Indiana RadioWatch: July 8, 2009

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Depending on the amount of news generated by feedback from this issue, we may print again on Wednesday 15 July, or wait until next Wednesday 22 July.

Also, please read the both interviews at the end of this issue.


A former WOWO weatherperson has passed away. Earl Finckle provided weather forecasts for WOWO-land. Randy Meyer, founder of tells The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette's Michael Zennie that Finckle was on the air at WOWO between 1967 and 1991. Finckle owned his company (Chicago Weather Service) which provided weather to radio stations around the country. The 81 year old Finckle passed away on Friday 3 July.

Sarkes Tarzian Classic Hits/WLDE (101.7fm, Fort Wayne) evening host "Dr. Dave" exits and the syndicated Tom Kent evening show is now heard. Also exiting Sarkes Tarzian Fort Wayne are the receptionist ("Granny" Pat Bauer), and production director (Matt Myers).

Where Are They Now? 16 year veteran WPTA-TV (Channel 21, Fort Wayne) News Director Don Bradley exits KCEN-TV in Waco, Texas and is now the News Director at KAVU-TV in Victoria, Texas.


Ron Tarsi is the new Market Manager for the four Artistic Media Partners' stations in South Bend, Indiana. Before AMP, he spent 13 years as President/GM at Sarkes Tarzian's N-T/WGCL (1370am, Bloomington) and translator W240AT (95.9fm, Bloomington) and AAA/WTTS (92.3fm, Bloomington). His other experience includes a role as the President of the radio division of the Home News Company, which had radio stations in California, Washington, Connecticut, and Tennessee.

Citadel Country/WWKI (100.5fm, Kokomo) afternoon host J.J. Davis segues to weekends, while Production Manager Nick Livingston replaces Davis in afternoons.


Look for some call letter changes this week around here...Details soon.


Tom Severino, VP/GM at Emmis' Indianapolis stations, passed away on Sunday 5 July after a brief battle with lung cancer. The 57 year old Severino joined Emmis in 1994, as Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan's first hire after Emmis purchased WIBC. Before WIBC, he worked at the former WIRE (1430am/100.9fm) radio in Indianapolis and in Cincinnati, Ohio (at WCKY). He is survived by his wife of 29 years (Linda) and three children. Emmis' Monument Circle headquarters hosted friends both on Thursday afternoon, and for a celebration of Severino's life after the Friday morning mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church on Stevens Street in Indianapolis.

Russ Oasis has sold his Oldies/WKLU (101.9fm, Brownsburg) to Educational Media Foundation for $4.75 million, plus $1.55 million for the studio facility and building. Michael Bergner of Boca Raton, Florida-based Bergner and Company was the broker on this deal.

After three years, both Russ Dodge exits as GM and Stephanie Tatay-Myers exits as OM/Marketing Manager at Continental's Spanish/WSYW (810am, Indianapolis) and Regional Mexican/WEDJ (107.1fm, Danville).

After the usual format tease of construction noises, Cumulus' AC/WRWM (93.9fm, Fishers) drops their "Warm" format, and goes CHR as of 9:40AM on Friday 3 July 2009. The new PD is Jeff Andrews, who last did a very brief gig as OM of the Independence Media stations in Peoria, Illinois. Andrews is better known as the former PD at WZYP in Huntsville, Alabama. The new "I-94" debuted with The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow." Their new sparse website is: If you're keeping score (and we hope you are), this is format change number five since December, 2001 (The first four were "Retro"/1980's, "Song"/Contemporary Christian, "FM Talk"/Talk, and "Warm"/AC). Also, the CP is still in place for WRWM to move City of License from Fishers to Lawrence and upgrade from a Class A to a Class B1 (remember "The Duck" on 93.7fm? It's no accident that the frequency moved down near Louisville, Kentucky.)

At Continental's Spanish/WSYW (810am, Indianapolis) and Regional Mexican/WEDJ (107.1fm, Danville), the Indianapolis Colts will air ten home games in Spanish, with Armando Quintera handling the futbol play by play.

Patti McGettigan will be the new News Director at LIN's CBS affiliate WISH-TV (Channel 2, Indianapolis). McGettigan was News Director at LIN-sister NBC station WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan. McGettigan will begin in late July and replaces Kevin Finch who left WISH-TV last month.


Clear Channel CHR/WZKF (98.9fm, Salem) applies to the FCC to move their transmitter site from near Greenville, Indiana on US-150 to one of the four towers of Louisville Kentucky's WKRD (790am). On the WKRD site, WZKF will move from a Class B signal to a class C2 signal (42,500 watts at 515 feet), with a slight directional null to the east, which protects nearby Lexington, Kentucky signals. This move will also eliminate signal blockage from terrain near the Ohio River.


At Sarkes Tarzian's N-T/WGCL (1370am, Bloomington) and translator W240AT (95.9fm, Bloomington), afternoon host Darryl Neher exited on Wednesday 1 July. His "Afternoon Edition" show was replaced by Sean Hannity, which started on Thursday 2 July.


South Central Communications sells Urban AC/WEOA (1400am, Evansville) to Edward Lander's BLS Entertainment, Inc. for $175,000.

Jessica Naudziunas is the new local host of NPR's "Morning Edition" on Southwest Indiana Public Broadcasting's News-Classical/WNIN-FM (88.3fm, Evansville). She has been with the station since April, 2009.

Employment Opportunities

Federated Media's WOWO/Fort Wayne needs a part time fill in news anchor with the ability to multi task. You must have an excellent on air delivery, with solid news writing and editing skills. If this sounds like you, send tape/resume to dmandis at wowo dot com. Federated Media is proud to be an EOE.

Forcht Broadcasting/Crawfordsville is accepting applications for board operators. Available nights and weekends, and have previous experience? Please apply to: dapeach at forchtbroadcasting dot com. Forcht Broadcasting is proud to be an EOE.

Radio Spotlight

Name: John Emerson
Job Title: Network Indiana/Building Operations Manager
Station(s): Network Indiana, WFNI-AM, WIBC-FM, WLHK-FM, WYXB-FM
Owner: Emmis Communications

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

WNAP-FM as well as Mike Griffin, Chris Connor, Tom Cochran, Tom Robinson, Carie Carlson

2. What makes your job unique? How does it differ from a PD?

No two days are ever alike. In addition to serving the needs of our Network Indiana radio Affiliates throughout the state I am also responsible for overseeing building operations for the Emmis World Headquarters Building. This includes everything from maintenance and repair to security and janitorial. I also head the Emmis Indy Radio technology team of engineers and IT personnel. Finally, I administer the Emmis Indy Radio internship program. We currently have 38 interns on the radio side for the summer internship session.

3. What makes your market unique?

All markets are unique in some fashion. Indianapolis has always been a close knit traditional radio market. Somewhat conservative

4. Who are your mentor(s)?

The late Tom Severino and Hal Souers.

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

Do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. Then, be ready to do whatever is asked of you. Positive attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done will go a long way for you. You've got to have a passion for the business and dedication to serving your audience.

6. Where do you see the radio industry five years from now?

Radio has been through challenging times before and has always recovered. Usage of radio has actually increased in the past ten years. I have yet to hear a local newscast or local weather forecast on satellite radio or an IPod. Radio's ability to provide local service separates it from other media.

7. What's the most important issue in radio today?

Providing listeners local service. That's the key to separating the unique service terrestrial radio provides its community compared with other emerging media.

8. What's your favorite out-of-market radio station, and why?

WHAS-AM, Louisville. A full service station with great personalities.

9. Who's your favorite air personality that isn't working for you?

John Records Landecker

10. What book have you read that has taught you the most about the radio business?

That book would be The Disney Way, by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson (McGraw-Hill, 1998). Walt Disney was passionate and committed to providing his audience an unmatched entertainment experience. He instilled and required that passion from his cast members.

Extra question: What's your biggest pet peeve in radio?

Lack of local service to the community of license.


Name: Mel McMahon
Job Title: On the Beach

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

I grew up listening to oldies when I was younger, but X103 was all the rage when I was in high school. I used to record hours of music on my tape player and make up my own breaks. I had every intention of giving Nigel a run for his money one day! I never imagined I would actually have the chance to work with him!

2. What makes Mel McMahon unique on the air?

I have been told on more than one occasion, I am a chameleon on the air. I can easily switch stations and still be myself.

3. What was your last radio gig?

I was on-air with Emmis from May 2006 until June 8 of this year. I started with Radio Now when it was 93.1, and transitioned into full time traffic reporter/jack-of-all-trades in October 2007. My last day, I did traffic/on-air with Bernie and Kelly on B105.7, The Wank and O'Brien Show on 97.1 HANK FM, Afternoons with Scott Wheeler on B105.7, and The Steve Simpson Show on 93.1 WIBC. Has the split shift been outlawed yet?

4. Who are your mentor(s)?

I knew from a young age I wanted to be on the air, but the dream really became possible when I met Laura Duncan from 92.3 WTTS. I love her delivery. She has a fantastic mix of personality, knowledge, and know-how. When I started working at WTTS, she really took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. I still call her for on-air advice!

Knowing there was always a possibility of not being on-air for the rest of my life, I often turned to the late Tom Severino. He is truly the example of that "great manager" all my grad school text books talk about. He taught me to never regret anything, work hard/play hard, and as long as your hater ratings are not bigger than your lover ratings, you're still in good shape.

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

Be willing to do ANYTHING! I got my foot in the door by taking a receptionist position, and the rest is history! You have to be willing to learn every aspect of the business and take the initiative to do so. No one is going to do it for you.

6. Where do you see the radio industry five years from now?

In five years, I really see more out-of-the-box advertising. Commercials seem to be the problem AND the solution. In five years, we'll be more creative with our revenue streams and how we present our clients on the air.

7. What's the most important issue in radio today?

I think we have an internal challenge of who is really in charge our product-is it the listener, the client, or the bottom line? Radio has survived numerous challenges since its invention, but that doesn't mean we will continue to in the future.

8. What's your favorite out-of-market radio station, and why?

KBCO in Denver is one of my favorites! It strikes a great balance between the music, the culture of its listeners, and its personalities.

9. What have you read that has taught you the most about the radio business?

The Wikipedia entry for "WKRP in Cincinnati."

Extra question: What's your biggest pet peeve in radio?

Just because we work in the communications industry, we shouldn't assume we are great communicators. ;-)

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

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