Recent Issues:

October 10, 2005

October 3, 2005

September 26, 2005

September 19, 2005

2004 In Review

9/11 Plus One: The World Trade Center Broadcasters Recover

Your message here - contact to reach thousands of NERW readers every week!

You 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 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 Monday morning.

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

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 listen." Yikes...

*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 Belvidere NJ).

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).

Speaking 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.)

*Tower 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 out.

Once again, we bring you more than a dozen images from the 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 year running!

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 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 is copyright 2005 by Scott Fybush.