January 21, 2008
NY Talker's Award un-Grant-ed
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*It's been a while since Bob Grant was making
headlines in NEW YORK - but the WABC (770) night talker
was back in the news last week after Radio & Records cancelled
its plans to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award at its upcoming
about-face apparently followed a barrage of e-mails to the magazine
and its parent company from Scott Pellegrino, a former producer
for rival talk host Jay Diamond, and it revived the controversies
that got Grant ousted from WABC back in 1996. This time, though,
most of Grant's fellow talk hosts closed rank around him, with
Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others using their shows to speak
out in Grant's defense, with some of them vowing to boycott the
R&R award ceremony.
At week's end, one of R&R's rivals, Talkers
magazine, seized the opportunity to announce that it would
give Grant an award of its own in conjunction with WABC, to be
presented at its own convention in June.
*After 23 years at the helm of WXRK (92.3 New York), VP/general
manager Tom Chiusano is stepping down. Chiusano was there when
Infinity flipped the station from WKTU to "K-Rock"
in 1985, riding both the successful Howard Stern years and the
turbulent "Free FM" period that followed. Chiusano
says he'll stay with WXRK as a consultant through mid-year; no
replacement has been named yet.
Disney's WEPN (1050 New York) continues to expand the reach
of its ESPN programming beyond its own directional signal. In
addition to the impending simulcast on WCHR (1040 Flemington
NJ), WEPN announced last week that beginning today, it will be
heard on The Morey Organization's WLIR (107.1 Hampton Bays),
bringing its sports programming to the east end of Long Island.
WLIR has been temporarily simulcasting sister station "Party
105" (WDRE 105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) since dropping the last
incarnation of the modern rock for which WLIR was known at its
old Nassau County home, now WQBU (92.7 Garden City).
sister station, WCAA (La Kalle 105.9), made big headlines last
week with the return of a New York Spanish-language radio legend.
Luis Jimenez's morning show helped WSKQ (La Mega 97.9) shoot
to dominance during his 14-year run there.
When he left SBS for Univision Radio last year, Jimenez went
into national syndication, but he disappeared from the New York
dial while sitting out a non-compete.
That ended Thursday, as Jimenez returned with an "on-air
press conference" to reacquaint New York listeners with
his show and to introduce new cast members. Meanwhile, WSKQ has
brought back Jimenez' former sidekick, Moonshadow, to return
to his old "El Vacilon de la Manana" morning show.
Can Jimenez help WCAA overcome its signal deficiencies to overtake
WSKQ? Stay tuned...
Speaking of signals, our visit to New York last week found
lots of work in progress on two of the city's AM sites. Construction
is now in full swing on the daytime 50 kW power increase at Salem's
WWDJ (970 Hackensack NJ), where a new Nautel transmitter and
phasor are in place in a trailer at the transmitter site the
station shares with WWRV (1330 New York). The new daytime signal
is expected to be on the air by late March. Meanwhile, a few
miles to the south, there are now eight towers up at the shared
site of WKDM (1380 New York) and WWRU (1660 Jersey City NJ),
where WKDM has boosted its night power from 5 kW to 13 kW, using
its original three towers and a new tower that's been added to
its array. (Lots of pictures coming soon over at Tower Site of
And one more Long Island note: the new 89.3 CP in Lindenhurst
now has the WRMR calls.
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 130 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.
*Heading upstate, Craig Fox's Cram Communications got some
bad news from the FCC last week about its long-running CP for
WVOA (720 DeWitt). The Syracuse-market AM has been hung up for
years in zoning disputes over both of its proposed transmitter
sites, one in Lafayette, south of Syracuse, and the other at
Fox's WOLF (1490 Syracuse) site just south of Onondaga Lake.
Cram filed suit against the city of Syracuse over the zoning
issues that are keeping WVOA from being built at the WOLF site,
and the construction permit for WVOA was "tolled" when
the lawsuit was filed, stopping the clock on Cram's three-year
construction period for the station. Cram had asked the FCC to
extend the tolling period back to cover the 26 months during
which it said a new zoning moratorium prevented construction
- but the Commission ruled last week that Cram hadn't been diligent
enough in seeking a waiver of the moratorium. So whenever the
lawsuit is resolved, the clock will start running again on WVOA's
construction period with just 131 days to get the signal built
and on the air.
Will WVOA ever get built? We wouldn't bet against Fox, though
we would bet against the lawsuit being resolved any time soon.
in Rochester, the week passed without any apparent forward motion
of any kind in the contract dispute between Entercom's WCMF (96.5)
and morning host Brother Wease. For now, the rest of Wease's
morning crew continues to hold down the fort in morning drive,
and the WCMF website displays only a logo and "Under Construction."
Over in Buffalo, public radio WBFO (88.7) is pushing ahead
with plans to build a new tower at its current tower site near
the University of Buffalo north campus in Amherst. The new 443'
tower will allow WBFO to raise its antenna from the present 256'
above average terrain to 356' above average terrain, still with
50 kW DA. WBFO holds a $223,500 federal grant for the new tower,
but it needs to raise an additional $575,000 to complete the
Entercom Buffalo is looking for a new chief engineer, as Tom
Karvelis returns to his native Pittsburgh after several years
in that post. (Interested? Drop us a line here at NERW and we'll
put you in touch with the right people.)
Over in the Albany market, the FCC has pulled the plug on
the WCKL (560 Catskill) license after several years of silence,
interrupted by brief returns to the air to keep the license alive.
Here at NERW, we last heard WCKL on the air last June - did someone
forget to let the FCC know about its latest "keep-alive"
On the TV side of the dial, WRGB (Channel 6) has reportedly
filed oppositions to nearly three dozen applications for new
noncommercial FM signals in the region. WRGB is one of the few
channel 6 broadcasters planning to remain on the channel for
digital use, and it says the new signals would cause interference.
A check by NERW of several nearby applications finds that, as
required by the filing rules, they're compliant with the relevant
FCC rules for channel 6 protection, so we're not quite sure what
WRGB is hoping to accomplish with its complaints.
And we're sorry to note the death of Susan Veach Cantrell,
who served as editorial director for New York's WCBS (880) and
sister station WBBM in Chicago. She died Jan. 16, at 63, in Crawfordsville,
Miss our complete look
back at the year that just ended? Have you caught (and responded
to) our Year-End Rant yet? We'll be printing some of your
responses in this space next week - and in the meantime
here for NERW's comprehensive recap of 2007.
*While MASSACHUSETTS waits to see
whether the Patriots can make it 19-0, there's a change of voices
coming in another Boston sports broadcast booth. After several
years heading the Red Sox PR office, and one year as a part-time
color commentator in the Sox radio booth, Glenn Geffner is heading
south to join the Florida Marlins radio team. Geffner (who was
also a broadcaster for the Rochester Red Wings a few seasons
back) had been handling color for games when Dave O'Brien was
working for ESPN; O'Brien's committment to ESPN has ended, and
he'll now join Joe Castiglione for the full 2008 season.
Out on Cape Cod, Qantum's WRZE (96.3) is asking the FCC for
emergency help to stay on the air. WRZE has a construction permit
to move from Nantucket to Dennis, downgrading slightly from its
current class B (50 kW/430') to B1 (25 kW/297'). But the WCOD
(106.1 Hyannis) tower that WRZE plans to move to is in need of
replacement, and Qantum says it can't support a new WRZE antenna.
That wasn't an immediate problem - until WRZE was served with
an eviction notice at its current Nantucket tower site. Faced
with the prospect of taking WRZE silent until the WCOD tower
can be replaced (April at the very earliest), Qantum is asking
the FCC to license WRZE to Dennis as a class A signal, with 3.6
kW/282', using a lightweight single-bay antenna that can be installed
on the old WCOD tower in the meantime. It says it still intends
to build out WRZE at full class B1 power as soon as the new stick
can be built.
*There's a new PD in PENNSYLVANIA's
biggest market, as Don Gosselin replaces Mike Sommers in the
PD chair at Greater Media's WBEN-FM (95.7 Philadelphia). Gosselin
comes to Ben-FM from WNIC in Detroit.
In Homer City, just
outside Indiana, Renda's WCCS (1160) flipped from adult contemporary
to news/talk last Monday, with a lineup that includes syndicated
talker Clark Howard and Fox Sports Radio evenings and weekends.
There's a new station on the air near Warren, in northwestern
Pennsylvania. WNAE-FM (102.7 Clarendon) has signed on with a
simulcast of "Kinzua Country" WKNB (104.3 Clarendon);
expect a new permanent format there soon.
We've been remiss, incidentally, in noting the death of the
founder of WKNB and its sister stations WNAE (1310 Warren) and
WRRN (92.3 Warren). LeRoy Schneck died January 3 after a short
hospitalization following a fall. Schneck began his broadcast
career in 1941 in Du Bois and put WNAE on the air in 1946. He
ran Kinzua Broadcasting until the stations were sold in 2005
to present owner Frank Iorio. Even then, he made occasional on-air
appearances on the stations he founded, where he was perhaps
best known as host of the "Just Stuff" talk show. Schneck
had been named "Man of the Century" by the Warren County
Chamber of Commerce, among other honors. He was 88.
In Erie, PBRTV.com reports
that Johnny Marx is out as midday host at WTWF (93.9 Fairview)
after budget cuts at "The Wolf."
And in Gap, there's yet another call change to report
at that mysterious 92.9 LPFM. After just under two weeks as WOPR-LP,
it's reverted to its previous WLRI-LP calls, making for 18 call
changes in just over four years. (On paper, anyway; we're told
by a listener in the vicinity that he's yet to hear 92.9 on the
air during multiple visits to the area.)
*Some LPFM news from NEW JERSEY: WUPC-LP
(102.3 Arrowhead Village) took a lightning hit last week, and
it was an ugly one that destroyed most of the station's equipment.
Chief engineer Neal Newman has replaced some of it already, but
he's looking for donations of an audio processor, a console,
CD players and a modulation monitor. If you can help his station,
let us know here at NERW and we'll put you in touch...
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*On the MAINE-NEW HAMPSHIRE
line, Clear Channel indeed flipped the format on WUBB (95.3
York Center ME) to top-40 "Kiss" last Monday, and for
the moment it's a complete simulcast (except for spots) of Boston's
WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford), including the "Matty in the Morning"
In Nashua, WSMN (1590) afternoon talk host Jennifer Horn is
jumping into the political arena. She's challenging first-term
Congressman Paul Hodes in New Hampshire's second district this
fall; no word yet from WSMN about what will happen to her airshift
while she's campaigning.
*CANADA's biggest market is one radio
station smaller this week. CFBN (1280 Toronto) turned its license
in to the CRTC, after the Greater Toronto Airports Authority,
which owned the station, discontinued its operation.
1280 was originally
CFYZ, programmed with live reports about airport traffic and
travel-related features, but changed calls and format last April,
switching to business news and information. The business programming
continues online, at least
for now, or so CFBN's website claims; we weren't able to connect
to the CFBN stream on Sunday night.
There won't be a new radio station in Parry Sound, much to
Rogers' dismay. The company applied for a new 100 kW rock outlet
on 94.7, but the existing station in town, Haliburton's CKLP
(103.3), objected to the new station, saying the market isn't
big enough for two FMs. The CRTC agreed, and last week it denied
There's a new religious station coming to Apsley, Ontario,
north of Peterborough. The Apsley Community Chapel will operate
the 50-watt signal on 92.9 with a Christian music format. Meanwhile
in Kingston, UCB Canada is applying to put up a 50-watt relay
of its religious CKJJ (102.3 Belleville), which would operate
Turning to Atlantic Canada, there are two more AM signal on
the verge of going dark. CHVO (560 Carbonear NL) signed on its
new FM signal, CHVO-FM (103.9), on January 7. The new FM is running
as "Kixx Country," and the AM will be off the air by
April. An even bigger signal, the CBC's CBA (1070 Moncton NB),
signed on its new FM signal at 106.1 last week, meaning the big
50 kW 1070 signal will be silent in April as well.
Over at CHUM's Halifax stations (CJCH and C100), Milkman Unlimited
reports that Terry Williams is out as PD and Earle Mader is in.
And in New Brunswick, Astral Media has lost a veteran manager.
John Eddy's family bought CFNB in Fredericton in 1989, and in
1993 Eddy took sole control of the station's owner Radio Atlantic,
which he later sold to Astral Media. Eddy had been serving as
Atlantic region vice president of Astral. He died in Florida,
where he was battling cancer. Eddy was 56.
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 22, 2007 -
- Nearly three years after his Vox group sold most of its stations
in NEW HAMPSHIRE and VERMONT to Nassau Broadcasting, Jeff Shapiro
is coming back to the Upper Valley as owner of the "other"
cluster in the market. Shapiro's Great Eastern Radio LLC is buying
Clear Channel's signals, including news-talk WTSL (1400 Hanover
NH) and WTSM (93.5 Springfield VT), AC WGXL (92.3 Lebanon NH),
rock WMXR (93.9 Woodstock VT)/WVRR (101.7 Newport NH) and country
WXXK (100.5 Lebanon NH), for an as-yet-undisclosed price.
- "We are thrilled to be returning to the broadcasting
community in the Upper Valley," says Shapiro, who owned
WHDQ in Claremont for almost 20 years before selling to Nassau
in 2004. The Upper Valley stations will join Concord-market WTPL
(107.7 Hillsboro) under the Great Eastern umbrella.
- In PENNSYLVANIA, Marconi Broadcasting's WHAT (1340 Philadelphia)
relaunched late last week with a rather daring new format. In
place of the urban talk that former owner Inner City Broadcasting
offered, Marconi CEO Tom Kelly is turning the little AM signal
(for which he paid $5 million) into "Skin Radio," which
will mix modern rock and hip-hop. Alvin Clay is the PD of the
new station, which will feature what Kelly describes as "young
non-radio folks" on the air. We're big fans, here at NERW,
of any sign of fresh thinking on the air, especially on the AM
dial, but if you believe, as we do, that "Skin Radio"
will end up drawing most of whatever audience it gets from its
webcast, you've got to wonder what Kelly was thinking by spending
as much as he did on the broadcast signal. And since Kelly's
an experienced radio player (he's keeping his music-research
business going even as he launches "Skin Radio"), we're
particularly eager to find out. Stay tuned...
- Two NEW JERSEY stations are making power increases. At the
southern end of the state, WBZC (88.9 Pemberton) has completed
its power increase, going from 7.5 kW vertical/350 watts horizontal
to 10 kW vertical/470 watts horizontal, with a vertical directional
antenna. (The new WBZC antenna ends up 15 meters lower than the
- Up north in the New York market, Salem's WWDJ (970 Hackensack)
has been granted a daytime power boost from 5 kW to 50 kW, using
its existing three-tower array. Salem will move and downgrade
WAMD (970 Aberdeen MD) to make the WWDJ power increase possible.
- Will the operators of the "Touch 106.1" pirate
FM station in Roxbury regret the publicity they got in Saturday's
Boston Globe? A lengthy feature on the front page of the Living/Arts
section praised the station's focus on Boston's black community
- and acknowledged that "WTCH" is operating without
a license. Its operators claim they can operate legally without
one, since they run less than 100 watts. How long until the FCC
proves them wrong? (2008 note: We're
January 20, 2003 -
- Buffalo's WWKB (1520) will ditch its business talk format
next Monday morning (Jan. 27) to become "a thing of the
past," with legendary 'KB morning man Danny Neaverth at
the helm. Stay tuned for much more in next week's issue...
- Alex Langer is selling his original MASSACHUSETTS radio station,
but it won't lead to much change for listeners. WBIX (1060 Natick)
is being transferred to Perspectives Broadcasting, controlled
by Brad and Bonnie Bleidt, the same folks who have been programming
a business-news format on the station under an LMA with Langer.
The deal values the station at $10 million; it's a nice payoff
for Langer, who bought then-silent WBIV for just $50,000 back
in 1995 and put it back on the air from the WKOX (1200) site
in Framingham. Today, WBIX runs 40 kilowatts by day and 22 kW
during critical hours with a format that includes news updates
from the Boston Business Journal. Langer, who also recently sold
his 1470 signal in Marlborough (ex-WSRO, now WAZN), keeps WSRO
(650 Ashland); he'll also take a seat on the board of Perspectives.
- Meanwhile out in Winchendon, WINQ (97.7) is getting a new
owner as well, as Saga makes the station its latest acquisition
in a region that stretches from Springfield north through the
Pioneer Valley and into southern Vermont and New Hampshire. Saga
pays Joseph Gallagher's Aritaur group $400,000 for the station,
which programs hot AC for the area west of Fitchburg; we expect
it will end up combined somehow with Saga's Keene operations
(WKBK, WZBK, WOQL, WKNE-FM).
- The rumors are flying hot and heavy in VERMONT about a format
flip at WCVR (102.1 Randolph), and we hear they're true: the
station will soon drop its country format for a simulcast of
the classic rock on "Champ" WCPV (101.3 Essex) from
the Burlington market.
- While the rumors keep swirling around NEW YORK's WNEW (102.7),
with the tabloids picking up on message-board chatter about a
flip to AAA that didn't happen last week, there is one bit of
actual news from the Empire State this week: Binghamton public
broadcaster WSKG was granted a construction permit to move off
the Ingraham Hill tower it's long shared with WICZ (Channel 40).
WSKG-FM (89.3), WSKG-TV (Channel 46) and WSKG-DT (Channel 42)
will be the tenants on a new 288-meter tower being built nearby.
(WSKG-FM is operating under an STA at a temporary site for the
moment, having been kicked off the WICZ tower last November.)
- It was delayed more than two weeks, but the format change
at WKMB (1070) in Stirling, NEW JERSEY finally took place over
the weekend. Country came to an end on WKMB with sign-off on
Saturday (Jan. 18); black gospel, as "Harvest Radio,"
took over Sunday morning, with the same WKMB airstaff, at least
January 19 & 22, 1998-
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- On both sides of the border, the cleanup continues from the
Ice Storm of '98. Power has been restored to all but a few small
corners of Ontario, New York, and northern New England, while
it may be another week or more before the "Dark Triangle"
south of Monreal finally gets its power back. For broadcasters
across the region, it's also been a slow return to normal. NERW
visited some of the communities in Ontario and New York hit by
the ice storm, and here's what we found:
- ONTARIO: In much of the province, the only way you'd know
there was a storm was to look at the news. Headlines on radio,
TV, and in the newspaper continue to track the cleanup. Even
CPAC, the Canadian equivalent of C-SPAN, got into the act, offering
an unedited video view of the newsroom of CFRA (580 Ottawa) as
its reporters, anchors, and editors covered the storm's aftermath.
- As we drove east on Highway 401, the scope of the damage
became more apparent. Many of the trees in the Kingston area
are missing limbs, and there are still crews along many roads
repairing power lines. On the air, the most obvious sign of storm
damage is on the FM dial, where both CFMK (96.3) and CFLY (98.3)
are operating with extremely low power, barely enough to reach
the city limits. CFMK's tower on Wolfe Island, shared with CKWS
(Channel 11), was toppled by the ice, while CFLY's transmitter
building in Harrowsmith was hit by ice falling from that tower.
CFLY and AM sister station CKLC (1380) are running a daily program
every afternoon at 1 with a roundup of storm news, including
community-by-community updates from local officials and the power
companies. CFMK's sister station, CFFX (960), has returned to
its usual oldies format. The sign outside its studio on Counter
Street tells the story -- "Riders on the Storm."
- NERW rode the ferry to Wolfe Island to see the CKWS site
firsthand. Late on a Sunday afternoon, the property was swarming
with workers. The twisted wreckage of the old 840-foot tower
has been stacked in several neat piles, and tower segments for
a replacement are on hand. CKWS is on the air with a very low
power signal, not strong enough to make it to the cable headend
serving Trenton, some 60 miles to the west. Wolfe Island remains
without power, and it was a sobering site to see the darkness
cover the island at sunset as we rode back to the mainland on
- Further up the St. Lawrence River, generators continue to
power the main Ottawa transmitter sites, both the Camp Fortune
site where most of the big FM and TVs are located and the Rogers
site where several newer TV stations are located.
- On the NEW YORK side of the river, several Watertown stations
remain off the air or at low power. Right now, all three Watertown
AMs are either simulcasting their FMs or being simulcast on them.
Here's how the lineup looks:
- WTNY (790) lost a tower to the storm and is operating non-directional
from one of its remaining towers in the meantime. Its programming,
mixing storm updates and adult contemporary music, is being simulcast
on WCIZ (93.5), which is operating with a flea-powered temporary
transmitter that covers only the city of Watertown. WATN (1240)
and WTOJ (103.1) are simulcasting as well, with daytime programming
that's still dominated by storm information. Sister station WWLF
(106.7 Copenhagen) has returned to its usual CHR format as "The
Border." The other half of the Border's usual simulcast,
WBDR (102.7 Cape Vincent), remains silent due to serious power
problems in that area. Cape Vincent's other station, WMHI (94.7),
is also dark. WUZZ (1410) also lost a tower and is operating
non-directional for now, simulcasting country sister station
WFRY (97.5). NERW wonders why the storm information heard on
WATN/WTOJ wasn't put on WFRY's big signal, the only class B FM
- Up in QUEBEC, the CBC sprung a surprise this weekend while
returning CBM (940) to the air. In the process, they've also
jumped the gun on the startup of CBC Radio One's new FM signal
into Montreal. CBM (88.5) signed on today, a few months ahead
of schedule. There's scheduled to be a six-month transition period,
after which CBM will leave 940. CJAD remains on 1410 for now,
although even that interim frequency has been experiencing occasional
power failures. NERW wonders whether CJAD might try to persuade
the CRTC to let it move straight from 1410 to 940, eliminating
the need to rebuild the destroyed CJAD facilities on 800? Just
- CBC Radio Two programs returned to CBM-FM (93.5) today as
well, after an eleven-day absence as CBM-FM was used for storm
- La Société Radio-Canada (that's the CBC to
Anglophones) has sprung another FM surprise. The 95.1 Montreal
facility that will soon be the home of SRC's AM service (now
heard on CBF 690) took to the airwaves early, signing on as "Radio-Services
Monteregie," a French-language service aimed at the inhabitants
of the devastated "Dark Triangle" south of Montreal,
where power has yet to be restored to thousands of homes.
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2008 by Scott Fybush.