October 6, 2008
WCOJ's Gone...Is Nassau Next?
*It was one tough week for the nation's economy,
and the effects of the sagging markets are being felt all over
the radio dial - but nowhere more so, this week, than in eastern
In Chester County,
just west of Philadelphia, almost six decades of local radio
at WCOJ (1420 Coatesville) came to a sudden end Tuesday night
when the station went silent, a victim of the collapse of the
Route 81 Radio cluster that once counted WCOJ as its flagship.
As we understand it, former WCOJ owner Lloyd Roach used the
station as his investment when he formed the Route 81 group with
two venture capital firms, only to end up losing that investment
several years later during a complex legal dispute with his former
partners. Then came a money crunch in July that found one of
the venture capital firms, Waller Sutton, taking over operations
of the Route 81 cluster after a foreclosure sale. (In the meantime,
the company had downsized, selling off its stations in Utica,
N.Y. and parts of its Scranton/Wilkes-Barre cluster.)
Route 81 manager Ira Rosenblatt called a 3 PM staff meeting at
WCOJ, telling staffers the station had been sold, the locks were
being changed, and WCOJ would be off the air at the end of the
day, leaving local talk host Robert Henson and about a dozen
other employees out of work.
WCOJ's new owner? Catholic broadcaster Holy Spirit Radio Foundation,
which will return the station to the air Tuesday as a simulcast
of its Bucks County signal, WISP (1570 Doylestown), with no local
*While the loss of WCOJ's local programming is indeed unfortunate,
it was far from a total surprise; Waller Sutton has made no secret
of its intent to liquidate its Route 81 investment since foreclosing
on the stations, and almost from the beginning, the Route 81
stations had been plagued with financial problems.
So it was somewhat more worrisome as news spread late last
week about financial tremors at one of the region's larger radio
Broadcasting Partners, which used the easy capital of the boom
years to build up a cluster of 38 small- and medium-market stations
spread from Maine to Maryland, told the FCC it can't close its
$22 million purchase of Reading-market WFKB (107.5 Boyertown)
"Due to certain dislocations in the credit markets,"
WFKB's seller, Lancaster-based WDAC Radio Company told the Commission,
Nassau has been unable to come up with financing to close the
deal, and the purchase agreement between the two companies "has
For now, Nassau continues to LMA WFKB, which flipped from
religious WBYN to classic hits "Frank" back in October
2005, when the LMA began. (The WBYN calls and format now reside
on another Nassau signal, the former WYNS Lehighton on AM 1160.)
But the LMA ends November 30, and while WDAC Radio and Nassau
have asked the FCC to extend its approval of the sale through
December in case a new sale agreement can be struck, WDAC notes
that it retains the right to assign the 107.5 license to "a
third party" if it can strike a separate deal before the
sale approval expires December 22.
And the potential loss of WFKB may not be the biggest worry
at Nassau, we're hearing. Will the credit crunch bring even bigger
shakeups at the Princeton, N.J.-based group? Stay tuned...
Pittsburgh, veteran Pirates play-by-play man Lanny Frattare is
leaving the team after 33 years in the broadcast booth. Frattare,
a native of Rochester and a graduate of Ithaca College, began
his broadcast career here in western New York (most notably at
the old WROC 1280), then joined the Pirates farm system in 1974
as the announcer for the now-defunct Charleston (West Virginia)
Frattare moved up to the majors in 1976, replacing Milo Hamilton
as lead radio broadcaster in 1980. In the last few seasons, the
Pirates have been grooming Greg Brown to replace Frattare, and
he'll take over as lead play-by-play announcer on flagship WPGB
(104.7) and the Bucs' extensive network next season.
*Three new religious stations have taken the air in Pennsylvania
in the last week or so. From east to west, Family Life Network
has signed on WCIM (91.5) in Shenandoah; Radio Maria has turned
on WHHN (88.1) in Hollidaysburg/Altoona; and EMF Broadcasting
signed on WKEL (98.5) in Confluence, southeast of Pittsburgh.
And we note the passing of a Keystone State broadcaster whose
controversial actions provoked a lawsuit that will be studied
by constitutional law scholars for many decades to come. The
Rev. John Harden Norris owned a small empire of religious stations
in Red Lion, near York - WGCB (1440), WGCB-FM (96.1), WGCB-TV
(Channel 49) and shortwave station WINB.
see how well we recall our own undergraduate Con Law class, two
decades after the fact: Norris came under fire when he broadcast
a program attacking journalist Fred Cook, who asserted his rights
under the Fairness Doctrine to use WGCB's airwaves for a response.
The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which
sided with Cook against Norris' claims that the Fairness Doctrine
violated his free speech rights.
At the time - the legal battle began in 1964 and the case
wasn't fully resolved until the early eighties - the FCC cited
the scarcity of broadcast frequencies as the rationale for the
Fairness Doctrine. As it turned out, Cook's victory was something
of a Pyrrhic one; the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987.
Norris had founded WGCB(AM) with his father, the Rev. John
M. Norris, in 1950, adding the FM signal in 1958, followed by
WINB in 1962 and WGCB-TV in 1979. The radio stations were sold
in the late nineties (they're now in secular hands under Cumulus,
as WGLD and WSOX-FM), but Norris remained president of WINB and
WGCB-TV until his death last Sunday (Sept. 28). Norris was 88.
IT'S CALENDAR TIME!
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famous (and some not-so-famous) sites everywhere from Schenectady
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*The retransmission-consent fight between
LIN Broadcasting and Time Warner Cable is taking place all over
the country, but in our region the effects are being felt particularly
strongly in western NEW YORK, where LIN's CBS affiliate,
WIVB (Channel 4) and its CW sister station, WNLO (Channel 23),
disappeared from Time Warner's systems last week, effectively
taking the stations off the air for more than two-thirds of their
potential viewers in the Buffalo TV market.
As is traditional
by now in these disputes, each side staked out its position in
newspaper and radio ads and websites,
with Time Warner arguing that it shouldn't have to pay extra
(and pass those costs along to customers) for programming WIVB
and WNLO send out at no charge to over-the-air viewers, while
LIN argued that its programming helped Time Warner attract viewers
and should be worth a few dollars per customer per year. (With
330,000 Time Warner customers in the market, that could represent
some decent additional revenue to LIN if a deal could be reached.)
Did we mention CBS carried Sunday's Bills game? While Time
Warner was unable to bring the TV broadcast to its customers,
it put the audio of the WGRF radio broadcast up on the channels
where WIVB normally would appear - and had lines out the door
at its West Seneca office for handouts of free antennas to pick
up the WIVB signal over the air. (That stopgap solution would
have worked just fine for the bulk of the market's population,
in Erie and Niagara counties, where WIVB's analog and digital
signals are strong - but the market extends far to the south,
through the rugged terrain along the Pennsylvania border, where
the over-the-air signals from Buffalo are nonexistent; another
group of customers, in the counties east of Buffalo, still receive
Rochester's CBS affiliate, WROC, on their Time Warner systems.)
And there's a new twist in what was otherwise becoming a familiar
story - with the rapid rise of video streaming of network shows,
Time Warner can now suggest
to customers that they bypass the local affiliate entirely,
watching CBS and CW programs at the networks' websites. (Not
to be outdone, WIVB and WNLO offered viewers special deals on
Dish Network and DirecTV service, and noted that Verizon's FiOS
service is now available in parts of the Buffalo market as well.)
LIN's other holdings in NERW-land were far less affected:
there are no Time Warner systems in the coverage area of Providence's
WPRI/WNAC or New Haven's WTNH/WCTX, while out in western Massachusetts,
WWLP (Channel 22) from Springfield disappeared from the lineup
of Time Warner systems at the fringe of its coverage area, in
the Berkshires. Those customers still see NBC via Albany's WNYT,
and because Berkshire County belongs to the Albany market, WWLP
wouldn't be available via satellite, either.
*We spent some time last week down in Ithaca, where we arrived
just in time for a CHR format war, 2008-style.
NERW readers already
know about WFIZ (95.5 Odessa), the class A station that Finger
Lakes Radio Group moved into the market from Dundee, where it
was WFLR-FM (95.9). And even though its studios in the South
Hill Business Center across from Ithaca College were still being
drywalled when we poked our head in, "Z 95.5" was on
the air with what it's billing as 10,000 commercial-free songs.
(Jock-free, too, while GM Frank Lischak and new PD Tommy Frank
work on hiring an airstaff.)
We told you last week, too, that WFIZ's arrival represents
the first real competition in many years for Saga's dominant
Ithaca cluster - and the fierce competitors over on Hanshaw Road
wasted no time welcoming "Z" to the market. Last week,
they followed the precedent set by Cumulus' innovative use of
an FM translator to relay an HD2 subchannel in Harrisburg, flipping
translator W276AO (103.3 Ithaca, recently moved from 103.1) from
a simulcast of WNYY (1470) to a simulcast of the new HD2 subchannel
of Saga's WIII (99.9 Cortland).
And what's WIII running on that new HD2 subchannel and its
new analog translator? Why, CHR, of course - aimed straight down
the barrels of WFIZ. Saga's new entry is called "Hits 103.3,"
and it's launching jockless with a promised 103 days of commercial-free
does this battle shape up? Pretty evenly, we think - while WFIZ
wins on signal, the compact Ithaca market doesn't really require
a big signal to make an impact. Will "Hits 103" remain
a jukebox, or will Saga add an airstaff? That - and the imposing
cluster (two AM news-talkers, AC "Lite" WYXL, classic
rock "I-100" WIII and country "Q" WQNY) that
Saga can sell alongside "Hits" - could make all the
*In Syracuse, Don Dolloff retires tomorrow from WCNY-FM (91.3),
the public radio station where he's worked since 1974. As program
director, Dolloff oversaw the station's 1979 shift from eclectic
programming to all-classical, as well as the station's expansion
into Utica and Watertown. Dolloff was promoted to station manager
in 2004 and to vice president of station operations in 2007.
Dolloff has continued to host afternoon drive on WCNY-FM for
all those years; now he's heading to Pittsburgh, where his fiancee
While Dolloff is hosting his farewell show on Tuesday, we'll
be just east of Syracuse, where the SBE
22 Broadcast & Technology Expo holds its 36th annual
event at the Turning Stone Casino & Resort. We'll be presenting
our slide show, "Tower Sites I've Known and Photographed,"
on Tuesday afternoon (subject to schedule change), and we'll
have the 2009 Tower Site Calendar available for sale, too. It's
rapidly become a "must" event for TV and radio engineers
from across New York state, and we hope to see you there!
Down the Hudson Valley, WGNY (1220 Newburgh) wants a power
increase. Now that it's completed its new 5 kW daytime array,
WGNY hopes to increase power to 10 kW during the day from that
site; night power would remain at 180 watts.
On Long Island, WLIE (540 Islip) also wants a power increase.
It now runs 2500 watts by day, with a CP to go to 4100 watts
- but with the disappearance of an unbuilt construction permit
on 540 in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, WLIE is now applying for 10
kW by day, dropping to 250 watts at night.
In New York City, Rob Williams is leaving Clear Channel Radio,
where he served as senior VP and New York market manager. No
permanent replacement has been named.
There's also news - quite literally - from the FM HD Radio
dial, where CBS Radio is now simulcasting all-news WCBS (880)
on WCBS-FM (101.1)'s HD3 and WINS (1010) on the HD3 of WWFS (102.7),
which had previously had the WINS signal on its HD2 before that
subchannel became the home of the relaunched "WNEW."
The point of the HD3 simulcasts? To fill in signal deficiencies
in the AM stations' own HD signals...which leads us to wonder
what the point is in keeping the troublesome AM HD signals on
the air at all. (We're sure we're not the only ones wondering,
*A NEW JERSEY format change that we
tipped you to first here in NERW back on Sept. has come to pass
- WTAA (1490 Pleasantville) has dropped Air America talk in favor
of the syndicated "Gran D" regional Mexican format
from Bustos Media.
Up the shore, Chris Van Zandt and Jen Ursillo are the new
morning team at WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin), replacing Anita Bonita.
Van Zandt moves to mornings from afternoons, with Spyder McGuire
taking the 2-7 PM shift. Ursillo had been at WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown)
until her morning show there was cancelled last year.
Edited by NERW's own Scott Fybush - on sale now as
an e-book or printed volume!
*In Randolph, VERMONT, the local AM/FM
combo of WTSJ (1320) and WCVR (102.1) is changing hands. Ken
Barlow and Bruce Danziger just recently closed on the purchase
of those stations as part of the larger deal that transferred
Clear Channel's Burlington cluster to their Vox group, and now
we hear they're shuffling the pair of stations over to their
former Vox partner, Jeff Shapiro, whose Great Eastern group picked
up Clear Channel's Upper Valley cluster last year.
WTSJ has already switched simulcasts, shifting from Vox's
talker WEAV (960 Plattsburgh NY) to Great Eastern's country WXXK
(100.5 Lebanon NH), and we hear changes are coming to WCVR as
well. No word yet on a purchase price.
Up north, Vermont Public Radio signed on its newest VPR Classical
signal last week. WVTI (106.9 Brighton) fills in some gaps in
the classical network's reach in the Island Pond area.
*A veteran New York talker is coming to the
MASSACHUSETTS airwaves. Greater Media's WTKK (96.9 Boston)
has signed Curtis Sliwa to do a 10 PM-1 AM shift weeknights,
starting last Wednesday. Sliwa was bumped from his longtime morning
slot at New York's WABC (770) when that station picked up Don
Imus last year; he's still heard on WABC from 5-6 AM and 10-11:45
AM, and he's doing the Boston show via ISDN from a New York studio.
At WTKK, Sliwa displaces Laura Ingraham, who's now heard only
in a weekend "best-of" slot.
People on the Move: WBZ-TV (Channel 4) icon Liz Walker is leaving
the station completely at year's end, closing a 28-year career
there, most recently as host of the weekly "Sunday with
Liz Walker." Across town at WHDH-TV (Channel 7), Chris Wayland
is the new vice president/general manager, filling the office
left vacant by Randi Goldklank's departure after an outburst
at Logan Airport ended with her arrest earlier this year.
*The calls keep shuffling in MAINE:
Atlantic Coast Broadcasting has finally completed its Portland-area
rearrangement by flipping WRED-FM (95.9 Saco) to WPEI, matching
its simulcast of Boston's WEEI (and sister Portland-market station
WUEI 95.5 Topsham), while Nassau is swapping calls between WBQW
(106.3 Scarborough) and WHXQ (104.7 Kennebunkport) in preparation
for the upcoming format shuffle that will put rocker "Bone"
on 106.3 and classical "W-Bach" on 104.7.
*A new set of calls in CONNECTICUT:
when the WMNR (88.1 Monroe) public radio network signs on its
new 91.5 signal in Warren, it'll do so as WXRN.
*Regulators in CANADA have approved
yet another AM-to-FM move - this time in Kitchener, Ontario.
That's where CTVglobemedia's CKKW will give up its 10 kW fulltime
signal on 1090 (and the huge piece of land that houses the nine-tower
directional array) for a 5 kW directional signal on 99.5.
As we noted when the application was filed back in April,
another broadcaster in the Kitchener-Waterloo market, CIKZ, already
tried 99.5 a few years back, only to abandon the channel because
of cross-border interference from co-channel WDCX in Buffalo.
Will CKKW have any better luck? (And will its oldies format really
survive the move to FM, as CTV claims in its application?)
This will be CKKW's second frequency change in its half-century
on the air, by the way - it moved from its original 1320 to 1090
In Quebec, Corus has been granted a move of its CFEL-FM (102.1
Montmagny) from its present site in L'Ange-Gardien to Quebec
City, with a new studio location in Levis. The new 26.5 kW/157
m DA signal will be stronger over the provincial capital than
CFEL's current signal, which has already been through one upgrade
to better target Quebec listeners.
It's rare indeed to see a move-in like this north of the border,
where the CRTC has traditionally barred broadcasters with what
would be considered "rimshot" signals in the U.S. from
moving closer to big markets.
Meanwhile, the CRTC
is opening a call for other applicants interested in serving
the Quebec City market, with applications due Dec. 2.
And in New Brunswick, there's a new signal on the air in Moncton:
French-language CFBO (90.7) signed on as adult contemporary "BO-FM,"
the first station based in the Dieppe area.
It's a sister to Radio Beausejour's other community station,
CJSE (89.5) in nearby Shediac, which now plays a French-language
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!)
October 8, 2007 -
- Remember the TV show "Quantum Leap," wherein a
scientist named Sam Beckett was sent traveling through time and
space, "striving to put right what once went wrong"?
It's increasingly looking as though CBS Radio chief Dan Mason
is trying to be the industry's Sam Beckett, returning WCBS-FM
and K-Rock to New York, KFRC to San Francisco, WYSP to Philadelphia,
and now the legendary B94 to western PENNSYLVANIA. Just as the
buzz (no pun intended) on the message boards was speculating,
the Christmas-music stunting at the former "Man Talk"
WTZN (93.7 Pittsburgh) came to an abrupt end at 5 o'clock Friday
afternoon, when the station launched into a retrospective of
its 23 years as WBZZ, returning to its former top-40 format with
Justin Timberlake's "Sexyback" as its first song.
- (Former B94 PD Clarke Ingram noted - within minutes, no less
- that there were a couple of inaccuracies in the B94 retrospective:
the station had signed on April 2, 1981, not April 1, and its
first song in the new format was actually Billy Joel's "It's
Still Rock and Roll to Me," not "You May Be Right.")
- Those technicalities aside, CBS is embarking on a format
war with Clear Channel, whose "Kiss" WKST-FM (96.1
Pittsburgh) has owned the top-40 category in the Steel City for
the last few years. The move also raises questions about the
future of CBS' hot AC entry, "Star 100.7" (WZPT New
Kensington) - is a format change for that station in the offing,
- There are some big programming changes today at NEW YORK's
WOR (710) - but no, not the rumored return of Don Imus to the
city's airwaves. (That sounds like it's going to happen up the
dial on WABC, not that we have any inside information beyond
what's already been all over the gossip columns.) Down at 111
Broadway, WOR has pulled the plug on Ellis Henican and Lynne
White's 4-6 PM "Hennican and White" talk show, moving
former WABC host Steve Malzberg into that time slot from his
previous 9-11 PM spot. Bill O'Reilly's newly-renewed syndicated
show moves from 2 PM tape delay to a noon live clearance, with
Dennis Miller filling the 2-4 PM slot. Michael Savage stays in
place from 6-9 PM, with Dr. Joy Browne getting displaced from
noon to Malzberg's former 9-11 PM clearance.
- There's finally a fulltime CW affiliate in VERMONT: Fox affiliate
WFFF (Channel 44) in Burlington has turned on a subchannel on
WFFF-DT (Channel 43), providing an over-the-air signal for "CW
Burlington," which is also seen on most area cable systems
on channel 20, replacing New York's WPIX there. The September
27 launch of the CW subchannel clears the CW programming out
of WFFF's 10 PM-midnight timeslot, which makes way for the upcoming
launch of a 10 PM newscast on WFFF soon.
October 6, 2003 -
- Call it the "Lonsberry virus," if you will - at
least, that's what one local radio wag of our acquaintance has
dubbed the unfortunate propensity of late by talk-show hosts
to make remarks with racial overtones in front of a live mike.
- The putative virus' namesake, former WHAM (1180 Rochester)
talk host Bob Lonsberry, is still awaiting word at press time
about his future at his other job, morning host on KNRS (570)
in Salt Lake City. (The latest update to KNRS' Web site suggests
that Lonsberry will be back on the air there soon; meanwhile,
Lonsberry himself is telling visitors to his site that he expects
to be back on the air in Rochester "after the first of the
- But even as the Lonsberry story continued to spark follow-up
after follow-up in the Rochester media, WEEI (850 Boston) morning
co-host John Dennis was trying to explain away a comment last
Monday in which he joked that the gorilla who escaped from Boston's
Franklin Park Zoo was "a METCO gorilla waiting for the bus
to take him to Lexington." And since METCO is the urban-suburban
school desegregation program, and the zoo is in a predominantly
African-American neighborhood, the outcry was predictable. Dennis,
a veteran Boston sportscaster who worked for 21 years at channel
7 before joining WEEI, apologized on the air Wednesday and was
suspended for Friday's and Monday's show. WEEI says it will provide
public service announcements for METCO and personally apologize
to those who called and complained; several Boston city councilors
and other political leaders are still calling on the station
to fire Dennis.
- Univision Radio (the former Hispanic Broadcasting) is adding
a third station to its NEW YORK lineup, paying The Morey Organization
(aka Jarad Communications) $60 million for WLIR (92.7 Garden
City). WLIR has long been the Morey group's flagship, not to
mention the only one of its four stations that can actually be
heard at the group's Nassau County studio location. With a transmitter
site right on the Queens/Nassau line, WLIR has a following in
the city as well as in Nassau, though its modern AC format no
longer achieves anything like the ratings success or critical
acclaim of WLIR's long-gone New Wave days.
- The Morey folks say the WLIR calls and format will live on
at another spot on the dial - but it's not clear whether that
means one of the group's existing stations in the Hamptons (WDRE
98.5 Westhampton does active rock as "The Bone," WXXP
105.3 Calverton-Roanoke is dance "Party 105.3" and
WBON 107.1 Hampton Bays simulcasts WLIR) or a new acquisition.
On the Univision side, it looks as though 92.7 may end up simulcasting
Spanish hits "Latino Mix" WCAA (105.9 Newark NJ), whose
signal into Nassau County and southern Connecticut is impaired
by Long Island's WBLI at 106.1. What becomes of WLIR's proposed
Manhattan booster on the Upper West Side? We don't know yet...but
we'll keep you posted.
- In PENNSYLVANIA, Citadel is spinning off two more peripheral
pieces of its Scranton/Wilkes-Barre cluster, selling WCWY (107.7
Tunkhannock) and WEMR (1460 Tunkhannock) to Ben Smith's GEOS
Communications for $515,000. The class A FM has been simulcasting
soft AC WMGS (92.9 Scranton), while the 5000/1000 watt AM has
been simulcasting country from WCWI (94.3 Carbondale), which
Citadel is selling to the new Route 81 group. Smith and partner
Kevin Fitzgerald have a growing cluster of stations in the Twin
Tiers, including Binghamton's oldies WCDW (100.5 Susquehanna
PA), AC "Cozy" WQZI (103.9 Laporte PA), Elmira's classic
rock WMTT (94.7 Tioga PA) and new sign-on WPHD (96.1 South Waverly
- Up in CANADA, the CRTC granted CHCD (106.7 Simcoe) a move
to 98.9 and a power increase from 3.42 kW to 14.37 kW. The CRTC
also granted CKWR (98.5 Waterloo) a power boost from 2.4 kW to
15.2 kW. Both moves are meant to alleviate interference from
older FM allocations in Buffalo; CHCD has been plagued by adjacent-channel
interference from WYRK (106.5 Buffalo) ever since it moved to
FM from its old CHNR 1600 facility, while CKWR takes a beating
from co-channel WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) as close in as Cambridge.
(And does the CRTC learn? If it did, there wouldn't be new stations
in Kitchener-Waterloo primed to come on the air at 99.5, co-channel
to 110 kW WDCX in Buffalo, and on 93.7, co-channel to WBLK in
October 9, 1998 -
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- After months of rumors about a sale to CBS or Chancellor,
Jacor was finally sold this week -- to Clear Channel. The $4.4
billion dollar deal creates a broadcast giant with more than
450 radio stations around the country, plus television, billboards,
and international operations. But for listeners and viewers in
the NERW region, it's likely to have little effect.
- Neither group has been a major player in most of NERW-land;
Jacor's only outlets in the area are its Rochester-area radio
stations (news-talk WHAM 1180, talk-sports WHTK 1280, modern
rock WNVE 95.1 S. Bristol/W238AB Rochester, hot AC WVOR 100.5,
soft rock WISY 102.3 Canandaigua/WYSY 106.7 Irondequoit, and
dance-CHR WMAX-FM 107.3 Honeoye Falls), while Clear Channel has
TV in Albany (Fox WXXA 23) and radio in Springfield (news-talk
WHYN 560, AC WHYN-FM 93.1, and newly-acquired talker WNNZ 640),
New Haven (news-talk WELI 960, standards WAVZ 1300, and CHR WKCI
101.3 Hamden), and Providence (oldies WWBB 101.5 and classic
rock WWRX 103.7 Westerly).
- Clear Channel says Jacor will continue to operate as a separate
company under Randy Michaels, so little change is expected at
the Rochester stations. (2008 note:
What a change a decade can make!)
- On with the rest of this week's news, beginning in MASSACHUSETTS,
where one of the legends of Boston talk radio is going off the
air. Jerry Williams helped create the genre in the sixties and
seventies, rode it to unprecedented success at WRKO (680) in
the eighties, and ended up relegated to weekend duty in the last
few years. Entercom's takeover of WRKO doesn't come with Jerry
-- his contract is with prior owner ARS and didn't get transferred
with the station. Entercom's now trying to find a way to get
Williams back for a farewell show; it's likely he'll find another
permanent home at a different station sometime soon.
- Two NEW HAMPSHIRE stations have new calls this week. 930
in Rochester and 1540 in Exeter have been simulcasting WGIR (610
Manchester) for a few weeks anyway, and now the former WZNN and
WMYF have the new calls WGIN and WGIP, respectively, to match.
- There's a format change underway in the Saratoga Springs,
NEW YORK market. As we drove through on Monday, we heard the
jocks on "The Jockey" (WJKE 101.3 Stillwater) saying
their farewells. The station then went jockless, and is reappearing
as "Star 101," WQAR. PD Ken McGrail has found a new
gig; he takes Don Matsen's old job in the Portland market at
oldies WYNZ (100.9 Westbrook ME). WQAR's new owner is New York
TV anchor Ernie Anastos.
- On the TV front, UPN added two low-power affiliates in upstate
New York. WBGT-LP (Channel 40) brings the weblet to Rochester's
west side, while WVBG-LP (Channel 25) serves Albany, though we
suspect most folks there will watch UPN on Boston's WSBK via
cable, if they watch it at all. Just across the border, Cornerstone's
Channel 36 is now serving Hamilton and Toronto with family-oriented
programming; still no word on the actual call letters for the
- And down in Pennsylvania, pioneering FM talker WWDB (96.5
Philadelphia) is finally adding AM; WWDB (860) is the former
Spanish-language WTEL and will now be doing local talk to complement
the national talkers (Dr. Laura, Rush, et al) on the FM side.
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2008 by Scott Fybush.