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January 29, 2007

FCC Window Brings Big Changes


*Outside the engineering trade press, it's received almost no attention - and even in the engineering trades, it didn't get the attention it deserved. But the FCC rule changes that took effect last week certainly had the attention of consulting engineers all over the country, and they have the potential to lead to some dramatic station moves here in the northeast.

The new rules streamline the process by which AM and FM stations change their communities of license, frequency and class. For AM signals, any change of community was once considered a "major change," requiring a filing window that, in recent times, came only once every three or four years. For FM stations, changing communities was done through a cumbersome two-step process that began by filing a petition to alter the Table of Allotments, and only then was followed up with an application to move the station itself.

Now that's all changed, and most of those moves can be filed as a simple one-step application, without waiting for a window. The first batch of applications began to emerge from the FCC last week, and we here at NERW spent the better part of our weekend sifting through them.

The biggest beneficiary of the new rules, interestingly, is the small community of Keene, NEW HAMPSHIRE, which could get two new FM signals, including one moving down the Connecticut River from the VERMONT side, plus a significant upgrade to a Massachusetts-based rimshot signal.

The two new Keene FMs would come from the Clear Channel Upper Valley-based cluster that Jeff Shapiro's Great Eastern group is buying. Clear Channel filed (just before the sale itself was filed) to move WTSM (93.5 Springfield VT) to Swanzey NH, making it a class A signal with 2.3 kW/521' from West Hill in Keene - and to move WVRR (101.7 Newport NH) south to Westminster VT, relocating it to 101.9, where it would be a class A signal with 1.1 kW/774' DA from the WEKW-TV tower north of Keene.

WTSM would have some company up on West Hill, too - Saga has applied to move WSNI (97.7 Winchendon MA) to Swanzey NH as well, moving it to the West Hill tower that's already home to Saga's WINQ (98.7 Winchester NH), where it would run 1.8 kW/613', with a signal identical to WINQ's.

And there are two more moves being proposed up north: the new 98.7 in Stratford NH applies to move to "Bretton Woods NH," which is basically the Mount Washington Hotel - but which would allow the transmitter to go all the way up to the top of Mount Washington itself, with 40 watts/3138', horizontal only, DA, sharing the site of WPKQ (103.7) atop the mountain. Meanwhile, Barry Lunderville applies to move his new 93.7 Groveton NH south to Lunenburg VT, where it would be a class A signal with 800 watts/915' DA, covering Littleton quite nicely.

There were more applications filed all across NERW-land, and we'll get to them in our state-by-state reports as this week's issue (our tenth anniversary as "North East RadioWatch," by the way) continues...

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*The founder and longtime station adviser to high school station WAVM (91.7) in Maynard, MASSACHUSETTS, died last week, just as his trial on child rape and indecent assault charges was getting underway.

Joseph Magno spent all day last Monday in court as attorneys held a pre-trial hearing in the case, then died at his home in Hudson that night, apparently of a heart attack. Magno had been under house arrest there since last March.

Magno, 66, had been in poor health for the last year or so, since the charges against him became public. A jury was to have been seated for the trial later in the week; the charges will now be dismissed once a formal death certificate is filed with the court.

Before Magno made headlines on those charges, he was a prominent figure for his tireless work to keep WAVM on the air in the face of threats to its survival from several religious broadcasters. The station eventually worked out a settlement that will allow it to boost its power to 500 watts, an upgrade that should take place in the spring.

*Qantum Communications wants to move WRZE (96.3 Nantucket) to the Cape Cod mainland. It's applied under the new FM rules to change "The Rose" from a Nantucket-licensed class B signal to a Dennis-licensed class B1, running 25 kW/297' from the WCOD (106.1 Hyannis) tower on Hokum Rock Road in Dennis.

Out west, schedule changes at WFCR (88.5 Amherst) include the cancellation of "Valley Folk," an institution at the public station for several decades, hosted for the last 22 years by Susan Forbes Hansen. She's still being heard on Sunday nights on WHUS (91.7) in Storrs, Connecticut.

*In NEW YORK, the new FM change rules brought with them several applications for station moves and upgrades.

On Long Island, WEHM (92.9 Southampton) applies to move west to Manorville, where it would run 3.1 kW/462' with a directional antenna from the same tower currently used by WBZB (98.5 Westhampton) and WDRE (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke), losing some of its existing coverage in the Hamptons in exchange for more of central Suffolk County, almost as far west as Coram and Patchogue.

In the Adirondacks, little Old Forge already lost one of its two FM allotments to Watertown when Randy Michaels' RadioActive moved 92.5A to Black River last year. Now the other unbuilt Old Forge signal hopes to move to Watertown, too, as Live Air applies to take WZNY (94.1A) out of Old Forge and reallocate it as 94.1C3 in Calcium, running 12.5 kW/328' from a Time Warner tower on State Street Hill in Watertown.

Michaels wasn't idle during the rule change: he's applying to move his new construction permit for a class C2 facility on 97.9 in Dannemora to Keeseville, much closer to Plattsburgh. RadioActive's 107.1A CP in Saranac Lake would move to Dannemora - and that's not the only move in the area, as Saranac Lake Radio's WYZY (106.3 Saranac Lake) would change city of license to Saranac, about 30 miles to the northeast, moving to the Lyon Mountain tower of WCFE-TV (Channel 57) and becoming a 1500 watt/2296' C2 signal booming over Plattsburgh and Burlington.

What happened in mid-mornings on Air America's New York outlet, WWRL (1600), last week? The network offering, Sam Seder, was missing without explanation on Wednesday, replaced by the syndicated Stephanie Miller show. Seder was back on Thursday, citing "technical problems," but word is there were actually contractual disputes between Air America and WWRL that silenced his show in New York for the day.

After several years of operating from a low-power temporary antenna site, WUAM (900 Saratoga Springs) applies to change city of license to the Albany suburb of Watervliet. If its move is approved, it will run 400 watts by day, 75 watts by night as a diplex on the tower of WAMC (1400 Albany).

In Watertown, Cindy Miller takes over from Chili Walker in the PD chair at rocker WOTT (100.7 Henderson). Miller comes to the frozen north from Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she was PD at WBYR (98.9 Van Wert OH).

The slow evolution of Buffalo's WHTT-FM (104.1) from oldies to classic hits continues. First there was the schedule shuffle earlier this month that brought Val Townsend across the hall from modern rock WEDG (103.3) to do the 2-4 PM shift; now there's a subtle change in imaging, with the station ID'ing as "Mix 104.1 WHTT," at least some of the time.

On TV, veteran New York meteorologist Storm Field is out of a job, having been dismissed from WWOR-TV (Channel 9) just after Wednesday's 10 PM newscast. Audrey Puente, formerly of WCBS-TV, replaces Field at "My 9."

One more New York note: Clear Channel's consolidation of RCS Sound Software into Prophet Systems brought with it some personnel changes. The merged company is now headquartered at RCS' White Plains home office under RCS president/CEO Philippe Generali, but several veteran RCS staffers are out, including longtime marketing guy (and former Connecticut jock) Tom Zarecki. Prophet's office in Ogallala, Nebraska remains open as well, and it's interesting to note that the company's president of technology, Chip Jellison, is himself a former New England radio guy, having worked as "Chip Davis" on the programming side at New Hampshire's WQSO and several other stations.

*A NEW JERSEY noncommercial signal is off the air for the moment. WDDM (89.3 Hazlet) had been LMA'd by Domestic Church Media Foundation, running Catholic programming. The foundation says it was in negotiations to buy WDDM from licensee "WVRM, Inc.," but after having second thoughts about selling, WVRM pulled the plug on the LMA, silencing the station. The Catholic programming remains available via a webcast at, for now.

Multicultural Broadcasting wants to move WNSW (1430 Newark) closer to Manhattan. It's applying to move the station from its present site in Union to the four-tower WPAT (930 Paterson) array in Clifton, where it would run 10 kW days and 7 kW nights.

And our deepest condolences to veteran Press Communications engineer George Kowal on the untimely passing of his son, Michael Kowal, who died Thursday at age 25. Michael Kowal had become active in engineering in his own right, working for Metro and Shadow Traffic, and had recently attended the SBE Ennes Workshop in Boston and the SBE RF Seminar in New York. He's survived by his parents, his fiancee, and his six-month-old son, Erik Augustus.

*In northeast PENNSYLVANIA, sports radio is back on the AM dial. Responding to Connoisseur's flip of sports WFNN (1330 Erie) to oldies WFGO a couple of weeks ago, Citadel's flipping WRIE (1260 Erie) from standards to sports today as "ESPN Radio 1260 the Score." WRIE will also carry the Jim Rome show in middays.

Former WFNN talk hosts Captain Dan and Allan Carpenter have resurfaced; our friends over at report that Captain Dan is joining WJET (1400) PD Jeff Johns and Mike Boremann for a new morning show on WJET, replacing Don Imus. Carpenter, meanwhile, takes over mornings at "Bob FM" WXBB (94.7 Erie).

Speaking of sports on the radio, the new Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees take over right where the old Red Barons left off last fall (their last game was a playoff loss to the Rochester Red Wings, and your editor was among the soggy crowd) - the team has signed a five-year deal to put its games on Bold Gold's "Game" quadcast, WICK (1400 Scranton), WYCK (1340 Plains), WPSN (1590 Honesdale) and WFBS (1280 Berwick). Kent Westling, who did play-by-play for the Barons, will be back for the Yankees.

Down the road in Easton, Maranatha Broadcasting (owner of WFMZ-TV 69) is selling its lone radio property in the market. Maranatha bought WEST (1400 Easton) when it sold the old WFMZ-FM (100.7 Allentown, now WLEV) a decade ago. Now that station is going to Lehigh Valley Broadcasting Association, which already owns WHOL (1600 Allentown). Lehigh Valley, owned by Matthew Braccilli, will pay $1.125 million for WEST. Braccilli tells the local papers that he intends to keep WEST live and local (it presently runs an AC/full-service format) and will definitely keep the station's popular Italian show.

The FCC wrapped up its latest FM auction last week, and one Pennsylvania FM channel was included. EMF Broadcasting (the "K-Love" folks) gets 98.5A in Meyersdale, near Altoona, for a bid of $376,000.

In Pittsburgh, they're mourning Art Pallan, who joined the airstaff at WWSW in the early forties, moved to KDKA (1020) in 1956, and took over from Rege Cordic in morning drive there in 1965. "Your Pal" Pallan was in turn replaced in mornings by Jack Bogut in 1968, but he remained at KDKA until his retirement in 1985; he died last Monday (Jan. 22) in Florida, at age 83.

The FCC has signed off on the long-pending frequency swap between Renda's WPTT (1360 McKeesport) and religious WAVL (910 Apollo). Construction permits were recently granted to move WPTT to 910 and a new city of license, Mount Lebanon, with 7 kW daytime, while WAVL will move to 1360 with 6700 watts day, 700 watts at night. (Expect an application for night power for WPTT on 910 eventually.)

The new FM rules brought with them two interrelated Pennsylvania applications, one of which would move a station across state lines from Maryland. Bob Stevens' Broadcast Communications, Inc. wants to move WANB-FM (103.1 Waynesburg) to Mount Pleasant, PA, upgrading from class A to B1 with 4.8 kW/754' from a tower site in Uniontown and throwing a fringe signal as far north as downtown Pittsburgh. To make the move possible, sister station WROG (102.9 Cumberland MD) applies to move to Chambersburg, PA, where it would become a class A facility on 102.9 with 350 watts/1351'.

Up in State College, Steve "Hitman" Hilton drops the nickname and moves from WGMR (101.1 Tyrone) to the new WBHV (94.5 State College) for weekends; also joining WBHV is Mak McKeehan, for nights.

And in Scranton, we can finally put some punctuation on our ongoing coverage of the move of WBZU (910, ex-WGBI) from its longtime Davis Street tower site to the rooftop tower of WEJL (630 Scranton): the Davis Street tower came down last week, with the aid of a big crane. Thanks to Entercom CE Lamar Smith for sharing the pictures!

*In Bridgeport, CONNECTICUT, WEBE (107.9 Westport) has pulled Elizabeth Yates' local
"Love Notes" show from nights, replacing her with the syndicated John Tesh. (Yates came to WEBE a couple of years ago from crosstown WEZN-FM, Star 99.9, which now carries Delilah at night.)

And is the end of progressive talk coming at Clear Channel's WAVZ (1300 New Haven) sometime this week? We're hearing that sports talk will be the new format there, any day now.

*In RHODE ISLAND, WBRU (95.5 Providence) applies to move off its current transmitter site in East Providence, shared with WHJY (94.1) and WPMZ (1110).

The Brown Broadcasting Service station would move to the WPRO-FM (92.3) tower on Neutaconkanut Hill in Johnston, replacing the current WSBE-TV (Channel 36) antenna at the top of the tower when that station ceases its analog operations. WBRU currently runs 18.5 kW/456', less than class B maximum, because it would need to install a separate directional antenna to increase power from the East Providence site, and the tower can only support the non-directional antenna into which WBRU and WHJY are diplexed.

From the Johnston site, WBRU is applying for 32 kW/613', the class B maximum, with a directional antenna protecting short-spaced WZID (95.7 Manchester NH) from further interference. (WBRU has longstanding mutual agreements for short-spacing to WHRB in Cambridge MA and WKSS in Hartford CT, and its short-spacings to WYJB in Albany and WSRS in Worcester are grandfathered.)

*A big fine for a MAINE college radio station: the FCC hits Bowdoin's WBOR (91.1 Brunswick) with $11,500 in proposed fines. It seems WBOR misunderstood the Commission's filing deadlines for license renewal, and ended up filing its renewal application two months late. That merited a $1,500 fine; the rest came from checking "no" on the question that asked whether all the paperwork had gone into WBOR's public file on time. For want of a few issues lists that undoubtedly would have been looked at by nobody, the FCC's assessing another $10,000 in penalties.

On the TV side, Portland Fox affiliate WPFO (Channel 23) will soon have a 10 PM newscast. Sinclair's CBS station, WGME-TV (Channel 13), will produce the broadcast for WPFO, competing with the 10 PM show on CW affiliate WPXT (Channel 51) produced by WCSH (Channel 6). Kiley Bennett will add 10 PM anchoring duties to her 5, 5:30 and 11 PM anchor gig on WGME. The new newscast will debut Feb. 5. (And, yes, we'd love to hear from any NERW readers up that way who could send a tape or DVD of the show our way...)

*The top story from CANADA this week is an obituary: John Majhor died last Tuesday, ending a career that included 11 years on the air at Toronto's CHUM (1050), a pioneering role as one of North America's first VJs on "Video Singles" on CFMT-TV and "Toronto Rocks" on CITY-TV, and later work in Los Angeles, New Mexico and South Carolina, as well as a return to Toronto in the early nineties at CJEZ, CFRB and CITY. Over the last few months, Majhor made his fight with brain cancer public. It progressed quickly, and he succumbed at his home in Minnesota at the far-too-young age of 53.

In the Maritimes, CJNI (News 95.7) Halifax morning host Andrew Krystal is off the air for now, after being charged with disobeying a police order to stay away from alcohol. Krystal was arrested last month for allegedly assaulting a Halifax woman. Officials at the Rogers news-talk network (which also includes signals in Moncton and Saint John, NB) will meet with Krystal this week to discuss his future.

A CRTC public hearing on March 26 will include several applicants for new signals in Sudbury, Ontario. Joco Communications wants to put a variety hits format on 94.5, with 1350 watts/168 m; William Wrightsell wants 94.5 for an oldies/standards format, with 1500 watts/108 m; Newcap wants a CHR station on 101.1 with 50 kW/121 m; Connelly Communications wants 101.1 for hot AC with 66 kW/127 m; Larche Communications wants 91.7 for a 50 kW/121 m country station; and Haliburton Broadcasting wants 88.5 for "new easy listening," with 50 kW/145 m.

The CRTC is also summoning CJRN 710 Inc. to appear in person at the hearing, in connection with its renewal application for CKEY (101.1 Fort Erie). The CRTC says it's still concerned that "Wild 101," which has already been hit with a short-term license renewal, isn't broadcasting enough material that's local to Fort Erie.

And the Commission has approved a new low-power religious station in Quebec City. The Association d’Églises baptistes reformées du Québec (AÉBRQ) will operate on 96.9, with 13 watts.

The Blue Jays have a new color commentator in the booth for their 2007 season. Alan Ashby, a member of the first two Jays teams in 1977-78, will replace Warren Sawkiw in that role on CJCL (Fan 590) and its network. (16 days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training...)

In Cobourg, Ontario, CHUC (1450) gets a reprieve. It was scheduled to shut down November 11, 2006, but technical problems with the new CHUC-FM on 107.9 (intermodulation products causing aviation-band interference) led Pineridge Broadcasting to ask for a one-year extension. As we reported last week, CHUC has applied for a power increase on the FM, which it expects will solve the problems; in the meantime, the CRTC says it can keep the AM signal on the air until November 11, 2007.

Up in Collingwood, Ontario, CKCB-FM (95.1) applies for a big power increase, going from 400 watts to 10 kW DA/290 meters (average ERP 4 kW).

*And with a big fat issue of NERW this week - and a weekend spent digging through the literally hundreds of complex FCC applications produced by the new rules - we're postponing Part Two of our Mini-Rant until next week's issue. We'll have that - and some of your responses - in seven days. See you then!

From 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 for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

January 30, 2006 -

  • We'll start the week's news in MASSACHUSETTS, where EMF Broadcasting, the California-based religious broadcaster that's also one of the fastest-growing groups in the industry, is poised to buy WSMU (91.1 North Dartmouth) from UMass Dartmouth. The $700,000 deal won't mean the end of WSMU, though. The university's been sitting on a construction permit for a more powerful signal on 89.3 from the same location. That signal (which now has the calls WUMD) will sign on with the WSMU calls when EMF takes over 91.1 for its satellite-delivered "K-Love" contemporary Christian format, already heard in the region on WKMY (91.1 Winchendon) and WKIV (88.1 Westerly RI).
  • Today's launch of Radio One's new urban talk network includes WILD (1090 Boston), which drops its short-lived "Praise" black gospel format (now relegated to weekends) to pick up a national program lineup that includes Al Sharpton and the "Two Live Stews" sports show from Atlanta's WQXI. WILD will eventually have a permanent local morning show; for now, various guest hosts will handle that shift.
  • Salem's WTTT (1150 Boston) is - as we'd reported a few weeks ago - adding Paul Harvey to its schedule beginning February 6, returning the dean of radio commentators to the Boston airwaves after WBZ (1030) pulled his show at the end of 2005. Harvey's "News and Comment" broadcasts will be heard at 9, 10 and 11:45 AM, with his "Rest of the Story" at 6 PM. WTTT is also picking up Sean Hannity for live carriage from 3-6 PM, displacing Michael Medved to 9 PM and knocking Laura Schlessinger to sister station WROL (950). (Hannity had been carried at midnight on WTKK.)
  • The week's biggest news from NEW YORK doesn't involve a single radio station. It's about RCS, the White Plains-based software company whose "Selector" music scheduling software dominates the industry - and which last week announced that it was being sold to Clear Channel, whose holdings also include software maker Prophet Systems, whose automation products compete with RCS' "Master Control." No management or staff changes are expected at RCS, where president Philippe Generali will remain on board. Inside Radio reports Clear Channel may have paid more than $50 million for RCS, whose other product lines include the Media Monitors subsidiary that tracks radio and print ad placement around the country.

January 30, 2002 -

  • t may have been "The Best of Everything," but the music format that aired for the past year or so on WDRC (1360) in Hartford and three other Buckley Broadcasting AMs in CONNECTICUT has been replaced by talk, effective today (Jan. 28). Replacing the adult contemporary format, which ranged in vintage from big-band standards to more recent tunes, is a talk lineup that includes current WDRC morning host Brad Davis, followed by Joy Browne and the Dolans. We hear the stations, which also include WSNG (610 Torrington), WWCO (1240 Waterbury) and WMMW (1470 Meriden), will add the Bill O'Reilly syndicated afternoon talk show when it launches later in the spring.
  • We'll detour next to CANADA to report the sad news of Peter Gzowski's death last Thursday (Jan. 24), a result of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema that followed a lifetime of smoking. Gzowski first came to attention in the late sixties as the youngest editor ever named at Maclean's magazine, but his broadcast career began in 1971, when he joined CBC Radio as host of a new nationwide show called "This Country in the Morning." He left CBC Radio a few years later for an ill-fated stint on CBC-TV as the uncomfortable host of "90 Minutes Live," then returned to writing before rejoining CBC Radio in 1982 to host "Morningside." It was in that role, from the fall of 1982 until the show ended in 1997, that Gzowski became the unofficial voice of Canada, conducting tens of thousand of interviews with everyone from prime ministers to the most average of Canadians. A typical "Morningside" show was as likely to include a call for favorite pie recipes as an interview with a political leader or literary luminary. Gzowski's commitment to documenting the quirks and distinctions of Canadian society came through in the contests the show ran, including one for the best completion of the phrase "As Canadian as..." (The eventual winner: "As Canadian as possible, under the circumstances.")
  • Gzowski never left the world of print, either, compiling several volumes of Morningside Papers and several other Canadian best-sellers, most recently A Peter Gzowski Reader, a compilation of his columns for the Globe and Mail and other recent articles. Gzowski had also returned to TV after the end of "Morningside," hosting occasional specials for CBC television and radio. He was 67 years old, and was survived by his ex-wife, five children and his longtime companion, Gillian Howard.
  • Back to the states we'll go, with some morning show developments in MAINE. The Bangor Daily News reports some folks in town aren't happy about the change a few weeks ago that ousted local morning hosts Charles Horne and Lee Jonason from talker WVOM (103.9 Howland) in favor of "Maine in the Morning" with former WKCG (101.3 Augusta) morning team Mike Violette and Eric Leimbach. The new show comes from Augusta, and is being heard over the "Voice of Maine" talk network Clear Channel created at WVOM, WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) and WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor).
  • We'll start our NEW YORK news with a new station on the air in the Rochester area. WBJA (102.1 Albion) signed on sometime last week (it was first reported to us on Tuesday), carrying Calvary Satellite Network programming with a signal that's far better than we'd expected from a low stick class A some 35 miles west of Rochester, co-channel with a high-power signal from Toronto's CN Tower. Yet WBJA is coming in just fine here at NERW Central, complete with legal IDs claiming service to "Niagara," which does seem a bit unlikely to us, especially with a null in their directional antenna out that way. We'll check the signal out in more detail when next we head to Toronto next month...

January 26, 1997-

  • Welcome to the first edition of "NorthEast Radio Watcher." If this looks and sounds familiar to you, it should. NorthEast Radio Watcher (aka NERW) is the successor to "New England Radio Watcher" (coincidentally enough, also aka NERW), which for the last few years has attempted to chronicle the ups and downs of broadcasting in the six New England states and vicinity. The new NERW will maintain that mission -- but in keeping with our relocation to a new home base in Rochester NY, we'll also be including news and notes from across upstate New York. No need to panic; with any luck, the only thing you'll notice will be somewhat infrequent posts for the next six weeks or so as we relocate.
  • And with that, on with the all-new, completely-changed, same-as-it-ever-was NERW:
  • Just in the nick of time: As the FCC clock ticks ever closer to February 9, one Massachusetts station has been saved from extinction. WCEG (1530) in Middleboro MA has returned to the air from a transmitter site in North Middleboro, running one kilowatt daytime-only with programming from the Massachusetts Radio Reading Service. WCEG started out in the early 90s as a nifty little local music station, but with a tiny signal in a sparsely- populated area, it failed to catch on. Brockton's WMSX (1410) bought the station a few years back, simulcasting it with WMSX for a time, and running Portuguese-language programming for a while as well. WCEG had been dark for several years, and was in danger of losing its license when Steve Callahan took it over with the radio-reading format, which NERW thinks is a clever way to provide a public service while simultaneously keeping WCEG alive.
  • WCEG's return leaves just a handful of dark stations facing extinction next month. Here's the roll call: WTOX (1450) and WHMX (105.7) way up in Lincoln ME are being purchased by Bangor Baptist Church -- except that the application to transfer WTOX has somehow been dismissed. NERW speculates that WHMX may return simulcasting the church's WHCF (88.5 Bangor). WRPT (1050) Peterborough NH has an application pending to change frequency and city of license, becoming 650 kHz in Ashland MA. The same owner has been granted permission to return dark WBIV (1060) Natick MA to the air as a daytimer from the WKOX site in Framingham MA, but with two weeks to go, there's still no sign of WBIV. WHWB (970) Rutland VT has been dark for years and shows no sign of returning. WQQW (1590) Waterbury CT will expire quietly, allowing its new owners to expand the pattern and power of their WWRL (1600) in New York City. And amazingly enough, NERW knows of not a single licensed station in upstate New York that is presently dark! We'll update the list again as February 9 approaches.
  • From the radio-with-pix front (noted in the milliseconds between Patriots-related programming): Another nifty independent station is about to bite the dust in the Boston market. WNDS (Channel 50) in Derry NH is being sold to the new Global Shopping Network, and by mid-March, it's slated to become the fifth Boston-area UHF station running either home shopping or infomercials. Meantime, Boston's WCVB (Channel 5) is kicking off its 25th anniversary celebration with on-air promos, and celebrating the 15th anniversary of its evening magazine show "Chronicle." And over in upstate New York, Syracuse's WSTM (Channel 3) has hired Don Lark as its main weekday anchor. Lark was known for many years as the main anchor on WFSB (Channel 3) in Hartford CT. Back on the air after being dark for many years is Channel 26 in Jamestown NY, now with a new transmitter site closer to Buffalo and with the religious programming and WNYB-TV calls that used to be on Channel 49 in Buffalo, which is now WB affiliate WNYO-TV.
  • A few station sales to report: Bob Bittner Broadcasting is adding a third New England station, WJTO (730) in Bath ME. Bob tells us he plans to keep most of WJTO's talk programming, along with some of the beautiful music heard on his WJIB (740) Cambridge-Boston and WNEB (1230) Worcester MA. Between 730 and 740, Bob's stations will cover most of the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod to Maine during the day.

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*It's here! As seen in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Chicago Sun-Times, and soon on WCVB's "Chronicle," Tower Site Calendar 2007 is not only now shipping - it's close to a sellout! If you're waiting for the 2007 edition to go on clearance sale, don't keep waiting - the word from the shipping department is that fewer than 200 copies remain, and we expect to sell them all in the next month or two.

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 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 is copyright 2007 by Scott Fybush.