Miami Herald, The (FL) August 23, 1985
Author: Herald Staff LINDA THORNTON Herald Staff Writer

WINZ talk show host Neil Rogers may complain about his lack of callers on slow
nights, but his management apparently isn’t worried. They’re so pleased with
Rogers that they’ve extended his contract (due to expire next spring) for two
years, and raised his salary into the “six-figure range.” This apparently makes
Rogers the top-paid radio talk show host in South Florida.

Edition: FINAL Section: COMICS/TV Page: 14D
Record Number: 8503080449 Copyright (c) 1985 The Miami Herald


Miami Herald, The (FL) August 11, 1985
Author: BILL COSFORD Herald Movie Critic

Frequent readers of this space know that I have special place in my
heart for radio talk shows, particularly the oddly belligerent and equally
stimulating local variety. Some people say I listen only because my car doesn’t
have FM (which is true), but they’re wrong. The talk of South Florida is almost
always weird and occasionally even interesting. I liked it when they had the
“radio wars,” and hosts were dishing one another across the frequencies. I liked
it when Neil Rogers made headlines by announcing that he had a big jar of seeds
on his console, and dared the authorities to determine if among the birdseed
were seeds from illegal plants. I even liked it when Barbara Studley called G.
Gordon Liddy “a great American.” I mean, where else but here?

So trust me when I tell you that radio is going to be lots of fun this
fall. There is likely to be a new outbreak of on-air skirmishing, and there will
certainly be a great jumbling of talk-show hosts. With that jumble will come
much taking of sides among the audience, which is fiercely loyal and was the
biggest single factor, via incessant call-in goads, the last time the hosts went
at it.

What is happening is that, pending final approval by the Federal
Communications Commission, perennially low-rated talk station WGBS will absorb
perennially high-rated talk station WNWS in a buyout. Each station already has a
full complement of hosts, almost all of whom are under contract, but since the
WNWS sale did not include a codicil increasing the number of hours in the
broadcast day, some heads are going to roll. Later, when the market starts
shaking out and the newly fortified WGBS finds out how it’s doing against WINZ
and WIOD, there will doubtless be more shifts. Already, in a move that
suggests that WGBS management has overdosed on sensitivity training, WNWS hosts
were bused over to their soon-to-be new digs for a look. What they found must
have made some of them — the ones who figure to keep their jobs — as happy as
hosts can be. WGBS has one of the best broadcasting facilities in town, with
lots of space and spiffy new equipment and carpets.

WNWS has carpet, too, but only one studio in a cramped little building
so undistinguished that it was robbed one night by thugs who didn’t know it was
a radio station. Tales of hardship and enforced funk at WNWS are legion, and
mostly true. There was the flu-like disease born by the ventilation system, and
the transmitter problems that produced daily dead air. It is true that for
months there was a box next to the host’s chair containing cremated remains from
the funeral home next door; they were awaiting the attention of overnight host
Jerry Wichener, who is a pilot and had been asked to scatter the ashes over the
sea. It is true that Studley didn’t just praise Liddy, she hugged him, too.

But talk-by-the-seat-of-the-pants, WNWS style, will change forever with
the move to WGBS. The hosts who survive are going to feel good, the way Rogers
did when he moved from WNWS to the comparative splendor and fern-bar ambience at

Ah, but the hosts who survive — there’s the rub. The local ratings war
will escalate even if the hosts stay polite. But with the old WGBS frequency
going Spanish-language, there will be one less station for the ratings losers,
and some hosts are simply going to disappear. Here are some handicapping tips:

THE EX-GBS FACTOR: Before last season’s baseball fluke, by which the
Chicago Cubs became pennant contenders, fans and sportswriters enjoyed computing
something called “the ex-Cub factor,” which held that Chicago was such a
terrible team that even its trades could pollute an otherwise promising club.
The local radio version posits that any holdovers from the old WGBS will perform
a similar function. If WGBS keeps more than one of its original hosts, look for
trouble; more than two, expect a format change to progressive reggae by January.

HELLO, NEIL?: South Florida’s highest-rated English- language
personality is now situated to take over all of radio. No matter whom the new
GBS throws up against him — WNWS’ Tom Leykis or its own Alan Burke — Rogers
stands to improve his ratings, already higher than his two competitors combined.
If GBS stays with Burke, figure the entire Leykis audience to go to

Rogers in a desperate scramble for action. If GBS bumps Burke and goes
with Leykis, the older crowd now listening to Burke is likely to go to Rogers as
well, at least until Leykis’ voice gets deeper.

ARTICULATE AL IN THE MORNING: That’s how WNWS used to refer to Al
Rantel, then new at the job of morning post-drive talk: “Articulate Al Rantel.”
More recently, it has been Al the Neo-Liberal, though the station hasn’t brought
itself to boast about that yet. Rantel’s political conversion — he’s still a
domestic liberal but has acquired a foreign-policy hawk streak — seems to have
paralleled his growth as a raconteur, and he’s already good enough to beat Sandy
Payton on WIOD. Look for Rantel to become the single biggest draw on WGBS, if
only for his penchant.

MIDDAY MAVENS: Shirley Peters vs. Bev Smith, and who’s to choose? Peters
is hard-core on kneejerk liberal issues, always good for a stage-sigh of
exasperation when a male caller calls her “dear,” but she’ll go daffy on you in
a second, especially when she’s been studying her star charts and discovers that
Mercury is in retrograde. The prospect of sudden daffiness — what will she say
next? — is what makes Peters’ show interesting. Smith, on the other hand, is
straight as can be: She’ll take calls on anything, and give as good she gets.
She is also an articulate black voice — the only daily black host in “white”
radio here. Peters might get the numbers, but Smith is good for the station;
perhaps they could share the afternoon.

NWS afternoon-drive man, has so many sponsors, including at least a half-dozen
different “best restaurant in town” spots, that GBS has to have him whether
anyone listens or not. Kane’s a puzzle, however. Though he continues to enjoy a
bad-boy, hang-up-on-you rep, he is actually quite mild. Still, if WIOD ever goes
to earlier sports talk during Dolphin- Hurricane season, Captain Crab could be
in the soup.

THE RIGHT-WING GHETTO: GBS, NWS and INZ have all programmed conservative
hosts in post-drive, early evening, so someone has to go. That will probably be
NWS’ Bob Groves, whose numbers have been low. That leaves GBS’ David Gold, up
against a new scheme over at INZ: John Broward as a lead-in to Neil Rogers. Of
the three, only Broward is of the great-American-Liddy school, likely to draw
the screamers. Meanwhile, the Rogers tie-in — there’s already little love lost
between him and Broward — seems intriguing. Gold should keep his GBS slot, but
he may wind up having to book descendants of Attila the Hun to compete.

Eventually, the disappearance of WNWS should help WINZ across the board,
if for no other reason than there will be one less outlet for news, which is
what WINZ programs during the day. Of course, it’s bound to help WGBS, too —
almost anything would. And the prospect of fierce host-bashing looms. English-
speakers are losing a station, but this may be one case in which less is more. I
can hardly wait.

Edition: FINAL Section: AMUSEMENTS Page: 1K
Record Number: 8503050210 Copyright (c) 1985 The Miami Herald


Miami Herald, The (FL) August 8, 1985
Author: LINDA THORNTON Herald Staff Writer

Sure, the South Florida radio market is fiercely competitive, and most
local broadcasters would rather choke on their microphones than talk positively
about their rivals.

But do they listen to, even like, announcers on other stations?

I asked disc jockeys and talk show hosts to name one broadcaster they
admire at another local station. Four out of five talk hosts had to be coaxed
into answering, and even then, two wouldn’t name anyone. Another compromised by
naming the host of a locally run syndicated show.

Several disc jockeys said they’d rather listen to talk radio than music
radio at home, but complied with names of their favorite deejays anyway. Sonny
Fox at Y-100 emerged as the deejay’s deejay. And two pairs of broadcasters
expressed mutual admiration for each other. The answers were revealing:


Alan Burke, WGBS (710 AM): “If it had to be somebody, I like Sandy
Peyton (WIOD), because she’s forthright, direct and is not working on the air so
obviously for rating points. She doesn’t talk about her station, or complain if
her phone is not lit up like a Christmas tree. She simply does her thing.”

Neil Rogers, WINZ (940 AM): “I can’t name any — I can’t listen to any
of them, there’s nobody in this market I admire. Most them are cheap imitators;
I hate to say that, but it’s true.”

Tom Leykis, WNWS (790 AM): “Alan Burke — he’s a pro; he’s been doing it
for years and years. He’s consistently funny; he could do a whole show without
phone calls — that to me is the mark of a great talk show host.”

Mike Reineri (WIOD 60 AM): “Larry King (host of nationally syndicated
show aired locally on WGBS). He can talk to anybody about anything and he asks
the right questions.”

Tomas Garcia-Fuste (WQBA 1140 AM): “This is a very competitive business.
I’ll just say that everyone does a good job.”

Music jocks

Sonny Fox, Y-100 (WHYI 100.7 FM): “Greg Budell (WAXY-FM). He makes me
laugh, he’s politely sarcastic and dry — yet doesn’t usually step over the
boundaries of good taste.”

Greg Budell, WAXY (105.9 FM): “I have a lot of respect for Sonny Fox, he
does radio schtick very well. While we (WAXY’s morning team) do a lot of ad lib,
he does a nice job with characters and material.”

Irene Richard, Love 94 (WLVE 93.9 FM): “I think Rob Walker (Y-100) is a
terrific jock. He’s extremely relatable, he always has something different to
say. You get a feeling of anticipation listening to him.”

Don Cox, I-95 (WINZ 94.9 FM): “It’s equally divided between Sonny Fox —
not just him, but the cohesive team around him (including sidekick Ron Hersey
and “Athlete’s Foot” John Kross); and Bill Tanner (Hot 105) — he’s like me,
with a crazy humor.”

Bill Tanner, Hot 105 (WHQT 105.1 FM): “Don Cox — he has an ability to
absolutely disarm the listener while talking to them like another human being.
He’s known most for his outrageousness, but his strongest point is that he’s
just like the guy sitting next to you in the car pool. And Rob Walker is
probably the best Top 40 deejay in the market — he’s not a big personality,
he’s a format jock, but a great one.”

Bill Collins, KISS (WKQS 99.9 FM): “Ellen Jaffe (WAXY). She’s the best
sounding girl in the market. She doesn’t try to sound sexy; she just sounds like
a normal person.”

Alvis Sherouse, WTMI (93.1 FM): “Jim Kelly (Love 94) — he’s
straightforward, honest, and sounds professional. He talks to people on the air
as if he was talking directly to them.”

Leeo Jackson, WEDR (99.1 FM): “That guy at I-95 — Dennis Reese. He
sounds like he’s always excited, sounds like a kid.”

Ron St. John, 97 A1A (WAIA 97.3 FM): “For entertainment purposes, Sonny
(Fox) at Y-100 does an outstanding job. From a professional standpoint I admire
Rick Shaw (WAXY). He’s been doing radio 25 years in the same market — longevity
means a lot in this business.”

Jim McBean, WSHE (103.5 FM): “Greg Budell (WAXY) sounds great since he
got out of (a drug and alcohol treatment center). He sounds alive, awake, with
it. He goes on the air a half hour before I do, so I listen to him to see what
kind of morning he’s having.”

Memo: RADIOEdition: FINALSection: COMICS/TVPage: 6D
Index Terms: NAME LIST Record Number: 8503040635Copyright (c) 1985 The Miami Herald