September 27, 2004
Rhode Islanders Fight WRNI Sale
*Boston University's proposed sale of WRNI
(1290 Providence) and WXNI (1230 Westerly) isn't a done deal,
at least as far as some RHODE ISLAND state officials are
Attorney General Patrick Lynch stepped into the fray last
week, asserting his concern about the fate of donations made
to the WRNI Foundation, the WBUR-controlled entity that handles
the station's finances and holds their licenses. In the meantime,
the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio, which says it's
raised more than $3 million in donations to WRNI since the station
went on the air in 1998, says it will fight to keep the stations
on the air with their current public radio format - even as it
tries to avert WBUR's effort to sell the licenses.
The WBUR organization, never known for its openness with information,
acknowledged to the Boston Globe that WRNI supporters
were "shocked" by the sale announcement, even as station
managers made the claim that WBUR never intended to operate the
Rhode Island stations for more than a few years, a position that
WBUR somehow never took publicly at any point before it announced
the impending sale a week ago.
What happens next? Lynch is asking the WRNI Foundation for
a full accounting of its donations and finances, as well as to
hold off on offering the stations for sale. As always, stay tuned...
on the commercial dial, WCTK (98.1 New Bedford MA) is losing
afternoon drive jock Amy Ryan - she's headed north to WTHT (99.9
*A veteran community DJ in MASSACHUSETTS is
hanging up his headphones. After 22 years at WMBR (88.1 Cambridge),
most of that time hosting the Thursday afternoon edition of the
"Lost and Found" rock oldies show, Eli Polonsky will
move on soon. His September 30 show will be his last - but Eli
will still be heard several nights a week as the overnight host
And Laura Schlesinger's talk show is back on the air in Boston;
she's now on the WTTT (1150 Boston) schedule, weeknights from
9 till midnight.
*The "WMEX" oldies are already
history in southern NEW HAMPSHIRE, where WSNH (900 Nashua)
ended its brief semi-simulcast of WMEX (106.5 Farmington NH)
and flipped to ESPN sports last week.
Over in the Upper Valley, WTSL (1400 Hanover) has a new simulcast
- it's being heard now on WXKK (93.5 Springfield VT), which had
been simulcasting WTSL's AC sister, WGXL (92.3 Hanover).
*More VERMONT news: WCAX (Channel
3) in Burlington marked its fiftieth anniversary Sunday, and
thus the fiftieth anniversary of television in Vermont, inasmuch
as channel 3 was the state's first TV station when it signed
on (as WMVT) on September 26, 1954. A very happy half-century!
Down in the Bennington market, we hear WZEC (97.5 Hoosick
Falls NY) has moved from hot AC "Point" to softer AC
"Light Rock 97.5."
*In MAINE, supporters of Air America
Radio are fighting to keep the liberal talk network on the air
in Portland. They sent e-mails and letters to WLVP (870 Gorham)
asking the Nassau-owned station to rethink its proposal to flip
to ESPN sports, and it worked - sort of. WLVP now says it will
keep Air America on the air through the elections, switching
to ESPN November 8.
Up in Bangor, Jeff Solari returns to the market to take the
4-6 PM slot on sports WZON (620 Bangor); he used to work at WLBZ
(Channel 2) and had most recently been in management at Oklahoma
City's KWTV (Channel 9).
WERU (89.9 Blue Hill) wants to stay on the air in Bangor;
it's applying to move translator W275AE from 102.9 to 102.7,
where it would run 50 watts.
And WDEA (1370 Ellsworth) is apparently still off the air,
now at the one month mark and counting.
TUESDAY UPDATE: WDEA returned to the air Monday
afternoon, just hours after the new Harris DAX 5 transmitter
arrived at the site. More in next week's NERW...
format change in northern NEW JERSEY: Clear Channel pulled
the plug on "Bear Country" at WNNJ (1360 Newton) late
last week, switching the Sussex County station to oldies as,
yup, "Oldies 1360."
And sister station WNNJ-FM (103.7 Newton) has a new morning
host with some big-city credentials: Zach Martin keeps his other
job at WAXQ (104.3 New York), producing the Scott Muni noontime
show (on hiatus while Muni recovers from a stroke) and pulling
weekend airshifts on the classic rocker.
*One of NEW YORK's big headline-grabbers
of the nineties is making headlines in Long Island radio. "Long
Island Lolita" Amy Fisher's been working for the Morey Organization
as a columnist for the Long Island Press, and now she's
joining the morning team at WBON (98.5 Westhampton), at least
according to publicity materials for her new book.
an over-the-air UPN affiliate: WTTX-LP (Channel 30) will sign
on this week as a sister station to Clear Channel's market-dominant
NBC affiliate, WETM-TV (Channel 18). Now here's the tricky part:
WTTX-LP is the former W30AA, the Elmira translator that Binghamton
PBS outlet WSKG-TV (Channel 46) shut down last year. But WSKG's
not done with the Elmira market - it holds a CP for a new digital-only
station, WSKA-DT, on - yup - channel 30. So WTTX will have to
shift channels somewhere down the road.
Speaking of WETM, it's finally in the process of being transferred
from Smith Television (which had been LMA'ing it to Clear Channel)
to CC subsidiary "Central NY News, Inc," as part of
the overall restructuring of the Smith group following last year's
death of owner Robert N. Smith. Smith's other holdings, including
Utica's WKTV (Channel 2) and WFFF-TV (Channel 44) in Burlington,
Vermont, are being transferred to the new "Smith Media LLC,"
which is being funded by Boston-based venture capitalists Boston
The rest of the week's Empire State news is all translator-related:
John Katonah's been granted W243BZ (96.5 Ellenville) and W289AX
(105.7 Easthampton); Clear Channel's been granted W290BE (105.9
Hudson) - and they've signed on W231BI (94.1 Utica), relaying
WUCL (93.5 Remsen).
*A well-known PENNSYLVANIA morning
team is moving on: Ken Anderson and Kitty McVay of WCTO-FM (96.1
Easton) are taking their top-rated "Ken and Kitty"
show to Cincinnati, where they'll be heard on "Star"
country WYGY (96.5 Lebanon OH). WCTO PD Sam Malone and middayer
Becca Lynn take over morning drive at "Cat Country."
Down in Philadelphia, rumors are flying about the imminent
arrival of former New York wakeup team Star and Buc Wild at Clear
Channel's WUSL (98.9 Philadelphia), where they'd be heard in
a simulcast with their current morning home, WPHH (104.1 Waterbury-Hartford
CT). That's just a prelude to the duo's long-expected return
to New York, where a non-compete clause from former employer
WQHT (Hot 97.1) is keeping them off the airwaves at Clear Channel's
"Power 105.1," WWPR.
On the TV dial, WGTW (Channel 48) will say goodbye to the
Philadelphia audience October 1, or so we hear; that's when TBN
is expected to put its religious programming on the former indie.
Over in Pittsburgh, John Verilli is the new news director
at KDKA-TV (Channel 2), moving over from the managing editor's
desk at WCBS-TV in New York.
And as we predicted, WKPL (92.1 Ellwood City) is now oldies
"Pickle" for the New Castle market, simulcasting with
Keymarket sister WPKL (99.3 Uniontown) on the other side of Pittsburgh.
*All our news from CANADA comes
from the Beauce region of southern Quebec, where three stations
are competing to get a power increase.
CKRB (103.3 St.-Georges-de-Beauce)
hopes to move to 103.5, increasing power from 2.2 kW to 17 kW.
CKYQ (95.7 Plessisville) says the amalgamation of its community
of license means it needs a second transmitter in Victoriaville,
and so it's applying for 50 watts on 103.5.
And Montreal's Radio Ville-Marie (CIRA 91.3) holds a permit
to build a new transmitter on 89.5 in Victoriaville, but it's
asking to move that facility to 103.5 as well, with
575 watts. Look for the CRTC to ask one or more of the applicants
to find a different frequency, we suspect.
*And now, the moment you've all been
waiting for... (well, we've been waiting for it, anyway):
Tower Site Calendar 2005 is back from the printer and
sitting in several big boxes in the garage waiting to be distributed
to all of you!
Attendees at the
recent National Radio Club convention got a sneak preview of
it, and it's now on the racks at Universal Radio in Ohio. We'll
also have copies available later this week at the Society of
Broadcast Engineers' regional conference (the 32nd Annual SBE22
Broadcast & Technology Expo) at the Turning Stone Casino
This year's calendar begins with WSTW/WDEL in Wilmington,
Delaware on the cover, ends with Sutro Tower in San Francisco
on the inside back cover - and along the way makes stops at WNBF
in Binghamton, CFNB in Fredericton, Poor Mountain in Roanoke,
KXNT in Las Vegas, WBBR in New York, Gibraltar Peak above Santa
Barbara, WDEV in Waterbury, Vermont, WRIB in Providence, WOOD
in Grand Rapids, KFJZ in Fort Worth, KYPA in Los Angeles and
the top of Chicago's Hancock Tower.
We're holding the price from last year, notwithstanding increases
in printing costs and PayPal fees - just $16 postpaid ($17.32
including sales tax to New York addresses). And as always, it's
free with your $60 or higher subscription to NorthEast Radio
Watch/fybush.com. You can use PayPal, below, or send your check
or money order, payable to Scott Fybush, to 92 Bonnie Brae Avenue,
Rochester NY 14618.
And here's an even better deal - We still have
plenty of 2004 calendars left, so how about this? For just $20
postpaid ($21.65 in New York), we'll send you both the 2005 and
2004 editions. It's almost like getting an extra calendar free!
(Or, if you just need the 2004 edition, that's still on clearance
at $8 - and if you buy two 2004 calendars, your third is free!)
So why wait until the last minute? Why make us wait until
the last minute? Why not let me park my car back in the garage
where it belongs? Buy your calendars now, won't you?
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 (8.25%) 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.)
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2004 by Scott Fybush.