Indiana RadioWatch: February 24, 2007
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,
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
Afternoons: Chris Cage (3:00PM - 7:00PM) (From MD/afternoons at WMEE in
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 100000watts.com. 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
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
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,
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 http://www.fmtalk939.com/
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
Starting 2 January, Sherry Fisher is News Director at Emmis' N-T/WIBC
(1070am, Indianapolis). Fisher was News Director at WTVN in Columbus,
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 night's, 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
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
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 http://www.1049theriver.fm
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
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
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 100000watts.com
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.