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April 25, 2005

Taricani Honored in Vegas

*The RHODE ISLAND television reporter who spent four months under house arrest after refusing to give up the source of a controversial videotape was hailed as a journalistic hero last week in Las Vegas.

WJAR (Channel 10)'s Jim Taricani was a last-minute addition to the roster of speakers at the Radio-Television News Directors Association and National Association of Broadcasters' conventions, and he used the opportunity to call for the adoption of a federal "shield law" to protect journalists' sources.

Had such a law been in place, it would have kept Taricani from being convicted of contempt of court after he defied a Rhode Island judge's order to reveal the source of the tape that exposed a corruption ring in Providence's city government. Taricani was fined $85,000 and sentenced to six months in prison, which was reduced to four months of home confinement because of Taricani's health issues (he underwent a heart transplant a few years back.)

RTNDA invited Taricani and WJAR news director Betty-Jo Cugini to Las Vegas as soon as he was released, and Taricani said he was delighted to accept. "It's great to be here - it's great to be anywhere outside home," he told the news managers as he spoke at their opening breakfast Monday.

Taricani and Cugini said NBC management could not have been more supportive during the trial and the confinement that followed, including paying Taricani's fine and legal expenses. Taricani is expected to be back at work at WJAR this week.

*Oldies have returned to Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE with a format flip at WKBR (1250 Manchester); it had been carrying talk and ESPN sports, but now it's "Oldies 1250," taking up the format abandoned a few months ago when WQLL (96.5 Bedford) went to classic rock as "the Mall," WMLL. Woody Woodland's morning show remains in place on WKBR.

*In MASSACHUSETTS, Greater Media has a new PD for WBOS (92.9 Brookline), as Dave Douglas takes over Michele Williams' old job. Douglas was the PD at WAAF (107.3 Worcester) a few years back, and he's worked in Seattle and San Diego as well. (And NERW notes that all three stations lean towards the hard edge of the rock spectrum, which makes Douglas an interesting choice for a station that once proclaimed itself to be the home of "rock without the hard edge."

Out there beyond the Cape, WMVY (92.7 West Tisbury) made some changes last week that show the power that Webcasting now has for at least a few small stations with unique formats. The Martha's Vineyard-based station promoted station manager/PD Barbara Dacey to the new post of "Director/Worldwide Programming," where she'll focus on the custom streams the station now makes available at Production director P.J. Finn takes over the PD reins for the terrestrial signal.

Meanwhile, WRZE (96.3 Nantucket) names David Duran as its new PD/afternoon host to replace Shane Blue, who's now at Boston's Kiss 108; Duran comes over from WFHN (107.1 Fairhaven)'s afternoon slot, where Michael Rock now takes over. (Rock was the PD of WKKB 100.3 before it was sold and flipped to Spanish.)

*In western NEW YORK, the rumor mill is buzzing again this week about potential changes to the struggling oldies format at Entercom's WWKB (1520 Buffalo), with word of the resignation of PD/afternoon jock Hank Nevins, who's apparently heading off to the world of PR.

Just south of Rochester, there's good news for Bob Savage's WYSL (1040 Avon); he got word from the FCC last week that he's been approved to take WYSL from 2500 watts to 20,000 watts by day. WYSL will drop to 13,200 watts during critical hours and remain at 500 watts after dark from its current four-tower array; the new signal's expected to be on the air within a few months.

Down in New York City, "Miss Info" is back on the air at WQHT (97.1), four months after the morning show blow-up there (over the "Tsunami Song") that led her to boycott former co-worker Miss Jones and the rest of the morning show crew. "Info," aka Minya Oh, now has her own show on Saturday mornings from 8-noon on Hot 97.

And a tip of the hat to our colleague Scott Jameson, who's been chronicling the radio landscape in central New York on for the last four years, in addition to jocking on WSEN (92.1 Baldwinsville). Scott announced Friday that he's suspending regular updates to the site, and we'll miss it greatly.

*Mark down June 11-12 in your calendar for an historic broadcast in NEW JERSEY. That's when the Armstrong Tower in Alpine will play host to a commemorative celebration of the life of its builder (and the inventor of FM radio), Major Edwin Howard Armstrong. Philadelphia engineer Steve Hemphill has built a Phasitron FM transmitter that operates in the "old" FM band (42-50 MHz), and he's secured a temporary experimental authorization from the FCC to run 250 watts from the Armstrong tower under the very appropriate calls WA2XMN. The station's been on the air from time to time at 44.1 MHz, but in June it will operate all weekend at 42.8 MHz with reconstructions of vintage Armstrong broadcasts. Stay tuned as we bring you more details on this very neat event as they're announced...

*A landmark tower in western PENNSYLVANIA is no more. Engineers at WPIC (790 Sharon) nicknamed the station's 550-foot Truscon tower "Old Shakey" as it entered its old age, and in recent years the station was unable even to get climbers to set foot on it to take care of painting and other maintenance. The end of the line for the 1947-vintage tower came last Wednesday (April 20) after one of its base insulators failed, forcing the Cumulus station to topple the tower. The 100,000 pounds of steel came down with one big "thud," bringing down various STL antennas and the old WYFM (102.9) top-mounted antenna with it. (WYFM moved a few years ago, and is now transmitting from the tower of sister station WHOT-FM in Youngstown, Ohio.)

As for WPIC, it's running 400 watts from a temporary longwire antenna designed by retired engineer Jerry Starr, and it's looking for a site for a new tower to return to its usual 1000 watt daytime (50 watts at night) operation.

(More pictures of the WPIC site, past and present, on this week's Tower Site of the Week here at

*In CANADA, the CRTC's finished sorting through several applications for new stations in the Simcoe-Brantford-Kitchener, Ontario area, and here's how it shakes out: CIKZ (99.5 Kitchener-Waterloo ON) will be allowed to move to 106.7, where it will experience less interference from cross-border Buffalo signals (and get a bit of a power increase, too, going from 1600 watts/140 m at 99.5 to 2000 watts/200 m at 106.7). The CRTC also approved Bel-Roc Communications' application for a new signal in Haldimand County (Simcoe), though Bel-Roc will have to find an alternate frequency from its proposed use of 106.7. Applications for the use of 106.7 by CJTW (94.3 Kitchener) and by Telephone City Broadcasting (CKPC/CKPC-FM Brantford) were denied.

(NERW notes: The 106.7 frequency opened up when the CRTC allowed CHCD Simcoe to move off 106.7 to 98.9 in order to escape interference from Buffalo's WYRK on 106.5. When CIKZ signed on at 99.5, we predicted some nasty interference with co-channel WDCX in Buffalo - and stations in the area operating on or near other high-powered Buffalo channels such as 94.5 and 92.9 have also experienced interference problems. Could the band simply be too full to squeeze anything more on the air in that area?)

*Our special clearance pricing continues for fans of the Tower Site Calendar 2005. We're well aware that many of the calendar's fans buy it for the pictures, not the actual calendar pages...but that doesn't change the fact that by this time of the year, we're not exactly shipping 'em out the door at a breakneck pace, and Mrs. NERW would very much like a corner of her living room back.

So while she rediscovers the floor beneath those boxes of calendars and we begin to line up the images for Tower Site Calendar 2006, you get the very first crack at our Calendar Clearance Deal for 2005.

Here's how it works: instead of our list price of $16 for this fabulous, full-color, glossy calendar, you can now pick one up for just $8, postpaid. ($8.66 to New York State addresses.) Better yet, if you order two calendars at this special clearance price, we'll throw in a third for free - $16 for THREE calendars, with nine exciting months of 2005 yet to go. (That's $17.32 in NYS.)

Maybe you've already hung your original 2005 calendar on the wall, and you're thinking it would be nice to have another copy to stick away in pristine condition. Maybe you really want to frame that spectacular September page right now - but you still need a calendar later this year. Maybe you just want to help Mrs. NERW clean out the living room and give happy NERW baby Ariel more space to practice walking.

Whatever your motive, now's your big chance, because while there are still 2005 calendars left, there may not be any in a few weeks. (Remember, the 2002 and 2003 editions were total sellouts, and I've had to turn away several of you who were hoping to add these now-rare calendars to your collections.)

And we've got two more great deals for you, too. We still have a few 2004 calendars left, and while they're getting rare, Mrs. NERW wants them gone - so they're yours, in pristine condition, for just $5 postpaid. (Buy two and the third is free!) Or order the 2004 and 2005 calendars together for just $10, postpaid. (What a deal!)

(New York orders pay $5.41 for the 2004 calendar, $10.83 for the 2004 and 2005 together.)

And as always, the calendar's free with your $60 or higher subscription to NorthEast Radio Watch/ In fact, we've got a great deal for new or renewing $60 subscribers: we'll send you two 2005 calendars if you subscribe now. Or, if you'd prefer, we'll hold a brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2006 for you with your subscription, and you can be among the very first to see the 2006 edition when it's released this summer. Remember, we count on your subscription dollars to keep NERW coming each and every Monday morning!

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.)

Order the 2005 Tower Site Calendar on CLEARANCE for $8...
Order the 2005 and 2004 Tower Site Calendars together for just $10...
...or subscribe to NERW at the $60 level and get two FREE 2005 Tower Site Calendars
...and you can still order the 2004 Tower Site Calendar at our special DEEP clearance price of $5! (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.)

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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 2005 by Scott Fybush.