March 9, 2009
CSB School of Broadcasting Folds
AFTERNOON UPDATE: It looks
like when it comes to the end of New York's "K-Rock"
(WXRK 92.3), "sometime soon" will be Wednesday afternoon
at 5. Opie & Anthony apparently did their last show on the
station Monday morning, and the 92.3now.com website is now up and running with a countdown
clock. Stay tuned...
*The sudden closure of the CONNECTICUT
School of Broadcasting's 26 campuses nationwide came as a
shock to many in the broadcasting industry on Wednesday - and
as even more of a shock to the students, just days from graduation,
who'd paid $12,000 in hopes that the school, more recently known
as the "CSB School of Broadcasting," would launch them
into - as CSB's website offered - "a great career in broadcasting."
might be a pipe dream for anyone in our industry these days,
but it's now especially bad news for CSB students and alumni,
who'd been promised lifetime access to the school's studios (including
locations in Needham, Mass.; Hasbrouck Heights and Cherry Hill,
NJ; Westbury, NY; Pittsburgh; Stratford, Connecticut and the
original location in Farmington, Connecticut) and its alumni
CSB's locations were shuttered before classes started Thursday
morning, after the school's bank accounts were seized by lender
PNC Financial, leaving the school with no choice - it said -
but to close down and file for bankruptcy. And without an active
school enrolling them, many former CSB students are apparently
finding that they're no longer eligible for the internships they
were doing at radio and TV stations across the region, adding
insult to injury.
Dick Robinson, the veteran Hartford broadcaster who founded
CSB back in 1964 and sold the business to Credit Suisse three
years ago, tells WVIT-TV that he hopes to buy the Farmington
location back from CSB's owners and reopen it under a new name.
(That Farmington site, by the way, is the old studio location
of WRCH, and still home to the transmitter of WLAT 910.)
*WDAQ (98.3 Danbury) has named a new morning man: he's Rich
Minor, who moves north from WJJS in Roanoke, Virginia.
And in New Haven, WPLR (99.1) has reversed its decision to
cancel the "Local Bands Show," a 21-year Sunday night
staple on the rock station, after what the show's hosts call
a "truly wonderful outpouring" of support from listeners
and local musicians.
*We start our NEW YORK report with
an "ending" - two weeks after Sinclair's upstate stations
(Fox affiliates WUTV 29 Buffalo, WUHF 31 Rochester and WSYT 68
Syracuse and My affiliate WNYS 43 Syracuse, as well as Pittsburgh's
WPMY 22 and WPGH 53) ended regular programming on their analog
signals, those stations pulled the plug on the "nightlight"
loop and silenced their analog transmitters for good at 11:59:59
PM on Tuesday (March 3).
Having been parked in front of the old 25" Zenith when
WUHF signed on for the first time back in January 1980, NERW
couldn't resist the opportunity to be there at WUHF's Pinnacle
Hill transmitter site when the station left the airwaves.
It was rather unceremonious - viewers at home, if there were
any left, simply saw the nightlight loop cut to static - but
it's another step into the digital future, and we'll be back
up on Pinnacle Hill in June when the market's other stations
shut down their analog signals.
It's more than just the analog signal going away at Syracuse's
CBS affiliate; as we reported in an update to last week's NERW,
Granite Broadcasting cut the jobs of some 40 staffers at WTVH
(Channel 5) after Monday morning's newscast, as WTVH entered
into an LMA with Barrington Broadcasting's NBC affiliate, WSTM
(Channel 3), under which WSTM will handle most aspects of WTVH's
how it played out in the short term: WTVH's noon newscast on
Monday was replaced by an infomercial, but at 5 PM, "CBS
5 News" was back on the air, after a fashion, with anchor
Michael Benny, among the few remaining WTVH staffers, looking
rather uncomfortable as he read the press-release verbiage about
the merger, with only a token mention at the very end about the
job cuts involved. (The job cuts, unsurprisingly, were the lead
story and then some on competitor WSYR-TV and in the Syracuse
paper, which put WTVH's news shutdown at the center of the front
page the next day.)
What followed - and what's been airing on WTVH at 5, 6 and
11 all week long - was essentially a rewritten version of the
same newscast being seen on WSTM in the same slots, with WSTM's
weather and sports anchors and field reports from WSTM staffers.
During the morning and noon slots, WTVH has simply been simulcasting
WSTM's newscasts, albeit with WTVH graphics.
That's a temporary situation, it appears; Granite has entered
into similar LMAs in other markets (most notably Fort Wayne and
Duluth, but also Peoria, where Granite's WEEK took over operations
last week at Barrington's WHOI), and we'd expect the WSTM/WTVH
joint operation to follow that pattern: a common brand (a la
"Indiana's News Center") for both stations, with some
newscasts in alternating timeslots - say, 5 and 6 PM on one station,
5:30 and 7 PM on the other.
Meanwhile on the radio dial, Clear Channel's Aloha spinoff
trust has sold WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter) - and the new owners should
be plenty familiar with the station. Craig Fox and Sam Furco
owned the station, then religious WVOA, until May 2000, when
they sold it to Clear Channel for $5 million.
was then; in today's economy, Fox and Furco (doing business as
"Foxfur Communications" for this purchase) are paying
a mere $1.25 million to buy the station back.
It joins what's become an extensive group of signals that
Fox and company control in the Syracuse area: there's Radio Disney
trio WOLF (1490 Syracuse)/WWLF (1340 Auburn)/WAMF (1300 Fulton),
"Movin'" rhythmic AC simulcast WWLF-FM (100.3 Sylvan
Beach)/WOLF-FM (96.7 Oswego), religious WVOA (103.9 Mexico, which
picked up the format and calls from 105.1 back in 2000), religious/black
gospel WSIV (1540 East Syracuse) and the as-yet-unbuilt WVOA
Conveniently, the Syracuse radio market is defined narrowly
enough that the Sylvan Beach (Oneida County) and Auburn (Cayuga
County) stations fall outside its borders, leaving Fox with seven
"in-market" signals once the WWDG purchase closes -
plus a slew of LPTVs and FM translators, including W252BC (98.3
Camillus), which Fox is acquiring from Clear Channel along with
As for Clear Channel, it will still be left with a substantial
cluster of stations in the market: news-talk WSYR (570 Syracuse),
sports WHEN (620 Syracuse), AC WYYY (94.5 Syracuse), urban WPHR
(106.9 Auburn, moving to Camillus), top-40 WWHT (107.9 Syracuse)
and market-leading country giant WBBS (104.7 Fulton).
What becomes of WWDG's modern AC "Nova" format,
which has been running largely automated and voicetracked? Stay
As the FCC continues to sort through the thousands of applications
it received in its 2007 noncommercial application window, it's
winnowed out a winning application in a mutually-exclusive pile-up
in central New York: Tyburn Academy's application for 88.7 in
Fleming beat out applications from Syracuse University and Syracuse
Community Radio for that frequency in Skaneateles and Marcellus,
*There's a new PD at New York's WRKS (Kiss 98.7), as Jill
Strada moves down the hall from her post as APD/music director
for sister station WQHT (97.1) to take over the programming reins
that have been held most recently by Ebro Darden, who'll now
be able to focus exclusively on programming Hot 97.
But while Strada arrives at 395 Hudson Street, several other
Emmis staffers are leaving, the victims of employment cutbacks
at the struggling company. Julie Gustines, veteran music director
at WRKS, is out - and so is Kiss morning host Jeff Foxx, who
leaves behind co-host Raquiya and news guy Bob Slade.
Radio's WEPN (1050 New York) is moving ahead on construction
of its new tower site in Secaucus, N.J., as several drivers who've
been past Turnpike exit 16E have let us know in recent days.
Doug Douglass sent along this shot from early last week, showing
the bases of two of the new self-supporting towers, and Russ
"Famous Amos" DiBello reports that since then, one
of the towers has been nearly completed, lights and all.
Once the site is ready for use, WEPN will be able to leave
behind its old site near Giants Stadium, where construction of
the nearby Xanadu entertainment/retail complex has made continued
Meanwhile at WEPN, a schedule change next Monday (March 16)
will add ESPN's Colin Cowherd show to the New York lineup from
noon-2 PM, chopping an hour off Max Kellerman's 10 AM-1 PM local
show and eliminating the 1-2 PM hour of ESPN's Mike Tirico/Scott
Van Pelt show that WEPN was carrying. Cowherd will launch his
New York presence with a live show next week from a Manhattan
The Clear Channel axe swung early last week at Long Island's
WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue), where cuts included midday talent/production
director Scott Miller and weekenders Holly Levis (who's also
been doing some weekend/swing work at competitor WKJY), Kara
Reifert and Jack Nolan. With Miller gone, WALK-FM's weekday lineup
now features some very long airshifts: Mark Daniels now voicetracks
10-noon after his morning drive shift, PD Patrick Shea does noon-4
and tracks 10-midnight, K.T. Mills does 4-7 and tracks 7-10,
and morning producer Tommy Fusci tracks overnights. (Hello? Anybody
home in there?)
And what about the heavily-rumored format change at CBS Radio's
WXRK (92.3 New York)? It's still "K-Rock" as we go
to press Sunday night, but we're still hearing the flip to top
40, apparently as "92.3 Now FM," could happen any day
now...and of course we'll update as soon as we hear anything
Returning to TV news, the launch last Monday of NBC's Late
Night with Jimmy Fallon brings with it some big structural
changes on the historic sixth floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
After more than a quarter-century as the home of Late Night
under David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, studio 6A has been
vacated, with the new Fallon show originating across the hall
in studio 6B.
That studio was the historic home of the Tonight show
with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson in the sixties and seventies,
but after Carson moved west, 6B's audience seating was removed
and the studio became the home of WNBC's local newscasts. But
WNBC moved upstairs late last year to its newly-expanded newsroom/studio
called "7E," making room for the return of audience
facilities and the launch of the Fallon show.
this morning brings with it big changes up in 7E, as WNBC finally
launches its long-postponed local digital subchannel.
When "New York Nonstop" debuts at 5 AM on WNBC-DT's
4.2 subchannel (former home of the defunct WeatherPlus) and digital
cable, it's being billed as a "round-the-clock local information
and lifestyle channel." That will include news updates every
15 minutes, and a new flagship newscast, Chuck Scarborough's
"New York Nightly News" at 7 PM.
The 7 PM newscast had been seen on WNBC's main channel until
last Friday, but the move to 4.2 will allow it to expand to a
full hour, with "Extra" filling the 7-7:30 PM slot
on WNBC itself.
(One request to our readers, incidentally - if anyone recorded
the last Conan Late Night, or the first Fallon show, could
you drop us a line? Our DVR hasn't been as cooperative as we'd
like, and while we know the shows are available on NBC's website,
it's just not the same thing at all...)
STILL NEED A 2009 CALENDAR?
...because there are still a few copies of Tower
Site Calendar 2009 in stock at the fybush.com
Our business manager (aka Mrs. Fybush)
says we're heading for another sellout, so don't sit around waiting
for a clearance sale that won't be happening.
So fill that empty space on your wall today,
with a brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2009!
now at the fybush.com Store!
*In MASSACHUSETTS, the new news director
at Boston's WCVB (Channel 5) arrives from within the Hearst-Argyle
New England family: Andrew Vrees heads south on the Everett Turnpike
from sister station WMUR (Channel 9) in Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE,
where he's been news director for the past five years. Vrees
has also worked at Hearst's KOAT in Albuquerque, as well as at
stations in Toledo, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Lawton, Oklahoma.
an application that came as no surprise: when we reported a few
months back that Greater Media's WKLB-FM (102.5 Waltham) had
filed to build a new auxiliary transmitter site at the CBS tower
on Cedar Street in Needham, we speculated that the station would
soon apply to make the Cedar Street site its main transmitter
That happened last week, with WKLB applying for 14 kW/905',
instead of the 8.1 kW/1151' it currently uses at the "FM128"
tower a mile away across Route 128. The move returns 102.5 to
the tower site it used for much of its time as WCRB-FM in the
seventies and eighties - and it allows WKLB-FM to continue its
experiments with higher power on its HD Radio carriers, where
it's been testing with 10 times the usual injection level.
Remember that walk that "Touch 106" pirate operator
Charles Clemons said he was going to take - the one from Boston
to Los Angeles to promote his quest for a licensed low-power
signal for his unlicensed station? It's now "postponed due
to poor weather," per his website...and who ever would
have anticipated unfavorable weather in the northeast in March?
no date set yet for another try at the "Walk for Power."
And we remember Steve Amirault, who died Monday (March 2)
at 62. While his most recent broadcast work was in Haverhill,
as founding PD of the innovative webcaster WHAV.net, much of
Amirault's career was spent in Lowell, where he programmed WLLH
and then WCAP, where he was working when the station boosted
power from 1 kW to 5 kW and went full-time.
*Two more analog TV signals that went dark
for good last week: in Providence, RHODE ISLAND, WNAC
(Channel 64) ended its two weeks of nightlight operation Tuesday
night, and a day or two later, up in New Hampshire, Telemundo's
WNEU (Channel 60) quietly left the analog airwaves as well.
*The format wheels keep spinning in MAINE,
where Saga rearranged its AM lineup in Portland last week. On
Tuesday, WZAN (970 Portland) traded its "hot talk"
lineup - Bob & Tom, Lex & Terry, Mike O'Meara, Adam Carolla
and Loveline - for "Maine's Talk Radio," a lineup that
starts with Don Imus in mornings and includes Laura Ingraham,
Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie.
on Wednesday, the "hot talk" moved up the dial to Imus'
former morning home, WBAE (1490 Portland)/WVAE (1400 Biddeford),
displacing standards "The Bay" on those frequencies
with a lineup that includes the rest of the old WZAN talent except
for Adam Carolla, whose syndicated show went away when his flagship
station, KLSX (97.1) in Los Angeles, changed format. "AM
1400/1490" will also continue to carry Sea Dogs baseball
and Pirates hockey.
We've overlooked a format shift on the outskirts of Bangor,
where Stephen King is now simulcasting sports WZON (620 Bangor)
on WDME (103.1 Dover-Foxcroft), that station that once had its
studios in a train car.
Meanwhile at Blueberry Broadcasting, we hear Kelly Slater,
former general manager of Clear Channel's Augusta and Bangor
signals before Blueberry took over, has departed. Slater had
been working as sales manager for the group.
We also hear WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor) is now simulcasting
rocker WTOS (105.1 Skowhegan), dropping the short-lived "Star"
AC format it had picked up from WKCG (101.3 Augusta, now talker
WVQM) just a couple of months ago.
we're sorry to report the death of Nelson Doak, who started working
at WKTJ (99.3 Farmington, and also AM 1380 back then) as a salesman
in the seventies, later becoming a co-owner of the station in
2000. Doak left WKTJ in 2003 to undergo a triple bypass and to
await a heart transplant, which he received in 2004, allowing
him to return to the station briefly. Doak and partner Marc Fisher
sold WKTJ in 2005, and Doak had suffered additional health problems
in recent years. He was 60 when he died last week.
*Executives at VERMONT Public Radio
are taking pay cuts as they guide the statewide service through
budget cuts driven by the tough economy. VPR says it's cutting
its budget by about 11% this year, with the network's upper management
cutting their salaries by 7.5% as they try to weather drops in
underwriting and listener contributions.
*One of NEW JERSEY's oldest college
radio stations is continuing its sixtieth anniversary celebration.
WSOU (89.5 South Orange) is the subject of a new exhibit at Seton
Hall University's Walsh Library Gallery. "The Loudest Rock:
60 Years of Pirate Radio," curated by three Seton Hall graduate
students, opened on Thursday and will be on display through April
Edited by NERW's own Scott Fybush - on sale now as
an e-book or printed volume!
*A veteran talk voice in western PENNSYLVANIA
is back on the air as of tonight: more than six months after
losing her afternoon slot on WPTT (1360 McKeesport) when that
Pittsburgh-market talk station flipped to business talk as WMNY,
Lynn Cullen is joining Sheridan's WAMO (860 Millvale) for the
5-7 PM shift.
Fans of vintage Pittsburgh broadcasting, rejoice - it appears
that after a long absence, Jason Togyer's "Monday Morning
Nostalgia Fix" will be back in action starting today over
(In the absence of the "Nostalgia Fix," we've been
getting our daily dose of Togyer's witty writing over at his
own blog, Tube
City Almanac, where we've learned much more about McKeesport,
Pennsylvania than is healthy for anyone outside the Mon Valley...)
In Philadelphia, Dan Gosselin is out as PD of Greater Media's
WNUW (97.5 Burlington NJ), with WBEN-FM (95.7) PD Jules Riley
adding "Now 97.5" duties to her "Ben FM"
Colin Cowherd is getting a Philadelphia presence as well as
his new New York clearance: WPEN (950) will run Cowherd from
10-11 AM, following an extra hour of "Mike and Mike"
(now heard only 6-9 AM on WPEN). Local hosts Jody McDonald and
Harry Mayes move from 9 AM-1 PM to 11 AM-3 PM, leaving Mike Tirico
and Scott Van Pelt, now heard from 1-3 PM, as the odd men out.
In Scranton, public radio WVIA (89.9) has added an HD2 subchannel,
and it's not your typical public radio fare - instead, they're
carrying the syndicated "Music of Your Life" format.
A pair of obituaries from Philadelphia: talk radio pioneer
Frank Ford was still using his real name, Ed Felbin when he started
on WHAT way back in 1937. He took his air name from a one-time
sponsor, Frankford Unity Grocery Stores, and over the course
of many decades he was heard up and down the dial everywhere
from WIP to WWDB to WPEN to WCAU to WFLN(AM), which Ford purchased
in 1985. He converted the station to talker WDVT ("We're
Delaware Valley Talk") and served as the station's general
manager and midday personality until selling the station (now
WURD 900) in 1988. Ford, who was married to Philadelphia district
attorney Lynne Abraham, died of a stroke Tuesday, at age 92.
Ridley, Jr., whose jazz shows were a staple of WRTI (90.1)'s
Sunday night programming for more than three decades, died February
19 at age 70. His program, "The Historical Approach to the
Positive Music," started on WRTI in 1976, and for the last
twenty years Ridley was also an instructor at WRTI's parent institution,
Temple University, as well as Villanova and other schools.
And while we could have mentioned the death of voiceover legend
Brian James under just about any state heading in this week's
NERW - after all, his edgy voice work was heard everywhere
- we're putting him under the Keystone State because that's
where he once worked, as creative services director at the old
WBZZ (B94) in Pittsburgh. James later moved to Scottsdale, Arizona,
where he became one of the nation's top imaging voice talents
before his untimely death of a heart attack Friday (March 6)
at age 48.
*The troubles of CANADA's local TV
industry deepened last week, as CTV pulled the plug on local
newscasts at its "A" outlets in Barrie, London and
Ottawa/Pembroke. At the latter (the station formally known as
CHRO), Tuesday brought an abrupt end to the 6 and 11 PM newscasts
that came from the "Market Media Mall" studios in downtown
Ottawa and the original CHRO studios in Pembroke. That leaves
only the Ottawa-based "A Morning" show, now extended
to four hours, along with a lone videographer in Pembroke, and
puts 34 people out of work at both stations.
In London and Barrie, it was the morning shows at "A"
(aka CFPL-TV and CKVR, respectively) that were cancelled after
Tuesday's installments, replaced by repeats of the previous night's
11 PM newscast, leaving about 50 employees out of work in London
and a smaller number in Barrie.
In all, "A" cut 118 staffers - about a third of
its nationwide total - from the Ontario stations and from its
stations in Halifax and Victoria, B.C.
Francophone news-talk listeners across much of Quebec will be
out of luck at month's end, when Corus plans to flip CHLT (107.7
Sherbrooke), CHLN (106.9 Trois-Rivieres), CKRS (98.3 Saguenay)
and CJRC (104.7 Gatineau-Ottawa) from news-talk to a classic
hits-oldies format called "Souvenirs Guarantis," similar
to CFOM (102.9 Quebec City).
Each of the four stations being flipped is a recent convert
from AM; indeed, CJRC's AM transmitter on 1150 was still on the
air at last check, with March 16 the target date to end AM operations.
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, ten and - where available - fifteen 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!)
March 10, 2008 -
- The Citadel budget cutbacks have claimed local sports radio
in RHODE ISLAND. The struggling broadcast company pulled the
plug this morning on "The Score" (WSKO 790 Providence/WSKO-FM
99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale), replacing it with satellite-fed True
Oldies Channel on the AM side and with an FM simulcast of news-talk
WPRO (630). Since there's already a WPRO-FM (Citadel's top 40
station on 92.3), the move presents a bit of a branding issue,
being resolved for now by calling the news-talk simulcast simply
"630 WPRO & 99.7." Don Imus' morning show remains
in place on the 790 AM signal, and we're hearing the venerable
WEAN calls may be resurrected there. (Right now, 790 is using
new calls WPRV; we suspect those calls may actually be destined
for 99.7 when the changeover is complete.) Fans of Opie &
Anthony, who had been heard on 99.7, will have to try to pick
them up from Boston's WBCN; fans of the Jim Rome show are out
of luck for now.
- It's rare that we start the column with an obituary, but
in his 56 years, Fred Horton touched so many radio people in
his native upstate NEW YORK and beyond that it seems only fitting
he lead off this week's issue.
- Horton grew up in Syracuse and began his radio career there,
as one of the many jocks to pass through the doors of WOLF, then
across town at WNDR. After that, his travels took him all across
upstate New York, including stints at WAAL in Binghamton, WRUN/WKGW
in Utica, WGNA/WPYX/WTRY in Albany (where he's credited with
making WGNA's country format into a major player), WSEN and WYYY
back in Syracuse, WCMF in Rochester, and some time as a record
promoter in Buffalo. In 1993, Horton became PD of New York's
country WYNY (103.5), scoring the station its highest ratings
in that format before its flip to WKTU. Horton also worked in
Connecticut, as PD/station manager at WDRC, in Grand Rapids at
WGRD, and in Memphis at WGKX.
- More recently, he worked in Rochester as morning man and
PD at WBEE-FM (92.5) in the late nineties, moving to Erie, PA
in 2001 to be morning man (and eventually operations manager)
at WXTA (97.9 Edinboro), a job he held until just last year.
"Uncle" Fred was a radio guy to the core, and remained
passionate about the medium even in the last days of his fight
against cancer, which claimed his life last Tuesday (March 4).
- New York's mayor is looking for a new radio home. Michael
Bloomberg had a regular weekly appointment with John R. Gambling
at WABC (770), but with Gambling's recent departure from the
station in a flurry of budget cuts, the mayor is looking around
for another slot. Will Gambling's WABC replacement, Curtis Sliwa,
get the nod? Or will the mayor look to rival talk stations, perhaps
WOR or WNYC? (One unlikely possibility is Bloomberg Radio's WBBR
1130; the mayor has maintained a hands-off stance toward his
own media properties since taking office.)
- Upstate, Ticonderoga's WIPS (1250) went silent at noon on
Feb. 29, and it won't be returning to the air, at least not under
current owner BisiBlue LLC. The company, a division of Crown
Point Network Technologies, tells the Plattsburgh Press Republican
that ad revenue never developed in the seven years it owned the
station, and that it was sustaining losses of $3,000 a month
at the end to keep the 1 kW daytimer on the air.
- There's a frequency flip coming in southeastern CONNECTICUT,
though one of the stations involved actually transmits from RHODE
ISLAND and the other from Long Island. On March 18, Citadel will
swap facilities between talker WXLM (102.3 Stonington CT) and
classic rock "Wolf" WMOS (104.7 Montauk NY). The idea
is to improve the reach of the Wolf, which broadcasts from studios
at the Mohegan Sun casino but has trouble being heard in much
of the region because of a signal that sometimes doesn't make
it across Long Island Sound very well. Moving the Wolf to 102.3,
with a transmitter site just north of Westerly, will solve that
problem; the talk format on WXLM, meanwhile, will run in mono
when in moves to 104.7, which should make the weaker signal more
- There's a format change in southwestern Ontario: CFCO (630
Chatham-Kent) dropped its longtime oldies format last Monday,
becoming "Country 92.9," branding itself with the frequency
of its low-power FM relay instead of its wide-coverage AM outlet.
Sister station CKSY (94.3) has rebranded as "Lite Hits 94.3."
It's not the only country station in the neighborhood, either:
in Leamington, CJSP (92.7) signed on Monday with country.
March 8, 2004 -
- Country fans in Kingston, Ontario, CANADA have been without
a local source for their favorite music for a few weeks, ever
since Corus flipped CFMK (96.3 Kingston) from "Country 96"
to "Joe FM." That will change this morning, though,
when Clancy-Mance Communications drops WBDR (102.7 Cape Vincent
NY) from the three-station top-40 simulcast ("The Border")
that also includes WBDI (106.7 Copenhagen/Watertown NY) and WBDB
(92.7 Ogdensburg NY). In place of "The Border," 102.7
will become "Kix 102.7," playing country music programmed
to the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River. Kix will compete
for Kingston ears with Regent's "Froggy," WFRG (97.5
Watertown), which puts a huge signal over Kingston but hasn't
had an active sales force there for a while. Clancy-Mance, by
contrast, has been a player in the Kingston ad market with the
Border, which was splitting its ad load and running Canadian
ads on 102.7 while targeting U.S. listeners with separate ads
on 106.7 and 92.7.
- The Mohawk Valley of upstate NEW YORK gets a new standards
station this morning, thanks to Lloyd Roach's Route 81 group.
After several days of simulcasting classic rocker WRCK (107.3
Utica), WKLL (94.9 Frankfort) will launch today as WTLB-FM, running
in tandem with standards WTLB (1310 Utica). Down the Thruway
a bit, the former WBUG (1570 Amsterdam) turns out to have flipped
to talk - those new WVTL calls stand for "Valley's Talk
- In the Finger Lakes, we hear George Kimble's Radio Group
closed Friday on its purchase of WFLR (1570 Dundee) and WFLR-FM
(95.9 Dundee); more on this one next week.
- The new left-leaning "Air America" talk network
landed a home in market #1 this week. It'll be carried on Inner
City Broadcasting's WLIB (1190 New York), displacing the station's
current talk programming aimed at the city's black community.
Air America's studios are located on the same floor of the same
building as WLIB, and it appears that Inner City may lease or
sell other stations it owns (including, perhaps, WHAT 1340 in
Philadelphia and KVTO 1400 Berkeley CA?) to Air America as the
network finds its legs. (NERW wonders: will Air America keep
the "LIB"eral calls on 1190, or will it realize that
those calls carry a very different heritage in New York from
the image it's seeking?)
- One CONNECTICUT note: Hartford's WKSS (95.7) is trying to
fill a bit of the void left behind when sister station WMRQ (104.1)
flipped from modern rock to R&B WPHH (Power 104) last year.
It's now breaking from its usual top 40 each weeknight from 10
PM until 2 AM to play modern rock as "Channel 957."
- Smooth jazz came to central PENNSYLVANIA last week, as Hall
Communications pulled the plug on the oldies at "Big 92.7"
WHBO (92.7 Starview PA) last Monday, replacing it with "Smooth
Jazz 92.7" under new calls WSJW. And WHBO wasn't the only
oldies station to disappear from the dials around Harrisburg
- over in Carlisle, Route 81 dropped the 50s and 60s oldies it
inherited from Citadel at WHYL (960), replacing them with a locally-programmed
standards format starting Saturday morning (March 6). Route 81
also launched a morning show at WNAK (730 Nanticoke) and WNAK-FM
(94.3 Carbondale), putting market veteran Terry McNulty back
on the air.
- Some call and format shuffling out in Johnstown: Forever
moves the news-talk format of WNTJ (1490) down the dial to replace
classic country at WLYE (850 Johnstown) and WVSC (990 Somerset),
changing WLYE's call to WNTJ and WVSC to WNTW. 1490 goes sports
as WSPO, a callsign previously heard on 850 (which most old-timers
in the market probably still think of as WJAC...)
March 5, 1999 -
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- What could we have been thinking when we laughed at Boston's
little nor'easter last week? How soon we forget that winter's
far from finished up here in Rochester in March, as we dig out
from more than two feet of snow that fell in just a few hours
Thursday morning. Few broadcast effects to report from this one;
a quick scan of the dial Thursday afternoon found nobody off
the air, WHAM (1180) dumping out of the satellite (Laura Schlesinger
and Rush) to offer cancellations, storm news, and local talk,
and WRSB (1310 Canandaigua) simulcasting former sister station
WCGR (1550) instead of new sister station WASB (1590 Brockport).
Was WASB(AM) on the air? Beats us; we were out at the eastern
edge of the county, where WAUB in Auburn dominates the channel.
WASB-FM (105.5) was indeed on the air, with the usual unlistenable
whistles and hum on the audio. More snow's expected this weekend...we
can hardly wait.
- We'll kick off the rest of the week's news in central MAINE,
where the country format from WKCG (101.3 Augusta) moved on schedule
Monday morning (3/1) to WCTB (93.5 Fairfield) and WCME (96.7
Boothbay Harbor) as "Kicks Country." That much we expected...but
check this out: This one's a physical move as well, with WKCG's
jocks moving from the WABK/WFAU studio on Northern Ave. in Gardiner
to the old WCTB digs (and WTOS/WSKW/WHQO's) on Middle Rd. in
Skowhegan. As for WCTB's old AC "River" format, Cumulus
has moved it -- and its staff -- down to Gardiner and the 101.3
signal, where it debuted Monday morning as "Star 101."
Morning guy Mike Violette tells the Waterville Central Maine
Morning Sentinel that he found out about the change with just
a day's notice, when he returned from vacation. He says co-host
Eric Leimbach will join him on 101.3 when he returns from sick
- But wait...there's more! Cumulus says it plans to sell WHQO
(107.9 Skowhegan), which simulcasts the sports format of WSKW
(1160 Skowhegan), by year's end. The "Score" may not
vanish from FM, though; market manager Tim Gatz says Cumulus
has another FM in the works to carry the format. NERW suspects
WIGY (97.5 Madison) is the likely candidate.
- Moving towards Portland, we hear WCLZ-FM (98.9 Brunswick)
is mainstreaming its format as Fuller-Jeffrey moves it into new
Portland studios, taking on more of a modern AC sound -- and
maybe "modern" is the wrong word, since we hear 'CLZ
listeners now get Eagles tunes, among others, on what used to
be a AAA outlet. The most recent playlist on the WCLZ Web site
doesn't look to have been updated since December.
- In MASSACHUSETTS, there's a new talk lineup at WRKO (680
Boston) following the departure of the Two Chicks (with Chick
Leslie Gold saying that she chose to leave because she was doing
"all the work"): Tai moves from his old 10-1 spot to
a four hour gig from 7-11 PM nightly. Filling that 11-1 spot
have been substitute hosts, with Andy Moes rumored to be getting
the nod for the permanent job.
- Out in Worcester, Heirwaves is selling WNEB (1230) to Great
Commission Broadcasting, the company that leases time on WJLT
(1060 Natick) from Alex Langer for its Christian contemporary
"J-Light" format. Heirwaves bought WNEB from Bob Bittner
in late 1997 and has been running its own CC format as "Solid
Rock 1230" since then. NERW will be unsurprised to see J-Light
move completely to 1230 from 1060 before long, based on what
we've been hearing about things in Langer's studios.
- New calls for a southern VERMONT radio station this week,
as WVAY (100.7 Wilmington) drops the calls it's had since it
signed on in the late eighties to become WMTT (we're guessing
"The Mountain" to go along with sister station WRSI
Greenfield MA, "The River.") The FCC is also listing
an ownership change for WMTT and W284AB in nearby Jamaica, from
Dynacom to Border Broadcasting -- but that's all within Jeff
Shapiro's corporate family, if we're not mistaken, and the WRSI/WVAY
website shows no changes for now. A quick check of the station's
RealAudio feed (gotta love it...) has us listening to an ID that
plays up "18 years of musical diversity" on WRSI and
then mumbles "WMTT Wilmington" at the end...
- Up north at Capstar's Burlington group, three staffers said
goodbye this week. Operations manager Ken MacKenzie leaves WEZF,
WCPV, and WXPS/WEAV to become a consultant, WEZF morning man
Jon Brooks goes across town to Hall's oldies WKOL (105.1 Plattsburgh-Burlington),
and station manager Ken Barlow is heading down I-89 to Barre,
to become GM at WSNO (1450) and WORK (107.1).
- A CONNECTICUT TV station is still getting a new owner, just
not the one originally announced. Paxson will now sell WBPT (Channel
43) in Bridgeport to Shop at Home, the original sale to Cuchifritos
Communications having fallen through. NERW is registering editorial
disappointment on this one; it's not that we were that excited
about the plans for Spanish-language home shopping, but we were
hoping to have the chance to use the words "Cuchifritos
Communications" more often in print...
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2009 by Scott Fybush.