January 7, 2008
Entercom/Nassau WEEI Deal is Dead
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*It was one of the biggest radio stories
of the summer in NEW HAMPSHIRE, MAINE and the rest
of northern New England last year: Entercom, programmer of Boston's
highly successful WEEI (850 Boston), was to partner with Nassau
to spread WEEI's sports format to Portland, Concord, the Lakes
Region, the Upper Valley and Cape Cod - and in exchange, Entercom
would take a half-interest in Nassau's classical WCRB (99.5 Lowell)
for the improbably-low-sounding sum of $10 million. (Nassau had
paid $60 million for the station just a year earlier, after all.)
2007 wound to a close, Nassau began laying the groundwork for
the format changes that would accompany the start of its WEEI
simulcasts: in Concord and the Lakes Region, WNNH (99.1 Henniker)
and WLKZ (104.9 Wolfeboro) moved from oldies to classic hits
("Frank") to clear the way for classic rocker "Hawk"
WWHK (102.3 Concord)/WWHQ (101.5 Meredith) to become WEEI affiliates.
And the "Free Beer and Hot Wings" morning show heard
on several Nassau stations started saying goodbye to listeners
in Portland ("Bone" WHXR/WHXQ).
But then rumors started spreading about problems with the
deal, and even as the champagne was being chilled and we were
stepping away from the computer on New Year's Eve afternoon,
the companies pulled the plug on their plans for a network.
"The transaction hit an impasse," was the word from
Nassau's Lou Mercatanti to Clea Simon at the Boston Globe,
and we've still heard nothing definitive about what caused the
deal to fall apart at the last minute.
in the absence of hard fact, we'll offer some educated speculation.
First, from the Entercom side of the fence, there's no question
that the deal was more essential to announce in August than to
close in December. In August, WEEI faced what could have been
a serious challenge to its sports supremacy: while Entercom had
locked up a long-term Red Sox contract, at no small expense,
its morning stars John Dennis and Gerry Callahan were flirting
with other suitors - not just the long-rumored Greater Media
dream of flipping WBOS (92.9) to an all-sports format, but also
a possible Nassau flip of WCRB to sports. Allying Nassau with
WEEI took away that option for Dennis and Callahan, and it's
no coincidence that the pair re-signed with Entercom soon after
the Nassau deal was announced.
With Dennis and Callahan safely under contract, and the Sox
not only safely under contract but celebrating their second World
Series in four years, the threats to WEEI are significantly blunted
today as compared to last summer. And while WEEI could certainly
have benefited from adding WCRB's FM signal (with its strong
reach from southern New Hampshire into Boston's northern and
western suburbs) to its existing network, we have no way of knowing
if that simulcast was ever anything more than rank speculation,
Also speculative - but it's a speculation we're pretty comfortable
making - is the notion that Nassau, in the end, needed Entercom
more than Entercom needed Nassau. While Nassau could certainly
still create a sports network out of the stations that were targeted
to become WEEI relays, it's hard to imagine the national sports
coverage of ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio or any of their competitors
having the same regional appeal as the non-stop Sox/Pats/Celtics
(and occasionally BC Eagles and Bruins) talk that makes up most
of WEEI's programming day. (We can also speculate that Entercom
won't give up on the idea of an expanded WEEI network on stations
other than Nassau's.)
Nassau, then, there are are new challenges both immediate and
long-term. In New Hampshire, the unexpected conflict between
"The Hawk" and "Frank" will need to be addressed
- and to the south, there's still the longer-term issue of WCRB.
While Mercatanti says publicly that Nassau is committed to keeping
99.5 classical over the long haul, it's been a rough road for
commercial classical radio nationwide over the last few years,
especially for an operator like Nassau that's functioning as
a standalone in Boston in the midst of much bigger operators
such as CBS, Clear Channel, Greater Media and, yes, Entercom.
Which brings us to the most interesting bit of speculation:
with another all-sports station struggling mightily to find its
footing in the market - Jessamy Tang's "ESPN Boston"
WAMG (890 Dedham)/WLLH (1400 Lowell) - could ESPN and Nassau
team up to flip 99.5 into a sports competitor to WEEI? It wouldn't
have the Sox, of course, or Dennis and Callahan, but it would
have a fairly potent FM signal, at least.
GETCHER 2008 TOWER SITE CALENDAR
- BEFORE THEY'RE ALL GONE!
Still haven't ordered your 2008 Tower Site Calendar?
You do realize that it's now...er...2008, don't you? We're already
down to the last 180 or so calendars, and they're going
fast. The 2006 and 2007 editions of the calendar sold out, and
this one will do so as well, possibly as soon as this 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
shipping and handling included - or better yet, beat our move
to mandatory subscriptions later this year and get a free calendar
with your $60 subscription to NERW for 2008. (Remember, the proceeds
from both the calendar and the subscriptions help keep NERW right
here on the web, as we head into our fourteenth year of news
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.
*The year's first big station sale came early,
and it involved a familiar face in VERMONT radio. Ken
Barlow's history in the Green Mountain State includes stints
at WCFR in Springfield and WDOT in Burlington, then the launch
in the nineties of WCPV (Champ 101.3) and WXPS (now WXZO 96.7).
After his Dynacomm group sold those stations to Capstar in 1999,
Barlow went on to join Bruce Danziger and Jeff Shapiro to build
the Vox Radio Group, which at one point owned more stations in
northern New England than any other broadcaster.
In 2005, Vox sold most of its stations to Nassau. Barlow and
Danziger then formed Vox Communications Group, which picked up
Vox Radio's cluster in western Massachusetts.
now Vox Communications is coming into Vermont with an $11 million
purchase of Clear Channel's Burlington and Randolph stations
- including Barlow's old haunts, WCPV and WXZO.
Here's what the entire cluster looks like: there's AC "Star"
WEZF (92.9 Burlington), with a class C signal from Mount Mansfield
that is, hands-down, the best commercial FM signal in Vermont.
Classic rock "Champ" is now heard on both WCPV (101.3
Essex NY) in the Burlington market and on WCVR (102.1 Randolph)
in central Vermont. WXZO (96.7 Willsboro NY) now carries a talk
format as "The Zone," simulcast on WEAV (960 Plattsburgh)
and WTSJ (1320 Randolph). South of Burlington, there's also "True
Oldies Channel" WVTK (92.1 Port Henry NY).
(NERW notes that these stations were originally among the
big group of signals in small Clear Channel markets that were
supposed to go to the Goodradio.TV group in that deal that never
came to fruition last year; we also note that this is Clear Channel's
second New England spinoff to a group with roots in the old Vox
Radio Group - the company's stations in the White River Junction/Lebanon/Hanover
market were sold last year to Jeff Shapiro's new Great Eastern
Radio group, which is now competing against the former Vox, now
Nassau, cluster in that region.)
No purchase price has yet been announced for the Burlington
sale; Barlow tells the Burlington Free Press that he doesn't
expect to make major changes at the signals.
Back in the Upper Valley for a moment, former upstate New
Yorker Kevin Cregg is out as afternoon jock at Nassau's "Wolf"
WXLF (95.3 White River Junction)/WZLF (107.1 Bellows Falls) after
less than a year.
Miss our complete look
back at the year that just ended? Have you caught (and responded
to) our Year-End Rant yet? Click
here for NERW's comprehensive recap of 2007. Sponsored by:
*Even before the new year began, some big
changes were underway in NEW YORK radio. On New Year's
Eve, Allan Sniffen's New
York Radio Message Board broke the news that Valerie Smaldone
had become the latest veteran of Clear Channel's WLTW (106.7
New York) to depart the station.
Both Smaldone and WLTW are putting the best possible
face on it, calling it a mutual decision not to renew Smaldone's
contract after 24 years. In a statement on her own website, Smaldone
calls it a "heart-wrenching" move, while WLTW PD Jim
Ryan framed the move as a choice for Smaldone to focus on the
many other elements of her career as an actress, voiceover talent
But it's a pretty safe bet that Clear Channel, now in serious
cost-cutting mode as it prepares to be taken private, wasn't
in any hurry to open its wallet to pay the veteran midday jock
what she's worth, either. Over the past year or so, WLTW had
already cut loose its other founding voices - Stephen Roy, Al
Bernstein, Bill Buchner, JJ Kennedy and Bill Buchner - and the
company has made similar cuts at other big AC stations around
the country as well, including two prominent departures from
KOST in Los Angeles over the last few weeks, morning co-host
Kim Amidon and middayer Mike Sakellarides.
And if we can cross the line into opinion here for a moment,
what may work for the bottom line in the short term just doesn't
seem very healthy for radio in the long run. It's easy to downplay
the importance of personality on a "utility" radio
station like WLTW, which made its reputation over the years as
the background music of office cubicles and reception desks all
over the tri-state area. But it's also a mistake. While nobody
in radio is irreplaceable, talents like Smaldone, Bernstein and
Roy were just as crucial (in a much more subdued way) in forging
a bond between their radio station and its audience as are higher-profile
radio names like Imus, Mike and the Mad Dog, or any of the other
radio people who tend to draw the headlines.
Outside the glare of those spotlights, WLTW has been a quietly
dominant force in New York radio for many years now, regularly
appearing at or near the top of the revenue rankings. That sort
of success doesn't happen by accident. It takes a good programming
team, solid marketing and promotion, a top-notch sales team,
flawless engineering - and in New York, especially, it takes
on-air voices, too. Remove any piece of that structure and the
whole thing comes crashing down, maybe not in a few months or
a year, but surely within a few years.
We explored these ideas in more depth in our Year-End
Rant that appeared in this space last year as part of our
2007 Year in
Review, and next week we'll print some of your reactions.
It's not too late to check out the Rant, and to join in the conversation
at "rant at fybush dot com." We welcome your input!
Back to the week's news - down the street
at Disney's ESPN Radio flagship, WEPN (1050 New York), the headlines
were all about the station's less-than-full-market signal. Ever
since its days as WHN, the 1050 signal has been a non-starter
in much of NEW JERSEY, thanks to a directional pattern
that sends its 50,000 watts away from adjacent-channel KYW (1060
early nineties, a new station squeezed into that hole between
KYW and WEPN. WJHR (1040 Flemington NJ) signed on in 1998 as
a community-oriented full-service station serving Hunterdon County,
but that phase of its existence lasted only a few years. In 2002,
it changed hands to Nassau Communications and changed calls to
WCHR, picking up the religious format that had accompanied those
calls in their prior incarnations on 920 and 94.5 in Trenton,
to the south.
Now Nassau has signed a deal to LMA the 1040 facility to Disney,
turning it into a full-time simulcast of WEPN. While the move
will extend WEPN's signal into parts of western and central New
Jersey that have never had a clear signal from 1050, the move
still won't bring "ESPN 1050" to signal parity with
competitor WFAN (660). That's because WCHR's tight squeeze onto
the AM dial came with some compromises: by day, its 4700-watt
signal (with a CP to increase to 15 kW) aims mostly south and
west from Flemington, covering an area from the Lehigh Valley
down to Trenton and even some of Philadelphia's outermost suburbs.
But come sunset, WCHR must protect WHO (1040) in Des Moines,
and that means its pattern flips almost completely, aiming back
over Hunterdon County into central New Jersey with just 1000
watts (and a CP for 1500 watts.)
Still, any signal is better than no signal, and the addition
of 1040 to the 1050 signal can only help WEPN's efforts to become
a major player on the New York sports scene.
(As for the WCHR religious format, it's rumored to be returning
to its previous spot on 920, with Nassau displacing ESPN from
what's now WPHY.)
more New Jersey sports radio note before we return to the Empire
State: WADB (1310 Asbury Park) flips from ESPN Deportes (Spanish-language
sports talk) to Fox Sports Radio in English today, just eight
months after its April flip from standards to "deportes."
Out on Long Island, all the big news comes from the Morey
Organization: its "Party 105," WDRE (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke),
has expanded its reach west into Nassau County. "Party"
is now also being heard on translator W268AN (101.5 Plainview),
with a 10-watt signal that covers a chunk of central Nassau.
Meanwhile, Morey has quietly pulled the plug on the latest
incarnation of modern-rock WLIR (107.1 Hampton Bays). The format
disappeared last week (though it will supposedly continue as
a webcast), and 107.1 is now in a temporary "Party"
simulcast, with a rumored flip to sports talk coming soon.
Up in northern Westchester, Cumulus' WFAF (106.3 Mount Kisco)
quietly ended its simulcast with rocker WPDH (101.5 Poughkeepsie)
late last month, after almost two years with that format. WFAF
is now running adult contemporary music, with only an hourly
ID for interruption. Could 106.3 be the new home of the AC format
that's been on WFAS-FM (103.9 Bronxville) once that Cumulus signal
moves south into the Bronx soon? (Even if it is, the 106.3 signal
misses most of the lucrative southern Westchester market that
103.9 now blankets.)
And looking ahead before we head way upstate, we note that
next week is expected to bring the long-awaited return of Luis
Jiminez to the New York airwaves. The former WSKQ (Mega 97.9)
morning star has been sitting out a non-compete with new employer
Univision Radio, which hopes he can bring his big following to
its WCAA (La Kalle 105.9), turning that signal into a major player
in New York's Hispanic market.
in Rochester, Entercom has been locked in contract negotiations
with the star morning man at its new acquisition, WCMF (96.5).
"Brother Wease" (Alan Levin) was last heard on WCMF
on Dec. 21, when he began his scheduled end-of-the-year vacation.
His contract ran out Dec. 31, and the rest of his morning-show
cast was on the air without him all last week while contract
talks played out.
At week's end, both Wease and Entercom were expressing hope
that they'd come to a fairly quick settlement; Entercom can ill
afford to lose the main revenue draw on the station it just spent
so much money acquiring from CBS Radio, and for Wease, there
are few other options to continue doing the radio show he loves
doing. (With CBS out of the market, the only other active major
player in Rochester radio now is Clear Channel, and that company's
not adding any expensive new talents to any of its stations.)
Over in Syracuse, a veteran broadcaster is moving on to a
new challenge. Dow Smith came to Syracuse University in 1995
from a lengthy management career that included several years
as VP/GM of Albany's WTEN (Channel 10). While at SU, Smith wrote
a textbook for TV news producers. Now he's retiring from Syracuse
and returning to the Albany area to launch an electronic journalism
program at Siena College.
*In CONNECTICUT, Clear Channel's WELI
(960 New Haven) has named a replacement for Jerry Kristafer,
who's headed north to Hartford's WDRC-FM for mornings. As had
been widely rumored, WELI will pick up Don Imus for its morning
drive slot, effective next Monday (Jan. 14).
In Westport, they're mourning the death on Dec. 27 of Robert
A. "Red" Graham, Jr. Graham had many careers in his
long life, including a managerial role at IBM, a traveling life
as a theatrical performer and a later career as a travel agent.
But in broadcast circles, he was known for his 10 years at the
helm of WMMM (1260 Westport), which he ran from 1987 until 1997,
when he donated the station to Sacred Heart University's WSHU.
Graham was 94.
*In addition to the Nassau/WEEI/WCRB developments
we covered at the top of the column, there's other news out of
MASSACHUSETTS, starting with a new format on the AM dial.
WJOE (700 Athol) quietly dropped its oldies format last Wednesday
(Jan. 2), flipping to ESPN sports. And there's a new face in
the operations manager's chair at WJOE and sister stations WGAW
(1340 Gardner) and WNYN (99.9 Athol): Steve West is now holding
down that role, as well as hosting a morning talk show on WGAW
(and maintaining the always-excellent airchexx.com
More Radio People on the Move: Mike "Big Daddy"
Morgan, who had been morning executive producer at WJMN (94.5
Boston) until his job was cut back in 2006, has landed at Entercom's
WMKK (93.7 Mike FM) as assistant PD. Out in western Massachusetts,
Win Lewis is the new PD at smooth jazz WEIB (106.3 Northampton).
And a radio play-by-play on the move: Tuesday's New Hampshire
primary coverage will displace the match between the Bruins and
the Carolina Hurricanes from WBZ (1030) to WODS (103.3).
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*A contract dispute leads off our PENNSYLVANIA
news. Lloyd Roach was one of the founders of the Route 81
Radio group back in 2003, combining his own WCOJ (1420 Coatesville)
with capital from the investment firm WallerSutton to form a
group that included holdings in the Harrisburg, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
and Elmira markets.
Roach departed Route 81 in 2005, and an FCC ruling issued
last week provides some insight into the dispute that developed
between him and the cluster he left behind. In 2006, Roach filed
petitions to deny against the license renewals of WCOJ and Route
81's other Pennsylvania stations, WHYL (960 Carlisle), WNAK (730
Nanticoke), WCDL (1440 Carbondale), WAZL (1490 Hazleton) and
WLNP (94.3 Hazleton).
claimed that WCDL and WLNP were out of compliance with FCC main-studio
rules, that WNAK and WHYL had technical problems with their towers,
and that Route 81 in effect stole his equity interest in the
company. The FCC quickly tossed out the first two complaints,
finding that the stations were in compliance with the rules.
As for the third charge, which stemmed from Roach's September
2005 decision to exercise a "put option" to sell his
18.9% interest in Route 81, the Commission found that to be a
question for the courts, renewing the licenses and dismissing
Roach's complaints. (But we'd note an interesting revelation
from the decision: Route 81 says it advised Roach against exercising
that option back in 2005, warning him that the lack of cash flow
at the stations would end up leading to his options being valued
at zero, as indeed they were. (The FCC also denied Roach's claim
of discrimination based on his status as a Vietnam veteran.)
Some other news from around Scranton and vicinity: up on Penobscot
Mountain, WNEP (Channel 16) restored an analog TV signal to the
air at reduced power on New Year's Eve. With the loss of its
old tower, WNEP's new analog signal comes from the neighboring
American Tower site that's home to WNEP-DT (Channel 49) and WOLF-TV/DT.
Also back on the air is WVIA-DT (Channel 41), from the remaining
portion of its tower, which was partially destroyed by the storm.
On the radio side of things, Kelly Green (Jayme Gordon) is
departing Entercom's WGGY (101.3 Scranton), where she's been
music director and afternoon jock, reportedly heading for a new
gig in South Carolina; Jessie Roberts takes over as PD at "Froggy."
In Erie, WICU (Channel 12) has a new news director, as Julie
Eisenman replaces Phil Hayes, who'll stick around to do some
And while Stu Nahan was best known for his TV sports work
in Los Angeles, he's remembered by old-timers in Philadelphia,
too, for his stint as "Captain Philadelphia" on the
old WKBS (Channel 48) and for his mid-sixties play-by-play for
the Flyers. (He also played a boxing commentator in the Rocky
movies.) Nahan died Dec. 26 in Los Angeles; he was 81.
*In CANADA, we can now put a price
tag on the deal that transfers CIKZ (106.7 Kitchener-Waterloo)
to Rogers and CICX (105.9 Orillia) to Larche Communications;
the Kitchener-Waterloo station is valued at C$12.2 million, while
the Orillia station is valued at C$4 million.
Radio People on the Move: in Hamilton, Milkman UnLimited
reports that Ben and Kerry, late of Toronto's "Jack"
(CJAQ 92.5), are the new morning team at Y108 (CJXY 107.9). And
in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Mark Downey replaces the late
Perry White in morning drive at CHTD (98.1).
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!)
January 8, 2007 -
- The new year brought yet another new format to one of NEW
YORK's more troubled FM frequencies of late, as CBS Radio made
a January 2 (1-02-7, get it?) flip on WNEW (102.7 New York),
ditching rhythmic AC "Mix 102.7" in favor of "Fresh
102.7" adult contemporary.
- By the time the flip finally happened at 5 AM Tuesday, it
was no big surprise - the entire "Mix" airstaff was
already out the door before the format changed, and the new URL
(fresh1027.com) had already been sniffed out by the usual messageboard
crowds. The new format wasn't hard to figure out, either - after
recent talent changes at Clear Channel's longtime market-leading
AC "Lite" (WLTW 106.7), there's probably as much chance
of stealing some of Lite's audience as there's been in years.
- No airstaff has been announced yet for the new "Fresh,"
though we'd be stunned if they weren't at least talking with
ousted Lite staffers such as Bill Buchner and J.J. Kennedy. One
big change, though: after the WNEW calls survived FM talk, two
incarnations of "Blink," and several versions of "Mix,"
they're finally being retired from 102.7 just shy of their fiftieth
anniversary there. Mark down "WWFS" as the new calls
for "Fresh" - and look for the WNEW calls to follow
much of their old audience south to Florida, where CBS Radio
will park them in its West Palm Beach cluster.
- Speaking of heading south, that's where a lot of CBS Radio
staffers will be heading in 2008, as the company prepares to
move all of its New York radio stations except WCBS (880) to
the 10th and 11th floors of 345 Hudson Street. The move will
take WINS (1010) and WWFS from their aging studios at 888 Seventh
Avenue, WCBS-FM (101.1) from its digs in the former WLTW space
in the Viacom building at 1515 Broadway and WFAN (660) from the
basement of the old Kaufman Astoria studios in Queens - and it
will put them all in an area that's becoming a hotbed of radio,
including the Emmis stations (WQHT/WQCD/WRKS) just up Hudson
Street, the new WNYC studios under construction a few blocks
away, and the upcoming move of Clear Channel's five FMs to 32
Avenue of the Americas.
- Moving on to Long Island, the end of 2006 and the start of
2007 brought some big changes on the radio dial, most of them
having to do with Michael Metter's Business Talk Radio Network.
Just after Christmas, BTRN announced a purchase of The Morey
Organization's three remaining FMs on the East End of Long Island.
While no format changes are planned for modern rock WLIR (107.1
Hampton Bays) or dance WDRE (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke), the active
rock format at WBON (98.5 Westhampton) is already history, with
a New Year's flip to business talk under new calls WBZB. (Those
are the calls BTRN briefly placed on the former WBET 1460 in
Brockton, Mass., before changing that station to WXBR.)
- (We're still trying to nail down the purchase price for the
three stations; thus far, the FCC has only posted transfer applications
for WLIR and WBON/WBZB, at $1.75 million each. And while BTRN's
press release says it's buying all three signals from TMO, its
transfer application for WLIR says it's buying only WLIR and
WBON/WBZB. Stay tuned!)
- But while BTRN boosted its reach in eastern Suffolk County,
it's losing its signal in Nassau and western Suffolk. It's been
LMA'ing WLIE (540 Islip) from Stu Henry, but now that AM facility
is getting a new owner. Otto Miller's Principal Broadcasting
Network, which bought WJDA/WESX in Massachusetts last year, is
paying $14 million for WLIE and will flip it to leased-time ethnic
religion upon closing.
- Talk radio listeners in eastern MASSACHUSETTS had to rearrange
their schedules as 2007 began, with some big programming shifts
at both Entercom's WRKO (680) and Greater Media's WTKK (96.9).
- At WRKO, Todd Feinburg's evening talk show is history, with
Feinburg moving temporarily into the former John DePetro slot
from 9-noon and Michael Savage filling the 7-10 PM slot, followed
by Jerry Doyle. (On nights when there's Celtics basketball or
- soon - Red Sox baseball in the evenings, Savage will be on
delay following the game.) WRKO's still looking for a permanent
show for late mornings, though the station says Feinburg may
remain part of that solution when it's launched. It's also still
courting former House speaker Tom Finneran, who pleaded guilty
to felony obstruction-of-justice charges last week, for morning
- Meanwhile at WTKK, Michael Graham has also moved from evenings
to mid-mornings as part of a new lineup that cuts Don Imus off
at 9, followed by an hour of Mike Barnicle, then Graham from
10-noon and an expanded three-hour "Eagan and Braude"
show from noon-3. Bill O'Reilly now follows Jay Severin at 7,
and then Laura Ingraham's on from 9-midnight.
- In CONNECTICUT, WELI (960 New Haven) starts 2007 without
a local newsroom. On December 30, Clear Channel pulled the plug
on local news at "Radio Towers Park," eliminating the
jobs of Paul Paccelli and Steve Kalb. For the moment, we're told
WELI is carrying only national Fox News Radio headlines and short
headline updates voiced from WHJJ in Providence, but it will
soon have "local" news from Clear Channel's Syracuse-based
January 6, 2003 -
- Radio listeners in PENNSYLVANIA's largest market can be forgiven
if they're a little confused in the morning this week -- and
it has nothing to do with New Year's revelry, just some staffing
changes at two Greater Media FMs.
- We'll start with struggling hot AC WMWX (95.7), which brought
familiar Philly voice Glenn Kalina to its morning airwaves this
week. Mix also brought Brian Murphy (a Philly vet most recently
heard on Boston's WODS) to middays, displacing Lauren Valle,
and moved former morning guy Joe Mama to afternoons, replacing
Rick Stacy. Just to complete the shuffle, the station won't be
carrying Delilah's syndicated nighttime show any longer; her
replacement on Mix has yet to be announced. Down the hall at
WMMR (93.3), Paul Barsky's latest Philadelphia gig has come to
an end. With Barsky's contract not being renewed, 'MMR is using
sports guy "Vinnie the Crumb" and former WHFS Washington
jock Graeme to handle mornings until a permanent replacement
- Over in the Williamsport market, Backyard Broadcasting started
the new year with a new set of call letters on WSFT (107.9),
which relaunches with hotter AC as WRVH, "the River".
(NERW notes that Nassau was slapped with a cease-and-desist from
Clear Channel after launching a "River" in Easton last
year; this one is even closer to WRVV in Harrisburg, as it happens.)
- While the rumor mill keeps churning in Buffalo (where both
UPN viewers had to switch their dials from WNGS, channel 67,
to WNLO, channel 23 when that affiliation moved January 1), there's
some actual news from elsewhere in NEW YORK.
- Syracuse's new "Dog" (WWDG 105.1 DeRuyter) hired
its first jock, bringing "Scorch" over from competitor
WKRL (100.9 North Syracuse)/WKRH (106.5 Minetto). Scorch had
been doing mornings at Galaxy's K-Rock; he'll be doing the 2-7
PM shift for Clear Channel's new rocker. South of Syracuse, oldies
fans in the Cortland area have a station to call their own again.
A few months after WKRT (920 Cortland) switched from oldies to
talk, locally-owned WXHC (101.5 Homer) has dropped its AC format
to become "Oldies 101.5."
- Down in the New York market, the end appears to be very near
for "Rumba 107," the latest format on the Big City
quadcast at 107.1 (WYNY Briarcliff Manor NY, WWXY Hampton Bays
NY, WWYY Belvidere NJ, WWZY Long Branch NJ). With the stations
changing hands to Nassau soon (for a reported $43 million), the
Rumba Web site is already down and we hear the jocks at the Spanish-English
hybrid CHR are out of work. We'll be spending some time in the
New York market later this month, so stay tuned for the latest
on this one.
January 8, 1998-
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- Radio listeners in southern Vermont and New Hampshire are
mourning one of the area's best-known morning jocks. Ian Taylor
died in his sleep New Year's Eve, just a few days before he was
to have started a new job doing mornings on oldies WXOD (98.7
Winchester NH). Taylor was born Edward O'Donnell in Utica, New
York in 1952, and attended the now-defunct Graham Junior College
in Boston. After working at stations in Utica and Albany, his
career included stops at WEQX (102.7) Manchester VT, WPYX (106.5
Albany), and four years as morning host at WKVT-FM (92.7) Brattleboro
VT. In recent months, he had been working as a salesman for WYRY
(104.9) Hinsdale NH.
- The oldest TV station in MASSACHUSETTS has a new look. WBZ-TV
(Channel 4) unveiled its new logo featuring a "4" in
a three-quarter circle Sunday night (you can see it at www.wbz.com,
albeit in black and white), and was promptly dubbed "The
Circle 4 Ranch" by sports anchor and station wag Bob Lobel.
The retro-look logo accompanies the launch of BZ's 50th anniversary
campaign and revamped morning show.
- Up the dial and down the road, future PaxNet affiliate WHRC
(Channel 46, soon to be WIPX) in Norwell has launched a local
newscast of sorts. "Norwell News" debuted last week
on channel 46.
- Emerson College's WERS (88.9) will move into new quarters
in August. Emerson's new Ansin Building at 180 Tremont Street
gets its name from the parents of WHDH-TV owner Ed Ansin, who
donated $1 million to the school. WERS has spent the last 14
years in second-floor studios at 126 Beacon Street.
- "Kiss 108," WXKS-FM (107.9) Medford-Boston, has
been shuffling its DJ lineup in the wake of J.J. Wright's recent
departure. Ed McMahon takes over Wright's old 10 AM - 2 PM shift,
while "Artie the One Man Party" follows Dale Dorman
from 6-10 PM, Skip Kelly works 10 PM -2 AM, and Christine Fox
gets the all-night shift. Also shuffling jocks is modern rocker
WFNX (101.7 Lynn), where Julie Kramer is replacing Adrian in
the 10 AM - 3 PM spot, Angie C. departs the morning show (with
Chris Kennedy filling in as interim host), and Cruze, 'FNX's
new program director, takes the PM drive slot.
- In MAINE, Pilot Broadcasting is moving north from its Pine
Tree State stronghold in the Waterville-Augusta market. Pilot
is paying Tim Martz $5.2 million for his Maine stations. In Presque
Isle, that's market-dominating country WBPW (96.9), hot AC WQHR
(96.1), and oldies WOZI (101.7). Pilot also gets WHRR (102.9
Dennysville), the Calais-area station that has yet to pick a
- As we'd suspected a few weeks back, RHODE ISLAND now has
a Radio Disney affiliate. WHIM (1450 West Warwick) quietly switched
from country to kids radio late last month, ending a 30-plus
year association between the WHIM calls (for most of that time
on 1110) and country music in the Ocean State.
- The Rochester, NEW YORK market is getting a new low-power
TV station. WBGT-LP (Channel 40) is owned by David Grant, a former
Rochester TV engineer who now owns Fox affiliate WYDC (Channel
48) Corning-Elmira. Like WYDC, WBGT will go by "Big TV"
on the air, and will feature a diet of sitcoms and old movies
once it goes on the air later this month. This is the same license
as the long-defunct W40AG, although it will transmit from the
WRMM-FM (101.3) tower on Rochester's west side instead of W40AG's
location on the WBEE-FM (92.5) tower east of town. If WBGT has
already cranked up to its full 10 kilowatts, it will have serious
signal problems south and east of town; here at the NERW listening
and viewing post on the south side, the WBGT color bars are just
barely viewable with an indoor antenna. Grant says he's working
on UPN affiliation and cable carriage for his new station.
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2008 by Scott Fybush.