February 18, 2008
Boston Loses a Morning Institution
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*Make a list of the most memorable voices
in the history of Boston morning radio, and a few names are bound
to be at the top. There's the roster of legends at WBZ - de Suze,
Maynard and Lapierre - and several greats from the FM era, such
as Laquidara and Siegel.
at or near the top of that list, for anyone who listened to the
radio in eastern MASSACHUSETTS between the late fifties
and early nineties, would be the name of Jess Cain, who died
Thursday morning at his Back Bay home.
A World War II veteran, the Philadelphia native turned to
acting after the war, then took a job teaching communications
at Notre Dame University before moving to Boston in the mid-fifties
with his colleague Jack Hynes.
Cain was the morning man at Boston's WHDH (850) from 1957
until 1991, a remarkable run that spanned multiple owners and
multiple formats. Along the way, he contributed characters like
Sidney Flack and Hap Smiley to the lexicon, as well as tunes
such as "Fly Me to Methuen" (to the tune of "Fly
Me to the Moon") and the immortal "Yaz Song" that
was one of the theme songs for the "Impossible Dream"
season in 1967.
In addition to his radio career, Cain returned in later years
to the stage, taking part in amateur theater productions until
the last few years, when his illnesses began to take a toll.
It's arguable that Cain never received the honors he deserved,
in part because WHDH radio ceased to exist not long after his
retirement. (Its successor at the 850 spot on the dial, WEEI,
aired the "Yaz Song" in Cain's memory Thursday, and
over at WBZ, Jordan Rich devoted an hour of his show Friday to
Cain was 81; a public memorial service is scheduled for Saturday
(Feb. 23) at 10 AM at the Glastonbury Monastery in Hingham.
*In other Boston news, it turned out CBS Radio wasn't done
cutting jobs in the Hub even after the axe had swung in most
of its other markets. In all, we're told there are now 15 or
so fewer jobs at CBS' Boston stations.
Among the positions cut was that of WBZ assistant news director
Paul Connearney, who'd been at the station since the 1991 demise
of his previous employer, all-news WEEI (590). WBZ also lost
one IT position, while over at WBCN (104.1) overnighter "Juanita
the Scene Queen" was moved off that shift to part-time weekend
status. And at WODS (103.3), Patrick Callahan lost his spot on
the jock roster, with JJ Wright moving from overnights to Callahan's
former night slot.
Over at Entercom, there's a new member of the Red Sox radio
team for the 2008 season. With the departure of Glenn Geffner,
Dave O'Brien will now handle 135 of the 162 regular-season games
alongside Joe Castiglione. Dale Arnold will cover most of the
rest, with studio host Jon Rish filling in on a few while O'Brien
is taking care of his ESPN duties.
In Worcester, Jerry McKenna is the new operations manager
for Citadel's cluster (WXLO, WORC-FM, WWFX), where he replaces
Jay Beau Jones - who's now in McKenna's former office as PD of
WBMX (98.5 Boston). Meanwhile, WWFX gets a new morning show host
next week - "Cruisin' Bruce" Palmer, late of WSRS and
WWBB in Providence, will take wakeup duties at "100.1 the
Pike" on Feb. 25.
And in Lawrence, the pirate "La Voz de Fe" has moved
out of the way of a new translator that showed up on the 99.9
frequency it had been using; the pirate's now at 99.1.
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 90 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.
*One of NEW YORK's more obscure spots
on the FM dial is about to get an injection of new programming
ideas from the opposite coast. WNYE (91.5), which has programmed
a mixture of overflow NPR talk programming and ethnic shows for
the last few years, has signed a deal with Seattle's KEXP (90.3)
to provide it with music programming.
KEXP, which is licensed to the University of Washington but
operated as an independent alternative music voice (with funding
from Microsoft founder Paul Allen, among others) will supply
WNYE with a three-hour weekday morning show customized for the
New York market, followed at 9 AM by a three-hour simulcast of
KEXP's Seattle morning show, as well as several weekly specialty
At CBS Radio, Brian Thomas adds PD duties at "Fresh"
WWFS (102.7 New York) to his existing PD duties at WCBS-FM (101.1),
replacing Rick Martini there.
time you read this, webstreaming should be active on WNYZ-LP
(Channel 6, aka 87.7 FM) at its newly-active pulse87.com
website; "Pulse 87" morning stars Star and Buc Wild
will apparently be waiting another week to start their show there,
as Star continues to recover from surgery.
Over on the AM dial, Inner City's WLIB (1190 New York) adds
the syndicated Yolanda Adams morning show.
There's a new broadcaster coming to the Mets radio team this
year: Wayne Hagin comes to the Amazins from the St. Louis Cardinals
broadcast booth, his latest stop on a 24-year career that's also
included stints with the A's, Rockies, White Sox and Giants.
And Clear Channel has scored the first advertising buy on
an HD2 subchannel - Verizon Wireless is running three spots an
hour on WHTZ-HD2 (100.3), which has its own top 40 programming
separate from parent "Z100."
Upstate, Eric Straus has sold the last of his radio holdings.
The onetime Hudson Valley owner moved heavily into Internet advertising
a few years back, creating the "regionalhelpwanted.com"
and "cupid.com" sites that link with local radio stations
to provide non-traditional revenue. Now he's selling that business
to onTargetjobs, which owns sites such as CareerBank.com. The
$100 million sale apparently includes Regional's three radio
stations in the Glens Falls market, WWSC (1450 Glens Falls),
WCKM (98.5 Lake George) and WCQL (95.9 Queensbury).
In Albany, "Talk 1300" has new calls. Paul Vandenburgh's
station was to have become WCBI (Capital Broadcasters, Inc.),
but those calls already belong to a TV station in Mississippi
- so the former WTMM (1300 Rensselaer) is now WGDJ.
*In RHODE ISLAND, insurers for Clear
Channel are offering a $22 million settlement to victims of the
Station nightclub fire five years ago. The company, whose WHJY
(94.1) was promoting the Great White concert that ended in tragedy
when the band's fireworks display ignited flammable sound insulation
in the building, lost one of its employees in the blaze. It says
WHJY bore no responsibility for the fire, but it hopes to bring
an end to the litigation that resulted. (LIN Television's WPRI-TV,
which had a videographer shooting the concert, also has made
a settlement offer.)
One more Clear Channel note: WWBB (101.5 Providence) weekender
Steve Valentine has retired after a career that goes back almost
to the start of "B101" in the early nineties.
*A change of morning shows
in VERMONT's Upper Valley: WMXR (93.9 Woodstock) briefly
replaced Greg Fennell's local show with a simulcast of its sister
station WTPL (107.7 Hillsborough NH)'s morning show; now it's
instead carrying "The Morning Buzz" from WGIR-FM (101.1)
in Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
*A CONNECTICUT radio station has won
license renewal over the objections of five of its listeners.
The listeners complained that WGCH (1490 Greenwich) failed to
provide sufficient coverage of local events and issues - but
the FCC reminded them that it doesn't regulate stations' content,
and it granted WGCH's renewal. (Owner Business Talk Radio notes
that it provides 3 1//2 hours of local content every day on WGCH,
in any case.)
The Commission also rejected two other content-based challenges
against stations in the region: in Binghamton, WSKG (89.3) listeners
complained that the station didn't carry "Democracy Now!"
(though sister station WSQX does carry the show), and on Long
Island, a listener to New York's WEPN (1050) complained that
the station's sports format doesn't serve the public interest.
*Two veteran PENNSYLVANIA radio newspeople
are taking voluntary retirements as part of CBS Radio's cutbacks.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 37-year KYW (1060
Philadelphia) veteran Don Lancer, the station's business editor,
and South Jersey bureau chief Ed Kasuba, who's been with the
station 33 years, both offered to retire to fulfill CBS' goal
of reducing two positions from the KYW news staff. Lancer is
the longest-serving member of KYW's staff.
Meanwhile over on the engineering side, CBS Radio engineering
honcho Glynn Walden is relocating from New York to Philadelphia,
where he'll also serve as chief engineer of KYW.
A new owner is taking control of Philadelphia-market independent
TV station WTVE (Channel 51). Richard French, who owns the New
York-market Regional News Network, based at WRNN-DT (Channel
48 Kingston NY), is leading a group that's paying $11.5 million
to buy WTVE out of bankruptcy. Will WTVE become a southern arm
of French's RNN?
Bill Currie, the "Mouth of the South" who moved
from announcing for the North Carolina Tar Heels to serving as
sportscaster for KDKA-TV (Channel 2) in Pittsburgh, died last
Monday at 85. Currie worked at KDKA from 1971 until 1985. He
died of a brain hemorrhage at his daughter's home in Washington
*In NEW JERSEY, Press Communications
made some big cuts last week at its Jersey Shore cluster, including
eliminating the position of general manager that had been held
by Wes Matejka for the last year or so. Mike Fitzgerald, the
director of programming services for the cluster, takes the new
role of "station manager."
morning man Kramer is out at Press' "G-Rock" WHTG-FM
(106.3 Eatontown)/WBBO (106.5 Bass River Township), while WKMK
(98.5 Ocean Acres) afternoon jock Lee Ann Taylor has resigned
to pursue other interests,.
Longtime Philadelphia jock Glenn Kalina has a new gig: he's
consulting (and doing some voice work) for WBZC (88.9 Pemberton),
the dance station that operates from Burlington County Community
College as "Z88.9." Kalina is also heard middays on
WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin).
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*In CANADA, there's a frequency change
coming in Ontario's "Cottage Country" next month, as
Larche Communications completes its acquisition of Rogers' "Jack
FM" CICX (105.9 Orillia), which it received (along with
C$8.2 million) in trade for its "KICX" CIKZ (106.7
Kitchener). Up in the Midland/Orillia area, Larche will move
the "KICX" country format from CICZ (104.1 Midland)
back to 105.9, where it started back in the nineties. That March
3 shuffle will bring a new, as yet undisclosed, format to 104.1.
(And speaking of Larche, it's hired a GM/GSM for its newest
"KICX" station, launching soon in Sudbury: Milkman
UnLimited reports that Mick Weaver will take that role, coming
on board from the GSM chair at Rogers' CHEZ in Ottawa.)
back in Kitchener, Rogers is tweaking the branding at CIKZ -
it's now "Kix 106," instead of "KICX," with
a new web presence at kix106online.com.
In Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, outside Montreal, Yves Sauve
has found a frequency for the new "retro hits" signal
he was granted last July. Sauve had applied for 106.3, but that
frequency was granted to Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio, instead.
(CHCR's new service, a sister station to CKDG 105.1, will focus
on Montreal's Spanish- and Creole-speaking communities.)
Now Sauve is asking the CRTC to let him operate his station
on 100.1, with 1000 watts/52.5m DA.
And over on the TV side, Kevin Newman's "Global National"
newscast is relocating from Vancouver to Ottawa, but leaving
its technical operations on the West Coast. Newman will anchor
on a "virtual set," using a green screen in Ottawa
that's controlled from the Vancouver control room, which then
sends the broadcast to Global's national control room in Calgary.
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 19, 2007 -
- Almost two months after his retirement celebration began,
MASSACHUSETTS radio icon Gary LaPierre received two more honors
last week from the station he called home for a remarkable 44
years. WBZ (1030) inaugurated the "WBZ Radio Hall of Fame"
Friday morning, inducting LaPierre as its first member in a ceremony
that included the unveiling of a bronze plaque mounted on the
front wall of the station's Allston studios - and leaving the
veteran morning host uncharacteristically speechless.
- "The WBZ Hall of Fame will recognize those WBZ broadcasters
whose presence had a significant impact on crafting WBZ's image
in the industry and the community," says Peter Casey, WBZ's
director of news and programming. He says WBZ will add other
members to the Hall of Fame soon, and if you're thinking of names
such as Glick, Maynard, DeSuze and Brudnoy, you're in the right
ballpark. (And speaking of ballparks, the LaPierre plaque was
made by the same firm that creates the plaques for the Baseball
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.)
- LaPierre's retirement celebration wrapped up Friday night
with a party for current and former staffers at the Copley Plaza
Hotel, at which he was roasted by longtime morning colleague
Gil Santos and saluted by GM Ted Jordan and a crowd of WBZ'ers
past and present, including many of the newsroom staffers who
were there for the transition to the all-news format in the early
nineties. (And no, your editor wasn't even the most distant attendee;
AP Radio News anchor Ed Donahue came up from his current post
in Washington for what several BZ'ers called "a high school
- In other news from around the Bay State, it's just over a
week until moving day for CBS Radio's WZLX (100.7 Boston), which
is leaving the Prudential Tower after 13 years on the 24th floor
for new digs in the former WSBK (Channel 38) building in Brighton,
already home to sister stations WODS (103.3) and WBCN (104.1).
When WZLX moves on March 2, it will leave the Pru with no radio
studios for the first time since the early seventies, when CBS
moved WEEI (590) and WEEI-FM (103.3) into the building. Over
the years, the Pru has also been home to studios for WBCN and
WVBF/WKLB/WROR, and of course its rooftop tower remains an important
FM transmitter site. More remarkably, WZLX's move will leave
Boston's Back Bay with no commercial radio stations for the first
time since the thirties; just as New York's radio stations have
decamped from midtown Manhattan for the cheaper rents downtown
and in New Jersey, Dorchester and Brighton have now become the
hotbeds of broadcast activity in the Hub.
- We'll start our NEW YORK report this week in Albany, where
EMF Broadcasting is putting both of its national religious networks
on the air at once with a two-station LMA (eventually to become
a purchase) from Ed Levine's Galaxy Broadcasting. As of Friday,
rocker "The Bone" is gone - and its simulcast signals
have been replaced by contemporary Christian "K-Love"
(on WBOE 94.5 Ravena) and Christian rock "Air One"
(on WOOB 93.7 Scotia). Galaxy had struggled to find a foothold
in the Albany market, where its pair of class A signals was up
against much bigger clusters owned by Clear Channel, Regent and
Pamal/Albany Broadcasting. It's in a stronger position in its
remaining markets, Utica and Syracuse, where Levine will now
focus all his resources.
February 17, 2003 -
- A week after a fire severely damaged their transmitter facilities
high atop Mount Washington, NEW HAMPSHIRE, the radio stations
(and many other users) that depended on New England's highest
peak are still struggling to get back to normal.
- The former WMTW-TV transmitter building and the Yankee Power
House were completely gutted by the blaze last Sunday, which
apparently started in the exhaust system of one of the kerosene
generators in the WMTW building. The good news is that the WHOM
(94.9 Mount Washington) antenna appears to have survived the
blaze intact, as did the original 1937 Armstrong tower.
- But restoring FM service from Mount Washington will still
take some time. A generator was brought to the summit last Wednesday,
three days after the fire, restoring power to the Mount Washington
Observatory -- but not providing enough power yet to allow the
other services at the summit -- including New Hampshire State
Police communications, the transmitter of WPKQ (103.7 North Conway)
and the studio-transmitter link for WLOB-FM (96.3 Rumford) to
- For the moment, then, WPKQ is operating with "a few
hundred watts" from a two-bay antenna atop its studio building
in downtown North Conway, providing some service to the Mount
Washington Valley but not yet elsewhere. WHOM's programming continues
to be heard over WCYI (93.9 Lewiston), as well as on a low-powered
94.9 transmitter whose location NERW hasn't yet determined. We
hear the next step for WHOM, until it can rebuild its destroyed
transmitter facilities, will be an antenna on the new WMTW-TV
(Channel 8) tower in Baldwin, Maine. WPKQ, whose transmitter
and antenna are located in a different building on the mountaintop,
hopes to have enough power up there by the end of this week to
resume transmission from the Rock.
- It wasn't a good week, at least in the public eye, for two
TV news operations in upstate NEW YORK. Here in Rochester, the
long-expected axe fell on the local newsroom at Sinclair-owned
Fox affiliate WUHF-TV (Channel 31), as the Maryland-based broadcaster
announced that it had fired co-anchors Christine Persichette
and Sherman Burdette, sports anchor John DiTullio, as well as
three other full-time and five part-time news staffers.
- WUHF's 10 PM newscast will become part of Sinclair's "News
Central" operation, based at a new facility in Hunt Valley,
Maryland. Reporter Melanie Barnas will anchor local inserts in
the broadcast, but all national news, sports and weather will
emanate from Maryland when the new format launches March 3.
- NERW's comment: We sincerely hope Sinclair is underestimating
the intelligence of Rochester viewers. Our experience suggests
that local viewers are very savvy about where their news comes
from -- and that people in Rochester won't take kindly to seeing
"their" news being delivered by someone in Maryland.
And we hope somebody in town snaps up talented people like Sherman
Burdette and John DiTullio soon; DiTullio, in particular, has
developed quite a local following with his raspy sports delivery,
and we can't imagine why Sinclair would completely drop local
sports coverage from its newscast. (2008 note: News Central
was relegated to the dustbin of history three years or so after
its arrival in Rochester.)
- Meanwhile in Syracuse, Granite's WTVH (Channel 5) is making
headlines in journalism circles for all the wrong reasons. The
CBS affiliate recently replaced its 5 PM newscast with a broadcast
called "CNY Live" (following closely the format developed
by sister station WKBW-TV in Buffalo for "WNY Live"
last year), moving anchor Donna Adamo out of the news department
to host the show.
- So far, so good... until someone noticed that the show was
running suspiciously "news-style" interviews with guests
who had paid for the privilege, which would make them advertisers
-- thus crossing the line between news and sales that broadcast
journalists have tried so hard to keep sacred. After a Syracuse
Post-Standard article airing the controversy garnered national
attention in the journalism industry, WTVH managers said they'd
put bigger disclaimers on the segments. NERW wonders: can you
rebuild credibility when you've sold it away for a few dollars
and a ratings point or two?
February 19, 1998-
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- Hot on the heels of last week's format change at WVOR (100.5),
Jacor flipped formats at two of its other Rochester, NEW YORK,
stations Wednesday night. This time, the format changes affected
the FMs that Jacor bought last year from Auburn Cablevision.
The AAA format of WMAX-FM (106.7 Irondequoit) and simulcast WMHX
(102.3 Canandaigua) was first to go, replaced around dinnertime
by Delilah and her blend of very soft AC. Delilah was followed
by...Delilah, and then more Delilah, and then more, as WMAX/WMHX
stunt with a unique all-Delilah format en route to a rumored
soft AC format, countering ARS/CBS's WRMM (101.3).
- Round two came just hours later - 2 AM to be exact - as the
smooth jazz on WRCD (107.3 Honeoye Falls) gave way to rhythmic
CHR as "Jam'n 107" -- the first direct competition
to ARS/CBS' CHR WPXY (97.9) in a decade. "Jam'n" debuts
with 15,107 commercial-free songs in a row; no word yet on who'll
be on the air once the talent debuts there. The long-term strategy
for WRCD remains unclear, considering that Jacor has filed to
move the already-weak suburban signal even further south to Bristol
Mountain, where it wouldn't reach the Rochester market -- except,
perhaps, through an as-yet-unbuilt 107.9 translator on Rochester's
- Moving along to MASSACHUSETTS, WQVR (100.1 Southbridge) could
soon be putting a much stronger signal into Worcester. It's applied
to boost its power from 2100 to 6000 watts and move from its
current site near the Connecticut line to a site along route
169 just south of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Athol's WCAT-FM
(99.9) has also applied to boost power slightly, moving from
its current site near Athol to a site closer to Templeton and
- One of the sloppiest translator applications of all time
has been rejected in MISSISSIPPI -- oh, wait, we mean CONNECTICUT.
W220BS (91.9) was originally applied for as 91.3 in "Meriden,
Mississippi" -- until someone realized that there's a Meridian
in Mississippi and a Meriden in Connecticut and you can't hit
both with one translator. In any event, the Monroe Board of Education's
petition for reconsideration has been granted, and W220BS's construction
permit has been rescinded.
- And this from RHODE ISLAND: WKFD (1370) in Wickford is being
sold by Jerome Gaudet to "Full Power Radio of Wickford,
Inc." (Well, isn't 250 watts full power?) -- but the new
owners will have to act fast, since WKFD's license will disappear
April 9 if the silent station isn't returned to the air.
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.