In a city with a glut of adult contemporary stations (there are four), the arrival of a GM from a new-age station is bound to prompt speculation about the possibility of a format change at Sunny. Specter scoffs.
"Absolutely, without a doubt, there will be no format change," Specter said Friday shortly after huddling with other 'SNI executives. "There is no reason to change. We are just trying to put some consistency in the station."
Cusack's dismissal comes on the heels of a disappointing fall ratings book for 'SNI. The station had been heading downward in the last year or so, falling to last place among the city's adult contemporary stations. But in the summer ratings book, Sunny seemed poised to pull out of the slump. That, however, was followed by a bad fall book.
NEW 'DB MAN. Time to meet the new morning man at all-talk WWDB-FM (96.5). He's Paul W. Smith, 36, who was thrown into the job market when his former station, talker WMCA-AM in New York, switched to all-religion a couple of months ago.
Smith, single and a native of Monroe, Mich., had been doing some fill-in work for 'DB. Owner Chuck Schwartz liked what he heard. "We got an excellent response from listeners without even asking," Schwartz said Friday.
Although he's coming from the Big Apple, both Schwartz and Smith insist he's no New Yorker.
"I had offers in New York and San Francisco," Smith said Friday. "I chose Philadelphia because it reminds me of my home-town area of Michigan. The values here are similar. And the other thing is, I've heard nothing but good things about Philadelphia from people who used to live here."
So far, Smith said, 'DB listeners have made him feel welcome. "People are feeling me out. I'm stepping into the shoes of a big guy (Dominic Quinn) who is liked here, but I have gotten positive letters already.
"If I came in as a rock 'em sock 'em New Yorker, it might be different. But I am not; I am a Michigander."
SAFE LANDING. Speaking of 'DB, remember Joe Madison, the overnight talker who got canned after only five months last May because of a contract dispute with the station?
Well, after seven months of looking for work, he signed a two-year contract at Christmas time with Washington talk station WRC-AM.
At WRC, which is D.C.'s only all-talk station, Madison will drive around all day in a brand new $50,000 mobile studio van, conducting man-on-the-street interviews, taking impromptu opinion polls and doing specialty shows.
"I'm thrilled," Madison said Friday. "It's an opportunity to get back to what I love. It's also a new concept. Not only will I be on air throughout the day, but I get to produce it, too. That gives me lots of freedom, and I'll be able to experiment."
Madison, 40, whose wife and kids are still in Philadelphia, plans to commute for the foreseeable future. He said he also plans to pursue legal action against WWDB.
"I am still very bitter," said Madison. "But just remember, the best revenge is success."
STATIC. WXTU-FM (92.5) morning man Jeff Collins has signed a new two-year contract with the country station. His partner on the show, Gina Preston, who also happens to be his wife, is up for contract renewal in March. The station expects her to re-up as well.
In the WEAZ-FM (101.1) file, Christopher Caldwell, formerly of WMGK-FM (102.9), has joined the soft hits station to handle the weekend 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift. That means that EZ-101, which used to be almost all satellite- plucked music, is now locally produced from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Also at EZ- 101, morning man Bob Bateman has signed a new contract with the station; and Debra Graves, another 'MGK alum, has joined 'EAZ as morning news anchor and public affairs programmer.