Indiana RadioWatch: February 24, 2007

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After nearly seven years in Fort Wayne radio ownership, Artistic Media Partners exits the market in announcing the sale of Country/WBTU (93.3fm, Kendallville) and Oldies/WSHY (106.3fm, Columbia City) to Russ Oasis for $3.8 million. Oasis has owned Rhythmic CHR/WJFX (107.9fm, New Haven) in the Fort Wayne market since 1999. Artistic Media Partners President and CEO Arthur A. Angotti told IRW: "Fort Wayne is a tough radio market because Federated Media and Sarkes Tarzian are so well positioned there." Angotti continues: "We feel that Russ Oasis can do the things we were not able to do." Michael J. Bergner of Bergner and Company brokered the deal.

Bernard Radio LLC's acquisition of majority interest in Fort Wayne's Summit City Radio Group has fallen through. The Main Street Tattler reports that Summit City Radio Group owner Northwest Capital Appreciation, Inc. (NCA) made a financial restructuring agreement with Bernard Radio (owned by D.B. Zwirn) which says that NCA will retain both operational control of the company and majority interest. Bernard Radio maintains its minority interest in Summit City Radio Group.

Northeast Indiana Public Radio acquires a frequency from Summit City Radio Group. NIPR purchases Rock simulcast WCKZ (94.1fm, Roanoke) for $1.75 million. Derrick Gingery's article in The Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly mentions that the new acquisition will enhance the classical music simulcast of NIPR's WBNI//W204BF (91.3fm, Orland; 88.7fm, Fort Wayne). NIPR GM Bruce Haines tells Gingery: "This will be a place that finally gives a greater voice to the fine arts in Fort Wayne. That is a voice that has been a whisper as of late." NIPR will begin programming the new station once the sale has closed.

The FCC has fined a trio of northeast Indiana stations $7,000 each for unauthorized operation (i.e. broadcasting without FCC authorization after an STA had expired). The three stations: Columbia City Joint High School station WJHS (91.5fm, Columbia City), Larko Communications' Oldies/WBZQ (1300am, Huntington), and Manchester College's Variety-News-NPR/WBKE (89.5fm, North Manchester).

After twelve years in mornings at Country/WQHK (105.1fm, Decatur), BJ Stone exits as co-host on 8 December 2006. Before K-105, she co-hosted mornings at sister N-T/WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne).

After flipping formats (to Spanish) and changing owners (to Three Amigo's Broadcasting), WXTW (102.3fm, Auburn) flips call letters to WGBJ. Astute readers will note that the call letters represent each new owner's first name (George, Bob, and John). The station sale closed in December 2006 and was brokered by Doug Ferber of Star Media Group.

The Main Street Tattler reports that Hot AC/WMEE (97.3fm, Fort Wayne) and Country/WQHK (105.1fm, Decatur) Assistant OM Dave Michaels adds MD duties for WMEE. Read below in Northcentral as to the whereabouts of former WMEE MD/afternoons Chris Cage.

Rhythmic CHR/WNHT (96.3fm, Churubusco) afternoon host McConnell Adams ("Man at Large") exits for PD/afternoons at KFAT in Anchorage, Alaska.

Production Director Keith Holmes exits Federated Media Classic Rock/WFWI (92.3fm, Fort Wayne) and Rock/WBYR (98.9fm, Van Wert, Ohio). WFWI midday guy Cliff Penfield ("Cliff Mitchell") adds Production Director duties. Meanwhile, on the other side of 1005 Production Road, Bart Schacht exits Federated Media's Rock/WBYR (98.9fm, Van Wert, Ohio) for GSM duties at Cumulus Adult Hits/WJJK (104.5fm, Noblesville). At "Jack," Schacht replaces Jenny Skjodt.

Glancing over at the TV screen, IRW notices that WPTA/WISE (Channel 21/DT24, Channel 33/DT19; both Fort Wayne) President and GM Chris Fedele exited at the end of 2006 for the same duties at WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky. Fedele had been President and GM since 2002.

Where Are They Now? (Part 1) Former Rock/WBYR (98.9fm, Van Wert, Ohio) PD Cindy Miller is now PD at WOTT in Watertown, New York.

Where Are They Now? (Part 2) Former WLYV (1450am, Fort Wayne) GM Gaither Stephens is now Regional Manager for Jon Yinger's Christian Broadcasting System and is now based in Cincinnati.

Where Are They Now? (Part 3) Former WBYR/WFWI (98.9fm, Van Wert, Ohio; 92.3fm, Fort Wayne) OM Darrin Arriens is now PD at KHYT in Tucson, Arizona.


As the sale of WAWC (103.5fm, Syracuse) from Bill Dixon to Talking Stick Communications is complete, the station changed formats to Country. Kicking off with Alan Jackson's "Gone Country" at 6:00AM on Friday 24 November 2006, WAWC is now "Willie 103.5," under GM Patrick Brown and new PD Jarrod Humbarger. Here's the airstaff lineup:

Mornings: PD Jarrod Humbarger ("Jay Michaels") and News Director Stacey Page (5:30AM - 10:00AM)
Middays: Ron Davis (10:00AM - 3:00PM) (From GM/middays at sister WFGA in Hicksville, Ohio/Auburn)
Afternoons: Chris Cage (3:00PM - 7:00PM) (From MD/afternoons at WMEE in Fort Wayne)
Nights: Ken Knapp (7:00PM - 12:00AM) (From weekends at WBTU in Fort Wayne)

Here's a sample hour of music:

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere - Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett
I'll Wait for You - Joe Nichols
Take it Back - Reba McEntire
My, Oh My - The Wreckers
Go On - George Strait
Nothin' to Lose - Josh Gracin
This Kiss - Faith Hill
Beer in Mexico - Kenny Chesney
You've Got a Way - Shania Twain
Lord, I Hope This Day is Good - Don Williams
My Wish - Rascal Flatts
Nothing On But the Radio - Gary Allan
Something in Red - Lorrie Morgan
Somebody's Hero - Jamie O'Neal
Who's That Man - Toby Keith

On New Years Eve 2007, Artistic Media's Sports/WDND (1490am, South Bend) had quite a surprise, as a series of strong winds and storms passed through South Bend which toppled their broadcast tower. Notre Dame Security officers found the tower down at about 10:15pm on Sunday. WDND was off the air for just over two days. A long line was used from the 1490 backup transmitter to get the station back on the air. The tower was built in 1970 (We're told for $12,500!)

Artistic Media Partners is working with Notre Dame and the FCC to determine if the tower can be moved, as Notre Dame would like to develop the area and Artistic would like to move the towers north of the campus.

Federated Media's Standards/WNIL (1290am, Niles, Michigan) PD/mornings Ric Clingaman and "Here's Gloria" host Gloria Cooper both exit. WNIL fills those shifts with music programming from ABC Radio Network's "Timeless Classics" channel. Lou Mumford's article in The South Bend Tribune mentions that Clingaman has been with the station for 33 years, while Cooper worked there from 1962-1979 and from 1999 through the end of 2006.

Larry Langford, owner of Oldies/WGTO (910am, Cassopolis, Michigan) adds WDOW(AM) (1440am, Dowagiac, Michigan) to his broadcasting holdings. He purchased the station from LeSEA Broadcasting. Michael Guilmette's article in The Cassopolis Vigilant newspaper mentions that Langford plans to use the WDOW building for WGTO's studio as well. He has also considered simulcasting WGTO on WDOW, and adding former WNIL (1290am, Niles, Michigan) hosts Ric Clingaman and Gloria Cooper to WGTO. As for the former WDOW-FM (92.1fm, Dowagiac, Michigan), that is a simulcast of LeSEA's Contemporary Christian/WHPZ (96.9fm, Bremen), and it changed call letters to WHPD.

The St. Thomas More Foundation will purchase Standards/WHLY (1580am, South Bend) from Bill Dobslaw's Times Communications, Inc. Dobslaw is leasing the station to the Foundation until the FCC approves the sale. Dobslaw tells South Bend Tribune reporter Jeremy Bonfiglio: "This was an opportunity to move on and sell the station to someone who will use it for a good cause." On 8 December 2006, WHLY changed format to religious, using programming primarily from Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), according to As a standards station, the station call letters stood for Hollywood, but as WHLY GM Dick Peterson tells reporter Michelle Donaghey in Today's Catholic: "You look at [WHLY] and it says Holy Radio, hence the station will be called Holy Radio."

Inside Radio reports that Educational Media Foundation has sold 18 stations (seven on the air, and eleven CP's) for $2.5 million to American Family Association. In Indiana, this deal includes "K-Love": affiliates WRXH (89.3fm, Plymouth), WHNI (88.5fm, Rochester) and the CP for WWMU (88.3fm, Muncie). American Family Radio recently changed the format of WRXH to Southern Gospel.

Let's mute the radio for a moment and find the remote (it's always under the couch, isn't it?) C.J. Beutien joins Gray Television's NBC affiliate WNDU-TV (Channel 16/DT42, South Bend). Mr. Beutien was last News Director at WQAD-TV in Moline, Illinois.


After owning Talk/WIMS (1420am, Michigan City) just under three years, Vazquez Development LLC sells the station to Gerard Media LLC. Gerard Media LLC is a partnership between GM Ric Federighi and his two brothers. AllAccess points out sales documents that say Gerard Media gains WIMS in exchange for their 45% interest in Vazquez Development. Vazquez Development pays Gerard Media $335,000 for that 45% interest. Once the sale is closed, WIMS will launch a news-talk format with the slogan "The Talk of the South Shore." Ric Federighi will remain GM once the sale closes.

In October, Purdue University WBAA (920am, 101.3fm; both West Lafayette) GM Dan Skinner exits after fourteen years with the station. He heads to San Antonio, Texas, as President/GM of Texas Public Radio KPAC, KSTX, and KTXI. Replacing Skinner at WBAA is Timothy Singleton. Max Showalter reported in The Lafayette Journal and Courier that Singleton started at WBAA on 1 February, and arrives from the GM role at Eastern Kentucky University's WEKU-FM.

There's an obituary from Lafayette, as an apartment fire on Saturday 20 January claimed the life of Sean M. Beall. Beall, 34, was known as Marley, overnight jock and Creative Services Director at Schurz's Classic Rock/WKHY (93.5fm, Lafayette). WKHY PD Jeff Strange tells The Lafayette Journal and Courier that Beall has been on the air at WKHY for 12 years.

Artistic Media Partners' Lafayette Market Manager Rick Prusator exits. Also, CHR/WAZY (96.5fm, Lafayette), and Country/WLFF-WLAS (95.3fm, Brookston; 1410am, Lafayette) PD Dan Baisden exits in December, 2006 after four months in Lafayette. Baisden is now PD/MD at WDOH and WZOQ in Lima, Ohio.

The FCC has fined Gary Community Schools' Urban-Jazz/WGVE (88.7fm, Gary) $1500 for a late station renewal application.


Sorry to report the death of whom the Marion Chronicle Tribune calls "the longtime voice of country radio in Grant County" - Walt Riddle. Riddle hosted the "Classic Country Jamboree" on Mid-America Radio's Country/WCJC (99.3fm, Marion). Riddle, 74, passed away on 15 December 2006. Mid-America Radio Vice President David Poehler tells The Marion Chronicle Tribune: "When you think of country music in Grant County, it's synonymous with Walt Riddle." Poehler continued by saying: "In my 32 years of being with Mid-America Radio, even with some of the good personalities we have, never has there been another personality in my company who has received as many fan letters, e-mails, and correspondence."

The FCC has fined College Wesleyan Church's Religious/WCWC-LP (94.3fm, Marion) and New Castle Broadcasting Service's WHHC-LP (107.5fm, New Castle) $1500 each, for late station renewal applications.


After two and a half years as Contemporary Christian 93.9, "The Song," Cumulus' WISG (93.9fm, Fishers) flips format on 26 December 2006 to Talk, as "FM Talk 93.9," under Cumulus/Indianapolis Director of Programming David Wood and APD Fritz Moser. The former WISG is now WWFT. Their new website is

Here is the new weekday lineup:

5:00AM - 6:00AM WTHR Eyewitness News Channel 13 Sunrise
6:00AM - 10:00AM Mancow's Morning Madhouse
10:00AM - 12:00PM Laura Ingraham
12:00PM - 3:00PM Dave Ramsey
3:00PM - 6:00PM Sean Hannity (beginning 3/5/07)
6:00PM - 9:00PM Michael Savage
9:00PM - 12:00AM Jerry Doyle
12:00AM - 5:00AM Sporting News Radio

We are told former "The Song" afternoon host Steve O'Brien moves to afternoons at sister Adult Hits/WJJK (104.5fm, Noblesville), while morning host Kurt Wallace and Community Outreach Coordinator Doug McKenzie both exit.

Starting 2 January, Sherry Fisher is News Director at Emmis' N-T/WIBC (1070am, Indianapolis). Fisher was News Director at WTVN in Columbus, Ohio.

AllAccess reports that Jennifer Skjodt exits as Director of Sales for Cumulus/Indianapolis, effective 2 February.

Clear Channel Alternative/WRZX (103.3fm, Indianapolis) MD/Creative Services Director Michael Young exits. Also, midday jock Nikki and afternoon jock Alex B. exit. The Main Street Tattler mentions that Young had been with WRZX for 14 years.

AllAccess reports that CHR/WNOU (93.1fm, Indianapolis) welcomes new Promotions Director Susan Wells aboard. Wells was last the Promotions Director at Clear Channel's News-Talk/KNEW in San Francisco.

Emmis Country/WLHK (97.1fm, Shelbyville) adds a new local countdown show on Saturday nights, hosted by midday jock Ernie Mills.

A quick check of the TV pages reveals a pair of new news directors.

First, LIN Television CBS affiliate WISH-TV (Channel 8/DT9, Indianapolis) News Director Tom Cochrun retired on 4 January after three plus years as News Director. Cochrun began as News Director in August, 2003, filling the (very large) shoes of 35 year veteran News Director Lee Giles. Prior to WISH-TV, Cochrun was an anchor at crosstown WTHR-TV, and owned a video production company.

Replacing Cochrun at WISH-TV is Kevin Finch, WISH-TV's Assistant News Director since August, 2003.

Second, Dispatch-owned NBC affiliate WTHR-TV (Channel 13/DT46, Indianapolis) welcomes Jim Tellus as news director, after five years at Seattle's KOMO-TV as news director. Tellus also had stops as News Director at WVEC-TV (Norfolk, Virginia) and KSNW-TV (Wichita, Kansas).

Where Are They Now? Former Rock/WFBQ (94.7fm, Indianapolis) PD John Roberts is now PD at KIMN in Denver, Colorado.


White River Broadcasting's Oldies/WINN (104.9fm, Columbus) switches format on Monday 19 February 2007 at 8:00PM to classic hits under PD Rich Anthony. The last song played as an oldies station was Ray Charles' "Hit the Road Jack." After the Indiana University coaches show at 8:00PM, "The River" kicked off with The Eagles' "New Kid in Town." The airstaff lineup:

Mornings: PD Rich Anthony (5:00AM - 10:00AM)
Middays: Tonya Haze (10:00AM - 3:00PM)
Afternoons: Matt King (3:00PM - 7:00PM)
Nights: McKay (7:00PM - 12:00AM)

The new website is

Oldies/WQRJ (102.5fm, Mitchell) flips format from a simulcast of sister WQRK (105.5fm, Bedford) and becomes an AC station, as "Power Hitz - Z102." It is now WPHZ. AllAccess says the station stunted with John Lennon's song "Power to the People" for an hour before the switch. AllAccess continues saying that FOX News and Indiana University sports will continue on WPHZ, along with Nina Blackwood's weekend show.

Sorry to report that Devin Marsh has passed away. Marsh, 42, passed away on 11 February. He worked at several stations in southcentral Indiana as PD at WIKI, WINN, WJCP, WJLR, and PD/mornings at WWWY.

Joey Krol exits as MD/mornings at Christian AC/WVNI (95.1fm, Nashville) for Production Director and air personality duties at WIBI in Carlinville, Illinois, effective 5 February.

Sarkes Tarzian AAA/WTTS (92.3fm, Bloomington) production director Gerry Bayne exits.

The FCC has fined Bloomington Community Radio's Variety/WFHB (91.3fm, Bloomington) $1500 for a late station renewal application.

Where Are They Now? Former AAA/WTTS (92.3fm, Bloomington) APD Marie McCallister is now MD at AAA KXLY in Spokane, Washington.


Marty Combs ("Party Marty"), Music Director and afternoon drive jock at Emmis Country/WTHI-FM (99.9fm, Terre Haute) exits on 17 November for PD and afternoon host duties at Crossroads Communications' Country-Rock hybrid/WSDM-FM (92.7fm, Brazil). Replacing Combs' airshift at WTHI is Eric Farver ("Eric Michaels"), who moves up from nights. Combs' WSDM PD duties were handled by OM Chris Carter.


Withers Broadcasting (Russ Withers) purchases Sports/WYNG (94.9fm, Mount Carmel, Illinois) from Regent Broadcasting for $1.5 million. Withers adds WYNG to his two-station cluster in Evansville: Oldies/WROY (1460am, Carmi, Illinois), and Country/WRUL (97.3fm, Carmi, Illinois). John Pierce brokered the deal.

With Withers' purchase of WYNG, their sports format changed to adult contemporary. ESPN Radio, which had aired on WYNG, is now on The Original Company's WYFX (106.7fm, Mount Vernon), which drops country music for ESPN. ESPN Radio debuted on WYFX on Monday 1 January.

Mark Thomas gains a promotion with parent Regent Communications and is now Regional VP for their clusters in Evansville, Owensboro, Flint, Michigan, and Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Thomas was last GM for Regent's Evansville properties.

After 14 years at WIKY, PD/afternoons Mark Baker exits. He was also PD of sister Adult Hits/WEJK (107.1fm, Boonville).

After signing on in 2006, Good Samaritan Educational Radio's WJPR (91.7fm, Jasper) is sold to Jasper Public Radio. The website reports that WJPR is now airing an oldies format.

Nathan Halegua exits nights at CHR/WSTO (96.1fm, Owensboro, Kentucky) for nights at WKSS in Hartford, Connecticut. There, he will join former WSTO PD Stan Priest. Replacing Halegua at WSTO is Brian Stylez. Stylez last worked weekends at WSPK in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Also new to nights in Evansville CHR radio is Rob Hirschbuhl. "The Rob" as he is known on-air, joins Regent WDKS (106.1fm, Newburgh) from nights at KRSQ in Billings, Montana. Finally at WDKS, Brian Van Bokkelen ("Van") joins Nikky B. in mornings. Van is inbound from morning co-host at Fort Wayne's Rhythmic CHR/WNHT (96.3fm, Churubusco) "Wild 96.3" and Nikky was on overnights at WDKS. The new airstaff lineup:

Mornings: Brian Van Bokkelen ("Van") and Nikky B. (5:30am - 10:00AM)
Middays: Max Power (10:00AM - 3:00PM)
Afternoons: PD Keith Edwards ("Keith Curry") (3:00PM - 6:00PM)
Nights: Rob Hirschbuhl ("The Rob") (6:00PM - 11:00PM)
Overnights: Alex (voicetracked)

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.