Indiana RadioWatch: February 12, 2005

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Very sad news to report, as longtime Indiana radio veteran "Uncle" Bobby Rivers (Steven Boker) has passed away. The 53 year old DJ was known for handling mornings for over ten years at Rock/WRBR (103.9fm, South Bend) (and some time briefly at its predecessor WZZP). Rivers, also did nights between 1982 and 1987 at then-WNDU (92.9fm, South Bend), as well as stops at then-WPTH (95.1fm, Fort Wayne), KRQQ, KTUC, KHYT (all Tucson, Arizona), mornings at Country/WCOE (96.7fm, LaPorte), and most recently in afternoons at Oldies/WASK (98.7fm, Lafayette). He had been on the air in Lafayette only since 17 January this year. WASK OM Mark Allen told IRW that "Rivers built a loyal following of listeners and had begun to make Lafayette his home."

Robert Feder's column in The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Mary Mitchell, columnist for the Sun-Times, has stepped down as Sunday morning public-affairs host at Crawford Broadcasting's Urban/WPWX (92.3fm, Hammond). Apparently a show time change by station management from 11am Sunday to 6am Sunday prompted Mitchell's departure. Mitchell told Feder "I was not going to move to 6 a.m. when no one was listening." Feder reports that Taft Harris, GM of WPWX, cited low ratings as cause for the time change.


If you're not an engineering type, "Move-ins" probably means nothing more to you than something dreaded involving a house or apartment. But in radio broadcasting, move-ins are much more complicated than that. Such is the case with Rodgers Broadcasting's Country/WIFE (100.3fm, Connersville). Rodgers recently applied to the FCC to shift WIFE to Norwood, Ohio, downgrading it from a Class B to a Class A. This move would set off a small chain reaction:

* Part A: First, Blue Chip Broadcasting's WIZF (100.9fm, Erlanger, Kentucky) would shift to 101.1fm, but remain a Class A. Second, Rodgers' co-owned WFMG (101.3fm, Richmond) will downgrade from Class B to Class B1. Third, A move of a vacant 101.1fm, Madison allocation to 100.9fm (both Class A allocations). Last, downgrading WLSK (100.9fm, Lebanon, Kentucky) from C3 to A. Under Rodgers' proposal, WLSK would remain in Lebanon. But the FCC's considering it alongside a separate proposal that would also involve a change to WLSK.

* Part B: WTHX (107.3fm, Lebanon Junction, Kentucky) will move city of license to New Haven, Kentucky, but remains a Class A. WAKY (102.7fm, Springfield) will replace WTHX as local service, licensed to Lebanon Junction. As mentioned above, WLSK would then move to Springfield, downgrading to class A. Since this move would also allow Rodgers to make its changes, the FCC is considering both together.


Chris Edge, PD at WNOU, checks in with some news:

"I'm excited to announce we have 3 new additions to the "The Morning Mess" morning show on Radio Now 93.1. We begin with a new producer! Congratulations to Shannon Murphy. Shannon has been filling in part-time for the last month and doing such an exceptional job, we decided we should make it a permanent thing. Next up, stunt guy extraordinaire SuperPHAT Mikey! He'll continue to do his wacky stunts and begin to help produce the show from behind the scenes.

Finally, we'd like to welcome Madison. She has spent the last year doing mornings at Top 40 KCLD in St. Cloud, MN. Prior to that she did mornings at KEEZ Mankato, MN and is a graduate of Brown Institute. (You may have heard her audition last week.) Madison's first day will be 2/21 and she and her husband are both excited about moving to Indianapolis."

A quick glance from the "radio with pictures" newsdesk: LIN Television announced the $85 million purchase of WNDY-TV (Channel 23, Marion) and WWHO-TV in Columbus, Ohio from Viacom. Both are UPN affiliates. Ted Evanoff's article in The Indianapolis Star states the sale may be complete by "late summer." An interesting side note: WNDY-TV currently airs news from competing Dispatch Broadcasting's WISH-TV (Channel 13, Indianapolis). Will the newscasts continue once the deal is finalized?


News from Emmis/Terre Haute:

Dave Bailey, VP/GM of WTHI/WWVR Television and Radio in Terre Haute, has announced his retirement effective March 4, 2005. Todd Weber, currently WTHI-TV's general sales manager, will become the television station's vice president/general manager, while James Conner, currently station manager for WTHI-FM and WWVR-FM, will become the radio stations' vice president/general manager.

"Dave and WTHI are synonymous," Emmis Television President Randall Bongarten said. "His leadership at the station and commitment to his community are models for all of us, and we're confident that Todd Weber will continue in that leadership role."

Bailey began working at WTHI-TV as a full-time employee in 1966 while completing his degree in business management at Indiana State University. During his tenure at WTHI-TV, he has worked in engineering, marketing, promotions and sales. In 1987 he was named vice president/general manager of WTHI-TV. In 1997, he picked up the additional responsibilities of overseeing the operation of the two radio stations. Bailey continued to oversee the three operations after the stations were sold by Wabash Valley Broadcasting to Emmis Communications in 1998.

Weber joined Emmis as an account executive in 1987 and was named General Sales Manager of the station in September 2002. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University.

Conner joined WTHI in 1995 as general sales manager after stints at other Indiana radio stations. He was named stations manager of WTHI/WWVR in 1997. He is a graduate of the University of Indianapolis. "James has been a tremendous asset in the growth of the stations and has already proven himself to be a leader in our Radio division," said Rick Cummings, president of Emmis Radio.


Last week, we reported that Oldies/WJPS (93.5fm, Chandler) flipped formats to Country. Today, Regent's AC/WJLT (105.3fm, Evansville) flipped formats to Oldies at noon, under OM and Interim PD Mike Sanders. Regent officials tell IRW that "Oldies 105.3" will go jockless and commercial free for a month. Finally, McVay Media is consulting Oldies 105.3.

Employment Opportunities

Morning Show Host Needed: When was the last time you really had fun on the air? If you love to have fun with phones, remotes, contests, etc., we need to talk. Lite Rock 106.9, WMRI-FM, Marion, IN, is a fun, family-friendly 50kW, AC station. We're looking for a new morning show host to help us get to the next level. On-air experience required, strong production skills a must. MP3's are welcome; no phone calls. E-mail resume/aircheck to vanessa at wmri dot com or mail to 820 S. Pennsylvania St., Marion, IN 46953. WMRI/MidAmerica Radio is an EOE. Application deadline is February 24, 2005.

That's it for this issue. See you in a week!

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