Tube City Almanac

March 01, 2009

Attention, WIXZ Pixies

Category: Events, History || By

Tonight at 6 p.m. on Irwin's WKHB (620), my radio colleague Michael J. Daniels will be doing a tribute to McKeesport's late, lamented WIXZ (1360).

The show will include a countdown of many of the songs that were on the charts during February and March 1969.

Friday marked the 40th anniversary of the debut of WIXZ, which turned the Pittsburgh-area radio scene on its ear.

WIXZ signed on in 1947 as sleepy WMCK. Based in the Elks Temple on Market Street, with a transmitter in Lincoln Borough near Belle Bridge, the station had long featured a mix of so-called "middle of the road" pop music, ethnic programming, and local news and sports. Only nighttime disc jockey Terry Lee ever attracted a following.

The switch to fast-moving Top 40 as "WIXZ" gave 1360 its greatest era of success, but also marked the end of the station's existence as an outlet targeting the Mon-Yough area.

Just as the new call letters shed the city's initials, so did WIXZ shed its McKeesport roots and begin a long, not-very successful effort to turn itself into a Pittsburgh station.

Today, the station is WMNY, with studios in Greentree and a format that consists mostly of "business talk" programming.

(We wrote about the history of WMCK and WIXZ in January 2008.)

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