November 13, 2006
Clear Channel Cuts Continue
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2007 - NOW SHIPPING!!!
It's that time of year
...when we ask for your subscription
support as we head towards a new year of NERW.
NorthEast Radio Watch is part of an
ever-shrinking breed of radio industry websites open to anyone
without a password or a mandatory payment.
Here at NERW, we still believe that
it's not an especially efficient use of our time to be issuing
passwords and renewal reminders. We'd rather be out there taking
pictures of towers and twirling the dials to bring you actual
news about radio and television across the northeast U.S. and
eastern Canada, just as we've been doing, week in and week out,
for over a dozen years now.
There's a catch, though, and here it
is - even if there's no mandatory subscription fee, that doesn't
mean that NERW comes to you each week free of charge. We ask
you each year to do your part by making a voluntary contribution
to help keep NERW coming. So far, the system has worked. Many
of you support NERW each year, and for that, we're grateful.
But there are still many more of you
who don't, and at some point, we're going to have some tough
decisions to make about how to keep the bills paid and the NERW-mobile
gassed up. We still consider, from time to time, whether it's
time to put our fresh weekly content behind a password and a
fee, just to make sure there's enough money in the bank to keep
doing the column at all.
We don't want to do that, and with your
help, we can hold off that change for yet another year. Sign
up right now with PayPal and get your free 2007 Tower Site Calendar
- or visit our Support
page for more information...and thanks!
(You can help NERW in other ways, too - placing a classified
ad or a display ad, for instance, which not only reaches thousands
of influential radio and TV people in the region but also helps
support our work. Contact us for more information!)
Suggested NERW Subscription
Industry Professional ($60)
A FREE COPY OF THE 2007 TOWER SITE CALENDAR - A $17 VALUE!
*What's the most stable radio station in
the nation's number one market, NEW YORK? You could make
a pretty good case for Clear Channel's "Lite," WLTW
(106.7), where morning man Bill Buchner had been in place for
17 years, midday jock Valerie Smaldone for 22 years and night
jock J.J. Kennedy for 18 years.
longevity, however, was apparently no match for the nationwide
restructuring that's hitting Clear Channel markets from coast
to coast. Early last week, WLTW pulled Buchner and Kennedy off
the air. While PD Jim Ryan tried to paint the moves in the best
light possible, telling the New York Daily News that Buchner's
dismissal was "100% based on improving the product"
and unrelated to the nationwide Clear Channel shakeout, it's
hard to see the timing as coincidental. (For whatever it's worth,
Ryan says that while Buchner's numbers overall were good, the
station was weak in the morning hours before 8:00; he also tells
the News that Clear Channel considered putting Whoopi
Goldberg's new syndicated morning show on WLTW before placing
it on sister station WKTU over the summer.)
Buchner's been replaced with a team that includes his former
co-host, Christine Nagy, along with Karen Carson and weather
from Nick Gregory. The new morning show debuts today on WLTW.
As for nights, it's widely rumored that Delilah's syndicated
show will make WLTW its New York home soon, a rumor Ryan's not
Also out at Clear Channel is WKTU (103.5 Lake Success) production
director Valerie Palma, after a nine-year run at the station.
Over at classical WQXR (96.3 New York), there's no filling
the shoes of 50-year veteran Lloyd Moss, who retired at the end
of September from the station's afternoon drive slot, but WQXR
weekend morning host Elliott Forrest will do his best when he
takes over afternoons, beginning today. Forrest's career has
included mornings at WQXR's erstwhile competitor, the old WNCN
(104.3), as well as extensive TV work at A&E and E!, among
not the sort of market you'd think of as a hotbed for progressive
talk, so it's no great surprise that Citadel is pulling the plug
on the format at WYOS (1360) after a year and a half. The format
never got much promotion at WYOS, which has the city's worst
AM signal (5000 watts days, just 500 watts at night) and has
long been a weak sister to the city's heritage news-talk outlet,
WNBF (1290). As of Monday, WYOS joins ESPN Radio, becoming Binghamton's
second all-sports station after Clear Channel's WENE (1430 Endicott),
which programs Fox Sports Radio.
Donnie Michaels didn't last long in his latest go-round as
PD of Clear Channel's WPKF (96.1 Poughkeepsie); after just a
few days, he's out and Jimi Jamm is back in at "Kiss."
Here in Rochester, it appears that Clear Channel's WHAM-TV
(Channel 13) has quietly assumed operation of the former "WRWB,"
the cable-only outlet on channel 16 that now identifies itself
just as "CW Rochester." Ads for CW began showing up
on WHAM-TV's website last week (including one, now removed, that
had a "WHAM-DT" ID under the "CW 16" logo),
and the CW outlet carried a WHAM-produced election night special
at 10 PM Tuesday. (Meanwhile, later in the evening, we heard
WHAM radio carrying a stale delayed broadcast of the syndicated
Sean Hannity show, recorded before the polls had closed that
night. Would that have aired before the Clear Channel cutbacks
reduced WHAM's news staff a week earlier?)
Ed Bradley is being remembered this week (and rightly so)
for his TV career at CBS News, but the legendary newsman began
his career in radio, working first at WDAS (1480 Philadelphia)
and then as one of the founding staffers when WCBS (880 New York)
went all-news in 1967. He kept a toe in radio in recent years,
too, as the voice of NPR's "Jazz From Lincoln Center."
We join in the mourning for one of the industry's giants, who
died Thursday at 65.
You can have
your ad here! Click
for information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands
of Northeast radio and TV people each week.
can now set a date for the long-awaited format swap in eastern
MASSACHUSETTS: WCRB (102.5 Waltham) is now promoting December
1 as the date when its classical music moves down the dial -
and 25 miles north - to what's now WKLB-FM (99.5 Lowell). WCRB
will keep its present Waltham studio and its airstaff when it
changes dial positions and owners, passing from Charles River
Broadcasting to Nassau. Meanwhile, WKLB is promoting a "big
change" on the air, but it's not yet directing its listeners
to its new, full-market spot at 102.5; those promos will presumably
appear a little closer to the day of the swap.
The Boston Red Sox are moving to a new spot on the dial in
Worcester and vicinity next season, leaving Clear Channel's WTAG
(580) for Carter Broadcasting's WCRN (830). WCRN says it will
have its tower work completed by Opening Day, allowing it to
finally put its long-pending construction permit for 50 kilowatts
at night on the air - and filling a big chunk of the MetroWest
gap in Sox coverage that will result from the team's Boston move
to WRKO (680). (And - yikes - is the team's Hartford outlet,
WTIC 1080, serious about the negotiations with the Yankees that
were being reported in local media last week? If it comes to
pass, Sox fans outside New England would lose their last nighttime
AM link to the Olde Towne Team.)
Boston talk host who lost his job a week ago is trying hard to
get it back. John DePetro is using his depetro.com
website to rally listener support for a return to WRKO (680 Boston),
including a petition former listeners can sign. (It had just
under 400 names on it as we went to press Sunday night, though
that included plenty of questionable ones - "Rush O'Reilly"?
- and a scattering of anti-DePetro comments, too.)
DePetro wrote to WRKO, offering to undergo sensitivity training
and even to give a weekly hour of airtime to Grace Ross, the
gubernatorial candidate he called a "fat lesbian" on
what turned out to be his last WRKO show.
DePetro's entreaties to his former employer fell on deaf ears,
though: Entercom put out a statement calling the firing "appropriate
and justified," saying "we have moved on and wish him
With crosstown talker WTKK (96.9) already overstocked with
talk hosts, now that Jay Severin is back in afternoons, the picture
for DePetro's Boston future looks bleak - and given the budget
cutbacks across the board at Clear Channel, is there a home for
him at his former station, WHJJ (920) in Providence?
The Clear Channel "restructuring" claimed one victim
in the Springfield market last week: Jessica Tyler is out as
morning co-host and music director at WPKX (97.9 Enfield CT),
with PD Justin Tyler taking on the MD role there as well.
*When the Clear Channel axe landed in RHODE
ISLAND, it took with it most of the morning show at WSNE
(93.3 Taunton MA), including 21-year veteran Joanie Edwardsen
and her husband, Chuck Hinman, who was the station's news director.
We're hearing that the cuts aren't finished at the Providence
cluster just yet.
*In CONNECTICUT, the Clear Channel
cuts include WPOP (1410 Hartford) PD Bob Plante; the ESPN Radio
outlet has been little more than a 24/7 network feed for a while
now, in any event. Down the hall, WKSS (95.7 Hartford) loses
morning guy Steve Coates and middayer Adam Axe, as well as traffic
guy Sky Daniels and promotions director Dawn Bucalo.
In the New London market, "Yo Sunny Joe" Allen is
the new morning guy at Red Wolf's WBMW (106.5 Ledyard), where
he replaces Michael Burns. Allen was previously at WMAS-FM in
Springfield, and he's heard on New York's WNEW (Mix 102.7) as
*There's a new sidekick on morning radio
in NEW JERSEY, as Suzanne Ansilio joins Jim Monaghan at
WDHA (105.5 Dover) in two weeks. Ansilio was briefly at WFNY-FM
(92.3 Free FM) in New York, but she's much better known for a
long run in Los Angeles radio, including a dozen years at KLOS
*Inner City Broadcasting is exiting radio
ownership in eastern PENNSYLVANIA. It's selling WHAT (1340
Philadelphia) to consultant Tom Kelly's Marconi Broadcasting,
for a price All Access reports as $5 million. No word
yet on what changes might be on the way to WHAT's black-oriented
More Clear Channel cutbacks in the Lehigh Valley: Scott Lowe
is out after three years as night guy (and production director)
at WAEB-FM (104.1 Allentown); he's looking for work, and a Clear
Channel jock from Los Angeles is voicetracking nights on B104
now. (Meanwhile, WAEB-FM has hired Eric Tyler, late of WTWR in
Toledo, to fill the afternoon drive/music director hole created
when Mike Kelly moved to mornings. Tyler will also serve as B104's
Cutbacks, too, at Radio One in Philadelphia: the cluster's
black gospel outlet, WPPZ (103.9 Jenkintown), is now running
jockless after the dismissal of morning man Ed Long. (He came
to WPPZ from Clear Channel's WDAS 1480 in June.)
return of smooth jazz to the Philadelphia radio dial is set for
Wednesday. That's when Nassau will pull the plug on classic rock
WTHK (97.5 Burlington NJ), handing the frequency over to Greater
Media, which will flip it to WJJZ, restoring the calls and format
that went away in August from what's now "Philly's 106.1"
WISX. The new WJJZ will launch from the longtime 97.5 site in
downtown Trenton, but it's expected to become a full Philadelphia
signal early in 2007 with a move to the Wyndmoor tower just north
of Philadelphia that, ironically, is also home to 106.1's antenna.
In central Pennsylvania, WWWH (88.5 Halifax), an as-yet-unbuilt
construction permit just north of Harrisburg, changes calls to
WMBH. (The station is owned by George Flinn's Memphis-based Broadcasting
for the Challenged.)
In Somerset, WBHV (1330) has dropped its southern gospel format
and flipped to ESPN sports; it's apparently picking up the WSMO
calls recently in use in State College. (The WBHV calls were
being parked on 1330, ex-WYSN, and have now returned to State
A former Scranton TV news director has made the leap to politics.
Frank Andrews Shimkus, formerly of WNEP (Channel 16) and WYOU
(Channel 22), was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature
Tuesday, winning 72 percent of the vote.
*In CANADA, there's a new program
coordinator at CHUM-FM (104.5 Toronto), but he's a familiar name
to our Boston readers. David Corey comes to CHUM from WXKS-FM
(107.9 Medford), after more than two decades at "Kiss 108"
that included a run as assistant PD/music director.
In Cobourg, Ontario, CHUC (1450) wants the CRTC to grant it
a one-year extension of AM-FM simulcasting. The AM signal was
to have gone silent this past weekend, but CHUC says it's having
trouble resolving interference between its new 107.9 FM signal
and air navigation systems, so it's hoping it can keep the AM
on the air in the meantime.
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!)
November 14, 2005 -
- If you'd cornered us a year ago and asked us to place a bet
that WKOX (1200 Framingham) would ever be able to build its new
directional array at the WUNR (1600 Brookline) site in Newton's
Oak Hill neighborhood, we'd have declined. At the time, it didn't
appear that the local political climate would ever allow Clear
Channel to follow through with its plan to replace WUNR's existing
pair of towers (each 350 feet tall) with five 199-foot unpainted,
unlit towers to be used by WKOX (with 50 kW), WUNR (with 20 kW)
and WRCA (1330 Watertown, moved from Waltham) with 25 kW day,
17 kW night.
- Things change, though, especially when you have a patient
plaintiff with deep pockets and a very good case to make against
the city of Newton - and so it came to pass that the city and
the stations finally reached a settlement last week (thanks to
Mark at Boston Radio Watch for sniffing that out!) that could
lead to construction getting underway at the site as early as
the end of this week.
- The settlement, which is due to be approved by Newton's Board
of Aldermen on Wednesday, would establish a $100,000 remediation
fund to help neighbors near the site deal with increased RF levels
after the towers are built and the stations have been on the
air for three years. (In the first three years that stations
are operating with their new facilities, the stations themselves
will be required to assist neighbors within the blanketing zone
with RF-related issues, which is not much more than the FCC requires,
anyway.) The settlement also limits what the stations can do
at the site in the future without city approval - no power increases,
and no adding wireless services to the towers, either. In sum,
though, it seems to represent a pretty convincing win for the
stations - especially for WKOX, which will get a decent Boston
signal out of the deal. We'll be following this story closely
as construction gets underway.
- Up in MAINE, Bud Sawyer is out at Nassau's WLAM, Lewiston
(1470) after a very long career that's included long stints at
WPOR in Portland and at earlier incarnations of WLAM. The station's
flipping to ESPN sports from standards at the end of the month,
- In RHODE ISLAND, David Bernstein is out of a job as WPRO
(630 Providence) program director. Bernstein came to WPRO in
May 2003 after stints programming WOR and WBZ; he's now back
home in New Jersey (where he had been commuting to Providence),
and no replacement has been named yet in Providence.
- In NEW JERSEY, Press Communications' WKOE (106.3 Ocean City)
is making an Atlantic City move. It's been granted FCC permission
to change city of license to Bass River Township, and to change
frequency to 106.5, which will reduce interference from WJJZ
(106.1 Philadelphia) and from sister station WHTG (106.3 Eatontown).
WKOE and its "Breeze" sister stations are also getting
some programming help from a veteran New York City PD. Joe McCoy,
who programmed WCBS-FM (101.1) before it became "Jack,"
has become the "programming advisor" for WKOE, WBHX
(99.7 Tuckerton) and WWZY (107.1 Long Branch.)
November 12, 2001 -
- Last week, we had no news from CANADA...so why not start
off this week with news of a new AM outlet for Montreal? The
new 1000 watt station at 1610 kHz will be the first full-time
expanded band AM station in Canada (the now-defunct "portable"
CHEV 1610 Etobicoke, Ont. was the first overall), and it will
run a multilingual format aimed at Francophone Montrealers of
Haitian, Latin American and African descent. "CPAM Radio
Union.com, Inc." is the licensee for the new station authorized
this week by the CRTC, and we can tell you we know nothing whatsoever
about them - but we'll pass along anything we find out!
- We'll slip back across the border, logically enough, in MAINE,
where Maine Public Broadcasting puts its newest signal on the
air Tuesday (Nov. 13). WMEP (90.5 Camden) will serve an area
of the mid-coast that's had spotty reception from the existing
transmitters in Portland, Bangor and Waterville.
- Across the river in VERMONT, Bob Vinikoor buys WNBX (1480
Springfield) from Bob and Shirley Wolf, for a reported $75,000.
We suspect Vinikoor will use WNBX to relay the talk programming
of his WNTK-FM (99.7 New London NH) into the lower reaches of
the Connecticut River Valley.
- We'll start our NEW YORK news by observing that no New York
City mayor in history has had his own radio station - until now.
But don't expect Mike Bloomberg to sell WBBR (1130 New York)
or the rest of his Bloomberg, L.P. empire; despite reports that
competitors such as Thomson (which, being British, would have
to sell the radio property) have been sniffing around, the word
from 499 Park Avenue is that the company is now being operated
at a sufficient arm's-length from Hizzoner-to-be that it won't
be on the block any time soon.
- Meanwhile, the New York City schools won't be handing the
keys of WNYE-FM (91.5) and WNYE-TV (Channel 25) to competitors
WNYC (820/93.9) and WNET (Channel 13), after all. The school
board didn't approve Chancellor Harold Levy's plan to let the
bigger public broadcasters take over management of the stations;
instead, WNYE will stay in school hands as part of a broadband
platform for delivering educational material to schools.
New England Radio Watch, November 13, 1996
can sponsor this new weekly feature! Click here for information!
- Wanna buy a full class B Boston FM?
That's the question CBS will have to be asking, after yesterday's
agreement with the Justice Department to sell Infinity's WBOS
(92.9 Brookline-Boston) and CBS's WMMR (93.3 Philadelphia) in
exchange for Justice approval for the CBS-Infinity merger. Justice
was apparently worried that the new CBS/Infinity group would
control in excess of 40 percent of the market revenue in both
Boston and Philadelphia, as well as giving CBS/Infinity near-total
control of the rock audiences in both cities.
- This means the final CBS/Infinity group
in Boston will include news/talk WBZ (1030), smooth jazz WOAZ
(99.5 Lowell-Boston), classic rock WZLX (100.7), oldies WODS
(103.3), and modern rocker WBCN (104.1). What happens to WBOS
now? It's possible that one of Boston's other major groups will
work out a trade with CBS for WBOS. Likely candidates include
Evergreen and American Radio Systems. Other possible local buyers
include Woody Tanger's Marlin Broadcasting, which is known to
want a stronger signal for its North Shore classical outlet,
WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester), and which is flush with cash after selling
its Philadelphia and Detroit stations. And who's celebrating
the most? Probably the folks at little WXRV (92.5) up in Haverhill,
who could end up as the city's only AAA outlet if new owners
change WBOS's low-rated "rock of the 80s and 90s" format.
- A Vermont radio station says it won't
budge from its controversial transmitter site. WIZN (106.7) Vergennes-Burlington
just received a letter from town officials in Charlotte, Vermont
informing them their tower is causing fear and resentment among
the neighbors, some of whom say they're getting WIZN on their
toasters. WIZN officials say they've been willing to work with
the neighbors all along, and they won't move off Pease Mountain.
NERW's comment: A recent trip to Vermont took me past this tower,
just off route 7...and it didn't seem any different from any
other transmitter site. At the base of the tower, WIZN's signal
didn't even overload the radio in the NERW-mobile.
- There's a dearth of TV news managers
in Connecticut. Last week, WFSB-TV (3 Hartford) assistant news
director Bob Longo returned home to upstate New York to become
news director of WKBW-TV in Buffalo. And yesterday, WVIT-TV (30
New Britain-Hartford) news director Steve Schwaid announced he's
leaving for sister station WTOG in Tampa.
*It's here! As seen in the St.
Paul Pioneer Press, the Omaha
World-Herald and the Chicago
Sun-Times, Tower Site Calendar 2007 is now shipping!
This year's edition
features what we think are the finest tower images yet - from
the cover image of WCCO Minneapolis all the way to the back-cover
centerfold of WBZ in Boston, and from KGO San Francisco to KOIL
Omaha to Philadelphia's famed Roxborough tower farm, captured
in a dramatic dusk shot with the lights all aglow.
This sixth annual edition once again contains plenty of historic
dates from radio and television history in the Northeast and
beyond, and as always, it comes to you shrink-wrapped and shipped
first class mail for safe arrival.
You can even get your 2007 calendar free with
your new or renewal subscription
to NERW at the $60 level.
Visit the Fybush.com
Store and place your order today - and be among the first
to get the Tower Site Calendar 2007!
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.