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August 9, 2004

A Day of Memories at Syracuse's WOLF

*Plenty of top-40 stations around the country have held reunions of former staffers, but we think it's a pretty good bet that few have been as well attended as Saturday's homecoming at WOLF (1490) in Syracuse, NEW YORK.

It's not every 1000-watt graveyarder AM signal (250 watts, back in the day!) that draws back staffers from as far back as the day the station signed on in 1940 (like former sports director Red Parton, seen at right in the photo at left) - and it's certainly not every small AM station that draws back staffers who worked for just a few months in the summer of 1978 (like CBS Radio News correspondent Peter King, in the yellow shirt, who came all the way from his home base in Orlando, Florida for the reunion.)

But then, not every little station like WOLF has historical caretakers like Bob Mitchell and Lee Goodman, whose site chronicles the history of WOLF from the beginning all the way to its current incarnation as part of a four-station Radio Disney simulcast in Central New York. Bob and Lee were planning this reunion for months, and it showed, not only in the former staffers who packed the little WOLF building on Saturday morning but also in the huge collection of WOLF photos, T-shirts, surveys, banners and whatnot that covered the walls of the restaurant where the reunion luncheon was held.

Nor, for that matter, do many stations this size have an alumni roster that includes names like Dick Clark (who worked at WOLF while he was a student at Syracuse University), Marv Albert, CBS network announcer Wendell "Windy" Craig, Chicago legend Fred Winston, Detroit morning legend Dick Purtan, Boston radio legend Dale Dorman, WCBS-FM afternoon guy Bob Shannon (who was still Don Bombard in his WOLF days), and the list goes on and on.

Clark sent recorded greetings, and many other former WOLF'ers showed up in person - not just Craig and Bombard but also some other names familiar around NERW-land, like WBZ (1030 Boston) anchor Bob McMahon (who was at WOLF in 1972-73), WWSW (94.5 Pittsburgh) afternoon jock Mike Frazer and Clancy-Mance Communications owner Dave Mance. And plenty of ex-WOLF staffers who stuck around the Syracuse market showed up as well, including WSTM (Channel 3) sports anchor Joe Zone, WYYY (94.5) morning team Rick Gary and PD Kathy Rowe and WBBS (B104.7) morning guy Ron Bee. (We've still just scratched the surface of the guest list!)

Rick and Ron co-hosted the three-hour reunion show on WOLF, and we should point out here that the show was made possible by current WOLF owner Craig Fox, who graciously opened up the station's building on West Kirkpatrick Street ("it hasn't changed a bit," commented many attendees) and its airwaves for the event.

A good time was had by all - and we suspect there will soon be lots of new pictures and stories at, too!

*Downstate, the big news was Opie and Anthony's Thursday announcement that they'll be returning to the airwaves via satellite radio, XM to be exact. XM subscribers will have to fork over an extra $1.99 a month for access to the new O&A morning show, and we have no doubt that they'll find a willing niche audience.

In Albany, WRGB (Channel 6) anchor and WGY (810 Schenectady) weekend host Joe Pagliarulo has a new weekday afternoon gig - he'll be doing the 2-4 PM shift on the Michigan Talk Radio Network, presumably by ISDN. (Joe knows Michigan well from his days at WEYI, WLAJ and WWMT there.) What of his regular 11-2 fill-in duties at Rochester's WHAM (1180)? We're waiting to hear...

Rochester's jazz station is now operating at its full power. WGMC (90.1 Greece) has actually been running at 7500 watts since it powered up last winter - but it received its license to cover last week for the full (directional) 15 kW in its construction permit. (Here at NERW Central, it still suffers from intermod noise from the nearby Pinnacle Hill tower site, alas.)

A former WGMC'er, Tom Pethic, is back on the air - he'll bring his "Artistry in Jazz" show to WLGZ (990 Rochester) from 10-noon on Saturdays, beginning next weekend.

We're hearing at least one live jock on WFXF (95.1 Honeoye Falls), with Joe Riley doing afternoons at Clear Channel's classic rock "Fox." Riley's also heard on Saturday nights on sister station WVOR (100.5 Rochester). (No, we don't expect a correction to the local paper's wildly inaccurate report a few weeks back that neither Fox nor its sister station WNVE would use live jocks...)

On the LPTV beat, Craig Fox (yup, of WOLF fame) flipped two of his outlets upstate to home shopping last week. WBXO-LP (36 Rochester) is now WHSH-CA, with HSN in place of MTV2; W51BA (51 Syracuse) is now WHSU-CA, with America's Store.

On the translator front: new CPs were granted this week to W267AT (101.3 Sherburne, where EMF will relay WKVU 100.7 Utica) and to Clear Channel for W290BB (105.9 Warwick, relaying WSUS 102.3 Franklin NJ), W231BI (94.1 Utica, relaying WUCL 93.5 Remsen), W248AN (97.5 Little Falls, relaying WOUR 96.9 Utica), W274AT (102.7 Little Falls, relaying WUMX 102.5 Rome) and W257BU (99.3 Hudson, relaying WRVE 99.5 Schenectady). Again, we suspect many of these are simply "blocker" applications and are unlikely to be built...

And we close our Empire State report by remembering Bob Murphy, the veteran New York Mets announcer who died Tuesday (August 3) in Florida. Not only did Murphy call the Mets on radio and TV from their start in 1962, he also called Red Sox games with Curt Gowdy on WHDH from 1954 until 1959. Murphy was 79.

*The big news in VERMONT is the impending final concert of the band Phish, who will call it quits next weekend at the Coventry Festival at the Newport State Airport in Coventry. Previous Phish events have included low-power radio stations, but this time the band's going full-power. Phish will lease out WMOO (92.1 Derby Center) for the weekend, replacing the usual hot AC programming with "Bunny Radio," nonstop live broadcasts from the festival stage and traffic information for arriving Phish-heads. (You bet we'd like to hear airchecks...)

Across the state, Steve Silberberg's WXAL (93.7 Addison) applies to move across Lake Champlain to a tower site near Westport, New York, where it will run 21kW at 354' and be a neighbor to WCLX (102.9 Westport). (Irony time: the station began as an allottment to Hague, New York, before a clever reallocation moved it across the lake to Addison in the first place.)

*A NEW HAMPSHIRE correction from last week: WSNH (900 Nashua) is broadcasting the oldies of WMEX (106.5 Farmington), yes, but not as a simulcast - yet. That'll come within a few weeks, we're told.

An interesting consulting assignment for two New Hampshire Public Radio managers: GM Mark Handley and PD Michael Arnold are spending this week in Ukraine, helping the former Soviet republic set up its own public radio system.

*A quiet week in MASSACHUSETTS - but news is on the way, we're told. WBIX (1060 Natick) is done building out its new nighttime facilities at the WAMG (890 Dedham) site in Ashland, and we hear the business-talk station hopes to be operating under program test authority by the end of the month. Stay tuned...

Two new translators: W275AS (102.9 Greenfield) will relay WYRY (104.9 Hinsdale NH), while W228BS (93.5 Pittsfield) will relay WHYN-FM (93.1 Springfield).

*A very belated PENNSYLVANIA obituary: we just noted this week that the FCC transferred WKOK (1070 Sunbury), WQKX (94.1 Sunbury) and WEGH (107.3 Northumberland) to the estate of Roger Haddon, Sr., and lo and behold, we find that Haddon died back on April 1. The 77-year-old lawyer was the son of Harry Haddon, who was one of WKOK's founders way back in the early thirties; the station remains under Haddon family ownership.

On the translator front: new grants this week include W300BI (107.9 Granville Township, relaying WCHX 105.5 Lewistown), W277BH (103.3 Minersville, relaying WKSB 102.7 Williamsport), W273BA (102.5 York, relaying WHKF 99.3 Harrisburg), W244BV (96.7 Erie, relaying WREO 97.1 Ashtabula OH) and W243BQ (96.5 Glendower, relaying WRFY 102.5 Reading.)

A new DTV signal is on the air: we're told WHTM-DT (Channel 10) is now broadcasting in Harrisburg, where it's rather short-spaced to WCAU in Philadelphia and WTAJ in Altoona.

*One NEW JERSEY translator grant: W275AT (102.9 Four Corners) will relay WSUS (102.3 Franklin).

*FM listeners in CANADA's biggest city heard a new signal testing last week: the CBC was running French-language programming on 98.7 from Toronto's First Canadian Place (the "Bank of Montreal building"), testing out the frequency on Industry Canada's behalf as that agency looks for still more new frequencies to utilize on that already-crowded dial. Rumor has it that the CBC would like to move CJBC (860)'s French programming to FM one of these days...

DTV news: Rogers has been granted DTV permits for its two Toronto stations - CFMT ("Omni.1") will run 15 kW on channel 64, while CJMT ("Omni.2") will run 15 kW on channel 44.

Milkman UnLimited reports that CHMY (96.1 Renfrew ON) is now on the air for real, as "My 96.1." Also on the air for real now is CJTN-FM (107.1 Quinte West ON), which is simulcasting CJTN (1270) and will replace the AM for good in a few months.

In Quebec, supporters of the embattled CHOI (98.1 Quebec City) will board buses Tuesday to demonstrate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, calling on the federal government to reverse the CRTC's revocation of the station's license. How many buses? Word is that the station sold out 35 buses (at $9.81 a seat) in a day.

In Sherbrooke, Cogeco's "Rhythme FM" is now on the air at CFGE (93.7); it'll eventually have a relay, CFGE-1, from Mont Orford on 98.1.

And out in Moncton, New Brunswick, CKOE (100.9) applies to move to 107.3 and move its antenna up from 8 to 25 meters.

*Finally, we know it's now August - 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.

Still 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? Perhaps a 2005 calendar, chock-full of pretty pictures of stations like WBBR, KXNT, WDEL and WDEV? Just hang tight for a few weeks - next year's edition will be available for ordering soon, and we'll be shipping by early September this year!

Order the 2004 Tower Site Calendar at our special clearance price of $8! (US and Canada only - e-mail us for overseas ordering information.)
...or subscribe to NERW at the $60 level and get a FREE 2004 Tower Site Calendar

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 by phone.)

Thanks for your support!

NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please click here to learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW is copyright 2004 by Scott Fybush.