family in Colorado and playing golf.


Ben Smith moves from Thy Word Radio Network in Evansville to WAY-FM's WAYI/104.3fm Charlestown, in the Louisville market. Smith will serve as community impact director and operations coordinator at WAY-FM.

On TV, Hillary Simon leaves WFIE (Channel 14) in Evansville, moving to a reporter position at WIAT (Channel 42) in Birmingham, Alabama.

That's all for this issue. Thank you for your continued support.

Blaine Thompson
Indiana RadioWatch

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