T Dog’s Media Notepad: Landecker heads to the Radio Hall Of Fame

John Landecker (Eckhartz Press)

St. Louis, Milwaukee stations may be spun off by Sinclair sale while John Oliver takes on the company
Philadelphia radio station takes a shot a Taylor Swift; changes formats

Chicago radio legend John “Records” Landecker is getting a tremendous honor: an induction into the National Radio Hall Of Fame – on the first ballot. Landecker is being inducted into the shrine at the Museum of Broadcast Communications on November 2. In addition, Landecker is also having his book Records Is Truly My Middle Name updated with a new Hall of Fame edition, with an update on his post-radio life after he left WLS-FM two years ago. The re-release of the four-year old book is scheduled for October 23, and was co-written by his former WJMK morning producer, Rick Kaempfer.

Landecker was one of WLS-AM’s major personalities in its 1970’s heyday, with his nightly “Boogie Checks” heard in Chicago and around the country. His high-energy presentations back then certainly is the stuff of legends and certainly entertaining. Hear for yourself via this clip.

Landecker also was on the air at WCFL, WAGO/WCKG-FM and WJMK-FM. Landecker also has worked for radio stations in Toronto and Cleveland, where he is in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame.

And yes, Records is really his middle name.

Certainly in the spirit of Landecker: in a bizarre – but refreshing way of letting listeners know they are blowing up a radio station, Philadelphia’s WISX-FM (known as Mix 106.1) Thursday morning took a shot at Taylor Swift on-air and tossed its Mix 106.1 format and branding into the trash.

After Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) Played, morning host Chio Ascota (known on-air as Chio) said “We don’t want to be the same like all the others. There’s ten stations playing Taylor Swift. Do we really need another station playing that?” . The iHeartMedia-owned then started taking requests from listeners for any song they wanted to hear – and I mean any. Artists played include Linda Ronstandt, Metallica, and 69 Boyz’s Tootsie Roll. At the same time, WISX wiped its entire mix 106.1 branding from its website.

Then at Noon, WISX flipped to a Classic Hip-Hop/Urban Contemporary hybrid as Real 106.1, with the first song – appropriately enough – was the 1991 smash Summertime by Philly’s own D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Core artists does include some current Hip-Hop and R&B hitmakers, include Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, and Eminem (listen to the change here.)

Here’s iHeartMedia Philadelphia Senior VP/Programming Brian Check:“We’re thrilled to launch a station that really represents Philly. We hear from our listeners all the time that this music is fun, infectious and timeless, so we can’t wait to bring these songs back to the airwaves.

Chio remains as morning host while the station is dropping Mario Lopez and Ryan Seacrest’s syndicated shows. Throughout its history, WISX has hosted several formats, including Easy Listening, Adult Contemporary, and most famously under WEGX (The Eagle) as a Contemporary Hits outlet, which helped take down WCAU-FM (now Oldies WOGL.) It is also where former WLUP personality Danny Bonaduce got his start in radio, post-Partridge Family fame.

WISX had been struggling in the ratings in recent years, which likely led to the format flip, with the latest PPMs showing the station in 18th place. Real 106.1 is available outside Philadelphia thru iHeartRadio’s streaming platforms. And the best part for Philadelphia radio fans besides the elimination of an outlet for Taylor Swift’s “music”… no more Ryan Seacrest.

It looks like Sinclair Broadcasting may have to divest itself of a few stations as the company’s deal to buy Tribune Media moves forward as the merger gives the new union outright ownership of three stations in some markets. According to sources, the cities affected include Seattle, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, and the “triad” area surrounding Greensboro, among others.

For example, Tribune owns WITI in Milwaukee, but Sinclair owns the duopoly of WVTV and WCGV (though the latter station was sold in the incentive auction.) In St. Louis, Tribune owns KTVI and KPLR but Sinclair owns ABC affiliate KDNL.

The moves are being proposed as some parts of the transaction may violate the FCC’s station ownership rules with companies limited to owning two stations per market and as long as one of the stations isn’t among the four most-watched. But the moves may be made in order to avoid intervention by the Department of Justice, who frowned on Gannett (now Tegna) owning CBS affiliate KMOV and NBC affiliate KSDK in St. Louis after Gannett owner KSDK bought Belo, owner of KMOV and proposed the latter station sold to a shell company, as there were concerns over one company controlling too much ad revenue.

KMOV was later sold to Meredith Corp.

And speaking of Sinclair, Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver had some thoughts on the “company you never heard of…” overtaking local news around the country. Oliver has some solid points about their “must run” pieces and their “two political commentators”. And of course, the “Terrorism Alert Desk”. Yes, this is the same kind of stuff coming to “Chicago’s Very Own”, WGN-TV and other Tribune stations this fall. You can watch the video below – and please do: