As I do every year at this time, it’s time to look back on what happened in New York radio in 2011. I guess the biggest story in New York radio was the premiere of WEMP. Merlin Media dropped the rock format on WRXP, changed the call letters and debuted FM News 101.9 on August 12th. The new station was greeted with less than stellar reviews. Over time the station has changed its approach to a more traditional news station, but there are still quite a few folks who don’t like the station.
Also making big news in 2011 was the take over of WABC and WPLJ by Cumulus Media. And there was changes right from the get go at both stations. Night host Christine Richie was let go as was overnight man Dave Stewart. Stewart had been at WPLJ for some 22 years. Over at WABC, Joe Crummey was relieved of his mid day duties, Doug McIntyre was taken off the overnight show and PD Laurie Cantillo left the station.
In January, Curtis Sliwa added an afternoon show at WNYM. Curtis is currently heard from 5 to 9 AM and again from 5 to 7 PM.
Craig Allen celebrated 30 years as chief meteorologist at WCBS. He also announced a new three-year contract extension.
In March, Jared Max left WCBS to join up with WEPN. Max now hosts a morning show from 4 to 6 AM and also does the sports center updates on the Mike and Mike morning show. Then in May, Max announced to the world that he is gay.
Also in May, a 40 year association came to an end as Charles McCord hung up his headphones and rode off into the sunset. McCord had been newsman and chief sidekick of Don Imus since 1972. He was replaced by Connell McShane of the Fox Business Network. Also in the world of Imus, his brother Fred died in August.
In what was described as a move out of left field, WOR replaced Steve Malzberg with former New York governor David Paterson in September.
WCBS announced that their association with the New York Yankees will continue for at least one more year.
In the ratings race, WLTW continues to hold on to the top spot. But WKTU did manage to take the top spot in the 25 to 54 demo, moving in to that spot in July.
Sadly, we lost some radio folk in 2011. Nick Ashford who once did afternoon drive on WRKS with wife Vallerie Simpson died on August 22nd. Jim Branch a newsman at WABC, WPIX FM and WRFM passed on April 7th. Bill Brown of WOR FM and WCBS FM fame died on October 9th. Chuck Collier who worked at WCBS FM back in the mid 70’s died on September 22nd. Long time Jets broadcaster Sam DeLuca died on September 13th. Steve Labunskie one time GM at WMCA died on March 21st. Deejay Megatron of WQHT was shot to death outside of his home on March 27th. Ruth Ann Meyer who served as PD at WMCA, WHN and WNEW passed away on January 22nd. ABC staff announcer Allan Jefferys died on September 29th. CBS staff announcer Bill Martin died on June 19th. ABC Radio announcer George Ansbro died on November 5th. Long time New York radio personality Danny Stiles died on March 11th. Larry Yount who worked for WRFM, WVNJ and WQXR died on August 25th. And most recently, former WBAI and WABC talk personality Lynn Samuels passed away on December 24th. May they all rest in peace.
So that’s my look back on a year that passed way too quickly. I guess that happens as you get older. My wish for you is a happy, peaceful and joyful new year. Enjoy!