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The Mourning Show: Scott Paulsen signing off from WDVE

Friday, December 17, 1999

By Adrian McCoy, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Morning drive-time radio will be very different around these parts come Y2K. Listeners won't be hearing the longtime team of Paulsen and Krenn anymore.

Scott Paulsen, a morning staple for more than a decade along with partner Jim Krenn, is leaving WDVE-FM (102.5) to, as he put it, "search for adventures in far-off and mysterious places." Krenn will carry on with the same "WDVE Morning Show" crew and a newcomer from Erie.

Paulsen, whose contract expires Dec. 31, said his decision to quit the highly rated morning show had nothing to do with money. He told station management about his plans more than a year ago, and although they offered him financial incentives to stay, he elected to leave. Paulsen, 40, said he and his wife, Kit, put together a financial game plan over the years that allows some freedom.

"I'm going to try to be unemployed as long as I can," he said. "Most people, if given the opportunity, would do the same."

They're going to do a lot of traveling in the months to come -- out west and to Europe -- but they'll still make their home in Pittsburgh. And he plans to enjoy more of what's going on around here.

"It's been so long since I've been out to see a band on a week night.

  Scott Paulsen, a morning radio staple for more than a decade along with partner Jim Krenn, is leaving WDVE-FM at the end of the year. (Bob Donaldson, Post-Gazette)

"It's not easy to walk away from the 'DVE Morning Show.' We've traveled the world and met celebrities. It's been an incredible amount of fun. But I've got to tell you, getting up at 3:30 has gotten old," he wrote in a memo given to station staffers yesterday.

Come Jan. 3, the show, which airs weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., will be retitled "Jim Krenn and the WDVE Morning Show." The rest of the team -- news director Cris Winter, sports director Eddie Crow and producer Bob McLaughlin -- will remain.

Joining them will be Randy Baumann, 27, who comes from rock station WRKT-FM in Erie, where he did afternoon drive and also midday and morning shifts. In addition to being on the air, he'll work with Krenn on writing and the show's song parodies.

Krenn, 40, said the new show will remain comedy- and character-driven. Krenn does the voices of characters like Stanley P. Kachowski, Ralph the Cat, Bobby Subgum and others.

"The future of the 'Morning Show' will continue to be bright," said WDVE vice president and general manager Bob Roof. "Losing a talent like Scott is going to be painful. That's the bad news. The good news is we still have one of the most beloved characters in Pittsburgh radio as the star of the show."

Will Paulsen's departure shake up the ratings in morning drive radio, possibly to the benefit of the syndicated Howard Stern on sister station WXDX-FM (105.9)?

Roof doesn't think so, pointing out that KDKA survived and thrived when popular host Jack Bogut left the station several years ago.

"If you've got a great, solid radio station, that station can survive the loss of a talented individual."

But, he adds, "If [Paulsen] ever changes his mind, he has a standing invitation to come back."

Paulsen and Krenn will be on vacation next week. They'll return the Tuesday after Christmas and work through Dec. 31, making the New Year's Eve broadcast Paulsen's last.

Paulsen wants to keep the last few days low-key, with no big farewell blowout. He and Krenn are going through tapes of past shows and picking out things to play as best-of features during the last week.

Paulsen and Krenn have consistently been the No. 1 morning drive show in the 25-to-54-year-old listener bracket and are riding a current streak of 30 consecutive weeks at the top. They're a strong second behind powerhouse KDKA-AM among total listeners in the Arbitron ratings. Paulsen came to the Pittsburgh radio market from Knoxville, Tenn., where he worked as afternoon drive host. He was at the former WHTX-FM, now WPHH, as afternoon drive host briefly before joining WDVE as a solo morning host 13 years ago.

He met Krenn while doing standup at the former Marco Antonio's comedy club. Krenn became a regular guest on the show, doing his trademark impressions and comedy sketches and was hired as co-host in 1988.

Both say disbanding the long-term partnership is hard. "I'll miss Scott. I'd love to work with him again," Krenn said.

"The thing I will miss most is hanging out with Jimmy," Paulsen said. "He and I have been friends for a dozen years. My no longer being on this show will not change that. He'll just have to kick me out of his house so he can go to bed."

Paulsen said he loves his job and doing radio but that it's too soon to think about whether or not he'll go back in front of the mike. "I'm going to try really hard not to think about that for a while."

He'll continue to write and work in his home recording studio and also is exploring animation as a new creative outlet.

"I might end up wearing a sign that says, 'Will DJ for money.' But at the moment, it looks like it's going to be great."

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