The Bell Tolls for Diamond Dave
*LAS VEGAS - It's a shorter column than usual
this week, as your editor - and a fair number of Northeast radio
folks as well - have decamped to the desert for this year's NAB
Back home, though, the end arrived Friday for one of the most
publicized morning shows in recent history. After less than five
months on the air, CBS Radio pulled the plug on the floundering
David Lee Roth show (heard in NERW-land on "Free FM"
flagship WFNY-FM 92.3 New York, WBCN 104.1 Boston and WYSP 94.1
It'll be replaced with a sanitized three-hour simulcast of
XM Radio's Opie and Anthony, the duo who brought down the company's
last attempt at FM talk when they were in afternoons at WNEW
(102.7 New York) a few years back. The show's final two hours
will be heard only on XM.
From the sounds of Roth's show recently, the move was little
short of a mercy killing, allowing Roth to escape the battles
he's been fighting with CBS management and head out on tour,
while giving the former Howard Stern affiliates a more proven
commodity in mornings.
CBS recently shook up its management in Chicago, where ratings
have been mediocre for both of its highly-touted format flips
- oldies WJMK to "Jack" and talk WCKG to "Free
FM." The Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder,
not one to pull punches, savaged WCKG morning man Shane "Rover"
French last week. Rover's show is also carried in Rochester,
on CBS' WZNE (94.1 Brighton), and we'll be interested to see
whether WZNE makes any moves to pick up Opie and Anthony when
and if their show returns to terrestrial radio, especially since
Gregg "Opie" Hughes got his break in radio as a protege
of Rochester morning institution Brother Wease, who's right down
the hall at CBS sister station WCMF (96.5). Stay tuned...
MANDATORY SUBSCRIPTION FEES?
They've become a fact
of life for many of the most popular radio and TV websites out
there. Recently, the leading aircheck archive site - Uncle Ricky's
reelradio.com - was forced
to implement a subscription fee to help cover the rising costs
of keeping that wonderful site on line. Out on the West Coast,
subscription fees are a fact of life at LARadio.com
and SDRadio.net, too.
Here at fybush.com/North East
RadioWatch, we've managed to hold off from imposing a password
and mandatory subscription fee, but we depend on your support
- and that of our advertisers - to keep it that way.
If you still haven't subscribed
yet for 2006, do it right now at our Support
page - and enjoy another exciting year of NERW, guilt-
(and password-) free. And if you have become one of our
many subscribers, thank you!
*Out on Long Island's east end, the AAA sounds of WEHM have
returned - sort of - to their original home. Cherry Creek Radio's
been doing some shuffling of its signals in the Hamptons, and
it recently moved WHBE (96.7 East Hampton) to 96.9, from a new
site about 12 miles west of its original location. With more
signal over portions of Suffolk County that can't hear WEHM on
the 92.9 Southampton facility (where the calls and format moved
a few years ago, flipping 96.7 to WHBE with Bloomberg business
news), Cherry Creek decided last Tuesday to pull the plug on
the business news at 96.9, in favor of a simulcast with 92.9.
On the TV front, New York's WWOR (Channel
9) has begun branding as "My 9," in preparation for
the fall launch of Fox's My Network Television. (And yes, we're
well aware that the station's actually licensed in Secaucus,
Rival network The CW finally signed a Buffalo affiliate last
week, inking a deal for carriage on LIN's WNLO (Channel 23),
presently a UPN affiliate. (LIN's WCTX in the Hartford/New Haven
market, which is losing its UPN affiliation, has yet to sign
any new affiliation agreement; in that market, The CW automatically
went to Tribune's WTXX, presently a WB affiliate.)
There's an anchor shuffle underway in Rochester, as veteran
WHEC (Channel 10) anchor Janet Lomax moves off the 11 PM news,
at her own request. Weekend anchor Jennifer Johnson takes over
the 11, while Lomax adds the 5 PM newscast to her existing duties
at 6. Those moves in turn take 5 PM co-anchor Robin DeWind off
the anchor desk (she's also the health reporter), send morning
anchor Nikki Rudd to weekends and move Lynette Adams to mornings.
And no sooner were those moves announced than news director Adam
Bradshaw landed a new gig in a much bigger market - he's headed
here to Las Vegas to become ND at Fox affiliate KVVU (Channel
In other upstate news, a reporter and photographer for Rochester's
WROC-TV/WUHF-TV were attacked while covering a story last week.
Photographer Kate Yerves and reporter Ty Chandler were trying
to interview family members of two brothers suspected in an abduction
case, when a woman lunged at them with a baseball bat. Yerves
had to have several stitches in her head. The station filed a
police report, but no charges have been filed so far.
And there's a tower down in Glens Falls. After several delays,
the old tower of WWSC (1450) on Dix Avenue came down last Tuesday.
It'll be replaced by a shopping plaza; the station's transmitter
moved to a Valcom fiberglass whip antenna a few miles away last
can have your ad here! Click here for information on the
most economical way to reach tens of thousands of Northeast radio
and TV people each week.
*A call change in CONNECTICUT:
"The Fox" in Norwalk is now legally WFOX. Cox radio
parked those very desirable calls at 95.9 in Norwalk last week,
replacing WEFX. The WFOX calls had been on Cox's "River"
97.1 in the Atlanta market, which just became WSRV.
On TV, Mike St. Peter is the new news director at WVIT (Channel
30), replacing Sheila Trauernicht, who's now at KHOU in Houston.
*Some call shuffling is underway in MASSACHUSETTS
as well, as Vox swaps calls on WMNB (100.1 North Adams) and WUPE-FM
(95.9 Pittsfield). The WUPE-FM calls are now permanent on 100.1,
but the WMNB calls on 95.9 won't be there long, as that facility
is destined to become the new WBEC-FM as soon as Entercom moves
the present WBEC-FM (on 105.5) to Easthampton, as WVEI-FM. (Entercom
will operate "main" studios for WVEI-FM, at least initially,
in facilities leased from Chicopee's WACE 730.)
Up in Salem, we hear that the local morning show at WESX (1230)
has ended, with the station running satellite-delivered standards
fulltime as it awaits the closing of its pending sale.
*In the Burlington, VERMONT market,
Hall Communications is adding another station to its cluster.
Hall already operates WBTZ (99.9 Plattsburgh NY) under an LMA
with owner Plattsburgh Broadcasting that the company assumed
when it bought Burlington Broadcasters' WIZN (106.7 Vergennes)
last year. Now it's converting that LMA into outright ownership,
to the tune of $2.5 million. No changes are expected at modern
rock "Buzz" when the deal goes through.
*One PENNSYLVANIA note: The WPMY
calls are already in place on Sinclair's channel 22 in Pittsburgh,
ex-WCWB. Guess they don't want to give that other new network
any more publicity than absolutely necessary...
*The news from CANADA this week is
yet another proposed AM-to-FM move in the Maritimes. This time,
it's CHER (950 Sydney NS), which is asking the CRTC to allow
it to move to 98.3, where it would run 100 kW at 51 meters above
*We'll wrap up this week's edition with some sad news, and
some interesting news, from the world of Internet resources about
Long before there was a NERW - a decade earlier, in fact -
a TV talent agent named Don Fitzpatrick created a column called
Rumorville, telling news directors (via fax and the very earliest
e-mail systems) about what was happening out there in TV newsrooms
around the country. That evolved into a daily column called ShopTalk,
and it became so successful that Don eventually got out of the
talent business completely to focus on the column. So we were
stunned, and saddened, to learn that Don died last weekend in
Louisiana, at age 56.
We were also more than a little stunned at the sudden disappearance
the other day of Radio-Info, the message-board site that had
become a regular destination for chat about all things radio
all around the country. The site had apparently been living on
borrowed time over the last year or so, since the death of owner
Doug Fleming. Fleming's parents, who own the site, locked out
(virtually speaking) the volunteers who'd kept it running, and
have now relaunched it, without most of the people or content
that made it interesting. But in the meantime, most of the people
from the old site have migrated to the new radioinsight.com,
which launched hastily on Sunday. It's still a long way from
what the old site was, but we'll be giving it a spin when we
get back to our home base later this week.
And that's it from Vegas - we'll see you next week from back
home in NERW-land.
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!)
April 25, 2005 -
- 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.
- 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.
April 16, 2001 -
- A call swap in PENNSYLVANIA is in the works, with the new
CP in Cooperstown getting WHUG-FM, the longtime calls across
the state line at 101.9 in Jamestown, New York. Jamestown gets
the WMHU calls that were on the Cooperstown CP; we'll have to
get down that way to hear whether a format swap is also taking
- There's a low-priced station sale to lead off our NEW YORK
report: Barnstable is transferring WFOG (1570 Riverhead) to Five
Towns College for the lordly sum of $72,000. The station on Long
Island's East End has been on and off the air for the last few
years; we heard it in February simulcasting rock sister WRCN
(103.9 Riverhead). Five Towns apparently plans to change the
calls to WFTU, and we presume it will become a student-run station.
That's good news for the students at Five Towns, but we've got
to wonder: with the price that low, did the folks at Polnet make
any attempt to add 1570 to their just-purchased WLIM 1580 down
the road in Patchogue? The stations did simulcast years ago (as
WPAC and WAPC), and the 1570 reaches a considerably larger Polish
community than the 1580 signal (which cost Polnet $850,000!)
- Going way upstate, we hear a Tuesday format change is planned
at Utica's "Wow FM" (WOWB 105.5 Little Falls/WOWZ 97.9
Whitesboro), now that the stations are owned by Clear Channel.
PD J.P. Marks stays with former owner Ken Roser, helping to run
"Bug Country" (WBGK 99.7 Newport Village/WBUG-FM 101.1
Fort Plain/WBUG 1570 Amsterdam). As of late Monday night, WOWB
and WOWZ were simulcasting Clear Channel's CHR "Kiss"
(WSKS 102.5 Rome); we'll let you know if that turns out to be
a permanent move.
- Also in Utica, Nelson Suggs' Bethany Broadcasting is selling
religious WVVC (100.7) to the Educational Media Foundation, which
owns dozens of religious stations and translators around the
country. The $1.25 million purchase of WVVC gives EMF its first
foothold in New York.
New England Radio Watch, April 30, 1996
can sponsor this new weekly feature! Click here for information!
- It's amazing what the FCC can hide
when it fails to release full information about station applications.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about now-dark WRPT 1050 Peterborough
NH, which according to the Commission had applied to "change
city of license and power." What we didn't know until know
was just how much of a change. It seems WRPT's new owner, Alexander
Langer, wants to move the station more than a hundred miles to
the southeast, specifically to Foxboro, Mass. (M Street had this
erroneously as "Foxboro NH") Langer's application calls
for the new WRPT to move to 650 kHz, with 250 watts DA-D, diplexed
from the Norfolk MA transmitter/studio site of WDIS 1170. This
will be a somewhat tight directional, since Norfolk is just barely
north of the 0.5 mv/m contour for WFAN 660 New York. And giving
protection to WNNZ 640 Westfield MA and WPRO 630 Providence RI
means WRPT's 250 watts will be pointed mostly northeast...which,
how about this, just happens to be the direction of Boston! Clever
fellow, this Alexander Langer. (He also owns the license for
currently-dark WBIV 1060 Natick MA, which has applied for 50kw
ND-D, something that can only be possible with WRPT off 1050.)
As for the 650 frequency, there was a longstanding CP for WBSO
Clinton MA on that frequency. It was to have been a 10kw DA-2
operation, with a decent signal into Boston and a tight null
towards NYC. The CP was granted in 1984 and revoked about a year
ago, making this possible.
- It seems to me this is one of the more
dramatic move-ins of late... comparable perhaps to the still-unconsummated
move of WDMV 540 from Pocomoke City MD (on the Delmarva Peninsula)
to Brinklow MD (between Washington and Baltimore), or the never-permitted
move of WHMA-FM Anniston AL to the Atlanta area a decade or so
ago. Admittedly, there's no station licensed to Foxboro MA (the
home of the New England Patriots), but it's hard to claim to
be the first service to a community when you're diplexed off
an existing station's tower. In fact, Foxboro is within city-grade
contours of most of the Providence RI stations as well as Boston.
(2006 note - WRPT didn't move to Foxboro, but it did end up
in Ashland, where it's now WSRO.)
*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
contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please
click here to
learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2006 by Scott Fybush.