August 11, 2008
Non-Competes Outlawed in New York
*Non-compete contracts became a thing of
the past for broadcast employees in NEW YORK State as
of Thursday, when Gov. David Paterson signed the Broadcast Employees
Freedom to Work Act. The legislation was strongly supported by
AFTRA, but faced intense opposition from the New York State Broadcasters
Association, which attempted to rally its members to lobby against
The governor, however, was sympathetic to the case presented
by AFTRA and its members. "The contract provisions were
banning placed an unfair burden on these professionals by limiting
their ability to move to other employers within the same market
or within a certain time period," Paterson said in a statement
after signing the bill. "With the approval of this bill,
we hope to empower broadcasters with greater independence as
they pursue employment options."
least here in western New York, the immediate question raised
by the bill's passage was, "what happens to Brother Wease?"
The former WCMF (96.5 Rochester) morning man has been off the
air since his contract dispute with WCMF's new owners, Entercom,
flared up late last year; while he's now working for Clear Channel,
we're told other provisions of Wease's Entercom contract will
still keep him off the air until around Thanksgiving, when he'll
reappear at Clear Channel's WFXF (95.1 Honeoye Falls).
*There's one other Clear Channel Rochester note to offer this
week: WHTK (1280 Rochester) quietly changed its branding from
"Hot Talk 1280" to "Sportstalk 1280" last
week. We're sure that has nothing, nothing at all, to
do with the impending format change at Entercom's WROC (950 Rochester),
which has apparently registered "sportsradio950espn.com"
as a new domain name.
The biggest news out of New York City was also from Clear
Channel, as yet another PD is departing its cluster there. This
time it's Bob Buchmann, PD of WAXQ (104.3 New York), whose exit
next week will put Tom Poleman, the cluster's senior VP/programming,
in control of Q104.3, assisted by APD Eric Wellman. Buchmann's
2-4 PM airshift will be divided between middayer Maria Milito
and afternoon jock Ken Dashow.
(Another former New York PD also exited Clear Channel last
week; Kevin Metheny had spent a decade with CC's Cleveland cluster,
but is probably best known, forever, as the WNBC programmer dubbed
"Pig Virus" in Howard Stern's "Private Parts"
book and immortalized by Paul Giamatti as "Pig Vomit"
in the movie version; there's no word yet on where Metheny is
on the New York AM dial, Wednesday (Aug. 6) marked the debut
of Salem's new talker. WNYM (970 Hackensack NJ) wrapped up several
days of stunting (including an all-Sinatra day) with an hour
of a countdown clock, followed by a brief welcome to its talk
format, then right into the Mike Gallagher show. While there
are no strictly local shows on WNYM, Salem is trying to create
as many links as it can between its syndicated lineup and the
city, most notably in the case of Gallagher, the former WABC
morning man whose program originates from the Empire State Building.
The rest of the lineup includes the Wall Street Journal Report
(5-6 AM), Bill Bennett (6-9 AM), Dennis Prager (noon-3 PM), Michael
Medved (3-6 PM), Hugh Hewitt (6-9 PM), Laura Schlessinger (9-midnight),
John Gibson (midnight-3 AM) and Jim Bohannon (3-5 AM). WNYM brings
Fox News Radio an hourly clearance in New York as well, with
Metro Networks providing local news headlines.
While we're across the Hudson, we note that Arthur Liu's Multicultural
Broadcasting has been granted a construction permit to power
WNSW (1430 Newark) up to 10 kW days/7 kW nights from the site
in Clifton, NEW JERSEY that it now shares (under
Special Temporary Authority, at reduced power) with WPAT (930
Paterson). WNSW's former 5 kW site in Union, N.J. was demolished
last year. In order for WNSW to power up, another Multicultural
station has to be moved. The FCC also granted WNYG (1440 Babylon)
a CP to move east to Medford, where it will diplex on the existing
site of WLIM (1580 Patchogue), running 1 kW days, 190 watts nights,
DA-N. Liu will have six months to sell WNYG, which was grandfathered
over the limit of five AM signals allowed in a single market.
(And we'd note that WNYG's move will end a very long history
of broadcasting from the little brick building alongside Route
109 in Babylon; it seems as though almost everyone in Long Island
radio history passed through those studios at one time or another
during their many years as home to WNYG and its erstwhile sister
Long Island note: With the closing of Clear Channel's privatization
deal, WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue) and WALK (1370 Patchogue) have
entered the Aloha Station Trust; the stations have been for sale,
in one form or another, for over a year now, and no immediate
changes are expected there.
*Moving back upstate, Citadel's split with Opie and Anthony
extended to Buffalo last week, as the New York-based morning
duo vanished from the airwaves of WEDG (103.3), abruptly replaced
by PD "Evil" Jim Kurdziel, who says he's there only
temporarily. Don't expect a morning return for Shredd and Ragan,
now well-established in afternoons at WEDG; instead, Kurdziel
is looking for a new local morning show for the station.
Canandaigua's WCGR (1550) quietly changed formats last week.
The little daytimer had been part of the Finger Lakes Radio Group's
"Finger Lakes News Network," based at sister station
WGVA (1240 Geneva), but once WGCR's AM signal began simulcasting
on translator W283BF (104.5), we hear there were some territorial
squabbles with Rochester's big-signal WHAM (1180) over rights
to Michael Savage, who's heard live at 6 PM on FLNN and delayed
later at night on WHAM. In any event, WCGR is now running satellite
oldies, leaving FLNN on its remaining affiliates - WGVA, WAUB
(1590 Auburn) and WFLR (1570 Dundee).
(A few more Finger Lakes translator notes - in Ithaca, Saga's
two AM stations are now being heard on the FM dial - WHCU 870
on W238AA 95.5, formerly a relay of WYXL 97.3, and WNYY 1470
on W276AO 103.3, formerly on 103.1 as a relay of WQNY 103.7.)
In Watertown, Intrepid Broadcasting's WBLH (92.5 Black River)
debuted for real August 1, ending a month and a half of stunting
(we never did get to hear its 45-minute loop, alas) with the
sign-on of an adult hits format as "Your Tunes 92.5."
WBLH's studios are in the J.B. Wise Plaza, just north of Public
Square in downtown Watertown.
Plattsburgh, WIRY (1340) is making plans to move out of the studios
on Cornelia Street that it's called home for almost half a century.
The former veterinary office will be demolished to make way
for a new Walgreen's drug store (sigh...), but WIRY will pack
up its vintage microphones and cassette singles and AM stereo
processing and relocate its studio and transmitter across town
to 4704 Route 9, south of downtown Plattsburgh. WIRY hopes to
be settled into its new digs by Thanksgiving. (Fortunately, we
had the opportunity to visit and photograph the old facility
recently, so you'll see it on Tower
Site of the Week before it's all gone...)
In Olean, Chris Hicks is exiting WMXO (101.5)/WOEN (1360),
where he's served as PD/MD; he's moving to Charleston, West Virginia
to serve as "multimedia engineer" for WCHS-TV/WVAH-TV.
Moving back downstate, WTSX (96.7 Port Jervis) has dropped
its "Fox Country" format, returning to a simulcast
of sister station WGNY-FM (103.1 Newburgh), playing classic hits
as "The Fox."
And we close our Empire State report this week with several
Joe Famm was born Joe Famiglietti 92 years ago, starting his
media career with the old New York Mirror. When the paper
folded, "Joe Famm" moved to WABC, serving as City Hall
bureau chief for many years, as well as president of the New
York Press Club. Famiglietti's wife, Pamela, had died in June.
Floyd Misek was known as "Floyd the Food Guy" to
viewers of Rochester's R News and its Time Warner cable sister
stations around the state. After leaving R News in 2004, Misek
had been hosting programs for Rochester's Marketplace Liquors
on WHEC (Channel 10); earlier in his career, he'd written for
the Watertown Daily Times as "Dr. Lazaro." An
accomplished chef and caterer, and a good friend and former colleague
to your editor, Misek died Aug. 1 in New York of a brain tumor.
He was just 58.
We vividly recall the national headlines back in 1979 when
Ragan Henry became the first African-American owner of a commercial
TV network affiliate as his BENI Broadcasting purchased WHEC-TV
from Gannett. In several decades of TV and radio ownership, his
holdings also included Philadelphia's WWDB-FM and Atlanta's WAOK/WVEE.
Henry died July 26 at age 74 after a long illness; he didn't
want his passing announced immediately, and news of his death
emerged only late last week.
And as the world mourns Isaac Hayes, who died Sunday (Aug.
10) at his Memphis home, we recall that in addition to his tremendous
musical career, Hayes was also a New York City morning host,
doing mornings on WRKS (Kiss 98.7) from 1996-1999, then continuing
as local host after the station picked up the Tom Joyner syndicated
show from 1999-2002. Hayes would have turned 66 next week.
Edited by NERW's own Scott Fybush - on sale now as
an e-book or printed volume!
*In PENNSYLVANIA, Miss Jones is history
at Radio One's WPHI (100.3 Media/Philadelphia), just a month
after moving her morning show there from its original home at
New York's WQHT (97.1). For now, WPHI is running a music-intensive
morning show as it looks for a new host.
Across town at CBS Radio's WYSP (94.1 Philadelphia), Jeff
Sottolano has been promoted from music and marketing director
to PD, filling the gap left in May by the dismissal of John Cook.
Sottolano has had a meteoric rise within the company, starting
just seven years ago as an intern at Rochester's WZNE (also 94.1)
and rising to PD at that station before moving to WYSP in 2006.
CBS Radio's talker WPHT (1210 Philadelphia) is reworking its
evening lineup. With the departure of Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli
from the 6-10 PM Monday-Thursday/9 PM-midnight Friday slot (he'll
now be heard Sunday nights at 10), Dom Giordano moves up from
late nights to fill Mazzarelli's "1210 Tonight" slot.
In Pittsburgh, there's a new local sports lineup at ESPN Radio's
WEAE (1250) to fill the hole left by the firing of Mark Madden
a few months back. Stan Savran, who worked at WEAE's predecessor
WTAE, then later went to Clear Channel's WBGG (970), returns
to 1250 to anchor the 10 AM-1 PM show alongside Guy Junker and
Chris Mack. From 3-6 PM, Scott Paulsen, late of WDVE, WTZN and
(briefly) KDKA, is now working with former WEAE middayer Eddy
Crow and former Steelers defensive back Mike Logan.
Speaking of KDKA, the venerable station is
for sale for the first time in its 88 years. CBS Radio announced
last week that it's looking to downsize its station holdings,
spinning off about 50 stations in smaller markets. That could
include the Hartford, CONNECTICUT cluster, complete with
the big 50 kW signal of WTIC (1080) - and employees in Pittsburgh
were told last week that their stations are being shopped around
as well. NERW notes that while the name on the license has changed
over the years, from Westinghouse to CBS to Infinity and back
to CBS, KDKA has never been offered for sale. In the face of
a slumping market and tough competition from FM talker WPGB (104.7),
would this heritage signal bring as much value now as it would
have a few years ago - and would a new owner tolerate the interference
from WBZ (1030 Boston)'s digital signal, a tradeoff CBS is now
willing to make internally?
There's a station sale in the works in Hazleton, where Route
81 is now LMA'ing WAZL (1490) to its current airstaff, including
Mike Haydock, Mike Moran, Tony Pacelli and Leo Valovich.
There's a new station coming to Chambersburg: WROG (102.9
Cumberland MD) signed off for good from its Maryland location
last week, and will soon sign on from Chambersburg as a class
A signal on 93.3. The move will allow another of Bob Stevens'
stations, WANB-FM (103.1), to complete its move from Waynesburg
to Mount Pleasant, bringing it closer to Pittsburgh.
In Lansford, northwest of Philadelphia, WLSH (1410) has segued
from standards to oldies.
In State College, Family Stations (the Oakland, California
group, no relation to the upstate New York/northern Pennsylvania
Family Life Network) has put WXFR (88.3) on the air, carrying
its religious format piped in by satellite from the West Coast.
In the Erie market,
WYNE (1530 North East) was off the air last week after a fire
destroyed its transmitter facility. The fire was apparently set
by teenage arsonists seeking to cover up a burglary at a dentist's
office - which happened to occupy the building that was once
the studios for WHYP (1530/100.9) and their successor stations
WEYZ/WRKT, and which was still home to the transmitter for 1530.
WYNE returned to the air Friday after putting up a smaller transmitter
structure to replace the damaged building; its studios in downtown
North East were not damaged.
Down the road in Erie proper, budget cuts at Citadel claimed
the job of WXKC (99.9) morning newsman Dave Benson, who was sent
packing after the August 4 morning show. Benson had been with
"Classy 100" for over two decades.
And we have three obituaries from the Keystone State to close
out this section of our report:
Ed Harvey, who died August 6 in Malvern, began his Philadelphia
broadcast career in 1951 when he joined WCAU radio and TV as
an announcer. In 1960, he became the first talk host in the city
to take phone calls on-air, and he continued to host "The
Talk of Philadelphia" as WCAU transitioned from full-service
to full-time talk. (He also continued to do other announcing,
incuding calling the Eagles' last championship season in 1960.)
Harvey left WCAU in the early seventies, working in PR, but he
kept a hand in radio, spending a brief time as owner of WYIS
(690 Phoenixville, now WPHE). Harvey was 92.
James McKenna, who died July 23 in Hightstown, N.J., was best
known for his long career as a Washington attorney, representing
clients including ABC. But he was also a station owner in the
seventies and eighties, with holdings that included WCMB/WSFM
(now WTKT/WHKF) in Harrisburg, as well as WWQM in Madison, Wisconsin
and KQRS in Minneapolis. McKenna was 90.
And Edie Huggins, who died July 29 in Philadelphia, blazed
a pioneering trail as the first black woman to work on-air as
a TV reporter in the city. Huggins spent 42 years at WCAU-TV
(Channel 10), starting as a features reporter on John Facenda's
"Big News Team," anchoring the midday "What's
Happening" show and more recently working as a street reporter
and host of the "Huggins' Hero" segments. Huggins,
who had been battling cancer, was 72.
*In RHODE ISLAND, they're awaiting the reissue
of the Providence Arbitron ratings after the book was abruptly
withdrawn last week. Arbitron says six diaries were returned
from a "media-affiliated" household in East Greenwich,
R.I., and that those diaries substantially affected ratings for
WPRO (630 Providence)/WEAN (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale).
The Boston Herald and other media outlets immediately
focused on WPRO's morning host, John DePetro, who happens to
live in East Greenwich, and local TV newscasts led with video
of DePetro in his car leaving the station, saying little of substance
about the issue. The Herald reported that the six questionable
diaries claimed to be from three women and three men, all aged
27-34, who reported 109 hours of listening to DePetro's show
- and that the spring book jumped WPRO from 11th place (with
a 2.0) to fourth place (with a 6.8) among listeners 25-54.
What will the revised numbers say - and will DePetro's job
be affected? Stay tuned...
*The public TV station serving western MASSACHUSETTS
will leave the analog airwaves earlier than planned. WGBY
(Channel 57) announced last week that it will turn off its analog
signal November 5, retiring an aging analog transmitter that
has been operating at half-power and easing the transition that
will replace the current WGBY-DT (Channel 58) with a new signal
on channel 22, currently home to the analog signal of NBC affiliate
WWLP-TV. (WWLP-DT will remain on its present channel, 11.)
In Boston, the second local newscasts in HD hit the airwaves
at noon on July 29, when WHDH (Channel 7) quietly inaugurated
its HD broadcasts. "7 News in HD" is being seen not
only on WHDH-DT, but also at 10 PM on sister station WLVI-HD.
There's no word on when the remaining two standard-def local
newscasts, CBS' WBZ-TV/WSBK and Fox's WFXT, will go HD.
In Fall River, Keri Rodrigues has departed WSAR (1480), where
she was PD/news director and morning co-host, to join the Bristol
County District Attorney's office. In her new job as assistant
director of community affairs, she'll be focusing on child and
senior abuse; Hector ("Happy Hec") Gauthier continues
in morning drive on WSAR.
And we join in mourning one of the giants of Boston TV news.
At various times in his long career, Jim Thistle served as news
director for WKBG-TV (Channel 56, now WLVI); WBZ-TV (Channel
4), where he expanded the evening newscasts to 90 minutes; WCVB
(Channel 5), where he served as news director from 1974-1982
at the peak of the station's local prominence; and WNEV (Channel
7, now WHDH-TV), where he worked from 1988-1990. In his later
years, Thistle turned to academia, joining the Boston University
faculty in 1982 and training a new generation of TV reporters,
anchors and producers. Thistle had been battling cancer; he was
66 when he died July 29 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
MAINE, the closing of the $11 million Blueberry Broadcasting
purchase of the former Clear Channel stations in Augusta and
Bangor brought some personnel changes. Jack O'Brien, who'd been
working as operations manager for Citadel's stations in Des Moines,
Iowa, returns to Maine to be director of programming and operations
for the stations. That sent Steve "Reverend" Smith,
who'd had the PD/OM roles at WTOS (105.1 Skowhegan), packing;
also out at WTOS are APD/afternoon jock Chris Rush and midday
*In VERMONT, WCFR (1480 Springfield)
is now being heard on the FM dial as well. The translator formerly
known as W294AP (106.7 Claremont NH) has been relocated to Springfield
and 106.5, where it's now W293BH - and we hear its 10 watts is
doing a nice job of covering Springfield with WCFR's oldies format.
*A former Vermont jock has relocated to NEW
HAMPSHIRE. Ashley Hoover was with WZRT (97.1 Rutland), but
is now doing nights at WJYY (105.5 Concord), where she replaces
*In CANADA, Newcap is expanding its
footprint in Ontario with the C$18.95 million purchase of 12
FM stations from the Haliburton Broadcasting Group. The stations
are the "Moose FM" outlets in the Muskoka, North Bay
and Timmins areas; it appears that Haliburton keeps its French-language
stations in Sudbury, Timmins, Hearst and Kapuskasing, as well
as its "Moose" station in Haldimand/Norfolk (CKJN 92.9)
and CIYN (The Coast) in Kincardine, but we won't know for certain
until the assignment application is filed with the CRTC.
In Toronto, changes are underway now that Moses Znaimer has
taken control of CFZM (740); the station's standards format will
give way to at least one talk show beginning today, when Dale
Goldhawk launches the 10 AM-1 PM "Goldhawk Fights Back"
show. A preview of the show on Goldhawk's website identifies
Znaimer's target audience as "Zoomers - boomers with a zest
for life," which may give a clue as to the station's new
calls. (They're also Znaimer's initials, reversed, to complement
sister station CFMZ 96.3.)
On the FM dial, "Humble Howard" Glassman takes over
today as morning host at CJEZ (EZ Rock 97.3), replacing Stu Jeffries,
reports Milkman UnLimited.
Milky also reports some personnel changes in southern Ontario:
at Astral Media's St. Catharines stations, CHRE (EZ Rock 105.7)
and CKTB (610), Sarah Cummings has been promoted to PD, while
in Kitchener, Mike "Mike Daddy" Wyman has departed
CKBT (91.5 the Beat) after four years.
North of London, My Broadcasting has been granted a new link
in its "My FM" chain. Its new signal in Exeter, Ontario
will operate on 90.5 with 1330 watts, DA.
Sudbury, a new signal is now testing. Larche Communications'
CICS (KICX 91.7) began testing July 28, and is due to launch
with its country format on August 18, boasting of being the first
FM country station in the market in 18 years.
In Quebec, Corus' CHLT-FM (102.1 Sherbrooke) has been granted
CRTC permission to move up the dial to 107.7, increasing power
and allowing CHLT (630) to leave the air. The move comes over
the objections of Vermont Public Radio, which rallied listeners
to its WVPS (107.9 Burlington) in the Eastern Townships area
to complain to the CRTC about potential interference. VPR's complaints
met a deaf ear at the CRTC, however; the commission notes that
as a US-based signal, WVPS has no protection from interference
across the border.
And we note the passing of Richard Dolph "Dick"
Buchanan, whose family put CKPC in Brantford, Ontario on the
air in 1923. Buchanan had owned CKPC (1380) and CKPC-FM (92.1)
since 1972, when he purchased the stations from his mother. Buchanan
recently boosted power on both signals - to 25 kW on the AM and
80 kW on the FM - and took pride in keeping both stations live
and local around the clock. Buchanan died July 29 after a battle
with cancer. He was 76.
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!)
August 7, 2007 -
- So there we were on Friday night, wearing our "editor
of 100000watts.com" hat, plugging in call letter updates,
when we noticed a new callsign - WKEL, for EMF's new signal in
Confluence, PENNSYLVANIA. That was all well and good - except
for one question: what new signal in Confluence, PA? Actually,
there was a second question, too: where the heck is Confluence,
PA? And a third: how did a new signal in an obscure western Pennsylvania
town slip right past us?
- After a bit of frenzied digging, it turns out that the class
A signal on 98.5 isn't a completely new facility after all -
it's the infamous "Meyersdale FM" that went unclaimed
in one round of FCC spectrum auctions, then went to EMF for $376,000
in another round of auctions back in January. It also turns out
that, under the FCC's new rules for moving an FM allocation,
it's going to be much easier for moves like this one to happen
in the same stealthy way this one did, through a minor amendment
to a pending application.
- In this particular case, it turns out that EMF filed the
application way back in February, it was accepted in March, and
was granted in late June. So where is Confluence, and why would
EMF want to move an unbuilt station there from Meyersdale? It's
a community of some 800 people, on the Youghiogheny River about
10 miles west of Meyersdale and 15 miles southeast of Uniontown
- but the application calls for a transmitter site well to the
northwest of Confluence, near Mill Run in Fayette County.
- By itself, the new WKEL won't even approach Pittsburgh rimshot
status - it'll be nearly a 50-mile shot, on a channel that's
first-adjacent to in-town WOGI (98.3 Duquesne). But it will put
a decent signal over much of Fayette County, including Uniontown
and Connellville, and it will eliminate the need for EMF to feed
its chain of (as yet unbuilt) "K-Love" translators
serving Pittsburgh from a primary station way down in Grafton,
- Up in Montrose, between Scranton and Binghamton, WPEL may
soon be abandoning the 1250 frequency that's been its home for
60 years. The southern gospel station (sister to the big-signal
religious WPEL-FM on 96.5) has been granted a CP to move down
the dial to 800, where it will still run 1000 watts by day, and
will add night service with 135 watts, all non-directional.
- Multicultural Broadcasting's WNSW (1430 Newark) has signed
off from its two-tower site next to the Garden State Parkway
in Union, NEW JERSEY, and the station is now operating at reduced
power from the WPAT (930 Paterson) site nine miles north in Clifton.
WNSW (which changed format not long ago, from Korean to Spanish
religion) holds a construction permit to go to 10 kW days, 7
kW nights, diplexing on all four of WPAT's towers, but Multicultural
has to resolve the interference issue with co-owned WNYG (1440
Babylon NY) first; it's hoping the FCC will move quickly on its
application to move WNYG out east to Medford, NY.
- Sinclair Broadcast Group is bowing out of TV ownership in
MASSACHUSETTS, selling WGGB-TV (Channel 40) to John Gormally's
Gormally Broadcasting for $21.2 million and restoring local ownership
to the TV market for the first time since the 1983 sale of WWLP-TV
(Channel 22). Gormally publishes the "Business West"
business newspaper, and the ABC affiliate is his first television
August 11, 2003 -
- One of CANADA's largest broadcasters is taking an interest
in the radio scene across the border. Standard Radio, which owns
Toronto's CFRB, Montreal's CJAD, CJFM and CHOM and Ottawa's CKQB,
among others, bought a 25% interest (the maximum allowable to
a foreign owner) in Martz Communications last week, giving it
a piece of a broadcaster that's been giving it headaches in Montreal.
- Tim Martz has long specialized in border broadcasting, buying
and selling stations everywhere from Calais, Maine to northern
Minnesota with an eye towards sending his signals across the
border into Canada. At the moment, his station group includes
nine stations in northern New York: top 40 WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay),
oldies WICY (1490 Malone), country WVNV (96.5 Malone), top 40
"Yes FM" WYSX (98.7 Ogdensburg)/WYSI (96.7 Canton),
AC WVLF (96.1 Norwood), oldies WMSA (1340 Massena), rock WRCD
(101.5 Canton) and country WNCQ-FM (102.9 Morristown) - and of
those, the one that's the biggest concern to Standard is WYUL,
which puts a signal into much of Montreal, yet is unbound by
the Canadian regulations on hit music content, language (unlike
the Montreal stations, it can give traffic reports in French
and English) and Canadian music content.
- With Standard's money in the picture, will WYUL ease up on
its attacks on Standard's CJFM ("Mix 96"), including
the taunting Web site URL of www.nixthemix.com? Or will Standard
put its hit-music energy into the cross-border signal and refocus
CJFM in another direction? It should be interesting to watch...especially
for Standard's Montreal competitors.
- While we're in the Seaway Valley, a surprise format change
at Corus: it dumped the country at CJSS (101.9 Cornwall) on Friday
afternoon, replacing "Blaze" with "Rock 101.9,"
which looks like a carbon copy of Corus' very successful CFMI
(Rock 101) in Vancouver. Could this, too, be a reaction to the
Standard/Martz moves, especially so close on the dial to "Fox"
101.5 over in Canton?
- Just across the border in upstate NEW YORK, WJJL (1440 Niagara
Falls) is in chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings - but with a steady
hand to guide it through its recovery. Pittsburgh-based broker/consultant
Ray Rosenblum, a good friend of this column, has been named as
"special consultant" to WJJL's owner M.J. Phillips
Communications by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Carl Bucki. We enjoy
WJJL's unusual and obscure oldies format, and we're hopeful that
Ray can help the station get back on its feet.
- Up in north central MASSACHUSETTS, WINQ (97.7 Winchendon)
broke from its simulcast of news-talk WKBK (1290 Keene NH) last
week; it's now doing country as "Wink Country," we're
- On the LPFM front, the Talking Information Center gets 104.3
in Pittsfield, where it'll bring its talking-book service to
the Berkshires from the WBRK-FM (101.7) tower; over in North
Adams, Gospel Train Ministry gets 98.9 for an LPFM.
- Citadel has handed off the keys to WAHL (99.9 Athol) and
WCAT (700 Orange); the FCC has signed off on the sale of the
stations to Steven Silberberg, doing business as "County
- And a very belated obituary: V. Birney Imes, Jr. died March
12 in Alabama, just three days short of his 89th birthday. Imes
was an important player in Granite State broadcasting, buying
WMUR (Channel 9) in Manchester in 1981 and building it from a
tiny station in an old house on Elm Street into a respected broadcast
operation before selling it to Hearst-Argyle in 2000 for $185
million, a $180 million profit over his purchase price.
August 6, 1998 -
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- Boston's WB affiliate was knocked off the air Tuesday morning
when a 42-ton crane crashed through the roof of its studio building.
The crane was attempting to put the STL tower in place at the
building next door to WLVI (Channel 56) on Morrissey Boulevard,
which will be the home to Greater Media's Boston group (WBOS,
WSJZ, WKLB-FM, WROR, and WMJX) this fall. The crane flipped on
its side, sending the 140-foot tower into the hallway at WLVI.
- The Channel 56 building was immediately evacuated, but engineers
were able to get a signal back on the air from the transmitter
site within about an hour. Later in the day, WLVI borrowed a
satellite truck from New England Cable News to downlink the Kids'
WB programming from sister station WPIX (Channel 11) in New York.
Meanwhile, WLVI's news staff became the guests at WCVB (Channel
5), where they were able to produce a 10 PM newscast using WCVB's
equipment. At this writing, the exact cause of the accident still
hasn't been determined.
- In other MASSACHUSETTS news, Newburyport's WNBP (1450) is
being sold -- and one of the new owners was there when the station
first went on the air in 1957. Long before Bob Fuller was a station
owner, he was a 16 year old kid from Newburyport whose first
radio job was at the brand-new daytimer on 1470. Fuller went
on to bigger and better things as a station owner, and WNBP eventually
became WCEA, then WNCG, and then went back to its original calls
while moving from 1470 down to 1450 and full-time status. Now
Fuller is teaming with Al Mozier (an employee of Fuller's Fuller-Jeffrey
Broadcasting) to buy the station from Win Damon. Damon will stay
on as morning host and sales manager; Mozier will become station
- In NEW YORK, the big news this week is in the Albany market.
Just a few weeks after getting FCC permission to change city
of license from Johnstown to Altamont, WSRD (104.9) has applied
to move its transmitter some 40 miles southeast to the WPTR (96.3
Voorheesville) site in the hills south of Schenectady. With 570
watts from the new site, WSRD will have decent coverage of most
of the Albany market. Down the road a bit, someone called "Pee
Wee Communications" tried applying to share time with SUNY
Albany's WCDB (90.9) -- only to have their application tossed
right back at them for failing to submit any engineering data.
- The Sound of Life network has WHVP (91.1 Hudson) on the air,
filling the gap between WFGB (89.7 Kingston) and its Albany translators.
Next up this fall: WSSK (89.7 Saratoga Springs) and WLJH (90.9
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2008 by Scott Fybush.