Indiana RadioWatch: 2000 Year in Review

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2000 in Station Sales

February: Religious/WHPZ (96.9fm, Bremen) was sold by Bomar Broadcasting to LeSea Broadcasting, while Religious/WVXI (106.3fm, Crawfordsville) sold by the Xavier University "X-Star" network to C.V.L. Broadcasting.

March: Maryland based Radio One purchased all of Bill Shirk's Indianapolis properties: Rhythmic/WHHH (96.3fm, Indianapolis), Rhythmic Oldies/WBKS (106.7fm, Greenwood), and Jazz/WYJZ (100.9fm, Lebanon). The $40 million deal also included W53AV, ("WAV-TV") a low-powered TV station. Also, Country/WBTU (93.3fm, Kendallville) is sold by 62nd Street Broadcasting to Artistic Media Partners for $5 million.

May: The allocation on 106.7fm in Hicksville, Ohio is sold by GMA Broadcasting to Fallen Timbers Communications for $512,000. We saw in Broadcasting and Cable magazine that Fallen Timbers is run by Alec C. Dille, the son of Pathfinder Communications' President John F. Dille III.

August: A long-standing LMA is over with Country/WSKT (92.7fm, Spencer). The Vincennes-based Original Company, either itself or the now-defunct Old Northwest Broadcasting, has operated the station under the agreement since the mid-1990's. Some internal changes within the two companies, including the buyout of Old Northwest by Original, prevented a sale from occurring earlier.

October: Cumulus Media has closed on the sale of the Connoisseur stations. However, the 4 Evansville properties have been spun off to Clear Channel, since Cumulus needs additional monies to fund the complete purchase of Connoisseur. Spun off to Clear Channel is News-Talk/WGBF(AM) (1280am, Evansville), Rock/WGBF-FM (103.1fm, Henderson, Kentucky), Classic Rock/WTRI (94.9fm, Mount Carmel, Illinois), and Country/WYNG (105.3fm, Evansville). Also, WZRK (101.7fm, Kentland) is sold by Lyle Robert Evans to Milner Broadcasting, owners of Oldies/WVLI in Kankakee, Illinois.

2000 in Format Changes

March: WSDM(AM) (1130am, Brazil) and WJSH (1300am, Terre Haute) flip formats from gospel to sports as "The X", on March 1. WSDM's call letters change to WSDX, while WJSH is now WSJX. Then on Tuesday March 28, at 6am, Rock/WNAP (93.1fm, Indianapolis) flipped formats to CHR. Also, CVL Broadcasting, the new owners of WVXI (106.3fm, Crawfordsville) flips format to CHR.

April: Federated Media's Oldies/WNIL (1290am, Niles, Michigan) flips format to ABC's "Lite 2000" satellite format. Also flipping is sister station WTRC (1340am, Elkhart). WNIL was doing oldies using Jones Radio Network's "Good Time Oldies" satellite format, while WTRC was doing WW1's "MOR" format. Also, WWWY (104.9fm, Columbus) flips formats from Soft AC to Hot AC.

August: Country/WKVI (1520am, 99.3fm; both Knox) flips format to AC. WKVI had been a country station for the last 17 years. Their AC format is off satellite from Westwood One. Heritage Rock/WZZQ (107.5fm, Terre Haute) flips to Alternative as "107-5 The Edge" under new PD J. Jay King. The flip happened on Tuesday 15 August after non-stop Metallica for an hour.

September: WEXI (102.9fm, Huntington) ends its simulcast with sister Rock/WXKE (103.9fm, Fort Wayne) and flips to "alternative dance" as "Energy 102.9" WYGB (102.9fm, Edinburgh) signed on with a country format as "Korn Country", after a feud with perennial Country/WKKG (101.5fm, Columbus) involving a phony commercial for Corn that aired on WKKG.

October: AC/WRSW(AM) & FM (1480am, 107.3fm; both Warsaw) ended their simulcast. The FM continued its AC format while the AM began a sports format, airing ESPN Radio. Artistic Media Partners' WAZY(AM) (1410am, Lafayette) dropped its simulcast of AC/WAZY-FM and flipped to Standards under PD Steve Clark. According to an article in The Lafayette Journal and Courier, WAZY's programming comes from Westwood One.

November: A format change in the Anderson area, as Hot AC WHTI/WHTY (96.7fm, Alexandria; 93.5fm, Hartford City) flip formats to classic rock as "The Max". Tom Willhoite is the new PD of "The Max."

2000 in Call Letter Changes

WTHC (95.9fm, Seelyville) to WWSY (February)
WQSH (98.9fm, Salem) to WZTR (February)
WSDM (1130am, Brazil) to WSDX (March)
WJSH (1300am, Terre Haute) to WSJX (March)
WOOO (1520am, Shelbyville) to WKWH(AM) (March)
WRCR (94.3fm, Rushville) to WKWH-FM (March)
WZZQ(AM) (1230am, Terre Haute) to WBUZ(AM) (August)
WBRO (96.9fm, Hardinsburg) to WKLO (September)
WKLO (89.9fm, Marengo) to WBRO (September)

2000 in Personnel Changes

January: The major story revolved around Rock/WFBQ (94.7fm, Indianapolis) as Marty Bender is now Executive Producer for The Bob & Tom Show. Bender gives up his PD duties at flagship Rock/WFBQ (94.7fm), but keeps OM duties for WFBQ, Sports/WNDE (1260am), and Alternative/WRZX (103.3fm, all Indianapolis).

February: J.J. Davis joins the Mid-America stations in Logansport and Peru, as Operations Manager. He'll oversee Classic Hits/WARU(AM) & FM, Country/WHZR, Oldies/WIOU, and CHR/WZWZ. Also, John Dille, president of Pathfinder Communications, names one of his general managers as Chief Operating Officer. Tony Richards, GM of N-T/WOWO, Country/WQHK, Hot AC/WMEE, and Sports/WONO will also retain his spot as GM at the Maples Road facility in Fort Wayne.

March: Tim Makenzie replaces Dick Prescott as News Director at Soft AC/WSAL & AC/WLHM (1230am & 102.3fm, both Logansport). Prescott exits to become Mayor of Logansport.

April: OM Sky Phillips departs CHR/WSTO & Country/WBKR (96.1fm, 92.5fm; both Owensboro, Kentucky) to form his own production company. Susquehanna Market Manager Monte Maupin-Gerard exits. Maupin-Gerard oversaw Country/WFMS (95.5fm, Indianapolis), Oldies/WGLD (104.5fm, Indianapolis), and Country/WGRL (93.9fm, Noblesville). Replacing Maupin-Gerard in an Acting role is Charlie Morgan, VP/GM of WGLD. He became VP/Market Manager in May. Finally, Dave Crooks becomes GM at Gospel/WAMW(AM) and Soft AC/WYER-FM (1580am, 107.9fm, both Washington). Crooks was formerly co-owner of Country/WWBL (106.5fm, Washington).

May: Longtime AAA/WTTS (92.3fm, Bloomington) PD Rich Anton announced he'll depart on July 14. In addition to being PD, Anton also does mornings at "Indiana's 92.3". He's replaced in September by Jim Ziegler. Ziegler arrives from nights at legendary AAA/KFOG in San Francisco, California. Also, MD Marie McCallister is promoted to Assistant Program Director.

June: After 14 years at CHR/WMEE (97.3fm, Fort Wayne), the last 2 as PD, "Captain" Chris Didier departs the heritage CHR for Oldies/WLDE (101.7fm, Fort Wayne). There, he'll do afternoons. Also, CHR/WZPL (99.5fm, Greenfield) night guy Ted Stryker departs for sunny Florida. There, he'll be PD & mornings at CHR/WILN in Panama City.

July: At CHR/WNOU, PD Scrap Jackson departs. Also, Longtime sports talk show personality Art Saltsberg hangs up the headphones of the popular "Sports Talk with Art & Dean" show, that he hosted with WPTA-TV Sports Director Dean Pantazi. Saltsberg and Pantazi have hosted the show since November 4, 1985. Before "Sports Talk", Saltsberg had worked at WOWO in the 1970's, first as a news person, then as News Director from 1977-1979. Saltsberg continues in his sales position for WOWO and sister Sports/WONO (1380am, Fort Wayne). J. Jay King arrives at Rock/WZZQ (107.5fm, Terre Haute) from WCIL in Carbondale, Illinois. Scott Michaels, PD at Country/WKKG (101.5fm, Columbus) exits for the APD job at WJYE in Buffalo, New York.

August: Pat Redd exits as OM of Rock/WAOR (95.3fm, Niles, Michigan) for the Promotion Director gig at the Clear Channel stations in Albany, New York (WABT, WGY, WHRL, WRVE, and WXCR). Brian Michel, PD at Rhythmic/WCKZ (102.3fm, Auburn) rises to VP/Programming for Kovas Communications stations WCKZ and Alternative/WEJE (96.3fm, Churubusco). Michel also is off-air now, having done afternoons at WCKZ "Z-102.3"

September: Weasel, PD at Urban/WJFX (107.9fm, New Haven) steps down, but will remain with "Hot 107.9" doing mornings. Replacing Weasel is Phil Becker. Becker arrives from WBCD in Dothan, Alabama. Weasel becomes APD/MD. Religious/WBCL (90.3fm, Fort Wayne) names Jason Craner as News Director. Craner arrives in the Summit City from Lansing, Michigan, where he was News Director & morning host at WLGH. CHR/WNOU (93.1fm, Indianapolis) names David Edgar as PD. Edgar arrives from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was PD at WBZZ. The vacant night gig at CHR/WZPL (99.5fm, Greenfield) is filled by Jason Burns (aka Buzz Craven). Burns heads to the Circle City from Florida, where he's worked in Orlando and Tallahassee.

October: After 53 years in radio, Talk/WIBC (1070am, Indianapolis) News Director Fred Heckman retired. According to Marc Allan's article in The Indianapolis Star, Heckman worked for 36 years with WIBC (1957-1993) and walked out when WIBC's former owners wanted to change to a "headline news" format. In 1994, when Emmis Communications purchased the station, Heckman returned. Ernie Caldemone is the new GM for Citadel's News-Talk/WMDH(AM) & Country/WMDH-FM (1550am, 102.5fm; both New Castle)

November: CHR/WNOU (93.1fm, Indianapolis) morning guy Marty McKnight resigns, but will stay on until a new morning show arrives. Dave Kersch is the new GM at Alternative/WZZQ (107.5fm, Terre Haute). Kersch was last at Country/WACF (98.5fm, Paris, Illinois/Terre Haute). Jeff Weber departs as GSM at News-Talk/WGCL and AAA/WTTS (1370am, 92.3fm; both Bloomington). He'll be GSM at WZBA in Baltimore, Maryland. Former Rock/WFBQ (94.7fm, Indianapolis) midday guy Jay Baker joins Dan Somers in mornings at Classic Rock/WKLU (101.9fm, Brownsburg).

2000 in Otherness

January: Oldies/WGTO (910am, Cassopolis, Michigan) commences a live audio feed on the Internet at

February: The Purdue University Board of Trustees has approved a $1.5 million plan to almost double the size of WBAA(AM) & FM (920am, 101.3fm, both West Lafayette). This project will both increase studio space and renovate offices and other work areas. The current facility was built in the early 1940's for a single AM station. Over in Anderson, a big landmark disappears: The WHBU (1240am, Anderson) Blaw-Knox Tower. At 175 feet, the self supporting tower sat atop the six-story Union Building in downtown Anderson. Replacing this tower is a new guyed tower on the south side of town. The upper 6 feet of the old tower, including the top beacon, will be housed in a local museum.

March: News-Talk/WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne) turned 75 on March 31. From humble beginnings as a 500 watt station above the Main Auto Supply Company, WOWO grew into a 50 kilowatt Westinghouse-owned station. WOWO was later sold several times, reducing its power in the late 1990's to accommodate co-channel WLIB in New York. WOWO is now owned by Federated Media of Elkhart. Also, 990am returns in Muncie: WLHN (formerly WERK(AM)) is now on the air. Operating with 62 watts, under an STA from the FCC, WLHN airs southern gospel music & religious programming.

June: Early this month, we were made aware of the death of Warren Freiberg. IRW recognized the name, but wasn't aware of any Indiana connection. Through several readers (among them, The Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder), we were made aware that Freiberg does indeed have an Indiana connection. First of all, we'll tell you that Freiberg, 60, died on June 2. After working in Michigan and Illinois, he began a lengthy career at WWCA (1270am, East Chicago). Known as "The Dean of Northwest Indiana Talk Shows", Freiberg was appointed VP/GM at WLTH (1370am, Gary) in 1969. In 1985, he started the "Freedom Network" on WWJY (103.9fm, Crown Point) and a Chicago station. Until his death, he has his wife, Libby, broadcast a daily simulcast on the St. George stations: WJOB (1230am, Hammond) and WIMS (1420am, Michigan City). Freiberg is survived by his wife, Libby, and a son, Warren.

August: Condolences to the family of Richard M. Fairbanks. Fairbanks, 88, died on the 11th in Key Largo, Florida. He started Fairbanks Communications in 1948 to buy WIBC (1070am, Indianapolis). The Fairbanks family also owned The Indianapolis News (later sold to Eugene C. Pulliam also in 1948.)

That's the wrap on this year. We'll be back with you with the latest news on 27 January.

Blaine Thompson
Indiana RadioWatch

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