FM MORNING SHOW SIDEKICKS ARE RADIO’S UNSUNG HEROES (October 28, 1987)

FM MORNING SHOW SIDEKICKS ARE RADIO’S UNSUNG HEROES
Miami Herald, The (FL) – Wednesday, October 28, 1987
Author: LINDA THORNTON Herald Radio Writer

On most FM morning shows, one deejay is the “star.” But across the console from many of these air personalities sits a faithful sidekick, without whom the show wouldn’t be quite the same.

I’m not referring to morning teams who get co-billing, such as Herman and McBean or Rick and Suds, or to news anchors who joke occasionally with the jock, but to the ever-present second bananas who often don’t get enough recognition from the public, and who usually earn only one-third or half of what the main deejays make.

At Y-100’s (WHYI 100.7 FM) morning show, Sonny Fox has two primary sidekicks among a cast of five: Ron Hersey and “Footy,” a.k.a. “Athlete’s Foot,” real name John Kross. Footy’s main role is sports reporter, but he’s also the voice of characters including Monte, the gossipy waiter, and “Jackie Stewed.” Footy is well known to local listeners, so Kross says he doesn’t mind if Fox gets the most attention when they’re out in public. (“I would like to make as much money as him, though,” Kross said.)

In addition to being morning news director, Hersey is a vital contributor to the show’s humor, with his impressions of various personalities including PeeWee Herman, Don Johnson and the fictional “Buford from Davie.”

“Sonny and I almost have the same sense of humor,” said Hersey. “When he comes up with a set-up, I can almost tell what the punch line is going to be.”

However, Hersey’s name probably isn’t as well known to the
average listener as Footy’s, as he’s usually identified by his real name only when reporting the news.

“When there’s five people on the show, you can get lost in the crowd,” Hersey admitted.

The situation is similar at Power 96 (WPOW 96.5 FM), where Bill Tanner shares the studio with “Mark and Mindy” and G. Michael McKay. Mindy Frumkes, who has a quick wit and talent for ad-libbing, reports the news and does various accents and voices including Dr. Ruth. “I wouldn’t want to be a regular deejay, just pushing buttons and playing songs,” she said. “I’d be bored to tears.”

Mark Moseley is probably the best impressionist in South Florida. He does a multitude of characters including Eddie Murphy, Johnny Carson and Pee Wee Herman, as well as fictional Power personalities Red Wood and con artist Tyrone.

While Frumkes does the news and McKay the sports, Moseley is rarely out of character. This is sometimes frustrating for him, especially since he was the main jock on the show before Tanner joined Power.

“It’s kind of an identity crisis, because I rarely speak on mike as myself,” said Moseley. “That’s why Tanner now sometimes identifies on the air that I do certain voices.”

One of the most talked-about sidekicks in local radio these days is Glen Hill, who’s also known on Neil Rogers’ morning show on Zeta 4 (WZTA 94.9 FM) as “The Bird.” Hill, who originally worked at Zeta when Rogers was still at its sister station WINZ, edged his way into a permanent spot on Rogers’ show by dropping into the studio and laughing in the background. Hill now doubles as Rogers’ producer and sidekick.

“I’m there to fill in the gaps, for Neil to have someone to talk to. When a comedian like him is by himself in the room and tells a joke, he may know it’s funny, but if there’s someone there to laugh, that adds something,” said Hill.

Don Agony has played second fiddle to morning host Greg Budell for six years, first at WAXY (105.9 FM) and now at Love 94 (WLVE 93.9 FM). Agony sometimes acts as straight man, correcting or chiding Budell, and at other times, hams it up along with the host and news director Keith Allen. Agony, who’s also music director at Love, has these tips for being a successful sidekick:

“You must be able to play off the host, with compatible humor and timing, and to add to the show in your own way, rather than just laugh,” he said.

Bill Marshall at WSHE (103.5 FM) and Jim Schuyler at Hot 105 (WHQT 105.1 FM) have also worked with their respective headliners at other stations. Marshall and Joey Reynolds worked together in 1984-85 at WFIL in Philadelphia. Marshall is also morning show producer at WSHE. Like most other sidekicks interviewed here, Marshall and Schuyler had their own radio shows in the past, but say they now prefer being part of a team.

“I’d rather be on a team, being a support player to a performer of top strata,” said Marshall. “If a listener doesn’t know what my name is, it doesn’t matter.”

“It’s a lot easier. You feel like you have more creative latitude, and can produce any comedy material you want to without worrying about segueing records and things like that,” said Schuyler, writer/producer and sidekick to Dan McKay at Hot 105. “I just have fun.”

Halloween fun

This Halloween, you can let someone else greet the trick- or-treaters, and get away to one of several holiday events being sponsored by radio stations. Costume contests will be featured at all the following events:

Zeta 4’s “Masquerade Madness” party, co-sponsored with the City of Fort Lauderdale and benefiting the National Kidney Foundation, takes place from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday at Bubier Park, located at East Las Olas Boulevard and Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Events include a costumed Tunnel Fun Run (call 761-5385 to register), and live entertainment. Admission is $1.

Majic 102.7 (WMXJ-FM) will take part in Miami Beach’s “Trick or Treat Street,” with live entertainment hosted by morning deejay Shawn Burke from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the main stage, located at 301 41st St. Admission is free.

Love 94 will celebrate Halloween on land and at sea. Love deejay “Hutch” will appear from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at Boodles, located in the Sheraton Design Center in Dania. Admission is free.

Love’s Halloween cruise to Nassau aboard the S.S. Galileo leaves at 4:30 p.m. Friday from the Port of Miami, and returns at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, hosted by morning deejays Greg Budell and Don Agony. Eight winners received double passage. Others can join the cruise for $119 per person. Call Love 94 (WLVE-FM) at 654-9494 in Dade or 426-4600 in Broward for more information.

If you’d rather be home on Halloween night, WRMF (97.9 FM) is planning a seven-hour cruise that departs from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale at 7 p.m. Friday (boarding begins at 5 p.m.) and returns at approximately 1 a.m. Saturday. The event will be hosted by WRMF morning deejay Kevin Kitchens. Cost is $55 per person (including dinner), with partial proceeds to benefit United Way of Broward County. Tickets are available at BASS outlets, or call WRMF at 977-8888 in Broward, or 838-4300 in Palm Beach County, for reservations. Etc.

Chuck Bortnick, general manager and vice-president of WSHE, is leaving the station Friday. He resigned to become general manager at KKHT-FM in Houston, owned by the Malrite Communications Group. Bortnick has been with WSHE since 1980. He began his radio career in South Florida, first in sales at the former WBUS (now Love 94), and then for four years as regional sales manager at WINZ AM and FM.

“It was a tough decision. This station has been like family to me. But considering the size of the Malrite Company and the Houston market, it was a good career move,” said Bortnick.

When it’s your birthday, you ought to do exactly as you please. That’s the theory of WTMI (93.1 FM) host Alan Corbett, who’ll celebrate his birthday party on his The Open Road show
from 3-6 p.m. today. Corbett’s “Radio Birthday Party” of “music and mayhem” has proven very popular with listeners. On the annual program, he goes beyond WTMI’s basic classical music format to play his own choices of show tunes, jazz, novelty songs and rock and roll, as well as classical music and “things that are so wonderfully goofy.” The show will include songs by Leontyne Price, Patti LaBelle, and comedians Eddie Murphy, Madeline Kahn and Carol Burnett, as well as a Bad Music Sweepstakes and Dance-A-Thon.
Caption: photo: Mindy Frumkes (n)

Memo: RADIO
Edition: FINAL
Section: COMICS/TV
Page: 3E
Record Number: 8703220103
Copyright (c) 1987 The Miami Herald

Bob Lassiter Show (October 23, 1987)

Show on Clyp

After an on-air confrontation with David Caton of the National Federation for Decency (NFD), Bob was defiant until the NFD finally took over his show and only allowed decent topics to be discussed. Decency Lady will buzz you if you say anything indecent **36 additional minutes

bob lassiter

BROADCASTERS, STUDENTS ENJOY DREAMING UP PERFECT STATION (October 21, 1987)

BROADCASTERS, STUDENTS ENJOY DREAMING UP PERFECT STATION
Miami Herald Wednesday, October 21, 1987
Author: LINDA THORNTON Herald Radio Writer

Imagine your fantasy radio station. If money were no object and you could put together a station with any format, air personalities, call letters and management, what would that station be like?

I posed that question to 25 local deejays, talk hosts and other broadcasters, as well as to the broadcasting class at Bauder College. I did ask that they try to stick to local air talent and managers, or at least to familiar names. I also encouraged them to avoid naming everybody at their own station — that’s no fun. They came up with some interesting and humorous answers.

A few respondents suggested celebrities — some of whom would have to be raised from the grave — to be programmers and deejays at their dream station. Ken Martin of WTMI said he’d hire famous composers, such as Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, to spin records at his classical music station. Felix Mendelssohn would be the station manager.

Heavy metal music, with the call letters WHVY, was the choice of Dan McKay and Jim Schuyler of Hot 105. Rocker David Lee Roth would be the morning man, followed by Neil Rogers of Zeta, the Bearman and Judy T. of WGTR, Rick Shaw of WAXY (“We want to hear him talk up Stairway to Heaven,” said Schuyler), and John Lomelo, former mayor of Sunrise, as overnight jock. Ozzy Osbourne would be program director.

Scott Evans of KISS would program an up-tempo country-dance station, with the call letters WKLG, as in “clog” country dancing. Country artist Ronnie Milsap would be the station owner, as “he’d probably issue very few memos.” Waylon Jennings and George Carlin would team up on mornings, and other deejays would include Crystal Gayle.

However, most respondents kept their choices local. The 26 students at Bauder College’s broadcast class (formerly Brown Institute) named a star-studded lineup of deejays including Herman and McBean of WGTR in morning drive, a team of WGTR’s Patty Murray and WAXY’s Ellen Jaffe for mid-days, followed by Y- 100’s Sonny Fox and crew, WSHE’s Joey Reynolds and Love 94’s Greg Budell on overnights. WAXY’s Rick Shaw would be the program director, and Y-100’s David Ross the general manager. The format would be progressive rock, with call letters WBMW. (“Obviously, we have a few yuppies in the class,” said instructor Ed Galizia.)

The format mentioned most often was jazz, though most said they’d mix in other types of music as well. Other favorites were various forms of Adult Contemporary music, progressive rock, dance rock, oldies rock, middle-of-the-road nostalgia and talk. Jerome Jenkins of WMBM said he’d combine rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel and country, though he’d call the station WROC. His program director would be nationally known disc jockey and TV personality Casey Kasem.

Neil Rogers got the most votes for air personality, followed by three votes each for Bill Tanner, Sonny Fox, Joey Reynolds, Greg Budell and Rick Shaw, and two each for Bill Calder and Tom Leykis for talk, and Herman and McBean, Robert W. Walker, Ellen Jaffe, Don Agony, the Bearman and Don Cox for music, though one of those votes was from Cox himself. A few people voted for themselves as deejay or manager — after all, it is their fantasy radio station.

Some would bring former area personalities back to the local dial, such as Leykis, “The Madame” (Jo Weitz) and Arnie Warren. Tony “The Tiger” of Rhythm 98 would bring in a different club comedian each day to host the morning show at his station, which would be continuous dance mixes, with the call letters WMIX.

David Ross was most often named general manager. Nearly everyone voted for a different program director, though Kasem and Tanner each got two votes.

Some of the most creative call letters suggested were WSFX, for an all-special-effects radio station; WFRE (“free”) and WTLK for talk, and the revival of WFUN, with the slogan “Radio is Fun Again,” and Dick Clark as general manager. WKAT’s Roby Yonge would name his ideal station with his initials, WRDY, and would have no stuffy corporate ownership. (“So I could wear my loudest Hawaiian shirts and shorts to work when I want to,” he said.) Sonny Fox would name his station Radio Alice, as he says people’s names are easier to remember.

Skip Herman’s fantasy radio station would have no commercials, yet still make lots of money.

Now let’s hear your suggestions for a fantasy station. Send your choices, including format, personalities, management, call letters and slogan, and any other ideas, to: Linda R. Thornton, Radio, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification. I’ll publish the results in a future column.

ETC.

Michael Dalfonzo, program/promotions director and disc jockey at WSHE (103.5 FM), is leaving the station Nov. 30 to open his own national radio consulting company, Radio Plus. . . . If the voices or faces on the new TV commercial for Sportsman’s Paradise sound or look familiar, they’re WNWS’ Geoff Charles as the main character, tossing a sneaker to Power 96’s Mark Moseley, with the voice of Power’s Don Cox at the end. Also, the spot introduces Charles as “The Big Kahuna” — I thought Roby Yonge had local dibs on that nickname.. . . .

Ernie Sochin, who’s been working as a fill-in talk host on WIOD (610 AM), now has a permanent weekend spot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, replacing the Garage Sale program, which has been discontinued. Beginning early next year, Sochin will be heard both Saturdays and Sundays at that time. . . .

Lee Gillette has been taken off Neil Rogers’ morning show on Zeta 4 (WZTA 94.9 FM). Rogers said there were too many people on the show, and that Gillette as a third personality “didn’t work out.” Zeta general manager Gary Lawrence said he’s trying to find a new spot for Gillette, who’s still employed by Zeta and was its afternoon deejay before moving to the morning show last week. . . .

Sounds of Israel, a program of Israeli music and news hosted by Tzemach Yariv, is now heard from noon to 1 p.m. Sundays on WVCG (1080 AM). The show aired on the former WBUS (now Love 94) in the 1970s.
Caption: photo: David ROSS

Memo: RADIO
Edition: FINAL
Section: COMICS/TV
Page: 3E
Record Number: 8703200260
Copyright (c) 1987 The Miami Herald

Neil Rogers Show (October 19, 1987)

Neil, The Bird, and Captain Dave on WZTA. The Dolphins lost yesterday. The cops were after Don Johnson after he went dove hunting in a wildlife sanctuary in the Redlands area. He got away in a helicopter. A first grade class from a Catholic grade school is visiting the station. Hostile lady caller. **13 additional minutes**

Vice Star Leaves Picnic After Incident

WINZ’S LOSS IS ZETA 4’S GAIN WITH ROGERS’ SHIFT TO SISTER (October 14, 1987)

WINZ’S LOSS IS ZETA 4’S GAIN WITH ROGERS’ SHIFT TO SISTER
Miami Herald, The (FL) – Wednesday, October 14, 1987
Author: LINDA THORNTON Herald Radio writer

Neil Rogers’ move to the FM dial is the most significant thing to happen to local radio in a long time. His shift this week from the midday show on WINZ (940 AM) to the morning show on sister station Zeta 4 (WZTA 94.9 FM) will likely have a domino effect on both AM and FM in this market.

Considering Rogers’ history as the No. 1 talk host on AM, and his success in winning back younger listeners to that dial, the probability is he’ll be a big hit on FM, from which the core of his audience came.

Yet while Rogers was the best thing going on AM, he had no real competition there to speak of. Rogers reasons, and it’s a good point, that listeners who didn’t catch his midday act on WINZ because they couldn’t listen to the radio at work will now be able to tune in to his morning show. On Zeta, Rogers is sticking pretty closely to the non-issue-oriented, casual talk style that he did on WINZ, playing only two or three songs each hour. But radio listening habits die hard. Rogers may now face the hurdle of breaking even some of his own fans away from their former habit of listening to mostly music shows from 6 to 10 a.m.

Now competing with popular morning shows on WAXY, Power 96, Y-100, WIOD and other stations, and taking into account the high ratings of morning news shows on Spanish-language WQBA-AM and WAQI, Rogers will be hard pressed to duplicate the 9 and 10 percent audience shares he earned in middays. He may have to settle for a 5 share or thereabouts, which, after all, is nothing to sneeze at. Let’s hope his ego can stand that, because we’ve needed a full-time talk show on FM in this market for a long time, and Rogers is the most likely talent to make it work.

In the recently released Arbitron summer ratings, Stan Major, Rogers’ former follow-up on WINZ, topped his afternoon competitors on WNWS and WIOD. Major may take over Rogers’ throne as “the King” of local AM talk, though probably on a lesser scale.

The odd man out in this shuffle, as far as astounding ratings go, is WINZ. Rogers was its key player. Only time will tell how Jay Michaels, Rogers’ replacement on WINZ from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will fare with Rogers’ former audience. A safer move for WINZ might have been to move Major up to Rogers’ former midday shift and put Michaels on from 2 to 6 p.m. That way, the Rogers-Major listening habit would continue to be nurtured.

Zeta 4, on the other hand, stands to gain tremendously by recruiting Rogers. That station’s ratings have been dismally low up to this point.

MORE ARBITRONS

The exact hourly ratings for Arbitron’s ratings of local radio stations for summer 1987 will not be available until later this week.

The ratings that have been released and that were published in The Herald Saturday are for week-long listening averages, as well as specific weekday “dayparts,” such as 3 to 7 p.m. These numbers don’t indicate exact ratings for many shows that do not fall perfectly into those dayparts. Still, in most cases, daypart ratings do serve as a just measurement of who’s most popular at what time of day.

Here are some additional ratings that were not listed in Saturday’s Arbitron story. As we reported, Rick and Suds on WAXY and Bill Tanner’s crew on Power 96 tied for second place among FM morning music shows with a 4.4, behind Easy Listening Life’s 5.6. Joy 107 came in next with mostly syndicated music, followed by a 4.2 tie between Y-100’s Sonny Fox and sidekicks, and Javier Romero on Spanish FM 92. James T. on WEDR followed with a 3.4; Scott Evans and Lisa Lupari on Kiss, 3.1; fill-in jocks including Patty Murray on WGTR, 3.0 (Herman and McBean were off the air most of the summer); Greg Budell and Don Agony on Love 94, 2.7; Dan McKay on Hot 105, 2.6; Shawn Burke on Majic 102.7, 2.3; Charlie Kendall and then Drew Townsend on WSHE, 2.1 (Joey Reynolds didn’t join SHE until the summer ratings period was nearly over); Ken Martin on WTMI, 1.9, Maria Cristina Ruiz on Super Q, 1.9; and Jean Cashman and Jeff Chase on Zeta 4, 1.2.

Mike Reineri’s show on WIOD was the highest rated English AM program from 6 to 10 a.m., with a 4.6 share. Big Wilson, recently dismissed from WKAT-AM because of that station’s format switch, brought WKAT’s morning ratings up to a 2.5. WFTL-AM’s morning show by Bob Gordon also rose to a 2.1 in the combined Dade/Broward market.

Spanish morning news was dominated by WQBA-AM, whose 8.7 was the largest share of any station from 6 to 10 a.m. WAQI-AM followed with a 5.3. In English-language morning news blocks, WNWS’ 4.1 topped WINZ’s 3.6.

The 10 a.m.-to-3 p.m. ratings showed Neil Rogers’ former show on WINZ with a 7.5 — a fall from spring’s 9.0, but still the second most popular midday show among more than 40 stations in the market. Life, which traditionally leads during the working hours, ranked an 8.1 in middays. WNWS’ midday share of 2.7 combines two hours of Lee Fowler’s former show (Sandy Payton didn’t join WNWS until the rating period was nearly over) and the first two hours of Geoff Charles’ early afternoon show. Bill McQuage earned only a 2.0 share for middays at WIOD. Spanish WQBA-AM rose nearly two points to a 6.2 in mid-days.

English-language talk in late afternoons was led by Stan Major, mostly responsible for WINZ’s 4.1 share from 3 to 7 p.m. (his show runs from 2 to 6 p.m., followed by news). Al Rantel was second with a 3.2 share for WNWS for 3 to 7 p.m., and Steve Kane last with a 2.6 for WIOD. WQBA-AM ranked second in the entire market in late afternoons, with a 6.8 for talk and news programming. WAQI’s talk and news during those hours pulled a 2.9.

WEDR’s black music programming was No. 1 from 7 p.m. to midnight with a 6.6, followed by WQBA-AM’s talk, news and public affairs, and Power 96’s contemporary music. Talknet on WINZ dropped from first place at night in the spring to fourth place in summer, with a 4.9. The 4.7 rating for WNWS from 7 p.m. to midnight averages Shirley Peters’ former show with Jerry Wichner’s. Wichner traditionally ranks high, while Peters was a low scorer before she left WNWS. Sports Talk, baseball and other fill-in programming combined ranked a 3.5 for WIOD at night.

WQBA-AM was in second place among all stations at night, with a 6.1 for Spanish evening talk and news, nearly doubling WAQI’s 3.2.

BIRCH RATINGS

Birch Radio Ratings has also released its quarterly survey for summer 1987. As usual, Birch’s results differ greatly from Arbitron’s. In Birch, pop music stations traditionally dominate the Top 10, while in Arbitron, Spanish, pop music and news/talk share the highest honors.

For example, the top stations in Birch’s summer measurement were, in order: Power 96, WEDR, Y-100, Hot 105, Kiss, Love 94 tied with Life, WAXY tied with WINZ, and WGTR.

Arbitron’s top 10 in summer were: Life, WQBA-AM, WINZ tied with Power 96, Joy 107, WAXY, FM 92, WEDR, WAQI and Y-100 tied with WNWS.

BIG BAND IS BACK

Beginning Monday, Jack McDermott will bring the Big Band sounds back to Dade County. McDermott was recently dismissed
from WKAT-AM, which changed its format Monday from Big Band to vintage rock and roll. McDermott was let go because his expertise lies more in the Big Band arena. But from 2 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, McDermott will revive the ballroom spirit on WVCG (1080 AM), as part of the Fun After Forty program. Vivian Lloyd, former daily host of Fun After Forty, will now be heard from 2 to 4 p.m. Fridays. The show is being aired from WVCG’s studios for the time being — until recently, it was broadcast live from the Tudor Hotel in Miami Beach.

Caption: photo: Neil ROGERS
Edition: FINAL Section: COMICS/TV Page: 3E
Index Terms: RANKING Record Number: 8703180421 Copyright (c) 1987 The Miami Herald