November 8, 2004
*There's probably never been any other broadcaster
so closely identified with a state as Salty Brine was with RHODE
ISLAND. Host of the morning show on WPRO (630 Providence)
from 1942 until 1993, and of "Salty Brine's Shack"
on WPRO-TV/WPRI (Channel 12) from 1958 until 1968, the legendary
host was a part of the morning ritual in Ocean State homes for
several generations - and they're all in mourning this week,
with the news of Brine's death last Tuesday (Nov. 2) at age 86.
Born Walter L. Brine, "Salty" started his broadcast
career at WESX (1230) in Salem, Mass., then moved on to WHDH
in Boston before arriving at WPRO, where his gentle humor and
his trademark wintertime line "No school in Foster-Glocester"
quickly became an institution. After Brine's retirement, WPRO
named its studio complex in East Providence in his honor - and
Rhode Island even named a state beach for him.
Brine's legacy lives on in the airwaves of New England - his
son Wally is a Boston morning institution himself, as half of
the "Loren and Wally" morning show on WROR (105.7 Framingham).
*Elsewhere on the Rhode Island dial, former WBOS (92.9 Brookline
MA) morning guy David O'Leary comes to WSNE (93.3 Taunton MA)
Boston's WBUR has apparently put its plans to sell WRNI (1290
Providence) and WXNI (1230 Westerly) on hold for now; the Providence
Journal is renewing its call for WBUR parent Boston University
to donate the stations to the Foundation for Ocean State Public
Radio, which raised several million dollars to help WBUR acquire
And supporters of journalism everywhere are keeping an eye
on the case of WJAR (Channel 10) reporter Jim Taricani, who faces
the prospect of six months in jail if he's found in contempt
of a federal judge's order to reveal the source of the videotapes
that helped him uncover the "Plunder Dome" scandal
at Providence's City Hall. Taricani has already been paying a
$1000/day fine (reimbursed by WJAR) for refusing to disclose
the source of the tapes.
MASSACHUSETTS, the "Fox" is history at WWFX
(100.1 Southbridge). The Worcester-market rocker stunted as "100.1
the Sox" during the Red Sox' run at baseball immortality
a few weeks back - and last week, it flipped to classic hits
as "The Pike," grabbing the nickname of the toll road
that runs just south of Worcester. WWFX will be running jockless
through early February, we're told.
More Worcester news: WORC (1310 Worcester) jettisons its talk
format in favor of Spanish tropical music, with local jocks playing
salsa, merengue, bachata, baladas and other genres that would
have been unknown on the central Massachusetts radio dial a couple
of decades ago. The station's still being run by Chowder Broadcast
Group, with the sale to Gois Broadcasting not yet completed.
And Mike Roberts is still OM of WORC - even as he, Frank Foley
and Mike Roberts pack up their morning show and move it across
town to WCRN (830 Worcester).
WROL (950 Boston) has revised its pending application to change
city of license to Revere and add night power: instead of using
1000 watts at night from a new three-tower array northwest of
WROL's current single-tower site in Revere, Salem now proposes
adding two new towers at the current WROL site and operating
with 5000 watts at night from there. The catch? In order to protect
Philadelphia's WPEN and the many other stations on the crowded
channel, the WROL night signal will be aimed pretty much out
to sea, with only Nahant, Winthrop, part of East Boston and the
very edges of the South Shore getting an interference-free WROL
signal after dark.
More from the latest batch of FCC AM filings later in this
week's issue: "Radio Westfield" has had its application
for a new 200-watt fulltimer in Westfield accepted for filing
by the FCC. It's a neat application, too - principals Dennis
Jackson (of WQQQ, WMEX, etc.) and Marshall Sanft (of WARE in
Ware) would reuse the old WDEW/WLDW 1570 tower on the west side
of town for their new signal on 1340.
(Still more AM news from the FCC later on in this week's action-packed
On the FM front, the chance to put a new class A signal on
the air from Brewster, on Cape Cod, has been one of the biggest
attractions in the FCC's latest auction of new FM allocations.
The 94.3 Brewster auction stands at $2,032,000 at press time,
with Bayview Capital in the lead and several more rounds of bidding
likely to be in the offing. Stay tuned...
Squier is selling one of his VERMONT AM outlets,
transferring classic country WVAA (1390 Burlington) to White
Park Broadcasting for $400,000. Who's White Park? None other
than Steven Silberberg, whose other interests in the Burlington
area include progressive talk WTWK (1070 Plattsburgh NY) and
"Alice" WXAL (93.7 Addison)/WLKC (103.3 Waterbury),
not to mention AAA "Point" WNCS (104.7 Montpelier)
nearby. Will the progressive talk move across the lake from 1070
to 1390? (NERW notes that the two frequencies have had a lot
of crossover over the years, with the WKDR calls moving to 1390
from 1070 some years back; we also note that the deal between
Squier and Silberberg includes a cut in Squier's rent payments
for the transmitter of his WCVT 101.7 Stowe.)
More AM action this week? You betcha - consultant Charles
A. Hecht and Mega Broadcasting head honcho Alfredo Alonso have
their application for a new 670 in Essex Junction accepted for
filing. The new signal would run a whopping 35 kW by day, 20
kW critical hours and 350 watts at night from a three-tower array
along a bend in the Winooski River just west of Essex Junction.
*NEW HAMPSHIRE's WBYY (98.7 Somersworth)
was "number one with a bullet" last week, for all the
wrong reasons: the Seacoast station spent most of Friday off
the air because of damage to its transmission line from a wayward
.22 bullet that ended up lodged in the line 290 feet above the
ground. To make matters worse, the trouble occurred while the
station was in the midst of a canned food drive, which had to
be extended as a result. Still no word on who fired the bullet
that pierced the line, either...
Over in Concord, we reported last week on WTPL (107.7 Hillsborough)'s
new format - and we should mention what's become of WKXL (1450
Concord), which had been operating WTPL under an LMA. Arnie Arnesen's
talk show has moved from WKXL to WTPL, and now WKXL news director
Gardner Hill is back to doing a noontime news hour on 1450.
On the translator beat, the Idaho-based folks at Edgewater
Broadcasting and Radio Assist Ministry have a couple of new construction
permits: Edgewater's W237CR (95.3 Littleton) and Radio Assist's
W294AZ (106.7 Berlin) will both relay WMSJ (89.3 Freeport ME)
via over-the-air pickup, or so their applications claim. "Impossible"
seems to us to be the overly polite way to describe that sort
of reception (which would have to take place over something like
a 140-mile path across the highest mountain range in the Northeast);
what these two firms are clearly up to is speculating that either
the FCC will approve satellite feeds to commercial-band translators,
or that someone will be interested in buying all these new translators.
(NERW wonders: wouldn't it be, er, interesting if
the FCC did to translators what it's done with LPFMs and banned
any transfer of licenses or construction permits?)
*A couple of new AM signals are on the FCC's
list of accepted applications this week in MAINE: Daniel
Priestly's Waterfront Communications is in the running for 1240
in Ellsworth and 1230 in Newport.
Channel launched a new progressive talker in CONNECTICUT just
as we were going to press last Monday, installing more or less
the same lineup on WAVZ (1300 New Haven) that's been running
on Boston's WKOX/WXKS for the last few weeks - Air America's
"Morning Sedition," Al Franken and (on delay) Randi
Rhodes, plus syndicated offerings from Lionel, Stephanie Miller
and Ed Schultz.
A fight could be brewing over the future of Wesleyan University's
WESU (88.1 Middletown), where Wesleyan president Doug Bennet
says he wants the station to begin simulcasting NPR news and
talk programming from WSHU (91.1 Fairfield/1260 Westport) from
6 AM until 5 PM weekdays. The programming would complement the
classical music that Connecticut Public Broadcasting's WPKT (90.5
Meriden) offers the area during the day - but the station's student
leaders say WESU would better serve the community with the more
eclectic blend of programming it currently offers. Did we mention
that Bennet is a former president of NPR? This battle's far from
over, we suspect...
Another eBay station auction is underway at press time: Fair
Communication Community is offering the construction permit for
WKKK (1590 Oakville) for a starting bid of $99,999 or an outright
purchase price of $150,000. The CP for the Waterbury-area facility,
which would be a 500-watt daytimer, expires next March, but the
sale comes with a guarantee of a transmitter site (leased from
the city of Waterbury) and a tower crew at the ready to get the
two towers up and the station built. (Maybe the new owners could
do something about those calls, too, while they're at it.)
format change in NEW JERSEY: the smooth jazz of WOJZ (104.9
Egg Harbor City) gave way last week to hot AC "SoJo 104.9"
under new calls WSJO. Millennium Broadcasting's running this
one out of its Trenton facility, with WKXW-FM (New Jersey 101.5)
PD Eric Johnson handling PD duties for SoJo as well. And the
arrival of SoJo sets up a domino effect on a few other stations
in Millennium's group - hot AC "Mix" WIXM (97.3 Millville)
becomes a thing of the past this week, after a few days of cross-promoting
SoJo. 97.3 will return to its prior simulcast of WKXW-FM's talk
So what becomes, then, of WKOE (106.3 Ocean City), which is
the current South Jersey home of the WKXW-FM simulcast? NERW
hears that Millennium will begin LMA'ing WKOE to Press Communications
later this week, with Press (the former owner of WKXW-FM and
WIXM, incidentally) eventually acquiring WKOE outright. Right
now, Press' only property in the Atlantic City market is "Breeze"
WBHX (99.7 Beach Haven), which serves only the northern part
of the market; could WKOE become "Breeze" for Cape
May County, extending the format's reach all the way down the
Jersey Shore? As always, stay tuned...
More translators on the crowded Garden State dial? Much to
the dismay of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, the answer
is "yes"; the FCC issued CPs last week to W238BL (95.5
Wildwood), which will relay WXXY (88.7 Port Republic); W249BY
(97.7 Bridgeton), to relay still-unbuilt WVBV (90.5 Medford Lakes);
and to W264BT (100.7 Edison) and W276BW (103.1 Manahawkin), both
to relay WCNJ (89.3 Hazlet).
And how about a new full-power FM allocation at the extreme
southern tip of the state? Dana Puopolo is asking the FCC to
allot 107.7A in Port Norris, filling part of the gap left behind
by WSNJ-FM (107.7 Bridgeton)'s impending move to the Philly suburbs.
*Given that the new transmitter site for
the former WSNJ-FM will actually be right in Center
City Philadelphia, we'll put this in the PENNSYLVANIA section:
mark down new calls of WPPZ for the future Pennsauken, N.J.-licensed
107.9 signal. Tongues are already wagging about a black gospel
("Praise") format for the Radio One station; we'll
wait and see what shows up, thanks...
New Pennsylvania translators? Yup - W237CS (95.3 Bradford)
is another one from Edgewater, relaying (or so they say) WAWN
89.5 Franklin; W287BD (105.3 West Hazleton) will relay WKAB (103.5
Greg Valentine has departed morning drive at WLAN-FM (96.9
Lancaster); Dave Hughes' DCRTV
reports that he's headed to Baltimore's WWMX (106.5) for middays.
And there's a new AM in the works in the extreme northeastern
corner of the Keystone State: Bud Williamson's application for
1000 watts on 1450 in Milford was approved for filing by the
FCC last week.
start our NEW YORK news on Long Island, where WBEA
(101.7 Southold) is readying a Monday-morning flip from top 40
to rhythmic top 40 as "Blaze 101-7." The new Blaze
will keep the syndicated Bob & Sheri show in morning drive.
Not far away, Jarad's WLIR-FM (107.1 Hampton Bays) applies
to move its transmitter slightly, going from 6 kW/279' to 4.1
kw/397' from a Verizon tower on Moriches Road in Riverhead.
Sunrise Broadcasting is trying yet again to get a signal on
1200 in the central Hudson Valley. This has been one long-running
story - you may recall that Sunrise's WGNY (1220 Newburgh) spent
some time in the eighties and nineties operating on 1200 under
Special Temporary Authority, only to be forced back to 1220 to
avoid interference with New York's WLIB (1190). Sunrise then
won a CP to put 1200 on the air in Kingston, under the calls
WJGK. But that facility was never built, and now Sunrise hopes
to get that CP cancelled and a new one issued for Highland, right
across the river from Poughkeepsie. The new Highland 1200 would
run 4700 watts day, 1000 watts night from a new five-tower site
just off US 9W.
A frequency change in the Finger Lakes: WFLR-FM (95.9 Dundee)
has been granted a move to 95.5, where it would run 880 watts/856'
from a new tower site south of Dundee and north of Watkins Glen.
WFLR's new sister station, WNYR (98.5 Waterloo), was granted
a new translator: W251BB (98.1 Penn Yan). Also on the translator
list this week is another one for Calvary Chapel of the Finger
Lakes, whose WZXV (99.7 Palmyra) will be heard on W230BE (93.9
Howard Simon's back in the big time in Buffalo: the former
WNSA/Empire Sports Network talker has been leasing time on WLVL
(1340 Lockport), but no more - he's joining WGR (550 Buffalo)
for morning drive, displacing Kevin Sylvester, Bob Gaughan and
Gary Pufpaff from that gig.
On the TV dial, Lisa Lovell departs the news director's chair
at Binghamton's WIVT (Channel 34); she's headed to Memphis to
be executive producer at Clear Channel sister stations WPTY (Channel
24) and WLMT (Channel 30).
Two Southern Tier obituaries: Dom Milone's career in and around
Elmira included stints as PD at WNGZ, WPHD and over in Binghamton
at WMTT/WCDW. Milone had most recently been working at Corning's
WYDC (Channel 48); he died November 1, far too young at 42. In
Binghamton, Norm Gerber's remembered as "Sherwood"
on WENE (1430 Endicott) back in the sixties. Gerber also worked
at WNBF (1290), as well as at WPTR in Albany and WFMJ in Youngstown.
He spent the last quarter-century in the insurance business before
his death October 28 at age 77.
*In CANADA, CHUC (1450 Cobourg ON)
is apparently abandoning its plan to move to 1580 with 10 kW;
it's now asking the CRTC to allow it to go to FM instead, running
1450 watts/203 meters with a directional antenna.
Up in Pembroke, Ottawa's CHRI (99.1) wants a 22-watt relay
transmitter on 100.7.
In the continued absence of NHL hockey, Toronto's CFMJ (640)
has signed up the National Lacrosse League's Toronto Rock for
play-by-play action this fall. (We'd note that the Rock are the
perpetual rivals of NERW's hometown Rochester Knighthawks, though
the rivalry's never quite hit Sox-Yankees levels, in part because
the Knighthawks do even worse in Toronto than the Sox used to
- and we emphasize, used to - in Yankee Stadium...)
In Quebec, Radio-Canada's CBGA-7 (1340 Ste. Anne des Monts)
wants to move to FM; it's applied for 49.8 kw/381 m on 101.1.
Meanwhile, Radio Communautaire Missisquoi has been granted
496 watts on 99.1 in Lac Brome for an English-language community
And out in Nova Scotia, Halifax's CIEZ (96.5) has a new identity:
it's now playing classic hits as "Kool 96-dot-5," complete
with new calls of CKUL and a new Web address, at the planetkool.ca
domain that was once used by CKKL (93.9, now Bob FM) in Ottawa.
*You're now just two months away from 2005
- so why haven't you ordered your Tower Site Calendar 2005
It's now for sale, among other outlets, at the NAB Store -
yup, that was the 2005 edition on the counter in San Diego -
as well as being on the racks at Universal Radio in Ohio.
And we're pretty sure the cover of the Tower Site Calendar
2006 has now been photographed - but we won't spoil the surprise
just yet, will we?
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?
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2004 by Scott Fybush.