February 28, 2005
NERW's big 2004 Year in Review - now
available! Click here!
Remembering Bruds (and Y100, too)
*BOSTON - If the measure of a man
is in the lives he touched, then the late David Brudnoy lived
a full life indeed. On Sunday afternoon, Brudnoy's friends -
and even his casual listeners on WBZ (1030) counted themselves
as friends - lined up around the block to fill the Cutler Majestic
Theater for a tribute to one of the most eclectic personalities
ever to grace a microphone.
For two and a half hours, the crowd - including Boston mayor
Tom Menino and other local notables - heard from friends and
family across the many facets of Brudnoy's life.
"He did all things all the way," said Peter Meade,
Brudnoy's close friend and former WBZ host, as he introduced
To judge from the stories Brudnoy's family shared, that was
a trait that distinguished David as far back as his childhood
in Minnesota. His cousin Rachel Brudnoy shared the tale of how
a 12 year old Brudnoy worked the phones and persuaded a Minneapolis
hotel, a car dealer and a luxury restaurant to prepare for the
state visit of a fictional "Grand Emir of Aden."
Brudnoy's doctors spoke of the incredible strength that brought
him back to life after the 1994 illness that left him all but
dead. Several of his students at Boston University spoke of the
energy, enthusiasm and wit he brought to the classroom, including
his attack on the use of the word "like" in students'
In the last years of his life, Brudnoy was adopted by the
Emerson College chapter of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity, whose
members were in turn adopted by "Brother Bruds," who
brought them into the whirl of what student Roman Sturgis called
"the Brudnoy-centric universe."
Brudnoy's former producer, Kevin Myron, shared the nickname
that the erudite, scholarly Brudnoy bestowed on him ("Yo"),
saying Brudnoy's direction to him when planning the memorial
service was,"Yo, make it something I'd like to be at."
There's no question that Brudnoy ("whose favorite topic
was David Brudnoy," as one speaker said) would have laughed
and cried along with the crowd at the Majestic, especially as
his longtime partner Ward Cromer closed out the afternoon with
his stories of life and travel with Bruds.
One of Brudnoy's few unfulfilled wishes in a life he lived
with incredible fullness was to visit India and the Taj Mahal,
a wish Cromer said he'll fulfill later this year when he travels
there to sprinkle some of David's ashes at the site.
And in thanking those who mattered most to David, it's worth
noting that Cromer singled out the callers, the "vox populi"
who carried on a dialogue that lasted for decades. Cromer spoke
movingly of Brudnoy's final show on WBZ the night before his
death, when Meade took calls from listeners while Brudnoy listened
intently from his hospital bed at Mass General. Of one such call,
from a listener named Keri who credited David for getting her
started in radio (and that would be NERW reader Keri Rodrigues
of WHJJ in Providence), Cromer said "callers such as Keri
meant the world to David."
David, in turn, meant the world to so many of us, who miss
his voice every night on the radio and the joy of his presence,
and you'll forgive your editor for the personal aside, I hope,
in saying just how much it meant to be in the company of so many
of those who loved David Brudnoy.
*There's some good news out of WBZ to report: Paul Sullivan,
heir to Brudnoy's evening hours, is recovering from his treatment
for a brain tumor. Sully was greeted with hearty applause when
he stepped on stage at the Brudnoy memorial, and he confirms
that he'll be back in his 8-midnight slot Monday night, followed
by the return of Steve LeVeille to his usual overnight slot after
months of filling in in the evenings. With that, WBZ will finally
have a "normal" nighttime talk schedule for the first
time since Brudnoy's death, and we're sure PD Peter Casey (who
deserves tremendous appreciation for the work he put into planning
Sunday's memorial) is breathing a sigh of relief.
Speaking of Sullivan, the radio station where he got his start
is about to change hands. WLLH (1400 Lowell and Lawrence) and
WAMG (890 Dedham) have spent the last few years doing Spanish
tropical under the ownership of Mega Communications, but Mega's
been selling off many of its facilities, and now the company's
exiting New England completely. The investment firm of Waller
Sutton is backing the $9 million purchase, but so far we know
nothing about who'll be running the stations or what happens
next. Stay tuned...
The sale of WLLH
wasn't the big radio news this week in Lowell. That honor goes
to UMass Lowell's WUML (91.5), where students and community members
are once again squaring off against university officials over
the station's future direction.
Last year, the debate concerned "Lowell Sunrise,"
the morning show that was being produced by the Lowell Sun in
conjunction with the university's administration. The Sun pulled
out of its deal with WUML earlier this year (though the university
continues to produce the "Sunrise" show, with most
of its staff, including ex-WLLH newsman Bob Ellis, working directly
for UMass), but the arrangement appears to have whetted the university's
desire to turn WUML into a professionally-run broadcast outlet.
Last week, the university (under the guidance of Lou DiNatale,
the political scientist who's advising UMass on broadcasting)
struck a deal with former WBUR (90.9 Boston) talk host Christopher
Lydon to do a daily one-hour show on WUML. The show will be produced
at the Boston studios of WGBH, at least for the next year or
so. And the university's also in talks with the Lowell Spinners
to move the minor-league baseball team's broadcasts over to WUML
from WCAP (980), where they were heard last season.
WUML's student and community staffers are reacting pretty
much as you'd expect to the prospect of losing most of the station's
evening hours all summer; they're blanketing the campus with
flyers and reading announcements in class to make students aware
of the potential changes. Will that be enough to get the ear
of DiNatale and university chancellor William Hogan? As always,
on the AM dial, WEEI (850 Boston) has found a replacement for
Bob Neumeier alongside Dale Arnold in middays. Former Boston
Globe sportswriter Michael Holley joins Arnold on the renamed
"Dale and Holley" just in time to talk about the start
of spring training for the World Champion Boston Red Sox. (Sorry
- it still just feels so good to type that...)
Where are they now? Former WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford) afternoon
jock "Artie the One-Man Party" is heading for sunny
Charlotte, N.C., where he's taking over afternoons at another
"Kiss," Infinity's WNKS (95.1).
We now know where Pittsfield's WBEC-FM (105.5) will be transmitting
from when it completes its move eastward to the Springfield market.
The FCC has already approved the allocation change that moves
WBEC-FM to Easthampton, and last week Vox applied for new technical
facilities for the station, which will run 850 watts at 602 feet
above average terrain from a tower in Westhampton, where it should
do well into Northampton and Amherst (but may have less signal
into Springfield and vicinity than we'd initially expected.)
And a correction from last week: the tower that WFNX (101.7
Lynn) hopes to leave behind is the former WEEI-FM (103.3, now
WODS) facility, not the former WNAC-TV (Channel 7) stick. That
tower was later used by AT&T and still stands above Malden
Hospital (though, as our radio-history colleague Norm Gagnon
points out, both it and the WFNX tower are actually in Medford.)
A few more bits of trivia about the old WEEI-FM tower: CBS
acquired that site circa 1950, when it hoped to buy the construction
permit for WRTB-TV (Channel 2) from Raytheon, a deal that was
never consummated. In 1954, WBZ-TV (Channel 4) used the tower
as an interim site after its tower in Allston collapsed; it remained
there until 1957, when its current tower in Needham was completed.
Later, CBS donated the site to Harvard University, which contemplated
moving WHRB (95.3 Cambridge) there. (And from the irony files:
WHRB's current site atop One Financial Center in Boston is precisely
where WFNX hopes to move...)
*A RHODE ISLAND high school station
may soon be sharing its channel. WCVY (91.5 Coventry) had been
the target of several competing applications for its frequency,
citing its limited broadcast schedule. And while at least one
of those applications was withdrawn, the FCC last week accepted
for filing an application submitted way back in 1997 from "Educational
Radio for the Public of a New Millennium" (that wouldn't
be a religious broadcaster, now would it?) to share time on 91.5.
ERFTPOANM, or whatever we're supposed to call them, would run
100 watts on the channel, with a city of license of East Greenwich.
It's still not too late, NERW believes, for WCVY to go full-time
on 91.5 and thwart the ERFTPOANM application, and we'll keep
watching this one for developments.
*Dr. Gene Scott was a Los Angeleno through
and through, but we can't let the news of the eccentric TV preacher's
death pass without noting his ties to CONNECTICUT. That's
where Scott owned WHCT (Channel 18) in Hartford. Through the
seventies and early eighties, channel 18 was home to a non-stop
diet of Scott's unusual style of TV religion, including his lengthy
pipe-smoking diatribes against the FCC and lengthy shots of his
thoroughbred horses at play.
Scott lost his licenses in the early eighties, and there was
a story making the rounds that alleged that he had WHCT's transmitter
buried somewhere on the grounds of the Avon tower site to avoid
losing it to creditors. If it were anyone else, we'd dismiss
the story as apocryphal, but with Scott, you never know.
Even without his TV stations (he owned KHOF-TV in Los Angeles
and KVOF in San Francisco as well as WHCT), Scott's ministry
continued to grow. In recent years, his programs were seen on
24-hour satellite feeds and heard on full-time shortwave broadcasts
from WWCR in Nashville and the Caribbean Beacon on Anguilla.
Scott died last Monday in Los Angeles at age 75; his broadcasts
will no doubt continue to blanket the airwaves for years to come.
*The last shoe has dropped in the Nassau
call changes in Concord, NEW HAMPSHIRE, where the former
"Outlaw Country" WOTX (102.3) changes calls to WWHK,
for its new "Hawk" classic rock format.
*There's a new PD at WEQX in Manchester,
VERMONT, as Willobee becomes the latest occupant of that
oft-spinning chair. He's a veteran of WEFX (95.9 Norwalk CT)
and the old WLIR (92.7 Garden City NY), among other stops.
On the TV side, Andy Wormser is stepping down as news director
at WPTZ (Channel 5, actually licensed in Plattsburgh, N.Y.) He's
heading for a new gig with the Associated Press, working on the
ENPS newsroom computer system.
*The other half of the WBEC-FM move mentioned
above is in the Albany, NEW YORK market, where Vox
filed its application last week to move WNYQ (105.7 Queensbury)
south to the northern suburb of Malta. But the new WNYQ will
serve more than just Malta - it'll run 7800 watts at 580 feet
above average terrain from the WNYT (Channel 13) tower in Brunswick,
across the Hudson River from Albany.
WAQX (95.7 Manlius) isn't giving up on rock just yet. After ditching
the Howard Stern morning show earlier than planned, 95X unveiled
the "Beaner and Ken" morning show last Thursday, featuring
Guy "Beaner" Patton and Ken Heron, late of WANZ (100.5
Northport AL) in the Birmingham market.
Here in Rochester, we neglected to mention in last week's
column (largely because we'd been out of town the week before)
the more than 1,500 people who turned out for a memorial concert
for the late WBEE (92.5) morning host Bill Coffey. The event
garnered front-page mention in the local paper, as well it should
have - Coffey was one of the true gentlemen in the industry,
and his loss is still keenly felt over at WBEE and around the
Over in Buffalo, WHTT (104.1) is preparing to say goodbye
to another legend, as Tom Shannon gets ready for his retirement
at the end of March. Shannon will host a three-hour retrospective
on WHTT March 13, and we'd expect many more tributes to the veteran
jock as his afternoon gig on the oldies station comes to a close.
More Buffalo notes: we've been remiss in not noting the arrival
of the syndicated Tom Joyner show on WBLK (93.7 Depew), where
it's been heard since mid-January - and we note that what's left
of the Empire Sports Network will close up shop for good on March
7. The network has already lost carriage outside Buffalo on Time
Warner cable and on Dish Network, and it hasn't had any original
programming since the start of the year.
And we're sorry to report the death of Anthony DiMarco, the
entrepreneur who lit up Watertown's airwaves with the low-power
signals of WBQZ-LP (Channel 34) and WLOT-LP (Channel 46, formerly
66). DiMarco suffered a heart attack Wednesday morning; he was
with that we come to PENNSYLVANIA and the week's other
top story. It was no secret that WPLY (100.3 Media) was losing
the Preston and Steve morning show at the end of February; after
sitting out a six-month noncompete, the pair will reappear this
fall on Greater Media's WMMR (93.3 Philadelphia). But it was
something of a surprise even to Y100's staffers when the end
of the Preston & Steve show Thursday morning was followed
just hours later by the complete demise of the station's modern
The duo's final Y100 show was peppered with clues about the
impending end, including their last song, "Alive" by
Pearl Jam, which was the last song played on the old WDRE (103.9
Jenkintown) before it dropped modern rock in 1997.
There's a powerful irony at work: upon its purchase by Radio
One, 103.9, of course, went urban as "the Beat," WPHI
- and now those calls and that format are being heard on the
more powerful 100.3 facility. Two hours after Preston and Steve
signed off, dropping a mention of a new website at y100rocks.com,
middayer Bret Hamilton noted "it's my last day, too,"
and at noon became the last live voice heard on Y100. After not
quite 12 hours of automation, WPLY went to dead air at 11:55
Thursday night, resurfacing minutes later as "the Beat."
the weekend, 103.9 was running liners sending listeners down
the dial to 100.3, but it starts the new week with the black
gospel format that was widely rumored to be coming to Radio One's
other Philadelphia-market station, WRNB (107.9 Pennsauken NJ).
You may recall that the 107.9 facility tested last fall under
the calls WPPZ (quickly withdrawn, we hear, over concerns that
it was tipping off competitors to the planned black gospel format)
- and now those WPPZ calls have been applied for on 103.9. (The
call changes will take effect Thursday.)
So we know what becomes of Radio One's three stations, but
there are many questions still to be answered. For instance:
- Who's left at Radio One?: There's still no airstaff
on the recently-launched WRNB. WPHI spent the weekend running
jockless (though we hear its jocks will debut on 100.3 today),
and of course the entire Y100 airstaff was sent packing. The
cluster's general manager, Lynn Bruder, a veteran of Y100 under
previous owner Dan Lerner, submitted her resignation over the
weekend, and we hear that most of Y100's promotion and sales
staff are leaving the cluster as well.
- Where will the Y100 staff go? We know Preston &
Steve are headed for Greater Media (with a distinct possibility
that their non-compete clause may be bought out), but now there's
a full airstaff ready and waiting for another operator to pick
up modern rock in what's now the largest market without the format.
There are already rumors flying that Greater Media might reconsider
putting Preston & Steve on WMMR and instead launch a full-fledged
modern rocker in place of its struggling hot AC WMWX (95.7) -
but WMMR has already publicly welcomed its new morning team,
and it's been airing tributes to Y100 as well.
- What's with y100rocks.com? The domain was registered
(to an anonymous proxy service) a week before the format flip
- and the webstream that's running there is full of Y100 content,
including the station's trademark "Studio Sessions."
Is this a stealth attempt by Radio One to keep Y100 going as
a web-only station, or (more likely, we suspect) the work of
a very talented staff that saw the writing on the wall and hopes
to keep the station's spirit alive.
Speaking of Greater Media, there's a new station manager at
its Philadelphia oldies station, WPEN (950), as Bob DeBlois gets
promoted from general sales manager.
the city is mourning Mark "the Shark" Drucker, whose
varied career took him to WMMR, WIBF/WDRE, WWDB (96.5) and, most
recently, to the job of entertainment reporter on KYW (1060).
Drucker, whose career began on Long Island at WLIR, died Feb.
23 of stomach cancer. He was just 48 years old.
In Harrisburg, WHKF (99.3) has one busy PD, as Jeff Hurley
adds the music director/afternoon jock duties that had been handled
by Jerry Kidd, who's off to program KMCK (105.7) in Fayetteville,
A belated mention of a format change in a rural corner of
northern Pennsylvania: WZYY (106.9 Renovo) dropped hot AC in
January and went rock as "106.9 the Surge."
A correction from last week's NERW: the new allocation on
92.7 in Lawrence Park (adjacent to Erie) is limited to 225 watts
at 100 meters only in the direction of London, Ontario; it'll
be a full 6000-watt class A signal in every other direction over
Pittsburgh's WLTJ (92.9) wants to move, and it wouldn't be
a big deal at all (from 47 kw/853' on the KDKA-TV tower to 43
kw/890' from the nearby WPGH-TV tower), except for one thing:
the move means the end of the very long relationship between
92.9 (the former KDKA-FM) and KDKA-TV. WDVE (102.5) remains on
the channel 2 tower.
(And we'll close with one big-circle irony that we may be
the only ones to appreciate: the original KDKA-FM
was apparently on a self-supporting tower that was later shipped
to Boston - this was around 1951 - and erected in the side lot
of the WBZ studios, where it saved the day by serving as an emergency
tower for WBZ-TV after Hurricane Carol destroyed the station's
main tower in 1954. At which point WBZ-TV moved up to Medford...and
see way up above under "Massachusetts" for the rest
of that story.)
Enough for one week? We've got a long drive back to Rochester...so
we'll see you in seven days with much more.
*We're pleased to announce the return
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*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,
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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
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2005 by Scott Fybush.