Our Top 10 Stories of 2011

December 31, 2011 by

CENTRAL NEW YORK -- As per tradition, we observe the last day of the year with a look back through our traffic stats to find out which topics were the most-searched, and which stories received the most views during 2011. With this being the first full year for and being merged as one website, we wondered if any TV-related stories might make the top 10. Without further adieu, let's get to the countdowns!

Most Popular Search Terms

While we have plenty of regular readers who visit the site daily no matter what (and if you're among them, we thank you), there are many readers who happen upon our website because we showed up in search engine results. During 2011, here were the top 10 topics which brought people to our digital doorstep:

  1. Elvis Duran
  2. Jim Tortora
  3. Fred Horton
  4. WUTR News
  5. Bill Keeler
  6. Adam the Bull
  7. Jennifer Lewke
  8. Dysfunctional Family Barbeque 2011
  9. Julie Abbott Syracuse
  10. KRockathon 2011
(The first item on the list should be #10, counting down to #1 - due to compatibility issues in various browsers, the list may appear to count up instead of down.) Countdown data sources: Google Analytics and Jetpack.

And now, we present to you, the ten most-viewed stories during 2011:

#10 - WSYR Skipping Weekday Yankees Games

While many fans lauded WSYR's decision to launch an FM simulcast at the end of 2010, Yankees fans were upset with the station when baseball season started. Why? Well, the series of format changes which made the FM simulcast possible left Clear Channel with nowhere to put the weekday games. In the past, those day games would air on SportsRadio 620 WHEN. But that option disappeared when the cluster's urban-formatted "Power" moved from 106.9FM to 620AM. While WSYR has always pre-empted regular programming for evening and weekend games, Rush Limbaugh's usual affiliate contract only allows pre-emptions in extremely rare situations -- and Yankees games aren't among them. While the concept was new to Syracuse in 2011, it's been that way for years in other markets like Rochester.[More »]

#9 - Utica's WUTR to Revive Local News Operation

TV viewers in most markets have multiple choices for local news. But from 2003 until this past September, Utica viewers had only one choice -- NBC affiliate WKTV was the only game in town. (Sure, Time Warner's YNN came along eventually, but much of their content is produced in Albany and Syracuse.) When Nexstar Broadcasting announced plans to bring local newscasts back to WUTR and WFXV, some thought the announcement -- on March 31 -- was an early April Fool's gag. But less than six months later, Smith Hill would once again be home to two local TV newsrooms -- with the Nexstar camp launching in high-definition, to boot. [More »]

#8 - Adam the Bull Heads to Cleveland

Even though he left Central New York years go, Adam "the Bull" Gerstenhaber apparently still has a following in Central New York. The former Utica-Rome sports talk host received plenty of attention when we reported he'd be moving from his then-current job at New York City's WFAN to help launch a new all-sports FM station in Cleveland at the end of August. Our stats indicate plenty of the hits came from the Cleveland area, where listeners were no doubt curious to find out about the personalities who'd be launching Sports Radio 92.3.[More »]

#7 - Clear Channel Syracuse Cuts 4: Reith, Marisay, 2 Producers

You might wonder, "this only ranked #7?" Well, it's the second of two stories on this topic -- our first story, just about Jim Reith's exit -- ranked higher in the countdown, as you'll see as you continue to read down the page. Soon after we learned of Reith's departure, we learned three other staffers were axed on the same day. They included WSYR producers Mike Foltz and Bill Ali, along with on-air personality Rachel Marisay, who had shifts on Y94FM and B104.7, along with occasional news anchoring duties on WSYR. She was also the morning host on the former Nova 105.1, before the station was sold to Craig Fox in 2009.[More »]


#6 - Jim Tortora Exits News Director Post at NewsChannel 9

Even though some experts say the average "lifespan" of a TV News Director is only 3-5 years at a single station, we were still surprised to hear of Jim Tortora's sudden exit from NewsChannel 9 after more than a decade with the station -- and right at the beginning of May sweeps, to boot. We heard some rumors about the reason, but given the serious nature of the backstory, and without anyone willing to go "on the record," we held back, and instead linked to MediaBistro's coverage of that aspect of the story. Updating the story, Tortora's a news director again; in September, he landed at WGGB in Springfield, MA. [More »]


#5 - K-Rock Unveils 2011 Dysfunctional Family BBQ Lineup

The "Dysfunctional Family BBQ" may not be the first response you'd give if asked to name concert events staged by K-Rock. But the fact that this year's lineup announcement made our top 5 demonstrates the loyal following for the Memorial Day Weekend event. In the days before we received this year's lineup, an increase in hits for last year's lineup shows fans were eager for the announcement.[More »]


#4 - Jennifer Lewke Resigns from WSYR-TV

Based on developments earlier in the May sweeps period at NewsChannel 9 (see countdown item #6, above), local TV news insiders weren't too surprised when reporter Jennifer Lewke resigned the day after the ratings period ended. Despite the hasty departure, Lewke won several awards for her investigative efforts during her six years with the station. By the end of October, she resurfaced in Albany, at CBS affiliate WRGB. [More »]


#3 - Jim Reith Exits WSYR After 27 Years

Before checking our traffic stats, your editor had been thinking this could be the year's #1 story; we were surprised to see it ranked #3. Clear Channel made a massive wave of cutbacks nationwide in October, and longtime WSYR afternoon host Jim Reith was among those pinkslipped. While some anti-Reith ax-grinders praised the move, many people -- both fans and dissenters -- criticized Clear Channel for removing the market's only talk show to consistently devote itself to local issues. Thanks to tips from readers who noticed Reith's quiet removal from the station's website, we managed to break the story first -- picking up even more hits when graciously linked their coverage to ours. Even though the story ranked #3 overall for the year, we set a new all-time record for visits on the day the story broke.[More »]


#2 - Former TV Host’s Son Dies After Falling into Lake

Even though Julie Abbott walked away from hosting NewsChannel 9's Bridge Street a couple years ago, Central New Yorkers certainly haven't forgotten her. The tragic drowning accident which claimed the life of her two-year-old son was one of the most-read stories of the year. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kenan family this holiday season.[More »]


#1 - Stone Temple Pilots to Headline KRockathon 16

Fans of K-Rock were so anxious to find out which bands would be performing at this year's KRockathon, we logged quite a few hits for articles covering previous years' lineups in the days leading up to the announcement of this year's concert. Once the list came out, another surge of traffic as fans scrambled to get a look at this year's lineup and ticket info. [More »]


Thanks for Another Great Year!

I know I've said it many times before, and this won't be the last time -- thanks to all of YOU, the readers, for making 2011 another great year for and Watching these numbers, knowing people are reading, is my main motivation for continuing with the site. I'm always grateful for the Facebook likes and shares, the Twitter retweets, the Google +1 clicks, and everything else you do to help share the site with your friends and colleagues. I'm also grateful for all the "informants" out there -- keeping track of developments at radio stations in three markets and TV stations in two markets would be impossible all on my own. Many of the stories covered in 2011 might have been missed if it weren't for all of you who've sent in press releases and news tips. So, thanks again for a great 2011, and here's you all have a great year in 2012, whatever it may bring for you.

Earlier 2011 Year in Review Coverage

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