December 24, 2007
WAMC Backs Down in Noncomm Fight
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*It's unusual to see one of NEW
YORK's most aggressive public broadcasters back down from
a fight, but Albany's WAMC and its outspoken leader, Alan Chartock,
has withdrawn from what turned out to be a high-profile battle
over an open noncommercial frequency up in Lake Placid.
reported in our November
26 issue, WAMC was one of three applicants for 91.7 there.
That's a frequency rival public broadcaster North Country Public
Radio (WSLU 89.5 Canton) has been using for W219AK, a translator
that's been operating since 1993. North Country applied to use
91.7 for a full-power signal, with 100 watts, and it fought hard
to defend its frequency once WAMC's rival application became
public. In addition to newspaper articles in the local paper
and in the Albany Times-Union, North Country held two
"listener meet-ups" in Lake Placid to rally support
for its bid for the frequency.
Late last week, WAMC
backed down, reaching a deal to withdraw its Lake Placid application
in exchange for an agreement to acquire the W219AK license if
North Country is granted the full-power facility. WAMC would
seek to move W219AK to a new frequency in order to bring its
programming to the area.
But North Country isn't out of the woods yet - it still faces
another rival for 91.7. Brian Larson's Northeast Gospel Broadcasting
(WNGN 91.9 Argyle) also applied for a Lake Placid 91.7 signal,
and it believes it has the edge on the frequency. That's because
of the way the FCC decides between competing applications for
noncommercial frequencies: the point system favors applicants
with fewer existing signals (Northeast Gospel has only WNGN,
while North Country has seven), and it favors applicants whose
proposals will cover more land area and population, an edge that's
likely to go to Northeast Gospel's 8 kW application over North
Country's 100-watt application.
Can North Country and Northeast Gospel reach some kind of
settlement before the FCC's January deadline for such deals?
And if it can't - and if Northeast Gospel wins the 91.7 license
- will North Country lose its Lake Placid coverage completely?
GETCHER 2008 TOWER SITE CALENDAR
- BEFORE THEY'RE ALL GONE!
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and 2007 editions of the calendar sold out, and this one will
do so as well, possibly as soon as next month.
This year's edition is a particularly
fine one, if we do say so ourselves. From the cover photo of
KAST in Astoria, Oregon to the back cover shot of the Blaw-Knox
diamond tower at WBNS in Columbus, this year's calendar features
14 all-new full-color shots of famous broadcast sites far and
wide. There's KROQ in Los Angeles, KFBK in Sacramento, WESX in
Salem, WGAN in Portland, Black Mountain in Vegas, Mount Spokane
in Spokane, and many (ok, several) more.
The calendar is just $18 with
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right here and you can be sure to have your very
own Tower Site Calendar 2008! (And thank you!)
The 2008 Tower
Site Calendar is dedicated to the memory of Robert Eiselen (1934-2007),
whose digital imaging skills made even a bunch of pictures of
radio towers look almost like art. His contributions were essential
to the calendar's evolution from 2003 to the current edition,
and he will be missed dearly.
Congratulations to Ithaca's WHCU (870), which will mark its
85th anniversary with a special morning show on January 23. The
Saga-owned station signed on in 1923 as WEAI, spent some time
operating out of Elmira as WESG, took its current calls in 1940,
and remained in Cornell University's hands until 1985, when it
was sold to Eagle Broadcasting and then to current owner Saga
Communications. Morning co-host Dave Vieser is seeking former
WHCU employees and anyone with older airchecks of the station;
drop him a line at dvieser at cyradiogroup dot com if you can
lend a hand with the celebration!
Down the road in Binghamton, Tejay Schwartz is back on the
air at WLTB (101.7 Johnson City), where he's now doing weekends
and working as traffic manager.
Max Kinkel's stint in morning drive at WVOS-FM (95.9 Liberty)
was apparently short-lived; the Max-Man has disappeared from
the station's airwaves, and its website as well.
the TV side of things in Syracuse, veteran WTVH (Channel 5) anchor
Maureen Green has lost her job at the Granite-owned CBS affiliate.
Green came to WTVH in 1983 after a year at WIXT (now WSYR-TV,
channel 9) and had been there ever since, with the exception
of a two-year maternity break.
Some TV people on the move in Rochester, too: WHAM-TV (Channel
13) weekend anchor Kristen Miranda is moving south to Charlotte,
NC, where she'll join CBS affiliate WBTV (Channel 3). Also on
the way out of town are WROC-TV (Channel 8) meteorologists John
Stehlin and Jonathan Myers. And Jack Allen's RNYN
reports that NBC affiliate WHEC-TV (Channel 10) will be launching
a 7 PM newscast, the market's first, in March.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, the talk-host chairs
keep spinning at Entercom's WRKO (680 Boston), where Reese Hopkins
takes over the 10 AM-noon slot that used to belong to Todd Feinburg.
Hopkins had done some fill-in for WRKO while Feinburg was covering
Howie Carr's afternoon shift; his last full-time radio job was
a six-year stint as news director/news anchor on the "Star
and Buc Wild" morning show in New York. He left the show
in late 2005, before the show was cancelled over Star's controversial
statements. (Hopkins also worked for Howard Stern's Sirius satellite
channels for a time.)
So what becomes of Feinburg? WRKO made noises about him assuming
another role at the station, and the rumor mill was abuzz with
talk that he might become a co-host in morning drive alongside
Tom Finneran. The Herald even reported Feinburg's move
to mornings as fact - but WRKO insists he's left the station
a new senior VP/market manager for CBS Radio's five-station Boston
cluster that includes WBZ (1030), WBMX (98.5), WZLX (100.7),
WODS (103.3) and WBCN (104.1). Mark Hannon, who's been serving
as senior VP/GM at WBCN, takes over the market manager duties,
as well as replacing Barbara Jean Scannell as SVP/GM at WBMX.
She becomes director of sales for the cluster, and takes over
from Hannon as SVP/GM of WZLX. (Ted Jordan stays in place in
the GM chair at WBZ and WODS.)
In tower news, the old two-tower array of WUNR (1600 Brookline)
is now history.
The 355-foot towers in the Oak Hill neighborhood of Newton
dated back to 1951, but they'd been marked for demolition ever
since construction began last year at the WUNR site, replacing
the old single-station, two-tower antenna system with a new array
of five shorter (199-foot) towers that will be shared by WUNR,
WKOX (1200 Newton) and WRCA (1330 Watertown).
Sometime last week, the old WUNR towers came down, and the
station is now broadcasting from the new five-tower array, though
apparently not yet at its new 20 kW power level.
On the TV side of things, Mike Felger is the new anchor for
Comcast SportsNet New England's Sports Tonight evening
shows. He's still doing the afternoon show on ESPN Boston (WAMG
890 Dedham/WLLH 1400 Lowell) for now, as well as writing for
the Herald, but we're hearing the radio shift will become
open in the new year.
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northwest CONNECTICUT, Tri-State Educational Communications
becomes the first applicant in the region (and possibly in the
country) to get an actual construction permit out of October's
noncommercial application filing window. The new station on 91.9
in Sharon will take the calls WHDD-FM, as a sister station to
"Robin Hood Radio" WHDD (1020 Sharon).
The year's wrapping up with two more changes in Hartford radio.
Clear Channel's "Radio 104" drops its previous WPHH
("Power") calls and becomes WURH. And over at Buckley's
WDRC-FM (102.9), Jerry Kristafer is returning as morning man
on January 15, ten years after he was fired from his last go-round
there. Kristafer has been doing mornings at Clear Channel's WELI
(960 New Haven), and it's not at all clear who'll replace him
there. At WDRC, Kristafer replaces John "Cadillac"
Saville. The station says Kristafer's new show will include more
talk, and less music, than Saville's version did.
southern RHODE ISLAND, Chris DiPaola is moving ahead on
his purchase of WXNI (1230 Westerly) from Boston University.
The $350,000 purchase by DiPaola's "Diponti Communications"
was filed with the FCC a couple of weeks ago; when it closes,
DiPaola will move the programming of WBLQ-LP (96.7 Ashaway) over
to the more powerful AM signal. (The public radio programming
now being heard on the AM is also reaching the area on WRNI-FM
102.7 Narragansett Pier these days, making the AM signal redundant.)
On TV, WLNE (Channel 6) continues the expansion of its news
efforts next month, adding a newscast from 4-5 PM beginning Jan.
14. Incoming anchor Allison Alexander will be one of the anchors
for the new early-evening broadcast.
*Nassau has begun its station shuffle in NEW
HAMPSHIRE: on Wednesday, oldies disappeared from WNNH (99.1
Henniker) and WLKZ (104.9 Wolfeboro), replaced by classic rock
"Frank," in tandem with WFNQ (106.3 Nashua).
The next step in Nassau's rearrangement of its Granite State
cluster won't happen until next month, when "Hawk"
classic rockers WWHK (102.3 Concord) and WWHQ (101.5 Meredith)
will join Nassau's new WEEI sports network. (Also on board with
the new network will be WHXR (106.7 North Windham) and WHXQ (104.7
Kennebunkport) along with WLAM (1470 Lewiston) in Maine, as well
as WPXC (102.9 Hyannis) on Cape Cod, and likely several Vermont
*A MAINE radio legend is being honored
with a studio named after him. George Hale has been with WABI
(910 Bangor) for more than half a century, and now the Clear
Channel station's studio is officially the "George Hale
Studio." The Bangor Daily News reports that WABI
is moving back to standards from its news-talk format; Hale will
be heard during morning drive on both WABI and sister station
WVOM (103.9 Howland) through voicetracking.
PENNSYLVANIA, things are slowly getting back to normal
after the storm that downed one TV tower and damaged several
others in Scranton a week ago. WNEP (Channel 16), whose analog
tower came down, crushing its analog transmitters, is working
to get a replacement analog signal on the air from the nearby
American Tower site that's home to its WNEP-DT (Channel 49) signal.
(WNEP is feeding area cable systems with a standard-definition
feed via the 16.3 channel of WNEP-DT.) Wilkes University's WCLH
(90.7 Wilkes-Barre), which lost its antenna that had been mounted
on the WNEP tower, is back on the air at low power from the college
campus, with plans to get back to full power soon from a different
tower on Penobscot Mountain.
Also badly affected by the storm was Nassau's WFKB (107.5
Boyertown), which lost power to its transmitter site for several
days, taking the station off the air for much of last week.
One more Scranton note: Holy Family Communications is selling
its WQOR (750 Olyphant) to Edward Niewinski's J.M.J. Radio for
$100,000. If the new licensee's name is any indication, we'd
expect no change to the station's Catholic format.
In Lancaster, Keith Rice becomes the new morning co-host at
WLAN-FM (96.9 Lancaster). He'll start there Jan. 14, after relocating
from his current gig in afternoon drive at WILI-FM (98.3 Willimantic
In Pittsburgh, Bubba has disappeared from the morning show
at CBS Radio's WZPT (Star 100.7), making his return to morning
drive at the revived "B94" (WBZW 93.7) all-but-official.
Jeff Sottolano has added a title at WYSP (94.1 Philadelphia),
where he's now marketing director as well as music director.
He came to Philly just last year from another 94.1, CBS sister
station WZNE in Rochester, where he held the PD chair.
Over at Greater Media, the "Free Beer and Hot Wings"
syndicated morning show has disappeared from its tape-delayed
evening slot on WMGK (102.9 Philadelphia).
still no full-time oldies station in the Lehigh Valley, but Clear
Channel must see something in the format - after doing a few
oldies holidays on talker WAEB (790 Allentown), it's now bringing
an oldies show to the 9-noon slot on its sports talker, WSAN
(1470 Allentown). Diane Lee is hosting the "Oldies Show
on Fox," which she's calling a "halftime break"
in the station's Fox Sports Radio programming. (In a previous
incarnation, WSAN was oldies WKAP.)
And much as we'd like to, we can't really get out of the Keystone
State without mentioning KYW-TV (Channel 3) anchor Alycia Lane
and her arrest on charges of assaulting a New York City police
officer a week ago. There's not much that we can add to the rather
extensive coverage the New York tabloids have already offered
about the incident and its aftermath, other than to note that
Lane is "on vacation" from the CBS-owned station until
further notice - and that her portions of the station's New Year
special were apparently rather hastily edited out of the already-produced
*The year in CANADA ends with a big
management shift: Paul Ski departed CHUM Radio on Thursday after
four decades with the company, and he's taking a new job as CEO
of Rogers' radio stations, where he'll replace the retiring Gary
Miles. Duff Roman replaces Ski, at least for now, as head of
the CHUM radio stations, now part of CTVglobemedia.
We can now attach a price to Moses Znaimer's purchase of CHWO
(740 Toronto) from the Caine family: he's paying C$7,320,613
for the big-signalled standards station, according to the application
filed last week with the CRTC.
In Quebec, Corus
is selling CHRC (800) to the Remparts de Quebec hockey team for
The AM station (the last remaining full-power AM signal in
Quebec City) has been doing French-language all-news as "Info
800," much of it simulcast with Corus' CINF (690 Montreal).
A few more applications that will be on the CRTC's agenda
for a Feb. 26 public hearing in Vancouver: in Elliot Lake, Ontario,
Eternacom (which owns CJTK Sudbury) applies for an 865-watt religious
signal on 102.5, with at least 42 hours a week of local programming
and the rest a simulcast of CJTK.
Out in the Maritimes, International Harvesters for Christ
Evangelical Association hopes to expand its reach from its current
base in Halifax, where it operates CJLU (93.9). The group is
applying for 50 watts on 91.3 in Charlottetown, PEI, with a relay
transmitter on 91.1 (also with 50 watts) in Summerside.
Meanwhile in western New Brunswick, Astral wants to move CIKX-FM-1
(91.7 Plaster Rock) to 88.3, taking it out of the way of a recently-approved
Radio-Canada "Espace Musique" transmitter, CBAF-FM-21
(91.7 Bon Accord), which would have caused interference.
In Saguenay (La Baie), Quebec, Carl Gilbert has found a frequency
for the new FM signal he was granted back in March. Gilbert is
asking the CRTC to let him use 105.5, with 50 kW DA/321', for
the new station. Gilbert had applied for much lower power on
In Goderich, Ontario, the operators of nearby CIYN (95.5 Kincardine)
are trying again to get a relay transmitter on the air. "The
Coast" was approved for a 750-watt signal on 97.9 in Goderich,
but a tower-lease dispute got in the way. Now CIYN is again applying
for that 97.9 signal to extend its reach southward along the
Lake Huron shoreline.
Over at CJLX (91.3 Belleville), they're mourning Dave Sovereign,
the Loyalist College faculty member who played a key role in
obtaining the license for CJLX (then at 92.3) in the early nineties.
Sovereign began his career at CHIC in Brampton, then spent a
quarter-century (1960-1985) with Quinte Broadcasting, serving
as news director for CJBQ (800 Belleville) and then as station
manager of CJTN (1270 Trenton, now 107.1). Sovereign also helped
found CKHA (100.9 Canoe FM) in Halliburton in 2003. He remained
involved with CJLX as well, hosting
"The Art of the Musical Theater" on Sunday nights from
8-10 PM. (The station put on a special edition of the show last
night in his memory.) Sovereign died Dec. 15 in Toronto; he was
*And thus endeth another year
of NERW... Believe it or not, 2007 was our fourteenth
year chronicling the goings-on in Northeast radio and television,
and we're grateful to all of you who've helped out with your
news tips, historic recollections, station visits and even the
occasional criticism. (Yeah, we goof from time to time.)
This is our last regular issue of 2007, and our home office
in Rochester will be closed until Dec. 31. There won't be a new
of the Week episode this coming Friday, Dec. 28 (we'll be
back to normal with that feature on Jan. 4), and Tower
Site Calendar orders received after today will ship on or
after Dec. 31. The next regular issue of NERW will appear right
here on Jan. 7, 2008.
But don't despair - we wouldn't let you go a week without
fresh content of some sort here at fybush.com! Join us right
here in this space on Dec. 31 for the ever-popular NERW Year
in Review, including the year's top ten news stories (suppose
Don Imus made the list?), the year in sales, programming and
format changes, and our ever-popular Year-End Rant.
We'll see you then - and in the meantime, all of us here at
the ever-expanding NERW family wish you a merry Christmas, a
happy New Year, and of course a slightly-belated happy Edwin
Howard Armstrong Day. See you next year...
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!)
December 25, 2006 -
- CONNECTICUT's loss will be New York's gain, at least where
the FM dial just north of New York City is concerned, as Cox
Radio applies to move WCTZ (96.7 Stamford) down I-95 to a new
city of license of Port Chester, N.Y., an allocations shift granted
by the FCC just before it departed for its Christmas vacation.
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking released Friday, the FCC announced
that it's considering what turns out to be Cox's second try at
making that move. In 2005, the FCC returned an earlier petition
to move the allocation (then WKHL) to Port Chester after determining
that the existing 96.7 signal doesn't cover Port Chester with
a 70 dBu signal level. Cox then returned to the FCC with terrain
data that shows that the 96.7 signal does, in fact, cover Port
Chester, allowing the city of license to be changed without requiring
an application for a new transmitter location as well. (Under
the FCC's current rules, you don't apply for both a new city
of license and a new transmitter site at the same time; ironically,
those rules will change in January, creating a "one-step"
process that would have significantly streamlined a move like
- What happens now? Assuming the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
proceeds without objections and the city of license change is
approved, as seems likely, 96.7 is a "pre-1964" grandfathered
allocation, with no limitations at all on how close it can move
to New York City's powerful class B stations on 96.3 (WQXR) and
97.1 (WQHT). Nor, unlike most of the class A suburban stations
ringing New York, does it have nearby co-channel stations in
New Jersey or on Long Island - just a class A co-channel signal
(WTSX) to the northwest in Port Jervis, New York. More significantly,
any move for WCTZ will be limited by spacing rules that will
keep it at least 15 km from WBLS (107.5) on the Empire State
Building - and it will have to continue to put 70 dBu over Port
Chester, wherever it may move to.
- On the TV side of things, WVIT (Channel 30) anchor Janet
Peckinpaugh departed the NBC station Friday, ending an 11-year
run there and a 29-year career that began in Virginia and included
anchor stints at WTNH (1984-87) and WFSB (1987-95). Peckinpaugh's
departure came just a couple of weeks after the departure of
her 5:30 PM co-anchor, Logan Byrnes, and just a week after the
departure of WVIT's 6 and 11 PM anchor, Joanne Nesti.
- In MASSACHUSETTS, the big farewell to WBZ (1030) morning
institution Gary LaPierre winds up this week with Gary's final
broadcast on Friday, an event that the station will mark with
not only streaming audio but also streaming video, along with
the ongoing "LaPierre Through the Years" vignettes
that have been running on the air and on the website, and no
doubt a full slate of celebrity visits to the studio as well.
- Another farewell took place - and rather abruptly, at that
- last Monday at 75 Morrissey Boulevard, as the staff of Tribune's
WLVI (Channel 56) said goodbye to viewers on a final edition
of "The Ten O'Clock News," then found themselves not
only out of work but out of the building as moving crews hired
by new owner Sunbeam arrived to lock up and move equipment over
to the station's new home at the WHDH-TV (Channel 7) studio at
Government Center. (The Herald reports there were little skirmishes
all day, as a Sunbeam-hired crew arrived to replace the "Ten
O'Clock News" billboard facing the Southeast Expressway
atop the WLVI studios, only to be turned away by Tribune employees
who told them to wait until the transition was complete.) The
actual signoff of the Tribune-produced newscast was a classier
affair, featuring a long credit roll over video of the staff
waving goodbye, as well as a final commentary from original "Ten
O'Clock News" anchor (and 50-year Boston news veteran) Jack
Hynes. Mincing no words, Hynes said "someone (else) should
have bought the station" and kept it independent, calling
Sunbeam's shutdown of the news operation "a tragic chapter
in Boston's television history."
- Tuesday night, WHDH debuted its version of "7 News at
10" on WLVI, featuring WHDH anchors Frances Rivera and Matt
Lorch in an even faster-paced version of WHDH's already high-intensity
newscasts. (The Herald reports ratings were flat for the debut
of the new newscast.)
- Lots of Radio People on the Move in Pittsburgh, PENNSYLVANIA
this week: Scott Paulsen has departed Clear Channel's WDVE (102.5),
where he was the station's longtime morning man and was more
recently heard mixing talk and music in the evenings. Paulsen
wanted to do more talk, and he'll get that opportunity once his
non-compete is over and he starts over at CBS Radio's WRKZ (93.7).
That will happen in April, in a timeslot to be announced later
on. Over on the AM side of the CBS cluster, KDKA (1020) has pulled
John McIntire's "Flip Side" show off the air after
three years, replacing him in the 7-10 PM slot with the syndicated
Neal Boortz after his show this Friday (Dec. 29). While initial
reports said McIntire was losing his job with KDKA, the station
now says it hopes to find a new timeslot for him. KDKA is also
cancelling its "I.C. Lite Sports Tonight" show from
6-7 PM, replacing it with a second hour of evening news.
December 23, 2002 -
- NEW HAMPSHIRE leading the news for a second week in a row?
You bet (or, as they might say up there, "Ayuh!") --
and with the same station owner involved this week, too!
- Last week, we told you how Bob Vinikoor had won his New Hampshire
Supreme Court battle to build four 266-foot towers in Lebanon
for his new WQTH (720 Hanover). This week, we can tell you that
Vinikoor has some big plans for his other New Hampshire AM station
as well. WNTK (1020 Newport) is currently a 10 kW daytimer, playing
Americana music along with some talk programming -- but Vinikoor
applied last week to move the station down the dial to 1010 kHz,
retaining the 10 kilowatt power by day and during critical hours
(when WNTK currently reduces its power on 1020) and adding 37
watts of night service. Vinikoor's application notes that the
move will reduce interference between WNTK and Boston's WBZ (1030).
Those with long memories may recall that WNTK is the descendant
of WCNL in Newport -- which began its life as a daytimer on 1010.
Back then, 1010 was limited to 250 watts by day; Vinikoor can
thank the disappearance of the old WHWB (1000) in Rutland, Vermont
for at least part of the change on the dial that allows for higher
power on 1010 these days.
- A MASSACHUSETTS radio station owner took a stand for the
freedom of the press and won. Ed Perry is best known as the founder
and longtime operator of WATD (95.9 Marshfield), but it turns
out he's also a news reporter for the station when events warrant.
Back in September, he headed over to the nearby Hanover Mall
one evening to check out a report he heard on the police scanner
about an incident in the mall parking lot. When he got there,
he did what any good reporter would, taking out his tape recorder
and notebook and asking questions.
- The Patriot-Ledger reports a mall security guard asked Perry
to hand over the tape from his recorder, Perry refused, and Hanover
police arrested him and charged him with creating a disturbance.
(His tape recorder was later returned to his car, with the interviews
erased.) It took a few months, but all the charges (resisting
arrest, disorderly conduct, trespassing and interfering with
a police officer) have finally been dismissed, and now Perry
is considering a civil suit against the mall. (NERW comments:
Anyone who ever wondered why WATD is such a consistent winner
of RTNDA and AP awards shouldn't have any question, now....)
- On the TV side, WLVI (Channel 56) has a new news director,
as Tribune moves Pamela Johnston up from assistant ND to replace
Greg Caputo as the head of the WB affiliate's news operation.
- LATE UPDATE: The purchase of WSRO (1470 Marlborough) by Multicultural
Broadcasting has brought a call change with it; 1470 is now "WAZN,"
with the WSRO calls moving down the dial to Alex Langer's 650
in Ashland, ex-WJLT. And who'll be the first Boston broadcaster
to notice that the "WCOZ" calls that once graced 94.5
are once again available, having been dropped from AM 1300 in
St. Albans, West Virginia?
- In Albany, Clear Channel made it official by announcing that
Scott Allen Miller is the permanent afternoon host at WGY (810
Schenectady), leaving J.R. Gach without a job. Gach left WGY's
airwaves last August under mysterious circumstances, revealing
later that he was suffering from severe mental illness. Gach
tells the Albany Times Union's Mark McGuire that he was fired
by e-mail last weekend, "with cause," meaning he won't
get any severance pay. Gach says he wants to get back on the
air, preferably in the Albany area, but he acknowledges that
there are few options open to him right now.
December 25, 1997-
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- In NEW YORK, the big news is a new FM allocation in the state's
second-largest market. The FCC has allocated 92.1 as a Class
A channel to Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo -- and now NERW is
sitting back to watch the fun begin as applicants pile on for
the last significant commercial allocation likely to appear on
the Empire State's FM dial, at least in the big cities. (There's
actually a second open channel in the Buffalo market, 104.9,
but it's tied up as a Canadian allocation.) Canada has an operating
station on 91.9, travelers-information CFLZ from the Skylon Tower
in Niagara Falls, which is likely to have to move once 92.1 comes
on from the US side. (2007 update: a
decade later, 92.1 remains unfilled, having been reserved for
noncommercial use and then left to linger in FCC limbo. CFLZ,
meanwhile, has long since moved to 105.1.)
- More from the Queen City: two longtime Buffalo competitors
are taking the first step towards merging their newsrooms. WGR
(550) and WBEN (930) have been co-owned under Sinclair for several
years, but have maintained competing newsrooms in separate locations
-- until now. The stations have started simulcasting Tom Puckett's
overnight newscasts from 11 PM until 5 AM each night. Sinclair
tells Buffalo News columnist Anthony Violanti that there's been
"no cutback" in the news committment at either station...but
Violanti notes that WBEN reporter Brian Meyer has not been replaced
since leaving for the Buffalo News recently. That said, Buffalo
radio news is still far more competitive (and thus more comprehensive)
than in Rochester or Syracuse, where WHAM (1180) and WSYR (570)
each hold near-monopolies on radio news. One thing that will
be missing from WBEN next season is the Bills; their contract
with the station is up, and NERW hears that Sinclair is reluctant
to pay the increased fees the Bills want for '98 radio rights.
Could the Bills be moving to FM next season, like the Sabres
did this year? That's what NERW is hearing. A few more notes
from Buffalo and vicinity: WYRK (106.5) program director Ken
Johnson is leaving the station after 15 years to go to country
WXTU (92.5) in Philadelphia. And WJJL (1440) in Niagara Falls
is getting ready to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Alumni
are asked to contact station manager John Phillips. NERW wonders
if WJJL might consider refurbishing the abandoned "WJJL"
sign that's rusting away on the ground near the transmitter building
on Route 384... (2007 update: the sign
was still there rusting in October.)
- Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting is adding two more
New York City-area stations to his roster. You'll recall he's
selling WNWK (105.9 Newark NJ), buying WPAT (930 Paterson NJ),
and keeping WKDM (1380 New York). Now he's adding WNJR (1430
Newark NJ) and WZRC (1480 New York) from Douglas Broadcasting.
Douglas keeps several of its other stations, including WBPS (890
- On to MASSACHUSETTS, where talker WRKO (680 Boston) has added
a co-host to Jeff Katz's new morning show. Darlene McCarthy is
best known in Boston for her TV work at WHDH-TV (Channel 7) and
WLVI-TV (Channel 56), but she began in Bay State radio at Lowell's
- Framingham's WKOX now has permission to go 50 kilowatts day
and night froom its present transmitter site on Mount Wayte Avenue.
The construction permit would involve removing at least one of
WKOX's two tall towers, and replacing it with three shorter towers.
All three would be used at night, with two being used during
the day. How would all of this affect WRPT (650 Ashland) and
WJLT (1060 Natick), the daytimers that currently diplex off the
WKOX tower? We're not sure yet. We're also not sure what became
of the other WKOX CP, for 50 kw non-directional from the WNTN
(1550 Newton) site, that was announced in an FCC release a few
- The new public radio station on Cape Cod has new calls. When
90.1 Woods Hole takes to the airwaves sometime next year, it
will be as WCAI ("Cape And Islands") rather than WHMV
("Woods Hole Martha's Vineyard"). No change has been
announced to its sister station, WNAN (91.1 Nantucket).
- This from NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bob Vinikoor's new 720 in Hanover
now has calls; mark down WQTH as the new identity for this 50
kW outlet, due to hit the airwaves in 1998. Speaking of calls,
Lowell Paxson applied for a whole slew of new "PX"
calls for his soon-to-be PaxNet stations this week. It looks
like this: WGOT (60 Merrimack NH) becomes WIPX. WHAI-TV (43 Bridgeport
CT) becomes WPXB. WOST (69 Block Island RI) becomes WPXQ. WOCD
(55 Amsterdam NY) becomes WYPX. And WHRC (46 Norwell MA) will
- And in MAINE, classical WPKM (106.3 Scarborough) is getting
new owners. Mariner Broadcasting already owns classical WBQQ
(99.3 Kennebunk) down the coast, as well as its sister AC station,
WQEZ (104.7 Kennebunkport). No word on a purchase price or on
format changes, but NERW suspects WPKM may end up as a northern
simulcast of classical "W-Bach" once the dust settles.
- Clearing up the confusion over 91.9 in Harpswell: The former
WMSJ facility has the new calls WYFP. It's running religious
programming from new owner Bible Broadcasting Network, while
WMSJ's contemporary Christian format has migrated down the dial
to 89.3 Freeport.
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2007 by Scott Fybush.