can have your ad here! Click here for complete information
on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands of Northeast
radio and TV people each week.
October 10, 2005
A Salute to Armstrong at AES
*NEW YORK - It's been a banner year
for the memory of Major Edwin Howard Armstrong, the legendary
inventor of the superheterodyne receiver and of FM radio. On
the heels of the successful commemoration of his life at the
Alpine tower site in June, the Audio Engineering Society hosted
a panel discussion on the Major last night at its convention
here, with your editor having the distinct honor of serving as
From left to right, that's yours truly; Armstrong historian
Mike Katzdorn; transmitter builder Steve Hemphill; Armstrong's
great-nephew Bob Brecht; Armstrong acquaintance Jerry Minter
(who signed off the Major's KE2XCC after his death in 1954);
longtime Armstrong employee Renville McMann; Gil Houck, nephew
of Armstrong's longtime colleague Harry Houck; and Charles Sackermann,
Jr., whose CSC Management, LLC, owns the Armstrong tower at Alpine.
(And that's Leonard Kahn, an engineering legend in his own right,
watching from the front row.)
The discussion ranged widely across Armstrong's long career
and his legacy, with the added bonus of personal recollections
from Brecht of his imposing great-uncle and of the long and fascinating
life that his great-aunt Marion Armstrong led after the Major's
death. Thanks to Houck and Katzdorn, attendees were also able
to view many Armstrong artifacts, including original logbooks
from Alpine and the breadboard modulator from the early Empire
State Building experiments.
Hemphill's experimental low-band FM station at Alpine, WA2XMN
(42.8 mc/s), was on the air much of the day with archival audio
and music, with Bob Bartola volunteering to play master control
operator for the broadcast. The panel discussion will be rebroadcast
over WA2XMN in the weeks to come, and it will be available on
the web as well...stay tuned for details!
Elsewhere in the
Empire State, it looks like Alan Chartock's WAMC public radio
empire will soon add another link. WAMC filed an application
back in 1998 for a new station on 90.3 in Remsen, but it was
mutually exclusive with another application for 90.3 in Utica
from Souls Harbor Pentecostal Church. The FCC took seven years
to deal with its backlog of applications from that 1998 window,
but last week it ruled that the WAMC application is entitled
to a "tentative preference" for the construction permit,
since it will provide new noncommercial service to more listeners.
If no objections are received in the next 30 days, WAMC will
get the construction permit - and Chartock will have a Utica-market
FM to add to its recent purchase of WRUN (1150 Utica).
Also in Albany, Chill Walker leaves the PD chair at WQBK (103.9
Rensselaer)/WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill). Will there be more changes
coming at "The Edge" as Howard Stern heads into his
final weeks on the air?
*CONNECTICUT's WXCT (990 Southington)
has flipped from Spanish to talk; operations manager Charlie
Profit rejoins the station after having departed earlier this
*More changes at WHJY (94.1 Providence) in
RHODE ISLAND: Mike Brangiforte adds MD duties, Missy Langan's
new to overnights, and Johnny "Skidmarks" Hamblett
joins Paul and Al in mornings.
*For more than 35 years, Nick Diller woke up western
MASSACHUSETTS as morning host at WSBS (860 Great
Barrington); now "Griller Diller" will have plenty
of time to pursue his passion of barbecue after retiring from
WSBS last week. Diller, 61, tells the Berkshire Eagle he's
"burned out" and not especially happy about the sale
of the station last year to Vox. It appears that morning newsman
Tom Jay is handling the shift solo for the moment.
In Springfield, Pat McKay adds OM duties at the Clear Channel
cluster that includes WHYN-FM (93.1), where he's already PD.
The FCC granted a tentative preference to Living Proof, Inc.
last week in the long fight for a new signal on 91.7 in east
central Massachusetts. Three applicants proposed new 91.7s -
Living Proof in Lunenburg, CSN International in Lexington and
UMass Boston (WUMB) in Stow - and the Maynard schools proposed
a signal upgrade to WAVM, also on 91.7. Longtime NERW readers
may recall that the UMass application provoked concern that WAVM
might be forced off the air, until WUMB and WAVM joined forces
and worked out a deal that would give WUMB access to WAVM's otherwise
unused airtime, and Maynard students access to WUMB's resources.
Will the two now file an opposition to the proposed Lunenburg
grant to Living Proof? Stay tuned...
There's good news for WKOX (1200 Framingham) in its long fight
to move to Newton and boost its power. The city's board of aldermen
rejected a building permit for WKOX's move last year, but the
Clear Channel station (along with WRCA 1330, which also hopes
to move to the site, and WUNR 1600, which wants to replace its
two-tower array at the Oak Hill site with five towers shared
with WRCA and WKOX) appealed to the state's Land Court and won.
The city of Newton holds a public hearing tomorrow on the application,
after which it's required to issue the building permit within
14 days. An appeal is, of course, already underway.
There's more shuffling taking place on the Boston talk dial:
WTKK (96.9 Boston), still without Jay Severin in afternoons,
is now running Mark Levin (from New York's WABC) in the 6-7 PM
hour, instead of the extra Braude and Eagan hour that had been
running then. WRKO (680 Boston) launches a new "Boston this
Morning" news-talk format in morning drive today, with Scott
Allen Miller continuing as solo host. And Mike Winn's out as
GM at WWZN (1510 Boston) - he's moving from the ailing Sporting
News Radio outlet to newcomer "ESPN Boston" (WAMG 890
Dedham/WLLH 1400 Lowell).
(89.7 Boston) morning host Ron Della Chiesa is leaving his part-time
gig as host of the station's "Classics in the Morning."
The 35-year WGBH veteran will remain with the station as the
announcer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the host of the
Sunday "Jazz Songbook" program; he'll be replaced in
mornings by Cathy Fuller, who already hosts the show on Mondays
and Fridays. (Della Chiesa's weekend shows on WPLM in Plymouth,
including the long-running "Music America," will continue
*ESPN Radio will get a new VERMONT affiliate
soon. NERW hears that WTWK (1070 Plattsburgh NY) will drop its
temporary simulcast of country WUSX (93.7 Addison) this week,
flipping to ESPN sports.
*In MAINE, Mark Osborne and Natalie
Knox took control of WNSX (97.7 Winter Harbor), flipping the
station from the "Fox" classic rock simulcast with
WFZX (101.7 Searsport) that it used under previous owner Clear
Channel to classic hits as "Smooth Rock 97.7." Bill
Butler moves over from Clear Channel to serve as operations manager
and overnight jock (voice-tracked, we hope!), and Joe McMillan,
late of WODS and WROR in Boston, is the new morning jock.
*The news from NEW JERSEY is all about
WDHA (105.5 Dover), where the latest departure is GM John Ryan,
with no replacement being named yet. Former WDHA PD Terri Carr
now has a new job - she's now the rock format manager at Sirius.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, our speculation
last week about a format change at what's now WBYN (1160 Lehighton)
was confirmed - the station flipped to a simulcast of religious
WBYN-FM (107.5 Boyertown) just as NERW was going to press last
week, and it sounds as though Nassau will eventually end up with
the FM outlet, flipping it to a commercial music format.
former WWDL/WICK-WYCK owner Doug Lane was sentenced last Tuesday
for sexually abusing minors and possessing child pornography.
Lane, who's 61, will serve at least 14 and possibly up to 30
years in prison. The stations are now being operated by Bold
Gold Media Group, which is awaiting FCC approval of a deal under
which it will purchase the stations, with the proceeds going
to victims-assistance programs.
Out to the west, the longtime country simulcast of WTTC (1550)
and WTTC-FM (95.3) in Towanda has split, with the FM going to
classic hits as "The Bridge" and the AM to ESPN sports
as "The Zone," matching the format of new sister station
WTZN (1310 Troy).
Continuing west, WBLF (970 Bellefonte) launched its new news-talk
format last week.
Near Pittsburgh, WPNT (1340 Connellsville) changes calls to
WYJK; no change so far to its simulcast of "Pickle"
oldies WPKL (99.3 Uniontown).
In Pittsburgh, KDKA (1020) is getting ready to celebrate its
85th anniversary next month, and part of the festivities will
be the presentation of a "Newsical," featuring the
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and KDKA personalities. It all
happens October 22 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall.
in Erie, they're mourning Vance McBryde, who brought the city
weather forecasts on WICU-TV (Channel 12) from 1955 (when he
replaced Bill Cardille, who went on to a long career in Pittsburgh)
until his retirement in 1991. McBryde died Thursday (Oct. 6);
he was 80.
*The end is in sight to the lockout that's
paralyzed CANADA's public broadcaster for almost two months.
The CBC and its biggest union reached a settlement last week
that will see most employees back at work by Tuesday. (Priorities
are priorities - the Hockey Night in Canada crew got back
to work first, making sure the games were televised Saturday
In Montreal, Marc "Mais Oui" Denis is back on the
air; the former CKGM jock is now holding down Saturday afternoons
at CFQR (Q92). (And if we haven't mentioned Marc's "CKGM
Super 70s Tribute Page" lately, we should have...)
And there's late word just in to NERW that Toronto Blue Jays
announcer Tom Cheek, who called the team's first game in 1977
and didn't miss a game for the next 27 years, died Sunday at
age 66. Cheek had been recuperating in Florida after surgery
for a brain tumor. We'll have more on his legacy next week.
Site Calendar 2006 is just back from the printer, and we've
got to say, we're especially proud of the way this one turned
Once again, we bring you more than a dozen images from the
fybush.com collection that have never seen print before, including
that nifty nighttime view of New York's WMCA that graces the
cover. You also get to see WSB, KTAR, Mount Wilson, CBV and many,
many more, plus all those fun dates in radio and TV history,
civil and religious holidays, a handy full-page 2007 calendar,
and the always-popular hole for hanging.
And we do it all with no increase in price, for the fourth
The calendars are shipping now, so there's no need to wait
until the holidays to enjoy all that tall steel and all that
broadcast history. Order now and beat the rush!
You can get one free with your 2006 subscription
to NERW at the $60 level, or order the calendar (plus other goodies)
at our brand new fybush.com
Store! We think you'll like this one - and as always,
we thank you for your support.
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
2005 by Scott Fybush.