February 4, 2008
It's "Classic Alternative" at WBOS
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
UPDATE: A surprise format
change in New York - at 4 PM Tuesday, Emmis pulled the plug on
smooth jazz WQCD (101.9), relegating "CD101.9" to the
station's HD2 channel (which wasn't even on the air at launch
time) and replacing it with a classic rock-leaning AAA format
(they're calling it "adult rock"), as "101.9 RXP,
The NY Rock Experience."
New calls are WRXP, and there's at least
the start of a new staff - Brian Schrock is shown as music director
and afternoon host on the station's new
website, while Blake Lawrence remains
on board as PD. Much more in next week's NERW - and you can hear
the very first WRXP legal ID over at our sister site, Tophour.com!
*It's been a popular parlor game in eastern
MASSACHUSETTS radio circles for more than a decade now
- when will Greater Media flip formats on its perennially ratings-challenged
AAA station, WBOS (92.9 Brookline) - and to what?
you had "February 1, 2008, at 5 PM" in the pool, and
"classic alternative" as the new format, congratulations
- you've just won something. If, on the other hand, you had "WBOS
disc jockey" after your name, the news isn't so good. The
newly-renamed "Radio 92.9" has parted with its entire
airstaff, with no plans to replace them any time soon.
Off the air completely are afternoon jock John Laurenti (late
of WHJY in Providence), night guy Dominick Lewis and overnight
voice Paul Jarvis, as well as the station's weekenders, including
Holly Harris and her Sunday night blues show. Morning host George
Knight is gone from that shift, but his Sunday morning show remains
in place. And middayer Dana Marshall is off the air, but she
drops "interim" from her PD title and continues programming
the new station.
So what's this "classic alternative" business all
about? Our best guess here at NERW is that it's a play to siphon
off some of the older listenership to Boston's other "alternative"
rockers, WBCN (104.1) and WFNX (101.7) - but after years of rumors
about more dramatic format changes at 92.9, in particular some
very credible reports that the station was on the verge of going
sports a few months back, there's reason to believe that Greater
Media didn't have any long-term plans of sticking with the long-running
triple-A format, which had been running in one form or another
on WBOS since its 1989 flip from country.
As for the "jockless" part - these are tight times
for broadcasters everywhere, even the relatively stable Greater
Media (which just closed late last week on its $100 million acquisition
of WBT and WLNK in Charlotte, N.C. from Lincoln Financial Media.)
Where do WBOS' former listeners go? There's another AAA station
in the market just down the dial, Steve Silberberg's WXRV (92.5
Andover), that stands to benefit from the WBOS flip. And just
down the dial from WXRV, UMass Boston's WUMB-FM (91.9 Boston)
is in the process of retooling its folk-heavy triple-A format
to attract a larger audience. Will WBOS' flip open some new avenues
for WUMB? (One bit of good news there, by the way - there's word
that the station has reached a deal to continue carrying the
two Public Radio International shows, "Mountain Stage"
and "Afropop Worldwide," that it had threatened to
cancel due to increased cost.)
*Even before WBOS made its surprise Friday flip, we were planning
to lead this week's column with a Boston format change: last
Monday morning (Jan. 28), regular listeners to the conservative
talk on Salem's WTTT (1150 Boston), what few there were, awoke
to a shock - instead of the lineup that included Bill Bennett,
Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt, WTTT's 5000-watt
signal was running Spanish-language religion as "Radio Luz."
over four years since launching its talk format in November 2003,
WTTT never achieved significant visibility or ratings in the
crowded Boston talk arena, despite several stabs at local talk
and the addition of WBZ castoff Paul Harvey. "Radio Luz"
enters a fairly crowded field, too, with Spanish-language religious
programming already airing in the market on WESX (1230 Salem)/WJDA
(1300 Quincy), but the leased-time programming will at least
provide some steady revenue to bolster Salem's bigger signals
in town, religious WEZE (590 Boston) and WROL (950 Boston).
One more Bay State note: translator W260AS
(99.9 Lawrence) has signed on, relaying MAINE Christian
contemporary station WMSJ (89.3 Freeport) - but its signal, from
the Haverhill tower of WCCM (1490 Haverhill)/WXRV (92.5 Andover),
is reportedly having some big problems reaching listeners in
Lawrence itself, thanks to Spanish-language religious pirate
"La Voz de Fe," which has been on the air for several
years there, complete with a website
that's more comprehensive than many licensed stations' sites.
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 110 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.
*Speaking of out-of-state religious broadcasters,
California's EMF Broadcasting is getting its first toehold in
NEW HAMPSHIRE, with a $1 million purchase of WMEX (106.5
Farmington) from veteran New England broadcaster Dennis Jackson.
Jackson tells NERW
that the station wasn't even for sale when the unsolicited offer
came in, and he says the station's oldies format and its staff
(including VP/general manager/morning man Gary James) will stay
in place until the deal, brokered by Doug Ferber of Star Media
Group, closes. The historic WMEX calls will stay with Jackson,
for use on another station eventually.
(It's hard - impossible, really - to begrudge a good broadcaster
like Jackson the opportunity to cash out after building a station
like WMEX from scratch over many years, but it's also hard not
to think something's being lost, probably for good, when WMEX's
local morning show and community connections give way to EMF's
"K-Love" format, which will be piped to the Granite
State entirely from EMF's Sacramento studios, with zero local
*There's a new local talk show coming to
two CONNECTICUT sports stations. Clear Channel's WPOP
(1410 New Britain/Hartford) and WAVZ (1300 New Haven) will debut
"The Back Page" on Feb. 18. The 3-7 PM show will be
hosted by Jason Page, formerly of Sirius' sports channel.
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.
* It was a big week for program directors
in NEW YORK City, with no fewer than four PD chairs changing
Perhaps the biggest of the announcements was at Clear Channel's
WWPR (Power 105.1), where Clear Channel Boston operations manager
Cadillac Jack was named the station's new PD, replacing Helen
Little. She heads across Sixth Avenue to fill the midday shift
on WLTW (Lite 106.7) left vacant by Valerie Smaldone's departure
- and as Clear Channel continues to shave budgets in any way
possible, Cadillac will keep his OM position in Boston, commuting
back and forth between the markets.
Downtown at Emmis, WQHT (Hot 97.1) PD Ebro Darden increases
his workload as well, taking the PD reins at sister station WRKS
(Kiss 98.7) formerly held by Toya Beasley.
Over at the competition - Inner City Broadcasting's WBLS (107.5),
PD Vinny Brown is out after more than a decade with the station,
with no replacement yet named.
After numerous delays, New York's newest radio station is
getting closer to its debut. "Pulse 87.7," which is
actually the audio signal of low-power TV station WNYZ-LP (Channel
6), is now promising a debut within the next week or so, and
it's named a PD. Consultant Joel Salkowitz, who's programmed
WQHT (Hot 97.1) and WTJM (Jammin' 105.1), will head up the programming
at the signal. There's been no announcement of any jocks beyond
morning team Star and Buc Wild.
at Clear Channel, move-in day is approaching at the new cluster
studios at 32 Avenue of the Americas, just south of Canal Street,
that will eventually house all five of the group's New York City
First to make the move to Lower Manhattan will be WAXQ (Q104.3),
which has been camped out at the WWPR studios since the lease
ran out on its own Midtown studios a couple of months ago. Q
has already been doing some overnight broadcasting from the new
studios, and the official move will take place this week if all
goes well, with the other four stations (WLTW, WWPR, WHTZ and
WKTU) to follow over the next few months.
There's a changing of the guard atop New York's public television
behemoth. On Friday, former NBC News president Neal Shapiro officially
succeeded Bill Baker as president and CEO of the Educational
Broadcasting Corp., parent to WNET (Channel 13) and WLIW (Channel
21), after a year-long transition period. Baker will remain as
president emeritus and as the face of WNET's pledge drives, and
we wish him all the best in his new role.
Frank Truatt's WTBQ (1110 Warwick) has finally found a way to
overcome one of its biggest obstacles - a 500-watt, daytime-only
signal that leaves the station off the air during drivetime for
much of the winter. Bud Williamson's Digital Radio Broadcasting,
which owns translator W256BD (99.1 Warwick), has been granted
Special Temporary Authority to put WTBQ's programming on the
10-watt 99.1 signal, 24 hours a day.
(As we've reported previously here in NERW, the FCC is close
to approving a rulemaking that will allow AM stations to use
FM translators on a routine basis; in the meantime, it's approving
many of these STA arrangements, and we hear at least two of them
are pending in western New York as well.)
In Utica, Galaxy is bringing its Syracuse morning team of
Gomez and Dave back to the FM dial. The duo (based at Galaxy's
WTKW/WTKV in the Salt City) had been heard on WRCK (107.3 Utica)
before Galaxy sold that signal to EMF Broadcasting. Since the
sale, they've been on the "Team" sports trimulcast
of WTLB (1310 Utica)/WRNY (1350 Rome)/WIXT (1230 Little Falls),
but as of Friday, they're the new morning show on WOUR (96.9
Utica), where they replace Indianapolis-based Bob and Tom.
In Albany, financial problems at Young Broadcasting meant
multiple layoffs at WTEN (Channel 10) last week. The Albany Times
Union reports that the cuts, which came just before the start
of the February ratings sweeps, included anchor Alyssa Van Wie,
sports director Brian Sinkoff, meteorologist Chris Gloninger
and reporter John Craig - and that in all, ten employees lost
their jobs at WTEN. Young is coping with money woes that may
include a sale of its biggest station, KRON in San Francisco,
taking a loss of more than $500 million from its $820 million
purchase of the station almost a decade ago, and NERW hears more
cuts at Young's other stations, including WTEN, may be in the
There's a format change coming a week from today in Rochester,
as Crawford Broadcasting prepares to migrate the standards/oldies
"Legends" format from WLGZ (990 Rochester) to sister
station WRCI (102.7 Webster), which currently broadcasts contemporary
Christian as "the Light." That's a very crowded niche
right now, with competition that includes regional broadcasters
Calvary Chapel of the Finger Lakes, Family Life Ministries of
Bath and Mars Hill Network from Syracuse, as well as EMF's national
Once the new "Legends 102.7" launches next Monday
morning, we're told 990 will remain as a partial simulcast of
the FM signal, breaking away for leased-time programming that
already includes the market's only Spanish-language broadcasts,
now heard weekend evenings on the AM side.
Congratulations to WBEE (92.5 Rochester) middayer/music director
Weslea - she's now the country station's assistant PD, also!
Where are they now? Former WKLX/WBBF morning man Ellis B.
Feaster has found a new morning gig in Orlando - he's now with
contemporary Christian WPOZ (Z88.3) after many years at country
A veteran of the Albany radio and TV dials has died. George
Lezotte came to WTRY (980 Troy) as a DJ in 1957, later serving
as the station's PD and news director. In 1962, Lezotte moved
to WTEN (Channel 10), where he spent a decade as a reporter and
anchor. After several years working for a state agency, Lezotte
returned to WTRY and sister station WPYX in 1981, where he worked
as news director until 1991. Lezotte died last Sunday (Jan. 27);
he was 81.
You can have
your ad here! Click
for information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands
of Northeast radio and TV people each week.
*A northeast PENNSYLVANIA market manager
is moving on to a bigger market. After seven years at the helm
of Entercom's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton group, John Burkavage was
named VP/market manager of the company's Greenville, South Carolina
cluster on Friday. No replacement has been named yet in Wilkes-Barre.
(And catching up on some TV news from the region, we note
that all of the signals silenced by the December collapse of
the WNEP-TV tower on Penobscot Mountain are now back on the air:
WNEP replaced its destroyed analog transmitter and is now operating
at reduced power on channel 16 from the adjacent WOLF-TV/WNEP-DT
tower; public broadcaster WVIA-DT 41 has restored its signal
from the remaining portion of its tower, which was partially
destroyed; and Wilkes College's WCLH 90.7 is now back under Special
Temporary Authority from the Penobscot tower of WQFM 92.1.)
in the Altoona/Johnstown TV market, there's a new branding and
graphics package in place at Nexstar's WTAJ (Channel 10), as
the station's longtime red-and-white "10" logo gives
way to a yellow-and-blue "WTAJ" with no mention of
the channel number. (Or at least that's what we could glean from
which follows the inexplicable Nexstar practice of burying any
actual information about the TV station it's allegedly promoting
as deeply as possible - and which kept crashing our browser while
we were looking.)
*A NEW JERSEY call change that slipped
by us at the end of 2007: WGBZ (105.5 Cape May Court House) quietly
changed calls to WSNQ on Christmas Day. There's been no change
to its "Buzz" rhythmic top 40 simulcast with WZBZ (99.3
Pleasantville/Atlantic City) so far, and maybe there won't be
- it's been more than a year since sister station WDTH (93.1
Wildwood Crest) changed calls to WEZW, sparking rumors of a split
from its simulcast with "Touch" urban AC WTTH
(96.1 Margate City), but so far those stations remain in simulcast
*Another AM is history in CANADA: CHLN
(550 Trois-Rivieres QC) quietly left the air last week, moving
to FM on 106.9 and taking the AM dial almost silent in the Mauricie
region. ("Almost," because there's still CKSM 1220
in Shawinigan, simulcasting CHLN-FM.)
And while the AM dial in Kingston, Ontario has been silent
for a couple of weeks now, the physical remains of one of the
city's defunct AM signals just disappeared from the Wolfe Island
skyline. The four-tower array of CKLC (1380) came down last week,
leaving just a temporary tower standing for the new CKLC-FM (98.9)
until a new permanent tower for the station can be built on the
former AM site. We're told the nearby six-tower array of the
equally defunct CFFX (960) will come down in late March or early
April, to be replaced by a wind farm.
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!)
February 5, 2007 -
- The FCC's continuing to deal with the flood of applications
it's received under its new "one-step" rules for moving
radio stations' cities of license - and that means a few more
interesting applications in PENNSYLVANIA and NEW YORK for us
to tell you about this week.
- The biggest application in this week's batch comes from Cumulus,
which filed to move WFAS-FM (103.9 White Plains) to Bronxville,
New York. For now, WFAS-FM will stay put at its current transmitter
site in Greenburgh, just off the Sprain Parkway, but NERW expects
a subsequent application to move the station's transmitter within
New York city limits.
- Meanwhile, out at the other end of the state, Farm and Home
Broadcasting is applying to get WFRM-FM (96.7 Coudersport PA)
out of its economically-troubled hometown and into the larger
Olean market. Coudersport was the home base of Adelphia Communications,
and the economic boom there under the Rigas family has quickly
gone bust, with the collapse of the company, the convictions
of its founders and the impending closure of the Adelphia call
center that provided much of the town's employment base. While
WFRM (600) will stay in Coudersport, the FM side wants to cross
the state line to Portville, New York, running 460 watts at 155
meters from a communications tower on Savage Hollow Road in Olean.
- In other news from around NEW YORK, the new "Fresh FM"
(WWFS 102.7 New York) has added its first air talent. Long Island
native Mike Perry, formerly of WOLL in West Palm Beach, will
take the 3-8 PM shift at Fresh.
- On Long Island, WLIE (540 Islip) has flipped from business
talk to Spanish religion under Otto Miller's Principal Broadcasting
Network, which is LMA'ing it from Stu Henry's Long Island Multimedia
in anticipation of a $14 million purchase.
- Heading up the Hudson Valley, Pamal took over from Clear
Channel on Thursday at WBPM (92.9 Saugerties) and WGHQ (920 Kingston).
At WBPM, Clear Channel's oldies are out, and classic hits are
in. No airstaff have been announced yet, except for a website
mention of Jack Hammer in morning drive. Randy Turner's in the
- As we'd predicted last week, progressive talk is now a thing
of the past in New Haven, CONNECTICUT, where Clear Channel flipped
WAVZ (1300) to ESPN sports on Sunday afternoon at 4, just in
time for that big football game.
February 3, 2003 -
- CONNECTICUT's longest-running morning team hung up their
headphones last week after nearly two decades on the air -- and
not completely willingly. It's been no secret for the last year
or so that Bruce Barber was looking to leave the "Smith
& Barber" morning show on WPLR (99.1 New Haven), but
it still came as a surprise to listeners when the show was nowhere
to be found last Friday morning.
- Station officials say Barber had mentioned several times
that he was getting bored with the show; they considered keeping
co-host Brian Smith as a solo act, but decided instead to buy
out the rest of the duo's contracts. The decision came as a surprise
to Smith, who tells Connecticut media outlets he wasn't expecting
the show to end when it did. The show's sidekicks, Megan Doll
and Billy Winn, will stay on board when WPLR's new morning show
launches later this month. Chaz and AJ come to the Cox rocker
from Barnstable's WRCN (103.9 Riverhead) on Long Island; Chaz
is a former night jock at WPLR.
- MASSACHUSETTS is home to one of the two stations in America
whose call letters are the same as its city of license (WACO
in Waco, Texas being the other) -- and listeners to WARE (1250)
in Ware have something new to enjoy this week. New owner Success
Signal Broadcasting (helmed by Marshall Sanft, former owner of
WESO in Southbridge) launched an oldies format on WARE Saturday,
featuring veteran central Massachusetts jock Fred King in morning
drive, a daily "Polka Hour" from 11 to noon (and all
morning on Sunday), and an interesting lineup of local talk shows
on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Dennis Jackson (of WQQQ/WMEX/WRIP
fame) has a hand in this one too; he and programmer Jay "Biggie"
Fink are behind the deep, deep oldies format on the 5000-watter,
which blankets the territory between Springfield and Worcester.
- Down to NEW JERSEY we'll go, next, to find another change
of simulcast at Millennium's cluster in the Atlantic City market.
WKXW (101.5 Trenton)'s talk programming moved last year from
WBSS (97.3 Millville, now hot AC "Mix" WIXM) to WKXW
(1450 Atlantic City, the former WFPG) -- and at the same time,
the hot AC moved from "Shore" WKOE (106.3 Ocean City)
to WIXM. WKOE became CHR "Hot 106.3," but it didn't
last; as of Saturday, "Hot" is gone and WKOE now carries
the simulcast from "New Jersey 101.5." What of WKXW(AM),
then? It's now doing ESPN radio, still with Harry Hurley's local
- From PENNSYLVANIA comes word that oldies station WPAM (1450
Pottsville) went dark on Friday. The station had been under a
five-year LMA to crosstown WPPA (1360) and WAVT (101.9), but
when that expired, there was nobody around to run 1450. We hear
it'll be back under new management, eventually.
- Philadelphia's WURD (900) is being sold as part of the gradual
spinoff of Mega Communications' non-core properties; the kilowatt
daytimer (now with 42 watts at night) goes to Levan Communications,
which we hear is associated with the former owners of crosstown
WHAT (1340). Expect the black-oriented talk that's been running
on a leased-time basis to continue under WURD's new ownership.
February 5, 1998-
can sponsor this weekly feature! Click here for information!
- Sinclair Broadcasting is leaving the Burlington-Plattsburgh
TV market, just a few months after arriving. You'll recall that
Sinclair is buying the broadcast properties of Heritage Media
from Rupert Murdoch. Yesterday, Sinclair said it will sell WPTZ
(Channel 5) Plattsburgh-Burlington and WNNE (Channel 31) White
River Junction, along with the LMA to WFFF (Channel 44) Burlington,
to Sunrise Television for $72 million. Sunrise is the "small-market"
television arm of media giant Hicks, Muse, Tate, and Furst. Elsewhere
in the region, it owns WKTV (Channel 2) in Utica and WROC (Channel
8) in Rochester. Through its LIN Television arm, Hicks, Muse
also owns WTNH (Channel 8) New Haven and WIVB (Channel 4) in
- The broadcast scene in VERMONT was a busy one this week even
before the WPTZ deal was announced. Up-and-coming rocker WCPV
(101.3 Essex NY) is bringing back the "Corm and the Coach"
morning show that was dropped last fall by rival WIZN (106.7
Vergennes). The show will replace Don Imus in morning drive on
"Champ 101," with the I-man reportedly moving down
the dial to WXPS (96.7 Vergennes). Over at WIZN, station manager
Mike Bussiere is reportedly taking over the morning airwaves
of "The Wizard."
- In MASSACHUSETTS, Keating Willcox has applied for new facilities
for his WNSH (1570) Beverly. The station has been cranking out
125 watts, non-directional, from a rooftop antenna in Hamilton.
Now, it wants 500 watts from a four-tower array on the Endicott
College campus in Beverly, with different patterns day and night.
- A quiet week in NEW YORK...just another TV sale to Lowell
Paxson, that's all. As part of an eight-station buying spree,
Paxson's getting WAUP (Channel 56) in Syracuse for his PaxNet.
The unbuilt CP had belonged to Syracuse Minority Television.
- In Albany, Mason and Sheehan are back to being FM-only; the
simulcast of their WXCR (102.3 Ballston Spa) morning show on
WTMM (1300 Rensselaer) has been replaced by One-on-One Sports.
- Monica Lewinsky in NERW? Sure enough...there's a connection.
It seems the mother of the World's Most Famous Intern is marrying
the owner of Straus Media Group, which owns WCKL/WCTW Catskill,
WHUC/WTHK Hudson, WELV/WTHN Ellenville, and WKIP/WRNQ/WTND Poughkeepsie.
And you thought NERW wouldn't touch that story...
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please
click here to
learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2008 by Scott Fybush.