April 9, 2007
New York's 106.7 Flips Off "Lite"
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2007 - YOUR LAST CHANCE TO
*There's always some risk involved in tweaking
a station that's consistently at the top of the ratings, but
when that station is at the top of the NEW YORK ratings,
any tweak at all becomes a decent-sized gamble.
But Clear Channel has some pretty solid reasoning behind its
quiet shift last week that moved WLTW (106.7 New York) away from
the "Lite" identity that's been the station's cornerstone
since its debut in 1984.
While the "Lite" branding still appears from time
to time on the station, it's now "New York's 106.7,"
with what looks like a pretty hasty Photoshop job on the station
website, now accessible at 1067newyork.com
and newyorks1067.com in addition to the old 1067litefm.com and
wih the new identity? One factor, of course, is the new competition
from CBS' "Fresh FM" WWFS (102.7 New York), which is
missing no opportunity to associate "Lite" with the
sleepy soft AC music that 106.7 spent so many years playing.
WLTW's gradual move away from that music toward a hotter adult
contemporary sound (verging, at times, on almost a pop-CHR sound)
is another factor in the change.
And then there's the people-meter factor: WLTW understands,
as so many PDs will learn soon enough, that as Arbitron shifts
over to its new automated ratings system, a lot of the old realities
of the diary system will no longer apply. Already, the word is
that most of the station's entries in Arbitron diaries were simply
"106.7," without calls or slogan, and once the Portable
People Meter kicks in in New York, all that will matter will
be getting radios to land on that frequency, no matter what the
(Clear Channel's Hudson Valley "Lite" stations,
WRNQ 92.1 Poughkeepsie and WCTW 98.5 Catskill, retain the branding
*In other news from New York, "Fresh" has named
a new night jock: Brandi Ferraro, who's been a producer at WKTU
(103.5) and a jock at WKCI (101.3 Hamden CT), takes the reins
at night at WWFS.
Upstate, Nexstar's WROC-TV (Channel 8) in Rochester has a
new general manager, as Louis Gattozzi moves east on I-90 from
Nexstar's WJET-TV (Channel 24) in Erie, PA to replace the departed
Marc Jaromin. Just as he did in Erie, Gattozzi will oversee a
Fox station as well, since Nexstar provides most services to
Sinclair's WUHF (Channel 31).
The Spanish-language leased-time programming that was heard
on Crawford's WRCI (102.7 Webster) has found a new home: now
that "The Light" is nonstop contemporary Christian
music, the Spanish has moved to sister station WLGZ (990 Rochester).
And while we're thinking about WLGZ, we should note that it's
brought back a veteran Rochester jazz DJ. Tom Pethic's "Artistry
in Jazz" show is once again airing on Saturday afternoons
on "Legends 990."
Meanwhile over at WRCI, there's a new jock lineup: Gina Jones
returns to the station for mornings, with KB Cooper in middays
and veteran Mark Shuttlesworth in afternoons.
Where are they now? Former WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester) jock Nikki
Landry went west last year to do middays at KNTY (101.9 Shingle
Springs CA), the new country "Wolf" signal in Sacramento.
Now she's rejoined Entercom to do middays at its northern
California "Wolf," the new KBWF (95.7 San Francisco),
where she's also music director.
*It's really in CANADA, of course, but
CKEY-FM (101.1 Fort Erie ON) continues to target the Buffalo
market, just over the Niagara River, and now it's doing so with
a new nickname. "Wild 101" was replaced by "Z101"
last week, with a more mainstream top-40 format and a reworked
Ellen Z is out in afternoons, with Keith Kelly handling that
shift for now, and PD Dave Universal created a minor message-board
stir when he installed "Taylor Kaye" (Jenny Wade, late
of WKSE in Buffalo) in late nights. There's a Taylor Kaye across
the lake at Toronto's CHUM-FM, too, and at last check, the new
Z101 website didn't show any name at all in the 10 PM airshift.
(Interesting, too, given the CRTC's previous interest in CKEY's
Canadian bona fides, that the new Z101 site, unlike the old "Wild"
site, shows only a Buffalo request-line number, and no Canadian
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*Out in Nova Scotia, the CRTC has granted CFDR (780 Dartmouth)
a move to FM. Newcap will shed its 50% interest in CKUL (96.5)
in order to make the FM move, which will also come with a format
change. CFDR is now country as "780 KIXX," but it will
go to alternative rock when it moves to 88.9 with 21 kW, leaving
only CHUM Ltd.'s CJCH (920) on the AM dial in metro Halifax.
In Ottawa, CFRA (580) is getting ready to celebrate its 60th
anniversary next month. The station has put up a website
to mark the anniversary, and on May 3 it will throw a birthday
bash at the Chateau Laurier hotel, complete with a live 1947-style
broadcast, orchestra and all. (And at $60 a ticket, no less...)
of Toronto, Evanov Broadcasting's CKDX (88.5 Newmarket) is changing
The former "Foxy 88.5" is now "88.5 the Jewel,"
matching Evanov's successful CJWL (98.5 the Jewel) in Ottawa;
there's no change to its adult standards/soft AC format.
In Hamilton, CHML (900) names Bill Kelly as its new 9-noon
host, effective tomorrow; Kelly had a previous run at CHML from
1988-1997, has spent some time at CHCH-TV (Channel 11), and has
also been involved in local politics.
MANDATORY SUBSCRIPTION FEES?
They've become a fact
of life for many of the most popular radio and TV websites out
there. Just a few weeks ago, our pal Dave Hughes put part of
his excellent DCRTV.com site
behind a pay wall, and mandatory subscriptions are an established
way of life at LARadio.com
and reelradio.com, too,
just to name a few.
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 2007, do it right now at our Support
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- but don't wait too much longer, or they'll all be gone.
And if you have become
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*Now that western MASSACHUSETTS is
hearing NPR news and talk from WFCR (88.5 Amherst) on the big
50,000-watt signal of Clear Channel's WNNZ (640 Westfield), Pamal
has a new format on its orphaned WPNI (1430 Amherst), which had
been carrying the WFCR news-talk programming. Until WPNI can
be sold, it's now simulcasting WUMB-FM (91.9 Boston), bringing
that station's folk music to what's presumably a very receptive
Pioneer Valley audience.
What's up with "Touch FM," the Dorchester pirate
on 106.1 that earned an FCC visit after some big publicity in
the Globe a few months back? We're hearing that the federal
court case against Touch FM's principals has been settled, and
that the station remains on the air. We'll try to sniff this
out further in an upcoming issue.
In Springfield, WMAS (1450) has joined the New Britain Rock
Cats' radio network for the season, adding to the already-substantial
broadcast reach for that Class AA club.
Boston Radio People on the Move: Jimmy Myers is back on the
air on a regular basis. After a series of fill-in gigs at WTKK
(96.9 Boston), the veteran talk host (WEEI and WILD, among other
stints) is now holding the Sunday afternoon 3-6 slot at "FM
And Phil Redo adds a new title to his market-manager duties
at WTKK and its Greater Media sister stations: he's now a vice
president, as well.
*In VERMONT, we hear that Pamal has peeled
WZRT (97.1 Rutland) away from the "Kiss FM" identity
it had under Clear Channel ownership; the station's still top
40, but it's back to its old "Z97" moniker. (We also
note that Clear Channel's vermontkiss.com site, while mostly
updated to show only WVTK 92.1 Port Henry NY/Burlington VT, still
has some "Kiss FM 92.1-97.1" logos around, too.)
In Barre, WSNO (1450) has picked up Glenn Beck from 9 AM-noon,
dropping Dr. Joy Browne in the process.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, Alex James moves
from the PD chair at Clear Channel's WGIR-FM (101.1 Manchester)
across the street to Saga's WMLL (96.5 Bedford), where he'll
serve both as PD and afternoon jock.
been remiss in not mentioning the fire that hit WOKQ (97.5 Dover)
on March 25, destroying the station's generator. Firefighters
now think the blaze, which was in the generator building next
to the old studio building behind WOKQ's current studios, may
have been caused by a leak in the propane line feeding the generator.
There was no damage to the old studio building itself (which
houses STL links and backup transmitters for WOKQ and its sister
FM stations, "The Shark"), and work is underway to
ensure there's backup power to the STLs if there's a power outage
(Another WOKQ note: former news anchor Roger Wood has come
out of retirement and is once again doing news on a part-time
basis for the station.)
The FCC's latest FM auction concluded last week, and it awarded
two new facilities in New Hampshire: LiveAir Communications gets
101.5A in Groveton, for $37,500, while EMF Broadcasting gets
97.1A in Pittsburg, for just $7,000.
*One MAINE baseball update from last
week: the Portland Sea Dogs have replaced the Red Sox on WVAE
(1400 Biddeford) this year - and we should have updated the calls
of their 1240 outlet in Lewiston, which is now WEZR, as well
as noting that three of the AA club's games will be televised
The FCC's FM auction yields one new station in the Pine Tree
State: Allan Weiner gets 94.7A in Monticello, for $27,000, to
pair with his WREM (710) and WBCQ shortwave up there.
*Most of our RHODE ISLAND news this
week, oddly enough, comes from Greenville, the small town just
west of I-295 outside Providence.
That's where Alex Langer's now been granted a construction
permit for a new signal on 1140. If built, the station will use
27 kW days, 1.2 kW nights from a new six-tower array to be built
near Harmony, just west of Greenville on US 44. (Langer also
owns WRPT 650 and WBIX 1060 in the Boston market.)
Greenville is also the city of license of WALE (990), which
was once again silent last week. No word on when this troubled
station might be back on the air.
And what's up with the note on the WWBB (101.5 Providence)
website that claims "B101 is here now?" On Saturday,
it said "B94 is coming," prompting some e-mail speculation
about a format swap with sister WHJY (94.1). On Sunday, it said
"B91 is coming" - and we suspect that what's really
on its way to B101 is more nineties music.
*There's a format change on the shore in
NEW JERSEY: WADB (1310 Asbury Park) has dropped "Shore
Country" in favor of "ESPN Deportes," the relatively
new Spanish-language sports network.
Up in Bergen County,
WVNJ (1160 Oakland) has dropped the last vestiges of its old
standards format. It's now "The Voice," with a motley
schedule of mostly leased-time talk and some religion.
Way up in Sussex County, Clear Channel has a new market manager
at its four-station cluster (oldies WNNJ 1360 Sussex, classic
rock WNNJ-FM 103.7 Sussex, AC WSUS 102.3 Franklin and hot AC
WHCY 106.3 Blairstown); Dick Taylor moves in from the GM chair
at WLAN (1390 Lancaster PA) to replace Bob Dunphy, who's joined
First Broadcasting as its VP of station operations.
Down in the Atlantic City market, WJSE (102.7 Petersburg)
has a new midday jock, as Moon moves up from nights to replace
B.J. "Beej" Capelli, who's headed out on the road with
his band. Weekender Boone replaces Moon at night on "The
*In PENNSYLVANIA, there's a PD and
morning-drive vacancy at Greater Media sports talker WPEN (950
Philadelphia), where Gregg Henson departed last week. He's heading
back to Detroit, where he used to work at WKRK (97.1) - and while
he's not returning to the radio business there, he's picking
a fight with his former employer, criticizing what's now "97.1
Free FM" on his blog
and drawing a cease-and-desist letter from CBS for a podcast
in which he played some clips from his old WKRK show. (Podcasting
is apparently at the heart of the new business Henson says he's
starting in Detroit.)
WPEN, meanwhile, has been using guest hosts in the morning
while it searches for a permanent replacement.
CBS' Philadelphia TV stations, KYW-TV (Channel 3) and WPSG
(Channel 57) made their long-awaited moves to 15th and Spring
Garden last Monday, launching news on KYW in HD at the same time.
Meanwhile, back in KYW's old Market Street neighborhood, former
next-door neighbor WTXF (Channel 29) has a new VP/general manager,
as Mike Renda moves to that Fox O&O from sister station WJW
(Channel 8) in Cleveland. And across Independence Mall, WHYY
(90.9/Channel 12) is reportedly losing its leader; a report in
the Philadelphia Inquirer says Paul Gluck is taking a
new job running Drexel University's Rudman Institute for Entertainment
Back to CBS - it had a rough start last Monday to its new
FM talk station in Pittsburgh. WTZN-FM (93.7 the Zone) was supposed
to have premiered the new Scott Paulsen show at 4 PM after John
McIntire's shift, but the lawyers apparently got involved, and
so McIntire ended up being forced to fill an extra 90 minutes
of airtime, without even being able to use Paulsen's name to
explain what was going on. The station eventually plugged into
Sporting News Radio to give McIntire a break, and the legal issues
were resolved in time for Paulsen (formerly at Clear Channel's
WDVE) to go on the air Tuesday.
There's a new PD at Keymarket's Pittsburgh "Froggy,"
as Dave Anthony arrives from WARM-FM/WSOX in York to become the
new programmer at WOGI (98.3 Duquesne). Meanwhile, Kalen Boyd's
been promoted to operations manager at sister stations WOGF (104.3
East Liverpool OH), WKPL (92.1 Ellwood City) and WOHI (1490 East
(Channel 16) in Pittsburgh has a new home-shopping service; with
the demise of America's Store late last month, the channel is
now broadcasting ShopNBC 164 hours a week. Owner WQED, which
uses revenue from leasing WQEX to support its public radio and
TV services, programs Channel 16 with educational shows for two
hours on Monday and Tuesday mornings. (The station's still theoretically
for sale, though WQED says nobody's met its price just yet.)
Up in Erie, PD Jeff Johns is out at WJET (1400) and WFNN (1330),
for budget reasons. Johns was also morning host at WJET.
A format change north of Altoona: WLGY (90.7 Nanty Glo) changes
hands from American Family Association to EMF Broadcasting, flipping
to EMF's ubiquitous "K-Love" contemporary Christian
format under new calls WPKV.
A new FM signal, thanks to that FCC auction: First Media Radio
adds to its cluster with a $690,000 bid for 95.9A in Sykesville.
And there's yet another radio obituary, sadly, in central
Pennsylvania: Melanie Apple Williams, who was part of the morning
team on WHP (580 Harrisburg) from 1992 until 2000, had been fighting
a lung disease called "primary pulmonary hypertension"
for the last few years. She underwent a double lung transplant
in December 2005, but it wasn't enough; Williams died April 2,
at age 47.
*Just as we do every April, we're packing up and getting ready
to head west for this year's NAB Convention, which gets
underway next weekend in Las Vegas. We always enjoy seeing NERW
readers during the show, so be sure to say hello if our paths
cross on the show floor - and watch this space on Monday, April
16 for updates from Sin City!
(We'll be back east with a full wrap-up on April 23; and our
consulting clients at Fybush Media will find us in Las Vegas
April 15-18, with our Rochester office reopening April 19.)
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 10, 2006 -
- A lot has changed in MASSACHUSETTS radio since 1964. By our
count, there are just two stations on the Boston AM dial still
using the same calls and frequency they used back then. One is
WILD (1090), and the other, of course, is WBZ (1030). It was
way back in 1964 that a young reporter from Shelburne Falls named
Gary LaPierre joined the station's news staff. Just two years
later, LaPierre became WBZ's morning news anchor, and for forty
years, that's where he's been, through changes of ownership (Westinghouse
to CBS to Infinity and back to CBS) and format (top 40 to AC/news-talk
to all news). Last week, LaPierre announced that he'll retire
at the end of 2006, closing out the 42-year run at WBZ that began
with his very first assignment, covering the Beatles' arrival
for their first Boston concert. (Back then, LaPierre recalled,
he looked so young that station management wouldn't allow his
picture to be distributed.)
- The station hasn't announced who'll replace LaPierre in 2007;
his presumptive successor for many years, anchor/reporter Jay
McQuaide, left the station last year to join Blue Cross/Blue
- Just south of Boston, WBET (1460 Brockton) is changing hands.
Joe Gallagher's Aritaur group (doing business, in this case,
as KJI Broadcasting) bought WBET and WCAV-FM from their original
owner, the Brockton Enterprise, in 1997, then sold WCAV (now
WILD-FM) to Radio One two years later. Now Gallagher is selling
WBET to Business Talk Radio Network for $1 million, with Bob
Maccini of Media Services Group handling the transaction. BTRN,
which owns WGCH (1490 Greenwich CT), says it has no intentions
of changing any of WBET's programming once the deal closes.
- RHODE ISLAND's NBC owned-and-operated station is changing
hands, as Media General pays GE $600 million for four of its
stations, including WJAR (Channel 10) in Providence, along with
stations in Raleigh-Durham, Birmingham and Columbus. WJAR will
be Media General's first TV property in the region, joining its
existing group of small- and medium-market stations clustered
in the southeast and midwest. (NBC says it's shedding the stations
to focus its resources on expanding the reach of its Telemundo
- A veteran CONNECTICUT broadcaster is retiring. Dick Ferguson
came to prominence heading Park City Communications, then joined
Katz Broadcasting as its president when it acquired Park City
in 1981. In 1986, Ferguson led the management buyout of the Katz
stations that created the NewCity group, with prominent holdings
that included WPLR and WEZN in Connecticut and WSYR/WYYY in Syracuse.
And when Cox Radio bought NewCity in 1997, Ferguson remained
with the company, becoming executive vice president there in
2003. Ferguson's retirement will take effect at the end of May.
With typical understatement, Ferguson says "after having
worked full time in the radio business since 1967 and for the
company that eventually joined Cox Radio since 1973, I'm delighted
to be taking some time off to enjoy my wonderful family and work
with a number of not for profit organizations."
April 8, 2002 -
- It's rare to see a big-city directional AM station move its
entire transmitter site - unless the government steps in and
gives it no choice. That's what's happening in New York City,
where WOR is losing its site in the Meadowlands, and it's what
WJAS (1320) in Pittsburgh, PENNSYLVANIA is going through now
as well. WJAS' current two-tower site sits along the river near
the eastern portal of the Squirrel Hill tunnel, on land that
the station leased from the Standard LaFarge Company. In 1994,
Standard sold the land to the Urban Redevelopment Authority of
Pittsburgh, without giving WJAS the right of first refusal to
buy it, something WJAS says it was entitled to by contract. The
URA tried to end WJAS' lease on the land, only to find itself
in the midst of a three-way lawsuit, which the agency now hopes
to settle by selling WJAS another piece of land that it owns,
a few miles north at Highland Drive and Leech Farm Road in Penn
Hills. WJAS' application calls for a three-tower array, with
two towers used by day with 6000 watts and two towers at night
with 3300 watts. Normally, stations that change sites have to
reduce nighttime interference on the frequency by 10 percent;
WJAS is asking the FCC to waive that power-reduction requirement
because the move is involuntary. (2007 update: WJAS is still
at the old site, for now.)
- Moving along to NEW YORK, WDRE (98.5 Westhampton) wants to
move west on Long Island. The station, which relays the modern
AC of WLIR (92.7 Garden City), now shares a site near East Quogue
with WWXY (107.1 Hampton Bays); it's filed an application to
move about five miles west to the site just north of Eastport
and south of the Long Island Expressway that's used by WRCN (103.9
Riverhead). WDRE's new facilities would be 3000 watts at 100
meters, with a directional antenna nulled towards WRKS (98.7
New York) and WPLR (99.1 New Haven).
- Speaking of WLIR, its "big announcement" Monday
was, unsurprisingly, an April Fool stunt: a claim that musician
Moby had bought the station and was turning it into "WMBY."
Moby did, in fact, program the station for a few hours, playing
a much more diverse list of tunes than normally heard on the
commercial dial in New York!
- Other stunts worthy of mention around the region: in Syracuse,
WNTQ (93.1) morning team Ted and Amy claimed the state was about
to outlaw eating and drinking in cars. It would have been only
mildly amusing - until talk host Jim Reith across town at WSYR
(570) was taken in on the stunt by a caller! Up in New Hampshire,
WJYY (105.5 Concord) claimed its morning team was being "suspended"
- and they were, from a crane 40 feet up during the entire (very
rainy) morning show.
- It may have sounded like an April Fool joke, but Binghamton's
WCDW (100.5 Susquehanna PA) is really changing format. The station
says it will let listeners decide over the weekend, voting among
a series of stunt formats that will run in one-hour blocks; whatever
happens, it appears the station will cancel the Greaseman's syndicated
morning show and perhaps let some of its airstaff go. (We still
suspect oldies are on the way to this rimshot signal.)
April 10, 1997-
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- We'll start this week in Massachusetts,
where Glenn Ordway is out as program director at all-sports WEEI
(850). Ordway tells the Boston Globe the decision was a mutual
one, to allow him to focus on his on-air duties. Brad Murray
takes over PD reins at WEEI, in addition to his duties at sister
talker WRKO (680). Up in Gardner, meantime, little WGAW (1340)
is about to be doing independent programming for the first time
in years. Doug Rowe kept WGAW when he sold WSRO (1470) in Marlborough,
and word has it that WGAW's program schedule will soon include
Red Sox baseball and other simulcasts from nearby WEIM (1280)
- New Hampshire news: It's the end of
an era for independent TV in the Granite State. WNDS (Channel
50) in Derry was officially transferred to Ramcast, Inc. last
Saturday, bringing with it a switch to Global Shopping Network
programming. Most of the station's staff, including well-known
weatherman Al Kaprelian, was laid off. WNDS had recently been
improving its cable coverage in the Boston market, and is now
available to viewers in most of the metro area - for whom it's
now at least the fourth all home-shopping signal on the UHF dial.
- There could be a new AM signal in the
Upper Valley area. Koor Broadcasting, which owns WNTK AM-FM (1020
Newport/99.7 New London), is applying for 720 in Hanover. No
word yet on facilities, but we'd suspect a few thousand watts
daytime, possibly directional to protect CKAC (730) in Montreal,
and a few watts at night. Apparently the plans for 720 in Billerica
MA are now completely dead and gone...
- One bit of news from Rhode Island this
week: the long-awaited debut of Providence's WB affiliate is
now set for 5:30 PM on Sunday, April 13. WLWC (Channel 28) is
licensed to New Bedford MA and will be operated by NBC's WJAR
(Channel 10). WLWC is owned by Fant Broadcasting, which has similar
LMA deals in other markets around the country.
*It's here! As seen 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 only 55 copies remain (with
some of those on the way out to Las Vegas), and we expect to
sell them all in the next few weeks.
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
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2007 by Scott Fybush.