April 19, 2004
Live from Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS - Another
April, another NAB, and here we are once again to see what the
nation's broadcasters are up to. (Shivering, for one thing -
we're accustomed to temperatures in the mid-80s out here come
NAB time, but we had pouring rain in Los Angeles on Friday and
unseasonably cool conditions here at the start of the show.)
We'll add some NAB observations here,
time permitting, during the show - but we're not neglecting our
committment to reporting what's happening back East:
listeners are finding their way around the many changes in the
radio dial wrought by Nassau last week, and now we can report
a slew of call changes, too:
"The Bone," the simulcast
of classic rock and Howard Stern on 104.7 and 106.7, is now WHXQ
(104.7 Kennebunkport, ex-WQEZ) and WHXR (106.7 North Windham,
on 107.5 Lewiston is now WFNK, formerly WTHT. We assume the WTHT
calls will replace WMEK on 99.9 Auburn, the new home of the "Wolf"
country format formerly on 107.5, but that call change hasn't
WLAM (1470 Lewiston) keeps its calls,
and WMTW (870 Gorham) becomes WLVP, which we're guessing stands
for "Liberal Voice of Portland."
Up in Bangor, we're hearing about some
strange moments for viewers of WLBZ (Channel 2) when Janet Jackson
hosted Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago
- it seems an overly-alert master control operator went to black
during the opening sketch when Jackson, playing the role of Condoleezza
Rice, ripped her blouse open. (Viewers on the rest of the NBC
network saw a heavily pixilated "wardrobe malfunction,"
and the wire services report that Jackson was actually clothed
*NEW HAMPSHIRE sportscaster
Charlie Sherman says he regrets quitting his job as sports director
of WMUR (Channel 9) in Manchester. The Manchester Union Leader says
Sherman quit after a heated newsroom meeting March 10, the day
after Sherman criticized the University of New Hampshire for
not letting his camera crew park near a university gym. Sherman
tells the paper he's apologized to WMUR's general manager and
he hopes to get a second chance at the station where he's worked
for 13 years. GM Jeff Bartlett told the Union Leader that
he has no plans to re-hire Sherman, though the position hasn't
yet been filled.
*There's a news director
opening in MASSACHUSETTS, where Peter Brown and WBZ-TV
(Channel 4) have parted ways after 22 years together, the last
10 in the station's top news job. Brown is headed to Brigham
and Women's Hospital for a senior PR job, with assistant news
director Matt Ellis filling the post temporarily.
on Parade" yet again in Charlotte, VERMONT, where
a fight continues over the Pease Mountain transmitter tower of
WIZN (106.7 Vergennes). Vermont's Environmental Board was scheduled
to hear testimony last week about whether to revoke the land-use
permit granted in 1999 (after the station had already been in
place on the mountain for 12 years) over the NIMBYish howls of
the neighbors. (We've been to Pease Mountain, and the site is
nearly impossible to see from any distance.)
The neighbors' attorney (who, we'll
editorialize, apparently never heard of the inverse-square rule)
told the Associated Press that "it's clear that there is
radiation in the community. The energy from the signal heats
human tissue." (NERW wonders if he was talking on a hand-held
cellphone at the time.)
In any case, the board will now revisit
the decision to grant the land-use permit; in any case, WIZN
holds a CP to move north and get away from those pesky, ignorant
Meanwhile, Vermont now has an Air America
affiliate - WTWK (1070 Plattsburgh NY), across the lake, is now
carrying the liberal talk network during its daytime broadcast
And at WTWK's sister station in St.
Albans, WRSA (1420), our old pal Pete Ferrand (who's been doing
mornings there since February, it turns out) made headlines last
week after restoring the daily playing of the Star-Spangled Banner
to the station's morning show. Seems Pete stopped playing the
anthem at 6 AM when he took over ("it's bad radio,"
he tells the AP, and in principle we'd agree with him), but a
tradition's a tradition, so the anthem's back and Pete's in the
papers and everyone's happy, we guess.
*RHODE ISLAND listeners
got an early introduction to their newest radio station last
Friday, when Entercom launched WEEI-FM (103.7 Westerly) two weeks
earlier than planned, changing calls (from WWRX) and flipping
to the sports format simulcast with Boston's WEEI (850) - except
during Red Sox games.
Meanwhile, Rhode Islanders are mourning
the loss of one of their most popular sportscasters. Chris Clark
was the voice of Providence College (as well as URI and Brown)
basketball for decades, doing sports for WJAR-TV, WPRI-TV and
WPRO radio. He died April 10 at age 79.
*One of the most promising
open FM allocations in NEW YORK (and, arguably, anywhere
in America) could end up being reserved for non-commercial use.
The 92.1A allocation in Amherst will serve the Buffalo market
quite well, and last week it showed up on a list of FM allocations
that the FCC's been petitioned to reserve as educational.
What's up with that? It's the way the
FCC is resolving the issue that's kept so many new FM allocations
off the air for years - whether, and if, non-comm applicants
can enter the auctions that will decide who'll get these new
facilities. The FCC's solution was to allow broadcasters to petition
to convert any of the open allocations to non-commercial - if
they met two criteria.
First, there can't be an open frequency
with comparable coverage in the reserved (88.1-91.9) band, which
is a given in a crowded market such as Buffalo. Second - and
here's the tricky part - the new signal would have to be the
first or second non-commercial signal for at least 10% of the
population covered in its 1 mV/m signal contour. How can that
be the case in Buffalo, a city with three public radio stations,
not to mention a college station and several religious FMs?
Simple: two of those public stations
- WNED-FM 94.5 and WNED 970 - operate non-commercially but hold
commercial licenses. That leaves WBFO 88.7, which blankets the
area 92.1 will serve, and Family Radio's WFBF 89.9 and SUNY Buffalo's
WBNY 91.3, which don't.
Commercial broadcasters now have the
chance to show the FCC that there are already two
noncomm services across all the area 92.1 would cover; we wonder
if WNED or WBFO might end up applying for the channel if it does
go noncomm, since the point system the FCC uses would all but
guarantee them the construction permit in that case.
In Syracuse, Dave Coombs departs the
morning show at WTKW (99.5 Bridgeport)/WTKV (105.5 Oswego); he's
headed for morning drive at KFNZ in Salt Lake City.
There's a TV news director opening in
New York City, as WWOR (Channel 9)/WNYW (Channel 5) ND Neil Goldstein
departs "for personal reasons."
WOR (710 New York) has rearranged its
schedule, shifting most of the day forward an hour (Joan Hamburg
at 9 AM instead of 10, Arthur Schwartz at 11 instead of noon,
Dr. Joy Browne at noon instead of 1, Bill O'Reilly at 3 instead
of 2 and Bob Grant at 4 instead of 5) in order to carry Michael
Savage live in his new 6-9 PM Eastern time slot.
Over at WPLJ (95.5), Scott Shannon and
Todd Pettengill add a sixth morning to their schedule, with a
Saturday 6-9 AM "best of" show.
Pat Parson, who anchored afternoon drive
on WCBS (880 New York) from 1970 until 1990 and later founded
and did morning drive at WQNJ (98.5 Ocean Acres NJ, now WBBO),
died Thursday (April 16). Parson (real name: Pasquale Tominaro),
who was a Seton Hall University graduate and a member of the
WSOU (89.5) hall of fame, was 65; he had been suffering from
*There's a new FM station
coming to NEW JERSEY - King's Temple Ministries has
been granted a new signal on 90.3 in Plainfield, with 300 watts
at 17 meters below average terrain. How did they squeeze that
into the crowded North Jersey FM dial? They'll be sharing time
with WVPH (90.3 Piscataway NJ).
*A call change in PENNSYLVANIA:
WSSZ (107.1 Greensburg) picks up the WJJJ calls that were on
104.7 Pittsburgh until this past January. Could 107.1 finally
be ready to split from the WAMO-FM (106.7 Beaver Falls) simulcast,
now that WAMO-FM is on a tower in Wexford that reaches most of
*And that's it from Sin City! If you're
reading this while out here for the convention, keep an eye out
for me on the floor (and ask about the convention special on
the 2004 Tower Site Calendar) - and we'll be back home in Rochester
for next Monday's edition. See you then!
if you still haven't ordered one, we still have plenty
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Other featured sites include Cedar Hill in Dallas, Lookout
Mountain above Denver, CKLW Windsor, WELI New Haven, WPTF Raleigh
NC, WBT Charlotte NC, WAJR Morgantown WV, WMT Cedar Rapids IA
and the mighty 12 towers of KFXR (the old KLIF 1190) in Dallas.
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