Thursday, December 15, 2005

Brief Stop In Glunt Land

A road trip back into Northeast Ohio from Pennsylvania brought us through the Youngstown/Warren market for the first time in some while. And OMW notes that urban WRTK/1540 Niles has STILL not changed format, despite being owned by the one and only steel supply magnate/Mahoning Valley AM radio king Harold Glunt for some months now.

In fact, not much HAS changed at AM 1540. They're still running the same imaging liners voiced long ago by former station manager Lynn Tolliver Jr., aka the former "bad boy" of Cleveland urban format radio. Tolliver left WRTK some time ago for Florida, and a job at Tampa's WTMP.

We're wondering why the format remains. Glunt is certainly not a likely operator of an urban formatted station. A curious possibility is that he's still sorting out his future radio plans, and if those plans include picking up any of the Stop 26 Riverbend stations. Still, it's kind of odd that he hasn't at least flipped the switch on 1540 to simulcast the "family friendly oldies" format on his other Beacon Broadcasting AM stations.

Speaking of which, the drive afforded us a chance to hear personable market veteran Steve Fine filling in for midday jock Ron Leader. Steve's been in and out of the WANR/1570 building on Warren's Courthouse Square a lot, as former program director of oldies WRRO/1440 back in the day, twice. And he's been on and off the frequency as well, as program director of WOKG "Talk 1570" in the late 80's/early 90's, and as afternoon driver in WANR's first Christian music incarnation ("The Arrow") that time, 1570 was present in that same former WRRO facility.

For a while during our drive along I-80 in the Shenango Valley and into Ohio, WANR simulcaster WLOA/1470 Farrell PA lost its Warren-fed oldies simulcast, which also shut off the feed to WGRP/940 Greenville PA. And we got to hear the amazingly LOUD interference on AM 1470, which is normally mostly masked by the music. It sounds to us like a badly tuned AM radio that's off frequency. But we know that WLOA is fed via WANR/1570's Internet how the other AM noise is being grafted onto 1470 we have no idea, since it's not present on the Internet feed anyone can hear at WANR's website.

Elsewhere in Beacon Land, WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA's "Freq 107" Christian rock format is unchanged, on a station that recently saw the messy exit of its program director. The Youngstown-targetting station put up a website that promises live audio feeds...but for the moment, those links do not work.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a well written article
on Glunt-Land.

The most astounding part of this story though, is the fact that Ron Leader and Steve Fine are STILL on the air in the Valley.

They were doing much the same gigs when I left the market way back in 1973!!! How did they ever survive on 500 watt AM daytime wages?

By the way, the former WNIO AM 1540, which I programmed in 1968,69 and 70 was second only to powerhouse WHOT 1330 in the Youngstown-Warren ratings!

1540 WNIO produced a LOT of top talent who went on to success in major markets. Mark Dailey, Tom Force, Ed Richards just to name a few. Someone should write a book.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Re: to above poster...

Ron Leader has been around Y-town forever, though during the 70's he spent time in Canton and Beckley, WV following a stint at WHOT. I don't think he returned to the Valley until he dropped anchor at Warren's WHHH/WRRO during its oldies era.

I wouldn't be surprised if "Dr. Rock" has worked at every station between Detroit and Pittsburgh. The guy's been everywhere! :-)