January 31, 2005
NERW's big 2004 Year in Review - now
available! Click here!
Bad Week for Miss Jones
*It wasn't a good week at what is - or at
least used to be - NEW YORK's biggest hip-hop station,
Emmis' WQHT (Hot 97.1). It was bad enough, probably, that Clear
Channel-owned rival WWPR (Power 105.1) had just launched a new
morning show featuring the former top-rated Hot 97 team of Star
and Buc Wild. But things took a turn for the worse when Hot's
answer to Star and Buc Wild, "Miss Jones," began playing
a parody song based on the 80s charity single "We Are The
World." Instead of the upbeat message of the original, though,
this version poked fun at the victims of the Asian
tsunami, resorting to some awfully offensive stereotypes in the
And in today's hyper-conscious age, it didn't take long at
all before the incident had escalated to cause celebre
status, with Miss Jones and her morning crew first being suspended
for a few days, then offering to donate a week's salary to charity,
then being pulled off the air "indefinitely," which
is where things stand at press time (along with several advertisers,
most notably McDonald's, pulling their business from Hot until
the matter is settled.)
*A few other pieces of news from the city: Don Imus is saying
farewell to the basement studio in Astoria, Queens that he's
called home ever since joining WFAN (660) back in 1988. He's
headed across the Hudson, to a studio custom-built for his show
at MSNBC's Secaucus, N.J. facility, in a move that's probably
been inevitable since the day MSNBC began televising his show.
Mets fans aren't alone in mourning the death of Bob Brown,
whose career at the 970 spot on the dial (formerly WAAT Newark,
later WJRZ Hackensack) included hosting the Mets pre- and post-game
shows for much of the sixties and early seventies, including
the "Miracle Mets" 1969 season. Brown also hosted New
York lottery drawings on TV for many years. He died Wednesday
(Jan. 26) of lung cancer, at age 79. And we note, too, the passing
on Jan. 21 of John Hess, whose commentaries were a fixture on
WBAI (99.5 New York.) He was 87.
Moving upstate, it appears we missed the call change on WUCL
(93.5 Remsen) by just hours; it officially became WOKR(FM) on
January 24, a day after we passed through and heard it still
identifying as WUCL.
in Rochester, we're pleased to report that a veteran local newsguy,
Bob Kirk (formerly news director at WROC-TV) has found a new
gig. He's now the news director for the local Entercom cluster,
handling morning news duties on WBEE-FM (92.5), WBBF (93.3 Fairport),
WBZA (98.9) and, ironically, WROC (950). That, of course, was
the job long held by Steve Hausmann, who's now been promoted
to co-host of the WBEE morning show, joining Terry Clifford in
the spot formerly occupied by the late Bill Coffey.
And we're sorry to report the death of one of upstate New
York's best-loved broadcasters. George Abraham was universally
known as "Doc," and with his wife Katy he hosted the
"Green Thumb" gardening show on WHAM (1180) for more
than five decades. "The Green Thumb" was also seen
on TV for a quarter-century (at WOKR 13, now WHAM-TV), and the
couple wrote a syndicated newspaper column that was read in more
than 150 papers at its height. Doc Abraham died Thursday (Jan.
28) of congestive heart failure, just a week before his 90th
*A strange story from central MASSACHUSETTS
this week: it's not every day that much of the staff of a
radio station walks out, taking the station's music library with
them. It happened at WESO (970 Southbridge), the result of a
feud between the station's new general manager, Dick Vaughn,
and his predecessor, Joe Grivalski. Grivalski, who's known as
"Joe G" on the air, co-hosted WESO's morning show with
Derek Moison until last week, when the two abruptly left the
station. With no music on hand - Grivalski owned most of the
station's CDs and took them with him when he left - WESO was
left with dead air for a while Wednesday morning, until the station's
Jones satellite classic country was put back on the air, reports
the Southbridge Evening News.
The paper quotes
station owner Barry Armstrong (who also owns Concord's WBNW 1120)
as saying Grivalski had been removed as GM because he failed
to make the station profitable. For his part, Grivalski told
the News that Vaughn wouldn't talk to him or Moison, calling
Vaughn "the most unethical and unprofessional man I've met
in my life." And Armstrong, in turn, told the News that
Moison and Grivalski "took the coward's way out" by
walking out of the station. (It's a change, anyway, from the
usual "resigned to pursue other career interests" that
we're so accustomed to...)
For the moment, WESO's running the Jones satellite programming
in morning drive, with no word on who might replace Grivalski
and Moison in the long run.
Some good news, meanwhile, from Boston: WGBH broke ground
last week on its new 330,000 square foot headquarters facility
at Allston Landing. The complex will include an existing building
and a new studio building (with a 200-seat auditorium, among
other amenities) alongside the Mass Turnpike, where WGBH will
put up a giant video wall to showcase its products to passing
drivers. WGBH's current home, which now encompasses two connected
buildings and a welter of smaller structures and trailers along
Western Avenue, will become part of the new Harvard Business
School campus once the new digs are ready in a couple of years.
And speaking of public radio, there's a new set of call letters
in southeastern Massachusetts, where UMass Dartmouth has picked
the calls WUMD for its 89.3 facility in North Dartmouth. That
89.3 signal (with 9.6 kw vertical at 93 meters) was to have been
the new home of what's now student station WSMU (91.1 North Dartmouth),
but the university quietly applied more than a year ago to have
the 89.3 signal "recharacterized" as a new station,
so it will get to operate both 89.3 and 91.1 when the dust settles.
One more college radio tale: Nichols College in Dudley has
been granted a CP for a 100-watt LPFM at 97.5. Will this spell
the end of WNRC (95.1), Nichols' 15-watt class D outlet?
Mark down a new (and
easier-to-remember) URL for one of our favorite New England websites:
Mike Fitzpatrick's excellent "NECRAT" site is jam-packed
with pictures of radio and TV transmitter sites all over the
region, and you can now get there easily via www.necrat.com.
*Get ready for some FM changes in RHODE
ISLAND, where Davidson Media Group has closed on its acquisition
of WKKB (100.3 Middletown) and WAKX (102.7 Narragansett Pier)
from Citadel. (Nothing's happened as of press time, but the odds
are good that WKKB, at least, will be speaking Spanish before
*In Burlington, VERMONT, Margo St.
John has departed WOKO (98.9), where she was music director and
midday host. "Cowboy" Cal Daniels moves from nights
to middays at the Hall Communications country outlet, while Chris
Reed takes the night gig and MD duties.
Down south, Nassau has closed on its purchase of WEXP (101.5
Brandon) and WVAY (100.7 Wilmington) from Vox, ending the Vox
era in the Green Mountain State.
(Speaking of Vox, a clarification from last
week's story about Will Stanley and his purchase of CONNECTICUT's
WKZE. We said Stanley "started" the AAA format on WKXE
95.3 in White River Junction, and that's not really true. When
Stanley and future Vox principal Jeff Shapiro bought WKXE from
Terry Boone, it was already doing AAA - so the credit for starting
the format up there really belongs to Boone, and we stand corrected.
And while we're mentioning WKZE, we now have a sale price to
report - $1.4 million, $400,000 less than seller Scott Johnson
paid for the AM/FM combo a few years ago - and a strongly-founded
rumor that the 1020 AM side of WKZE will flip to Air America
talk under the new ownership.)
*In NEW JERSEY, the spat between WKXW
(101.5 Trenton) afternoon co-host Craig Carton and governor Richard
Codey turned (almost) physical this week, when the two met in
the hallway of the talk station and Codey challenged Carton to
a fight. There's a history of tension between the two - Carton's
had some pretty strong things to say about women with post-partum
depression, an issue the governor's wife has publicly spoken
out about suffering from. Codey reportedly told Carton, "if
I weren't governor, I'd take you out," after which the governor's
staff separated the two men and Carton left the building.
*There are some changes on the way to the radio
landscape in Johnstown, PENNSYLVANIA, where Forever is
about to move the "Key" AC format from WKYE (95.5 Johnstown)
to newly-acquired (from Clear Channel) WMTZ (96.5 Johnstown).
The country format that's been on 96.5 will move sometime today
to the more potent 95.5 signal, but not under its current "Mountain"
moniker. Is yet another "Froggy" on the way to western
PA? Don't bet against it. (Ribbit.)
Down the road in Pittsburgh, WYEP (91.3) broke (frozen) ground
last week on its new studio facility in Bedford Square, on Pittsburgh's
South Side. The new studios, which will replace the second-floor
studio on Carson Street that WYEP has called home for the last
decade, will include a public performance space, among other
amenities. Over on the AM dial, Bob Logue is calling it quits
after 17 years on the overnight shift at KDKA (1020). No permanent
replacement has been named, but Gary Dickson, Rob Pratte and
"Dr. Knowledge" are filling in for now. Meanwhile,
Lynn Cullen is taking a month off from her midday show on WPTT
(1360 McKeesport). Until her return February 21, WPTT will carry
Thom Hartmann's syndicated show Monday-Wednesday, with John McIntire
doing a local show Thursdays and Fridays.
And speaking of WPTT, the FCC is letting Renda Broadcasting
fix what could have been a whopper of a mistake in its filing
for a major change during last year's window. It seems that there
was some miscommunication between Renda and the Evangel Heights
Assembly of God, which owns WAVL (910 Apollo). Both sides agreed
that WAVL would move to 1360 to allow WPTT to relocate to 910
as a daytimer licensed to Mount Lebanon - but then each side
followed a different plan when filling out its application.
Renda thought it would be swapping licenses with Evangel,
so it applied to move WPTT's 1360 facility to Apollo, believing
Evangel would be applying to move WAVL's 910 facility to Mount
Lebanon. But while Renda was following its lawyers' plan, the
technical consultants came up with another plan - and they didn't
tell the lawyers, or so it would seem. So Evangel applied to
move WAVL from 910 to 1360, also remaining at Apollo, and the
result (as we noted in NERW when the applications were first
filed) was two applications for Apollo and none for the desired
Mount Lebanon city of license.
In a December letter, the FCC agreed to allow Renda to modify
its application to specify Mount Lebanon as the new WPTT city
of license on 910, while advising the broadcaster to "exercise
more caution with its filings in the future."
So WPTT now holds a pending application to become a 7 kW daytimer
on 910 from a new six-tower array deep in the South Hills (just
over the Washington County line, in fact), while WAVL now applies
to move to 1360 as a 2 kW daytimer from the existing 910 array
up to the northeast of Pittsburgh.
Over on the eastern end of the state, WZZO (95.1 Allentown)
PD Rick Strauss is getting a big promotion. He moves to New York
as Clear Channel's director of content for online music and radio
- and 'ZZO's now looking for a new PD. Across town at WCTO (96.1
Easton), Shelly Easton adds OM duties (for both WCTO and sister
station WLEV 100.7) to her PD responsibilities; Jerry Padden
(formerly of WKRZ in Wilkes-Barre) picks up APD/MD duties at
WCTO from Sam Malone, who remains on 'CTO's morning shift.
*There's a format change to report in CANADA's
Niagara Peninsula, where CHOW (91.7 Welland) dropped the country
format it's had for decades (going back to its old AM 1470 days)
over the weekend, ditching "Spirit 91.7" in favor of
"Giant 91.7," playing a hot AC/classic hits mix that's
said to be reminiscent of the "Jack" and "Bob"
and "Dave" formats being heard elsewhere in Canada.
New calls for Giant 91.7 are CIXL, as in "Extra Large."
And just up the road in Hamilton, CHAM (820) ended a weekend
of stunting by segueing to classic country on Monday morning.
In Ottawa, there's some shuffling going on with the news staff
at CFRA (580), as Rob Snow becomes afternoon host alongside Brigitte
Pellerin, with Kris Sims becoming afternoon producer and Jen
Traplin moving over to sister station CKKL (Bob 93.9) for afternoon
news duties. (And what's this we hear about CHUM registering
the "580news.com" domain for CFRA, with that station
going all-news and talk replacing sports on CFGO 1200? Seems
that domain's been registered for something like six years now,
In Montreal, Pete Marier returns from Winnipeg (where he was
on "Bob" CFWM 99.9) to do middays at CHOM (97.7), and
up in Shawinigan, CFUT is granted a move from 91.9 to 91.1, still
as an unprotected low-power assignment.
*We're pleased to announce the return
of the NERW Classifieds after a long absence. If you're
looking to reach thousands of broadcast professionals in the
Northeastern U.S., eastern Canada and beyond (more than 70,000
hits every Monday alone!), there's no more economical way to
do it. Rates start at just $5/week for a 50-word ad, and the
fifth week is always free when you pay for four. Click
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Commercials, radio/tv imaging, narration, on-hold messages, spokesperson.
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cases. Dry or produced. Gary Begin Voice Talent (731) 424-5025.
*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.)
Thanks for your support!
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
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click here to
learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2005 by Scott Fybush.