Monthly Archives: April 2013

Turbulent Country Superstar George Jones Dead at 81

JonesBy JERRY BARMASH

Country music had many stars but since the 1950s there was only one George Jones. He had numerous hits throughout the decades, but he also became known for his binge drinking and violent rages.

Jones died today at age 81 in Nashville, where he was hospitalized last week with a fever and what doctors call irregular blood pressure.

In 1962, Jones recorded one of his signature songs, She Thinks I Still Care.

He received many awards during his career, including a member of the 1992 Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ed Salamon, the programmer at WHN in the 1970s, who just wrote a book to commemorate 40 years since the station’s flip to Country, recalls a unique memory of Jones.

“In the book I tell the story of how WHN had promoted a live broadcast with George Jones from the Bottom Line and he climbed out of their bathroom window to avoid doing the show,” Salamon tells Tuned In.

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WFAN Big Overall Rating Drop; Insider: CBS Sports Radio Could Take Over WFAN in 2014

wfan_newBy JERRY BARMASH

In exploring the monthly radio ratings earlier this week, something became evident: WFAN, complete with its AM/FM simulcast, is not what it once was.

The station, which began its second quarter-century last summer, is in the midst of a serious ratings plunge. WFAN has lost 1.4 ratings points since January among the overall 12+ survey.  The highwater mark was a 3.7 in the first Arbitron ratings book for 2013. Then the bottom fell out. February numbers sent the ‘FAN reeling to a 2.5. It was a minimal drop for March at 2.4.

Related: WLTW Wins March PPM; WCBS-FM Remains Second

Tuned In reached out to Mark Chernoff, WFAN’s operations manager, who could add “spin doctor” to his title.

“All you’re seeing is a 12+ number, not men 25-54, which is our target demographic,” he replied in an email.

Tuned In had access to the 6+ numbers. Although pushed, Chernoff refused to provide any specifics for his station’s “target demo.”

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WPIX Drops Ball on Bloomberg Boston Bomber Press Conference

MAthisBy JERRY BARMASH

We’ve been singing the praises of WPIX for its coverage in Boston last Friday. But, it was a different matter today.

The local stations broke in for Mayor Bloomberg’s press conference detailing how the suspects had New York in their sights after the marathon explosions. Bloomberg said the terrorists planned to detonate more bombs in Times Square.

It was big enough news for nearly every station to break in. WCBS, WNBC, WNYW, and WABC were on the air live. But WPIX, which also got high marks as the only local station live from the Vatican as a new pope was elected, was late to cover today’s story.

PIX opted for Judge Mathis. Ironically, once the press conference ended, a special report graphic flew appeared on the screen. With Mario Diaz acting as the anchor, the station wrapped up what everyone else knew if they were watching the major channels. This WPIX coverage was meek as Diaz showed viewers a few highlights in a three-minute special report.

Tomorrow Marks Homecoming Day for Jodi Applegate

worBy JERRY BARMASH

Now that we have your attention, no, Jodi Applegate is not headed back to WPIX.

Instead, Applegate will relive her glory days at NBC’s Weekend Today. Tomorrow she’ll do her latest guest hosting stint for John Gambling on WOR Radio. However, this time it will be different.

The broadcasting veteran will have former Weekend Today colleague Jack Ford as her co-host.

“Should be a fun reunion,” Applegate tells Tuned In.

Related: Jodi Applegate and Michael Kay Recall Leaving WPIX

Applegate was arguably at her career zenith during her 1996-1999 tenure on Weekend Today. She followed that with the 9 a.m. Later Today.

Applegate will also host the Monday morning show on WOR, although it is not likely that Ford can join that day.

Latest on Boston Bombing Lifts 60 Minutes to Number One in Prime Time Ratings

WCBS-blue-and-grey-new-logoBy JERRY BARMASH

60 Minutes is always hovering around the top of the weekly prime time ratings in New York. But Sunday, the venerable newsmagazine had a number-one showing with details on the Boston Marathon bombings.

The show had an estimated 1.1 million WCBS viewers and a 5.6 rating, according to Nielsen.

ABC News special coverage from Boston scored a Top 10 finish (712,000/3.6).

There was no clear winner among American Idol and Dancing With The Stars. The Fox and ABC programs tied for second place with 1 million viewers and a 5.1 rating.

Even more unique, Idol and Dancing, were locked in fourth position, and were joined by NBC’s The Voice. The broadcasts averaged just under 1 million viewers and a 4.9 rating.

The Voice also took seventh place by itself (856,000/4.4).

More from the Top 10 after the jump

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Source: Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander Are ‘Having More Fun Together’

WNYW130204220047By JERRY BARMASH

Did the latest round of musical anchor chairs prove successful for WNYW?

Now that Steve Lacy has been the station’s lead anchor for three months, Tuned In explores if the changeover worked.

Just to get readers caught up, Lacy assumed the anchor duties at 6 and 10 p.m. on January 25, while the Greg Kelly nighttime experiment ended abruptly seven months after it started. Kelly is back with his Good Day cohort Rosanna Scotto, while Lacy is now teamed with Dari Alexander for the Channel 5 late newscast.

“[Lacy] was really surprised that he got brought to nights,” a source close to the situation tells Tuned In.

Because of good rapport with former Good Day Wake Up/First Edition co-anchor Juliet Huddy, the source says it was a “bittersweet” move from mornings.

“But, overall it’s worked out,” the source says, “because he’s a solid guy.”

Whenever Lacy broadcasts, the source says, he gets along well with all colleagues.

“He’s known as somebody who is easy to work with.”

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NY1 Officially Ushers in Election Season with First Mayoral Debate

ny1By JERRY BARMASH

It’s still more than six months away, but the race for mayor takes a big step forward tonight.

NY1 has the first debate among Democratic challengers for the job of the city’s chief executive.

The debate at John Jay College is moderated by NY1 anchor Errol Lewis. NY1 reporters Juan Manuel Benitez and Dean Meminger are panelists. Sister station NY1 Noticias will broadcast a Spanish interpretation of the debate.

The one-hour debate, which begins at 7 p.m., will include six candidates looking to be the next mayor. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and New York City Comptroller John Liu will be joined by Bill De Blasio, Bill Thompson, Sal Albanese, and Erick Salgado.

WLTW Keeps Lead Over WCBS-FM for March

wltw_2010_200x90By JERRY BARMASH

It’s not whether WLTW/Lite FM wins or loses in the monthly ratings, it’s by how much it claims victory.

The story remains the same as Clear Channel’s 106.7 took number one in the Arbitron overall PPM for March.

Lite upped its rating to 7.8, from 7.6 for February. Its closest rival once again is WCBS-FM. The Classic Hits station did see a .3 boost to 6.4.

Even better gains could be found at Z100/WHTZ. Next on the Clear Channel hit parade, Z100 jumped .5 to 5.6.

YMF Media’s WBLS dropped slightly to 5.3, but still a fourth-place showing.

Related: WNYM Program Director Leaving the Station

There is a gap before number five, WINS with 4.5, down .2 for the month. Sister station WCBS 880 saw a .3 drop to 3.5.

It’s a good finish for Classic Rocker WAXQ/Q 104.3 with a slight improvement to 4.3.

The Spanish formats cracked the Top 10 for March. WSKQ slipped .3 to 4.1, while WXNY lost .2 to 4.0.

More ratings analysis after the jump

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WNYM Program Director Peter Thiele To Step Away

ThieleBy JERRY BARMASH

Next up, semi-retirement!

A five-year run for Peter Thiele as program director at Salem’s New York stations WNYM/970 AM The Answer and WMCA 570 AM is about to end–on his own terms.

“My wife and I have decided to make a lifestyle change and make the move to San Antonio, Texas.” Thiele tells Tuned In.

He plans to launch a consulting firm. His last day in New York is May 3.

The company is actively searching for Thiele’s successor.

“The Salem New York Team has been fantastic: Jerry Crowley, Phil Boyce have been very supportive,” Thiele says. “The opportunity of launching a major News/Talk station in New York City is a once in a lifetime project.”

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WPIX Reporters James Ford and Jay Dow Take Viewers on a Wild Ride in Watertown Coverage

James Ford

Kenny Pelczar/WPIX-TV

By JERRY BARMASH

As the manhunt closed in on the Boston bombing suspects, WPIX was caught in the crosshairs of some riveting television.

Channel 11 took viewers directly into Watertown’s lockdown Friday. Reporter James Ford and his videographer Kenton Young spent nearly 24 hours on the air during the station’s non-stop coverage. Ford says he did not require special access to the “frozen zone” as S.W.A.T. teams and police converged.

“We got lucky,” Ford tells Tuned In. “Our assignment editor Jeff Crianza woke me early—early is relative. I set my alarm for 1:15 and suddenly 12:30, what I thought was my alarm going off, it was Jeff saying we’ve got to go.”

Colleague Jay Dow had 37 hours without sleep, working the night newscasts Thursday before following Ford into Watertown for the broadcast at 4 a.m.

“When we drove into Watertown, it was like the wild, wild West,” Dow says. “Because police were trying to figure out the situation as we were trying to figure out what was happening… They just didn’t know whether the area that we were in was a place we were going to be in some kind of danger. There were pretty tense moments because it was such a fluid situation.”

A gun battle during the overnight hours led to one of the two suspects being killed by police. At 2 a.m.  Ford and his cameraman arrived at their still quiet Watertown location as police tightened the dragnet.

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