The National Association of Broadcasters has announced the finalists for the 2015 Marconi Awards, which will be handed out Oct. 1 during the NAB Marconi Awards Dinner & Show taking place during the 2015 Radio Show in Atlanta.
As the start of the 2015 Radio Show approaches, we look to offer profiles for some of the stations that were named finalists for the Marconi Awards. This week Steve Butler, the director of news and programming at Philadelphia’s KYW(AM), offers an insight into the Legendary Station Award finalist.
Radio World: Briefly describe your stations history, current ownership and format?
Steve Butler: KYW Newsradio is celebrating its 50th year in the all-news format, after an early history as a music station and NBC O&O. Among the famous alums from that era is humorist Jean Shepherd, who authored the story that became the cult classic, “A Christmas Story,” which he narrated as the adult “Ralphie.” Westinghouse Broadcasting made the change to all-news upon acquiring the station from NBC in 1965, and it has been in the format 24/7 since then. The only exception was during the brief several-year stint in the late ’70s/early ’80s as the Philadelphia Phillies play-by-play flagship. Sportscaster Dick Stockton and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell were part of the early Newsradio team. KYW became a CBS-owned station after Westinghouse merged with the company.
RW: What’s the station’s slogan?
Butler: All news. All the time.
RW: Why do you think KYW was among the finalists in the Legendary Station of the Year? What makes KYW stand out from the other finalists?
Butler: KYW is an originator of the all-news format that currently resides at only a dozen major stations in the U.S. It was the second U.S. station to be converted to the format, but would have been the first had it not been for an FCC delay in the license transfer to Westinghouse. Through a history of failed attempts by competitors to challenge it and the many changes in news delivery over 50 years, it remains one of Philadelphia’s primary and reliable news sources.
RW: What is the radio culture like at the station? What words would radio people who work there use about it?
Butler: KYW fosters a very collegial atmosphere, where broadcasters get to practice real journalism. New staffers are warmly welcomed and veterans are anxious to help out with training. It’s a noisy newsroom, with a lot of laughter. Throughout the station, there is tremendous professionalism and attention to detail on behalf of listeners and clients.
RW: What’s the most unusual thing the station has done lately that typifies its personality or mission?
Butler: The “PopeCast” — a 24/7 channel of “All Pope News. All The Time.” It is streamed online, and airs on an HD Radio multicast channel of one of our sister FM stations in the market. With the Pope’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia, we’ve filled it with “information you can use” and many other feature items concerning this major event. Along with a very active social media and podcasting presence, KYW is always looking to expand its reach into the many new delivery platforms.
RW: Who makes up the Leadership roles at the station – GM, PD, SM, chief engineer, digital platform manager and others?
Butler: Sr. VP/Market Manager: David Yadgaroff; VP/Radio News Programming: Steve Butler; News Director: Dee Patel; General Sales Manager: David Scopinich; Digital Content Manager: Jessica McWilliams
RW: Anything else people need to know about the station?
Butler: KYW Newsradio is such an iconic brand in Philadelphia, that anybody from school children to adults can sing the station’s legendary jingle on request. Whether you grew up listening to your school closing information or learned it was the place to find out about traffic jams on the way to your first job, 50 years later, this source for news and information continues to grow with its evolving audience.
See more station profiles of 2015 Marconi Award finalists here.