June 23, 2008
Fire Silences WRKI
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - ALMOST SOLD OUT!!!
*It was a bad week for Cumulus' WRKI (95.1
Brookfield CT), after a lightning hit on the station's tower
knocked its main signal off the air last Saturday (June 14).
Photos of the fire were the talk of the engineering community
early last week, as the experts pored over the shots of flames
erupting from the top of the tower and speculated on what happened.
The answer, as it turns out, was a melting radome on the lower
bay of the station's two-bay ERI rototiller antenna, and the
result was a damaged antenna and a silent station.
WRKI was back on the air at reduced power by Saturday night,
and many listeners never even noticed the outage, since classic
rock "I-95" reaches the southern half of its Fairfield
County listenership by way of on-channel booster signals in Bridgeport
and Norwalk. Unaffected by the lightning strike, those signals
stayed on the air at full power - and we hear reception was actually
a little better than usual in Stamford, where the boosters and
the main signal usually interfere a bit with each other.
Also silenced, at least briefly, was sister station WPUT (1510
Putnam NY), which has its studio-transmitter link on the tower.
It was back on the air early last week, and WRKI returned to
full power at week's end with a new antenna and transmission
Alert readers may note that this is the second such burning
FM radome in southwestern Connecticut in less than a year - last
September, the antenna of WCTZ (96.7 Stamford) took a lightning
hit and caught on fire as well.
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.
*Emmis has picked a PD for its New York rock
outlet, WRXP (101.9). Leslie Fram comes north from Atlanta, where
she's spent the last 17 years at Cumulus' WNNX (99.7 Atlanta),
the last ten as PD before its "99X" modern rock format
was moved off to an HD2 subchannel earlier this year. At WRXP,
she replaces Blake Lawrence, the last remaining holdover from
the station's previous existence as smooth jazz WQCD.
the star personalities at CBS Radio's top-billing sports station,
WFAN (660 New York) on the way out the door - or just looking
for some love at contract-renewal time? Sunday's Newsday carried
an article speculating that Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad
Dog" Russo may have done their last show together on WFAN.
They've been taking alternating vacations, and they're next scheduled
to be together on July 11. Their contract renewal comes at a
challenging time for WFAN: not only is the station still recovering
from the loss of Don Imus and his sizable ad revenue last year,
but another WFAN cash cow - the New York Mets - are in the last
year of their contract with WFAN, which has been their
home ever since the station signed on in 1987. (On the other
hand, given the general haplessness of the Mets this year, perhaps
the team isn't in the best position for contract renewal either?)
The Sacramento-based religious broadcaster EMF is expanding
yet again. Apparently not content with two networks that now
boast nearly coast-to-coast reach, EMF last week flipped several
of its "K-Love" and "Air 1" outlets in areas
with overlapping signals to a new Christian country/southern
gospel service it's calling "God's Country."
One of the new network's first affiliates is in central New
York, where EMF's purchase of several stations from Galaxy last
year gave it duplicating Utica coverage for "K-Love."
While the flagship network remains in place on WKVU (100.7 Utica),
former simulcast WOKR (93.5 Remsen) is now one of about half
a dozen "God's Country" outlets. At least when we heard
it over the weekend, the new network was running automated, unlike
the live talent on K-Love.
Is this just a test market for EMF, or could the ambitious
broadcaster, whose recent purchases have suggested almost limitless
financial resources, be thinking about another round of station
acquisitions to bring "God's Country" to more listeners?
Meanwhile, Galaxy is selling a translator in the region: W248AN
(97.5 Little Falls), which has been relaying WOUR (96.9 Utica),
goes to Bud Williamson's Digital Radio Broadcasting for $5,000.
Way up north, we caught the new 107.1 signal in Dannemora
(west of Plattsburgh) on the air in its first weeks. Originally
allotted to Saranac Lake, then to Saranac (another small town
near Plattsburgh), another recent allocations shuffle moved this
little class A signal to Dannemora, sending the as-yet-unbuilt
97.9 in the region from Dannemora to Au Sable. In any case, little
107.1 has changed calls from WDYC to WELX, and it's being leased
by owner Randy Michaels (via his RadioActive, LLC) to serve as
a simulcast of nearby WCLX (102.9 Westport).
We noticed another AM-on-FM translator as we headed out of
town last week: in Auburn, Finger Lakes Radio has flipped W251AK
(98.1 Melrose Park) from a simulcast of WNYR (98.5 Waterloo)
to a simulcast of news-talk WAUB (1590 Auburn). This is the second
such AM-on-FM translator for the company, which also runs a translator
for WCGR (1550 Canandaigua). Unfortunately, the 98.1 translator
fights to be heard anywhere east of Auburn with another co-channel
translator signal, W251AK (98.1 Nedrow/Lafayette), which relays
WVOA (103.9 Mexico) from the tower of WSYT-TV, southwest of Syracuse.
In Jamestown, Ray Hall's "Hall Closet" local talk
program is history on WJTN (1240); as of today, its midday slot
has been replaced by Ed Schultz.
Over on the TV side, it was a very bad week for staffers at
the TV stations Newport recently acquired from Clear Channel.
We're hearing there were significant job cuts at Rochester's
WHAM-TV (Channel 13), Syracuse's WSYR-TV (Channel 9) and Albany's
WXXA-TV (Channel 23), with more than a dozen people out the door
in Albany. More as we get details...
Where are they now? Bernie Kimble, who made a name for himself
at Rochester's WMJQ and WCMF in the seventies, spent the last
13 years as PD at smooth jazz WNWV (107.3 Elyria OH), in the
Cleveland market. Now he's departed that station, with no new
plans yet announced.
Matthew O'Shaughnessy made headlines two decades ago when,
as a teenager, he took to the airwaves of his father's station,
then WRTN (93.5 New Rochelle), as the host of a show called "Midnight
Metal." He's back at the stations now, hosting two shows
- a talk show called "Matthew's World" on Monday mornings
at 11 on WVOX (1460 New Rochelle) and a new version of "Metal
Mayhem" on Friday evenings from 7-9 on WVIP (93.5 New Rochelle).
And we'd known Josh Lewin, who began his broadcast career
calling games for our hometown Rochester Red Wings (he's also
a fellow graduate of Brighton High School, a year ahead of your
editor), was the TV voice of the Texas Rangers - but somewhere
along the way, we missed his other gig, as the radio voice of
the San Diego Chargers. He'll have a powerful new outlet for
the broadcasts this fall, when the Bolts add Clear Channel's
KLAC (570 Los Angeles) as an affiliate, reinforcing the team's
status as the de facto local NFL team in a market that's long
been without one.
*A big PD vacancy in MASSACHUSETTS has
been filled: Mike Thomas, who's already PD of WZLX (100.7 Boston),
adds the same duties at sister station WBCN (104.1 Boston), where
Dave Wellington exited a week ago. And while we have no doubt
Thomas will do a fine job at WBCN, we can't help but think back
to those days, a little over a decade ago, when what was then
Infinity brought longtime competitors WBCN and WZLX under the
same ownership. Mel Karmazin was running the group then, and
he vowed that the stations would be kept strictly separate -
different staffs, separate studios and all that. Progress marches
Across town at WHDH-TV (Channel 7), it's the end of the line
for general manager Randi Goldklank. She was suspended after
that bizarre incident in April at Logan International Airport
in which she was accused of drunkenly threatening several police
officers; now she's entered a plea deal to charges stemming from
that incident, and has resigned from WHDH. Former Channel 7 VP/GM
Mike Carson continues to fill that post on an interim basis.
Worcester's WCRN (830) has completed its studio move, vacating
its old digs at 1049 Main Street for new street-level studios
on the Common at 82 Franklin Street, just down the block from
the Telegram and Gazette and the old studios of competitor
Out on the Cape, WOMR (92.1 Provincetown) is getting ready
to launch a fundraising campaign to build out its new second
service. Lower Cape Communications was recently granted a CP
for WFMR (91.3) in Orleans, and the Boston Globe's Clea
Simon reports there's a target date of October 2009 for the new
signal, which may carry some new programming in addition to simulcasts
of WOMR's own programming.
to WARE (1250 Ware), which is celebrating its 60th birthday all
summer. The station is broadcasting historical vignettes and
doing prize giveaways through August, and it'll wrap up the celebration
with a daylong party August 2 at Pulaski Park in Three Rivers,
reports owner Marshall Sanft (aka Bruce Marshall).
*In VERMONT, there are some changes
on the way at WEZF (92.9 Burlington). PD Gale Parmelee has departed
"Star 92.9," and we understand Steve Cormier is handling
those duties for the moment until a replacement is named. Meanwhile,
former Star middayer Jenny Foxx is on the way back to the station
after spending the last year or so at WTNN (97.5 Bristol); she'll
be working off-air until her noncompete expires later this year.
*We can now put a price on Access.1's sale
of most of its NEW JERSEY radio properties - the new Atlantic
Broadcasting group is paying $9.5 million for WMGM (103.7 Atlantic
City), WZXL (100.7 Wildwood), WTKU (98.3 Ocean City), WOND (1400
Pleasantville) and WTAA (1490 Pleasantville), plus Access.1's
real estate in the market. That's a steep discount from what
Access.1 paid just a few years ago, and we hear the company is
now trying to sell its remaining properties in the market, primarily
NBC affiliate WMGM-TV (Channel 40).
There's a call change in South Jersey, too: WXXY (88.7 Port
Republic) is now WGXM, calls last seen in the Dayton, Ohio market
a few years back.
*A PENNSYLVANIA newsman has resigned
after accidentally carrying a loaded weapon into a courthouse.
KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh) reporter Rob Milford was suspended after
the incident last Monday, when he says he forgot that the gun
was in his briefcase when he went through security at the Allegheny
County Courthouse. But Milford also lacked a license to carry
a concealed weapon, and by week's end he and KDKA had "come
to a mutual agreement" on his departure.
town at KQV (1410 Pittsburgh), they're mourning anchor Steve
Lohle, who suffered a fatal heart attack at his Beaver County
home Friday morning. Lohle's radio roots were in Massachusetts,
where he started his career in the late sixties at WQRC (99.9
Barnstable), then moved to Springfield's WMAS (1450)/WHVY (94.7).
He came to KQV in 1974 and had been there ever since. Lohle was
There's another addition to the Ryan Seacrest syndication
juggernaut: WAEB-FM (104.1 Allentown) picks up his LA-based "On
Air" show for middays (noon-3), starting next Monday. That
displaces PD Laura St. James to the 9-noon shift and music director
Eric Chase to 3-7 PM, followed by "Grooves," who'll
be voicetracking from sister station WIHT in Washington.
Seacrest has also landed at Clear Channel's Harrisburg cluster,
where he'll be heard in middays on "Kiss" WHKF (99.3),
after the "Dave and Jimmy Show" from CC's WNCI in Columbus,
Ohio. Mike Miller moves from mornings on Kiss to afternoons,
while PD JT Bosch moves from afternoons on Kiss to afternoons
on "Bob" country WRBT (94.9). Bosch also takes the
PD role at WRBT as Joe Kelly exits. Former Kiss morning co-host
Emily exits as well.
There's a new signal on the air in Honesdale: Four Rivers
Community Radio put WZZH (90.9) on the air last week, relaying
the "Word FM" network from sister station WBYO (88.9
Sellersville) into the Scranton area.
another AM station in CANADA is applying to vacate the
band. CKDH (900 Amherst) is one of only a half-dozen or so AM
signals remaining in Nova Scotia, and now it, too, wants to make
the move to FM. It's applying to go to 101.7, reports the Halifax
Chronicle-Herald; we'll have technical details for you
once the CRTC releases them.
We can now clarify some of the callsign confusion surrounding
Moses Znaimer's classical signals in Toronto and Cobourg, Ontario:
after initially applying to flip CFMX-FM (103.1 Cobourg) and
CFMX-FM-1 (96.3 Toronto) to CFMZ and CFMZ-FM-1, respectively,
then rescinding those new calls, they've settled on CFMZ for
the Toronto signal and CFMX for Cobourg, reflecting the increasing
split in programming between the two signals.
On the TV side, CKXT (Sun TV) has been granted permission
to shift its Ottawa DTV signal from channel 62 to channel 20,
sharing an antenna with TVOntario.
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 25, 2007 -
- Add another to the list of job openings for talk hosts in
MASSACHUSETTS - and this one's an especially sad one. As he continues
to recuperate from his fourth brain surgery in less than three
years, WBZ (1030 Boston) evening talk host Paul Sullivan announced
last week that he's giving up the shift, which he inherited after
the death of David Brudnoy in 2004.
- In a letter to his listeners and colleagues, Sullivan wrote,
"The toll my surgeries and treatments have taken on me makes
it unlikely that I will ever have the energy to return to a four-hour
daily talk radio program." He'll return to WBZ this Thursday
night for a final "farewell" show, and he says he'll
continue to be a presence on the station as much as he's able,
whether through commentaries, website postings or occasional
guest-hosting stints when he's feeling up to it.
- We wish Sullivan all the best as he focuses on his fight
against brain cancer, of course - and we wonder who WBZ will
turn to as it tries, once again, to fill its 8 PM to midnight
shift. For the moment, weekender Jordan Rich and WBZ-TV reporter
Dan Rea have been covering his shift, but there's nothing to
suggest Rea wants the shift full-time, and we'd suspect the station
wants someone with deeper political roots than Rich. (2008
update: Shows how much we knew - the slot did go to Rea, whose
"Nightside" show debuted several months later, after
- In MAINE, the movement of Citadel's WCYI (93.9 Lewiston)
and WCLZ (98.9 Brunswick) into a trust pending sale meant a change
of simulcasts last week: WCYI is now rebroadcasting the AAA sounds
of WCLZ, instead of the modern rock of WCYY (94.3 Biddeford),
which remained with Citadel. One exception to the simulcast:
WCYI is carrying the Opie & Anthony morning show, while WCLZ
- The Law of Program Director Conservation was in full play
last week in NEW YORK. At CBS Radio's revived WXRK (92.3), the
PD chair last occupied by John Mainelli (before the abrupt demise
of "Free FM") was filled by Tracy Cloherty, a familiar
name in Big Apple programming circles. Cloherty was PD of Emmis'
WQHT (97.1) for many years, before retreating to a consulting
role, and now she'll trade rap for rock as she moves uptown to
- Meanwhile downtown at Emmis, WRKS (98.7) lost its PD. Toya
Beasley, who's been with Kiss since 1989, and its PD since 1997,
is - you guessed it - dropping back to a consultancy with the
station. No replacement has been named yet.
- The big news from PENNSYLVANIA is all about signal upgrades,
starting with Greater Media's WJJZ (97.5 Burlington NJ), which
flipped the switch last week on its new class B signal from the
Wyndmoor tower just north of Philadelphia. It's now a 26 kW/682'
signal with a directional notch to the northwest protecting WRVV
(97.3 Harrisburg), and early reports suggest a much better signal
in center city Philadelphia than 97.5 enjoyed from its old site
June 23, 2003 -
- Nobody ever said working in radio was a stable career path
- but last week was a particularly treacherous one for radio
people all over NERW-land.
- We'll start in NEW YORK, where WCBS-FM (101.1) broke even
more dramatically from its long run as "WABC, Continued"
- by parting ways with Dan Ingram. The WABC veteran had spent
the last 12 years doing weekends on WCBS-FM - but when CBS-FM
PD Joe McCoy came to him and asked him to give up the Saturday
half of his shift to Dan Daniel, Ingram said no, and CBS-FM said
- But if Ingram's crying in his "Tri-Fi Drums," he'll
have plenty of company this week. Out on Long Island, talker
WLIE (540 Islip) had some cost-cutting to do as well, axing Lynn
Samuels from its weekend schedule - and, says Samuels on her
Web site - cutting morning news anchor Tracy Burgess and midday
talk host John Gomez from its schedule as well.
- But wait - there's more. Over at Barnstable Broadcasting's
Long Island cluster, operations manager Bill George was shown
the door amidst a staff shuffle that moved Bill Edwards (longtime
PD of WALK) from afternoons on WLVG (96.1 Center Moriches) to
PD/afternoons on "K-JOY" WKJY (98.3 Hempstead), replacing
Scott Miller - who heads out to WLVG for afternoons.
- Still more? If you're a fan of shock talk radio, there is:
WABC (770) pulled Michael Savage's Talk Radio Network show off
its evening schedule, apparently as part of a dispute between
Savage and ABC that began when ABC's KSFO (560 San Francisco)
declined to meet Savage's contract renewal demands. Weekend guy
Mark Levin is filling in on WABC's evening shift.
- Up here in Rochester, we hear morning team Karlson &
McKenzie cleaned out their desks at Infinity's WZNE (94.1 Brighton)
on Friday; all mention of them has been purged from "The
Zone"'s Web site, and you won't find any mention of WZNE
on K&M's site, either. Could this have something to do with
the noises the boys were making in the trades about syndicating
their show? Stay tuned... (and yes, Boston readers - same Karlson
& McKenzie who were on WEGQ for a little while in the nineties.)
- Speaking of Rochester, WWWG (1460) has applied for new call
letters when it flips to Catholic religious programming in a
week or so. "WHIC" will be the new calls, and we've
got to wonder whether that isn't a backhanded homage to the station's
first 47 years on the air as WHEC...
- Big doings in CANADA: Rogers is moving the "Mad Dog
and Billie" morning show, last heard on CISS (92.5 Toronto)
when it was still "Kiss," up the dial to CHFI (98.1),
which gets a slightly harder musical edge as well.
- And yes, that means more personnel changes: CHFI's morning
team of Bob Magee and Erin Davis splits up, with Magee (who did
the CHFI show solo last week) moving over to CISS under its new
"Jack" identity and Davis being shown the door. On
her Weblog, Davis says she's taking some time off and visiting
family in British Columbia while figuring out what to do next.
June 23, 1998-
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2008 by Scott Fybush.