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October 17, 2005
WPRI's Jack White Dies
*One of RHODE ISLAND's most experienced
and talented TV reporters died unexpectedly early Wednesday morning
(Oct. 12) at his Cape Cod home.
Jack White's journalism career began at the Newport Daily
News in 1969 and soon took him to the Providence Journal,
where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for his reporting that
discovered President Nixon had cheated on his taxes. (It was
that story, published in October 1973, that led Nixon to make
his "I am not a crook" speech.)
White moved to television in 1979, working on the "I-Team"
at Boston's WBZ-TV (Channel 4). He returned to newspapers at
the Cape Cod Times two years later, then joined WPRI (Channel
12) in 1985 as the station's chief investigative reporter, a
position he would hold for two decades.
White's tenure at WPRI included two Emmys, one for a 1992
report on fugitive banker Joseph Mollicone and one just this
year for his reporting on Providence city officials who violated
the city's residency requirement.
White is survived by his wife, Beth, three sons, a daughter
and five grandchildren. He was 63.
WPRI will broadcast a special tribute, "Remembering Jack
White," Monday night at 7.
*Meanwhile in the Ocean State, the heavy rains late last week
silenced at least one radio station. WDDZ (550 Pawtucket) had
enough water at its site in the floodplain of the Blackstone
River to knock the Radio Disney station off the air Friday. As
we go to press Sunday night, chief engineer Craig Healy reports
that the water level is still above the base insulators of the
towers, which means the station will remain off at least into
WRIB (1220 Providence)
is getting a new owner, as Carter Broadcasting sells the religious/Spanish
outlet to Faith Christian Center, Inc. for $1.9 million. The
deal will leave Carter with WROL (730 Chicopee) and WCRN (830
Worcester) in Massachusetts.
And the Boston Celtics start the season with a new radio affiliate,
as Entercom (which originates the Celts broadcasts on Boston's
WRKO this year) adds their games to the lineup on WEEI-FM (103.7
Westerly), which replaces Citadel's WSKO as the team's Ocean
State affiliate. (Citadel will lose another Boston team to WEEI-FM
next year, when the Boston Red Sox move over from WPRO.)
*A Providence radio voice is moving
across the state line to MASSACHUSETTS. Keri Rodrigues,
who's both executive producer at WHJJ (920 Providence) and morning
co-host at WWBB (101.5 Providence), is moving to WSAR (1480 Fall
River) to serve as PD and afternoon talk host. Rodrigues will
keep her weekend talk shift at WHJJ as well.
What's up with Jay Severin's timeslot on WTKK (96.9 Boston)?
The Greater Media talk station now says Severin won't return
to its airwaves in the afternoon until (and unless) 'TKK reaches
a deal to carry the Long Island-based host's new syndicated show,
which debuts in January. In the meantime, Sean Hannity continues
to air from 3-6 PM on WTKK, followed - this week, anyway - by
former WMAL Washington talk host Michael Graham.
A voice from the early days of progressive FM radio is back
on the air in Boston. Larry Miller, who was part of the airstaff
at the pioneering KMPX and KSAN in San Francisco, then at legendary
stations such as KLOS Los Angeles, WABX Detroit, WPLJ New York
and at Boston's WCOZ, WCAS, WDLW, WBUR, WCRB and WBOQ, is now
hosting the "Lost and Found" 60s/70s show on WMBR (88.1
Cambridge), Tuesdays from noon to 2.
And it's been a rough weekend for several Boston FM stations,
with weather damage to the master antenna at the "FM 128"
site in Newton knocking several stations (WBUR, WJMN, WBMX and
WCRB) off the air or to lower-powered backup facilities.
*It's farewell time for one of NEW HAMPSHIRE's
best-known broadcasters. After a decade and a half transforming
New Hampshire Public Radio from a sleepy, small-town station
into a nationally respected statewide network, Mark Handley has
departed his post at the helm of the network. Sometime in the
next few days, Mark and his wife Judy will head out of Boston
Harbor in their 42-foot sailboat, "Windbird," to spend
the next two years circumnavigating the globe. (You can follow
their progress at www.handleysail.com.)
Out on the Seacoast, Ralph Marino - late of the morning show
at the former "Star 93.7" (WQSX 93.7 Lawrence-Boston)
- takes over mornings at WERZ (107.1 Exeter).
Across the state in the Connecticut River Valley, there's
a call change, as Nassau parks the WPLY-FM calls on what had
been WCFR-FM (96.3 Walpole). What's up with that? Read on to
our PENNSYLVANIA section...
And here's a statistic to be disturbed by: a survey by a journalism
class at Keene State University finds that while many students
know that WKNH (91.3) exists on campus, 92 percent of them don't
listen to the station. What's more, 40 percent of the students
surveyed don't listen to the radio at all. What does the station's
general manager say? The Keene State Equinox quotes Patrick
Burke as saying, "WKNH has always known that people don't
*There's change afoot on the religious radio dial
in central MAINE, as WMDR (1340 Augusta) prepares to move
its "Kids Radio" programming to the new WMDR-FM (88.9
Oakland), which will take on a more teen-focused, music-heavy
approach when it signs on as "Zap 88.9" soon. The AM
signal will flip to a combination of southern gospel and country
as "God's Country AM 1340."
*The bad weather was the big story in NEW
YORK, too, where flooding on Long Island knocked WMJC (94.3
Smithtown) off the air last Friday as high waters claimed the
station's transmitter. The flooding also knocked out the studio-transmitter
link to sister station WBZO (103.1 Bay Shore), which passed through
the WMJC site.
The station made it back on the air just after noon on Sunday,
with a transmitter borrowed from the Morey Organization stations
out east. As we go to press Sunday night, it's awaiting the arrival
of a new replacement transmitter from Nautel in Canada.
In New York City, the story was all about Clear Channel's
latest payola problems, which apparently led to the abrupt ouster
of two of the company's PDs last week - one of them Michael Saunders
of WWPR (105.1). Clear Channel's VP/Urban Programming Doc Wynter
is handling PD chores at Power 105 for now, and of course the
company's keeping as quiet as it can about it all.
"They took the crosstown bus." Confused by that?
So were radio listeners across the state, who heard that cryptic
message one afternoon last week during an Amber Alert EAS activation
from the state's emergency management office. The message was
apparently part of a test that was transmitted by mistake, and
it aired on numerous stations across the state.
Heading up to the Hudson Valley, Sunrise Broadcasting is one
step closer - perhaps - to its goal of getting back on the air
at 1200 on the AM dial. You might recall that Sunrise's WGNY
in Newburgh spent a few years operating at 1200 a decade or so
ago, but the station lost its bid to make the move permanent
and was forced back to its original, lower-powered facility at
1220, where it remains today.
In the meantime, Sunrise obtained a construction permit for
1200 in Kingston, which would have shared the site of WGHQ (920)
there, using the calls WJGK. That CP was never built, and Sunrise
then applied instead for 1200 in Highland, near Poughkeepsie
and closer to the population center of the mid-Hudson region.
That CP was granted last week, and one of the conditions was
the surrender of the never-built Kingston CP.
So WJGK Kingston gets added to the "never-were"
pile of unbuilt New York AMs, and now Sunrise gets to try to
build five towers along Route 9W in Highland. If it gets built,
the new 1200 would run 4700 watts day, 1000 watts night, with
most of its power getting directed northeast towards Poughkeepsie.
Up in Plattsburgh (and perhaps this story
really belongs in our VERMONT coverage), WTWK (1070) did
indeed flip to ESPN sports last week.
Here in Rochester, we're seeing lots of promos for the revived
10 PM newscast on Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31), which will
debut November 1. Oddly, we're seeing them all on new LMA partner
WROC-TV (Channel 8), which will produce the "Fox First at
Ten" newscast, and not at all on WUHF itself. (We are seeing
the occasional time-and-temperature bug on WUHF that still uses
the old "Ten O'Clock News" slogan that dates back to
about 1999, before "News Central" came and went.)
NERW hears that Lia Lando, now with News 12 Westchester, will
join WROC/WUHF to anchor the Sunday-Thursday editions of the
WUHF newscast. WROC reporter Katrina Irwin will anchor the Friday
and Saturday editions, and former News Central anchors Melanie
Barnas and Ty Chandler will serve as reporters for both stations.
*There's a format change on the way this week in
central NEW JERSEY, where the oldies simulcast of WMTR
(1250 Morristown) will disappear from Greater Media's WWTR (1170
Bridgewater) in favor of EBC Radio's Indian/South Asian programming.
EBC had been leasing Multicultural Broadcasting's WTTM (1680
Princeton) for its broadcasts, but the WWTR signal will put it
a little closer to the base of South Asian listeners in the Edison
area. WTTM, meanwhile, will flip back to ESPN Radio sports programming,
or so we hear.
The other ESPN Radio affiliate in the area, WPHY (920 Trenton),
is in search of a new PD and afternoon host with the departure
of Tripp Rogers from that position.
And while we're in the area, a tip of the hat is in order
to WVPH (90.3 Piscataway), which is trying to raise $60,000 to
build a new tower that will improve its reach. WVPH is jointly
operated by Piscataway High School (which holds the license)
and students at nearby Livingston College, a part of the Rutgers
University system. Over the weekend, about 100 student DJs from
both schools got together to hold a 36-hour marathon broadcast
at the Woodbridge Center Mall. The station's hoping to finish
raising the money by the middle of next year.
*The big story out of PENNSYLVANIA this
week is Nassau's sale of its Lehigh Valley/Poconos cluster to
the growing Access.1 group. The stations in the group include
some of Nassau's earliest acquisitions - in the Poconos, oldies
duo WVPO (840 Stroudsburg)/WPLY (960 Mount Pocono) and classic
hits WSBG (93.5 Stroudsburg), and in the Lehigh Valley, sports
duo WEEX (1230 Easton)/WTKZ (1320 Allentown), classic hits "Hawk"
WODE (99.9 Easton) and soft AC "Lite 107" WWYY (107.1
No purchase price has been announced for the deal, which will
put the stations under common ownership with WWRL (1600 New York)
and Access.1's cluster of stations in the Atlantic City area.
NERW notes what's not included here - WBYN (1160 Lehighton),
which is apparently about to be part of a trade that will give
Nassau control of WBYN-FM (107.5 Boyertown), now owned by Lancaster's
WDAC (94.5). The rumor mill's spinning fast and furious on this
one, and we'll be watching it closely.
There's a new callsign to report in that same general area:
American Family Radio's new 91.5 Shenandoah PA will be WDAH.
And out on the other end of the state, WWSW (94.5 Pittsburgh)
PD Greg Gillispie is out at the Clear Channel oldies (whoops
- "greatest hits") outlet, with midday jock Sheri Van
Dyke replacing him in the role.
*In CANADA, the CRTC picked a winner
last week in the fight for a new FM signal in Ontario's "cottage
country" north of Toronto. Haliburton Broadcasting was the
winner, getting a permit to build a new signal in Haliburton
on 93.5, with 6 kW. The new station will be a sister to the company's
existing CHMS (97.7 Bancroft), CFBG (100.9 Bracebridge), CKLP
(103.3 Parry Sound) and CKNR (94.1 Elliot Lake). Meanwhile, the
CRTC turned down an application from Owen Sound-based Bayshore
Broadcasting for a new signal at 97.7 in Wasaga Beach.
More on the passing of Toronto Blue Jays announcer extraordinaire
Tom Cheek, who died just as we were finishing up last week's
issue. Cheek had deep roots in NERW-land, having graduated from
the Cambridge School of Broadcasting in Boston and having begun
his career in Plattsburgh. Cheek soon moved across Lake Champlain
to Burlington, where he spent the early years of his career calling
games for the University of Vermont and St. Michael's College,
as well as calling some Montreal Expos TV games.
From there, of course, it was off to Toronto, where Cheek
called every Jays game from the team's debut in 1977 until 2004
- 4,306 of them - when he took a few days off for his father's
funeral, followed quickly by the diagnosis of a brain tumor that
would end his career and then his life.
There's still no word on a memorial service for Cheek, but
we'll bring you that information as soon as it becomes available.
Radio People on the Move: Milkman
UnLimited reports that Stephanie Smyth, former news director
at Global Toronto, has been named news director at CFMJ (640
Toronto). Up the dial at CHWO (740), Bill Gable has been named
afternoon host, which moves Barry Morden to middays and Eva D
to a supporting role at the station. And over in Kingston, Dan
Mellon (formerly of CJTN/CIGL in Belleville) is the new PD at
CHUM's CFLY (98.3)/CKLC (1380).
of Belleville, congratulations to Loyalist College's CJLX, which
is combining its power increase and frequency change (to 91.3)
with a rebranding - it's now "91X," with the official
relaunch taking place last Tuesday (Oct. 11).
On the TV dial, several historic call letters have vanished
from regular use in the last few weeks as CTV moves forward with
its national branding campaign. Toronto's CFTO already rebranded
as "CTV Toronto," and then CJOH in Ottawa became just
"CTV Ottawa" a few weeks ago. Last week, it was CFCF's
turn, as the oldest callsign in Montreal gave way to a generic
"CTV Montreal" (with the station's website going so
far as to say "formerly CFCF," though of course the
legal call letters remain as they've always been.) Next up: the
"ATV" stations in Atlantic Canada, which haven't used
their call letters on the air in years anyway, are becoming "CTV
Atlantic." (For now, at least, the ASN network that's a
sister to ATV will keep its branding.)
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.