Indiana RadioWatch: March 6, 2009

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These stations signed analog service off, either completely, or went "nightlight" with announcements about DTV conversion, then signed off. IRW watched a bit of "nightlight" while it was on, and found it mundane after the seventh random viewing (It was on the TV as we wrote this section...)

WFWA/Fort Wayne
WISE-TV/Fort Wayne
WPTA-TV/Fort Wayne
WNDU-TV/South Bend
WSBT-TV/South Bend

Also, the death of Paul Harvey on Saturday 28 February sparked memories of IRW meeting him back in early November 2003. Excerpted from (with permission):
For our schedule next calls for a visit to another nearby Michigan Avenue office tower and an appointment with one of the most famous radio studios in America.

This utterly unassuming room on the 16th floor is, we believe, the most listened-to radio studio in the nation, for it's here that Paul Harvey speaks to America and the world three times daily. It doesn't get much simpler, does it? Two Electro-Voice RE20 mikes, a monitor speaker and the clock on the wall pretty much sum up the gear, and the decorations are limited to a glass case on the floor that holds the dozens of keys that Mr. Harvey has been given to cities and towns around the country.

But when Mr. Harvey sits down and, on the cue from his engineer (out of frame through a window to the left of the clock), launches into "Hello, Americans...", there are few experiences that can compare to being in the studio when the master is practicing his art. I think I may have breathed once or twice during the 15-minute midday newscast (fed from here at 10:35 AM CT), but it's hard to remember in all the excitement.

After the newscast is over (and with it, Mr. Harvey's day - he comes in at 4 AM, writes both his daily broadcasts himself, and is on his way home after a few quick retakes of several words in the midday newscast), we're treated to a brief tour of the comfortable office suite in which the Paul Harvey News staff works. While the control room still houses four big Otari reel-to-reel machines, the broadcasts are now edited digitally to be refed to ABC in New York and then to the hundreds of affiliates around the country.

A conference room looks into the studio; it's used for greeting visitors (including my companion for this tour, Blaine Thompson of Indiana Radio Watch fame, for whom Mr. Harvey has several questions about Fort Wayne and about his affiliate there, WOWO.)

Down the hall are offices for the staff, for Mr. Harvey himself and for his wife, Angel, who still comes to the office from time to time. (We can attest, having seen it personally, that the Paul Harvey newscasts are still typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter by the man himself.)

It's a pleasure to report that Paul Harvey himself is every bit as gracious and accommodating in his studio as he sounds on the air - and that, at 85, he's still the picture of good health. (And it was a pleasure to be able to thank him in person for saying such nice things about the Tower Site Calendar last year...and to learn that his engineer reads some of your humble scribe's writings from time to time!)

One more thing before we leave the Paul Harvey News studios and make our way over to the nation's tallest building for a quick transmitter tour. Have you ever wondered what the receptionist at Paul Harvey News says to visitors as they leave? What else - "Good day!"
What is next for his affiliates? We are not sure. lists his Indiana affiliates as WCJC, WCOE, WCVL, WGCL, WITZ, WKBV, WLJE, WLKI, WLQI/WRIN, WROI, WTHI-FM, and WTRC.


Two talented employees exit Federated Media's broadcast facility at 2915 Maples Road in Fort Wayne:

First, AllAccess reports that after just under a year, Hot AC/WMEE (97.3fm, Fort Wayne) morning co-host Scott Woodman exits. Shelly K remains in mornings.

Second, at N-T/WOWO (1190am, Fort Wayne), Enoch Perry, producer of "Fort Wayne's Morning News" exits that role, due to budget cuts, after just over three years in the role. Perry remains with WOWO in a part-time capacity.

This next story was incomplete when we sent our last issue out.

Grabbing the remote control and turning on the television ("oh it's over there," as the TV moved across the living room at IRW Central), we note a different news option ill debut later this spring for Fort Wayne area viewers.

Nexstar's FOX affiliate WFFT (Channel 55/DT36, Fort Wayne) will begin a 35 minute long 10:00PM newscast, weekdays. Here are the details, as we know them now:

* The newscast has a working title of "FOX Fort Wayne 1st News @ 10" and is scheduled for a Monday 6 April debut.

* A News Director/News Anchor was just hired. Jim Blue, who last handled anchoring duties at Toledo's NBC affiliate WNWO recently, accepted the job. Blue was a six year veteran of WNWO, and he exited the station last summer, when the station did not renew his contract. Blue also has television news experience at stations in Columbia, South Carolina and Dayton, Ohio.

* Derrick Gingery details more in a Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly article, saying that WFFT's plans are to hire four reporters, who will each shoot their own video.

* This newscast will compete against Indiana's NewsCenter newscasts at 10:00PM on digital channels of their ABC affiliate WPTA-TV (Channel 21, Fort Wayne) and NBC affiliate WISE-TV (Channel 33, Fort Wayne). Both WPTA-TV and WISE-TV air their 10:00PM newscasts on 21.2 (CW) and 33.2 (myNetworkTV), respectively.

* Also, Gingery's original Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly mentioned that this newscast would be the first full-length newscast from WFFT-TV, but Gingery's follow-up article mentions something we did not know: WFFT had a local half hour newscast for about a year that ended in January, 1981. Then, the news staff included five people, each reporter shot their own video, and weather reports were done using a dry-erase marker.

* An interesting final note from a colleague who mentions that every station Nexstar owns in a higher rated market than Fort Wayne already has a local newscast.

Very sad news from Tampa, Florida, as Mary Jacobus has passed away. In 2001, Jacobus became CEO of Fort Wayne Newspapers and publisher of The News-Sentinel. She left Fort Wayne in late 2005 and became President and GM at The Boston Globe. She left The Globe in September, 2006 for her last job; President and COO of The Times Co.'s Regional Media Group. Published reports say that Jacobus was in the hospital since 2 February, and suffered a sudden cerebral hemorrhage. She passed away Friday (20 February) and was only 52. Jacobus is survived by her husband (Dean) and 16 year old triplets.

More sad news from Fort Wayne, as John Cull has passed away. Cull passed away on 18 January at the much too young age of 54. Cull had a thirty year career in advertising at WXKE radio, WPTA-TV, WKJG-TV, and WAJI radio. Cull is survived by his wife (Sonya), daughter, stepson, and father.

Where Are They Now (Part 1)? Former WBYR/WFWI OM Darren Arriens exits Citadel's KHYT in Tucson, Arizona, where he was PD.

Where Are They Now (Part 2)? Former then-Alternative/WEJE (96.3fm, Churubusco) PD Kyle Guderian will soon relocate from St. Louis, Missouri (Emmis/St. Louis Head of Digital Sales) to Chicago, Illinois, where he will be OM for WLUP and WKQX.


Sad news from Kokomo, as "Male Call" host Charlie Cropper passes away on Tuesday 24 February at age 62. Cropper had been with Country/WWKI (100.5fm, Kokomo) for 40 years. Last April, Cropper did the 10,000th broadcast of the local issues talk show "Male Call." In a press release, WWKI GM Mike Christopher said: "Charlie was a unique talent who was as dedicated to the community as he was to the broadcast industry he proudly served for 40 years. We are all better off for having the privilege of knowing and serving with Charlie."

Larry Langford's Oldies/WGTO (910am, Cassopolis, Michigan) has a CP approved which will increase daytime power from 1000 watts to 5700 watts, and reduce night power from 35 watts to 25 watts. This CP has no change in transmitter site.

After sporadic outages, now solved by a new antenna, a translator of Calvary Chapel (Costa Mesa)'s Religious/WHLP (89.9fm, Hanna) signs on full-time. W223AU (92.5fm, South Bend) has its transmitter on the WNIT Television tower, southwest of US-20 and IN-331, south of South Bend.

Educational Media Foundation has applied to upgrade its Religious/WIKV (89.3fm, Plymouth). The application calls for upgrading the power from 400 watts at 249 feet to 44,000 watts (directional) at 266 feet. Also, this move would result in the transmitter moving from their current tower west of Plymouth to a new location on US-31, a few miles south of US-30.


Hackers hit the phone system at Religious/WTMK (88.5fm, Lowell) and made over 1900 telephone calls that "phished" for credit card information. James Motshagen, manager of WTMK, told Erin Guerra at The Gary Post-Tribune that he discovered the Internet-based telephone system had been hacked for two days. No word on any arrests. Valparaiso Police continue their investigation.

We have very sad news out of southeastern Virginia. We learned late Monday night that Bishop Levi E. Willis, Sr. passed away on Friday 20 February. The 79 year old minister owned several radio stations around the country, including WWCA (1270am, Gary). Willis purchased the station in the early 1980's from the Coe family, owners of WLOI/WCOE in LaPorte. WWCA signed off in January, 2002, a victim of what The Virginian-Pilot newspaper called "embezzlement, tax liens, debt and regulatory violations." WWCA was finally sold by Willis in 2003 for $1.5 million to Starboard Network.


Vox Communications recently closed its purchase of several stations from Mid-America Radio Group. Included in the sale are Classic Hits/WXXC (106.9fm, Marion), Country/WCJC (99.3fm, Van Buren), Standards/WMRI (860am, Marion), Oldies/WBAT (1400am, Marion), AC/WZWZ (92.5fm, Kokomo), Talk-Sports/WIOU (1350am, Kokomo), and Classic Rock/WMYK (98.5fm, Peru). Dick Blackburn and Tony Rizzo both brokered the deal.

The possible closing of the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home struck IRW, as we questioned the future of its radio station: Classic Hits/WKPW (90.7fm, Knightstown). While we do not have an answer yet on the future of the radio station, we will be keeping an eye on this story.

Several of the NCE applications filed in October 2007's window are starting to become CP's. Cincinnati Public Radio now has a CP for a station on 91.9fm, licensed to Rushville, with call letters WMUI. According to the CP, the station would run 225 watts at 263 feet (Class A), from a transmitter located east of Rushville, north of IN-44.

Lon Helton's Country Aircheck reports that Citadel's WMDH-FM (102.5fm, New Castle) PD Brian Sims exits. Sims was recently named PD and morning co-host at WGTR in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Replacing Sims is MD and afternoon host Shane Goad.

Backyard Broadcasting adds online streaming for its CHR/WLBC (104.1fm, Muncie).

A CP changes hands this week. For no monetary consideration, WVXI-CP (88.5fm, Cole) changes hands from Patrick Diemer's Electronic Applications Radio Service, Inc. to Marty Hensley's Hoosier Public Radio Corporation. Also, that 88.5fm frequency is a recent change, as the original CP had WVXI on 88.1fm.


Sanjay Sanghoee's SS Broadcast Holdings pays $1000 and also acquires all the debt (nearly $2.1 million) of Davidson Media Group. Davidson was owned half and half by CapStreet II LP and Citigroup Venture Capital International. Davidson CEO Felix Perez remains in that role. In Indianapolis, Davidson owns Spanish/WNTS (1590am, Beech Grove).

Cathy Kightlinger from The Indianapolis Star reports that Ace Cosby exits Clear Channel Rock/WFBQ (94.7fm, Indianapolis). Amos Brown III reports in The Indianapolis Recorder that Cosby had been with the station for 28 years.

Speaking of Amos Brown, a tip of the IRW cap to him on the five year anniversary of his radio show at Radio One's Black Gospel/WTLC (1310am, Indianapolis). The show airs weekdays from 1PM - 3PM.

A few programming changes over at Raven's Sports/WXLW (950am, Indianapolis): First, Sporting News Today with Jerome Jurenovich debuts from 8:00AM - 10:00AM. Also, The Tim Brando Show is now on 10:00AM - 1:00PM. Finally, Derek Schutz, formerly the host of the "Xtra Large Lunch" is now co-hosting alongside Greg Rakestraw between 3:00PM and 6:00PM.

Entercom N-T/WXNT (1430am, Indianapolis) adds the syndicated Fred Thompson show from Noon until 2:00PM weekdays, with a repeat each night from 8:00PM - 10:00PM.

Peter Jackson adds a new weekly syndicated show to his offerings: The Weekly Pop 20 with Ann Duran. Duran, who worked at several Indianapolis radio stations, is the host of this show, which features adult pop hits mainly of the 1980's and 1990's, with some 1970's classics.

Where Are They Now (Part 1)? Former Clear Channel/Indianapolis Director of FM Programming Scott Jameson (aka "Edsel Ferrari") is now PD at CBS Radio's WZGC ("Dave FM") in Atlanta, Georgia.

Where Are They Now (Part 2)? Former WZPL morning man Mark Vanness just left as PD/mornings at Ithaca, New York's WIII


At Midnight on Wednesday 18 February, Midwest Communications flipped its Country/WINH (98.5fm, Paris, Illinois) to News/Talk with new call letters WIBQ. The new format includes syndicated shows from Bill Bennett, Dave Ramsey, George Noory, Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity. Local news and weather are provided through a partnership with Nexstar NBC affiliate WTWO-TV (Channel 2/DT36, Terre Haute). Finally, their new website is

A format change is in the works at Crossroads' Hot AC/WBOW-FM (102.7fm, Terre Haute). The station has been playing "Radio Roulette" format blocks, and will do so until a presumed announcement of a new format on Friday 13 March at 6:00AM. So far, IRW has heard TV theme songs ("TV 103"), a 60's/70's format ("Gold 102.7"), and CHR ("Z-103"). The format blocks appear to be rather short, unlike a few years ago on another radio station, where IRW's ears were filled with the same Patsy Cline song for entirely too many hours.

Midwest Communications' CHR/WMGI (100.7fm, Terre Haute) welcomes Jay Michaels to afternoons. Michaels previously worked for Metro Networks in Louisville, Kentucky and weekends for Evansville's WIKY (104.1fm, Evansville). (Of note: He is not the same "Jay Michaels" familiar to radio listeners in Northcentral and Northeastern Indiana)


Several of the NCE applications filed in October 2007's window are starting to become CP's. The Linda Jerome Foundation now has a CP for a station on 89.9fm, licensed to Clifford, with call letters WISG. According to the CP, the station would run 100 watts (vertical) at 82 feet, directional from a transmitter located northeast of the Columbus Municipal Airport. However, WISG has an application in which would move the station to 90.3fm, raise the power to 4000 watts (nondirectional) at 21 feet from a different transmitter site, north of US-31 on the north side of Columbus.

New Albany Broadcasting's Talk-Sports/WNDA (1570am, New Albany) adds the syndicated Fred Thompson show from Noon until 2:00PM weekdays.


Country/WFML (96.7fm, Vincennes) flips format to Adult Hits as "The Max 96.7."

Educational Media Foundation changes the call letters of its Religious/WEZG (95.3fm, Morganfield, Kentucky) to WKVN.

South Central Communications' Country/WLFW (93.5fm, Chandler) adds Cody Alan's new syndicated night show.

Where Are They Now? Former WFIE-TV News Director Bill Cummings was recently named as News Director for ABC affiliate WTXL-TV in Tallahassee, Florida.

Employment Opportunities

White River Broadcasting seeks a serious "news junkie" to lead our award-winning, 4 station news department. Stations include a news/talk AM plus 3 music intensive FM's. News is a major focus of this company; it's not something we take lightly. Duties include handling morning news, covering key meetings, supervising a news staff while maintaining and growing our news website. The selected candidate will receive a competitive salary and a solid benefits package including 401(k). Previous news experience is a must. Send your news philosophy, resume and demo to John Foster, Director of Programming, P.O. Box 1789, Columbus, IN 47202-1789. White River Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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.