Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Wednesday, June 18, 1997
'QV' still groovy
Web site re-creates days when the station ruled rock radio
By Mary Anne Lewis
   "The "Groovy QV" is still with us -- on the Internet.

   More than two decades after KQV-AM switched to an all-news format, a Carlisle man has immortalized what he calls a "Pittsburgh music legend."

   Jeff Roteman has created a Web site devoted to the '60s and '70s, when KQV-AM and FM was king -- and sometimes court jester -- of rock radio.  The site contains dozens of photographs, air checks, jingles and other memorabilia from the era.

   "I was a child of the '60s and grew up on Top 40 radio." said Roteman, a former bowling alley manager and the current midday disc jockey at a Chambersburg hot adult contemporary music station (WIKZ-FM, MIX 95.1).  "I wanted to pay tribute to what I thought was a great radio station."

   In the days before the radio programmers discovered the FM band, KQV commanded most of the local audience interested in what was then a relatively new music form -- rock 'n' roll.  According to Roteman, the station's owner, ABC Radio used Pittsburgh as a test market in the '60s.

   At the time, few commercial FM stations existed, and KQV capitalized on its popularity by simulcasting on its AM and FM stations.  Not everyone owned and FM receiver, and many teen-agers and many pre adolescents had their AM transistor radios permanently tuned to 1410.

   Along with the photos and audio clips, the site also has nearly a complete list of the station's personalities and news staff from 1958 to 1975.  It also includes a KQV history beginning in 1919, when it first went on the air as noncommercial station "8ZAE".

   Many of the names and pictures on the Web site will evoke memories for those who grew up here in the '60s.  They include Chuck Brinkman, Hal Murray, Jim Quinn, Bob DeCarlo, Dave Scott, Bob Wilson, "Big" Steve Rizen, and KQV's most famous graduate, Jeff Christie.

   Christie, well known for chattering on and off air to KQV's listeners and callers, projected the image of a liberal hippie, like most of the rest of the air staff.  Today, "Jeff Christie" uses another name on the air - his real name, Rush Limbaugh.  The Web site contains a photo of a mustached, long haired Jeff Christie in a loud tie, circa 1972.  It also contains a Jeff Christie aircheck, with his reference to his award for "excellence in broadcasting."

   Roteman laughed when asked if Limbaugh has changed much over the years.  "Not that much." he answered. "Rush is airing conservative philosophy now, and I know he believes what he says, but his job is still to entertain and get a reaction from people."

   In the days before litigation enveloped the broadcasting and the rest of the world, radio stations were not above pulling dirty tricks on the competition.

   During the Beatles' first Pittsburgh concert in September 1964, KQV pulled a stunt that angered programmers at other local stations, especially KDKA.  The Beatles insisted that their Pittsburgh news conference and concert could not be broadcast live on a local station.  So KDKA planned to broadcast the taped concert an hour after it ended. 

   But one of the Beatles' tour managers knew someone at KQV, and they cooked up a plan to beat KDKA.  KQV kept to the letter of the law, if not the spirit, by broadcasting the news conference and concert - with only a 30 second delay.

   On the Web site, KQV is also is remembered for its unique studio - one encased by windows on the ground floor of the Chamber of Commerce Building, at Seventh Avenue and Smithfield Street, Downtown.

   The studio became know as "walk and don't walk," ostensibly because of the crossing lights at the intersection.  But it may also have been the disc jockey fondness for winking, waving and trying to communicate with passerby.  A generation of children now past the age of 35 looked forward to a trip downtown that included a lingering glance at the guys spinning records in the window.

   During one of the trips, Roteman had the chance to meet disc jockey Hal Murray.

   He was one of the typical wise-cracking jokers," Roteman remembered. "Very corny.  He was the Morey Amsterdam of radio."

   Eventually, Roteman caught the radio bug.  While he didn't enter the broadcasting business full time until he was 35, he is making up for lost time with the Web site.

   Roteman's effort began when he began collecting KQV jingles in the 1970s, ranging from the "Groovy QV" to "Fun Lovin' KQV" to "The Pulse of Pittsburgh."  Since the Web site went on last summer, it has grown to about a dozen pages.

  Roteman tracked down more former KQV employees on the Internet and raiding KQV's own stockpile of memorabilia when it moved out of the Chamber of Commerce Building in 1994.  Lately, he has added photographs and other material supplied by John Gibbs of Mount Lebanon, who was vice president and general manager of KQV from 1960 to 1974. 

  Information on the Web site ends with ABC Radio selling the two stations to Taft Broadcasting in the mid 1970s.  KQV-AM, now owned by Calvary, Inc., became an all-news station, and it's FM sister station became WDVE.  While a number of ABC era news people remain on the air in Pittsburgh, only one disc jockey is still working in the market: Jim Quinn, morning host at WRRK-FM.

   With his Web site, Roteman has joined a small group of Webmaster who have created Internet shrines to other big rock stations from the '60s, including WABC in New York.  Roteman has even started a site for another ABC rock radio powerhouse, WLS in Chicago.  His WLS page contains links to several related sites.  Roteman plans to continue adding material to his KQV page, including newspaper critiques and colorful personal stories from the era.

   While it may be impossible to recreate the sound, mood and spirit of a long extinct rock station for those who did not experience it, Roteman's target are those who do remember the old KQV fondly.

   He invites former fans and staff to visit the site and write to him if they have other material to contribute.  All photographs and material will be returned. 

   So tune in - but you might not want to tell your parents.  Gibbs said many approached him at promotional events when he was a KQV executive. 

   "There wasn't a teen born from 1950 on who didn't listen to KQV.  (But) they'd say, "I don't let my children listen to your station."

   Jeff Roteman's KQV Page is located at: http://14kqv.andmuchmore.comt.  His home address is: 27 Brian Drive, Carlisle, Pa. 17013.

Mary Anne Lewis is a free-lance writer who worked at KQV in the early '80s.
*** adjustments have been made to Ms. Lewis' original article to reflect my current employment***