Indiana RadioWatch: April 14, 2010

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A proceeding by the FCC's Media Bureau has begun, which may give only pre-sunrise authorized AM stations an extra hour of daytime power in the morning. Currently, pre-sunrise power rules begin at 6:00AM, regardless of what time the local sunrise is. Under the FCC proposal, if your Class D station already had pre-sunrise authorization, you could sign on with day power at 5:00AM, when some "morning drive time" shows begin. Class B stations with pre-sunrise authorization would add an additional hour of daytime power (i.e. they could switch to daytime power at 5:00AM). For more information, click here.

Now, onto the news.


A northeast Indiana radio station and accompanying Fort Wayne translator are sold. Public Broadcasting of Northeast Indiana (more commonly known as Northeast Indiana Public Radio) sells both Classical/WCKZ (91.3fm, Orland) and translator W204BF (88.7fm, Fort Wayne) to Star Educational Media Network, Inc. (owners of WLAB in Fort Wayne). The sale price is $225,000. Bob Heymann of Chicago, Illinois-based Media Services Group represented PBNEI, while Mark Jorgenson of Tryon, North Carolina-based Jorgenson Broadcast Brokerage represented Star Educational Media Network, Inc. No word yet on Star's plans for the two facilities. A side note for radio historians: In the WCKZ call letters, the CK stands for "Connie Kovas," as her husband Frank Kovas once owned the 94.1fm, Roanoke allocation (which PBNEI now owns).

Manchester College's WBKE (89.5fm, North Manchester) is fined $5600 by the FCC for filing a late license renewal application. In 2005, WBKE's FCC licensed expired, and the station filed for an STA six months later. A month after that, WBKE's license renewal was filed. The FCC responded in 2007 with a $7000 fine ("Notice of Apparent Liability"). Manchester College then appealed for a fine reduction or elimination, citing a student station manager's graduation and the assumption by a Manchester College faculty advisor that the station license renewal was done. The college also cited financial hardship and prior compliance with FCC rules. The FCC reduced the fine from $7000 to $5600, based on prior compliance, as no financial hardship was substantiated by the FCC.

An informal objection has been filed with the FCC by Harvest Christian Fellowship, Inc. over the granting of a new noncommercial station, licensed on 91.3fm, to Woodburn.

A lightning strike at the tower site of Oasis Radio Group's Rhythmic CHR/WJFX (107.9fm, New Haven) took the station to reduced power for a few hours, last week.

Where Are They Now? Former then-WKJG (Channel 33, Fort Wayne) News Director Kathy Hostetter will soon be the News Director at WAVE-TV in Louisville, Kentucky.


Several South Bend and Elkhart stations will be making programming changes soon. First, the Elkhart Truth reports that Federated Media's Classic Rock/WAOR (95.3fm, Niles, Michigan) will move in May to 95.7fm, the current place for Talking Stick Communications' Rhythmic CHR/WYPW (95.7fm, Nappanee). Second, replacing Classic Rock on 95.3FM will be the new home for Michiana's News Channel, which will also be simulcast on Oldies/WTRC (1340am , Elkhart). Leading that effort is new PD Jon Zimney, inbound from Phoenix, Arizona's KTAR-FM (and formerly OM/PD at Federated Media's sister stations WOWO and WKJG in Fort Wayne). Both the oldies format on WTRC and the Rhythmic CHR format on WYPW will end. Third, while the new 95.3FM Michiana's News Channel has released no format specifics, the Truth article pointed out that competitor Schurz's News-Talk/WSBT (960am, South Bend) will end their affiliation with Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck on 10 May. Fourth, also happening in May, the syndicated Bob and Tom Show will move to mornings at the new WAOR at 95.7fm, from its current home at Talking Stick Communications' Rock/WRBR-FM (103.9fm, South Bend). No word on where this leaves current morning show "Tommie Lee and the Bartender." Finally, at Federated Media's AC/WLEG (102.7fm, Ligonier), they are planning a new studio at a future location in Goshen. WLEG is currently located in the Federated Media building on South Second Street, in Elkhart, with WTRC.

The simulcast of Kankakee Valley Broadcasting's WKVI (1520am, Knox) and WKVI-FM (99.3fm, Knox) changes format from Soft AC to Hot AC. WKVI-FM has also upgraded to a digital STL and moved to a new studio.

"Stinger" exits APD/middays at Federated Media's Country/WBYT (100.7fm, Elkhart) and is replaced by Brad Klug ("Brad King") in middays, and as APD. Brad arrives from four years as APD/afternoons at Schurz's AC/WNSN (101.5fm, South Bend).

Tribune Interactive has signed a deal which licenses its digital platform to Schurz Communications, which will use the technology across all its media websites, including its South Bend radio stations, which are News-Talk/WSBT (960am, South Bend) and AC/WNSN (101.5fm, South Bend). The deal provides Schurz with technology and content from Tribune.

South Bend Community Schools' WETL (91.7fm, South Bend) flips format from more current music, to a variety of music from the 1950's to 2000.

Vox Radio Group's Talk-Sports/WIOU (1350am, Kokomo) and AC/WZWZ (92.5fm, Kokomo) add the services of VirtualNewsCenter for local news. The news team for the station includes anchor Jim Raposa, reporter Deb Albertson, and Terry Hickman contribute material.


Scott Krusinski's Market Street Broadcasting, LLC sells Country/WHPO (100.9fm, Hoopston, Illinois) to Hoopston Radio, Inc. for $400,000.


The saga of WKPW has found a happy ending. The Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home has transferred Classic Hits/WKPW (90.7fm, Knightstown) to the New Castle Area Career Programs. Now, the station will live on, under PD Mike York, after the closure of the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home. The WKPW studios will move to Knightstown High School sometime in the next six to eight months. At the high school, new 2000 square foot studios are under construction for WKPW.


Hoosier Public Radio's WSMJ (89.1fm, Wilkinson) flips call letters to WRFM-FM.


The Tattler reports that at Midwest Communications' CHR/WMGI (100.7fm, Terre Haute), morning host Tim Shelton ("Jimmy Rush") exits.


There's a promotion for an Evansville TV GM, as Raycom NBC affiliate WFIE-TV (Channel 14, Evansville) GM Debbie Bush is headed to sister Raycom CBS affiliate KOLD-TV in Tucson, Arizona.

Job Opportunities

WBYT in South Bend is looking for our next great Program Director. If you believe in the power of being live, local, and relevant, we want to hear from you. If you are passionate about creating great radio, we want to hear from you. If you believe content is king, if you can coach a full time airstaff, communicate the company vision and mission, help create great morning radio, work closely alongside the sales department, and develop and execute exciting promotions, we want to hear from you. If you want to work for a company that still believes in being live and local, still has promotions, and marketing budgets, still offers great pay and excellent benefits, retains the top consultants, helps employees advance their own careers, and gives you all the tools you'll need to win, we want to hear from you. Email your resume to bwilliams at federatedmedia dot com.

WMGI Radio 100.7 Mix-FM/Terre Haute is looking for a talented morning show personality to team up with our existing co-host, and understands that the job doesn't end with the air shift. We are looking for a great attitude, someone who is willing to be responsible for our street presence, do top-quality production, and great remotes. Imaging abilities are a plus! You will be working for a top-notch company, offering a very competitive salary, and benefits. If you are looking for a rewarding opportunity, please send your tape and resume package to Natalie Randall, Brand Manager, Midwest Communications, Inc., 824 South Third Street, Terre Haute, IN 47807 or email diva.natalie at mwcradio dot com.

Radio Spotlight

This week, we sit down with Shelly and Zack.
Names: Shelly K. and Zack Skyler
Job Title(s): Morning Show Hosts
Station(s): 97.3 WMEE
Market(s): Fort Wayne.
Owner: Federated Media.

Who were your early DJ or radio station influences? (Perhaps what lead you to "catch the radio bug."?)

Shelly: I think it started when I was really little and my mom used to listen to the advice show hosted by Sonya Friedman. Then radio was a daily thing as I woke up and fell asleep everyday to local Detroit Radio shows. 6am every morning my alarm clock went off to a loud booming "WAKE YOUR A(hem) UP!!!! YOU'RE IN THE BUSH WITH THE BUSH MAN ON FM 98 WJLB". At night, I would wait up (as my mother was yelling at me to turn the radio off and go to bed) so I could play Alan Almond trivia during Pillow Talk on 100.3 WNIC. I think I won a dozen roses at least once a week, but never went and picked them up! Fast forward 15 years or so, and I'm living in Chicago and feeling as though the radio thing was just a pipe dream. Until the day I walked into 103.5 KISS FM and met Armando Rivera. I told Armando, I'd do whatever it took to get my foot in the door. I answered phones for Pike at Night who told me everyone gets fired in radio. Then I met one of my most favorite mentors, Rick Party who asked me to host a voice tracked show with him for the Atlanta market. Big thanks to Rick Party for taking a chance on me.

Zack: I spent lots of time listening to WMEE while growing up. Several people made an impact on me wanting to do radio...Charly Butcher, Tony Richards and a guy named Bo Summers, who's now in San Diego as Jagger from Jagger and Kristi. Like subscribing to magazines, I used to receive airchecks weekly from all over the place as a teenager. I listened to some great radio stations and enjoyed most of the personalities on each: Z100 New York, KIIS LA, WPLJ New York, WAVA Washington DC, both Z95 and B96 Chicago, WFLZ in Tampa when it was The Power Pig, WKQI Detroit, both KDWB and WLOL Minneapolis, Eagle 106 Philly...ok, I'm done.

What was your last radio gig?

Zack: Executive Producer for Greg Thunder & Melissa Moore at KS95/KSTP-FM Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Shelly: Mornings at 103.3FM WKFR Battle Creek/Kalamazoo, Michigan.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Shelly: I always feel good about the work we do. Whether it's on the air or in the community, I walk away everyday counting my blessings. I have a wonderful partner. Zack makes it real easy to get up in the morning and enjoy my time both on and off the air.

Zack: Seeing an idea that we have work and really take off and become something special.

What unique ways make your morning show "gel" and make it different from the competition?

Zack: Shelly & I have a chemistry that came pretty quick. It doesn't always work putting people together, but we're lucky in that we like each other, have fun and can disagree and make it all come together nicely. I grew up around here and that always helps being local. Shelly brings this excitement and a huge heart for life. We find many things funny, keep it real, reveal much about ourselves and are never afraid to try different things. Not everything is going to work, but you've got to try things.

Shelly: REAL, ALWAYS BEING REAL. Nothing is off limits for us. We get personal, silly, angry, and sad. The real emotions of our listeners are our emotions too. And when we get calls about topics etc. there's never a "you're wrong" response. We welcome everyone's opinion without judgment. We are here for them after all. Another thing that makes us 'gel' is that Zack is actually one of my best friends in the world. How cool is that? Working with my FRIEND everyday!

What has been your biggest career accomplishment?

Shelly: All the money that I've helped to raise for a variety of charities and causes. Food for food banks, Toys for Tots, hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight against child abuse, breast cancer, animal care and MORE!

Zack: Garnering great ratings here in Fort Wayne over the years, then in Orlando and Minneapolis and now hoping to be at the top of the heap here in Fort Wayne again. It's also nice when people that I grew up being a fan of like Greg Thunder asking me my advice on stuff.

What makes your market unique?

Zack: Fort Wayne is very family oriented, blue collar for the most part, simple. Talking about things people care about, which isn't too different from everywhere, kids, relationships, money, jobs etc.

Shelly: Too many stations with similar formats. This market is too radio saturated!

What's your biggest pet peeve in radio?

Zack: People who do not put the effort into show prep. Show prep should be fun and it makes everything better.

Shelly: When people bring "shop-talk" to the airwaves. Using words like contest, montage, promotion etc. on the air reduces the realism of the hosts.

What's the most important issue in radio today?

Shelly: Being local and involved in the community. If you aren't in the moment with your listeners, why would they want to hang out with you? People are looking for a friend on the radio that is going through the same things they are!

Zack: Radio is so bland for the most part. Not all stations, but most. The excitement that I had for radio as a kid isn't around as much today, so kids don't really care about it. It could be great again, but this business doesn't always get it. They want talent for the future, but they sacrifice quality and it doesn't make it interesting for people to want to be a part of it.

What's the best advice you'd give to those wanting to get into radio?

Shelly: Become valuable. Don't believe that a great personality and a radio voice will help you get ahead in this biz. Learn every angle of a radio station that you can.

Zack: Soak everything up. Pay attention and learn as much as you can and be willing to work hard to get where you want to be.

Who's your favorite air personality that isn't working with you?

Zack: I like Cubby (Bryant) at KTU in New York and rocker Lou Brutus is always entertaining.

Shelly: A good friend of mine: Mel T. in Chicago (she's part of the morning show at Kiss 103.5). "FEARLESS" is one word that describes her and for a woman to be fearless in this business, it's pretty rare

That's all for this issue. Thank you for your continued support.

=============== Indiana RadioWatch ===============

(c) 2010, Blaine E. Thompson

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