UTICA-ROME -- Stew Schantz, who once served as Operations Manager of Clear Channel's former Utica-Rome cluster, has passed away at the age of 53. He most recently was working as OM and afternoon driver at WUPE in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Anonymous sources say Schantz died Friday morning, of complications following a heart attack Thursday night. Updated 6/14 with official obituary/arrangements.
New information on 6/14: According to an obituary published by the Poughkeepsie Journal, services for Stew "will be private and at the convenience of the family." In lieu of flowers, the family is asking memorial donations be directed to the SPCA or any other charity of choice. Schantz will be buried at the Church of the Ascension Cemetery in West Park, NY.
Prior to his 1998 arrival at Kiss-FM (WSKS/WSKU) in Utica, your editor recalls hearing Schantz on the air at Top 40 K-104 (WSPK) in the Poughkeepsie area during the 1980s. (I moved from Poughkeepsie to Rome in 1988.) According to Wikipedia, Schantz was instrumental in ushering in the station's CHR format starting in 1980 -- and CHR is still going strong at K104 to this day. Schantz left the station shortly after an ownership change in 1998.
Schantz spent the next several years programming Kiss-FM, also hosting afternoons until 2002, when he moved to the midday shift. Along the way, Schantz picked up programming duties when Hot AC Mix 102.5 (WUMX) launched, eventually becoming OM for the entire cluster. On Facebook today, Kiss-FM's "Kenny the Promo Guy" credits Schantz with giving him that nickname, which he still uses to this day.
Schantz was let go from Clear Channel in 2005. AllAccess.com had Schantz listed as PD of two Albany stations on his birthday in 2006, but the same website reported Schantz being let go from Galaxy's former Rock 107 (WRCK) in New Hartford in 2007, due to budget cuts. (We regret we don't have a more concrete history, as CNYRadio.com was dormant from 2005-2008.)
Schantz eventually resurfaced at oldies WUPE in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he's still listed as the station's PD and afternoon drive host on the station's website as of 1:00pm Friday. During his time there, he helped another former Central New York radio personality find work -- hiring Nick Caplan, after he was fired from mornings at MOViN' 100.3 (WMVN) in Syracuse. (Incidentally, Caplan's been missing from the WUPE website for awhile, but we're not certain of his current whereabouts.)