Breaking News - February 24, 2003
WHJY’s The Doctor Confirmed Dead In Club Fire
Station Plans Saturday Night Vigil and On-Air Tribute For Victims

Missing WHJY/Providence overnight personality The Doctor has been positively identified as one of the 97 victims of Thursday night’s club fire in West Warwick, RI. The Doctor (real name - Mike Gonsalves) hadn’t been head from since he MC-ed the disastrous Great White concert at The Station.

Mike Gonsalves

Meanwhile, plans continue for an ‘HJY-sponsored candlelit outdoor vigil this Saturday night to pay respects to victims. A special version of The Metal Zone will air that night, anchored by former ‘HJY afternoon personality Lou Brutus. Now PD of XM’s "Special X" channel and host of the syndicated hardDrive show, Brutus is a close friend of The Doctor, who hosted The Metal Zone for 16 years.

"This could have happened to any one of us," WHJY afternoon co-host John Laurenti told FMQB. "Not just here, but anywhere."

The Doctor finished voice tracking his overnight show Thursday around 9:00 p.m., before heading over to The Station, where ’HJY has promoted numerous shows over the years. By 11:00, ’HJY’s promo people working the concert had returned to the studios, after narrowly escaping the hellish inferno. But The Doctor had not. Laurenti pulled Gonsalves’ voice tracks and went on the air live at midnight, later joined by afternoon co-host Geoff Charles. The pair watched ambulances scream up and down I-95 between Boston hospitals and West Warwick.

’HJY temporarily dropped much of its special programming, replaced voice tracked weekend shifts with live jocks, carried several news conferences hosted by the Governor, and put numerous listeners on the air. "People want to talk about it and we’re giving them the opportunity to do so," Laurenti added.

Bill Stedman Named WCSX/Detroit OM

As earlier rumored by FMQB, and now made official, former WOMC/Detroit programmer Bill Stedman has been named OM at Greater Media Classic Rock WCSX.

"Bill has spent his time behind the microphone and in the production studio, and in his heart, he’s a Baby Boomer Rocker," GM Tom Bender said. "He’s also a player’s coach, who’s skilled in perceptual and music research, and bottom line… he’s a true radio guy. Bill’s a perfect match for WCSX!"

"I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a member of 94.7 WCSX and the Greater Media family," Stedman added. "This station has a passion to create radio that truly serves the listeners as well as the advertisers. Greater Media gets radio!"

Stedman replaces Ralph Cipolla who recently joined Jacobs Media as a consultant.

Senate Committee to Explore Payola Practices

Orrin Hatch

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is planning to launch an investigation into alleged payola practices in the radio industry.

"While I am a strong believer in free markets, I am also a strong believer in the antitrust laws and vigorous competition policy," Hatch told the Recording Academy at a luncheon in New York. "These allegations raise serious competition issues, which my committee will investigate and deal with appropriately. I would expect to hold a hearing on these issues in the coming month to examine the allegations and see how they affect the artists and their ability to distribute and promote their music."

Clear Channel Launches "The Beat" in Greensboro

Clear Channel has flipped WWCC/Greensboro, NC from Country Standards to Rhythmic Top 40 as "94.5 The Beat." The station launched on Monday (2/25), commercial free with "10,000 joints in a row" featuring the music of 50 Cent, Ashanti, Eminem, Jay Z, Missy, Nelly, P. Diddy and more. "94.5 The Beat is a station that reflects the lifestyle of today’s 18-34 adults," OM Tim Satterfield said. "It is a relatable and hip, music intensive station that plays music for all people." The station expects to unveil an air staff by late March.

EMI-Warner Music Group Deal Valued at $4 Billion

EMI is in preliminary talks with AOL Time Warner about the possibility of purchasing the Warner Music Group in a deal that would be valued at $3 billion to $4 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. While the talks are still in the early stages, and any deal would have to be approved by U.S. and European regulators, it is a signal that further consolidation within the record industry is in the future. The sale of WMG would help AOL TW reduce its massive debt, while helping EMI strengthen its position within the major label groups.

Sirius Continues Attack on Traditional Radio

We already reported on Sirius’ TV campaign, which attacks traditional radio, now the satcaster has published a "manifesto" that attacks both radio and the record industry. "How many times has music played second fiddle to corporate agenda? Sirius asks. "How much music has gone unheard so that boy bands might be seen? When was the last time someone spun a song just because they believed in its ideas? There are times when the entire music industry holds the music hostage by pumping out more commercially driven clones." Under the headline "Radio Off," Sirius says: "Music shouldn’t fade out at state borders. A song shouldn’t be repeated over and over until you can’t take it anymore." The manifesto is running in newspapers across the country.

In Brief…

WQBZ/Macon PD Erich West has added PD duties at Clear Channel Talk/Modern Rock sister WYNF/Sarasota… WRKS/New York afternoon host Jeff Foxx and midday talent Shaila are teaming for mornings, replacing the syndicated Tom Joyner… Modern Rock WFXF/Albany, GA is now known as "Real Rock 97-3, Albany’s New Rock Alternative." In addition, WJRR/Orlando night talent Buckethead will voicetrack mornings for ’FXF… KRBZ/Kansas City Imaging Director Andy West has exited for the same position at Q100 and 99X in Atlanta… Y100 (WPLY)/Philadelphia weekend talent Marilyn Russell segues to crosstown Classic Rock WMGK for the same… Syndicated night personality Alan Kabel has joined the lineup at Emmis Hot AC KKLT/Phoenix… Top 40 WAYV/Atlantic City is now simulcast on WAIV (formerly WMID) in Cape May county… Cable outlet Comedy Central has joined the PPM market trial, taking place in Philadelphia.