Indiana RadioWatch: June 24, 2009

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Derrick Gingery fills us in on the sale of WLAB (88.3fm, Fort Wayne). The Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly reporter learned that "Star Educational Media Network" (WLAB's new owners) is financed in part by Huntington University. Huntington will have several seats on the station's board of directors.

Replacing the retired Bob Chase at Federated Media's N-T/WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne) is Jim Shovlin. Shovlin now handles morning sports anchor duties on "Fort Wayne's Morning News," in addition to his roles as P.A. announcer at the Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball games, and hosting a local sports talk show on WOWO's sister Sports station WKJG (1380am, Fort Wayne).

A new radio history website debuted recently. chronicles the legendary history of WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne) and is a "labor of love by several former WOWO Radio staffers and Fort Wayne radio history buffs," according to the website.

Where Are They Now? Did you read about the controversy that came about after a Sacramento, California morning show made negative comments about transgender children? The station manager of that station is none other than Jim Fox, who at one point was the OM/PD of WBYR (98.9fm, Woodburn).


Our condolences to the Schurz Communications family on the passing of James M. Schurz, Senior Vice President for the company. Schurz, 76, passed away at home on Wednesday 10 June 2009. He had been SVP since 1986, and was past publisher and editor of the Hagerstown (Maryland) Herald-Mail.

Vox Radio changes formats on a pair of its stations. First, it's Classic Rock/WMYK (98.5fm, Peru) changing format to Rock, as "Rock 98.5." The second format change is detailed below.

Renovations have begun for the new facility which will house WNIT-TV (Channel 34, South Bend). WNIT will soon relocate to the former home of the Schurz Communications' stations in South Bend, which is at 300 West Jefferson Blvd. in South Bend. Schurz donated the building to WNIT when they moved their stations late last year to Mishawaka. The $6.5 million project should be completed by the beginning of 2010.


The veteran Chicago DJ John Records Landecker joins Paula Griffin on the local talk show "Live and Local" which airs from 3:00PM until 6:00PM (Central) on Gerard Media's N-T/WIMS (1420am, Michigan City). Landecker's first day was Monday 15 June.

Purdue University's NPR-Classical/WBAA-FM (101.3fm, West Lafayette) received FCC approval to increase from 5,000 watts to 14,000 watts. On 1 July, WBAA-FM will be off the air while antenna modifications are made.

After being off the air last Summer, Lafayette School Corporation's WJEF (91.9fm, Lafayette) suffered another day of silence on 13 June. Building repairs from a September, 2008 basement fire in the Fraser Center (where WJEF has its studios) are the reason for the day long silence. Thankfully, the fire did not cause any damage to WJEF's equipment or studios.


Dan Baughman's Christian Voice of Central Ohio, Inc. sells Religious/WZRP (89.3fm, Richmond) to Mike Novak's Educational Media Foundation for $200,000. The sale was brokered by Greg Guy of Patrick Communications, LLC.

We have good news from the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home and its radio station: Classic Hits/WKPW (90.7fm, Knightstown). The station did not go dark, as we reported. The program will be taken over by the New Castle Area Career Programs, if the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home does not remain open next year. A budget plan by the Indiana legislature includes money to keep the home open for another year. When New Castle takes over, the station will be overseen by Area Director Robert Hobbs. In 2010, WKPW will move to Knightstown High School in Knightstown. Finally, WKPW PD Mike York will remain with the station.

In late May, Vox Radio's Standards/WMRI (860am, Marion) changed format to Southern Gospel, using programming from the Salem Radio Network.


Horizon Christian Fellowship's WHZN (88.3fm, New Whiteland) commenced programming under Program Test Authority on 15 June. They are mixing both a contemporary Christian format with religious teaching, and calling it "The Walk." The station is being programmed by OM Tony Silva. As we reported, former WISG (93.9fm) morning host Kurt Wallace is now holding down mornings at "The Walk." WHZN has a rather directional pattern, and the transmitter is on the Trafalgar tower farm on the same tower as ION's WIPX (Channel 27, Bloomington).

The Indianapolis-based "The Weekly Pop 20" show adds KCHX in Midland-Odessa, Texas to their affiliate roster.

Kevin Finch exits as News Director at LIN Television CBS affiliate WISH-TV (Channel 8, Indianapolis), after just over two years in that role. Finch will join Calamari Productions, working on documentaries.

Where Are They Now? Former CHR/WNOU (then 93.1fm, Indianapolis) morning show "The Morning Mess" (Marco, Shannon, and Mikey) will debut soon, but their next destination is unknown to us.


Several of the NCE applications filed in October 2007's window are starting to become CP's. Calvery Chapel of Terre Haute now has a CP for a station on 90.1fm, licensed to Hymera. According to the CP, the station would run 1283 watts at 400 feet, from a tower north of Linton on IN-54.


Several of the NCE applications filed in October 2007's window are starting to become CP's. Mary's Children, Inc. now has a CP for a station on 89.9fm, licensed to Ellettsville, with call letters WITE. According to the CP, the station would run 1250 watts at 448 feet, directional from Artistic Media's WHCC (105.1fm, Ellettsville) tower.


Wagon Wheel Broadcasting LLC sells silent WXCH (102.9fm, Hope) to Reising Radio Partners for $200,000.


We have news of programming changes at Regent N-T/WGBF (1280am, Evansville). First, FOX Radio replaces ABC News beginning Monday 29 June. Second, G. Gordon Liddy replaces an encore Dave Ramsey show between 2:00PM and 5:00PM on Sunday's, starting Sunday 28 June. Finally, a Dr. Laura "best of" will replace "When Radio Was" between 5:00PM and 8:00PM on Sunday's, beginning on Sunday 28 June. "When Radio Was" shortens to an hour, and moves to Sunday morning between 6:00AM and 7:00AM.

Horizon Christian Fellowship is selling its Princeton translator (W249BP) on 97.7fm to Dave Crooks' DLC Media for $4,000. The FCC filing lists Vincennes University's WVUB (91.1fm, Vincennes) as the parent station for this translator, but perhaps one of DLC's other stations will be the benefactor in this case.

Employment Opportunities

Artistic Media Partners is looking for a dynamic Market Manager for stations in South Bend. Our four station cluster offers an excellent and exciting opportunity for a sales-minded broadcaster. If you are goal oriented and have three or more years of successful sales management experience, please send your resume to arthur at artisticradio dot com. Artistic Media Partners is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

WASK Radio Group station WKOA/Lafayette is looking for a new PD/Morning Co-Host. If interested, send tapes and resumes to Jon Schurz, GM, WASK, Inc., 3575 McCarty Lane, Lafayette, IN 47905 or e-mail to jschurz at wask dot com. The WASK Radio Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

WNDY-TV/Indianapolis is currently taking applications for a Videographer/Editor/Producer. Applicants possess working knowledge of Sony XDCam/Avid Nitris editing and the ability to field produce. Scheduling flexibility and college degree required. Please send resumes to: Production Manager, 1950, North Meridian, Indianapolis, IN. 46202 or bhardy at wishtv dot com. No phone calls please. EEO/MF.

Radio Spotlight

Name: Michael W. Christopher
Job Title: General Manager
Station(s): WWKI-FM Kokomo, Indiana (Country format)
Owner: Citadel Broadcasting Company

1. Who were your early DJ or radio station influences? (Perhaps what lead you to "catch the radio bug.")

Definitely in the 1970's with the Big 89 WLS Musicradio in Chicago with Larry LuJack, John Landecker, Fred Winston, Lyle Dean, and Paul Harvey News. I looked forward to summer break from school every year so I could listen to WLS during the day - everyone I knew wanted to be a DJ on that great station!

2. What makes your stations unique?

The top four managers have served the station a combined 85 years! We've been playing the country format for 41 consecutive years, and have an average six-figure audience size that's more than twice the size of the city of Kokomo.

3. What makes your market unique?

It's well known as the City of Firsts for fantastic industrial innovation, also known as the automotive electronics capital of the world, but still has a nice blue-collar feel to it with strong loyalty to country music.

4. Who are your mentor(s)?

On a national level - spiritually it's Rick Warren, author of "Purpose Driven Life", I learn a great deal from all of his teachings, and financially it's Dave Ramsey, a man who 'did' before he 'taught', and is a gifted advisor and broadcaster.

5. What's the best advice you'd give to those wanting to get into radio?

Study and master the skills of persuasion, public speaking, and acquire as much computer technical and software knowledge as possible.

6. Where do you see the radio industry five years from now?

Hopefully enjoying a resurrection of the development of home-grown broadcasting talent that local listeners can connect with.

7. What's the most important issue in radio today?

Localism - in the sense that the industry may be relying too much on national or syndicated talent, making it more difficult for listeners to get emotionally connected with local broadcasters dealing with the same hardships they are.

8. What's your favorite out-of-market radio station, and why?

The Big One, Newsradio 700 WLW in Cincinnati, they are still using locally developed personalities that listeners feel a much closer association with.

9. Who's your favorite air personality that isn't working for you?

Probably Mike McConnell, midday host on WLW, he never gets caught off-guard by caller issues, he's very knowledgeable maintains a good common-sense approach keeping listeners in-line, even with some of their emotional melt-downs.

10. What book have you read that has taught you the most about the radio business?

The "Wizard of Ads" by Roy Williams, and "The Art of the Start" by Guy Kawasaki, it's not a radio-specific book, but I got it at a Radio Manager's meeting and it's a darn good book on applying good business-sense to whatever you do and super-serving niche markets.

Bonus Question: What's your biggest pet peeve?

There's too few people doing too many jobs, and the broadcast industry has cut-back way too far on the employment, growth, and development of Broadcast Engineers - where would we be without them!

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

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All pages Copyright Blaine Thompson. Articles, photos, corrections, and other contributions should be e-mailed to the editors.