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March 30, 2009

1050 CHUM, Larry Glick Both Gone

*It was a bad week for legends on both sides of the border. Canada lost one of its heritage oldies stations for a second time, while Boston lost one of its favorite talk radio voices.

We'll get to the legacy of Larry Glick a bit later in this week's column, but first we'll do what CTVglobemedia couldn't be bothered to do and give Toronto's CHUM (1050) a proper burial after 50 years of rock and roll.

The last time CHUM changed format, back in May 2001, it was a big deal indeed.

Back then, the Waters family still owned the station, as it had since the fifties, and the big flip to "Team" sports radio came with an all-day party at 1331 Yonge Street, complete with on-air reminiscences of CHUM's glory days, a website retrospective, and passionate CHUM fans lining the sidewalks to say farewell to one of Canada's signature radio stations. (You can read our on-scene coverage of that memorable day here.)

"Team" failed, and rather spectacularly at that, and even the watered-down, mostly voicetracked version of 1050 CHUM that returned to the Toronto airwaves in 2002 had its devoted admirers, at least judging by the crowds that lined up around the block on a rainy day last October to get one last look at the 1331 Yonge Street studios before they're sold to be demolished for a new condo development.

What they - and we - didn't know that day was that the end of the oldies format was just months away, and that when it came, it would be announced as a minor item in a press release from CP24, the all-news cable channel that went along with the CHUM radio stations when the Waters family sold their media holdings to CTVglobemedia two years ago.

It took some time for CP24 to fully separate itself from CityTV, formerly CP24's parent, after CTV spun the CityTV operations off to Rogers in 2007. (Until last week, CP24 was simulcasting evening newscasts from CTV's CFTO-TV, but was still simulcasting CityTV's "Breakfast TV" in the morning.)

Now CP24 is asserting its own identity - and much to the surprise of CHUM fans all over North America, the announcement of a new 5:30 AM "CP24 Breakfast" show also included the news that effective that same morning - last Thursday, March 26 - the all-news cable channel would be simulcast on the new "CP24 Radio 1050."

And just like that, half a century of Canadian radio history was gone. The website, which had become a repository of CHUM's long legacy, began redirecting to CP24's site as soon as the announcement was made. There were no on-air farewells to be heard on 1050, since the station's evening and overnight programming had already been tracked. Even the final moments were graceless: while "Please Release Me," the last full song heard just before 5 AM Thursday, might have been picked as a nod to the end (again) of CHUM, there was still a minute or so left to kill, so listeners heard the beginning of "Black Magic Woman" before an unceremonious dump into CP24's audio, complete with a steady diet of "as you can see" and "as these pictures show," and little regard for anyone trying to follow along on the radio.

Some of those opening-day glitches will be fixed, of course, and CTV's promising at least a bit of radio-specific programming on weekends.

But while it's easy to see CTV's business logic here - making CP24's content available across as many platforms as possible, and creating at least a minor rival to Rogers' highly successful radio-specific "680News" (CFTR) - it's still hard to imagine "CP24 Radio" becoming any sort of a valued part of Toronto's radio scene in the way that even the weakened recent version of 1050 CHUM had been.

CHUM's demise put at least four people, including morning host Gord James (the station's only live air talent), out of work, though CTV says it will try to find jobs for them elsewhere in the company.

What now for Toronto-area oldies fans? There's still CKOC (1150) in nearby Hamilton, and Toronto's own CFZM (740) mixes some oldies with its pop standards. (There's another CHUM connection at AM 740 - owner Moses Znaimer founded CityTV and later sold it to CHUM Limited, going to work for the Waters family.) And now that the CRTC is allowing FM stations to adopt oldies formats, there's always the possibility - however remote - that the format could be reincarnated on the FM dial. (Not, however, on CHUM-FM 104.5 itself; that station continues to be exceedingly successful with its hot AC format.)

There's lots of additional news from Canada in this busy week, and we'll get to it later in this issue - but first, our other lead story:

*Ask a random radio listener outside MASSACHUSETTS to name a Boston radio personality, and the odds are pretty good that the response will be "Larry Glick."

For two decades on powerful WBZ (1030 Boston), and for many years before that on WMEX (1510 Boston) and afterward on WHDH (850 Boston), Glick's informal style and offbeat sense of humor defined a new kind of talk radio, inspired a generation of radio people and amused fans all over the "38 states and half of Canada" served by WBZ's 50 kW signal. (Indeed, for some years when this column was young, the single most commonly-asked question we received was, "what ever happened to Larry Glick?")

Sadly, there's now a final answer to that question: Glick went in for open-heart surgery near his Boca Raton, Florida home last Thursday, and after 10 hours on the operating table, complications arose and doctors were unable to revive him. Glick was 87.

A native of Roxbury, Glick left Boston to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. Returning, he attended Emerson College, worked briefly at WLNH in Laconia, N.H., then spent some time on a kibbutz in Israel. When he returned stateside in the early fifties, he went to Florida, where he owned WZOK-FM (96.9) in Jacksonville for a few years before moving to Miami's WINZ, where his life in talk radio began.

It was WMEX that brought Glick back home to Boston in 1964, where he joined an all-star staff that included Jerry Williams, though the two wouldn't work together long. Williams left in 1965, and Glick followed in 1968, moving his nighttime talk show from WMEX's weak 5 kW signal to WBZ's clear channel.

At WBZ, of course, Glick found his biggest success. Leaving the heavy issues-oriented talk to the daytime hours (a lesson he learned early on at WINZ), he spent the hours from midnight to 5 AM (occasionally being moved to an earlier evening shift) having fun with night owls, early risers and probably every cab driver in the Northeast, dispensing "Glick University" T-shirts, trading quips with newsman Streeter Stuart (often parodied on the other side of the glass by newshound "Streeter Glick") and longtime producer Kenny "Muck" Meyer, and "shooting off" callers with a barrage of sound effects.

Glick's long run at WBZ came to a close in 1987, evidently with some acrimony, judging by his reaction when your editor reached him a few years later in hopes that he might appear on a reunion show. (Fortunately, whatever breach existed was repaired later on by Glick's spiritual successor at WBZ, Steve Leveille; after Leveille inherited the overnight hours from Bob Raleigh, Glick made several well-received appearances as a guest on the Leveille broadcast.)

From 1988 until 1992, Glick's Boston career wrapped up at WHDH, but his show didn't fit as well with that station's issue-oriented talk, and the station's attempt to move him into a daytime slot was simply the wrong spot. Glick retired from radio, turning his attention to a new career as a hypnotist and eventually moving south to Florida.

Last September, Glick was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, much to the delight of his audience of "Glicknicks." He is survived by his wife, Lisa, and her two daughters. A private memorial service was held in Florida last week; a public memorial service will be announced in the Boston area at a later time.

*There's just one other significant bit of Bay State news this week: on Cape Cod, Qantum didn't wait until its announced date of April 1 to flip top-40 "Rose" WRZE (96.3 Dennis) to become the newest affiliate of Boston's WEEI sports network.

Instead, the flip happened on Wednesday (March 25), following a short retrospective of WRZE's 18 years in its old format. The new calls on 96.3, as had previously been announced, are WEII. It's still not clear whether WEII will join most of the rest of the WEEI network with Red Sox coverage this season; for now, the Sox network web page still shows Qantum sister station WXTK (95.1 West Yarmouth) as the team's Cape Cod home for the summer. (Read on for our full Baseball on the Radio coverage, later in this week's NERW...)

*We're still reeling - as is the rest of the NEW YORK radio community - at the developments in the murder of former WABC (770) newsman George Weber. The details have been all over the tabloids; suffice it to say that at week's end, 16-year-old John Katehis was being held without bail at Bellevue Hospital after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder and weapons possession.

At Emmis' WRXP (101.9 New York), middayer Steve Craig has been promoted to assistant PD and night guy Brian Phillips to music director, taking two of the roles held by afternoon jock Bryan Schock before his departure.

Over at ESPN Radio's WEPN (1050 New York), the third tower in the station's new directional array is now standing in the swamps near Exit 16E of the New Jersey Turnpike - and just as we were about to put up this week's NERW with a plea for updated photos from our loyal commuter-readers who've been snapping shots as they drive into the city, what should arrive in our in-box but some photos from both up close and up in the air above the new site? Our thanks to ESPN Radio's Kevin Plumb for these exclusive looks at New York's newest AM site...

On the air, "ESPN 1050" has named a replacement for Max Kellerman in the 10 AM-noon slot: he's Brandon Tierney, who moves to the midday shift from evenings.

A change of the guard at Cumulus' WFAS-FM (103.9 Bronxville)/WFAS (1230 White Plains): Rod Calarco has departed after seven years.

Continuing upstate, Chris Marino is out at WSPK (104.7 Poughkeepsie), where he'd been doing mornings.

Dennis Jackson's new construction permit on 90.1 in North Salem is getting a third set of calls: initially WVWA ("Nine!") and then WJJZ, it's now changing to WJZZ, a callsign formerly used in Atlanta - and long before that, on what's now WEZN-FM (99.9 Bridgeport CT). The new station will be a jazz and community-radio outlet serving northern Westchester and the Danbury area once Dennis gets it on the air.

Up the road in Oswego, John Hurlbutt said farewell to the WRVO (89.9) audience on Tuesday morning, ending 40 years of involvement with the station, the last 30 as local host of "Morning Edition."

More on the sale of that 105.9 construction permit in Little Valley that we mentioned last week: the buyer, Seneca Broadcasting LLC, is a business arm of the Seneca Nation, which has become a fairly major business player in western New York with casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca and other operations across the region. The class B1 signal would serve most of the nation's territory, with a fringe signal into the southern parts of the Buffalo market.

In TV news, Time Warner Cable completed its sweep of all-news channels across the state with last Wednesday's launch of "Your News Now," serving the Buffalo market on cable channel 14 in the city of Buffalo and cable channel 9 in most other areas. The new channel has Buffalo-based anchors (including Jen Markham, formerly of Rochester's WHAM-TV) and reporters, but draws on its sister station R News in Rochester for sports and on Time Warner's centralized hub in Syracuse for weather.

Jim Aroune, late of R News, moves to Buffalo as the executive editor of the new channel, which appears to be launching without its own website, a surprising omission in this interactive age. (YNN also bumps C-SPAN off basic cable in much of Time Warner's western New York service territory, a most unfortunate - but not unsurprising- decision; in other areas of Chautauqua County, it knocked one of the Erie-market stations off the cable.)

Across town, WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) is one of many Gannett news operations facing yet another round of furloughs. After most staffers took a week without pay in the first quarter, Gannett is again ordering non-union staff (and strongly urging union staffers) to take another week in the second quarter; higher-paid management personnel are getting two weeks off without pay.

On the noncommercial side of things, WNED-TV (Channel 17) celebrates its fiftieth anniversary today - but not without big budget worries. Facing significant cuts in state funding (as are all the public broadcasters around the state), WNED's senior managers took 7.5% pay cuts, while subjecting the rest of the staff to 5% cuts and freezing hiring for several vacant positions.

*In NEW JERSEY, Andy Santoro has departed as market manager of Millenium Radio in Trenton, where he served as GM of WKXW (New Jersey 101.5) before being promoted to his most recent position.


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*The RHODE ISLAND Radio Hall of Fame has named its second class of inductees, to be honored at a dinner May 14 at West Warwick's West Valley Inn. The class includes the late talk host Jack Comley, sportscaster George Patrick Duffy, WHJY/WWRX jock Carolyn Fox, WPRO-FM morning man Daniel "Giovanni" Centofani, former WHJJ/WPRO/WCTK jock Jimmy Gray, longtime WLKW-FM host Norm Jagolinzer, the late jazz DJ Jim Mendes and "Saturday Night Live" announcer Don Pardo, who began his broadcast career at WJAR back in 1938.

At WHJJ (920 Providence), there's a shift in the morning schedule: the new "Wall Street Journal This Morning" replaces the syndicated Pittsburgh-based "Quinn and Rose" from 6-8 AM weekdays, leading into the local Helen Glover show.

*There's a new operations manager for Clear Channel's CONNECTICUT stations: Mike Wheeler moves north from Atlanta, where he was PD of WZGC (Dave FM 92.9), to become operations manager of the Hartford and New Haven clusters.

*There's a new Catholic radio signal coming to MAINE's capital city. Columbus Home Association, which is an offshoot of the local Knights of Columbus, has been granted a construction permit for 89.5 in Augusta. The CP calls for 410 watts/329' DA, vertical-only, from a site on Ingraham Mountain - but we'd expect an application to improve that signal as soon as the required protection to WCSH (Channel 6) goes away in a couple of months. The new 89.5 will sign on as a fulltime EWTN Radio outlet, but it tells the FCC it expects to add local programming, eventually.

And in the Portland market, Saga is applying to change the city of license of WYNZ (100.9 Westbrook) to South Portland. No changes are planned to the station's technical facilities, and we're wondering if this has something to do with the (as yet unimplemented) FCC localism proposal that would require stations to have a main studio in their city of license; with six stations in its South Portland studios, none of them licensed to South Portland, such a requirement would be exceedingly expensive (and rather pointless) if it were to pass.

*It's not just New York threatening big cutbacks in state funding for public broadcasting. In PENNSYLVANIA, Pittsburgh's WQED could lose as much as $1.1 million if Governor Ed Rendell's proposed cuts take effect - and concern about that, as well as a $734,000 operating loss for the first five months of the station's fiscal year, has prompted WQED president/CEO George Miles to take a 30% pay cut, reports Other top executives also took salary cuts, while salaries across the rest of the organization were frozen.

Nancy Dymond is the new market manager for Connoisseur's cluster in Erie. She's most recently been with Fritz Broadcasting in Saginaw and Lansing, Michigan, and in sales with Radio One/Detroit.

And yet another member of the classic lineup at Scranton's WARM (590) has died. Len Woloson began his career at WPTS (1540 Pittston) before joining the WARM "Sensational Seven" to do nights, thus becoming the "All-Night Satellite." Woloson left the station for gigs in Providence and at WXYZ in Detroit (as "Pat Murphy") before returning to WARM as the "Morning Mayor" from 1969-1972. After leaving Scranton, he settled in Las Vegas, working on-air at KENO and KDWN, then doing sales before his retirement. Woloson died March 22 in Las Vegas; he was 79.

*Aside from the big news from CHUM and the CBC's latest budget woes, which could lead to as many as 800 job cuts nationwide and big reductions in local programming in cities such as Sudbury and Windsor, most of our news from CANADA this week comes from two big public hearings the CRTC is planning for late May.

On May 25, there's a public hearing scheduled in Quebec City that will kick off with a review of four applications for new signals in the provincial capital. Toronto-based Evanov is applying for two of those four - a French-language "contemporary easy listening" station on 105.7 and an English-language counterpart on 105.3, which would be the first commercial English-language station in the city in several decades. Michel Cloutier is applying for a French-language jazz and blues station in Levis on 104.1, while Radio Communautaire de Levis wants a community station on 104.1. Down the dial, tourist information station CKJF is applying to move from 90.3, with 16 watts, to 106.9, with 100 watts.

In Alma, Quebec, CFGT (1270) is once again applying to move to FM, on 97.7 - but this time, it's addressing the CRTC's previous concerns about signal overlap with co-owned stations by submitting another application to slightly reduce power at sister station CHRL (99.5 Roberval).

In the Ottawa market, religious broadcaster Radio Ville-Marie wants to put a new AM signal on the air at 1350, with 1000 watts by day and 180 watts at night. The new station in Gatineau, Quebec would be a relay of Ville-Marie's CIRA (91.3 Montreal).

Another public hearing, on May 27 in Halifax, will consider a pile of applications in the Maritimes. There are two applications for 105.1 in Halifax, one from Acadia Broadcasting and the other from HFX Broadcasting, as well as a Frank Torres application for a blues and jazz station on 99.1. The Torres application competes with one from community station CICR (99.1 Parrsboro) to boost its power from 50 to 500 watts.

In Truro, Hope FM Ministries wants to move low-power CINU (98.5) to 106.3, to get out of the way of newly-licensed French-language CKRH on 98.5 - but meanwhile, the Truro Live Performing Arts Association has applied for a 5-watt developmental station on 106.1. And in Liverpool, N.S., Alex Walling is applying for a community station on 99.3, with 50 watts.

In Peterborough, Ontario, Andy McNabb is asking the CRTC for permission to buy silent CKKK (90.5) for C$190,000. The station has been off the air since March 2008, when it was displaced from its old 99.5 frequency by CKPT's move to FM. McNabb is the former owner of CKLY in nearby Lindsay, and he's applied for Christian talk stations in Brampton and Niagara.

Speaking of moves to FM, now that CKKW in Kitchener-Waterloo is settling in at its new home on 99.5, owner CTVglobemedia wasted no time clearing out its former AM transmitter site. It took just over two hours last Monday to drop all nine towers at the site, three at a time - and now the days of AM 1090 in Kitchener are gone for good. (That's a still frame from a video that's been making the rounds among radio folks all week; we'll be happy to provide proper credit to the videographer if someone up that way drops us a line...)

And in Windsor, the CRTC has granted the University of Windsor's CJAM permission to move from 91.5 to 99.1, going from an unprotected license to a protected class A facility with 456 watts, non-directional.

Edited by NERW's own Scott Fybush - on sale now as an e-book or printed volume!

*And we close this week with one of the happiest sounds in the world - "Play Ball!" - as we take the first part of our annual look at Baseball on the Radio.

Like the season itself, we start with the major leagues, and while there's plenty new this year on the stadium front in NERW-land, there's not much change on the radio dials.

The Boston Red Sox are in year three of their 10-year deal with Entercom, and last year's dual-flagship arrangement continues unchanged, with WRKO (680 Boston) carrying most games except on Wednesdays, when the team's on WEEI (850 Boston), and on certain weekdays when day games get bumped to WEEI. Outside Boston, the core of the Sox network continues to be WEEI's regional radio network, where most affiliates will carry all the games, with the notable exception of Bangor, where the Sox rights are still with Stephen King's WZON (620) instead of WEEI affiliate WAEI (910/97.1). No change in the broadcast booth, either, where Joe Castiglione will be calling games for a 27th year, with Dave O'Brien as primary color guy and Dale Arnold and Jon Rish working games that O'Brien will miss when he's on the road with ESPN. And of course out here in the hinterlands of Sox Nation, we'll once again be listening on WTIC (1080 Hartford), the primary clear-channel skywave source for Sox fans west of New England.

Spanish-language Sox radio continues to be provided by the Spanish Beisbol Network, with a small network across southern New England that's flagshipped at either WWDJ (1150) or sister WROL (950), depending on which source you believe.

There's no change in the Sox TV picture, either - Sox-owned NESN continues to carry the full season, with no broadcast games.

When the New York Yankees inaugurate New Yankee Stadium, they'll do so with a familiar set of voices - John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman - and a familiar flagship, WCBS (880 New York). The Yankees continue to boast one of the biggest radio networks in the region, with affiliates as far off as Iowa, Las Vegas and even Anchorage, and one big affiliation change upstate, where Dick Greene's WECK (1230 Cheektowaga) takes over Buffalo-market Yankees coverage with a full season of games.

Spanish-language radio stays on WQBU (92.7 Garden City) for another season.

The Yankees' own YES Network has TV coverage, of course, with about two dozen games available for free over WWOR-TV (Channel 9) and a network of affiliates stretching from Connecticut to northeast Pennsylvania and upstate to Buffalo.

Over in Flushing, the New York Mets also start the season in new digs, Citi Field, but with no dramatic changes to their radio lineup - Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin on WFAN (660 New York), with a big signal that effectively makes it a one-station network - or its TV carriage, primarily on SNY, with about two dozen games on WPIX (Channel 11) and a few upstate stations. Spanish-language radio coverage remains on WADO (1280 New York).

The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies remain on WPHT (1210 Philadelphia) and a 19-station network across eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, with Harry Kalas returning to the booth for an amazing 39th season with the team (and the 44th of his career, which started in 1965 with the Houston Astros.) He's joined by Chris Wheeler, Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke in the booth. (Useless trivia we picked up in the course of our research: Franzke was born the very same day as your editor...and as Shaquille O'Neal.)

The Phillies split their TV coverage among three venues: Comcast Sports Network, Comcast Network (the former CN8), and a broadcast schedule seen on WPHL (Channel 17) in Philadelphia and affiliates across eastern Pennsylvania.

Spanish-language broadcasts continue on WUBA (1480 Philadelphia).

The biggest change in the broadcast booth across the region this season is at PNC Park, home of the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates, where veteran play-by-play man Lanny Frattare hung up his headphones at the end of last season. This year's broadcast team will be made up of Greg Brown, in his 16th year with the Bucs, and newcomer Tim Neverett, formerly part of the Colorado Rockies' TV team, along with commentators Bob Walk, Steve Blass and John Wehner. The Pirates' network remains largely unchanged, led by flagship WPGB (104.7 Pittsburgh), with more than three dozen affiliates across western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.

TV coverage remains with FSN Pittsburgh, though the network isn't covering a dozen or so road games and a handful of day games at home.

And across the border, the Toronto Blue Jays remain on CJCL (Fan 590) in Toronto - which won't change for as long as Rogers owns the team and the station - and a coast-to-coast network of 20 stations. The big change for Jays fans outside Canada comes in Hamilton, Ontario, where longtime affiliate CHML (900), which has a huge signal down the East Coast at night, has been replaced by CHAM (820), which is also 50 kW, but with a much more directional night signal. The Jays' lone US affiliate, WSPQ (1330 Springville NY), has also vanished from the affiliate list this year, it seems. Jerry Howarth, Mike Wilner and Alan Ashby continue to make up the Jays' radio broadcast team.

On TV, Rogers SportsNet has most of the games, with TSN providing national coverage of about 20 games, and a few with no TV at all, it appears.

We'll be back next week with the AAA and AA broadcast lineups for the season...

From 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 for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

March 31, 2008 -

  • As 2007 came to a close, it appeared that Entercom was poised to extend the highly successful sports-talk format of its WEEI (850 Boston) far beyond its present home turf in MASSACHUSETTS and RHODE ISLAND. A syndication deal with Nassau was to have taken WEEI's programming regional, picking up Nassau-owned affiliates in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as on Cape Cod. That deal abruptly collapsed just before the new year, but the dream of regional syndication remained alive inside the New Balance Building. Last week, Entercom announced that it will begin offering WEEI's lineup of local sports talk to other broadcasters in the region, and it's moving fast - holding meetings with interested broadcasters "over the next few weeks, with the goal to launch a syndicated regional network during the Spring 2008 ratings period."
  • Who'll sign on with WEEI's network? Entercom already runs WEEI relays in many of southern New England's biggest markets - Providence (WEEI-FM), Worcester (WVEI) and Springfield (WVEI-FM). It's hard to imagine Connecticut stations, sitting on the fence between Red Sox/Yankees and Patriots/Giants, warming to the very Boston-centric WEEI network. But that still leaves much of the territory the Nassau deal was to have covered - Cape Cod, Manchester/Concord, the Upper Valley, Portland - as well as the rest of Maine, not to mention smaller communities in New Hampshire, Vermont and western Massachusetts - where a turnkey affiliation with the big-city sound of WEEI might be just the ticket, as it were, for struggling AM operators.
  • In NEW YORK City, there's once again a full-time program director at WXRK (92.3 K-Rock), as Mike Tierney gets promoted from acting PD.
  • In eastern PENNSYLVANIA, tomorrow marks the official launch of Philadelphia's rebranded "ESPN 950," which relaunches its sports format with a lineup that moves Jody McDonald from afternoons to middays and brings Mike Missanelli on board for afternoons.
  • Over at the competition - CBS Radio's WIP (610) - midday host Steve Martorano is out, as the station has decided not to renew his contract. It's the second time in four years that Martorano has left WIP; ironically, it was Missanelli, now at WPEN, who replaced him back in 2004.
  • Pittsburgh's rebranded "Q 92.9" (still WLTJ, with no sign of new calls yet) has hired a new morning host. John Cline was most recently morning host at CBS Radio's WZPT (100.7 New Kensington) before budget cuts there blew him out - but he's best known as part of B94 (WBZZ 93.7)'s long-running "JohnDaveBubbaShelly" morning show.
  • The wholesale transition from AM to FM in CANADA isn't proceeding without a few rocky patches - and one of them is in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where Corus has found that CHLT-FM (102.1) isn't fully covering the wide area that was once served by the old CHLT (630). As a result, Corus is asking the CRTC for permission to move the FM station up the dial, to 107.7, and up in power, to 50 kW DA/161.9 meters, from a new transmitter site.

March 29, 2004 -

  • This week's top story comes from RHODE ISLAND, but it's really about MASSACHUSETTS, too, as one Boston broadcaster exits the Ocean State and another prepares to enter it. Steve Mindich's Phoenix Media/Communications Group is selling WWRX (103.7 Westerly) to Entercom for a reported $14.5 million. Mindich bought the station in 2000 when Clear Channel had to spin it off; he flipped it to modern rock as "FNX," running it first as part of the "FNX Network" based at WFNX (101.7 Lynn MA) and later breaking off for mostly local programming. That local programming came to an end last Monday, with WWRX returning to a temporary WFNX simulcast in preparation for Entercom's May 1 takeover.
  • When Entercom gets the big signal (it covers Rhode Island and serves big chunks of eastern Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts), it'll flip 103.7 to a simulcast of sports WEEI (850 Boston), extending that station's programming to a market that can't hear it very well after dark - and bringing some pretty big competition to Citadel's WSKO (790 Providence)/WSKO-FM (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale, which broadcasts from the very same tower as WWRX!) What the new WEEI-FM won't bring with it - at least not right away - is the 2004 World Champion (we can, and will, dream, especially with Opening Day just days away) Boston Red Sox, whose contract keeps them on WSKO sister station WPRO (630 Providence) through the end of the 2004 season. Entercom says it plans to move the Sox to 103.7 in 2005, the last year of its current contract with the team.
  • Here in Rochester, WXXI (1370) has found a temporary replacement for afternoon anchor/reporter Mark Giardina. Yes, that's yours truly there, back on the air (for a little while, anyway) for the first time in more than two years and reminding you that "local broadcast of All Things Considered is made possible by our listeners, and by..."
  • There's a new signal on the air in western PENNSYLVANIA. Clarke Ingram, scanning the dial from his base in NERW's Pittsburgh bureau, reports that WFJY (660 Wilkinsburg) signed on Friday afternoon, running talk programming from the National Radio Network and ID'ing with sister station WVFC (1530 McConnellsburg). This is the new facility for the silent 1470 Portage, moving some 75 miles from the Johnstown area to the WURP (1550 Braddock) towers just east of Pittsburgh - and now that it's on the air, we suspect Alex Langer's next move will be to build out the CP that moves WVFC east to the Philadelphia market, on 1180 in King of Prussia from the WWDB (860) site.

March 26, 1999 -

  • The big-band sounds that disappeared from WQEW (1560) just before New Year's are back on the air in NEW YORK, at least in the parts of the market that can hear WNJR (1430) from Newark, New Jersey. Arthur Liu began stunting his new format on "Sunny 1430" Monday morning, with a full roster of DJs (including latest hire Julius LaRosa) to start March 29. The station's initial 5AM-7PM schedule will go to 24 hours as additional leased-time contracts at WNJR expire. Liu has bought the remains of the old WNEW record library, which ended up at WJUX ("Jukebox Radio") before the Bergen County (er, Monticello NY) station went to an oldies format. He's also reported to be negotiating with CBS for the WNEW calls, but the price is said to be in the high six figures.
  • Just a bit to the north, WRKL (910 New City) returned to the Rockland County airwaves this week, with a simulcast of the Polish-language programs from sister PolNet station WNVR (1030 Vernon Hills IL), now claiming a "New York-New Jersey-Connecticut" relay on 910. We were remiss last week in overlooking Rockland County's other commercial AM, little WLIR (1300 Spring Valley), ex-WGRC, WRRC, etc. The station is playing adult standards with little, if any, local content.
  • We've been reading about 1300's history, as well as more than 150 other New York-area AM stations, in an incredible book called The Airwaves of New York, by Bill Jaker, Frank Sulek, and Peter Kanze (McFarland, 1998). We thought we knew a lot about New York radio history, but these guys have done their homework -- there are stations in here we never even heard of before now!
  • In the Albany area, Sinclair is officially dropping its plans to buy WMHQ (Channel 45) from public station WMHT TV/FM. No word yet on what the WMHT folks will do now; they'd hoped to use proceeds from Channel 45 to fund DTV conversion and a new studio facility. NERW wonders whether the financially-strapped Sinclair will go forward with its plan to buy Buffalo's secondary public station, WNEQ (Channel 23); those plans are apparently in some doubt now as well.
  • The new modern AC station on 104.9 in Altamont, ex-WSRD Johnstown, is applying for the "WAAP" calls as "the Point." Its new PD and morning talent is Pat Ryan, who comes across the hall from nights at WYJB (95.5). And over at WABY/WKLI-WKBE, Paige Laimers succeeds former co-owner Bill Hunt as general manager.
  • The 99.7 formerly allocated to Old Forge has been granted a change of city of license to Newport Village, which in reality will mean 1400 watts from up in the hills east of Utica. Calls on this yet-unbuilt rimshotter are "WBGK" for now.
  • Houghton College in Allegany County is teaming up with Rochester public broadcaster WXXI to expand the reach of classical WXXI-FM (91.5 Rochester). If we're reading the FCC filings right, it appears WXXI will take over Houghton's WJSL (90.3 Houghton), while Houghton applies for a new campus-based station on 91.1 with 360 watts. Last we heard WJSL, it was using the Bath-based Family Life religious network.
  • Up in MAINE, the days of "Mount Rialto Radio" are numbered. WCDQ (92.1 Sanford) and sister AM WSME (1220 Sanford) are being sold to Boston's Steve Mindich and Phoenix Media Group. When the sale closes, WCDQ's eclectic rock format will give way to a relay of Mindich modern rocker WFNX (101.7 Lynn), with the new calls "WPHX" being requested. (Those with particularly long memories will recall that Mindich wanted to use that callsign in the early '90s when he planned to purchase Channel 46 in Norwell, then WHRC-TV and now WPXB). WSME will apparently stay with its syndicated talk format (and, NERW wonders, maybe even bother to legal ID once in a while?)
  • At WGAN (560 Portland), budget cuts led to the elimination this week of the morning-show producer position. Out, as a result, is Adam Wolf, who moved up to WGAN from Boston's WBZ a couple of years ago. NERW's sorry to hear that; Adam is a former colleague at WBZ and a good radio guy.

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