Top 10 local radio news stories of 2002

December 30, 2002 by Scott Jameson

Over the past year, Central New York saw new rock, news-talk, and oldies stations, some legal wranglings,and radio stations coming together to help the community. Here are's picks for the top ten local stories of the year relating to the Central New York radio markets.

1. Nicole Wilcox, new Hot morning host, assault victim

We picked the Nicole Wilcox assault case as our top local story of 2002 because of thesheer number of searches Wilcox has received on this year.

It was a busy week in early May for Nicole Wilcox who won a Hot 107-9 contest to become Dakota's sidekick in the morning. That same week she wound up in the middle of bar room brawl involving S.U. basketball player DeShaun Williams. The case, which attracted quite a bit of media attention, went to court three months later with Williams being found not guilty.

2. WXBB becomes New Rock 105

After simulcasting B104.7's programming for nearly a year and a half, Clear Channel's WXBB broke away as 'New Rock 105, The Dog' after a few days of holiday music stunting in late December.

3. Bill Keeler exits WRCK

WRCK's Bill Keeler found himself out of a job in early December after Galaxy Communications let the morning show host go before his contract was up. Keeler has said publicly that he plans to sue Galaxy over breach of contract, while company officials say the split is a private personnel matter.

4. WFBL switches to news-talk

WFBL 1050 AM, which had been an adult standards formatted station for nine years, flipped to news-talk in May. The debut lineup included Bill O'Reilly, Dr. Joy Browne, the Dolans, Sean Hannity, and a locally produced news and information morning show with Rick Laxton and Lisa Chapman.

5. Sunny 102.1 adjusts its format

While not a complete shift in direction, in September, Galaxy Communications' Sunny 102.1 (WZUN) rolled the format wheel back about 10 years to focus on music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

6. Galaxy and Clear Channel air radiothons for firefighters

Over $110,000 was raised by separate radiothons sponsored by Clear Channel and Galaxy Communications for the families of Timothy Lynch and John Ginocchetti, firefighters killed while battling a Pompey house fire in March.

7. WSYR bumps Dr. Laura

Citing falling ratings, 570 WSYR moved the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Show from mid-mornings to late evenings. Laura's show was replaced with a locally produced call-inprogram hosted by Kathy Denman and the syndicated Live in America with Sam Donaldson.

8. Scorch exits K-Rock

K-Rock's morning jock, Scorch, was out on the street in September. In a published interview, he was mum on the reasons why. K-Rock's evening guy J.J. Herr took over the All Request Morning Show.

9. WZZZ sold for $300,000

Fulton's WZZZ was the only station to change hands in 2002. The 1,000 watt AM daytimer, which had the call letters WOSC for years, was purchased by radio veteran Don DeRosa who served as the station's general manager in the early 80s. In September, the station changed its call letters to WAMF and switched to a traditional country format.

10. Jason Kidd moves to Pittsburgh

Hot 107-9's program director and afternoon jock, Jason Kidd, made a big move to program KISS 96-1 (WKST) in Pittsburgh. Five months later, Erin Bristol of Cedar Rapids, Iowa took over Kidd's Hot programming duties.

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