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.
next programmmed B104 / Baltimore to record ratings success before
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. For many years, he owned and operated WRNR in Annapolis.
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.
led me to pursue a career in radio, and attend a seminar for the
Columbia School of Broadcasting in the mid 70s, 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.
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
He helped me get my first job in radio as the part time janitor
as a way to pay for school. The
rest is history
On Scott Shannon:
I'll never forget the first meeting with Scott at O'Donnell's Seafood Restaurant, in Bethesda. The meeting / dinner was prearranged by a mutual record label friend. I was programming WYRE, and Scott's first question at dinner was, 'Let me ask you a question....Why does your radio station sound better than mine?'. Quite the compliment! That was the beginning of the greatest radio ride of my life. I joined Scott at 'PGC, which was all I ever wanted, professionally, since it was my hometown station. Scott left to relaunch Q105 in Tampa (and left his car at the airport, by the curb, which is a story for another time). We then joined up at Z100. The rest, as they say, is history. My wife, Patty Steele, has been Scott's radio side kick at WPLJ (another story) and now WCBS-FM for 8 years! We are one big happy radio family!
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 Don Cavaleri:
Don Cavaleri passed away on 10/16/11 after a brief but fierce battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer. Don and I had been friends since meeting at WPGC in the early '80's. At the time, he was the General Sales Manager, and I was the Program Director. As at most radio stations, the battle lines were drawn; Sales versus Programming. But as I learned over the years, Don not only excelled professionally as a sales person, sales manager and overall broadcast executive, but had the sensibilities to invest in opportunities and people. He expressed his frustration with corporate life long before it became trendy, and decided to buy stations. I was fortunate enough to join him and his entrepreneurial adventure into radio station ownership.
In 1983, he left WPGC, and we formed a partnership to purchase our first radio station; KZKX, a 100KW FM serving Seward, Nebraska. Making the transition 'up market' to Lincoln was truly a worst to first scenario. But he succeeded, and at last check, KZKX still dominates the market. Don possessed the skills and real passion for radio, and my 100 percent trust in his character and talent allowed me to pursue my own career while Don minded the store. We went on to purchase stations in Charleston, Annapolis, and eventually St. Augustine, Florida, which was close enough to home and he intended to manage, during the launch and for the first few months of the start up.
Don was a true outdoorsman, and of all the properties we owned, he truly loved Annapolis because of the Bay, its close association with nature and the environment, and his love of wooden ducks. When the company was divested and sold off in the early 2000's for multiples that in today's world are astronomical,
I was committed to Annapolis while Don was committed to a life of golf and retirement. I told him I would prefer not to cash out of WRNR, and presuaded him to stay on. Though he was 1000 miles away, he did.
To the end, he was in my life a mentor, advisor, consultant and most importantly, a friend. I spoke to Don almost every day over the many years we were friends and colleagues. I will miss my friend, but I know he left us on his own terms; proud, sure, unflappable and with little fuss. He is survived by his loving wife and high school sweetheart, Ann, sons Kyle and Chad, and several grandchildren.
& Woodside Not Having A Contract:
First Media did not believe contracts were essential to their
business plan. Talent was free to work and free to leave, even
show. Each time Jim
Elliott was approached by ABC and offered more money and the
security of a contract, GM,
and I would approach the company, requesting we protect their
investment by signing Elliott
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
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:
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,
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:
never conducted a national talent search to replace Elliott
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,
and Channel 4's, George Michael in the lineup.
On The Ratings Impact Of Losing Elliott & Woodside:
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
On What He Would Have Done Differently:
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.
Rose Tea tag