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October 4, 2004

Scott Muni Dies

*There are legends, and then there are Legends.

Scott Muni was a capital-L, bold-face Legend, and his death Tuesday night (Sept. 28) leaves NEW YORK radio a much poorer place.

Muni, born Donald Allen Munoz in Wichita, came to New York from WAKR in Akron in 1959 to become one of the "Good Guys" at WMCA (570). The next year, he moved to WABC (770), where he worked evenings right through the station's glory days, the start of Beatlemania. It would be the start of a long relationship for Muni.

In 1966, Muni took a bold step, relocating to the radio hinterlands of the FM dial, where he joined the initial airstaff at WOR-FM (98.7), the city's pioneering progressive rock station. Muni thrived on the freeform programming at WOR-FM, which gave him the freedom he'd never had in the tight confines of WABC's top-40 format, and his gravelly voice became inseparable from rock radio in New York.

Muni moved to WNEW-FM (102.7) in 1968, and quickly became an iconic part of the station "Where Rock Lives." It was Muni who helped New Yorkers through their grief when John Lennon was killed, and every show he ever did after that featured at least one Beatles or Lennon tune.

When WNEW's rock era came to a close, Muni moved over to WAXQ (104.3) in 1998, where he was heard during the noon hour each day - at least until this past January, when he suffered a stroke. Muni's family and friends kept the extent of his illness quiet, and so it came as a shock to most when the news came of his death.

Scott Muni was 74.

*In other news from the Empire State this week, Ernie Anastos is moving up the TV dial in New York City. He'll be released from his contract at WCBS-TV (Channel 2) later this year to go over to Fox's WNYW (Channel 5), where he'll replace Len Cannon at the anchor desk at 5, 6 and 10.

It appears the LMA between Clear Channel and WTSX (96.7)/WDLC (1490) in Port Jervis has ended. We hear the jocks who had been playing oldies on those stations (which were simulcasting as "The Fox") have moved over to CC's WNNJ (1360 Newton) in New Jersey - and that the Port Jervis stations are available for sale.

There's a whole new look this week at WRGB (Channel 6) in Schenectady, as the station plays down its call letters (the oldest still in use on any TV station in the country) and plays up its network affiliation with a blue-and-white "CBS 6" identity. WRGB also has a new website up and running at

Upstate, fans of Jackson Armstrong on WWKB (1520 Buffalo) - and yes, we're among them - are biting their nails over the future of his evening shift on 'KB now that he's out of his "day job" as morning jock on WMQX (93.1 Winston-Salem NC). Armstrong used that Entercom station's studios to voice-track his shift for 'KB, and while KB management says he'll continue on 1520, he's been missing for a couple of days.

*The news in New England is all about Air America this week - and we'll start in MASSACHUSETTS, where Clear Channel made the rumors come true, flipping WXKS (1430 Everett) and WKOX (1200 Framingham) to a progressive (liberal, if you prefer) talk lineup that includes Air America's Randi Rhodes and Al Franken and Jones' Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller. The new format replaces standards on WXKS (where we hear some tears were shed as morning man Bill Wightman said farewell to his audience last week) and Spanish religion on WKOX.

Speaking of WKOX, or at least of one of its towermates, WBIX (1060 Natick) finally began using its nighttime broadcast authority last week. WBIX continues to operate by day with 40 kW from the WKOX facility in Framingham, but now it's on the way to 2500 watts of night power from the WAMG (890 Dedham) site in Ashland. For the moment, it's running significantly less than 2500 watts as it tunes up its signal and attempts to avoid interfering with KYW (1060 Philadelphia) and Boston's own WBZ; those with long memories may recall that WBIX's ancestor on 1060, WGTR, operated under special temporary authority from the Ashland site for decades while it tried - and failed - to get the array working well enough to get a license to cover.

Over on the FM side, Michelle Williams is out as PD of Greater Media's WBOS (92.9 Brookline).

And we're following the doings over at public radio WBUR-FM (90.9 Boston), where the Boston Herald reports that licensee Boston University has asked attorney general Tom Reilly to investigate allegations of mismanagement by WBUR's controversial general manager, Jane Christo. Christo has always been a controversial figure, especially among WBUR staffers, and now that controversy has boiled over with allegations - spurred in part by the fight over WBUR's proposed sale of its Rhode Island licenses - that she improperly hired close family members. Stay tuned...

*Air America's in the headlines in MAINE as well, where Nassau Broadcasting's CEO, Lou Mercatanti, traveled to Portland last week to hear from listeners upset over the decision to flip WLVP (870 Gorham) to ESPN sports. Nassau had already agreed to postpone that flip until after Election Day, but Mercatanti had been receiving so many e-mails and calls that he ended up reconsidering the decision. After calling a "public forum" at the Nassau studios in downtown Portland, Mercatanti announced that Air America will stay in place on WLVP, as long as the promised community support for the signal materializes.

*Bob Vinikoor has calls for his new 1490 in Lebanon, NEW HAMPSHIRE: mark down "WUVR" for that construction permit. (And points to you if you remember that Vinikoor used those calls before, on the 100.5 Lebanon that's now Clear Channel's WXXK.)

And Gardner Goldsmith is the new 3-6 PM host on the WGIR news-talk network (WGIR 610 Manchester, WTSL 1400 Hanover, WTSM 93.5 Springfield VT, WGIP 1540 Exeter, WGIN 930 Rochester.)

*One call letter change in NEW JERSEY: Millennium flips its WOJZ (104.9 Egg Harbor City) to WSJO, still doing smooth jazz.

*Just a couple of new translators in PENNSYLVANIA's radio news this week: Smith and Fitzgerald get CPs for W278AZ (103.5 Wyalusing) and W287BB (105.3 Tunkhannock).

On the TV side, WGTW (Channel 48) made the flip from independent to TBN Friday night, closing out Dorothy Brunson's operation of the Burlington, N.J.-licensed signal.

*And in CANADA, the CRTC is considering four rival applications for 106.7 in western Ontario. Telephone City Communications (CKPC/CKPC-FM Brantford) wants a third signal; it would do country with 3.75 kW at 200 meters from Brantford. Sound of Faith Communications wants to move its CJTW Kitchener from 94.3 to 106.7, boosting power from 50 watts to 1585 watts. Larche Communications hopes to get its CIKZ Kitchener off 99.5, where it has reception problems from the proximity to Buffalo's WDCX on 99.5. It would boost power from 1.6 kW to 2 kW by moving to 106.7. And Rae Roe's Bel-Roc Communications would put on 106.7 in Haldimand County with 13.3 kW at 96 meters, restoring the facility that's being vacated by CHCD Simcoe's move from 106.7 to 98.9.

Over in Niagara Falls, CFLZ (105.1) names a new morning team, moving afternoon host Mike Ryan and newscaster Noelle Sinclair to wakeups and putting Ron White in the afternoon chair.

And there's yet another new signal in Montreal: CKLX (91.9) is testing from Mont Royal with its "Couleurs Jazz" format.

That's it for this week, as we head off to southern California and the NAB Radio Show. We'll be back next week with a look at the show and more...

*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 in San Diego for anyone heading out there - ask us in person about our show special!

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/ 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?

Order the 2005 Tower Site Calendar for $16...
Order the 2005 and 2004 Tower Site Calendars together for just $20...
...or subscribe to NERW at the $60 level and get a FREE 2005 Tower Site Calendar
...and you can still order the 2004 Tower Site Calendar at our special clearance price of $8! (US and Canada only - e-mail us for overseas ordering information.)

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.)

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.