January 10, 2005
NERW's big 2004 Year in Review - now
available! Click here!
No "Love" for Albany
*In last week's NERW, we wondered what was
up with the ongoing Christmas music on what had been the smooth
jazz/adult R&B station for NEW YORK's capital district,
and now we know: Pamal has pulled the plug on the "Love
104.9" format at WZMR (104.9 Altamont), replacing it - apparently
as more than just a stunt - with a simulcast of country "Froggy
107" WFFG (107.1 Corinth) from the Glens Falls market. It's
a slight shot across the bow of Regent's market-dominating WGNA
(107.7 Albany), though the WZMR signal is a far cry from WGNA's
Citadel's fight with Howard Stern is over, at least on the
air in Syracuse, Providence, New Bedford and York, Pennsylvania;
those stations (WAQX 95.7 Manlius NY, WWKX 106.3 Woonsocket RI/WAKX
102.7 Narragansett Pier RI, WKKB 100.3 Middletown RI and WQXA-FM
105.7 York PA) hadn't been carrying Stern's show, for the most
part, since he began his vacation last month, and last week they
announced that they're dropping it for good. In Syracuse, WAQX
continues to run day-old Opie & Anthony segments, and read
on to see what the others are up to...
Buffalo's top 40 WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) starts the new
year without its longtime PD. After 17 years at "Kiss,"
Dave Universal didn't return from his vacation last week, having
been ousted by station owner Entercom. A memo announcing the
change was reportedly circulating at Entercom Buffalo before
Universal had even gotten the news directly; no replacement has
yet been named.
Down the Thruway in Rochester, a veteran programmer is coming
home to WCMF (96.5) and its Infinity sister stations WZNE, WPXY
and WRMM. Stan Main programmed 'CMF from 1986 until 1996. He'd
been consulting before Infinity tapped him to fill the shoes
of former Rochester VP/programming John McCrae, who was sent
packing amidst a payola issue last month. (NERW's amused, but
far from surprised, to note that the local excuse for a daily
paper reported Main's hiring in a business brief, carefully avoiding
any mention of McCrae, whose dismissal made the New York Times
but never saw a drop of ink in the local paper...)
The big news from New York City was the changing of the guard,
yet again, at "Mix 102.7" (WNEW), where Frankie Blue's
stint as PD is now over, following a post-holiday-party airshift
in which he called the station "KTU" and sounded more
than a bit pickled. Replacing him is former assistant PD (and
current APD at WCBS-FM) Rick Martini, who's certainly come a
long way from his days here in Rochester at WPXY all those years
Inner City Broadcasting's
WBLS (107.5 New York) starts the new year with a modified format
- it's now "Today's R&B and Classic Soul," shedding
the hip-hop that had been part of its format and launching a
full-on assault against Emmis' WRKS (Kiss 98.7). Afternoon jock
Wendy Williams (whose style leans towards the hip-hop side of
the spectrum, and who's syndicated to several other hip-hop heavy
stations) gets an extra hour added to her shift, which now runs
2-7 PM, while "PM in the AM" debuts today with Paul
Mooney, Ann Tripp, Mark Jordan and former "Saturday Night
Live" comedian Ellen Cleghorne. They'll have just one week
before facing the tough competition of former WQHT (97.1) morning
team Star and Buc Wild, who return to New York's airwaves Jan.
17 at WWPR (105.1).
Over at WEPN (1050 New York), there's a shuffling of the schedule
to report: the ESPN outlet moves former afternoon duo "Wally
and the Keeg" to the 10 AM-1 PM slot, with Michael Kay taking
over the 4-7 PM airshift.
After a long run at Utica's "Kiss" stations, Stew
Schantz has exited his OM post at Clear Channel's WSKS (97.9
Whitesboro)/WSKU (105.5 Little Falls) and its sister stations.
"Kiss" afternoon jock Stephen Lawrence becomes the
new PD there, as well as for "Mix" sister station WUMX
(102.5 Rome), while Tom Starr resumes his PD role at rock WOUR
(96.9 Utica) and "River" WOKR (93.5 Remsen).
WOKR Remsen?!?!?! Sounds weird to us, too, but that's
apparently where Clear Channel is parking the calls that are,
as of this morning, gone from Rochester's channel 13 after just
over 42 years at that spot as the only calls the ABC affiliate
ever had. At 5 AM Monday, WOKR(TV) became WHAM-TV, with original
WOKR announcer Jerry Carr (now station manager at West Palm Beach
public broadcaster WXEL) signing off the old calls for the final
time. Still sounds weird to us...
Speaking of Rochester, Jeremy Newman moves from evenings to
morning-show producer; no replacement's been picked yet for that
*A station sale in NEW JERSEY: WJSE
(102.7 Petersburg) changes hands from Parinello Enterprises to
Access.1 Communications for a reported $5 million, putting modern
rock "Digital 102.7" under common ownership with the
Jersey Shore's WMGM (103.7 Atlantic City), WOND (1400 Pleasantville),
WUSS (1490 Pleasantville) and WTKU (98.3 Ocean City), as well
as NBC affiliate WMGM-TV (Channel 40) in Wildwood.
*The WCBG call letters live on in PENNSYLVANIA,
even if their old home on 1590 in Chambersburg is now gone; station
owner M. Belmont VerStandig Inc. moves those calls to the former
WHGT (1380 Waynesboro), plugging in ESPN sports to replace 1380's
former simulcast of hot AC "Star 92.1" WSRT (92.1 Mercersburg).
In Pittsburgh, WRRK (96.9 Braddock) ended a couple of weeks
of stunting last Thursday by flipping to...er..."The New
97RRK, Rock Without Rules," with a rock playlist somewhat
expanded from its former "Channel 97" identity and
a website that still shows "Channel 97" and a big "UNDER
Brett Beshore has departed as GM of Greater Media's oldies
WPEN (950 Philadelphia).
In York, WQXA-FM (105.7) replaces Howard Stern with Nipsey
(moving from mornings) and Earl. Down the road in Gettysburg,
WGTY (107.7) MD/morning host Brad Austin is now PD as well, replacing
On TV, Corrie Harding (inbound from WBNS-TV in Columbus) is
the new ND at Pittsburgh's WPXI (Channel 11), replacing Pat Maday,
who's now consulting for Magid.
kicked off 2005 by swapping calls and formats on two of its stations
in the Keene, NEW HAMPSHIRE market: oldies WOQL (98.7
Winchester) takes the "Wink Country" format and WINQ
calls from 97.7 Winchendon MA, sending the oldies and WOQL calls
across the state line to 97.7. The new WINQ on 98.7 challenges
market leader WYRY (104.9 Hinsdale) in the format, and from its
new transmitter site in Fitzwilliam, we hear WOQL on 97.7 is
putting quite a good signal over Keene, too.
Over in Concord, WKXL (1450) is going more local; Laura Schlessinger
has been replaced with two hours of entertainment talk with Tony
Schinella, while Jim Rome gives way to "NH Now" with
Gardner Hill and a roster of five other local shows - and Laura
Ingraham will be off the station soon, we're told.
*Two new translators are on the air in VERMONT:
W243AT (96.5 Barre) fills in some of the signal holes of WDEV-FM
(96.1 Warren) in Barre and Montpelier, transmitting from the
Thunder Road speedway at Quarry Hill. And down in Brattleboro,
Vermont Public Radio fills in a longstanding signal deficiency
with the debut of W233AR (94.5), bringing the signal from WVPR
(89.5 Windsor) down the valley to southeastern Vermont.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, WROR (105.7 Framingham)
and afternoon jock Tai have parted ways; no word yet on where
the Boston veteran (who spent many years at WFNX) might be landing
next. Also out, after a very brief run, is WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester)
morning man Bill Wightman, who just moved to WBOQ last fall from
his morning gig at WXKS (1430 Everett). And at WXKS-FM (107.9
Medford), Kory's out of the night shift.
(91.9 Boston) has given its morning show a new identity for the
new year. As of today, the 6-10 AM slot is now "The Morning
Express," with a rotating cast of co-hosts joining Dick
Pleasants. (GM Pat Monteith, middayer Marilyn Rea Beyer, music
director Sarah Wardrop and PD Brian Quinn will be among them.)
The show will also include live interviews and performances with
folk musicians, segments on folk music history and more; it'll
be produced by Darrell Penta, with Sara Boudreau assisting.
We're sorry to report the passing of Norm Resha, who'd been
a co-host of "Calling All Sports" (most recently heard
on WTKK 96.9, but long a Sunday-afternoon staple at WBZ) since
1991, when he revived the show after a long absence. (Its original
run on WBZ, presided over by Guy Mainella, began in 1969 and
lasted about a decade.) Resha had suffered a heart attack; he
died Friday (Jan. 7) of complications following bypass surgery.
He was 59.
(And a Tuesday evening note: we'd referred to "the
late" Guy Mainella when this item was originally posted
- but his son checked in to let us know that Guy's alive and
well and enjoying his retirement in New Hampshire. Glad to hear
Resha's former "Calling All Sports" co-host, WBZ-TV
(Channel 4) sports director Bob Lobel, remained off the air as
we went to press Sunday night, and it's still not clear when
or if he'll be back. The station says he's taking some personal
time, but the status of his contract remains up in the air (and
it probably didn't help when Lobel's marital problems were aired
in the Boston papers a few weeks back, either.) Will Lobel be
back on the air for the Patriots' first playoff game next Sunday?
Speaking of WBZ, its 10 PM newscast on sister station WSBK
(Channel 38) goes off the air after next Sunday (Jan. 16), replaced
by reruns of "Dr. Phil." Anchor Ted Wayman moves to
WSBK's 7-8 AM newscast, while his colleague Sara Underwood will
keep the other half of her shift, co-anchoring WBZ's 4 PM news.
And we note that the new schedule on the radio side has debuted,
with the WBZ Afternoon News now running until 8 o'clock on weeknights,
followed by four hours of Paul Sullivan until Steve LeVeille
takes over at midnight.
Over in North Adams, the firing of veteran WNAW/WMNB weatherman
George Trottier stirred up plenty of bad press in the community
- and it didn't take long for Vox to relent; after just a few
days last week, the stations put Trottier back on the air, filing
weather forecasts from his home as he'd been doing for the last
35 years. (Trottier, who's legally blind, earned $300 a month
from the stations for his three daily forecasts.)
In Springfield, Don Imus is gone from WNNZ (640 Westfield)
after more than a decade; ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike"
replace the I-Man (who can still be heard in much of the area
on flagship WFAN.)
Courtney Quinn's the new midday (10-3) jock on WLZX (99.3
Northampton), and she's also the new music director for modern
rock "Lazer," moving up from WXMM (100.5 Norfolk VA)
in Virginia Beach.
*The demise of the Howard Stern show in RHODE
ISLAND moves "Hot 106" (WWKX 106.3 Woonsocket)
to "Most Music in the Mornings," with Joey Foxx handling
the shift - and the incongruity of Stern on a hip-hop station
now a thing of the past.
*In CONNECTICUT, the interim morning
show on WKCI (101.3 Hamden) features PD Chaz Kelly and afternoon
drive jock Michael Maze.
*Up in CANADA, friends and
fans of legendary jock Tom Rivers will remember him this Saturday
(Jan. 15) at a memorial at Seneca College near Toronto. Details
on the event are at Rivers' website, riversairforce.com.
And over at Toronto's "Jack FM" (CJAQ 92.5), Milkman
UnLimited reports that the entire airstaff - except for morning
jock Rob Christie and two weekenders - was sent packing last
*We're busy shipping out the
Tower Site Calendar 2005 to radio fans from coast
to coast and far beyond (would you believe New Zealand?)
Didn't find one under the tree this year? That's OK - we've
still got plenty, and we're shipping them out daily.
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.
(You can see some previews of this year's calendar images
at Tower Site
of the Week - where the archive listing's newly updated!)
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. (Please note that the prices below are valid
for U.S. and Canadian orders only; please e-mail for information
about overseas shipping.)
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!)
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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2005 by Scott Fybush.