Indiana RadioWatch: March 10, 2008

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More "corner office" moves this issue, as Northeast Indiana Public Radio GM Bruce Haines is leaving after 20 years as GM there, to become president of PBS affiliate WFWA-TV (Channel 39/DT40, Fort Wayne). No start date has been announced. IRW will follow this story and let you know when Haines' successor is announced.

AllAccess reports that Federated Media's Rock/WBYR (98.9fm, Van Wert, Ohio) has added station imaging services from Kansas City-based Subnoize Creative (Brian Prince).

Where Are They Now? Cindy Miller, formerly PD at WBYR, along with PD work down in Evansville, is now PD at WSFL-FM in New Bern, North Carolina.


If you live in South Bend, rest assured it really wasn't your TV set. PBS affiliate WNIT (Channel 34/DT35) had its analog transmitter fail, reducing its power. The South Bend Tribune's Jeremy Bonfiglio reports that on 22 February, one of two Klystron tubes failed, causing sound loss for WNIT over the air viewers. The WNIT Board of Directors decided not to fix the problem, since parts are no longer supplied (because of next year's television DTV conversion), and buying an expensive part for ten months' use might not be fiscally responsible. Bongiflio also reports that WNIT's analog signal is now at half power.

AllAccess reports that the Notre Dame football radio network moves distribution from Westwood One to ISP Sports, in a new ten year deal. Westwood One had distributed Notre Dame football since 1968. In South Bend, Notre Dame football is heard on Artistic Media Partners stations Sports/WDND (1490am, South Bend) and CHR/WNDV-FM (92.9fm, South Bend).

A former radio station owner finds political aspirations. Bill Dixon, who once owned WAWC (103.5fm, Syracuse) is seeking the seat for Indiana House District 22, as a Republican. The 42 year old Dixon sold WAWC to Talking Stick Communications in 2006. Dixon told The Warsaw Times-Union's Jennifer Peryam "I am not afraid to call things the way they are and stand up for the district."


The Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Feder reports that "The Lou Dobbs Show" is now part of the talk show roster on Gerard Media's N-T/WIMS (1420am, Michigan City). The show airs weekdays from 2pm - 5pm, replacing WIMS Rewind, and "Afternoons with Matt n' Craig." However, Matt and Craig remain with WIMS; Matt does Sports for the station, while Craig hosts "Into the Outdoors" on Thursday evenings.


ShopTalk reports that Jenna Maloney is now co-anchor of the 5:00am - 6:00am morning news at FOX affiliate WXIN (Channel 59/DT45, Indianapolis). Last year, Maloney joined WXIN as a weekend anchor. She arrived from FOX affiliate WBFF in Baltimore, Maryland, where she was a morning reporter.

The new Cumulus AC/WWFT (93.9fm, Fishers) changes call letters to match its "Warm" moniker. Mark down WRWM on your Indy Radio Call Letters scorecard.

A call letter change we inadvertently missed last November. Electronic Applications Radio Service's WRFM (90.1fm, Wadesville), a religious broadcasting simulcast of WJCF (88.1fm, Morristown), changes its call letters to WENS. WLHN (990am, Muncie) takes the WRFM call letters. The WENS call letters have not been heard in central Indiana since Emmis Communications changed the call letters of its Shelbyville-licensed 97.1fm to WLHK in March 2005.


Very sad to report tonight the passing of Phil Stoerck, known on-air as "Phil The Listener" at Sarkes Tarzian's AAA/WTTS (92.3fm, Bloomington). Since 2004, Stoerck has hosted a monthly show on WTTS. Phil started out as a listener and presence at many WTTS events and concerts. Tonight, WTTS aired a most touching one hour musical tribute to Stoerck. WTTS PD Brad Holtz tells IRW: "What started as a wild idea over some beers became something simply incredible. Phil The Listener epitomized the independent spirit of WTTS. He became the voice of the listener. He represented what's great about local radio. Most importantly, he became our dear friend, and our audience's friend. Phil will be sorely missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife Bonnie and son Reed." Stoerck passed away yesterday at age 54.


JP Engelbrecht was recently named CEO of South Central Communications. Engelbrecht's father - John D. - will continue as Chairman of the Board and President. JP had been the VP/COO of the Evansville based company since 2002, when he entered that role at age 22. South Central Communications owns WABX/WEOA/WIKY-FM/WLFW/WSTO and has an LMA with WEJK. Also, South Central owns several stations in Tennessee. JP was named CEO on 21 February.

This Week in Indiana Radio History

March 9: In 1949, WCTW-FM in New Castle was granted a CP for 102.5fm, running 4000 watts at 250 feet.

March 11: In 1949, 1370am, Bloomington signed on; Today, it is WGCL. In 1993, 98.7fm, Battle Ground signed on; Today it is WASK-FM.

March 12: In 2001, a three way frequency swap occurred in Fort Wayne. First, after ending its simulcast a day earlier with WYSR (94.1fm), WCKZ, then at 102.3fm, moved its call letters to 94.1fm and began an Urban AC format as "The Wiz." 102.3fm became WEJE with an alternative music format. And 96.3fm (where WEJE was) took a country music format, as WWWD. Today, the WCKZ calls are on 91.3fm in Orland, 102.3fm is Spanish music formatted as WGBJ, and 96.3fm is Rhythmic CHR as WNHT. In 1999, J.C. Baker left mornings at Fort Wayne's WMEE and is now the News Director for Fort Wayne-based Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

March 14: In 1974, WLYV (1450am) in Fort Wayne changed formats from Top 40 to Country, with a switch in ownership. Until 1980, Jack Nicklaus owned the station under the corporate name "Golden Bear Broadcasting".

That's it for this issue.

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