June 2, 2008
Access.1 Sells in Atlantic City
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - ALMOST SOLD OUT!!!
*It was just five years ago this summer that
Access.1 Communications spent $22 million to buy the former Howard
Green stations in the Atlantic City, NEW JERSEY market
- NBC affiliate WMGM-TV (Channel 40 Wildwood), plus two FM and
three AM stations. Two years later, Access.1 added another FM
to the cluster, paying $5 million for modern rock WJSE (102.7
Petersburg). And now Access.1 is selling most of its Atlantic
City radio cluster, putting the signals - WJSE, classic rock
WMGM (103.7 Atlantic City), oldies WTKU (98.3 Ocean City), news/talk
WOND (1400 Pleasantville) and progressive talk WTAA (1490 Pleasantville)
- in the hands of a new group called "Atlantic Broadcasting."
new owners are local, led by president Brett DeNafo, programmer
Paul Kelly (currently at WAYV, though today will be his last
day there), engineer Michael Ferriola and promotions director
Joseph Borsello, and they say they have a "well thought
out and innovative game plan to bring the stations back to the
high ratings and revenue level they once achieved." The
cluster's current GM, Dick Irland, and sales director, Mike Kazala,
will stay on board.
The purchase price hasn't been announced, but we hear that
Atlantic is getting the stations, plus the studio building in
Linwood and two transmitter sites, for considerably less than
Access.1 paid for the stations back in 2003.
In addition to keeping WMGM-TV, Access.1 is also hanging on
to WGYM (1580 Hammonton), which has been simulcasting WOND, and
no, we don't know why WGYM wasn't included in the sale.
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 35 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.
*We'd heard the rumors a few weeks back,
and now it's official - Blake Lawrence, the last holdover from
the old WQCD, has resigned as PD of Emmis' WRXP (101.9 New York).
No replacement has been named so far.
Up in Westchester, there are some staffing changes at WXPK
(107.1 Briarcliff Manor): Mike Batiste moves from nights at "The
Peak" to a new post as interactive new media director for
owner Pamal Broadcasting. Caroline Corley takes over at night
on WXPK (she'd been doing weekends there), while Kat Suda assumes
Batiste's former promotions responsibilities.
It's not yet on the air, but Long Island's new WRMR (89.3
Lindenhurst) has been sold. JCM Radio of NY, Inc. is selling
the unbuilt construction permit to Calvary Chapel of Hope for
Here in Rochester, we're thinking Brother Wease is one happy
man this week, now that he's going home to the very same studio
he occupied as morning host on WCMF (96.5 Rochester). That's
because Wease's new employer, Clear Channel Radio, is taking
over the former CBS Radio studio space in the HSBC Building,
a block away from the current Clear Channel studios at Midtown
Clear Channel has to vacate Midtown within a few months, now
that the city of Rochester is buying the failed shopping/office
complex and demolishing it.
5 we speculated that the former CBS space, designed for four
FM stations, might be a good fit for the Clear Channel cluster,
which includes Wease's future home, classic rocker WFXF (95.1
Honeoye Falls), news-talker WHAM (1180 Rochester), top-40 "Kiss"
WKGS (106.7 Irondequoit) and four other stations.
The former CBS space has remained occupied since Entercom
bought the cluster, but Stephens Media Group, which ended up
with the leftover stations from the purchase (AC WRMM-FM 101.3,
adult hits "Fickle" WFKL 93.3 and modern rock WZNE
94.1) ended up with a much larger facility than it needed for
its stations, so it's no great surprise that it's willing to
move out and let Clear Channel move in.
Clear Channel plans to do some renovating at its new home,
taking part of the 18th floor in addition to the existing Stephens
space on the 16th and 17th floors, and there's no word yet on
where Stephens will move its stations once Clear Channel takes
over at the HSBC Building. There's no word yet, either, on when
Wease will return to the airwaves on WFXF - but we're told that
when he does, his old WCMF corner studio on the 17th floor still
sits largely intact, sofas and all.
(One more Clear Channel note - the cluster's WCRR 107.3 South
Bristol Township is the new home this season of Rochester Rhinos
soccer, as the team moves to that rimshot FM signal from its
longtime home on WYSL 1040.)
across town at the Crawford Broadcasting stations, there's a
call and format change coming today. Now that oldies/standards
"Legends" WLGZ is firmly established on its new FM
home, WLGZ-FM (102.7 Webster), Crawford is flipping WLGZ (990
Rochester) from a "Legends" simulcast (with breakaways
for some leased-time programming) to full-time religion. The
new calls on 990, WRCI, are the former calls from 102.7 - and
the format is similar to the religious format formerly heard
on 990 and 102.7 in their WDCZ days, a decade or so ago.
There's a new AM-on-FM translator in western New York: WCJW
(1140 Warsaw) has turned on W279BO (103.7), operating with 110
watts from the AM transmitter site in the hills east of Warsaw.
As with all such AM-on-FM translators, it's operating under Special
Temporary Authority for now, though there's ample reason to believe
the FCC will soon make such operation permanent.
Up north, St. Lawrence University's North Country Public Radio
has call letters for several of its new construction permits:
mark down WXLB (91.7 Boonville), WXLE (88.7 Canton) and WSLG
*In western PENNSYLVANIA, it didn't
take long for ESPN management to pull the plug on WEAE (1250
Pittsburgh) afternoon host Mark Madden, once the headlines about
his controversial Ted Kennedy comments started spreading. Madden
was off the air last Monday, and by Tuesday the word came down
from Bristol that ESPN was exercising its "contractual rights"
to remove Madden from the air. The move comes at perhaps the
worst possible time for the station, what with the hometown Penguins
in the Stanley Cup finals and all, and WEAE is trying to make
the best of it with a rotating cast of fill-in hosts until a
permanent replacement for the high-profile Madden can be named.
Across town at CBS Radio's KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh), engineers
turned on 24-hour HD Radio last week, and that sets up an interesting
test case for the effects of digital sidebands via skywave, since
CBS is also running HD on adjacent-channel stations WBZ (1030
Boston) and WINS (1010 New York). There have already been many
anecdotal reports of interference to KDKA's signal within its
home market, especially in Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh;
will KDKA's substantial skywave wreak havoc with WBZ in areas
such as Worcester and southern New Hampshire? (We're waiting,
too, to hear what WINS sounds like now at our usual New York-market
listening post in Rockland County, 25 miles or so north of its
transmitter site, where deep nulls in WINS' pattern already make
it a challenging listen in analog; there's also a question about
whether KDKA's digital sidebands will interfere with another
1010 signal, Toronto's CFRB.)
Getting back to fired jocks, the morning slot on Philadelphia's
WIOQ (102.1) most recently filled by the departed Chris Booker
is being occupied, for now, by Booker's former co-host Diego.
The rest of the Booker morning team - Angi Taylor and producer
Blaire Galaton - are also out; still no word on whether Q102
will go with a new local morning show, or a simulcast of the
Elvis Duran show from sister station Z100 in New York.
There's a change at the anchor desk at Philadelphia's Fox
station, WTXF (Channel 29): Dave Huddleston's contract isn't
being renewed, leaving a vacancy at 10 PM after Huddleston's
last day June 13.
*One of Atlantic CANADA's oldest
AM stations made an abrupt disappearance from the dial late last
week, as CTV wasted no time moving CJCH (920 Halifax) to its
new home on the FM band.
After less than a
week of testing, CJCH-FM (101.3 Halifax) signed on for real Friday
morning (May 30) at 10 AM, with none of the usual FM/AM transitional
simulcasting that's common in Canadian FM-to-AM moves. Instead,
the 25 kW AM signal went to a "move to FM" loop for
a few hours, then went silent for good.
The new FM signal isn't picking up the AM station's oldies
format, either. Instead, it's doing top 40 as "101.3 the
Bounce." Out as part of the transition is 30-year station
veteran Rick Howe, who'd hosted the "Hotline" talk
show that was heard in middays on CJCH(AM).
Meanwhile, there's a station sale across the Halifax market,
as Newcap pays C$8.5 million for half of Metro Radio Group, the
parent company of CKUL (96.5). Newcap already owns CFRQ (104.3)
in Halifax, as well as CFDR (780 Dartmouth), and therein lies
an interesting issue: last year, Newcap won permission from the
CRTC to move CFDR to the FM dial, with 21 kW on 88.9. But that
permission was contingent on Newcap selling its half-interest
in CKUL; otherwise, the company would run afoul of the CRTC rule
limiting owners to two stations on each band in a market.
*In the Providence, RHODE ISLAND market,
there's a new afternoon jock at WCTK (98.1 New Bedford MA), as
Kevin Palana-Lawrence (late of Connecticut's WQGN) replaces Robby
Bridges, who's now at Connecticut's WEBE.
*Speaking of CONNECTICUT, former WICC
(600 Bridgeport) morning man John LaBarca has found a new job
not far away. He's the new morning host at Cox's news-talk WSTC
(1400 Stamford)/WNLK (1350 Norwalk), filling a hole that's been
open for a while now.
And returning to WEBE for a moment, Bob Gilmore is giving
up his Sunday morning shift after 11 years, as he switches day
jobs from ABC Radio, where he'd been an engineering manager,
to ESPN Radio up in Bristol. Kathy Taylor takes over on Sunday
mornings at WEBE.
*It's the end of the line for NEW HAMPSHIRE's
WMEX (106.5 Farmington); with the sale of the station to EMF
Broadcasting, its current oldies format goes away at 10:00 this
morning, to be replaced right away by satellite-fed "K-Love"
contemporary Christian. Program director/morning man Gary James
is taking WMEX out with a bang, filling the last weekend with
deep-cut oldies and original PAMS jingles; the station also held
a free "Last Dance" party for listeners on Saturday
night. The new calls on 106.5 once K-Love takes over will be
WKHL, an ID last heard down in Stamford, Connecticut on what's
now WCTZ. (Useless trivia, NERW-style: that Stamford station
was once WQQQ, a set of calls now in the hands of Dennis Jackson,
who's selling WMEX to EMF.)
*EMF also brings K-Love to MAINE today,
as it takes over WCYI (93.9 Lewiston) from the Last Bastion Station
Trust, which sold the station for Citadel. WCYI has been programming
an automated blues format for the last few months.
*And we close with our deepest condolences to VERMONT
Public Radio director of engineering Rich Parker on the loss
of his son, Jonathan.
After a seven-year fight with leukemia, Jonathan took a turn
for the worse last week, dying Wednesday at a Burlington hospital.
At the age of 24, Jonathan Parker was on his way to a career
in the business, studying sound recording technology and computer
engineering at UMass Lowell. He was often seen with his father
at industry gatherings, and had worked with him at VPR. Services
were held Sunday in Jericho, Vermont; we'll pass along information
about the memorial fund that's being established as soon as we
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!)
June 4, 2007 -
- It took several years, but one of the more star-crossed AM
signals in MASSACHUSETTS has found a buyer. WWZN (1510 Boston)
has had a difficult last few years, as One-on-One Sports and
its successor Sporting News Radio have tried to make a go of
it as the market's number-three sports radio station, in the
shadow of behemoth WEEI and feisty upstart WAMG/WLLH, with a
signal that misses many of the growth areas in the market and
what we hear is a very unfavorable transmitter-site lease to
- Over the years, WWZN has attempted to compete with a variety
of local shows, including several years with veteran talker Eddie
Andelman and a few seasons as the Celtics' flagship. Those stabs
at local programming failed to draw ratings or profits, and last
year the station let most of its local staff go and switched
to a combination of Sporting News Radio network feeds and leased-time
shows while owner Paul Allen (through his "Rose City Radio")
put the station and its SNR sisters in Los Angeles and New York
up for sale. The Los Angeles station, KMPC (1540), found a buyer
earlier this year, switching to Korean-language programming.
And now WWZN and WSNR (620 Jersey City NJ) are also being sold,
to a new company formed by Davidson Media principal Peter Davidson.
- His new "Blackstrap Broadcasting" will spend $20.5
million (and probably a little more, as we'll explain later in
the column when we get to the WSNR piece of the deal) to acquire
the two stations - and no sooner had that news broken last week
than the message boards and mailing lists were aflame with speculation
about the future of WWZN after Blackstrap takes over. The new
company inadvertently fueled some of that fire with a press release
that touted Davidson's committment to serving the needs of recent
immigrants with programming in their languages, a description
that fits the WSNR format (mostly Russian), but which would seem
to portend a format change away from sports at WWZN after more
than seven years with the format. That was on Tuesday, and by
Thursday WWZN GM Anthony Pepe had issued a follow-up release
saying first that "we are excited about the opportunity
to continue with sports programming at 1510 The Zone" -
and then that "1510 The Zone has been brokering time since
2005 and that will continue to be the business model under the
- In other news from around the Bay State, it appears that
the owner of WESX (1230 Salem) and WJDA (1300 Quincy) has died.
Just a year after Otto Miller bought those stations from their
longtime local ownership, flipping them to Spanish-language religion
from new studios in Quincy, we're told that Miller recently passed
away, and we can say with certainty that Mercury Capital Partners,
which funded Miller's Principal Broadcasting, is advertising
for a new CEO for the chain. (Miller also owned WDJZ in Connecticut,
and had a pending purchase of WLIE on Long Island.)
- It was almost three years ago that MAINE radio listeners
staged a noisy protest against a plan to flip WLVP (870 Gorham)
from Air America talk to ESPN sports, persuading Nassau to stick
with the progressive talk format for a while longer. With the
recent changes at Air America, most notably the recent end of
the Al Franken show, Nassau faced little opposition last week
when it tried the flip again. On Friday morning, WLVP dropped
Air America and began picking up the 24/7 ESPN feed as "ESPN
870," and this time Nassau says there were only a few complaints.
The station says it will also add some local high school sports
to the schedule.
- VERMONT Public Radio has switched network feeds on its southwestern
Vermont FMs. While WBTN-FM (94.3 Bennington) continues to carry
VPR's main feed, which is predominantly news and talk, the recently-purchased
WJAN (95.1 Sunderland) quietly flipped to VPR Classical, simulcasting
with WNCH (88.1 Norwich) and giving the all-classical network
a broader reach in the region, where it had previously been heard
on translators in Bennington and Manchester. Is the long-sought
Burlington outlet for the classical network the next announcement?
- Just one tremendously obscure bit of news from CANADA this
week, and it has to do with TV in eastern Quebec: CJPC (Channel
18) in Rimouski is changing hands, with the CRTC approving a
transfer that deletes the Rimouski transmitter from the license
of TQS flagship CFJP (Channel 35) in Montreal and adds it as
a relay of Television MBS' TQS affiliate CFTF (Channel 29) in
Riviere-du-Loup. Why make the move? It allows CJPC to sell local
advertising in Rimouski, where it will eventually add a bit of
local programming as well.
May 27, 2003 -
- The radio scene in western MASSACHUSETTS took another step
toward consolidation late last week, when Vox Media, which bought
WBEC (1420/105.5 Pittsfield) last year for $4.3 million, turned
that pair into a cluster.
- Vox will pay about $3 million to buy WUHN (1110) and WUPE
(95.9) from Philip Weiner, who has owned a piece of the stations
since 1977 and has owned them outright for the last 15 years.
- Right now, WUHN carries satellite classic country on its
5000-watt daytime signal, while WUPE carries an AC format on
its class A FM signal. Expect some changes when Vox takes over,
to better complement the news-talk format on WBEC(AM) and the
CHR of "Live 105" WBEC-FM...and we'd expect to see
a consolidation of studio facilities between WUPE/WUHN (now east
of downtown on Housatonic St.) and WBEC (west of downtown on
- The "Party"'s over on 890 in Boston; Mega pulled
the plug on Air Time Media's LMA of WBPS (890 Dedham) last Thursday
night (5/29) at 6, flipping the calls to WAMG and the format
to Spanish tropical "Mega." Sound familiar? The calls
and format move down from 1150 Boston, which Mega is selling
to Salem. 1150 picks up the WBPS calls for now, as it continues
to simulcast "Mega" until the sale closes - but expect
yet another call change there soon, cementing 1150's hold on
the "most callsigns in Boston radio history" title.
(NERW counts nine different ones: WCOP, WACQ, WHUE, WSNY, WMEX,
WROR, WNFT, WAMG and now WBPS!)
- Plenty doing in CANADA this past week (after all, it wasn't
a holiday there) - and most of the action was in the nation's
capital, where CHUM Group pulled the plug on CHR "Kool 93-dot-9"
CKKL (93.9 Ottawa) at 9:39 AM on Friday. In its place, starting
at noon, is "Bob," a classic hits/hot AC mix that describes
itself as "80s, 90s and Whatever," with a format and
nickname borrowed from CHUM's CFWM (99.9) out in Winnipeg. The
station is running jockless for a week, but most of the Kool
airstaff is expected to be back when the station goes live again
later in June.
- In NEW YORK, the Metropolitan TV Association (MTVA) has signed
a deal to locate all of the city's major TV transmitters on the
new skyscraper that will rise on the World Trade Center site.
The pact will put 11 analog and 11 digital signals on the air
from the new tower - both the stations that were on WTC (2, 4,
5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 31 and 47) and two that never were (41 and 68)
- thus easing the load on the Empire State Building once the
new site is ready. The target date is 2008, but this is New York,
after all... (2008 update: This is New York, after all...and
construction is just getting underway on the Freedom Tower.)
June 4, 1998-
can sponsor this weekly feature! Click here for information!
- The tornadoes that ripped across upstate NEW YORK on Sunday
claimed two broadcast towers in Binghamton. The 500-foot guyed
tower of WIVT-TV (Channel 34) came down in the storm while the
ABC affiliate's two master-control operators hid under the board
for safety. When they came out, they found the station's studio/transmitter
facility in shambles (it was later condemned), and their cars
in the parking lot destroyed. WIVT has not been on the air since
the tower fell, as best NERW can determine.
- Just up Ingraham Hill Road, one of the self-supporting towers
of WNBF (1290) was toppled as well. WNBF is operating on the
rest of its night array under special temporary authority.
- Elsewhere in the region, the storm silenced several Rochester
and Albany area stations briefly, including WDCZ (990) in Rochester
and WPYX (106.5), among others, in Albany.
- The long saga of New Haven's WNHC (1340) is over for now,
and the Yale Broadcasting Company's WYBC (94.3) is the winner.
On Wednesday, YBC and Buckley Broadcasting, the owner of WDRC
in Hartford, faced off in federal bankruptcy court over WNHC's
assets. When it was all over, YBC raised its initial bid by more
than $100,000, to pay $775,000 for the 1000-watt station. The
bankruptcy judge ordered WNHC owner Edie Rozier to sign the station's
current urban fornat off the air, which she did at 10:20 Thursday
morning, saying closing the station was "like losing two
families" - one at the station, and the other in New Haven's
black community. WYBC isn't saying much about its plans for 1340,
except that when it returns to the air, it will be from YBC's
165 Elm Street facility instead of WNHC's old Whalley Street
studios. We'll keep you posted as YBC gets its AM facility up
- We'll start the rest of this week's news in VERMONT, as Bruce
James begins making changes at his new Northeast Kingdom properties.
WNKV (105.5 St. Johnsbury) has a new hot-country identity as
"Kix 105.5," with the WKXH calls expected to arrive
soon. Brendan Lynch is the new morning-drive personality at "Kix,"
as well as handling PD duties there and at sister stations WSTJ
(1340 St. Johnsbury) and WMTK (106.3 Littleton NH). WMTK is now
calling itself "the Notch," with morning-driver Chris
Keach moving to afternoons and Mike Edwards taking mornings.
Mike McCoy moves from weekends at James' WGMT (97.7 Lyndonville)
to mornings at WSTJ, and Tom Field is now news director for all
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.