July 30, 2007
Lawrence's WCCM Moves Again
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - COMING SOON!!!
*A venerable set of MASSACHUSETTS
call letters will move to yet another spot on the dial (just
over the state line in NEW HAMPSHIRE, actually) on Wednesday.
That's when Costa-Eagle will move the WCCM calls and talk format
down the dial from its present home on Haverhill-licensed 1490
to the 1110 signal that's licensed to Salem, NH.
1110's current occupant, Spanish talk "Impacto"
WCEC, will take over the 1490 signal - and listeners who've been
following the "WCCM" identity around the dial will
have to adjust their presents for the second time in five years.
It was back in August 2002 that Costa-Eagle dislodged WCCM
from the most potent signal in its cluster, the Lawrence-licensed
800 facility that had operated as WCCM since 1947, in order to
install Spanish tropical WNNW (previously at 1110) on the 800
signal. WCCM in turn replaced the equally venerable WHAV on 1490
- but that signal, while licensed for fulltime operation, was
hard to hear in much of the Lawrence area even by day, and nearly
impossible at night. That, in turn, made it vaguely pointless
for WCCM to carry some of the Lawrence-oriented programming it
had carried, not to mention Lowell Spinners baseball, which was
heard on 1490 for several years as well.
latest move will bring WCCM's signal back to more solid coverage
of Lawrence and vicinity, but at a price - the 1110 signal signs
off at sunset, with no night power at all, so there still won't
be local sports on the "new" WCCM. As for WCEC on 1490,
the Hispanic population in and around Haverhill continues to
grow, so that half of the move promises to be successful - but
we still vividly remember the days, not all that long ago, when
Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell each had multiple local English-language
radio voices, too, and it's sad to think that the days of the
old WHAV, WCCM and WLLH are long gone.
*In Worcester, Clear Channel has signed on a new translator
for WJMN (94.5 Boston). W235AV (94.9 Tatnuck) runs 235 watts
from the WSRS (96.1) tower in Paxton, reinforcing the "Jam'n"
signal in Worcester County at the expense of the fringes of WHOM
(94.9 Mount Washington NH).
WBIX (1060 Natick) is adding a new local talk show right after
Labor Day. Chuck Morse will launch "Morse Code" from
2-4 PM weekdays, beginning Sept. 3.
Talk Host Available. Producer of talk, including such names
as Bob Grant, Joy Behar and Joe Scarborough. Two years on-air
at WVOX. Would like an on-air talk opportunity. Available FT/PT,
fill-in and vacation relief. I know how to get the phones humming.
PD openings considered as well. Contact Roy Fredriks, br[email protected].
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.
*Back in 1980, NEW YORK's WNBC-TV
(Channel 4) blazed a new path for TV news when it debuted "Live
at Five," one of the first local TV newscasts to air an
hour earlier than the usual 6 PM slot. Now the station is getting
out of the 5 PM news race, effective September 10. That's when
it will pull the plug on the latest version of "Live at
Five," moving anchors David Ushery and Linda Baquero to
the 6 PM slot long held by Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons.
That, in turn, frees up Scarborough to anchor a new 7 PM newscast,
leading out of the Brian Williams national news at 6:30, while
Simmons will cut back her schedule to 11 PM only. The 5 PM slot
will be filled by "Extra," followed by the "News
4 You" feature-laden 5:30 newscast anchored by Perri Peltz.
The station will also add hourly news updates from 11 AM until
5 PM on weekdays.
Channel's Rochester cluster has been trying some very interesting
non-traditional revenue tactics with one of the lesser signals
in its arsenal, the class A on 107.3 (currently doing country
as WCRR) that's licensed to South Bristol Township. It's stunted
in recent years as "Huge Radio" (for a local car dealership),
and now it's spending the rest of the summer as "Labatt
Blue Country 107.3," having sold what amount to naming rights
to the station. (Can "NERW Country 107.3" be far behind?)
The soap opera that is WKPQ (105.3 Hornell) added a few more
chapters last week, and we're still trying to sort them all out.
Here's what we do know so far: the big FM signal is back in the
hands of longtime owner Bilbat Radio for the moment, as an LMA
to Anthony Panetta appears to have fallen apart. The LMA, which
started in April, was part of a larger deal that was to have
resolved the long-running legal battles between Bilbat and regional
group owner Pembrook Pines over WKPQ's ownership - but now we're
hearing that the deal that would have given WKPQ to Pembrook
Pines in exchange for WABH (1380 Bath) and $400,000 in cash may
be dead. In the meantime, WKPQ is again simulcasting with Bilbat's
WHHO (1320 Hornell), which kept the "old" WKPQ format
going after the FM went into the LMA. Stay tuned...
While we're down around Pembrook Pines' home base in Elmira,
we note that the market's one step closer to a new FM move-in.
The FCC last week approved the reallotment of The Radio Group's
WFLR-FM from 95.9A in Dundee to 95.5A in Odessa, rejecting Bible
Broadcasting Network's proposal to allot 95.5A to Savona, in
Steuben County. The Odessa signal would be an Elmira rimshot,
and would supersede the construction permit WFLR-FM already holds
to move to 95.5 at the Dundee site.
In Utica, we can
put a sale price on at least part of the big transaction that
involves Galaxy Communications, Clear Channel, Ken Roser and
EMF Broadcasting - the sale of Galaxy's big-signal WRCK (107.3
Utica) to EMF will add $1.225 million to Galaxy's bank accounts.
We're still waiting to hear how much Galaxy's paying for Clear
Channel's 5 FM/4 AM cluster in Utica, and how much Roser will
pay to acquire the 2 FMs and 2 AMs that Galaxy will spin off
from the deal.
In other Galaxy news, Scott Petibone has departed as morning
jock/PD for the "K-Rock" stations in Syracuse and Utica
(WKRL 100.9 North Syracuse/WKRH 105.9 Minetto and WKLL 94.9 Frankfort);
music director Ty is handling PD duties on an interim basis there.
And one more Galaxy-related note: we're sorry to report the
recent death of Frank Toce, the Syracuse engineer who put WTKW
(99.5 Bridgeport) on the air in 1992, eventually selling the
station to Galaxy while continuing to consult on engineering
matters. Toce was a native of Torrington, Connecticut, where
he started in the radio industry in high school as chief engineer
of WTOR (1490, now WSNG 610). Toce went on to work for General
Electric before founding Syracuse Scientific (now Lakeshore Technologies)
in 1978, manufacturing closed-circuit TV systems for medical
applications. Toce retired in 2001, and in recent years could
be found tending to his collection of antique cars and an extensive
gathering of vintage radio equipment (including transmitters)
at his home on the shore of Oneida Lake. Toce was 72.
Where are they now? Trip Reeb, who went from the PD chair
at WCMF in Rochester to a long and successful career programming
the legendary KROQ in Los Angeles before becoming the victim
of budget cuts out there last year, has landed in San Diego.
He's the new president/CEO of Finest City Broadcasting, which
operates several Mexican signals aimed at San Diego, including
the well-known "91X" (XETRA-FM). And speaking of ex-Rochester
folks in San Diego, we're sorry to report that Dave Mason, who
started his career back at WSAY in Rochester, then moved on to
stations such as WHTX and WTAE in Pittsburgh and WKRC in Cincinnati,
is out of a job at KOGO (600 San Diego), where he was doing mornings.
KOGO is bringing in Chip Franklin from Baltimore's WBAL, and
Mason's now available and looking for a new gig.
BEAT THE PASSWORD RUSH! We've been holding out against the inevitable
for many years now, but the time has come. After six years of
giving away NorthEast Radio Watch for free, and six more years
of asking for voluntary subscriptions from our loyal readers,
we can no longer deny reality: if NERW is to continue on as the
authoritative source of Northeast radio and TV news that it's
become, the burden has to be shared across all our readers,
not just those who pay for it voluntarily. So this fall, current
issues of NERW and most of the NERW archives from 2003 onward
will become password-protected for access by paid subscribers
(A few recent issues will remain
accessible without a password, and we have no intention of excluding
anyone who's truly unable to pay from reading the site. You'll
be hearing more about those plans in the months to come.)
If you're already a NERW subscriber,
nothing will change for you. Before the transition takes place,
you'll receive a password and you'll continue to have full access
to the site.
If you're not already a NERW
subscriber, now's the time to do something about it. By becoming
a charter subscriber now, you'll get the benefit of our current
low subscription rates, and you'll have no worries about waiting
for a password when the changeover happens this fall. And did
we mention that you'll be first in line for the Tower Site
Calendar 2008, free to our premium subscribers?
We've tried for many years to
hold off this financial reality, but it's become hard to ignore.
Not long 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. And even with a subscription model, we've just
received word that the respected and venerable FMedia! newsletter
has gone on what's likely a permanent hiatus.
We have every intention of keeping
NERW going strong as we head for our 15th anniversary in 2009,
and for many years thereafter, and we're deeply grateful to the
many readers who've already come forward with their support in
recent years, as well as to the advertisers who've learned how
advertising on NERW can reach one of the best audiences in broadcasting
at a very economical rate.
If you still haven't subscribed
yet for 2007, do it right now at our Support
page - and enjoy another exciting year of NERW, guilt-free.
And if you have become one of our many subscribers, thank
*A veteran radio voice is going silent in
MAINE, as Harry Nelson says he's retiring from afternoon
drive and the PD chair at Saga's WPOR (101.9 Portland), as well
as PD duties at sister WBAE (1490 Portland)/WVAE (1400 Biddeford).
Nelson made his name in New England with a long mid-70s run at
WRKO (680 Boston), and was later heard at WZOU in Boston, WAPP
in New York, KFRC in San Francisco and many other stops before
returning from his first retirement in Florida to take the WPOR
job in 2005. No replacement's been named yet in Portland, and
we wish Harry all the best as he heads out!
Aroostook County, WREM (710 Monticello) has new calls and a new
frequency: Allan Weiner's AM signal is now "WCXH,"
and we hear it's made the move up the dial to 780 kHz, where
it will keep its 5 kW non-directional daytime signal and add
60 watts of night power.
Better yet - the website for sister shortwave station WBCQ
includes this nifty picture of a 1932-vintage Western Electric
12A transmitter that's being restored for night use on 780. Weiner
claims - and we have no reason whatsoever to doubt him - that
the Western will be the oldest transmitter in regular service
anywhere on the AM dial in the country. (We've got to get up
there and visit the WBCQ/WCXH site, one of these days...)
*In VERMONT, Melissa Moran is making
a big move from PM drive at WXXX (95.5 South Burlington) - she's
the new middayer down in Tampa at Clear Channel's WFLZ (93.3).
*It's a sad week in southern RHODE ISLAND,
where WADK (1540 Newport) is mourning the death on Friday of
35-year station veteran Bob Sullivan, who'd been battling cancer
for just over a year. Sullivan, 57, had hosted WADK's "Open
Forum" talk show for 25 years, and had served as the station's
news director for 30 years. He'd been off the air since March,
though he'd returned for occasional guest appearances, and when
news came of his death on Friday afternoon, station manager Bobb
Angel switched the station to classical music for the afternoon
in Sullivan's memory. Funeral services will be held Tuesday morning
at 9 at the Memorial Funeral Home at 375 Broadway in Newport.
*There's a new expanded-band AM station
testing in CANADA. CHTO (1690 Toronto) began testing on
Saturday. When it's up and running at full blast, the Canadian
Hellenic Toronto Radio station will carry a multicultural slate
of programming aimed primarily at the city's Greek community.
Toronto's Humber College signed CKHC (96.9) on as "Humber
Radio" in 2005, with an all-Canadian playlist - and now
the little 5-watt station is getting bigger. Last week, the CRTC
granted Humber a new instructional/campus license for 60 watts
on 96.9, which should bring the signal to a wider area around
the Humber campus, in north Etobicoke on Toronto's west side.
latest update on CityTV's slow move out of its longtime home
at 299 Queen Street West in Toronto finds a sign coming down
from the side of the building - but not the CityPulse news truck
that's been bursting from the wall since the early 80s.
Instead, it's the CityTV sign that hung above the truck that's
now history. A crane brought the letters of that sign down from
the building last week, as CTV asserted its ownership of the
building. CityTV will remain as a tenant for now, and there's
still no word on when the truck will come down.
*Lots of Radio People were On The Move in
PENNSYLVANIA last week, including a high-profile hire
to be the new VP/GM for Radio One's Philadelphia cluster (WPHI/WPPZ/WRNB).
Andy Rosen, former executive VP for Clear Channel's cluster up
the road in New York City, takes that post, recently vacated
by Chester Schofield.
John Cook is the new PD for both WPHT (1210) and WYSP (94.1),
replacing Grace Blazer and Gil Edwards, respectively. The Philly
native returns home from Texas, where he was programming stations
in San Antonio and Dallas. Meanwhile, CBS Radio's looking for
a new PD for sports WIP (610 Philadelphia), where Tom Lee exits
after three years.
Down in Gettysburg, Coyote Collins and WGTY (107.7) have parted
ways after just a few months. Collins came to the PD chair at
WGTY from WFBE (95.1 Flint), and from Rochester's WBEE-FM (92.5)
before that. MD/morning guy Scott Donato is serving as interim
PD at WGTY.
Former WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) morning co-host Bob Rudy is back
on the air; he's now the afternoon co-host (with Joe Black) on
WYCR (98.5 York), reports the York Dispatch.
Meanwhile in Reading, RJ McKay is leaving his PD chair at
WIOV-FM (105.1 Ephrata)/WIOV (1240 Reading) after just over a
year at the station. (He also did afternoons on WIOV-FM.)
And there's a night opening over in Harrisburg, where Silly
Jilly is leaving WHKF (99.3) to return home to Chicago and sister
"Kiss" station WKSC (103.5), where she started out
as an intern.
*Where are they now? Suzanne Ansilio, who's
worked everywhere from Scranton to Los Angeles, and was last
heard on WDHA (105.5 Dover, NEW JERSEY), is headed west
again. She's half of the new "Eddie and Suzie" morning
show on Beasley's KSTJ (102.7 Boulder City) in Las Vegas, as
of a couple of weeks ago.
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!)
July 31, 2006 -
- It is, at long last, official - Nassau and Greater Media
made the announcement Monday afternoon that they've completed
negotiations to send Greater's 99.5 Lowell signal (now country
WKLB) to Nassau, in exchange for Nassau's Philadelphia move-in,
WTHK (97.5 Burlington NJ). At the same time, Greater Media has
completed its deal to acquire WCRB (102.5 Waltham) from Charles
River Broadcasting, setting the stage for the long-anticipated
format and call swap that will move WCRB's classical format down
the dial to 99.5 and WKLB's country into the heart of the Boston
market at 102.5. Nassau says it intends to keep the classical
format and WCRB calls on 99.5, making it the "new flagship"
of the company's chain of classical signals in northern New England.
- In Philadelphia, 97.5 will get a new format (as yet undetermined)
as it joins the Greater Media cluster of WPEN, WMMR, WBEN-FM
- Two familiar names in Northeast broadcasting have returned
to ownership, via a $5.5 million deal to buy seven northern NEW
YORK stations. Jim Leven was one of the principals of the old
Pilot group, whose stations in Syracuse and elsewhere ended up
as part of the Citadel group a few years ago. Bruce Mittman was
station manager at WAAF (107.3 Worcester) and several other stations
around Massachusetts. As "Community Broadcasters LLC,"
they're the new owners of most of what was the Clancy-Mance group
in Watertown and Ogdensburg.
- Here's what they get in the deal: news-talk WATN (1240 Watertown),
rock WOTT (100.7 Henderson/Watertown) top 40 "Border"
WBDI (106.7 Copenhagen/Watertown) and WBDB (92.7 Ogdensburg),
AC WTOJ (103.1 Carthage/Watertown), oldies WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur)
and talk WSLB (1400 Ogdensburg). Noticeably missing in the deal
is WBDR (102.7 Cape Vincent), which stays with Clancy-Mance.
As country "Kix 102.7," WBDR functions as a Kingston,
Ontario station, programmed and operated out of CIKR (K-Rock
105.7)'s Kingston studio.
- There's a TV station sale in central PENNSYLVANIA, as the
Television Station Group (formerly known as SJL Broadcasting)
sells WTAJ-TV (Channel 10) in Altoona and WLYH (Channel 15) in
Lebanon to Nexstar, for $58 million. WTAJ is a dominant CBS affiliate,
while WLYH is a UPN (soon to be CW) affiliate that's operated
under an LMA by Clear Channel's WHP-TV. Will Nexstar, whose operating
philosophy calls for the creation of duopolies wherever possible,
be looking to make additional acquisitions in those markets?
(It already has a duopoly in Erie, at WJET/WFXP, and in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton,
at WBRE/WYOU, as well as nearby outlets in Rochester, Utica and
July 29, 2002 -
- The long-rumored sale of WBEC (1420) and WBEC-FM (105.5)
in Pittsfield, MASSACHUSETTS, from Tele-Media to Vox is finally
becoming a reality - and it includes WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls
NY) as well. The move puts Vox in a new market not far from its
existing strongholds in southern Vermont, the Pioneer Valley
of Massachusetts and New York's Glens Falls market, and leaves
Tele-Media with only WKBE (100.3 Warrensburg NY) remaining from
its former Albany-centered cluster.
- Elsewhere in Massachusetts, what started out as a quiet summer
is heating up - literally and figuratively - with a new program
director and a new morning show vacancy in Boston.
- We'll start with the vacancy, created when WZLX (100.7 Boston)
sent morning guy Tai (Thomas A. Irwin) packing last week. Tai
and comedian Steve Sweeny had held down mornings at the Infinity
classic rocker for two years, following Charles Laquidara's decamping
to Hawaii in 2000. Sweeny remains on WZLX's morning shift, with
a new co-host not expected for a few weeks, at least. (One reason
for the delay: WZLX's new program director, Beau Raines, is just
settling into the job, officially. Raines was picked for the
post back in April [NERW 4/17], but contractual issues with his
old employer, Greater Media's WROR, kept the move from becoming
official until just last week. And speaking of Greater Media
and Infinity, we have it on good authority that the possibility
of Loren and Wally making the jump from Greater's WROR to Infinity's
WODS was more than just a rumor - it came close to happening
before Greater came through with the contract Loren and Wally
- Tai will likely surface elsewhere on the Boston radio scene;
in addition to his best-known gig as "Morning Guy Tai"
on WFNX, he spent some time doing talk at WRKO as well.
- A long-disputed FM channel has been granted in MAINE. Robert
Scott Hogg (former owner of WMDI in Bar Harbor) and Lyle Robert
Evans both wanted 93.7A in Millbridge, way down East between
Bangor and Calais, and now a settlement has put the CP in the
hands of Evans.
- Up here in Rochester, WBBF (950) continues to stunt as "Swifty
950," still playing a music-test tape of 70s and 80s pop
and classic rock - but we now know at least one of the local
personalities who'll be heard on the station when it relaunches
as a news-talker. Allan Harris left WHAM (1180) last week, ending
a long career at the Clear Channel news-talk outlet, where he'd
been a traffic reporter, fill-in news guy and late-night/weekend
talk host. We hear he'll show up on WBBF whenever the new format
launches; in the meantime, the Michael Savage show has appeared
in his old late-night slot on WHAM.
July 31, 1997-
can sponsor this new weekly feature! Click here for information!
- NBC will soon be reunited with one of its oldest owned-and-operated
TV stations. Paramount agreed today to trade WVIT (Channel 30)
New Britain-Hartford to NBC in exchange for WLWC (Channel 28)
New Bedford-Providence and WWHO (Channel 53) Chillicothe-Columbus
OH, which are owned by Fant Broadcasting and LMA'd to NBC. The
deal would bring channel 30 back into the NBC family after nearly
four decades. NBC bought what was then WKNB-TV (along with WKNB
1410 AM) back in 1956, as part of a project to develop UHF owned-and-operated
stations by the major networks (NBC also owned a station in Buffalo,
while CBS owned UHFs in Hartford and Milwaukee). The TV calls
were changed to WNBC-TV, and then to WHNB-TV in 1959 when NBC
sold the station to Transcontinental Properties. In 1978, WHNB-TV
was sold to Viacom (now Paramount), becoming WVIT.
- NBC and Paramount would both need waivers to make this swap
work, since WVIT's signal overlaps with NBC O&Os WNBC-TV
(Channel 4) in New York and WJAR (Channel 10) Providence, while
the WLWC signal overlaps with Paramount's WSBK (Channel 38).
If the deal is consummated, WLWC and WWHO would switch affiliations
from The WB to UPN.
- An ownership change on the way in MASSACHUSETTS: Curt Gowdy
is preparing to bow out of Bay State broadcasting after nearly
35 years of ownership (and years of on-air work before that).
Gowdy has reportedly reached a deal to sell WCCM (800) in Lawrence
to Costa-Eagle Broadcasting, the partnership that owns WNNW (1110)
Salem NH and operates WHAV (1490) Haverhill. Costa-Eagle may
switch WNNW's Spanish-language format to the WCCM signal, which
covers the Hispanic market in Lawrence much better, while moving
WCCM's English-language talk to the less-potent 1110 operation.
Auto dealer Charles Daher is reportedly upset with Gowdy; he
says he was close to signing a purchase agreement for WCCM when
Costa-Eagle stepped in with a higher offer. Gowdy bought WCCM
and then-WGHJ (93.7) back in 1963. The FM was later WCCM-FM and
WCGY; Gowdy sold it to American Radio Systems several years ago.
Long retired and living in Wyoming, Gowdy still owns several
stations in the Laramie area.
- A format change in New Hampshire: WOXF (96.5) Bedford-Manchester
shed its year-old classic rock format Tuesday afternoon, changing
from "the Fox" to oldies "Cool 96.5." WOXF
was recently LMA'd by Saga Broadcasting, which appears to be
targeting competing oldies station WNNH (99.1 Henniker) with
the move. PD Keith Murray is out of a job; airstaff Dorien Jaye
(mornings) and Peggy James stay with the station for now.
*If you were waiting for Tower Site
Calendar 2007 to go on clearance sale - sorry! As of June 1,
the shipping department (which would be Mrs. Fybush, with an
occasional assist from Ariel) informs us that the 2007 edition
is now SOLD OUT.
Many thanks to all of you who've supported the calendar over
the past six years, and stay tuned for details on the even better
Tower Site Calendar 2008, for which ordering will begin
later this summer. (You can be first on the list for the new
edition, which will be back from the printer in early August,
by subscribing or
renewing at the $60 professional level!) And in the meantime,
visit the Fybush.com
Store for information on remaining back issues of the
Tower Site Calendar.
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
2007 by Scott Fybush.