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Archived Philly Talk Radio News for the year 2003

Friday, December 19, 2003 6:55pm

Jeff Katz leaves WPHT

Wrapping up his show with a Warren Zevon tune (Keep me in your heart) Jeff announced that he is leaving WPHT, tonight is his last show.

Thursday, December 4, 2003

No local home yet for liberal radio network
By Daniel Rubin / Inquirer Staff Writer
The man who hopes to bring more liberal radio to Philadelphia isn't above a little trash-talking. "We want a place for people to go where they are not being shouted at," says Mark Walsh, CEO of Progress Media, which is negotiating with a local station in hopes of creating a radio network by early spring.
Thursday, December 4, 2003 (

Florida Investigators seizes Limbaugh's medical records.

In a continuing investigation into a Florida drug ring the state attorney's office has seized the medical records of Rush Limbaugh.  The following is from a press release issued from Roy Black, Rush's lawyer...

"We have been informed that this afternoon the Palm Beach state attorney's office will announce that it has seized the medical records of four doctors who treated me for serious medical conditions and the pain resulting from them.

"In fact, what these records will show is that I suffered pain and had legitimate reasons for taking pain medication.

"Unfortunately, because of Mr. Limbaugh's prominence and well-known political opinions, he has been subjected to an invasion of privacy that no citizen of this republic should endure.

"Let us make our position clear: Rush Limbaugh is not part of a drug ring. He was never a target of a drug investigation. He became addicted to a prescription drug during legitimate medical treatment. He has publicly admitted the problem, has successfully sought treatment, which continues to this day."

"We will not speculate on why the state attorney's office is handling Mr. Limbaugh's case the way it is. What should be a responsible investigation is looking more and more like a fishing expedition."

Going around the Net (source unknown)

      • Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty.

      • Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.

      • Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.

      • Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1... the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

Continued here in the forums ...


Some old WCAU jingles are here
Use the listen link.  Has about 6 minutes of stuff.
Thanks to LaMichael Mitchell for passing that along.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Jeff Katz wins AIR award

This year's AIR award (click for the full list) for best weekday talk radio host goes to Jeff Katz - WPHT

Irv Homer won a Milestone in Radio award for years in the business.

Other winners of note

Best Newscast
Metro Networks "The Loss Of The Space Shuttle Columbia"
Kevin Delany (on WPEN)

Best Spot News Coverage
Metro Networks "Who Framed The Constitution Center?"
Paul Perrello (on WPEN & WHAT)

Rush Limbaugh returns

Back on the air yesterday after yet another detox.  Still no denial of wrongdoing in drug allegations.  Investigation continues. has details, audio and transcript.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Rush Limbaugh due back on air soon.

Unconfirmed reports say Rush will be back on the air on Monday, November 17.

Philly Trends out today

Not like there is a whole lot of talk stations around (unlike other markets) but here is a snipped of the fall trends for October.

Station     / Summer 03 / Fall Part 1
#2 - KYW / 6.8 / 7.0
#12 - WIP / 2.5 / 3.0
#13(tie) - WPHT / 2.8 / 2.9
#20(tie) - WHAT / 0.8 / 1.0
#22 - WHIL / 0.6 / 0.5
#23 - WFAN / 0.0 / 0.3

The good news for WPHT is they stopped the summer slide.  The surprise is that WFAN out of New York showed up again.  'FAN carries IMUS, the show dropped from PHT on Sept. 8 but is has shown up in Philly's book before.

Note:  There is a 2-way tie for #9, a 3-way tie for #13 and a 2-way tie for #17 

Friday, October 31, 2003

CNBC Hires Dennis Miller to Host Show 

Friday, October 31, 2003; 11:55 AM

NEW YORK - Dennis Miller, the sardonic comedian who delivered a fake newscast on "Saturday Night Live" and told jokes in the "Monday Night Football" booth, will host a prime-time political talk show on CNBC.
The network said Thursday it had inked Miller to a multiyear deal for the political chat show, set to begin in January.

Monday, October 13, 2003
Rush / Ratings update - summer book

Newsweek has a field day with Rush.

My 2 cents
 What the Rush apologists are ignoring is whether or not Rush illegally obtained drugs in mass quantities.  America is a forgiving country and he'll get a pass if all his problems stem from routine drug prescriptions under a doctor's care.  If not and the story from his from maid is true then he's not much different from an addict buying pills on the corner.  If the allegations are false then they should shoot that maid and let's move on.

How Rush deals with this from here on out will determine his fate.  He screwed up and royally too but he only hurt himself.  He didn't push drugs on kids or kill anybody.  What he did damage was that fragile flower of trust.  Always the entertainer Rush now faces the performance of his career.

A Hattrick coming in the fall ratings

This fall Imus, Hannity and Smerconish will get to crow about ratings.  While PHT's trends were falling faster than Rush's credibility this past summer there is good news for them on the horizon.

Imus - He got dumped from PHT last September 8th and wound up on 860-AM.  That can only help that station.  Their numbers are expected to go up for the sunrise to 9am period.

Hannity - Finally gets to clear Philly on a local station.  He is expected to improve on Smerconish's numbers significantly.  It would be a major shock if he doesn't.  His people will crow about the increase, if news is not good they will keep quiet and hope for better numbers in the fall.

Smerconish - by far the easiest call here.  Taking over mornings where the numbers were lower than deep core earth drilling means he can only go up.  Just showing up and running repeats of interviews at 5:30 might be enough.  He really starts his show at 6am.  There should be enough people that either know he moved to mornings or found him by accident to improve the numbers.

What the fall brings is another story.  By Winter this grand experiment will have enough of a track record to really say for sure.  Radio companies don't give 5 books like they used to claim.  "What have you done lately?" is the norm.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush admits to addiction, enters rehab. 

Press ReleaseSource: Premiere Radio

Rush Limbaugh Statement on Prescription Pain Medication Stories
Friday October 10, 2:55 pm ET

NEW YORK, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Rush Limbaugh today issued the following statement on his radio program:

"You know I have always tried to be honest with you and open about my life. So I need to tell you today that part of what you have heard and read is correct. I am addicted to prescription pain medication.

I first started taking prescription painkillers some years ago when my doctor prescribed them to treat post surgical pain following spinal surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful and I continued to have severe pain in my lower back and also in my neck due to herniated discs. I am still experiencing that pain. Rather than opt for additional surgery for these conditions, I chose to treat the pain with prescribed medication. This medication turned out to be highly addictive.

"Over the past several years I have tried to break my dependence on pain pills and, in fact, twice checked myself into medical facilities in an attempt to do so. I have recently agreed with my physician about the next steps.

"Immediately following this broadcast, I am checking myself into a treatment center for the next 30 days to once and for all break the hold this highly addictive medication has on me. The show will continue during this time, of course, with an array of guest hosts you have come to know and respect.

"I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons. They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes. They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem.

"At the present time, the authorities are conducting an investigation, and I have been asked to limit my public comments until this investigation is complete. So I will only say that the stories you have read and heard contain inaccuracies and distortions, which I will clear up when I am free to speak about them.

"I deeply appreciate all your support over this last tumultuous week. It has sustained me. I ask now for your prayers. I look forward to resuming our excursion into broadcast excellence together."

For audio/video clip(s) of Rush Limbaugh's on-air statement, please go to

Friday, October 3, 2003

Related Media Clips
1 - Rush Limbaugh Challenge on Donovan McNabb 9/18/03: High  | Low
2 - Video | Rush Limbaugh defends remarks
3 - Rush audio from 10/3/03 on drug investigation. (7 minutes)

Rush stiffs WPHT and advertisers

On Thursday while the NAB convention was in town WPHT was holding a meet and greet with it's advertisers and on air talent.  Top billed was Rush Limbaugh.  After Rush delivered his keynote address shortly after 9 am (and carried live by KYW locally) he was due to appear at noon for 'PHT at the Union League.  Rush was a no show.  Pissed advertisers had every reason to vent and station staff scrambled with a change of plans.

"Rush stiffed us." commented an over the legal limit Michael Smerconish on the air Friday morning.  (Smerc was doing a bit on drinking and the new Blood Alcohol Content limit of .08% and was uncharacteristically warm and funny)

Video | Rush Limbaugh defends remarks

Report: Officials confirm Rush Limbaugh under investigation - Associated Press
Law-enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed yesterday to the Associated Press that Rush Limbaugh is being investigated by the Palm Beach County (Fla.) state attorney's office for allegedly buying prescription drugs.
Friday, October 3, 2003 (

Inky blasts Limbaugh
Editorial | Limbaugh and McNabb
Ripples from a babbling schnook

    Author Al Franken was right.
    Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat idiot. Well, less fat than formerly, but still an insufferable blowhard and bully, mired in self-aggrandizing delusion.
    The delusions were on full display Wednesday before he decided to play the martyr card and resign from his short-lived gig on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show.
    He quit because of the furor over his inane comment that Eagles star Donovan McNabb gets a free ride from the sports media because they are rooting for a black quarterback to succeed. The brushfire spread so quickly that Democratic presidential candidates, in hot pursuit of minority votes, were calling on ESPN to ax Limbaugh.
Full editorial link

Inky takes a shot at WPHT
Finally, liberal radio
Exceprts ...
    An all-liberal talk radio network is planning to launch in January 2004. Financed mainly by Chicago venture capitalists and Democratic campaign contributors Sheldon and Anita Drobny, the network has approached New York radio entrepreneur Arthur Liu to place its programs on several of his local stations.
    You'd hope that a major city like Philadelphia, which votes consistently Democratic, could have at least a couple of good liberal radio talk shows. But there is only one major talk radio station here: WPHT-AM (1210). And all the hosts are conservatives (two of them, Jeff Katz and Glenn Beck, call themselves libertarian, but that's a musty, old dodge - they're conservative most of the time). The lineup - Michael Smerconish, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dom Giordano, and Bill O'Reilly - sounds like a Bush cabinet meeting or National Rifle Association convention. They're good at what they do, but they provide only one viewpoint. It's like listening to a conservative Tass.

Limbaugh defends 'honest' remarks
By Daniel Rubin / Inquirer Staff Writer
    In Philadelphia for a broadcasters convention, the commentator said he meant no harm to Donovan McNabb.
    Appearing in Philadelphia for the first time since uttering the racially charged words that angered a city and cost him his television job, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh said yesterday he was simply being honest.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Karen Warrington is out from WHAT and Thera Martin-Connelly is in.  TMC comes off doing morning news at WDAS and was WHAT program director at WHAT until fired in August 2000.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Art Bell Returns

From All Access

If you were up late and reading ALL ACCESS NET NEWS or TALK TOPICS on TUESDAY night (9/16), you were the first to read the news that ART BELL is returning to syndicated radio, taking over the SATURDAY and SUNDAY "COAST-TO-COAST A.M." from BARBARA SIMPSON starting SATURDAY (9/20).


What's the difference between "significant" and "chump change" ???

It was widely reported, including being mentioned here and in print, that Sean Hannity's show was paying WPHT a promotional fee to run his show in Philly.  The amount was referred to as "significant" by the station.  Hannity's show denies the 500K.  ABC VP for affiliate relations says that they only had to fork over $40,000 for billboard promotion for the first year of a multi year contract.

So not only do they have to carry Hannity for the full 3 hours (remember it was first announced a new show was going in only from 3-5) they miss out on a bonanza of bucks.  Some deal.

Monday, September 8, 2003

WPTH released its latest "final" fall lineup today.

the lineup ... to date (expect changes)

The Wall Street Journal This Morning
5:00am - 5:30am

Michael Smerconish
5:30am - 9:00am

Glenn Beck
9:00am - Noon

Rush Limbaugh
Noon - 3:00pm

Sean Hannity
3:00pm - 6:00pm

Jeff Katz
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Dom Giordano
8:00pm - 10:00pm

Bill O'Reilly
10:00pm - Midnight

Edit:  Typo on WPHT's end
Rollye James - midnight to 2am.

George Noory
Midnight - 5:00am

Thursday, September 4, 2003

WPHT finally inks Hannity

Waaay back on August 11 I said Hannity was coming to Philly.  The sticking point was would he get 2 hours or all 3?  Twenty four days later the arm wrestling is all over and he goes live from 3 to 6pm.  Local afternoon talk is over.  Jeff Katz keeps his start time at 6.

However I am not the psychic.  Posters to the forum have for some time been saying this all the while being poo pooed by "experts."  Even last winter I said Smerconish's doing commentary for KYW was positioning for a return to PHT.  All I got on that one was an official "No Way."  Upon his return I said the ultimate goal was a move to the mornings.

I wish I was as good looking as I am accurate in guessing.  At least my kids are attractive, something my mother says skips a generation.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Former Philly Talk Host Ziegler yanked off air.

Reported in All ...

CLEAR CHANNEL Talk WHAS-A/LOUISVILLE midday host JOHN ZIEGLER is off the air after management objected to statements made last FRIDAY about a former girlfriend. ZIEGLER told the LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL that he is negotiating a settlement on the remaining two years of his contract and that the company objected to his comments about the physical attributes of a local TV news anchor he had dated. ZIEGLER also pointed out that he had said "far more explosive" things on WHAS that had gone without comment by management. The attorney for the anchor, FOX affiliate WDRB-TV's DARCIE DIVITA, who resigned recently from that station, told the paper she intends to demand a retraction and apology and to sue for "invasion of privacy," normally difficult for a public figure like a TV personality. ZIEGLER will continue his appearances on NBC affiliate WAVE-TV.

Excerpt ...

Controversial WHAS Radio talk-show host John Ziegler, who lived by the verbal sword, was impaled by it yesterday when he was taken off the air for statements he made about an ex-girlfriend last Friday on his show.

"John Ziegler is no longer on the air," said a terse statement from Bill Gentry, senior vice president of Clear Channel Radio Central Region, which owns WHAS. "Recent on-air statements during the `John Ziegler Show' were inappropriate and inconsistent with the station's standards and commitment to present quality programming."

The statement said neither that he was fired nor that he resigned. WHAS officials declined to answer any questions.

Ziegler, who has two years remaining on a three-year contract, said in an interview last night that he is negotiating a settlement.

The comments in question came last Friday when Ziegler was discussing the resignation of former WDRB-TV "Fox in the Morning" co-host Darcie Divita, who he had once dated.

Ziegler made references to her physical attributes that some listeners and station management found offensive.

"I have made statements that were far more explosive on the air at WHAS without ever being talked to," Ziegler said last night. "I talked about Paul Patton's inability to give orgasms to Tina Conner, and no one said a thing."

Friday, August 29, 2003

What's taking WPHT so long?

You read it here first on August 11.  Imus gets downgraded to 860-AM and Smerconish moves to mornings.  (Sidenote: 860-AM has a better signal than 1060 or 950 in many parts of the city)

The big question remained ... who will air from 3-6 pm?  I stand by it being Sean Hannity.  If I remember correctly (vacation fuzzes my brain) there was a press release stating Jeff Katz would get expanded hours .. maybe 5-8?  Something like that.  Now who will be on from 3-5?  Ten days from now the new schedule starts.

My bet is Hannity's people are balking at not getting the full 3 hours.  WPHT wants him and his 500K so they can fund promotion for both morning and afternoon drives.  Other stations are interested in using Hannity as an anchor and quick source of cash.  Currently the rumor mill has the following stations either seriously considering talk or feigning a passing interest ... WFIL-560, Disney-640, 97.5 out of Trenton, 107.9, and 96.5.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Yesterday's story posted below was picked up by the papers.  In the Daily News Stu Bykofsky ran with it and contacted WPHT and got this ... Stu's column

Excerpt -  NATIONALLY syndicated talker Don Imus gets sent to the minors on Sept. 8, replaced on WPHT/1210-AM's morning drive by Michael Smerconish.

Big Talker GM Sil Scaglione said Imus, who has run on WPHT for seven years, will head over to WWDB/ 860-AM.

I must say the part about IMUS going to 860 caught me by surprise.  It's almost genius.  That they can find a way to have him still clear the Philly market AND get rid of him was brilliant.  I'm sure Beasley Broadcasting is getting paid by somebody to run the show as well.

It's also widely reported now that Jane Norris, a Philly native, will be on with Smerconish and that today they were doing a dry practice run and cutting promos for the new show.

Here's the Win/Win part.  With such low numbers for both 860 and 1210 currently in the morning both Imus and Smerconish are bound to pick them up in the first book right out of the box.  Come January both shows can crow about a ratings increase.  To be fair Smerconish has had increased ratings in his slot.  How it plays out over the long term in the mornings is the next challenge.  One bit of advice Michael, lose the audience scamming "Embarrassing Audio" radio bit of your snoring, unless you want the next one to be the sound of crickets among the listeners.  

I still say Hannity goes to 1210 as well, maybe not right away but they have right of first refusal before any other station in town signs him.

This all has been in the works for about 3 months now.  At that time it was said that Hannity was locked into 1210 because they carried him on Sunday nights.  Hannity has even lobbied on his show for Philly callers to contact Grace at PHT to carry his show.  His syndicator will pay any station that runs him live 500K.  That is a real attractive number for Beasley to bring back the WWDB-FM call sign.  With Smerconish going to mornings look for the short term move to expand Katz's  hours but long term ... who knows.  If PHT doesn't bring Hannity on they almost automatically guarantee a new FM talker in 3-4 months.

For now a new talker is on hold ...
... but not cold.

If anybody is interested out there cough*hint*cough I have 4 years of demographic information (stripped of any personal info as per my privacy policy) on talk listeners in this town gathered via my demo survey form.

So what's next?
I'll find out after you do I suppose.  I go on my annual bow hunting pilgrimage to the Serengeti soon and you can't get the Net there.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Update - 6pm:  It's official.  Imus is gone from WPHT as of September 8th to be replaced my Michael Smerconish.  What hasn't been announced, officially, is a yet to be named sidekick/co-host.  Imus will still clear Philly, a deal has been struck to move him to Beasley's AM-860.

Update - 4pm:  Late word is that it's a done deal, Sean Hannity will come to Philly as early as September.

Pass the salt and "Show me the Money!"

It all started innocently enough. Infinity Radio employees out to dinner discussing programming for a number of stations. As the drinks flow so does the volume of the spoken word. As the attention turned to Philadelphia who knew how many other ears were "tuned in."

See you in September

Well not for Imus. Word is that WPHT finally gets their dream (shared by some other top 20 markets) and dumps Imus. Michael Smerconish would move from afternoons to morning drive ... something He's been dreaming about for a long time.

The "Show Me The Money!" part comes in with Sean Hannity. His syndicator is willing to pay any station in Philly $500,000 to carry the show live from 3-6 pm. And that means ANY station, not just WPHT. Hannity may replace Smerconish as early as next month.

What other station would carry Hannity?

WWDB 96.5 FM.

Remember THOSE call letters? Could be seeing those again soon. Beasley Broadcasting may be forcing Infinity's hand here by it's own exploration of returning to talk radio as early as January in Philly. Rumors say that they have been talking to people in town and it's even been talked about by Stu in the Daily News.

New Forums

We've decided to change how the message boards work here. While the current service is a fine company it's time to move on. "The Wall" will become part of the new Philly Talk Forums group.

From Byko

Good enterprise reporting...The Pennsylvania State House honored The Big Talker/1210-AM talk show host Jeff Katz with a citation for volunteer and community work.


HOAGIEGATE is now in the dead letter bin, but let's take one last trip down memory lane. (Hold the mayo.)

During the height of l'affaire hoagie, state Rep. Michael McGeehan promised to introduce a bill that would - rightfully, in my view - prohibit PUBLICly-financed stadia from banning the PUBLIC from bringing in snacks.

Jumping at McGeehan's throat was WIP's Howard Eskin, who's got his head so far up the Eagles tuchas he can lick their lungs. He's been a regular Johnnie Cochran, defending the Eagles' indefensibly bone-headed moves.

Clueless as to the location of McGeehan's district (it's the Northeast, Einstein, where you grew up) Eskin called the lawmaker a "lousy creep," "nitwit," "moron," "dope," accused the rep of being "only out for himself," preparing the bill for "personal gain" and "just doing it for votes."

Taking the high road, McGeehan told me the criticism "comes with the territory, it doesn't have any real effect. When you grow up in a large Irish Catholic family, believe me, your siblings say more mean things about you... it's water off a duck's back." (He has three brothers and three sisters.)

By way of explanation, Eskin - who was out sick Thursday - says "I'm more concerned about the real issues out there, like doctors leaving the state and education, than hoagies."

Me, too, but the issue, Howard (and Phil Sheridan of the Morning Yawn), wasn't really hoagies, but the Eagles' diktats that had them shooting themselves in the foot so often they have buckshot instead of toes.

Monday, August 4, 2003

Rollye James - - starts her new syndicated show tonight at 10pm.  While her show will run 3 hours until 1 am est., WPHT won't carry the full show.  Right now the parent company Infinity is having it's Westwood brand, O'reilly, run from 10 to midnight.  Time will tell what becomes of the schedule in the future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Music station, B101 FM (WBEB 101.1-FM), was nominated by the National Association of Broadcasters for Legendary Station and Major Market Station of the year.  The NAB will meet in Philadelphia from October 1-3 for the Marconi Awards at the Convention Center.  No other Philly stations or personalities made the list.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Posted on Sunday, July 27
Ann Ivory, you remember her as Kent Voss' sidekick on WWDB, is doing a show on WNJC 1360-AM overnights.  Friday night at midnight to 2am Saturday morning you can hear her and her friend, Anna Holmes, do a chick show called the Midnight Dish.  After WWDB Ann went to New York where she had a close encounter with the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and recently worked in a non-radio job in a Philly based company.  Here is the first week's audio.

Friday, May 23, 2003

WIP 610-AM to Joe Conklin - "Cease and Desist"

With stand up comic and on air talent Joe Conklin joining fellow former WIPer Mike Missanelli on their new WMMR 93.3-FM, the temptation to take shots at WIP was irresistible.  It reportedly got so ugly a legal recourse was explored.  Now Laura Nachman reports in the Bucks County Courier Times that WIP has released the hounds.

Last laugh (Laura Nachman)

Things are getting testy between new WMMR 93.3-FM morning host Joe Conklin and his former station, WIP 610-AM. According to an industry source, Infinity Broadcasting attorneys have sent a "cease and desist" letter to Conklin's camp over bits that the impressionist carried over from his days at WIP. 

Conklin and new Infinity marketing manager Drew Hilles had "no comment." Conklin's agent, Steve Mountain, and WIP 610-AM operations manager Tim Sabean were not available for comment.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Frank Rizzo Jr. will air on WPEN

Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr.'s new WPEN/950-AM show, which I wrote about on Friday, will start May 3, and will run from 4 to 6 p.m., depending on Phillies start time. He'll revive his "Rizzo to the Rescue" format, through which "we'll focus on helping people with their problems," he says

source link

This would fit in with the rumor that eventually WPEN will run shows in the afternoon, then morning, then expand from there.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Inqlings | 2 radio stations may move to 'burbs
By Michael Klein - Posted on Sun, Apr. 27, 2003 
Inquirer Columnist

Will Philadelphia lose two radio station headquarters and the millions in tax revenue they generate?

CBS/Infinity, whose five local stations are flung over three locations, wants to tighten up.

Perhaps as early as fall, the plan is to house four of the outlets - WPHT-AM (1210), WOGL-FM (98.1), WIP-AM (610) and WYSP-FM (94.1) - in one building.

The search has been narrowed to two locations in the Bala Cynwyd area. Jim Cuorato, Philadelphia's commerce director, says he's reaching out to try to keep the Philadelphia-based WIP and WYSP, which together employ about 180 people. No comment from CBS/Infinity.

WPHT and WOGL already are in Bala.

They're tenants in the building owned by NBC's WCAU-TV (Channel 10) on City Avenue and would relocate to the new location, along with WIP and WYSP. WIP now rents in Northern Liberties. WYSP would leave the Independence Mall building it shares with KYW-AM (1060), KYW-TV (Channel 3), and WPSG-TV (Channel 57). KYW-AM will stay put.

The move would be a blow to the city. Industry estimates place WYSP's annual billings at $26 million and WIP's at $17 million. That means tax revenue that Philadelphia would like to hang on to.

source link

Friday, April 25, 2003

Program Director, Tom Bigby, demoted at SportsTalk WIP 610 AM

A long time radio fixture in Philly, Tom Bigby, was removed from his PD post and demoted to assistant PD yesterday.  Bigby held more power than a normal PD while running both WIP and WPHT 1210 AM for several years.  This move effectively fires him without actually throwing him out.


On the Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
April 25, 2003
       According to a station source, WIP 610-AM program director Tom Bigby, 60, has been demoted to assistant program director and will be replaced by WYSP 94.1-FM operations manager Tim Sabean, who will take over both stations.
       A meeting to introduce Sabean to the WIP staff is scheduled for today.  According to a station source, Infinity marketing manager Drew Hilles told Bigby on Wednesday afternoon about his demotion.  After word leaked to higher-ups that Bigby was unhappy with the news, Bigby was told to leave the building yesterday morning. At this point his status is up in the air.

more coverage
In the Inky | In the Daily News

Monday, March 31, 2003

Mixed news on streaming for WPHT and Infinity stations.

Conflicting reports today on possible streaming.

Radio and Records Online reports ...

No change to Infinity's No Streaming policy.

Rumors that Infinity may have made a deal to have some of its programming streamed on AOL's new broadband radio service were all over the 'Net last week, but R&R has learned that the company's long-standing rule against web streaming of its over-the-air programming is unchanged. Infinity has indeed made a deal with AOL, but it's simply a promotional partnership: AOL will provide its broadband service to certain Infinity major-market stations for the air talents to use in the studio.

On the other hand

All reports ...

But in a press release TODAY (3/31), the indications ALL ACCESS reported last week are acknowledged by AOL -- buried in the release is this description of the company's proposed broadband marketing campaign: "An innovative marketing alliance with INFINITY BROADCASTING that will promote AOL for Broadband on 183 INFINITY radio stations ... in addition to streams of select INFINITY stations on the AOL RADIO@NETWORK."

Friday, March 28, 2003

Could Internet streaming finally come to Infinity stations?

For a long time listeners to WPHT, and other Infinity stations, have wondered why there is no Internet stream of their signal.  The best answer was that it was against company policy.  Today Infinity stations have started running a promo saying that they were soon to be powered by AOL broadband.  The speculation is that they would be offered as part of the Radio @ AOL Broadband service.  All also reports this ... The companies haven't formally announced a deal, but ALL ACCESS has now learned that all INFINITY stations nationwide are already running promos/commercials indicating that the stations are coming to the service.

Two things come to mind.  First the promos say that they are "Upgrading" to AOL.  Those terms are mutually exclusive.  Second is that if there is to be streaming coming out of this it's about time.  Infinity has been in the dark ages for years on this.  If there isn't streaming then joining up with AOL is pointless.  AOL is a giant black hole of technology and customer service.  As of today I still have it running on my own PC but I no longer have to pay for it (how long I can get away with that is anybody's guess).  One of my friends pays only $3 a month.  That's THREE dollars.  You say you pay more?  Why?

Monday, March 24, 2003

WIP fires GM - Laura Nachman's Radio Report

Butch Foster, 59, the general manager of sports radio WIP 610-AM for the last decade was fired without warning Thursday, according to a station source. 

Tom Bigby, WIP program director since 1986, had no comment on the firing. It is not believed that Bigby is a contender for Foster's position. 

According to the station source, Foster's departure appears to be a restructuring of the entire Philadelphia Infinity network, which includes WOGL 98.1-FM, WYSP 94.1-FM, WPHT 1210-AM, and KYW 1060-AM. There are 180 Infinity stations around the country. 

Dana McClintock, spokesperson for Viacom, which owns Infinity Broadcasting could not be reached for comment. 

Viacom made the news a few days ago when company president and chief operating officer Mel Karmazin announced Thursday he will stay at the media giant for another three years, ending months of speculation about his future and sending the company's stock up sharply. 

WIP, one of the top stations in the 25-54 male demographic, placed 10th overall in the last Arbitron ratings for ages 12 and above.

According to a press release sent by Infinity Broadcasting, Forster retired after almost 10 years at the station. However, his "retirement" came days after Infinity announced that Drew Hilles was named marketing manager for the Philadelphia Infinity stations, which include WPHT 1210-AM, WOGL 98.1 FM, WYSP 94.1-FM and KYW 1060-AM. 

Source: Laura Nachman

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

War Plans for WIP

In what could be a direct ratings challenge to sister stations KYW and WPHT, WIP 610-AM plans something very different if (when) the country goes to war.

In today's Michael Klein Column from the Inky ...
If war starts, WIP-AM (610) will shift shows from its out-of-the-way building in Northern Liberties to the street-level studio of KYW-TV (Channel 3) at Fifth and Market Streets. In a talk/news arrangement, the sports jocks will share the mike with Eyewitness News staff. 

Monday, March 10, 2003

Michael Klein in the Inky reports today ...
Radio & Records, the trade publication, handed out awards in L.A. yesterday. Michael Smerconish of WPHT-AM (1210) was one of five nominees for local talk host of the year; winner was Chicago's Roe & Gary. Glenn Beck, whose flagship station is WPHT, was up for national talker; he lost out to Sean Hannity.

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Radio report by Stu Bykofsky (snippets only, click for more)

This Saturday, mayoral candidate Sam Katz (is on) from 8-10 a.m. on the Big Talker/1210-AM...Paul Barsky, (lands) at the Point 96.5-FM, ...Joe Conklin, formerly of WIP, has been talking with WMMR, the station abandoned by Barsky, about a morning-broadcast job. "We haven't been able to get together a deal, yet," says Conklin, but I hear it's still in the works...Jay Lamont was not quite there for the 10:05 start of his Sunday-morning "All About Real Estate" program on WPEN. Due to the heaviest fog he had ever seen, he was running late on his drive in from Ocean City, so just moments before 10:05, he picked up his cell phone, dialed the station and opened the show from his car.

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

3 of the 100

Making the list of Talkers Magazine's "Heavy 100" are Dom Giordano, Jeff Katz, and Michael Smerconish.

Stu Bkyofsky reports in the Daily News that Mary Mason and Don and Mike also made the list.

10 for 10

Featured in this week's All Access "10 questions with ..." is our own Steve Bryant.  Ok he doesn't belong to us but for the exposure he gets he should, or at least maybe a foot.

3. How did doing TV, and specifically hosting QVC, prepare you for doing talk radio? Are there similarities in selling products and selling topics and ideas?

We took 10 to 15 calls from viewers per hour. I came up with ways to engage a caller, let them have their say and make my comments in less than 2 minutes. I studied commercial and public talk radio and adapted their interviewing techniques to our format. QVC recognized me as the having the most entertaining and effective phone calls.

Rally on 3/16 - 1pm

WPHT is getting in the act with a number of other talk stations and hosting a Rally for American on March 16th.  Rally will be held at the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

As reported on this site first yesterday WPHT 1210 AM will carry a new show Sunday evenings.  That show will be Sean Hannity.  It will be a "best of" repeat of one of his weekday shows and will air from 8 to 10 pm.

Monday, February 24, 2003

New Sunday Show for WPHT?
Word has it that WPHT may introduce a new show on Sunday night from 8 to 10 pm.  Last night a "best of" show ran in the time slot that has not had a permanent named host since Irv Homer left last year.


On The Air
by Laura Nachman

Conked Out
As it's becoming less likely that Joe Conklin will return to WIP 610-AM, the question becomes who will replace the comedian? 
Host Angelo Cataldi said, "We will never be able to find one person to replace Joe Conklin, so we're in the process of forming a repertory company of talented and funny people to fill the void. "Big Daddy" Graham is definitely going to be part of the mix. So is Keith Jones. We plan to add others in the weeks ahead." 
Graham, whose status at the station was reduced to part-time when Steve Fredericks returned from medical leave a couple of months ago, would be the logical choice to take over the funny-factor, since he has been a stand-up comedian for years. 
Meanwhile, though Conklin continues to deny that he has signed with WMMR 93.3-FM, many believe that he'll start there on March 3. 
Also, it sounds like Cataldi is getting sick of the Conklin situation according to a recent posting by Cataldi on 
"During the Feb. 11 show, I faced the indignity of a caller telling me, on the air, that our show has become "unlistenable" since Joe Conklin left. 
Give me a break, please. I did this show for three years before Joe was hired. I had to conspire with him, against management's wishes, to get him onto our show, first as a part-timer and then as a full-timer. No one has to tell me how great a talent he is.

Wednesday, January 29

On the air
by Laura Nachman

       Lost in the "Wing Bowl" mania of Friday was the fact that it was the last day on the air for Joe Conklin, of WIP 610-AM's morning show.  In a telephone interview Tuesday, Conklin, 40, confirmed that he is not an employee of WIP anymore, though it hasn't been mentioned on the air.  "I was notified in August that my contract would not be renewed because Infinity (owners of WIP) is cutting costs and the morning show was too expensive to produce," said Conklin, whose impersonations and comedy routines have been a mainstay of the morning show with Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes, and Al Morganti for nine years.  Known for his dead-on impressions of Bill Campbell, Bob Clarke, Larry Brown, and Andy Reid, Conklin has turned his radio bits into a thriving business, as he make personal appearances at sports banquets and comedy clubs in the area (
       The 1984 Temple University graduate got his on-air break as the sidekick to "Motor mouth" Terry Young on the WCAU-FM morning show in 1986.  He worked part time for WMMR and got his entrée into WIP, by calling into the old Jody MacDonald Show in the early 90's.  The morning show stole him away a couple of years later. 
Though disappointed that he isn't at WIP, Conklin is realistic about the business of radio stating, "Nine years is a long run."  Though he occasionally makes appearances on "Daily News Live" on Comcast SportsNet and CN8's "Sports Connection," Conklin said he is looking first to radio as he is in discussions with several stations.  One of those stations is said to be WMMR, which is looking for a morning personality, since the departure of Barsky.  Mix 95.7-FM also has a morning vacancy, since Mike Rossi was fired last week.
        Another theory is that maybe this is a contract dispute.  Last year, Rhea Hughes was off the air for three weeks when her contract expired.  Conklin and Hughes share the same agent, Steve Mountain. 
       Conklin would not comment on his salary, but estimates would place it in the low six-figure range, since Hughes was asking for $150,000 in her contract discussions with the station last year.
       WIP 610-AM general manager Tom Bigby had no comment on the matter.

Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Starting this Sunday Matt Drudge's show on WPHT 1210 AM gets another hour.  His show will now run from 10 pm to 1 am.

Thursday, January 2, 2003

Programming changes at WPHT

Starting today the station will expand Jeff Katz's show another hour until 8 pm Monday thru Thursday and 6-7 pm on Fridays.  Gone form the weekday lineup is Jim Cramer, his money show will continue on Saturday mornings.

Starting on Monday January 6th a new show will be added, The Wall Street Journal This Morning.  It will air from 5-6 am taking an hour off of Coast to Coast.