WJAS format still up in the air

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New owner Frank Iorio said the recent sale of WJAS-AM (1320) won't necessarily mean a change in format or talent, but it's too soon to tell.

"WJAS has been around for a LONG time, and I just hope to continue doing good things with it," said Mr. Iorio of Beaver Falls. His Pittsburgh Radio Partners Inc. purchased one of the city's more historic stations from Renda Broadcasting Corp. for $1 million, pending FCC approval.

Mr. Iorio owns six other radio stations. Although he owns two tower sites outside of the city he will lease WJAS's current tower site from Anthony Renda for $4,500 a month.

The 7,000-watt WJAS broadcasts from Green Tree. Mr. Iorio used to have The Force, which later became WXDX 105.9 and then WAMO 106.7. He said he wasn't actively seeking a return to Pittsburgh, but an encounter with Mr. Renda led to a lunch meeting.

Mr. Iorio said he figures his company has "five or six weeks" to do its homework before settling on changes. The options: keep everything as is, maintain an oldies format with tweaks ("without the old, old ballads, like Patti Page") or embrace talk.

The current WJAS lineup includes Jack Bogut's "Bogut in the Morning" from 6-10 a.m. weekdays, Bill Cardille from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays and Chris Shovlin from 3-7 p.m. John Tesh's syndicated show airs from 7 p.m.-midnight.

The biggest challenge ahead, said Mr. Iorio, is getting people to listen.

"AM is difficult, obviously. FM is in a much stronger position right now. However, AM still has niches for sports, for talk, for oldies. The format 'JAS is airing is a pretty good format right now."

Maria Sciullo:msciullo@post-gazette.com.

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