Category Archives: Radio

Hip-Hop ‘Empire’ Takes Over Fox 5 News Each Wednesday

WNYWIt’s another example of the troubling state of local news.

In an effort to promote the second season of Fox’s successful drama, Empire, based on the music industry, WNYW is unthinkably giving away its last 30 minutes following each episode. Anchors Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander host the After Empire party, complete with hip-hop themed performances and DJs spinning on the turntables. Even this week, just 24 hours after a cop was gunned down, wasn’t enough to alter their programming, although hosting duties went to entertainment reporter Simone Boyce.

Yes, a station’s late newscast (still has the Fox 5 graphic in the corner with time and temperature) airing live music. Ever heard of that one?

This makes sense on the morning newscast Good Day New York, especially in the lighter 9 a.m. hour where performers regularly take the stage.

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Jim Douglas Joins WCBS-FM as Back-Up Saturday Night Voice

Jim-DouglasIt’s a homecoming for Jim Douglas. The former Fresh 102.7 morning man is returning to the air and CBS Radio on Hudson Street. This time the veteran air personality is the Saturday night fill-in for Joe Causi starting tonight at WCBS-FM.

Douglas left Fresh in October, leaving his legions of fans to wonder what’s next.

His work down the hall from the Fresh studios is a full-circle experience for Douglas.

“I was an intern there when I was 18 and now I get to sit in the ‘air chair,'” Douglas tells Tuned In.

It was a five-year stint at Fresh for Douglas, who also talked up songs on WKJY (KJOY) 98.3 on Long Island and the defunct “Mix 105” in New York.

But for Douglas, the future is now at the classic hits station.

“I can’t begin to say how excited I am.”

Tributes for Veteran Business Anchor Ken Prewitt, Dead at 68

Ken-PrewittKen Prewitt, a man who brought his strong knowledge of financial news to radio and TV for decades, has died. He was battling brain cancer since 2012. Prewitt was 68.

In command of his copy, Prewitt was known for long stints providing business news updates on various stations, primarily WCBS 880, first with Wall Street Journal Radio, then through Money Magazine.

During the last decade, Prewitt redefined his spot as one of the best business broadcasters, bringing his booming voice to Bloomberg Radio in 2005, serving as morning host for much of that time until his illness forced a leave in 2013.

Veteran broadcaster Janice Kirkel shares a unique perspective on Prewitt, having worked together at Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

“Ken was someone you could talk about absolutely anything with — not just business news, but theater, history, politics, music,” Kirkel, a WFAN update anchor, tells Tuned In. “He always had great stories to tell and a great sense of humor.”

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Frank Cipolla Relives Best Moments for Autobiography

CIPOLLA 8x10 HEADSHOT 1-15Whether you know his work from name, voice, or face, chances are if you’ve been paying attention to New York news coverage in the last three decades you know Frank Cipolla.

His longevity and versatile reporting skills for radio and TV are the framework for his 2011 autobiography, It Shocked Even Us and More Crazy Stories Covering Local News. (Available directly through Cipolla’s website, itshockedevenus.com)

No need to be a war correspondent for anecdotes. Cipolla has tons, probably enough for another installment from his beat in the five boroughs and New Jersey. His time at WNBC is a favorite chapter worth the price of the book on its own. As a newscaster, Cipolla was on the front line for some of biggest egos in the business: Howard Stern, Don Imus and Soupy Sales.

Cipolla tells Tuned In it was equally stressful and hilarious.

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Dow Jones Cuts the Cord with Wall Street Journal Radio

wsjIt’s happened before and it will likely happen again. In this case, Dow Jones has abruptly decided to cease its Wall Street Journal Radio Network and Marketwatch Radio operations.

It’s the ultimate reduction of staff–completely doing away with all content and talent, effective December 31, making for a bittersweet holiday season for those with pink slips in their stockings.

It’s believed approximately 15 people at WSJ and a few dozen others at Marketwatcb are impacted.

On a personal note, I’ve been a freelance anchor for the Wall Street Journal Radio since July 2013. But fortunately, since February, I have a full-time job at 77 WABC as my main gig.

Dow Jones’ parent company is News Corp. Dow Jones CEO William Lewis says in a statement, “It will come as no surprise that in order to do even more, we must do fewer things that are not core to our business so that we can move faster in pursuit of our goals.”

Since the 1980s, the Wall Street Journal Radio has been heard on hundreds of affiliates, including WCBS 880.

There are also national Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Money reports.

On WCBS, you’ve likely heard Jen Ursillo giving the biz headlines with afternoon anchors Wayne Cabot and Steve Scott. Bruce Vale is veteran of the WSJ and WCBS.

Joe Connelly, the popular, longtime morning anchor, known for his witty repartee.

Another voice “giving the business” on 880 is Frank Cipolla, a man with so many years and experiences in the industry that he recently penned an autobiography (It Shocked Even Us).

Cipolla says he’s treasured the six years at the WSJ, but had a weird feeling just hours before the fateful announcement.

“[Tuesday] night – while I was alone in the newsroom – there was this very heavy feeling in the room. Almost dark. Then as I left after my last newscast I did something very uncharacteristic.”

At that point, Cipolla realized he didn’t have a photo of his work space.

“I stopped, took a shot of the newsroom and walked out,” Cipolla says. “[The next] morning the phone call came that it was all over. I’m not big on sixth senses, but I did sense something last night.”

Fond Memories of Veteran Radio Programmer, Kevin Metheny, But Not for Howard Stern

methenyTo millions of Howard Stern fans, Kevin Metheny will forever be “Pig Vomit,” his character
in the 1997 autobiographical film Private Parts, played by Paul Giamatti. (Stern called him “Pig Virus” in real life.)

While Metheny never worked in New York City after being fired from WNBC, he did build a deep resume as a go-to radio programmer in numerous markets.

Metheny died Friday night of a heart attack while on the job as operations manager at Cumulus’ KGO and KSFO in San Francisco.

Stern this week referred to his former boss as a “Nazi vampire.” Although he was sad to learn of Metheny’s death and that he leaves behind two daughters, Stern is not sure he “ever fully recovered” from the way Metheny ran WNBC.

Stern was hired as afternoon personality in 1982. Private Parts documents Stern’s journey to becoming New York’s top rated DJ.

In 2012, marking the 30th anniversary of Stern’s arrival, Metheny told me that the movie and book were not gospel.

“I think [there’s] a fair and appropriate amount of artists’ liberties taken with factual elasticity in order to make a more interesting project,” Metheny said.

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Looking for a ‘Fresh’ Start; Jim Douglas Out at WWFS

Jim-DouglasVeteran morning personality Jim Douglas is on the radio sidelines after his exit from WWFS/Fresh 102.7 this week. Douglas had been teamed with Kim Berk for nearly 20 years, including the last five at the CBS-owned FM.

“I wish my partner, Kim, well,” Douglas tells Tuned In. “She’s an amazing talent so whomever they put in that chair, she’ll make them better than they thought they could be.”

But for now, sources indicate Berk will fly solo on the morning show.

Douglas and Berk, a.k.a. “Jim and Kim” started waking up Long Island listeners in the mid-1990s at KJOY/WKJY (now branded K 98.3). The native New Yorker was born in Bellerose, Queens, and grew up on Long Island.

WWFS is housed on Hudson Street with the entire stable of CBS New York radio stations.

“I got to know lots of the people at WINS AND WCBS AM. I’ll miss watching the amazing work they do,” Douglas adds.

No word on Douglas’ next venture, but “I[‘ve] got lots of golfing to get in!”

‘Hey Kemosabe’ Brings Front-Row Seat for Musicradio WABC Era

KemosabeIt was a magical time in New York radio. Musicradio 77 WABC was the center of the universe for any Top 40 fan. But 77 was also the hottest spot on the dial for the country’s most acclaimed jocks.

Chris Ingram has placed us in the middle of that frenetic era. His new book, Hey Kemosabe! The Days (and Nights) of a Radio Idyll (Dog Ear Publishing) gives readers an equally fast-paced look at some key moments. (And I’m not just saying that because of my gig as 77 WABC street reporter!)

Yes, Ingram has some familiarity on the subject. His dad (who recently turned 80) is Dan Ingram. He is so revered for his radio work, specifically the more than two decades as afternoon DJ at WABC. Ingram is usually on the short list of greatest Top 40 jocks of all-time, and regarded by many as the best.

The junior Ingram does point out in the foreword that the book is “not a biography, nor is it a history book.”

But if you were expecting “the names have been changed to protect the innocent,” think again. They’re all here: Ingram, Cousin Brucie, Ron Lundy, Chuck Leonard, and Rick Sklar.

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Remembering a Legendary Voice, Don Pardo Dies at 96

PardoHis deep voice was a throwback to the era of old time radio staff announcers. Don Pardo didn’t start his career welcoming viewers week after week to Saturday Night Live. It just seems that way. Pardo began a lifetime gig with the Peacock Network in 1944. Seventy years later he was still at the mic for SNL.

Pardo died Monday at age 96.

As Pardo joined the roster on radio, NBC and General David Sarnoff were experimenting with television. His voice would become even more popular on the burgeoning medium.

Pardo’s personality made him a go-to-guy among the NBC stable of voices for game show duty. He was announcer on the original Price Is Right and Jeopardy!. But as the latter ended its 11-year run in 1975, Pardo got another boost as SNL started later that year.

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Retirement Awaits for Longtime WINS Anchor Judy DeAngelis

judy1If listening to WINS is as much a part of your morning ritual as that first cup of coffee, then you undoubtedly know Judy DeAngelis.

The veteran 1010 WINS anchor is set to retire, Tuned In has learned. Multiple sources say the morning mainstay will leave the station in September.

But before the retirement party takes place, we’re told DeAngelis has struggled with leaving three previous times. Barring any cold feet or last minute negotiations, DeAngelis will end a run of more than 25 years at WINS.

She was also a newscaster on WNBC in the 80s, during the Soupy SalesJoey Reynolds era at 660.

DeAngelis remained at WNBC until WFAN took over the frequency in 1988.

WINS would not confirm DeAngelis’ departure.

Photo courtesy: 1010wins.com