"With the drama behind them, it's time for McKeesport Area to do something it hasn't done in nearly three decades --- start the process of looking for a new head football coach ... athletic director Charley Kiss has set a Feb. 5 deadline for applications." (Mark Kaboly, Daily News)
Book Country Clearing House is eying the former site of Precoat Metals for a major expansion, Tube City Almanac has learned.
College Aid for MAHS Seniors: More than $40,000 in scholarships, grants and awards is available to McKeesport Area High School seniors again this year, the Consortium for Public Education has announced.
In addition, several new scholarships are available this year. But the deadline for applications is fast approaching.
The scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of alumni, family members and friends, and other supporters in the Mon-Yough area, says Linda Croushore, president of the McKeesport High School Alumni and Friends Association.
The alumni association, now in its 23rd year, is a project of the Consortium for Public Education.
"These scholarships and awards have been underwritten by proud McKeesport alumni and others who want to extend a helping hand to today's students as they contemplate that next, important step in their educational careers," Croushore says.
"We want to stress that they are open to all seniors intent on pursuing post-secondary education, whether they are college-bound or headed to career or technical schools, business school, art school or culinary institute," she says.
All seniors have received flyers announcing the scholarships and grants at home and at the high school, a Consortium spokeswoman says.
New awards for 2010 include the:
By Adam Spate
Special to Tube City Almanac
It all started about a year ago, when three friends bought a couple of ScooterX go-karts online.
Mike "Zak" Kostyzak, Vikki Zilonis* and Roman Nowicki had fun tooling around. But they also had a lot of interest from neighbors and relatives wondering where they could buy a go-kart, too.
So they went into the go-kart business for themselves last spring, at first online only, before realizing they needed a showroom to display the products everyone was asking about.
. . .
Now they're selling go-karts, scooters and electric bicycles --- conveniently less than 100 feet from the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail that will eventually connect Cumberland, Md., with Pittsburgh.
Located in the lower level of a former house at 3731 Walnut St. in Christy Park, near Olympia Shopping Center, Speedy Go Karts is exclusive Pittsburgh-area outlet for Go-Ped and ScooterX brand products, two big names in the go-kart and scooter world.
On a good day, you can even see one of the best advertisements driving around outside the store.
"My kids love to ride around the parking lot," Zilonis says. The activity has caused many people to take notice and stop in the store.
. . .
Starting this spring, they'll have brand-new bicycles from Marin*, Felt and Surly, and will be custom-building any bike you want.
Business seems to be going well, even in the slow economy that has others sitting back. Speedy is advertising on Facebook and Craigslist, and in good weather the founders ride the bike trail to talk with cyclists.
Finding a place near the bike trail was very important, as was having a decent parking lot for test rides, Speedy's founders say.
. . .
Besides a complete line of go-kart and bicycling accessories, their showroom caters to both novices and experienced hobbyists. They have everything from Know-Ped adult push scooters to an awesome beast called the "Trail Ripper."
Equipped with a four-and-a-half horsepower motor, the Trail Ripper scooter can do just about everything a dirt bike can do, including hill climbing. Top speed is 30 mph.
If "green" technology is more your thing, Speedy Go Karts has eco-friendly scooters and go-karts, including electric and propane-gas propelled models.
. . .
The emissions from the Pro-Ped LP scooter, for instance, are almost as low as those from an electric, and as Zilonis points out, there is no mixing of gas and oil. Riders just attach a one-pound propane cylinder and off they go, with no fumes and no gas on their hands.
It's also safer to transport than a gasoline-powered scooter: You can lay it down in the back of a car or truck and not worry about the fuel leaking out.
. . .
You can tell that Speedy's founders really love scooters and go-karts. Kostyzak knew every detail about every product and sounds like he's been selling them his entire life --- not just a few months.
Exciting products, exciting shop and plans for the future --- if you know anyone who uses the bike trail, tell them to stop by and see what Speedy Go Karts has that might be right for them.
. . .
Speedy Go Karts is located at 3731 Walnut St. in Christy Park, near the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail and Route 48. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 12 to 7 p.m. Fridays, and 12 to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Call (412) 751-KART or visit their website.
The dregs of winter seem to be upon us, people. The skies are gloomy, the wildlife is hiding, and the flowers and trees are all dead.
Even the pickings on the events calendar are mighty slim. In fairness to local groups, everyone thought that this weekend was a bad weekend to schedule any events.
We assumed we'd all be at home this weekend, watching the Steelers play for the conference championship.
Yeah. If the weather isn't depressing you, that should do the trick.
Zydeco Music Tomorrow: Zydeco Dogz play the Bulgarian-Macedonian National Educational & Cultural Center, 449-451 West 8th Ave., West Homestead, from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Zydeco is a form of American folk music that evolved in Louisiana in the late 1800s, and the evening will include dance lessons.
The event is family-friendly and all ages are welcome. Refreshments will be available at a cash bar. Admission is $8. Call (412) 461-6188.
By Adam Spate
Special to Tube City Almanac
Drive along Grandview Avenue in McKeesport on a Wednesday afternoon and you could be surprised at the flurry of activity surrounding the Beulah Park United Methodist Church. Cars line the street outside the Grover Street entrance, and people are walking out with bags full of this and that.
Every Wednesday, except holidays, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the church hosts a real gem for the bargain hunter, the Beulah Park Thrift Store. Inside you will find rooms and rooms full of glassware, clothing, books, toys and general household items.
Occasionally you also find furniture, but the early birds --- those who show up every week just before 10 a.m.), usually have that all gone by 10:30.
. . .
There are four former Sunday school rooms of merchandise plus a hallway that are literally stacked to the ceiling with donations.
According to the volunteers who work there each week, every Wednesday they sort through at least 10 to 12 boxes and bags of donations dropped off throughout the week.
One room is dedicated to sorting the donations into what can be used and what can not. Any items they can't use, or have too many of, are packed up and sent to the Vietnam Veterans of America to hopefully be used in one of the thrift stores they partner with.
One of the volunteers, Mitzi Wigand, says the thrift store is much more than just a place to find bargains.
Local fire departments call when someone has lost their house. The church does its own outreach to poor families, while the Salvation Army also comes in to help those in need, and St Mary's Sisters of Charity visit to find items they can use in their efforts.
. . .
Wigand tells of one man who was living under a bridge in the city before someone took him in due to the below-freezing temperatures. He had very little, so they came to the Beulah Park thrift store and were given clothes and other items he needed to help him out.
Sometimes families come in to buy clothes they cannot afford elsewhere, and the church does everything they can to help them, Wigand says.
The store is staffed by volunteers from the church who come in every Wednesday to help out. In addition to Wigand, regulars include Ruby Escott, Pat Kelly, Virginia Sporgeon, Donna Pancost, Carol Roney and Norma Dunly, though others help when they're available.
There's also a social element to their work --- volunteers say they enjoy talking to people from the community and seeing their friends.
. . .
Proceeds benefit the church's projects, with about 10 percent of the income being sent to missions and the remainder used to send as many children from the church as possible to summer camp in Jumonville. Any balances are returned to the church's general fund.
Last year, the thrift store averaged about $225 in sales per week, volunteers said.
At a time when many churches are struggling to stay open, Beulah Park has found one way to keep going --- as well as return something to the community.
. . .
Beulah Park UMC Thrift Store is located at 1615 Grandview Ave. and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays.
Items available include men's, women's and children's clothing, books starting at six for $1, and toys starting at 25 cents. There also is a holiday room featuring Christmas and Easter items.
Donations are accepted at the church office. Call (412) 672-2785 for information.
Today we remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a story about one of the many local battles fought for civil rights.
. . .
Twenty-six hundred people crammed the gymnasium at McKeesport Vocational High School on Dec. 23, 1946 to see the Duquesne University Dukes men's basketball team play the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
It promised to be a good contest, and the fans from the city's many Catholic neighborhoods --- already in a Christmas mood --- were always ready to cheer for the red-and-blue.
The Dukes, who had just won five games in a row, used the gym at the "Voc" (pronounced "voke") as their home court for many games in the 1940s because the bleachers in their own field house had been donated to a scrap drive during World War II.
But 2,600 people went back out into the cold December night without seeing a single shot.
Instead, for two hours Duquesne Coach Chick Davies and Tennessee Coach John Mauer argued in the locker room over the Dukes' insistence on playing their first-year center, Charles Cooper, wearing the Number 15 jersey.
Cooper was African-American.
. . .
Mauer told reporters his team was made up of "Southern boys, and they said they wouldn't play." (In fact, however, some of the Volunteers that year were from Western Pennsylvania --- proving prejudice knows no regional boundaries.)
After a while, the reason for the delay reached the people in the stands, and McKeesporters started taunting the Tennessee players.
Finally, Allegheny County Judge Samuel Weiss, a graduate of the Duquesne University Law School and chairman of the university's Athletic Council, walked out onto the court.
. . .
"I insist that no player be barred from this game by reason of race, color or creed," Weiss, a Glassport resident and former football referee, told the crowd. "The principle of the entire matter means more to us than a mere basketball game."
As a result, he said, "there will be no game." Tennessee was forfeiting the contest. Refunds would be available at the exits.
The crowd gave Weiss a standing ovation. Then, reported the Pittsburgh Courier a few days later, "the Southerners went sulking off the spacious court while the big crowd hooted and booed and shamed them as no athletic team has ever been in the history of sports in Pennsylvania."
McKeesport police stood guard outside outside the Voc (now part of Founders' Hall Middle School), prepared for a possible confrontation that never came. Instead, the Volunteers silently boarded a bus back to Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin for a flight home and into ignominy.
. . .
It may have been more than racial animus that motivated Tennessee's stubborn stand. The six-foot-four Cooper, who played briefly for West Virginia State College before joining the U.S. Navy, had been responsible for the winning baskets in three of Duquesne's past five games.
Before Weiss' announcement, Cooper tried to defuse the situation, telling other players in the locker room they should play without him if necessary. "I don't want to be the cause of any trouble," Cooper said.
Bull, said the other players. You're a member of our team, and as long as you're a member of our team, you play.
. . .
"A couple of them told me they didn't want to play if Cooper wouldn't be permitted to get into the game," Davies said afterward. "They didn't want to compromise on a thing like this."
The coach added that his team "wouldn't have had any more respect for me" if he buckled.
Cooper himself told reporters that he "appreciated" the stand taken by Davies and Weiss. "I'm glad and proud that I am a student at Duquesne and a member of the basketball team," he said.
. . .
The incident in McKeesport made national headlines --- and led the University of Miami to wire Duquesne and warn them not to bring Cooper to Florida for their upcoming game on Jan. 15.
Local ordinances did not permit "whites and negroes" to compete against one another in athletic events, the University of Miami said.
That was fine, replied the Very Rev. Francis P. Smith, Duquesne president. If that was the case, his team would just as soon not play in Miami.
A survey of Pittsburghers commissioned by KQV radio found nearly 92 percent of residents supported the university's position.
. . .
Tennessee's forfeit and the cancellation of the Miami game hurt Duquesne not at all. They finished the 1946-47 season 21-and-2 and were invited to both the National Invitational Tournament and the NCAA tournament. Choosing the then-more prestigious NIT, the Dukes lost in the quarterfinals to eventual national champion Utah.
During Cooper's four years as a starter, the Dukes were 78-19. Number 15 would play in two NITs, amassing a school-record total 990 points and being named an All-American in 1950. His teammates called him "Silk" --- because, they said, he was so smooth.
As he completed his bachelor's degree in education, Cooper became the first African-American player to be drafted by a National Basketball Association team. The Boston Celtics selected him with their second pick on April 25, 1950.
. . .
Cooper's pro career was less remarkable than his college tenure. In six seasons (four with Boston, one each with Milwaukee and Fort Wayne) he played 409 games, averaging 6.66 points and 1.79 assists.
It also wasn't without additional incidents of prejudice and hatred. Some hotels and restaurants refused to serve Cooper when he traveled with the Celtics to road games.
And like Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who had broken baseball's "color line" a few years earlier, players from opposing teams taunted Cooper with racial slurs, trying to throw him off his game.
"I got that n----r!" one yelled during a game at Madison Square Garden as he tried to guard Cooper.
"I got your mother," Cooper shot back.
. . .
After suffering a broken back and other injuries in a severe car crash, Cooper retired from pro sports and returned to Pittsburgh.
There, he became director of the community services department for the Urban League of Pittsburgh, then the city's director of parks and recreation --- the first African-American department head in Pittsburgh municipal history.
Eventually, he joined Pittsburgh National Bank, working as personnel director and community development officer before his death of cancer in 1984 at age 61.
. . .
Cooper lived long enough to see Duquesne retire his jersey and create the Chuck Cooper Award for the university's most outstanding freshman or sophomore basketball player. Last month, the university and PNC Bank --- Pittsburgh National's successor --- inaugurated the Chuck Cooper Classic to honor his legacy.
"Beyond athletics, Chuck made a difference at PNC and in his community," Bank President Joseph Guyaux said, while in athletics, Cooper's legacy was "defined by his blazing a trail for other NBA players to follow."
And that trail passed through McKeesport --- making national history --- one eventful night at the "Voc" in 1946.
As I took my daughter to school at George Washington Elementary this morning (Jan. 4), her first day back after the holiday break, I was simply appalled by the lack of maintenance to the school grounds and the roads leading to and from the school from Versailles Avenue.
Allow me to point out that there was a two-hour delay today, which one would expect would allow ample time to clear and salt sidewalks, correct? ... Anyway, after seeing several kids fall, some very hard, and many more sliding around, I thought I would take some photos of this situation.
I don't tend to agree when people say everything is so much better in White Oak, but, nonetheless I was wrong. First, every street around that school was plowed, salted and dry. No kids falling down walking to school.
Then, I got to the drop off for the students ... shoveled, salted and dry, not a slippery spot to be found. Even their parking lots and playground areas were plowed, salted, and looked great.
Are children who live in McKeesport second rate as far as safety is concerned? I surely hope not.
Police Car Payment Promised Promptly: City officials will have their promised federal stimulus money by the end of the week.
That's the word from Kevin Evanto, spokesman for Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato.
"The check is in the mail, and McKeesport should receive it by Friday," Evanto told the Almanac on Tuesday, "specifically, $93,751.24 for four vehicles and $3,665.06 for computer equipment."
As the Almanac first reported Thursday, the city ordered four new Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors in April through a program sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department and funded through the so-called stimulus program that passed the U.S. Congress last February.
The money is part of $3.25 million in assistance to local law enforcement agencies that's being administered by Allegheny County.
But city officials became increasingly concerned because while the cars have arrived at Tri Star Motors in Christy Park, the money hadn't. City Administrator Dennis Pittman said Tuesday night the message from Evanto's office was "great news" and that a staffer in the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn Hills, had also called to apologize for the delay.
. . .
Blueroof Open House: City-based Blueroof Technologies will dedicate its newest "smart house" for older adults this Friday on Pennsylvania Avenue in Irwin.
The house near the Target store was constructed for Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, says John G. Bertoty, Blueroof executive director.
At a reception for local officials and human services providers, Blueroof will also demonstrate "retrofittable" technologies that can be added to existing homes, he says.
With assistance from the Quality of Life Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, Blueroof designs houses with devices and sensors that make it possible for people with limited mobility --- including disabled veterans, the handicapped and the elderly --- to live on their own, outside of a nursing home or other group facility.
The first of 13 planned "research cottages" in a proposed Blueroof "Independence Zone" near McKeesport's Downtown was dedicated in September 2009.
. . .
Local Vet Named Hall-of-Famer: A West Mifflin resident and Army veteran will be inducted Friday into the Southwestern Pennsylvania Veterans Hall of Fame.
Mike Mauer, who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, will be inducted along with other soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in an 11 a.m. ceremony at the Southwestern Veterans Center in Highland Park. The event is free and open to the public.
A life member of West Mifflin's VFW "Intrepid" Post 914, Mauer was an Army photojournalist and public affairs officer assigned to cover units, escort members of the media, and send information back to Army posts and civilian news outlets. He also was named non-commissioned officer in charge of the U.S. Central Command's command information office during the first Gulf War.
His efforts earned the Joint Service Commendation Media from Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., commander of all U.S. forces during the Gulf War, and the Keith L. Ware Award for journalism from the U.S. Army.
Since leaving active duty, Mauer has served as quartermaster for Post 914, organizing events to support troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and to welcome returning veterans. He and his wife, Marsey, have two daughters, Sarah, a sophomore at Pitt, and Rachel, a senior at West Mifflin Area Senior High School.
Two patrolmen worked an unusual "business beat" in the city during the holidays, and officers will continue their outreach efforts in the Grandview neighborhood, police Chief Al Tedesco said.
Tedesco told city council last week the two were told to contact "every business in the city of McKeesport" during their shifts.
"We wanted to show them that we do care about our businesses," the chief said. The officers' presence and efforts to talk to owners and employees one-on-one "virtually eliminated" complaints from businesses during December, Tedesco said.
Additional patrols have now been added in Grandview in response to a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood, he said.
. . .
City police answered 1,899 calls in December, made 259 arrests and issued 91 traffic citations, said Tedesco, who also reported statistics for 2009:
Three new Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors, tricked out for the city police department, sat at Tri Star Motors in Christy Park on Thursday. A fourth was scheduled for delivery this week.
They were ordered back in April through a federal government program that was part of the economic stimulus package.
But eight months later, the money hasn't been released. And until it is --- or until McKeesport officials arrange $93,500 in alternate financing --- the cruisers will stay up at Tri Star.
"I'm actually embarrassed," City Administrator Dennis Pittman says. "We got the grant in April. The federal government told us, 'Order them right now!' Now we've got four police cars that we can't pick up."
. . .
The money is technically part of a $3.25 million award to Allegheny County through the U.S. Justice Department's Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program.
The program was designed to help financially-strapped local police departments replace equipment while also boosting the manufacturing sector.
According to the U.S. Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which is tracking the stimulus money nationwide, as of Dec. 31, 2009, $275 billion in contracts and grants had been authorized, but only $68.5 billion had been disbursed.
Somewhere in the other $206.5 billion that hasn't been released, apparently, is the money for McKeesport's new squad cars.
. . .
The non-profit news service ProPublica, which is tracking stimulus-funded projects, has reported that local and state governments have been slow to ask for stimulus money, and the federal government has been slow to release checks for qualified projects.
As of November, for instance, only a third of the money had actually been released, according to ProPublica.
Besides the cop cars, the city and related agencies qualified for nearly $4.8 million in combined assistance, including:
Two weeks of nearly continuous snow and freezing rain are taking their expected toll on city employees and the budget, public works director Nick Shermenti told council Wednesday night.
Public works employees have logged a combined 700 hours in overtime, he said, and since the third week of December the city has consumed 1,200 tons of rock salt.
"We're doing the best we can with the manpower we've got," Shermenti said.
. . .
According to the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, the Mon-Yough area had snow on 11 of the past 13 days, totaling 9.8 inches. Temperatures have dropped below freezing every day since Dec. 26.
The weather also wore out two truck-mounted salt-spreaders, which had to be replaced at a cost of $3,500 each, Shermenti said.
. . .
The good news, he said, is that the city's salt purchase agreement through South Hills Area Council of Government has locked the price at $52 per ton, delivered to McKeesport's public-works garage.
A check of rock salt prices on Web sites Wednesday night found prices in Pennsylvania averaging $70 to $80 plus delivery charges.
There have been no shortages so far this winter, Shermenti said. "I ordered 450 tons on Tuesday, and 250 tons arrived (Wednesday)," he said. "They're on the ball, and I don't see any problems."
. . .
The bad news, Shermenti said, is that the freeze-thaw cycle is also producing a bumper crop of potholes city-wide. Asphalt "cold-patch" has been ordered, he said, "and when the snow stops, we'll start patching those potholes."
His "pothole hotline" for city-maintained streets, Shermenti said, is (412) 675-5020, extension 631.
. . .
In Other Business: City council OK'd a five-year contract with its unionized firefighters.
The pact with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 10 runs from Jan. 1 of this year through Dec. 31, 2014 and establishes pay raises of 3.5 percent in the first three years of the contract and 3.75 percent in the final two years.
The contract --- which fixes this year's annual salary for a full-time hoseman at $47,078.07 --- was approved by a 6-0 vote, with Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker absent due to a family emergency.
There are 21 full-time firefighters and 12 part-timers in the bargaining unit, including city electrician Tom Rosso. Fire Chief Kevin Lust is not included.
Do you listen to the radio? I mean, really listen?
Can you name three Pittsburgh-area radio personalities --- newscasters, talk show hosts or disc jockeys, for instance --- you've heard in the past week?
Twenty years ago, that would have been an easy question for me. In high school, I started my day with Jimmy Roach and Steve Hansen on Y-97, but I also checked out Jim Quinn and "Banana Don" Jefferson on B-94 and Scott Paulsen and Jimmy Krenn on WDVE. When I got home, I listened to Bruce Keidan on 1320.
Later, my radios were glued on WTAE (1250) and its lineup of Lynn Cullen, Doug Hoerth and Phil Musick, who died this morning at age 71.
. . .
These days ... well, let me see. I listen to Bob Studebaker on WDUQ-FM (90.5). I also hear a few minutes every day of Marty Griffin on KDKA (1020).
But I had to struggle to remember those two. And keep in mind, I work part-time in radio, and I've been writing about the business, on and off, for a decade.
I'll bet most people have a much harder time remembering anything. I'll bet many of you never turned on an AM or FM radio at all. You started your day with the morning TV news and listened to an MP3 player, webcast or satellite radio the rest of the time.
. . .
As most of you know, I'm part of a group that tried in 1999 to bring a low-power public FM station to McKeesport. Under pressure from the big broadcasting lobby (including National Public Radio), Republicans and some Democrats in the U.S. Congress (including then-U.S. Rep. Ron Klink of Murrysville) blocked our station and hundreds of others from going on the air.
A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed legislation --- introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, who represents the McKeesport area --- to overturn that blockade. It still has to pass the U.S. Senate and be signed by President Obama.
But when a reporter for the Post-Gazette called me recently, wanting a reaction to Doyle's legislation, I told him it was nice, but probably too little, too late.
"Radio," I said (and he quoted), "is a very sick chicken." In fact, it's so sick, I'm not sure that adding a bunch of low-power FM radio stations --- even if it can still be done --- can pull radio out of its death spiral.
. . .
You've probably heard a lot about how newspapers are in trouble, but I'm here to tell you, friends and neighbors, that radio's right behind them.
Like newspapers, broadcast radio is losing an entire generation of young listeners who are unlikely ever to consider radio as vital as their parents or grandparents did. The average age of talk-radio listeners, for instance, has gone up every year since 2000. It's now 67.
Part of that's due to competition that didn't exist 20 years ago, but a lot of it's due to the fact that radio no longer offers much worth listening to.
. . .
Scan around the dial, and what do you find? On the AM dial, a lot of hour-long, program-length infomercials; syndicated talk shows; and religious programs aimed at tiny populations.
I would sadly include both stations licensed to McKeesport --- WEDO (810) and WMNY (1360) --- in that category, along with the 1550 station in Braddock.
On the FM dial, you get repetitive music, more syndicated talk shows, and "stop sets" of commercials that last five to seven minutes each.
What don't you get? Local news. New music. And other than WDVE's morning show, you get very few personalities --- radio performers who actually create content.
. . .
Radio can't just be a jukebox, because the iPod and other MP3 players will always win that competition. It has to provide something extra. It's failed miserably.
Although AM and FM stations might want to blame new media for taking away their listeners, they're the ones who created the void that iPods and the Internet have filled.
Or more specifically, the big Wall Street firms that gobbled up radio stations in the early 1990s created the void.
In their quest for ever-higher profits, they slashed creative content and replaced it with lousy crap that doesn't get ratings, but does make money (like the aforementioned infomercials).
. . .
Maybe, if low-power FM radio stations had been allowed to sign on in 1999 and 2000, they would have held onto the listeners that the big boys didn't care about. But that's a moot point, since it didn't happen.
And I'm not convinced that very many new stations will ever be created even if Doyle's bill goes into law.
In the 10 years since Congress blocked low-power FM, hundreds of open frequencies have been given away --- spots on the dial that could have been used by local community radio stations like ours.
. . .
Many of the spots were given away to national chains of religious broadcasters. (I don't mean to keep harping on religious programming --- I like some religious radio shows --- but they are the worst offenders. One chain, Educational Media Foundation, has at least five stations in the Mon-Yough area, all repeating the exact same canned crap, beamed in from Omaha, Neb.)
Don't get me wrong. I still think a public radio station would be an asset to the McKeesport area. Our group still wants to be a part of getting one on the air ... if there are any spots left.
After all, while a satellite radio or high-speed Internet connection costs a fair chunk of change, even the poorest households have at least one radio.
It's just that lately I wonder how often those poor households ever bother turning on those radios.
. . .
I've leave you with this thought: People who grew up in McKeesport in the 1960s and '70s are excited that Terry Lee is coming back to host a dance, more than 20 years after he left and more than 30 years after he ruled the airwaves here.
Will anyone growing up in the Mon-Yough area today remember anyone in radio that fondly 30 or 40 years from now? Say, Mark Madden or Michelle Michaels?
Perhaps. But without taking anything away from either of those two people in particular, I doubt it.