Tuesday, September 05, 2000

KIESEWETTER: Revamped stations promise high standards




        :Don't expect to hear foul language, sexual innuendos or crude jokes of the day on the “new country” WYGY-FM (96.5) or ESPN affiliate WBOB-AM (1160).

        You won't see toilets or naked people on billboards and TV commercials for these two stations, like recent campaigns for Clear Channel's WEBN-FM and WVMX-FM.

        The revamped WYGY-FM and WBOB-AM will be entertaining, without being as crass, promises the station's new owners, Salem Communications, the nation's Christian radio leader.

        “We're trying to bring a bit of morality to radio,” says Terry Dean, new general manager for “Y96” and WBOB-AM. “We have some pretty high standards, given our Christian background.”

        WYGY-FM and WBOB-AM are Salem's first “general radio” properties. The California-based broadcaster has expanded into secular programming by buying stations Clear Channel had to divest in the acquisition of AMFM. Salem now operates 72 stations.

        Salem stations will provide “family-friendly radio, like WARM98, programming that you can listen to in the car with children and not be embarrassed,” Mr. Dean says.

        “There is a certain ministry to Salem. They really want to use stations like this to raise the bar a little bit, instead of sinking to the lowest common denominator,” says Mr. Dean, former sales manager at WBOB-AM. He also has worked for WUBE-FM, which put Y96 and WBOB-AM on the air, and for WKRC-AM and WKRQ-FM.

        Mr. Dean's immediate task, however, is rebuilding the stations. Last week they moved into WGRR-FM's old studios, 3565 Edwards Road, near Hyde Park. (Phone: 533-2500).

        He has expanded the music play list beyond just “young country” to include a wide mix of artists. He needs to hire a Y96 program director. And he must sell some commercials for WYGY-FM. (B105 sold Y96 spots in tandem and kept the inventory. That's why no commercials have aired on Y96 since the sale.)

        The new program director will re-assemble an air staff. Until then, Y96 will have a music-intensive format and little personality. Mr. Dean says no DJs have been fired; the Big Dave and Amanda Orlando morning team was given time off during the transition.

        WBOB-AM will carry ESPN 21 hours a day. Doug Kidd and Greg Waddell host a local show 4-7 p.m. weekdays.

        Employees at both stations will be expected to volunteer — not for promotional booths at Oktoberfest or other festivals, but for food pantries and other nonprofit organizations.

        “Salem really believes in volunteer work, and getting involved in the community,” Mr. Dean says. “I don't want to sound holier-than-thou, but Salem really wants to make a difference. And we want to use our voice to do good things in the community.”

        Around the dial: Survivor Richard Hatch appears on the Rosie O'Donnell Show today (3 p.m., Channel 5) with former castaways Rudy Boesch, Susan Hawk, Colleen Haskell, Gervase Peterson and Gretchen Cordy.

        Talk shows highlights: Carol Burnett on The View (11 a.m., Channel 9), and “relationship follow-ups” on Oprah Winfrey (4 p.m., Channel 9).

       



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- KIESEWETTER: Revamped stations promise high standards
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