July 12, 2004
Back from the Road
*When we headed out on the road two weeks
ago for the first of several bits of summer travel, we were already
hearing rumblings about a big announcement from the Howard Stern
camp - and sure enough, a few days after we departed for Colorado,
Howard announced nine new affiliates, including replacements
in Pittsburgh and Rochester where his former Clear Channel affiliates
dropped his show back in February.
And in western PENNSYLVANIA, Stern's arrival on an
Infinity-owned FM meant the demise of one of Pittsburgh's longest-running
formats. Admittedly, the top 40 at WBZZ (93.7 Pittsburgh) had
taken a beating in recent years as the station reinvented itself,
first replacing "B94" with "93-7BZZ" and
then with "B93-7."
The 23 years of heritage CHR came to an end June 30, when
B gave way to "K-Rock," with new calls of WRKZ following
a few days later and Stern's arrival scheduled for July 19. (And
yes, WRKZ is itself something of a heritage Keystone State callsign,
but not to Pittsburgh ears - it was over in the Harrisburg market
for most of the last two decades.)
The "Dave, Bubba and Shelly" morning show that was
a 93.7 staple is gone, as are several other jocks at the former
WBZZ calls - and the calls themselves were quickly packed in
dry ice and driven out the Parkway West to be flown down to Tampa
for another new Stern affiliate, "1010 the Buzz," the
former WQYK (1010 Seffner FL).
Meanwhile, Stern's former morning slot on WXDX (105.9 Pittsburgh)
also got filled, as the X moved Alan Cox from afternoons to wakeup
duty. And down the hall at the Giant Flashcube (well, have you
seen the building that houses Clear Channel/Pittsburgh?),
Jim Quinn adds another affiliate to his WPGB (104.7 Pittsburgh)-based
morning show, as WFBG (1290 Altoona) picks up the broadcast.
*And at the other end of the Keystone State,
Radio One modified its application to move WSNJ-FM (107.7 Bridgeton)
to 107.9 in Pennsauken, NEW JERSEY. Instead of the current
CP, which calls for 1900 watts at 156 meters above average terrain
on the WKDN (106.9 Camden NJ) tower in Camden, Radio One now
wants to put WSNJ-FM right in the heart of Philadelphia - as
in, two blocks from William Penn's statue atop City Hall. The
new application for WSNJ-FM's 107.9 facility calls for 550 watts
at 252 meters from the very same One Liberty Plaza skyscraper
that's already home to WMMR (93.3 Philadelphia). Radio One has
also applied for Special Temporary Authority for WSNJ-FM, presumably
to allow the station to remain silent while it pursues this modified
move in to Philadelphia.
(Which reminds us that we're still looking for tape of WSNJ's
February sign-off from Bridgeton, should any of our kind readers
of eras and the ends thereof, Jerry Padden's 23-year run as PD
of WKRZ (98.5 Wilkes-Barre) came to a close last week; he's looking
for a new gig and local Entercom exec Jim Rising has added 'KRZ
PD duties to his plate for the time being.
More PD news: in Philadelphia, Dan Reed is the new OM/PD at
WXPN (88.5), where he arrives after a stint at the Public Radio
Partnership in Louisville, parent to - among other fine stations
- the excellent WPFK (91.9), one of the handful of really good
public radio AAA outlets. (Yes, we have a thing for AAA public
radio hereabouts, and we're glad that 'XPN is in good hands.)
Still more PD news: Tom Bigby's saying so long to WIP (610
Philadelphia), where he guided the sports station to some pretty
impressive numbers over the years. He's heading home to Dallas
and the OM chair at KRLD (1080 Dallas TX), where he replaces
another NERW-land veteran, Tyler Cox, who put in some time at
Boston's WBZ in the eighties and early nineties and who just
left to be the PD of Salem's talk network.
In Harrisburg, WTPA (93.5 Mechanicsburg) has picked up the
syndicated Bob & Tom morning show, which replaces the local
Coffee and Jammer show.
We already mentioned
the sign-on of WRXV (89.1 State College) last week, but we neglected
to show their logo, which is pretty nifty and helps fill what's
otherwise a relatively graphics-poor issue of NERW, so here it
And one reason we're graphics-poor this week is a whole slew
of new translator grants to report, many of which are in Pennsylvania,
W231BG (94.1 Sunnyburn), W236AX (95.1 New Holland) and W256AV
(99.1 Ephrata) to the Hope Christian Church of Marlton, which
will use them - along with new Garden State grants W272BH (102.3
New Grettna) and W277BA (103.3 Millville) to relay WVBV (90.5
Medford Lakes NJ), which might work out better once WVBV actually
signs on, which it hasn't yet.
W269BM (101.7 Whites Crossing) and W241AM (96.1 Waymart) to
DeWit Broadcasting; W234AX (94.7 Hazleton), W248AK (97.5 Hazleton)
and W260AY (99.9 Wilkes-Barre) to Kevin Fitzgerald, who plans
to relay WPGP (88.3 Tafton); W265BM (100.9 Folstown) to 4M Broadcasting;
and W234AV (94.7 Punxsutawney), W291BF (106.1 Brookville) and
W299BB (107.7 DuBois) to Priority Broadcasting.
And EMF Broadcasting gets W233AX (94.5 Berwick), which will
relay WGRC (91.3 Lewisburg).
Oh - and one bit of TV news: Susan Koeppen departs WTAE (Channel
4) in Pittsburgh to go to work for CBS' "Early Show."
Rochesterians may remember her for her stint at WHEC-TV (Channel
10) back in the mid-nineties.
*In NEW YORK, more PD shakeups at
WNEW (102.7 New York): Smokey Rivers moves up to OM at "Mix
102.7," opening a PD seat that's widely rumored to be Frankie
Blue's for the asking. And WNEW APD/MD Rick Martini heads down
Seventh Avenue to be interim PD at WCBS-FM (101.1 New York).
Over at Bloomberg Radio's WBBR (1130 New York), there's more
long-form programming on the schedule with the arrival of the
11 AM-1 PM "Bloomberg Simply Put" show, which features
former WRKO (680 Boston) talkers Michael Goldman and Tom Moroney.
Bloomberg also adds "Bloomberg on the Economy" from
2-3 PM, shifts "Bloomberg Big Picture" to the 1-2 PM
slot and reruns the Goldman/Moroney show from 8-10 PM weeknights.
Dan Lynch has departed his long-running afternoon talk show on
WROW (590 Albany) - in fact, he's departed Albany completely,
moving down to Florida to teach and write. There's no permanent
replacement yet for Lynch's slot at the talker.
Down the road in Ravena, Ed Levine gets the FCC's go-ahead
to move WRCZ (94.5) to another tower nearby, bumping up the power
from 3 to 6 kilowatts and improving the signal over Albany a
Here's one for the engineers who couldn't make it to NAB in
Las Vegas this year: Binghamton's SBE Chapter One is bringing
Larry Bloomfield's excellent "Taste of NAB Road Show"
to the region next week. It takes place next Monday (July 19)
at Ithaca College, starting at 5 PM. There'll be a buffet dinner
for a nominal cost - and lots of great door prizes, too! Contact
Jim Pratt (email@example.com) for more information.
(And visit tech-notes.tv
for the rest of the Road Show itinerary, including stops in Boston
on Wednesday and in Northeastern New York on Friday...)
Way up north, the new 90.9 Schuyler Falls (near Plattsburgh)
now has the calls WAVX; it'll relay the religious programming
heard on WGLY (91.5 Bolton VT) and its network of stations.
Not quite so far up north, oldies have returned to the Ogdensburg
area with the flip of AC "Yes FM" WYSX (98.7 Ogdensburg)
to "PAC 98-7" WPAC. "Yes FM" sticks around
on the simulcast frequency of 96.7, by way of a strange little
swap of facilities. Grab a pencil, a piece of paper and a couple
of Advils and try to follow along:
The class A facility that was WNCQ (102.9 Morristown) upgrades
to class C3, changes frequency to 96.7 and takes on the calls
WYSX and the "Yes FM" AC format. The class A facility
that was WPAC (96.7 Canton) moves to 102.9, changes calls to
WNCQ and picks up the "Q Country" that's been on WNCQ
102.9 all along anyway.
If this makes sense to you, you're probably an FCC lawyer;
for the average listener in the North Country, the practical
result is that "Q Country" more or less stays put on
102.9 (just changing its ID from Morristown to Canton) and "Yes"
more or less stays put on 96.7, albeit with a power increase
and a new Morristown city of license.
All of which brings us to a series of swaps that should be
a little bit easier to understand: right on schedule at midnight
July 4, Clear Channel flipped active rocker WNVE (95.1 Honeoye
Falls) to classic hits as WFXF, "the Fox," moving WNVE's
"Nerve" format up the dial - and down in power - to
the former WFXF (107.3 South Bristol) facility.
Nerve led into the change with repeated spins of Nirvana's "Smells
Like Teen Spirit," while the Fox showed a bit more creativity,
leaving 107.3 behind with a playlist that included Bowie's "Changes,"
the Who's "Song is Over," the Eagles' "Already
Gone," Bob Seger's "Night Moves" (it was a midnight
swap, after all), Billy Joel's "Movin; Out," the Beatles'
"Hello, Goodbye" and finally Genesis' "Follow
You, Follow Me" (which cut off partway through, but now
we're just being picky.)
So far, so good, right? Leave it to the local paper (the Rochester
Democrat and Chronicle, which has now officially replaced
the Boston Globe as this column's favorite example
of one-stop-beyond-clueless radio reporting) to confuse matters.
First came the "news" article, more than a week after
even the slowest of the radio trades had reported the switch,
almost two weeks after WFXF began promoting it on air and - yup
- even a day after WFXF finally gave up waiting for a news article
and took out an ad announcing the move, that somehow wound up
with the claim that neither station would be using any live jocks
- which had to have been a shocker for the live jocks who were
(and still are) on the Nerve. (Postscript: the same reporter
went on, just a few days later, to deliver a front-pager that
snarkily ripped on a new magazine that claims that Kodak and
the Rochester Institute of Technology are in Rochester, Minnesota.
Pot, kettle, black, we say...)
And then we picked up the D&C's Sunday TV book
yesterday, curious to see how, if at all, it would acknowledge
the changes. (This is, after all, the same set of radio listings
that were still showing Howard Stern on WNVE as late as the end
of June, still list the long-defunct "Young and Elder"
morning show, still list programs on WRCI under the WDCZ calls
that it hasn't had for seven months, still show Dem Jones at
WPXY months after he moved across town to WBZA, and, well, you
get the picture..)
Oh, and did we mention that the TV channel listings show the
first 25 or so channels of the local cable company's digital
cable lineup and then just stop cold, simply because that's where
the page ran out? Even the pathetic remains of the once-estimable
TV Guide (where the heck did the channel listings page
go, anyway?) look good by comparison, but we digress.
We should backtrack for just a moment to mention that the
big Stern announcement also confirmed the very long-standing
rumor that Howard would show up on Infinity's WZNE (94.1 Brighton)
when he adds those new affiliates next week. And, indeed, the
listing for Stern was duly changed to show WZNE instead of WNVE.
(More on this move in a moment.)
But then we looked at the station list, which now reads -
we couldn't make this up if we tried - as follows:
WFXF (94.1) classic oldies
WNVE (95.1) rock
WNVE (107.3) rock
And yes, before you ask - we've offered our assistance. Repeatedly.
(Could it get worse, you ask? Why, yes - we haven't even touched
on Insider, the puerile little freebie rag that the D&C
now offers as an insult - er, outreach - to "younger
readers" - or on the poll it ran just a few weeks ago, asking
readers what their favorite radio station might be. Yup, among
the choices was "WNVE 95.5." We give up.)
So, back to Stern: come July 19, he'll be sharing a cluster
in Rochester with his chief ratings rival, Alan "Brother
Wease" Levin of WCMF (96.5 Rochester). For all that the
two have sparred in public over the years, they've been rather
tame about their new pairing at the Infinity stations here, and
with good reason - by bringing Stern and Wease under the same
sales roof, the local cluster can now offer advertisers a near-lock
on the younger male audience in town, which has got to be a good
thing for both Wease and Stern.
One more helpful bit of advice for the D&C TV book
to ignore: you can take Kate Burdett's name off the WVOR (100.5
Rochester) morning show; she's headed to Columbus and mornings
on WBNS-FM (97.1).
TV notes from around the Empire State: WRNN (Channel 62) in Kingston
gets FCC permission to shut down its analog signal, going DTV-only
on WRNN-DT (Channel 48) from a site considerably to the south
and closer to New York City. In Binghamton, WIVT-DT (Channel
4) gets a license to cover. And in Rochester, there's still no
replacement for Bob Kirk in the news director chair at WROC-TV
(Channel 8) - nor any on-air sign of the new logo at WHEC (Channel
10), even though it's been all over their web site for weeks
New translators? But of course - the FCC has granted Edgewater
Broadcasting W285DX (104.9 Alfred), W289AR (105.7 Hornell) and
W289AS (105.7 Olean), all of which will relay WZXV (99.7 Palmyra).
to report the passing of Bill Randle, who was a DJ on WCBS (880
New York) in those long-ago days before all-news at 88 on the
Big Apple dial. Randle really made his mark in Cleveland, where
he was a fixture at stations that included WERE (1300), WBBG
(1260) and WRMR (850). After retiring from radio to practice
law, Randle returned to the reincarnated WRMR (1420) a few years
back to do a weekend show - and it was ironic indeed that his
death July 9 at age 80 came just two days before WRMR itself
was to cease to exist, having been sold to Salem, which is flipping
it back to its heritage WHK calls as a talk outlet. WRMR thus
ended its existence Sunday with a lengthy tribute to Randle,
which seems somehow fitting.
We also note the passing of Bob Hagen, who died last Sunday
(July 4) at 68. Hagen began his broadcast career in Cleveland
at WHK and WERE before ending up at what was then KYW (1100)
as news director in the early sixties. When Westinghouse regained
control of 1060 in Philadelphia and moved the KYW calls back
there in 1965, Hagen came along to become the first news director
and oversee the launch of the all-news format. In 1970, he moved
to New York and WMCA, then to WNEW, where he spent 15 years before
returning to Westinghouse at WINS. Hagen retired in 1999 and
moved to Phoenix.
*Brian Smith has a new gig in CONNECTICUT.
The former co-host of WPLR (99.1 New Haven)'s "Smith and
Barber" morning show is the new afternoon talker at WICC
(600 Bridgeport), filling the slot lately occupied by "Citizen
Smith" - no relation. (You'll recall that Brian Smith was
the half of Smith and Barber who didn't want to stop doing the
show back in early 2003...)
WICC also signs up Jim Buchanan as a fill-in host; Buchanan
will also do some fill-in duty at sister station WEBE (107.9
Where are they now? Former WEZN (99.9 Bridgeport) PD Steve
Marcus is back in action down in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina,
where he's just signed on with Saga as operations manager of
WISE (1310 Asheville) and WOXL (96.5 Biltmore Forest NC).
A new owner for WAPJ (89.9 Torrington): the Nutmeg Conservatory
for the Arts applies to transfer the station to the I.B. and
Zena H. Temkin Foundation.
*One of the most important PD jobs in MASSACHUSETTS has
been filled: Dave Wellington heads east from Las Vegas' KXTE
(107.5 Pahrump NV) to take over from Oedipus at WBCN (104.1 Boston).
Living Proof, Inc. has finally learned how to spell Massachusetts
place names: it's corrected its application for a translator
in "Sandwitch," which must be somewhere on Caip Cod,
we suppose. (The revised application also proposes a new transmitter
site somewhat to the south, in Bourne.)
Emerson College's WERS (88.9 Boston) is getting a New Bedford
translator: it's been granted W243BG (96.5 New Bedford).
The FCC's once again considering a proposal to allocate 97.7A
And we've just heard about the death of Gene LaVerne, who
began his broadcast career way back when as a country-music singer
on WHEB (750 Portsmouth NH), then went on to historic calls like
WFEA, WLAW amd WMEX before landing at WFGL (960) and WFMP (104.5)
in Fitchburg, where he was a DJ until WFMP became WXLO in 1979.
LaVerne (born Jean LaVergne) died July 6 in Concord; he was 80.
*One translator grant in NEW HAMPSHIRE:
EMF Broadcasting gets W270AV (101.9 Manchester), which will rebroadcast
WLMW (90.7) in, uh, Manchester.
*In MAINE, WEBB (98.5 Waterville)
has pulled morning co-host Pat LaMarche (aka "Genny Judge")
off the air while she runs as the Green Party's candidate for
vice president; she's already been assured that her job will
be waiting for her come November.
Two new translators in the Pine Tree State: David M. Stout
gets W221BO (92.1 Ellsworth) to relay WRMO (93.7 Milbridge),
which seems like a good idea until you realize that WRMO's not
actually on the air. And Radio Assist Ministry gets W300BC (107.9
Sanford) to relay WMSJ (89.3 Freeport).
didn't take long for one of the newest stations in CANADA to
get on the air - CHMY (96.1 Renfrew ON) was authorized in April,
and MilkmanUnLimited is already reporting that the
station's testing its signal. Also testing, according to NERW's
ears in Toronto, is new ethnic signal CJSA (101.3 Toronto), the
new voice of Canadian Multicultural Radio.
Over in Brantford and Kitchener, several applicants want the
106.7 frequency just vacated by CHCD (now at 98.9 in Simcoe).
Telephone City Radio (licensee of CKPC AM-FM in Brantford) wants
3750 watts there; Bel-Roc Broadcasting wants 13.3 kW in Haldimand
County (Simcoe); and CJTW (94.3 Kitchener) wants to move to 106.7
and boost power from 50 watts to 1585 watts.
In Kingston, CFFX (960) wants to add a 50-watt FM relay to
serve downtown at 93.7; the station claims an FM relay is the
best solution to AM signal problems it says it's having there.
Up in Ottawa, CHEZ (106.1) PD Jeff Brown replaces Robert W.
Knight in afternoon drive, reports Milkman.
In Quebec, the CBC applies for DTV signals (CBFT-DT 19 and
CBMT-DT 20) in Montreal, while Radio Communautaire Missisquoi
modifies its application for a new signal in Lac-Brome to specify
99.1 with 496 watts. On the AM dial, CKAC (730 Montreal) is asking
the CRTC to allow it to modify its format to focus on health
and sports talk - as well as to reduce local programming at sister
stations CHRC (800 Quebec), CHLN (550 Trois-Rivieres) and CHLT
(630 Sherbrooke) to just 20 hours a week.
And somewhere along the way this week, we remembered why it's
a bad idea to take a week off from NERW...
*Finally, we know it's now July - but
perhaps a bargain price will convince you that you still need
a 2004 calendar. After all, the 2004 Tower Site Calendar is
more than just a bunch of boxes with dates in them - it's also
a collection of some of the niftiest broadcast transmission facilities
in North America.
on the way for later this year are WMT Cedar Rapids IA, WPTF
Raleigh NC, WAJR Morgantown WV, the mighty 12-tower night site
of 1190 in Dallas (KFXR, at least this week), Lookout Mountain
in Denver (shown at left), CKLW in Windsor and WBT in Charlotte,
not to mention lots of fun anniversary dates for stations large
(Channel 9 in New York) and small (WFAR Farrell PA).
And as we get ready to put the 2005 edition of the calendar
into production, we're offering a special deal to clear out our
stock of 2004 calendars. For just $8 postpaid (New York
orders add 66 cents sales tax for a total of $8.66), you can
still own a 2004 Tower Site Calendar.
Maybe you need an extra for the office, or you've marked up
your copy and you'd like a pristine one to stash away, or perhaps
you've been meaning to get one as a gift for that special someone.
Or perhaps you're just cheap (hey, this is radio, after
all!) Doesn't matter; the point is, this is your best chance
to get a 2004 Tower Site Calendar at a bargain price.
Order this week, and we'll even throw in a third calendar,
free, if you order two. (That's $16 postpaid, $17.32 in
New York State!)
We'll also throw in an extra calendar, free, for anyone
who subscribes to NERW at the $60 level. Remember, your support
is what keeps NERW coming to you week after week.
Now what more could you want? (A live jock at 3 AM, maybe?)
Don't want to order by credit card? You know the drill by
now - make those checks payable to "Scott Fybush,"
be sure to include sales tax ($0.66 per calendar) for New York
state calendar orders only, and send them along to 92 Bonnie
Brae Avenue, Rochester NY 14618. (Sorry - we can't take orders
Thanks for your support!
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2004 by Scott Fybush.