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JAMZ turns on radio listeners

Published: Thu, August 11, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Youngstown-Warren radio market doesn’t see a lot of change as far as ratings go.

The same handful of stations usually tussle for the top 5 spots in most of the demographic categories.

With some exceptions, it’s been country kingpin K-105, WKBN (news-talk), Hot 101 (top-40), Y-103 (classic-rock) and Mix 98 (contemporary-adult) in the top spots of the semi-annual Arbitron ratings books.

But the spring Arbitron book, which was released last week, shows a newcomer: WRBP-FM, otherwise known as JAMZ-101.9. The urban-music station cracked the top 5 in the overall ranking for the first time and even reached the top spot in several key demographics.

For all persons 12 and older, it finished third with an 8.3 share, behind K-105 (9.7) and WKBN (8.9). “Share” is the percentage of radio-listeners in the market who are tuned in to any one station.

WRBP finished No. 1 among adults age 18-34; women 18-34; and women 25-54.

Not bad, considering three years ago WRBP was all but left for dead. After the station’s prior owner defaulted on a loan, the lender took control and installed Skip Bednarczyk of Dallas as general manager.

In a market with about 20 stations, WRBP had long been a bottom-feeder. Bednarczyk was tasked with turning it around. With last week’s Arbitron report, he feels he’s done that.

WRBP’s format didn’t change: It played urban music long before Bednarczyk got here. What did change was the station’s focus (it became more local), it’s personality, and its music — which Bednarczyk selects (and that surprises some, given that he is a middle-aged white man).

Actually, WRBP’s audience knows no racial boundaries: It’s 50 percent white and 50 percent black.

The station’s only competition for urban-music listeners comes from Cleveland’s WENZ-107 FM, which covers Trumbull County and Austintown but fades out in the rest of Mahoning County.

Bednarczyk’s next goal is to hit the No. 1 spot, but he admits he’s got to make more inroads into Trumbull County to do that.

WRBP hit a bump a few months ago when it parted ways with popular DJ Lucky Penny, but quickly bounced back. Jammin’ Janay took over the 2 to 6 p.m. slot, and actually has increased the numbers for that time period.


Sarah Durham will step down as theater manager of Salem Community Theatre after the current production, “Fiddler on the Roof,” ends its run this weekend.

Durham, who took over the post about three or four years ago, is moving to the Cleveland area with her family. She said she will remain active at the theater but in a more limited role.

The theater’s board still is discussing plans on how to fill the position left vacant by Durham’s departure.


1DOLE2(595 comments)posted 4 years ago

WRBP Congrats! this is a tough market to crack,hats off to all the crew there.

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2activist11(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

It is really sad that the proper recognition was not given to the hard working production staff and the sales people who are 99% responsible for the high ratings. The white man, as you called him, is a small part of the equation and as you read from the tone of the article is a self-centered, give me all the credit individual. Their radio personality, T-Luv got them into one of the largest venue in Trumbull County this past June, the African American Festival, and is well respected throughout the valley for her professionalism and knowledge of the field. Matter of fact, JAMZ would not be what it is today if not for her dedication and expertise in production. Wake up Skip and really give the credit where it is due! happy employees are the best.

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3southhighmom(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

This article is amazing and not in good way. It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragically inconsistent. I believe that we come from a community that gives proper recognition to those who helped get it to where it is. And this article is nothing more than a "What Skip did for radio all by himself" fluff piece. Of course Jamz is the highest rated Urban station in the city, in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king, meaning there is no competition to challenge it. I know of groups personally that have tried repeatedly to meet with Skip to discuss different projects to help build the community, not only was he not interested but has not even bothered to offer anything better. This community is nothing more than a cash cow for Skip. He has the monopoly on urban radio entertainment. But one day, this community will grow tired of his antics and that day is closer than he thinks. Just like Jerry Heller brought you the violent group NWA, as Skip stated himself in the article HE is the one picking and promoting the violent, misogynistic, disrespectful, crass, music you here on Jamz everyday. Shame on you Skip.

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4youngstownbest(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

Skip has proven himself to not have any interest in our local culture or community. Its a joke to picture him as some kind of post-racial figure. I am a "white" person, and I can personally attest to his lack of awareness.

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5TrueLife411(1 comment)posted 4 years ago

WHAT A JOKE. lol. Hey Skip, why don't you tell them the truth on how you did Lucky Penny?? There's nothing wrong when u wanna part ways with people. But you supposably did him like you were his slave master and I heard how you control the office down there like its a plantation crop and having people work for peanuts. And one of the reasons you even got your high numbers is because you stole Lucky's new ideas, and now you got the new personalities do all the things u didnt let Lucky do. Poor T-Luv. She's giving her all to you and not even being mentioned. Think what you want, But the city supports JAMZ 101.9, NOT YOU.

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