Here are CNYRadio.com’s picks for the top ten national radio news stories of 2002 that were also of local interest in the Central New York radio markets.
1. Clear Channel acquires the Ackerley Group
Clear Channel Communications cut 630 jobs nationwide after its acquisition of the Ackerley Group, which included television stations WIXT in Syracuse and WUTR in Utica. Still up in the air is whether Clear Channel will be allowed to retain all of its Central New York radio properties if they hold on to the television stations.
2. Top radio groups shuffle their upper decks
Randy Michaels left Clear Channel’s radio division. Larry Wilson vacated the top spot at Citadel Communications; Infinity’s top man, Farid Suleman, took that job. Infinity’s radio division is now run by John Sykes, the brother of former Syracuse television anchor Betsy Sykes. You got all that?
3. Bill O’Reilly launches daily radio show
Fox News Channel’s popular weeknight cable star Bill O’Reilly added a syndicated talk show to his daily schedule in May. The show’s debut was the biggest in radio history with a list of 216 stations nationwide, including WFBL in Syracuse, signing up on day one.
4. Satellite radio starts to take hold
2002 saw a lot of chatter about satellite radio with XM and Sirius nibbling away at broadcast radio. The receivers themselves came down in price and were becoming more readily available to consumers.
5. Rush Limbaugh regains his hearing
In 2001 Rush Limbaugh became completely deaf over the course of a few months. In January it was announced that surgery to implant a cochlear device allowed for the syndicated talk show host to regain some of his hearing.
6. Art Bell retires
Late night talker Art Bell, host of the call-in program Coast to Coast which featured talk of space aliens and the like, retired at the end of 2002. George Noory takes over in January, and there was also talk of Bell grooming country legend Merle Haggard for a similarly formatted show.
7. Adam Schein gets his own national show
‘Primetime’ Adam Schein, a recent S.U. graduate who hosted his own daily local call-in sports show on SportsRadio 620 (WHEN), moved on to bigger and better things including his own national weekend radio show on the Fox Sports Radio network.
8. Regent issues public stock offering
Regent Communications, owner of eight radio stations in Utica and Watertown, announced plans to offer eight million shares of public stock as part of a newfinancing plan for the company.
9. Stern tops list of possible Letterman replacements
For a few days back in March, rumors were swirling concerning shock jock Howard Stern being a replacement for David Letterman on CBS’s LateShow if Dave decided to jump ship to ABC. None of it ever happened.
10. Peter King joins CBS Radio News
Former WHEN/WRRB jock Peter King, who has been busy on the news side of the radio business in recent years, took a position with CBS Radio News in May.