WABC-TV's Bill Beutel Dies
*Few TV anchors have ever had the impact on a market
that Bill Beutel did over more than three decades in NEW YORK
at WABC-TV (Channel 7). The Cleveland native came to the
third-rated station in 1962 after a stint with CBS radio, working
for both the local news and for ABC's network news operation.
In 1968, Beutel went to London as ABC's bureau chief there. Two
years later, he returned to New York and WABC-TV to launch a
new experiment called "Eyewitness News," and in the
years that followed, Beutel and co-anchor Roger Grimsby set a
new standard for hard-hitting, fast-paced local TV news.
Beutel and Grimsby remained together on the anchor desk (and
atop the ratings) for 16 years, with Beutel taking on another
assignment in 1975, serving as anchor of "AM America,"
the ABC network morning offering that would evolve (without Beutel)
into "Good Morning America" the following year.
Beutel left the anchor desk at WABC in 2001, though he remained
with the station as a reporter until his retirement in 2003.
Beutel died Saturday at his home in Pinehurst, N.C. He was 75.
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*Over at WABC radio, morning host Curtis Sliwa spent most
of last week on vacation, while the station waits to see how
the tension between Sliwa and co-host Ron Kuby plays out. Kuby
was subpoenaed to testify in defense of "Junior" Gotti,
on trial for allegedly ordering a hit on Sliwa in 1992. Sliwa
and Kuby were last on the air together last Monday, and while
they're both professionals, there's no question that the real-life
drama outside their studio has to be adding some tension to their
radio partnership. (And what is it about Mob hits on radio hosts,
anyway? Last Sunday's "60 Minutes" carried an interview
with a former colleague of fugitive Whitey Bulger who claimed
that he almost carried out a hit on Boston Herald columnist
and WRKO host Howie Carr a few years back...)
at NERW, we like rumors and unsubstantiated message-board postings
as much as the next radio column. But we've learned over the
years to be suspicious of rumors planted by those with an axe
to grind, which is why we've largely steered clear of much of
the gossip surrounding Air America and WLIB (1190 New York).
Whatever may, or may not, be happening with the relationship
between the network and its New York flagship, which is leased
from Inner City Broadcasting Corp., it won't be happening at
the end of March, as the rumors had claimed. Last week, Air America
put out a press release announcing that it had extended its lease
with WLIB until August, and that "over the next several
months, Air America and Inner City will seek to enhance and extend
their long-term relationship."
While the message-board crowd has been parsing that wording
to death, the word we're getting is that both sides are serious
about keeping Air America programming in place on 1190, and that
we'll know more well before the current deal expires August 31.
On the public radio side of the fence, WNYC (820) has its
signal back to normal after suffering transmission-line damage
from a fire in the Meadowlands a week ago. The station has also
shuffled its schedule a bit, moving News and Notes with Ed
Gordon from 9 AM to 10 PM, adding Open Source with Christopher
Lydon at 9 PM and putting an hour of BBC news on at 9 AM.
On Long Island, Gabrielle Vaughn's arrival at WBLI (106.1
Patchogue) comes with a few more schedule changes - Al Levine
moves from middays to afternoons, Wendy Wild moves from afternoons
to nights, and LJ Lovely moves from nights to the sales department,
though she'll still fill in on the air as well.
is rearranging a simulcast in the Catskills: WZAD (97.3 Wurtsboro)
flipped last week from relaying "Mix 97" WCZX (97.7
Hyde Park) to rebroadcasting country "Wolf" WKXP (94.3
Kingston), which now IDs as "94.3 The Wolf 97.3."
In Albany, public radio WAMC (90.3/1400) was in the headlines
last week with its $3.5 million plan to upgrade its facilities
on Central Avenue in Albany. WAMC occupies three historic buildings
along Central Avenue, and it's planning to renovate them, add
additional parking, and to renovate several buildings across
the street as well.
(WAMC also made some less desirable headlines, when a review
of newly-released records showed that the station's CEO, Alan
Chartock, received a 45 percent pay increase between 2004 and
2005. Chartock defended the raise, saying it reflected his retirement
from his other post as a SUNY Albany professor to devote himself
full time to WAMC, and he argued that his salary - now $166,000
- is not out of line for a manager of a network the size of WAMC's.)
Also in Albany, Crawford's WDCD (1540)/WPTR (96.7 Clifton
Park) have a new PD/morning host, as Peter Kaye moves up from
afternoons to replace Gary Mac, who's off to a new gig in Missouri.
In Syracuse, WSYR (570) has filled the vacancy in its news
department caused by the death of Bill Leaf in a drunk-driving
accident earlier this year. His sister, Maria Leaf, returned
to Syracuse from WTOP in Washington to help the family deal with
the legal aftermath of the crash, and she's now joined WSYR as
an afternoon news anchor and nighttime reporter. Other staffers
at WSYR are handling the coverage of the trial of the driver
charged in Bill Leaf's death, and of Maria Leaf's activism against
drunk driving. (And more sad news from Clear Channel Syracuse:
sales executive Robert Schumacker died last Thursday, at 48.)
here in Rochester, a federal judge ruled Friday that he didn't
have jurisdiction to hear former WROC-TV (Channel 8) reporter/anchor
Rachel Barnhart's lawsuit against the station. Instead, an arbitrator
will now decide whether station owner Nexstar can enforce a noncompete
provision in Barnhart's contract, or whether the station's attempt
to renew her contract on much less favorable terms amounted to
"constructive termination," breaking the noncompete.
That, in turn, means Barnhart will be out of work for up to three
more months, by which point the one-year noncompete will be more
than halfway finished anyway.
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*There's a format change of sorts on the NEW
JERSEY shore, where WJSE (102.7 Petersburg) moves from modern
rock "Digital 102.7" to a more mainstream approach
as "102.7 the Ace." Early listening suggests that there's
still plenty of modern rock mixed into the "Ace" format.
The New Jersey Radio Museum has scheduled its first fundraising
event. On May 12, it will host a performance by veteran Garden
State TV personality "Uncle Floyd" at the Baker Theatre
in Dover. Tickets (at $25 for a pair) will benefit the NJRM's
campaign to build a new facility at the Dover Area Historical
Society; contact Carl Van Orden at email@example.com
for more information.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, the "Frank"
flip at WBYN-FM (107.5 Boyerstown) brought new calls last week
- the station's now WFKB.
In Philadelphia, Chio starts his new morning gig on Beasley's
"Wired" WRDW-FM (96.5) today.
It's almost baseball season, and while we won't have our annual
baseball-on-the-radio roundup until next week (for the majors,
with the minors coming later in April), there are a few shifts
that we can report early. The Phillies, displaced from WLPA (1490
Lancaster), will remain on the air in that area at WPDC (1600
Elizabethtown). And over in Harrisburg, the AA Eastern League
Senators move from WKBO (1230) to WTKT (1460), where they'll
have a bigger signal this season.
In Scranton, WSJR (93.7 Dallas) PD Jim Dorman is recovering
from a house fire. Nobody was injured, thankfully, but Dorman's
house was severely damaged.
And on the TV dial, WSWB (Channel 38) in Scranton has signed
on with The CW. WSWB is presently a WB affiliate, also running
UPN out of pattern, and it's not clear where My Network TV will
now land in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this fall.
*Sean Hannity is back on the air in CONNECTICUT,
albeit in a less desirable time slot than his old afternoon drive
home on WDRC (1360 Hartford) and its network of talk stations.
Hannity was replaced there by "Tuned Into Connecticut"
with local sportscaster Dan Lovallo, who'd been doing morning
sports on WDRC. Now Hannity has landed on WTIC (1080), replacing
"The Dream Doctor" from 10 PM-1 AM, at least when the
Red Sox and UConn sports don't displace him. (Much of the Hartford
market can hear Hannity on his flagship station, WABC, in any
*In RHODE ISLAND, WALE (990 Greenville)
has been off the air again for a few days. No word on what's
going on there this time.
*The rumor mill's working overtime in MASSACHUSETTS where
the Red Sox and radio are concerned. The upcoming 2006 season
is the last one in the current contract between the Sox and Entercom's
WEEI (850), and the team has made no secret of its desire to
buy a station to serve as its flagship. The latest round of speculation
centers on WBOS (92.9 Brookline), one of Greater Media's five
FMs in the market.
The Boston Globe reported Saturday that the Sox are
in talks to acquire an interest in WBOS, which could flip from
its current AAA format to sports talk, with AAA landing on WCRB
(102.5 Waltham), which Greater Media is in the process of acquiring
from Charles River Broadcasting.
the report raises as many questions as it answers, especially
where the ownership cap is concerned. Greater can't control more
than five FM stations in the Boston market, so if it adds WCRB
to its existing five-station cluster, it must get rid of another
of the FMs in the cluster. Based on the current ownership rules,
that means the Sox would have to acquire enough of WBOS so that
Greater Media no longer has an "cognizable interest"
in the station. In practice, that would mean that Greater couldn't
own more than 5 percent of voting stock in WBOS, nor could it
broker more than 15 percent of WBOS' airtime. Effectively, then,
the Sox would have to buy WBOS outright, and that doesn't sound
like what the team has in mind.
Meanwhile, the rumor mill's churning almost as hard on the
question of David Lee Roth's troubled foray into morning radio.
Roth was supposed to have visited Boston last week, originating
his show from WBCN (104.1) on Thursday and Friday, but the visit
was abruptly scrubbed. CBS, meanwhile, is denying that it's made
any deal with Opie and Anthony that would put the XM shock talkers
in Stern's old slot. As always...stay tuned.
*From MAINE, an update on the fate
of WRMO (93.7 Milbridge) in the wake of the death of station
owner Lyle Robert Evans. Station manager Marty McSorley checked
in to report that WRMO is indeed on the air with a classic hits
format, and he says that once Evans' estate is settled, there
are some big things in store for the station. We'll look forward
to providing some updates on WRMO later this spring.
A correction from last week's NERW: WPXT (Channel 51) in Portland
has signed with The CW, not with My Network TV, as we reported.
My is likely to land on sister station WPME (Channel 35), but
no deal has yet been signed.
Broadcasting is growing its station holdings in NEW HAMPSHIRE.
The company, which owns WSMN and WSNH in Nashua, has reached
a deal to buy WKBR (1250 Manchester) from Steve Silberberg's
Devon Broadcasting. Absolute will begin operating WKBR today,
flipping it from oldies to Fox Sports Radio as "Fox Sports
1250." The station will also carry the "Friday Night
Lights" football show from WSNH. No purchase price has been
announced so far.
New Hampshire Public Radio has a new program director. Abby
Goldstein comes to Concord from KERA in Dallas, where she served
as PD. She'll start at NHPR on May 22.
And in Portsmouth, WSCA-LP (106.1) is looking for a new general
manager after the departure of Joseph Galli. The station says
after three months on the job, Galli found that it was more than
the 20 hours a week he'd signed up for, so both sides parted
with no hard feelings. Board president Tim Stone has stepped
down from that position to serve as interim GM of the community
*While Steve Silberberg is selling his AM
in New Hampshire, he's buying one in VERMONT. The FCC
granted his White Park Broadcasting a waiver to acquire WVAA
(1390 Burlington). Why the waiver? With the FCC's current market-based
crossownership rules, Silberberg's holdings in the Montpelier-Barre
and Upper Valley areas all counted against his Burlington ownership
cap. Arbitron's designation of separate markets in those areas
would eliminate that issue, but there's normally a delay before
a change of designated market for a station can be reflected
in a license-transfer application. That's been waived, and now
WVAA can officially join WTWK (1070 Plattsburgh), WRSA (1420
St. Albans), WFAD (1490 Middlebury), WUSX (93.7 Addison) and
WLFE (102.3 St. Albans) in Silberberg's Burlington-market holdings.
*In CANADA this week, the CRTC appears
to have awoken from a long winter slumber, releasing a whole
slew of broadcasting decisions. Perhaps the most interesting
are in western Canada, where the CBC and Radio-Canada applied
for medium-power FM boosters in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary
and Winnipeg to complement their huge AM signals out there. Unlike
the AM-to-FM conversions at most of the big-city CBC/Radio-Canada
signals in eastern Canada, the AM facilities will stay on the
air out west, with the FM signals serving to supplement their
coverage in urban areas.
Back east, the CBC applies for a new Radio Two outlet in Baie
Verte, Newfoundland. It would run 49 kW/284m on 95.5. It's also
reapplying for a Radio-Canada "Espace Musique" outlet
in Windsor, Ontario, after the original grant of a signal at
107.9 was rejected by Industry Canada. (Remember, in Canada stations
are licensed by the CRTC but have all their engineering matters
approved by Industry Canada.) The relay of CJBC-FM (90.3 Toronto)
would now operate at 103.9, with 6 kW/74.2m and a directional
antenna nulling the signal towards Detroit.
One more bit of CBC news: in Ottawa, Adrian Harewood is the
new host of Radio One's "All in a Day" afternoon show.
There were several station grants from the CRTC, including
two more new AM signals in Montreal. Radio Chalom, which now
operates a service aimed at the city's Jewish community on a
subcarrier of CIRA-FM, will move to 1650 kHz with 1 kW, while
another subcarrier operator, Radio Moyen Orient du Canada, will
move its mostly Arabic programming to 1450 kHz, also with 1 kW.
(The CRTC rejected another Montreal application, for a religious
station at 650 kHz.)
Perth, Ontario, halfway between Ottawa and Kingston, is getting
its first radio station. Norm Wright and Brian Perkin have been
granted 700 watts on 88.1 for a station that will carry AC and
easy listening music aimed at the town's large population of
In Petit-de-Grat, Nova Scotia, La cooperative Radio Richmond
ltee. has been granted 5.2 kW on 104.1 for a new French-language
From the application file, CKOT (1510 Tillsonburg), which
has been granted a move to FM, has found a frequency on which
to make the move. It's applying for 107.3, with 15 kW/163.5m
and a directional antenna. CKOT is asking the CRTC to allow it
to keep its daytime-only signal on 1510 as well.
Over in Cambridge, CJDV (107.5) applies to boost power, from
2.5 kW to 20 kW/69m with a directional antenna. And in Toronto,
community station CHRY (105.5) wants to expand its coverage of
the city's North York neighborhoods with a power boost from 50
watts to 250 watts/63.5m with a directional antenna.
Ottawa, Evanov's new CJWL (98.5) makes its official debut today,
after testing for the last few weeks. "The Jewel" will
play soft AC and standards.
A final note from Canada this week: after a year or so off
the air, Quebec shock jock Jeff Fillion is returning to radio
- but not on the airwaves. He launched a new webcast at radiopirate.com
on Friday, with an attack on his former boss, Patrice Demers.
the NERW Archives
(Yup, we've been doing this a long time now, and
so we're digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW
was covering one, five and ten years ago this week, or thereabouts
- the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest
years as "New England Radio Watch," and didn't go to
a regular weekly schedule until 1997. Thanks to LARadio.com
for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support
that's made all these years of NERW possible!)
March 21, 2005 -
- It was a quiet week stateside (which was convenient, seeing
as how we spent it visiting stations in New York City and Philadelphia
instead of chained to the keyboard), so we'll start things off
in CANADA this week. And being that it was a quiet week in the
major cities, we're left to kick off this week's report way up
in Port Elgin, Ontario, a quiet - and very nice - little town
on the shore of Lake Huron. Until now, broadcasting in Port Elgin
has meant CFPS (1490), the 1000-watt simulcast of Bayshore Broadcasting's
oldies CFOS (560) over in Owen Sound, 20 miles or so to the east.
Now the CRTC has approved Bayshore's application to take CFPS
dark, replacing it with a new adult contemporary station on 97.9,
with 3800 watts of power and 126 hours a week of local programming
for a community that's had almost none until now.
- In NEW JERSEY, Friday night indeed brought the end of "B-98.5,"
WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres), as Press Communications replaced the
hot AC there with modern rock "G Rock Radio," in a
new simulcast with WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown). Matt Knight moves
over from the old WBBO airstaff to do nights on the new "G."
- A postscript to the saga of North American Broadcasting,
former owner of WALE (990 Greenville) in RHODE ISLAND: the company's
now bankrupt, with its last remaining station, KFNX (1100 Cave
Creek AZ) in the Phoenix market, up for auction March 31. The
bidding starts at $3.6 million.
- The FCC grants the addition of 98.9A in Adams, MASSACHUSETTS
to the table of allocations - but it'll be years before the frequency
goes up for auction and anything gets built there. The FCC also
allots 98.7A to East Harwich, denying competing proposals from
John Garabedian to allot 98.7B1 to Nantucket and Monomoy Media
for 98.7A at South Chatham. Garabedian tried to argue that East
Harwich and South Chatham aren't "communities" for
allotment purposes - and while the FCC bought the argument for
South Chatham, it found that East Harwich is listed in the census
and worthy of an FM allocation - and so the channel goes to East
Harwich. (Again, it'll be years before anything actually gets
- Ed Perry's not only the owner of WATD (95.9 Marshfield) -
he's also trying to be the defender of journalists' right to
cover stories in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Perry was
arrested for disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest
back in 2002 for attempting to interview a security guard at
the Hanover Mall, and even though the charges were later dropped,
he's suing the mall's former owner and its security company for
violating his civil rights. Perry says the mall owners and the
security company have tried to settle with him, but he's spent
more than $20,000 in legal fees in an attempt to prove a point
- that reporters should be able to cover stories (a report of
a carjacking, in this case) without fear of arrest.
March 19, 2001 -
- The slow, steady parade to oblivion for the rhythmic oldies
format claimed another victim Friday afternoon (3/16). CONNECTICUT
was the scene this time, and Infinity's "dancin' oldies"
WZMX (93.7 Hartford) the station in question. As 5 PM rolled
around, "Z93-7" launched into Donna Summer's "Last
Dance" and part of a promo before announcing "Now...Hartford
has become HOTford" and relaunching as "Hot 93.7,"
the city's first true urban FM.
- We enjoyed the chance to hear something different on 1080
kHz late Saturday night, thanks to a jointly-scheduled equipment
test that took both WTIC and KRLD in Dallas off the air at the
same time. Here at NERW Central in Rochester, WTIC's signoff
at 1:35 AM was followed by two dueling Spanish-language stations,
which we believe to have been WVCG (Coral Gables FL) and a Cuban.
Just after 2:00, KRLD returned to the air; WTIC returned to the
air at 2:30.
- The FCC's decision last week to clear the way for dozens
of station transfers to be completed was good news for two stations
in MAINE, among others. Cumulus had been stalled in its attempt
to buy WSKW (1160 Skowhegan) and WCTB (93.5 Fairfield) from Mountain
Wireless, thanks to the previous Commission's policy of "flagging"
transfers that could result in over-concentration of market revenues.
- Nothing doing this week in VERMONT, so we'll jump across
Lake Champlain to the North Country of NEW YORK and the debut
of a brand-new FM station. WYSI (96.1 Norwood) made it on the
air Friday (March 16), but not with the format we'd suspected
from its calls. Instead of relaying co-owned "Yes FM"
(WYSX 98.7 Ogdensburg/WYUL 94.7 Chateaugay), WYSI is simulcasting
the softer AC sounds of another Tim Martz station, WVLF (96.7
Canton). (Thanks to North County correspondent Michael Roach
for keeping an ear on 96.1 for us all these months!)
- The FCC's decision on flagged applications was good news
for Clear Channel in central New York; the company gets to add
Kenneth Roser's WLFH (1230 Little Falls) and WOWB (105.5 Little
Falls)/WOWZ (97.9 Whitesboro) to its group. Just to the west,
outside of Syracuse, Clear Channel also gets to add Cram Communications'
WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter).
- Here in Rochester, 98PXY is dead -- at least, that's what
the liners on the suddenly jockless Infinity CHR (WPXY 97.9 Rochester)
have been claiming since Friday morning. The stunt ends Monday
morning, when 'PXY will apparently announce it's "dead serious"
about the latest Infinity group-wide contest...
- Heading south to NEW JERSEY, Citadel's bowing out of the
Atlantic City market with a $19.4 million sale that puts Charlie
Banta back in the radio picture. Banta cashed out of his Mercury
group with a sale to Citadel back in 1999. Now he's the lead
partner in the Millennium Radio Group, which is picking up three
stations and LMA rights to a fourth from Citadel. The stations
are AC WFPG-FM (96.9 Atlantic City), country WPUR (107.3 Atlantic
City), Comedy World affiliate WFPG (1450 Atlantic City) and the
LMA on modern AC WKOE (106.3 Ocean City), which had been Citadel's
only Garden State properties.
- What's Alexander Langer planning for his next big PENNSYLVANIA
move-in? We've seen the application for WVFC (1530 McConnelsburg),
and the plans look like this: The station, presently an obscure
daytimer at the southern edge of the state about halfway between
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, would move to 1180 and change city
of license to King of Prussia, a suburb of Philadelphia. The
new 1180 would run 2300 watts, daytime only, from three towers
at the WWDB (860) site on Germantown Pike (from the looks of
it, one of the three would be part of the 860 array and the other
two would be new 60-meter sticks). The FCC accepted the move-in
application this week; we'll keep you informed as it works its
way through the system.
New England Radio Watch, March 20, 1996
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- A clarification about the status of
folk station WADN 1120 Concord MA: A pair of trailers are in
place at the transmitter site off Rt. 62 in South Acton, but
they are NOT yet being used as studios and offices. WADN is planning
to move out of its current studios in Concord's Damonmill Square
complex, but has not done so yet.
- A reshuffling of the schedule at WABU-TV
68 in Boston means that Charles Adler's "Adler On Line"
talk show is now radio-only on WRKO 680 from 7 to 10pm weeknights.
The 8-9pm hour had previously been simulcast on TV 68. Now Adler
is on TV from 4-5pm daily.
- More consolidation down in southwest
Connecticut, as Commodore Broadcasting buys WSTC 1400-WKHL 96.7
Stamford. Commodore already owns WNLK 1350-WEFX 95.9 Norwalk,
WRKI 95.1-WINE 940 Brookfield, and several stations in nearby
Westchester County, NY.
- More information on the demise of WDIS
1170 Norfolk, MA. Reports in the local weekly indicate the station
had its power cut off after failing to pay an electric bill in
the neighborhood of $2,000. Owner Albert Grady is reportedly
working on getting it back on.
*Didn't find a Tower Site Calendar
2006 under the tree/menorah/Blaw-Knox diamond tower model
of your choice over the holidays? Our supply is running low,
but we have a few still available at special clearance
We've got to say,
we're especially proud of the way this year's calendar turned
out. 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
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
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2006 by Scott Fybush.