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Revamped "101' aims for its old glory

WUSA is running hot and gold and that's that. The new boss has rendered the edict.

If the phrase "one oh one" sounds familiar, it's because WUSA (technically at 100.7 FM) hopes that will signify a return to old glory days when W-101 ranked near the top of the market shares.

"We take the best of both worlds," new general manager Marc Kaye said. "WUSA is the best set of call letters in America and people already know the station as "101.' "

The station had steadily slipped down the ratings rungs the past year or so and is now trying to refit the climbing boots.

"We (now) play only slam-dunk hits," said Kaye, who ran the Tampa-based Gannett Broadcasting-owned station before taking the chain tour to Los Angeles two years ago.

While Kaye was away, W-101 went away, too, reinventing itself by mixing bits of esoterica into its hit potion. Rather than playing the familiar, the station was breaking new ground. The final stone in the structure was placed in the summer when the station unveiled a new label, "100.7-WUSA." That lasted, oh, about four months, maybe?

"We've niche-formatted radio to death," he said of WUSA's wayward ways. Under the course correction, he explained, "it's not our job to introduce (new) music. When we get off target there, we make a mistake."

The new moniker, "101 _ WUSA," is proclaimed on new billboards, some of which still stand uncomfortably close to the old ones yet to be ripped down.

WUSA's morning show has been retooled, too, with the addition of Nancy Alexander, formerly known locally as Nancy In The Sky on the old Q105. She's joined 101's morning team of Bob DeCarlo and Judd Otis. She will remain earthbound as a full-fledged member of the morning crew after having succeeded likewise at a country station in Houston.

MORE EASY LISTENING? WISP-FM 98.7 of Holmes Beach has agreed to be purchased by Entercom Inc., already the owner of WYUU-FM 92.5, which is studying plans to upgrade the current 3,000-watt signal to 25,000. Depending on weather conditions, WISP can be picked up in parts of the immediate Tampa Bay area already.

Right now, WISP sounds a lot like WWRM-FM 94.9 with its relaxing favorites play list.

Local radio bugs have suggested a switch to a jazz format for WISP, once it joins the big boys. "That sounds as good as anything else," laughed Steve Godofsky, WYUU's general manager who also will command WISP, possibly by Dec. 31. But, he cautioned, "there are no plans to make any changes."

The addition of WISP will give Pennsylvania-based Entercom nine stations nationwide.