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Steve Kingston


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Dedicated in memory of Jim Collins



 

Big Steve today.

 

Steve Kingston joined WPGC as Asst. PD in 1980 while still Programming WYRE in Annapolis. He became Program Director in 1981 when General Manager, Charles Giddens hired him to replace Scott Shannon who had left for Q105 Tampa. Steve left WPGC comfortably ahead of Q107 in the ratings in July 1982 for B94 Pittsburgh.

He next programmmed B104 / Baltimore to record ratings success before joining Scott Shannon at Z-100 / New York. From there he went to WXRK / NY for a long programming stint followed by the launch of 'Blink 102' at WNEW. He later programmed the 'Ethel' format at XM Satellite Radio in New York. Today he owns WRNR in Annapolis.

 

 

Steve writes:

I developed a real passion for radio growing up in Silver Spring, MD, making requests on WUST. I believe “Moonman”, the afternoon jock at the time was intrigued that a teenager living in a white middle class neighborhood in suburban Washington, DC would listen to a kilowatt AM programming to the inner city.

This led me to pursue a career in radio, and attend a seminar for the Columbia School of Broadcasting in the mid 70’s, located in the Air Rights Building in Bethesda. Jack Alix was running the school at the time, and the guest speaker was Harv Moore. I learned more in the one hour I spent with the two of them than I can remember.

It was after this that I found out that another “Jack”, Diamond, was then known as Bruce Diamond, a 17 year old radio “prodigy” was working nights at our local suburban radio station, WINX. He helped me get my first job in radio as the part time janitor at WINX as a way to pay for school. The rest is history….


On Scott Shannon:

WPGC never gave Shannon the opportunity to be the air talent he could be at WPGC. The company simply didn't like him on the air, which frustrated Scott and the rest of us. He ended up satisfying his desire to be an on air PD by doing production, filling in for Geronimo whenever possible and hosting the Sunday Night Oldies show.


On Elliott & Woodside Not Having A Contract:

Philosophically, First Media did not believe contracts were essential to their business plan. Talent was free to work and free to leave, even the morning show. Each time Jim Elliott was approached by ABC and offered more money and the security of a contract, GM, Charles Giddens and I would approach the company, requesting we protect their investment by signing Elliott and Woodside. They refused. And it was obvious both really wanted to stay.

The ABC offers were for positions at other owned stations in other markets, the second to the last offer being afternoons in Chicago at WLS for Jim. The company still refused to offer him a contract. When ABC returned in December with an offer to replace Dude & Doug in Washington with Elliott AND Woodside, the offer was too good to pass up, and they accepted. Their love of WPGC and their team mates is what kept them at the station in spite of numerous, more lucrative offers to leave. It became a business decision. I think they were offended that First Media didn't think highly enough of them to offer them the security of a contract, which didn't help matters. Ultimately, they made the right decision as the station changed format soon after.


On Elliott & Woodside Leaving For Q107:

Elliott and Woodside had already signed with WRQX when we were notified of their decision. I'm certain ABC forced them to do so. WPGC was not given an opportunity to negotiate. I believe their resignation came during the December Holiday season, and GM, Charles Giddens was on vacation as was First Media President, Glenn Potter. There was a mandatory meeting at Glenn's home, with me, Charles and First Media attorney, Ralph Hardy to decide next steps and what damage control measures to take.


On Hiring Joe Theismann:

We never conducted a national talent search to replace Elliott and Woodside. We decided to build our own. We even considered bringing in a comedian who performed regularly at Garvins to add some color. But that was short lived. We had not spoken to Theismann and had absolutely no plan 'B'. Joe's name came up while brainstorming options. I believe it was the football strike that allowed him to host mornings with then midday talent, Dave Foxx. Ralph Hardy flew to Florida and came back with a commitment from Joe to host the show. We launched the day after New Years with Foxx, Theismann and Channel 4's, George Michael in the lineup.


On The Ratings Impact Of Losing Elliott & Woodside:

Elliott and Woodside's move to Q107 did nothing to erode WPGC's morning show ratings initially, even with all the local press coverage the move received. I recall the ratings for both stations remained constant in the short term. WPGC took the biggest hit in the mornings due to softening the music and targeting the older WASH audience.

Local management was at odds with the company as to the positioning and overall strategy for WPGC, as evident in the eventual format and call letter change. The football strike allowed Theismann to make himself available for an extended period of time. And we were speaking to Dude Walker soon after Elliott and Woodside's move.


On What He Would Have Done Differently:

There was nothing any of us could do to change the course of WPGC history. The sign on my desk read, "It Can Be Done"....This was the one exception.

 

 

Sound Files

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Fall 1980 Movie tag - :02
10/20/80 Pan Am tag - 1:00
10/20/80 Red Rose Tea tag - :31




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