November 3, 2008
A Sad Start for Ithaca's Z95.5
*It was supposed to be a joyous week in upstate
NEW YORK - the debut of the airstaff at Ithaca's new top-40
station, Finger Lakes Radio Group's WFIZ (95.5 Odessa). In the
course of just a few months, PD/morning man Tommy Frank had arrived
from Indiana, assembled a crew that included morning co-host
Heather B., assistant PD/night guy Justin Wright and the syndicated
Ryan Seacrest in afternoons.
Wednesday, "Z95.5" closed out its inaugural 10,000-song
commercial-free stunt with the debut of Frank's morning show,
followed later in the day by Wright's on-air debut.
And then the joy gave way to tragedy: early Thursday morning,
Frank was found dead in his apartment, felled by a heart attack
at the age of 42 (or possibly 43, if the dates shown on WFIZ's
website tribute are correct), leaving behind a young son.
The Bangor native (whose real name was Thomas Foley) had a
long list of call letters on his resume: morning co-host ("Frank
& Stein") at WRFY in Reading, then PD at the short-lived
WSKS in Scranton, WAYV in Atlantic City, WWHT in Syracuse, WKRQ
Cincinnati, WAZY Lafayette, Indiana, WJFX Fort Wayne, WNDV South
Bend and WTBT/WGER in Saginaw before returning to the northeast
a few months ago.
In the wake of Frank's sudden death, WFIZ GM Frank Lischak
has named Wright to serve as PD and morning co-host, which means
the station is once again looking for an APD/night jock.
Meanwhile, a memorial fund in Frank's name has been established
at his alma mater, the New England School of Communications (NESCOM),
at 1 College Circle, Bangor ME 04401.
*In NEW YORK CITY, the CBS Radio cluster has promoted
Mark Chernoff to vice president of programming, giving him oversight
over WCBS, WCBS-FM, WINS, WXRK and WWFS in addition to his existing
role as operations manager at WFAN and VP of sports programming
for CBS Radio.
It's getting hard for us to even keep complete track of all
the talented radio people displaced by job cuts across the industry,
but we know we can add several more at Cumulus' Hudson Valley
cluster. Those out of work there include WRRV/WRRB morning co-host
Diane (replaced by Brandi Hunter), night guy Tigman (a 10-year
veteran) and overnight jock Scott Perry at WPDH, and 16-year
WCZX morning veteran Brian Jones.
Over at Clear Channel, Paty Quin returns to middays at WRWD
(107.3 Highland) after a two-year absence; her return sends Krista
Jones to middays at sister station WBWZ (93.3 New Paltz).
In translator news, Bridgelight Communications is buying the
translator that's been carrying its programming into Poughkeepsie.
It's paying Apple Community Broadcasting a remarkable $55,000
for the 10-watt signal of W255BY (98.9), which relays WJUX (99.7
In Binghamton, Thunder Reynolds, late of WAAL, signs on with
Equinox Broadcasting's WRRQ (106.7 Windsor) for afternoons. "Q107"
also adds Josh Evans, who does sales for Equinox's Elmira-market
stations, to track nights.
In Syracuse, Jim Tate is out at Buckley's WSEN (92.1/1050
Baldwinsville), as John Carucci moves from nights to afternoons
at the classic hits station.
Mark down a new address for Stephens' three Rochester-market
stations (WRMM, WZNE and WFKL), as they vacate the 17th floor
of the HSBC Building for new digs on the eighth floor of the
First Federal Building on the other side of downtown Rochester.
The new mailing address is 28 E. Main Street, 8th floor, Rochester
Stephens' move allows Clear Channel to begin gutting the HSBC
Building studios in preparation for the move of its cluster
from the now-closed Midtown Plaza across the street, where the
radio stations will be the last tenants remaining when they move
out before year's end.
More translator news: in Olean, Jeff Andrulonis' Colonial
Radio Group is buying W289AS (105.7 Olean) from Edgewater Communications
for $15,000; while the 10-watter is currently licensed to relay
Family Life Radio's WCID (89.1 Friendship), we suspect it will
be relaying Colonial's WLMI (103.9 Kane PA) before long.
news, Tribune's continuing rebranding of its owned-and-operated
stations is coming to New York, where WPIX (Channel 11) will
drop its "CW11" identity soon, in favor of a modified
version of the "circle 11" logo that it used on and
off from the seventies until the launch of The WB in the mid-nineties.
The CW itself isn't going away - at least not right away - but
it's nice to see one of the nation's foremost independent stations
regaining its local identity.
*Just across the state line in VERMONT,
there's a new morning man and production director at WEQX (102.7
Manchester), as Darwin (aka Brian Bushner) returns to his old
stomping grounds after several years at Albany's WZMR. Darwin's
return to mornings at EQX sends Amber Miller back to middays
after her interim morning shift.
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*Most of our PENNSYLVANIA news comes
from Philadelphia - and not just from Citizens Bank Park, home
of the world champion Phillies (with hearty congratulations to
legendary Phils broadcaster Harry Kalas, who finally got to call
a Series win live after almost four decades with the team; while
he was the Phillies announcer for their last - and only other
- championship back in 1980, the broadcast deals back then didn't
allow local announcers to call the Series, even on the teams'
Greater Media's Philadelphia cluster, WNUW (97.5 Burlington NJ)
has a new PD and - temporarily - a new format. Don Gosselin moves
down the hall from WBEN-FM (95.7 Philadelphia) to take the PD
reins at "Now 97.5," which flipped to all-Christmas
music late last week before usuall all-Christmas stalwart WBEB
(B101) could beat it to the punch.
Gosselin's move opened up a PD vacancy at Ben-FM, which was
promptly filled by Jules Riley. The former operations manager
at Citadel's Scranton cluster returns to the Keystone State from
St. Louis and the PD chair at WARH and the now-defunct WMVN.
On the corporate level, Peter Smyth adds a new Greater Media
title: in addition to being president/CEO of the group, Smyth
is now the chairman of the board as well, succeeding the late
John Bordes, who died Sept. 25.
Over at CBS Radio, the rumors are apparently true - Danny
Bonaduce is headed east from Los Angeles to take over mornings
on WYSP (94.1 Philadelphia), effective next Monday.
Meanwhile at the CBS Radio cluster in Pittsburgh, the budget
axe was in full swing last week, claiming at least seven jobs.
Most prominently, longtime PD Ryan Mill is out at WBZW (93.7),
after a 15-year career that's included several stints programming
that station. Cluster PD Keith Clark will handle B's programming
duties. At KDKA (1020), production director Dennis Elliot and
producer Jim Amato are out, as well as two general sales managers
and two promotions directors at the CBS FM stations.
In Scranton, Ryan Seacrest's "On Air" show has landed
yet another new affiliate: he's taking the noon-3 slot on Entercom's
WKRZ (98.5 Freeland)/WKRF (107.9 Tobyhanna), displacing Kelly
K to the 9 AM-noon shift.
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*A quiet week in MASSACHUSETTS,
which means we can catch up on at least one item we'd been neglecting
to mention: it appears that Barry Armstrong's Money Matters Radio
has flipped WESO (970 Southbridge) from its "Spirit 970"
classic country format to a simulcast of the business talk heard
on WBNW (1120 Concord).
Out west, there's a new morning man at WPKX (97.9 Enfield,
CONNECTICUT), as Mike Tyler returns to the region from
Pittsburgh's WDSY. That moves Marc Spencer to afternoons and
Bob Martin to middays at "Kix."
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*Just one story from CANADA this
week, but it's a pretty big one: as CHUM (1050) and CHUM-FM (104.5)
prepare to move out of their longtime studio home at 1331 Yonge
Street, they're opening the doors to the public one last time
in a couple of weeks.
farewell CHUM open house will take place Saturday, November 15,
from noon-4 PM, including tours of the building and the CHUM
Museum within - and Milkman UnLimited reports there will
be a "special CHUM souvenir" available to visitors
with a donation to the CP24 CHUM Christmas Wish charity.
(Yes, NERW plans to be there, weather and border delays permitting,
so expect full coverage in the November 17 issue!)
The 1331 Yonge Street site, which has been home to CHUM since
1959, has been sold to a developer, and the stations are moving
downtown to 250 Richmond Street West over the next few months.
The landmark neon sign is already gone from Yonge Street - it
was dismantled in early September so it can be refurbished before
being installed at the new studios on Richmond.
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!)
November 5, 2007 -
- Is it still news when we've known it was coming for weeks?
That's where things stand with the latest headlines from NEW
YORK, where Citadel's WABC (770) sent morning co-host Ron Kuby
packing after Thursday morning's "Curtis and Kuby"
show, following that a few hours later with the long-awaited
official announcement that Don Imus would be coming to WABC's
morning drive on December 3.
- Imus will take a pay cut from his old CBS Radio salary to
return to the airwaves; reports have him earning about $5 million
a year from the deal, which will also bring back his former WFAN
newsman Charles McCord. (What of producer Bernie McGuirk? Nobody's
saying, and there are rumors that McGuirk may be pursuing his
own new show in the Boston market.)
- The new show will be syndicated by ABC Radio Networks, and
the big speculation now revolves around where Imus might land
in some of the other markets where he used to be heard. Will
WTKK in Boston, which has been trying without success to break
Howie Carr's WRKO contract (and which lost another round in court
last week), fall back on its former morning man? (Or will WRKO,
which is struggling with the Tom Finneran morning disaster, cut
its losses and go with the proven offering from New York?)
- At the other end of the state, Holy Family Communication's
WHIC (1460 Rochester) dedicated its new transmitter site Tuesday
morning, interrupting its usual Catholic programming for a special
live broadcast from the site hosted by general manager (and Rochester
radio veteran) Jack Palvino, and featuring a blessing from Rochester's
Bishop Matthew Clark, who said he's never blessed a radio tower
before. Holy Family also saluted the town of Henrietta for its
quick approval of the new site, a rare feat in this day of rampant
NIMBY-ism, and one made easier by the site's location in an industrial
area with few neighbors to complain. The site's not quite finished
yet - the new phasor had just been delivered last week, and the
antenna tuning units and ground system weren't yet complete -
but WHIC expects to be on the air from the new site before the
end of autumn.
- Just down the road in Livingston County, Bob Savage's WYSL
(1040 Avon) filed its formal interference complaint with the
FCC last week, alleging that the upper digital sideband of WBZ
(1030 Boston)'s HD Radio operation is causing prohibited interference
within the "interference-free" contours of WYSL in
all three modes (daytime, critical hours and nighttime) of its
operation. Savage and several other broadcasters have created
a new website at stopiboc.com to rally support for their campaign
against nighttime use of HD Radio on the AM dial - can they prompt
additional formal complaints like WYSL's, and will the FCC listen?
- Regent Communications continued the selloff of some of its
non-core stations last week, following the sale of its lone Albany
AM (WTMM 1300 Rensselaer) with the sale of its lone AM in the
Buffalo market. Dick Greene's Culver Communications will pay
Regent $1.3 million for WECK (1230 Cheektowaga), which has been
doing automated classic country as a flanker to Regent's big
WYRK (106.5 Buffalo).
- October was a month of frequency upgrades in PENNSYLVANIA.
On October 17, the venerable religious outlet WPEL (1250 Montrose)
switched off that frequency after more than half a century, moving
its 1000-watt daytime signal down the dial to 800 kHz, where
that kilowatt will carry further. WPEL(AM) runs a southern gospel
format, while its sister station WPEL-FM (96.5) serves both Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
and Binghamton with a religious teaching format.
- In central Pennsylvania, WXPN (88.5 Philadelphia) spent last
week celebrating its big facility upgrade, having traded the
former WXPH (88.1 Harrisburg) for the 7 kW signal of WZXM (88.7
- 88.7 now has the WXPH calls, and as of Nov. 1, it's relaying
WXPN's AAA format to a wider region that now includes York and
Lancaster as well as Harrisburg. As for 88.1, it's now WZXM,
carrying "Word FM" religious programming from new owners
Four Rivers Community Broadcasting.
November 3, 2003 -
- Two years and six weeks after the World Trade Center was
destroyed, New York City once again has DTV service from all
the major English television networks. WABC-DT (Channel 45) signed
back on the air last Thursday (Oct. 30) from the newly-completed
Four Times Square mast, restoring ABC digital service to market
#1. ABC was the last of the major nets to get DTV back on the
air; CBS and Fox had been operating their digital signals from
the Empire State Building even before 9/11, and the ESB would
later become home to low-power signals for WNBC-DT and WPIX-DT
(WB). (UPN service was restored on a subchannel of Fox's WNYW-DT,
and PBS was restored by WNET via a low-power transmitter on the
roof of its studio building.) With the arrival of WABC-TV at
4 Times Square, the building begins a new era as a major primary
site in New York. In addition to ABC, Univision has signed a
lease for space in the building, and is already broadcasting
a low-power Telefutura signal there for WFUT-DT (Channel 53).
- Another hopeful note in the ongoing restoration of full TV
service to New York: Pax's WPXN (Channel 31) moved its signal
from Eagle Rock Avenue in West Orange, N.J. to Empire last week.
- Three proposed call letters and several rumored target dates
later, the new talk station in MASSACHUSETTS finally launches
this week. Salem's WTTT (1150 Boston) began stunting over the
weekend with an all "Danny Boy" format, which will
end Tuesday (11/2) at noon when it launches its conservative
talk format, anchored by Don Feder, moving over from sister WROL
- A long-running LMA in MAINE has come to an end: Mountain
Wireless is once again programming WSKW (1160 Skowhegan), WHQO
(107.9 Skowhegan) and WCTB (93.5 Fairfield) on its own, after
years of leasing them to Clear Channel's Augusta-based cluster.
No word yet on programming changes; WSKW was running a sports
simulcast with CC's WFAU (1280 Gardiner), WHQO was simulcasting
news/talk with CC's WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor), and WCTB was
- WWRX (103.7) in Westerly, RHODE ISLAND is breaking away from
its parent network at Boston's WFNX; it's just launched a new
morning show with Jay Ferreira, formerly of WAAF in Worcester
and WCCC in Hartford, and now takes only a few weekend shows
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- An upstate NEW YORK radio station is making the move to a
new frequency. Watertown's WCIZ (93.5) began telling its listeners
last week to get ready to adjust their dials to 93.3, and NERW's
ears up in the North Country tell us the change has now happened.
The classic hits station known as "Z93" jumps from
4000 to 6000 watts with the change, and moves from a tower north
of Watertown to a site shared with sister station WFRY (97.5)
in the hills east of town.
- Meantime in the Buffalo area, WHLD (1270 Niagara Falls) wants
to move its transmitter some 30 miles south. The ethnic outlet
is currently 5000 watts day, 144 watts night from a two-tower
array on Grand Island, halfway between Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
An application filed this week with the FCC would move WHLD to
the WNED (970) site in Hamburg, on the shore of Lake Erie south
of Buffalo. WHLD's new 5000/143 watt DA-1 operation would blanket
Buffalo and Niagara Falls by day, and would be fairly solid in
the ethnic neighborhoods on Buffalo's south side at night as
well. Could a city of license change, perhaps to Hamburg, Lackawanna,
or Orchard Park, be next?
- Craig Fox is making some call-letter changes at his central
New York stations. WNDR (103.9 Mexico) has applied for WVOQ,
presumably to match simulcast partner WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter),
and WMBO (1340 Auburn) has applied for WKGJ -- and we have NO
idea what that stands for! WMBO's been simulcasting WOLF (1490)
Syracuse and WOLF-FM (96.7) Oswego. Continuing the lupine theme,
WOLF-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania also has new calls -- it's
returned to the "WSWB" that was on its construction
permit years ago (and which later spent years on the CP for channel
64 there, now a Pax TV outlet). The WOLF-TV calls move to the
sister station on channel 56 in Hazleton, until now known as
WWLF. And Fox isn't letting his heritage calls disappear in Central
New York -- his W60BY Syracuse becomes WMBO-LP, and W18AL becomes
- In the Rochester area, Jacor has filed formal applications
to shuffle transmitter sites for WNVE (95.1 Honeoye Falls) and
WMAX-FM (107.3 South Bristol). As expected, "the Nerve"
files to move its 50,000 watts from Bristol Mountain some 30
miles north to Baker Hill in Perinton, within sight of downtown
Rochester, while "Jam'n 107" flees from Bloomfield
up to Bristol Mountain, where its whopping 650 watts will barely
reach Rochester on a good day (but should cover the central Finger
Lakes quite nicely). NERW wonders whether a reshuffling of some
of Jacor's Rochester-area formats will follow, both to accomodate
the new coverage areas and to account for the still-unbuilt CP
for 102.1 Albion.
- In MASSACHUSETTS, one of the founders of "The River"
in Haverhill is heading south. Mike Mullaney was the founding
music director when WLYT (92.5) became WXRV back in 1995, and
was the station's morning guy for the last two years as well.
Now he's gotten an offer he can't refuse, to become assistant
program director at WBMX (98.5) in Boston. He'll start later
this month; no replacement has been named yet.
- Brockton's WCAV (97.7) wants to move north; it's applied
to move from its current facility alongside route 24 south of
the city to a 150-meter tower on North Quincy Street, at the
northern edge of Brockton (and, of course, a few miles closer
in to Boston). WCAV would go from its current 3000 watts at 84
meters AAT to 2700 watts at 150 meters AAT. Also moving is WCRB
(102.5 Waltham), which has been granted FCC approval to move
across the highway from the WBZ-TV tower in Needham to the FM128
tower in Newton.
- Two new calls in VERMONT this week, and one's an oldie-but-goodie.
The WNBX calls date back to the very dawn of radio in the Connecticut
River Valley in the twenties, and later spent years on the FM
side of WKNE in Keene (now WKNE-FM 103.7). More recently, they've
been attached to the 100.5 in Lebanon NH. Now Bob and Shirley
Wolf have laid claim to this piece of history, attaching it to
their AM 1480 in Springfield, formerly WCFR. Up the valley a
bit in White River Junction, WKXE (95.3) becomes WWSH-FM, joining
"Wish" sister stations WSSH (101.5 Marlboro) and WZSH
(107.1 Bellows Falls). The WWSH calls used to be in Pittston,
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2008 by Scott Fybush.