By PETE BISHOP
Jim Quinn, your LEEE-dah." shrieked as if the Huns were sacking Market
Square and often followed by a Gatling-gun barrage of wisecracks, was a
frequent outburst on KQV in the late '60s and early 70's.
was New Jersey-born Jim Quinn, who left KQV in 1972 and worked in New York
City and Buffalo before returning here in 1977 as the morning drive time
disc jockey on WKTQ (13Q), complete with an infamous "duck track" which
issued strident quacks for the time, the weather, commercials, anything.
and cracks not withstanding, his ratings were low and he was fired in July.
And now he's
the midday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) DJ on WTAE, replacing Chuck Brinkman, one
of the mellowest men ever to sit behind a mike. And Quinn says he's having
no problem going from the teens' screaming-meemie buddy to the housewives'
It didn't seem
like that much of a change. I had been at adult contemporary stations before,"
says Quinn, 36. "I didn't think I was a teena ct. My ratings, small though
they were, bore me out. It was mostly 25 - 34 adults.
I think a disc
jockey's demographic appeal is determined more by the station he works
for than by any preconceived notions of what he does on the radio, and
from the phone calls from listeners, the response has been the kind of
response we'd expected at 13Q.
of them are in one of two catergories: one, we're really glad you're on
TAE because now we can listen to you; two, aren't you the guy that was
on KQV when I was in high school? When did you get back to town?
"I THINK given
the fact that there was a certain amount of feeling generated by my firing
and the feeling that I was a teen act, it took a lot of courage on Ted
Atkins' (WTAE vice president and general managaer) part to go out on a
limb and hire me for a shift like midday. I just hope he's as pleased at
my performance as I am to be with TAE.
by people who are funnier than I am and more creative than I am, and that's
the way I like it. That way I learn and I grow and I jave to keep pushing
to keep up. It's fun to work there."
It wasn't fun
at 13Q, the Bridgeville resident continues - "The day I was fired I was
on my way to the general manager's office to quit.
"I didn't want
to get up at 4:30 every morning to come to work. It was obvious the show
wasn't going anyplace. I love radio. I love being on the air (he's been
on the air half his life), and when I don't feel like coming to work you
know there's something wrong.
"The idea of bringing me in was to create instant familiarty. Today's adults
grew up with Quinn on the radio, so why not put the guy they grew up with
on in the morning now that they're adults getting up and going to work?
That was a valid idea.
in order to go up against O'Brien and Garry and (Jack) Bogut, you've got
to have a credible, news department. You've got to have a sports honcho,
a la Myron Cope. You've got to play the right music.
"AFTER TWO YEARS
with 13Q, when it became obvious the morning show wasn't working, they
had to look for something to blame it on. It couldn't be the fact they
had a one-man news team or no sports expert or played the wrong records.
So they looked around and shot at the most visible person on the station.
"I think someone
convinced the new general manager I was a teen act, which was true 12 years
ago. But we all grow up, and I submit it was 13Q that was the teen entity,
bemusement than bitterness in Quinn's voice when discussing his firing,
and indeed he admits "it's not important how I felt. What's important is
that I'm at a really good radio station and I get to stay in Pittsburgh.
"When I was
out of work I had offers from Houston (two stations), Los Angeles, San
Diego, Portland, Cleveland and Buffalo. I didn't accept any of them, hoping
something would develop in Pittsburgh.
" I really love
this city. It's treated me so well. The people here are great, and when
they decide they like you they never forget you. Living in Pittsburgh is
like living in a family with 2 1/2 million people in it."