'Revolution' radio hits Pa. town

November 30, 1998

Revolution Radio 103.7By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Ted Simpson drives a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle and Seppie, the Revolution Rottweiler, always rides shotgun.

While the Beetle is a classic, Simpson had been driving a Porsche until recently. He said he traded it for a control board and computer system for Revolution 103.7, a new FM station that began broadcasting recently from a studio in the P. Nicklas Building, 37 S. Main St.

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Program Director Dan Murrell was working the board one afternoon last week, perhaps oblivious to the man on the sidewalk with the quizzical look. Since the booth is set up in what was once a store display window, the station is attracting some gawkers from downtown pedestrian traffic.

"You're kind of used to being in the bunker. Now, you're out in the field," Murrell said. Until recently he had been working at WGMR, an alternative rock station in State College, Pa., where the studio was in a basement.


A few times each day, he said, someone taps on the window or walks into the station to ask about the dog. Seppie, a 148-pound galoot of a canine, has been living at the station for a couple of weeks.

Simpson, 32, the director of a group of stations for Allegheny Mountain Network, said Seppie is quite gentle. On Sunday, however, Seppie let loose a couple of barks on-air when some skateboarders went past.

WEEO had been an oldies station broadcasting from McConnellsburg, Pa., in Fulton County. The format and location changed earlier this month.

The modern rock format means listeners will hear acts like Third Eye Blind, Eve 6, Matchbox 20, the Wallflowers, Blues Traveler, the Dave Matthews Band and Alanis Morissette. Simpson said the format is the result of months of market research in the Cumberland Valley.

It's similar to sister station WGMR, which he said RNR magazine listed as one of the top alternative rock stations in the country. He also noted there are 43,000 Penn State University students in State College.

"We've skewed it less urban and more what they call modern rock," he said of Revolution 103.7. He said this market "doesn't have a strong urban pool to draw from."

General Manager Mike McKendree, who had been running six stations for another company in Williamsport, Pa., said the station plans a lot of remotes.

We'll be extremely promotionally oriented," he said.

That will include CD and pizza giveaways and sponsoring concerts, Simpson said. It will also include giving away a case of beer each weekday during the "Drive at Five" program.

"It's definitely one of the crazier ones. It's not every day you hear a frog getting squashed and win beer," Simpson said. WGMR does a similar promotion and proof of age is required by all winners, he said.

Simpson said the station will run more public service announcements about drinking and driving and underage drinking around the promotion.

As for the 18-to-35 age group the station is aiming to attract, McKendree said, "There's a misconception that people under the age of 35 don't have any money."

"They buy the most stuff," he said of the demographic group.

Although Allegheny Mountain Network has 11 stations in Pennsylvania, Simpson called it "a good old-fashioned family-run, family-owned business."

His father, Cary Simpson, began his radio career almost six decades ago broadcasting high school football games. Simpson said his parents still do a daily news show at one of their stations in Tyrone, Pa.

Last week Murrell said he was still putting together a team of disc jockeys. "Right now we're a car running on two wheels," he said.

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