Archived Philly Talk Radio News
Talk Radio Notes - June to December 1999
December 29, 1999
WPHT announced today that starting Monday January 3rd Dom Giordano will air his show from 1-5 pm. Phil Hendrie will air from 10 pm to 2 am. For now Imus and Liddy stay put and Smerconish still runs from 5-7 pm. Dr. Laura and Rush will join the station from 9-3 on Jan. 17th or so.
WWDB hires Steve Martarano to replace Dom G in the 2-5 am slot.
WWDB's tentative schedule
Earle Bailey will join the morning news
9-12 Gil Gross
12-3 Irv Homer
3-5 are Jay Sorensen and Hilarie Barsky.
Slight changes with,
1-5 - Steve Martarano.
December 17, 1999
A bit more on Rollye and Smerconish from radiodigest.com
During Michael Smerconish's Thursday show "Mike from http://www.fairmountonline.com/" called in and told the story of how, a ways back, they registered the domain of http://www.mumia.com/ and are using it to counter the pro-mumia crowd.
Michael Smerconish signed with WPHT 1210AM this week and will keep his current 5-7 pm time slot. Rumors of his talks with WWDB were true. Michael has arranged for the complete Mumia trial transcripts to be placed on the Internet (work in progress) Rich Levin pitched in some technical help. Mike's Webmaster Graham Hook along with many others are doing the bulk of the work. Great Job guys.
Rollye James turned down a lucrative offer from CBS to work at WPHT 1210AM. The offer, while generous, simple did not mesh with the style of work that Rollye is accustomed to. CBS wanted total control of Rollye and her show (Rollye's quote - "After looking at the contract the only thing I would put my initials to were the words 'and' and 'the'.") Rollye recently filled in for Art Bell and will take the helm again on Jan. 3rd. In the meantime she will be doing various substitute shows around the country. You can hear her fill in for Art Bell here.
On November 24th Beasley Broadcasting (Parent company of WWDB) filed public documents with the SEC notifying the commission of its' intent to sell stock. You can read more for yourself here
Thursday, December 2, 1999
New York Post reports that Rush Limbaugh has digital compression removed from his show. story
Rush audio comments here...
source - allaccess.com
Monday November 29, 1999
Dr. Laura and Rush... a done deal?
Rumors of DB's #2 and #3 big guns moving to WPHT 1210AM have been related to me this week by several, out of market, sources as a "Done Deal" - "Take it to da bank" and some other pithy phrases. While longtime ratings generators they have become financial drains. Only Sid Mark pulls in more numbers and Sinatra doesn't charge so much! You might have noticed 860AM hasn't fully reverted to WTEL as reported and is still simulcasting the morning news followed by Dr. Laura at 9 and former congressman Bob Dornan at 11.
Yes it's a done deal
Mumia - The Movie
Recently finished "shooting" (no pun intended) in Philadelphia, this "reenactment" of sorts ignores undisputed facts and concentrates on speculation. This movie is already old news to some of you but the amazingly inaccurate script is not.
FrontPage is a great magazine. Thanks for posting that article. For your information they have a whole archive just on Mumia and another on the Black Panthers, all great reading.
Jim W. - regular visitor and poster sent in the original link
...here's another good link - accuracy in academia. They are a conservative group that takes on the academic left. They have just started fighting the Free Mumia movement..
They are also planning to publish an anti-Mumia pamphlet and distribute thousands on American Universities. see link below.
Et tu Brute?
First let me explain this rant
There is a misperception among a few misinformed that I hate WWDB. On its' face that is laughable. Look around this site and tell me where are my hateful commentaries? Why would I spend so much time helping people at WWDB (and the rest of the stations)? Why would I help Susan's listeners build a site from scratch if I hated her? What about all the work we did for Dom? All of Irv's pet causes? All the rest as well. Can they point to ANY mail, faxes or calls from me tearing them down? Funk no. Fact is no matter what the current management of lineup I love the format. Fact is no matter what boneheaded thing they do I make a point of NOT airing my gripes nor do I reveal all the inside info that I know. If I truly hated the station I could make for some great reading on this site.... for about a week... after that every contact and source would realize I'm an asshole, in this for myself, and cut me off. This site has never been about me. Read the mission statement you morons.
You want to see hateful? Consider what would replace me.
In case some at WWDB hasn't stopped long enough to ponder why I posted my tirade below here is a clue...
This site does NOT routinely trash your station. Who does? It's ONE OF YOUR OWN. Over the last several months a person or persons had made it a habit of airing your dirty laundry on my message board. This person(s) works FOR WWDB and is posting FROM WWDB. Get a clue for crying out loud.
This was my way of saying it's not ME nor my regulars or the rest of your listeners trashing your station. It's one of your own. WE love that station. Sort of like a battered wife sometimes, we keep coming back but we love it.
Remember way back during the news coverage of the shooting at Columbine High School? One obscure side story was how some joker used Deja-News to spread a rumor that the shooters were gay. I, among others picked up on this during a search after the news broke. While some national shows spread the rumor as fact I was skeptical. I'll spare you the technical details (they are saved elsewhere in this site and are available upon request) but it was a very elaborate hoax. If I could uncover that, and I wasn't the only one who did, then figuring out the identity of a couple of disgruntled staffers at WWDB is child's play.
What prompted this missive were several posts to my message board attempting to stir up trouble. These posts originated from inside WWDB. How do I know that? That's for us to know. Whenever something odd goes on with the board (I am not the only one that runs it) I get notified of any problems. I credit some very bright friends with both tipping me off to the problem and for calming me down enough so as to not ruin somebody just before Christmas.
Ruin?... Why use the term Ruin? ... Well, I'm not so sure using a company network during work hours to lie, trash, harass and abuse co-workers is acceptable company policy. Beyond ruin is the possibility of humiliation and bodily harm. Others (at WWDB) are BEGGING me to hang this person(s) out to dry.
This made me sick to my stomach. Once I put 2 & 2 together I came up with the name of one of them. I got that feeling because I expected more of that person. I know this person. Forget the mind boggling reality of the situation. I felt betrayed. I wanted to get even. One of my saner friends, Mark, sympathized with that but prompted deeper though, mixed with comedic relief, with the line, "Where is Solomon when you need him? Dead, That's where!"
So with that in mind, and my usual bountiful holiday spirit I think a warning may suffice. I must balance the desire for revenge with the need to take the high road and move on.
See you next year.
Saturday December 16, 1999
The South Jersey News .com website carried a press article on Michael Smerconish
Friday October 8 (?-unsure of original date)
Roberta Gale has left NJ101.5, you can catch up with her on http://www.radioroberta.com/
Jay Sorenson is no longer with NJ101.5, you can reach him at
Wednesday October 29, 1999
Another change due at WWDB this week... tune in Thursday for the latest.
In what was the shortest kept secret on record....
Dom G. gets the 2-5 am slot... soon (by Friday night) ... Jason Meyer (sp?) gets the Sunday night gig at 9 pm and Mark Williams is released effective today... The only real surprise is Jason... on a budget cutting binge (even a minor low paid staffer left over from WTEL got canned) for the last few weeks, for DB to give Jason a well deserved break is a welcome development. Williams being cut is not such a shock since his salary was an easy target for the budget ax. Other items are very odd though... Dr. Laura and Rush were this close to being gone, AND at a very attractive price offer / buyout from Premier. Such is the state of radio.
Our prayers and best wishes go out to Producer Kyle, get well soon.
Say bye bye to Ed Tyll. When DB changed course in mid stream and dumped Tom Leykis, Tyll invoked some sort of 30 day "non dump" clause... that is up shortly. Will DB come full circle and return Dom G to the early am?
Now that the Viacom/CBS deal is done will WPHT get the several hundred thousand needed to make a decent run at DB? This would have to include dumping IMUS, there is no way PHT can hope to build a "Stationalitly" (to quote one PD) that is needed without a strong morning team. There is a huge talent pool available in town right now. Obviously everybody knows Rollye James could work there, if she wishes, in a heartbeat. (remember G. Gordon Liddy repeats at 7pm) John Ziegler filled in for Smerc. last week although he has a non-compete with DB (let's not even go there!) The currently employed in town talent has been eyed by PHT in the past. Even Ann Ivory would make a great team player now that DB released her as well (most useful as part of a morning ensemble or news). WPHT has never had such an opportunity as exists now. Would they consider even the irascible Tom Marr for Saturday nights? How about a simulcast of Phil V. or Paul W. or more likely a once a week show from either or both?
Joel Gibb's MovieMania show, one of those squeezed out of AM860, shows up on the FM side (96.5) tonight at 11pm.
The latest Arbitrends (released July 30) show little change for WWDB (3.3 to 3.4) or WPHT (1.1 to 1.1)
My 2 Cents
I know most of you out there "get it" as far as why this site even exists. Since we racked up so many new visitor hits recently, this bears repeating.
We always support the local hosts, no matter what station they are on. The station, in our simple minds, exists to provide the studio to facilitate the broadcast. Beyond that is not our concern. Provide enough support, program well and the station is rewarded with copious profits. Their fortunes rise and fall with the voices they put on the air. Withdraw your support, program poorly and profits, as well as ratings, will eventually go down. The listeners to radio, just like viewers of TV and Cable, have less and less loyalty to a particular station now. If somebody we like to listen to packs up and moves we just change the button without a second thought. That's competition, that's good.
The stations would do well to take note of this. No matter how much they discount the listener, WE have the ultimate say. It may take a while but we do. Right now in town there has never been such an opportunity for sweeping changes as far as who winds up where. If any particular hosts finds the need to seek opportunity elsewhere, whether by choice or not, the listeners will jump ship and follow. This has happened in town before and might soon again.
Whenever I have an employee that gets disgusted with a particular customer or is just overwhelmed with work during peak business periods I hit them with one of my favorite lines. "Yeah, work would be so much easier if the damn customers would just mail us the freaking check and not come in." It then takes a little bit, depending on how bright they are, but the old light bulb goes off inside their head and they laugh. No matter how irritating the customer is you have to learn to deal with it. The listeners may be woefully ignorant of how a station operates but you have to learn to deal with them. They will never care how the station works, how many good and well meaning people work behind the scenes. I have been trying to clue people into that for damn near 2 years now. They... just... don't... care. Well, some do...
So the point is... stations, treat the hosts (and by logical extension, the rest of the staff) fairly, that's the same as treating your ultimate customers, the listeners, fairly. You might wish to have it easy and not deal with listeners but they will not write down the name and calls of your station in the "book" just to make your life easy if they are not listening.
TOP TALK RADIO AUDIENCES BY SIZE
(Weekly cume low-end estimates 12-plus in millions rounded off to the
nearest .25 million based upon TALKERS magazine analysis of a national sampling of Arbitron reports and other reliable indicators in rated and non-rated markets for Fall 1998)
1. Rush Limbaugh 14.75+
2. Dr. Laura Schlessinger 14.50+
3. Howard Stern 9.25+
4. Art Bell 6.25+
4. Dr. Joy Browne 6.25+
5. Don Imus 5.00+
5. Jim Bohannon 5.00+
5. Bruce Williams 5.00+
6. G. Gordon Liddy 3.25+
7. Ken & Daria Dolan 2.50+
7. Michael Reagan 2.50+
7. Dr. Dean Edell 2.50+
8. Bob Grant 1.75+
8. John and Ken 1.75+
8. Doug Stephan 1.75+
8. Tom Joyner 1.75+
9. Tom Leykis 1.50+
10. Bob Brinker 1.25+
My most oft asked question today
Who/Where do you get your info? - Well the obvious choice is Susan Bray, I edit her website (when I have time, not much of that lately thanks to her employer), I listen to her show and have working relationship with her... WRONG! God getting anything out of that woman is tedious. Took me a full year to get her to cough up the cash to register her domain name http://www.susanbray.com/ For somebody that makes a living in talk radio she is the most frugal, tight lipped widger I've met. OH By The Way, Hey DB! Drop Yenta Bitch and put Susan on from 9am to noon. She made enough money for the station from 82 thru ... ummm 95,97? to pay for that station.
So then, who? Nya nya... not saying. The top 3 picks that the staffers at DB THINK I talk to are also WRONG.
Trust is a fragile flower. Once you kill it you can never grow it back.
This is not brain surgery folks, more like assembling a 20,000 piece puzzle, only DB keeps changing the pieces! My problem is not having enough info, my problem is running a responsible site with more knowledge than I can fairly post. These are real people with real feelings, personal problems, personality quirks, illnesses, you name it. If you wonder why I won't trash them it's because I know too much about them. It's real easy to dump on some nitwit on the air that, by his comments, deserve it. I can't. Maybe that's the biggest problem with this site, but seeing the type of people who criticize me, this site and my friends I will stack up my work against their drivel any day of the week. You may not like the way I run things, fine... go play in traffic.
CBS completes deal to buy MetroNetworks. Metro provides local traffic and news services.
Monday August 16th
in reverse chronological order - this was a strange day
Things are changing so fast I now have no idea who will be on at 1am but still expect Ziegler or maybe from 10pm to 2am.
Damn this is getting tiring. Just found out that TALK860 is switching programming. Going back to ethnic/brokered (my sources have been drinking again I'm sure).
Look for a mighty BIG sword for plenty of people to fall on as far as the FM side is concerned. Programming rumors posted below are soooo out of date I am now stabbing myself in my ear with a pen. The FM side is WIDE OPEN. Got a favorite host. Fax, write or call NOW. I hesitate to provide a name lest I suffer the wrath but hey, just for the hell of it address it to "Programming OR Current Occupant" and see what happens. You could ask for Dan Sullivan's voice mail but you didn't read that here.
Also look for a massive move back in time too. (cryptic reference #1) Many familiar names will return to the FM soon.
And to think I do this for free. God what an idiot I am.
10am local time....(LA time... who cares)
John Zielger back?
Yes, late word is WWDB had a change of heart and is returning Zig to his old time slot at 1 am. Dr. Laura reruns will air from 10 to 1.
John asked me to thank all of those that called in to support him.
Another source relayed this bombshell to me early on but I thought he was drunk! - The Beasley's made this move without consulting the "new direction" people.
Previous to today I learned that one staffer refused to help in setting up a Leykis remote and the sales dept. took 2 more hours on Sunday for info's.
It now seems to me that WWDB is changing direction hour by hour not book to book. A major DB advertiser, while totally pissed at some of Zig's listeners, was reportedly looking into other local brokered stations to see if Zig would fit in.
========== My 2 cents ==========
Here I spew forth my usual incoherent thoughts in response to some issues generated in the wake of the firing of 2 local overnight hosts.
Syndication vs. Local Hosts
This site covers LOCAL Talk Radio Talent. Long before Phil Valentine was unceremoniously fired, the trend here in town was leaning towards less local coverage and more syndication. (Remember Phil's departure was the event that coincided with this website going from a private gathering place to a public forum AND an event which in 20/20 hindsight was probably the most boneheaded move in recent memory... firing a conservative, youthful, funny, #3 rated morning drive show mere weeks before the Clinton / Lewinsky scandal broke!) The network shows have their own promotion machine but here locally... nothing. Nothing but this website. A site that didn't give a crap what station you were from, only that you lived here now. Given the choice between a taped show from some studio hundreds or thousands of miles away or somebody who knew what "attytood" or "Akame" means, the choice was clear. There are exceptions of course. Paul W. Smith grew up in Michigan, worked in New York and quickly found a home here. PWS then urged the former owners of DB to bring on Rush Limbaugh. A smart move. Yes, you can be from out of town and still be warmly accepted here, it's just that there seems to be a level above which people seem to lose interest. What that level is I don't know or care. That is for the market to decide. The people who contribute to this site are, by and large, focused on local hosts, the out of town shows have enough coverage elsewhere. We still have our own internal fights over whether or not Dr. Laura or Rush sucks and why, and that can be fun, but to avoid wasting too much time on that we just ignore it on these pages. Having said that if Phil V. were to suddenly pop up here doing a mini syndication package, from out of town, he would CRUSH the talk competition AND be welcomed by many. Contradictory to all I just commented on?, yeah, welcome to Philly. We're weird that way.
This is always an interesting and often misunderstood subject. From time to time some event pops up that prompts a number of people to suggest that I, through this website, lead some coordinated attack against advertisers. Note the key word here "I". Yes in their infinite wisdom I get to do all the work, piss off all the people while "tons" of anonymous support sit by and do little. To accommodate those interested in leading such a boycott but lacking the ability to effectively communicate with others, this website will provide FREE space! That's right, FREE UNLIMITED SPACE to anyone interested in providing their own name, address and phone number to have people contact YOU. I would of course do it myself but I'm just a bit busy running my own business. Here is the list of people so far willing to either lead the charge or help.
See what I mean? It's fine, and your right, to punish advertisers but not my obligation to do all the work. Consider who you would be punishing.
Take for example one local advertiser who sent this to me -
Surf, I'm not happy either but I don't have spots overnight. Why should I suffer? My spots run local, with local voiceovers. Tell these people that the result of boycotting me is for me to pull sponsorship of the same people they tell me they want to listen to. A classic cut off your nose to spite your face. We have a common goal or at least a common end result. I want more traffic in my store via talk radio advertising and you all want "Live and Local" Screw me and they screw themselves. (name removed and edited for length)
This was about how all the conversations went with the advertisers I know. Add to that all the charitable work I am involved in AND the substantial money they donate. We're talking tens of thousands of dollars here. I am supposed to screw that up for what? Now if YOU want to write a letter to a sponsor of a show you dislike, by all means DO IT. Remember some of these spots are prepaid and just like when Phil got the shaft, those sponsors will either move to another show or leave the station altogether. You are of course free to disagree with me, great, go get your own website. I'll even help teach you how. How many local hosts are left? How many of those will encourage you to run a website dedicated to screwing the people that pay their way? Remove their sponsors and you remove their show. You can count me out of that. Be selective and think carefully, the ox you gore may be your own.
Death Threats or "How to screw over your favorite host and guarantee he is gone for good."
In talking with people behind the deal and exchanging email with those in the know I was privy to have access to some of the complaint mail and lucky enough to have good people to forward me some of the Internet postings. While it can be accurately argued that WWDB might even welcome complaints (all that free publicity) the disturbing depth of hate and evidence of true mental instability became apparent when I read over several of the death threats sent to or posted about WWDB. Free speech only goes so far folks. It ends where other people's rights begin. As a listener defending your favorite host YOU have the responsibility to put forth your argument in a manner that does not either violate the law or threaten the rights and or lives of others. If your intent was to emphasis your point and gain attention you have done so. You are also driving the last nail in Ziegler's coffin. I am amazed at the lack of discretion exhibited by some of the very people purported to be fans of his show. If you would get your brains out of your asshole long enough to think for a minute before you act this could have been avoided. I am glad nobody tried to post such inane ravings via my message board. It leads me to put further faith in the road this website has taken (by general consensus of those that put forth the effort). While we may err on the side of caution, even ineffectiveness it, in the end, has demonstrated to be the best course of action in support of those same remaining local hosts. I can be confident in my opinion on this because I, more than anybody in the freaking market, did more, early on to help Ziegler. I was glad to see others find his show worthwhile and continue to support his show once he was hired thus saving me considerable time. Some expended serious amounts of time in an effort to help John after he was hired. They are to be thanked. Unfortunately others sought to monopolize his show and use it, without John's prior knowledge of past events regarding caller/hosts tensions, to attack other hosts on WWDB. They may have been happy to finally "get even" on the air but in the end they helped to screw themselves. They, in effect, created hostility where there should have been none. There used to be a time when callers complaining about other hosts would be politely told to call the offending host. It was a worthwhile policy that, in this case, could have avoided trouble.
How effective or accurate is this website?
This is an easy one. Looking back over time at each change in programming or major news event the regulars to this site have been right every time. When they say something is unpopular the Holy Grail of media, RATINGS, back them up. It may take a while for it to pan out but I defy anybody to point out when the majority opinion here has been wrong.... The number of local active host related websites has tripled, many of them at the urging and support of their listeners. This site merely lists them or helps coordinate them. It does not create the demand.
Who reads this site?
Website and message board stats.
I'll have to go back and get the latest totals but as far as this page goes the counter was reset several times prior to last spring. I put as much info as possible on this main page in a deliberate effort to keep the hit total down. Many webmasters, more skilled than I, frown on this approach but the rest of you seem to like it. All the new stuff goes on one page. ALL the subpages are rarely updated and meant as a reference or a resource for new visitors.
The "Rant and Rave Page" previously had a high total hit month of last October with about 9,000 hits. This month will surely swamp that. Yesterday the count was over 1,700 hits in 24 hours alone! Other months have run around 5,300 page views. Somebody must be taking the time to read all this. If you keep reading I'll keep the site up. In August the page view total was over 21,000.
Monday August 2nd
WWDB releases both overnight hosts Rollye James and John Ziegler.
Rollye is replaced with Tom Leykis http://www.tomleykis.com/ (10pm to 2 am).
John is replaced with Ed Tyll http://www.edtyll.com/ (2am to 5 am).
Wednesday July 28th
Fox Files was at DB studios to film Dom Giordano's coverage of the now infamous Pedophilia Study. Look for a show in August. After some tape was rolled during an interview they stayed around and made pests of themselves while filming Dom and Mark Williams took some calls for an hour.
Jeff Hillery starts this Monday at DB as the new PD. I hope he has mental health insurance and a sense of humor.
Wednesday July 14th
WWDB hires Jeff Hillery as their new Program Director. Jeff comes over from Jacor's KHOW (Denver). more later...
From the Daily News
Smerconish yesterday was the target of a demonstration by Abu-Jamal supporters outside his Center City law office, the day after he hosted former prison volunteer Philip Bloch on his evening radio show. Rest of the story here...
Tuesday July 13th
From the Inky today - "For months, it has provided fodder for WWDB talk-show hosts Dom Giordano and "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger, who have made the report a national issue. Conservative groups have claimed that the study was an attempt to legitimize pedophilia, or sex between children and adults, and that it could be used to justify child abuse in court." the rest of the article is here...
From the Daily News today - The former prison volunteer who says Mumia Abu-Jamal confessed to killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner is kick-starting his story again after fervent denials and name-calling from Abu-Jamal and supporters. the rest of the article...
Mentioned on the Rollye James show...
Here is the link to Ron Paul's (R-Texas) web site.
In particular look at his weekly columns (via the dropdown menu). If
that is too much trouble, here is the direct link to that page--
Although he is in Congress as a Republic, Cong. Paul expresses the
libertarian viewpoint in his columns. So if you want to read another
opinion, they are brief and to the point. An interesting fact is that
George W. Bush worked -against- Dr. Paul (who has a doctorate in
economics) in favor of some Republican hack who had a terrible voting
record (voted for almost every special interest bill), while Dr. Paul's
supporters merely circulated both candidates voting records (since
both had been in Congress). Dr. Paul won, once the people saw what
they were voting for.