Radio Wars Indianapolis

Videopolis.tv, an Indianapolis-based video production company, just completed work on a documentary about 25 years of radio battles in Indianapolis (1956-1982).  This covers the legendary WIFE-AM, WIBC-AM, the launch of FM Rock on “The Buzzard” WNAP, and more.

I consider myself fortunate to have spent nearly 11 years in the same market of such great Top 40 stations and the legendary Bob & Tom morning show.  WZPL, the station I programmed from 2000-2010, was itself a heritage brand with more than 20 years playing some version of contemporary hits.  Julie Patterson & Steve King, Don Payne, Dave Decker, Kelly McKay, Atom Smasher, Carlos Diaz, and countless others spent time behind the 99.5 microphone.  Dave Smiley, in the morning slot since 2001 has become somewhat of a legend during his tenure too.

WZPL won some of it’s battles, lost others, and reached a “draw” in most.  However, they certainly are not in the same category of these Naptown Radio Wars except, perhaps, in our own minds.  That’s partially a function of radio’s loss of importance to other media such as television, reality TV, the internet and others.  Unfortunately, it’s also radio’s fault for not producing the same compelling personalities and excitement of radio in the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s.

I can’t imagine anyone ever producing a documentary about the radio “war” between WZPL & WENS or WZPL & RadioNOW.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Luckily, I had the pleasure of learning from one of the WIFE Good Guys, Gary Havens.

The “Director’s Cut” of Naptown Radio Wars will be shown only one time, January 14th 2012, at the IMAX downtown.  Tickets go on sale December 9.  An edited version will air on WFYI Channel 20.

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4 Responses to “Radio Wars Indianapolis”

  1. Hi Scott,
    Thanks for your interesting commentary and your ‘insider’s perspective’ on Indianapolis radio. I grew up in Indy and am very familiar with you and many of your colleagues. I’m fortunate enough to be closely involved with the upcoming premiere of “Naptown Rock Radio Wars” and wanted to make one correction:

    Tickets go on sale Monday, December 19th at http://www.IMAX.com – not Dec. 9th.
    Thanks again for helping to spread the word and I hope to see you there!

  2. I was fortunate enough to be one of 10 to be invited to a special screening to this a few months ago. Since then its been tweaked and revamped a little to make it pop and sizzle. In my opinion it was good enough to go to the big screen when I was at the private showing. I can only imagine just how much better its going to be. Will be there!

  3. Hope it finds its way to DVD for those of us who can’t make the screening!

  4. Thanks for the correction!

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