In this week’s issue… Formats shuffle in northern PA – RIP, Charlie Tuna, King Arthur Knight – Two big departures in Toronto
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*While your editor was out of the region visiting lots of interesting stations in North Carolina and Virginia last week (get ready for some neat Tower Site of the Week installments coming soon!), the region spent Leap Week relatively quietly.
So quietly, in fact, that we’re leading off along the US 6 corridor in northern PENNSYLVANIA, where we don’t usually spend a lot of time. This week, though, there are two format changes to report in the area:
In Dushore, southeast of Elmira, Geos Communications has a new identity for what had been hot AC “KZ-FM.” WNKZ (103.9 Dushore) is now WDYS, sister station WZKN (96.9 Ridgebury) is now WVYS, and along with Sayre-area translator W297BG (107.3 Ulster) they’re now AC as “Yes-FM.”
The new “Yes” has the syndicated “Murphy, Sam & Jodi” in mornings, Jodi Black in middays, Steve Worthington in afternoons and syndicated Dr. Laura Berman at night.
To the west, Sam Jotrdan’s Greater Corry Area Broadcasting has replaced classic hits with country at WWCB (1370 Corry). Sam’s doing mornings himself at the station east of Erie.
The Tower Site Calendar is nearly sold out.
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Radio People on the Move from the Albany area: it didn’t take long for former WFLY (92.3) APD/MD/afternoon jock Marissa Lanchak to find a new job after Pamal’s cutbacks cost her job last month. She’s now at Townsquare’s country WGNA (107.7), where she starts today in the midday gig formerly held by Heather Davis.
And a “Where Are They Now?” finds former Albany programmer Steve Guittari getting a nice promotion in Indianapolis, where he’s now operations manager for Cumulus’ three stations, where he signed on as PD last October for WFMS (95.5).
Entercom’s Emily Wild is heading down the Thruway, trading afternoons (and the music director gig) at Rochester’s top-40 WPXY (97.9) for mornings and MD at “Alt Buffalo” WLKK (107.7), where she’ll start March 21. The morning job at WLKK opened up last month when Bentley moved to Cumulus and WEDG (103.3).
In Syracuse, Vinny Lopez is leaving the station that he’s engineered for more than two decades. For much of his time at WSYT (Channel 68)/WNYS (Channel 43), Lopez worked for Sinclair – and now he’s going back to Sinclair to become chief engineer at WSTM (Channel 3), WTVH (Channel 5) and WSTQ-LP (Channel 14), the NBC/CBS duopoly that Sinclair acquired from Barrington Broadcasting in 2013.
Longtime Syracuse sportscaster Joel Mareiniss has died. He’d been part of Syracuse media since graduating from Syracuse University in 1953, working as the voice of SU sports and Syracuse Chiefs baseball and anchoring sportscasts on the old WSYR-TV (Channel 3, now WSTM). Mareiness had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease; he died Saturday at 87.
There’s late word, too, of the death of Benjamin Herrera, one of Rochester’s pioneering Spanish-language broadcasters. Herrera worked in broadcasting in Colombia before moving here in the 1960s to work at Kodak. While employed there, he started the city’s first Spanish-language TV show, “Que Pasa,” on WXXI-TV (Channel 21) in 1973. In the 1990s, the show moved to Time Warner Cable’s R News, where it evolved into a Spanish-language daily newscast, “R Mundo.” (Your editor had the pleasure of working with him there for several years.) Herrera was 75 when he died on Friday.
*In New York City, John Sterling is poised to become the second longest-serving radio broadcaster in Yankees’ history. As he enters his 28th season with the team, Sterling and his partner Suzyn Waldman have been signed to another “long-term” deal to stay in the WFAN radio booth. Sterling’s been there since 1989, when he started on WABC radio, while Waldman has been his sidekick since 2005. Assuming Sterling hangs on for three more years, he’ll pass Phil Rizzuto’s 30 seasons in the radio booth, as well as Mel Allen’s combined 30 years in radio and TV for the Yankees. (With 40 seasons combined on radio and TV, the Scooter still holds the all-time Yankees broadcast record. Sterling, now 77, would have to work until he’s 90 to match that record.)
Where are they now? Former WBLS/WLIB general manager Deon Levingston has signed on with Radio One after leaving Emmis last year. Still based in Indianapolis, Levingston is now the GM of Radio One’s cluster there and regional VP for the company’s Detroit and St. Louis clusters. And Buffalo’s own Tom Calderone has signed on with Spotify as global head of content partnerships, several months after leaving his gig as president of VH1 after 17 years with Viacom.
And Brian Kerkan, who was chief engineer at Saga’s Ithaca cluster a few years back, has a new gig: he’s gone from being Saga’s corporate chief to engineering for Crawford’s Detroit stations to a new job with the Telos Alliance doing national sales for its Omnia audio processing line.
*A RHODE ISLAND radio veteran has died. Arthur Osterhout was much better known as “King Arthur Knight” over his long career as a DJ. Knight started in Akron, Ohio in 1958, spent some time at Scranton’s WARM (590) and then came to the Ocean State in 1962 to be PD at WICE (1290) in Providence. After pulling record ratings at WICE, Knight went to Boston in the 1970s to do nights at WMEX (1510). He returned to WICE in 1978, then went to WPRO (630) in 1982 and retired in 1989. Knight was inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2012; he died Feb. 26 at age 79.
We can now attach a purchase price to the NEW JERSEY translator that’s moving to Providence. Video Mundo Broadcasting will pay Wesley Weis $100,000 for W244AS (96.7 Oakhurst), which has a CP to move to 102.1 in Providence as a relay of WPMZ (1110 East Providence).
*A schedule change in eastern PENNSYLVANIA: at CBS radio’s WPHT (1210 Philadelphia), Dave Ramsey replaces Sean Hannity in the 9 PM-midnight weekday slot.
*While Charlie Tuna did most of his work on the West Coast, the legendary jock spent a few months in MASSACHUSETTS early in his career. Tuna, a Nebraska native born Art Ferguson, picked up his air name at KOMA in Oklahoma City in 1966 and brought it to WMEX (1510) in Boston early in 1967. He spent nine months in Boston before going west to KHJ in Los Angeles, where he made his debut on Thanksgiving Day. Tuna died Feb. 19 in California, at age 71.
*In CANADA‘s biggest market, two longtime news voices are vanishing from the airwaves, at least for now.
At CITY-TV (Channel 57), Gord Martineau has been the lead local news anchor since 1977, when he came to “CityPulse News” from weekends at CFCF-TV in his native Montreal. He’d also worked in radio in Toronto and in Halifax – but it was at the flashy, fast-paced CityPulse operation that he made his mark, surviving as the 6 PM anchor even as the station changed owners (from Moses Znaimer to the CHUM group to today’s Rogers) and tamed its format.
On Monday, CITY and Martineau abruptly announced that night’s show would be Martineau’s last. On Facebook, he posted a message – “Goodbye Toronto and City Tv. Thank you for letting me into your living rooms and your lives. I will continue to work in broadcasting — stay tuned” – that seems to imply he’ll be back on the air somewhere, sooner or later.
And on radio, Dave Agar is leaving CFRB (Newstalk 1010) on March 31. He’s been a CFRB anchor and commentator since 1989, and before that worked at sister station CKFM (99.9) from 1974-1989 and at CJRN in Niagara Falls starting in 1970. No replacement has been named yet at CFRB.
In Montreal, the CRTC has approved a second attempt from Radio Moyen-Orient to get a low-power FM relay for its CHOU (1450). The new signal will run 50 watts on 104.5 from the Saint-Michel neighborhood on the east side of Montreal. It’s the second new FM for Moyen-Orient, which started testing CHHU (99.1) in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Feb. 26 and will sign the new signal on officially in April.
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