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August 24, 2009

Buckley Sells in Syracuse

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*Two station sales lead our NEW YORK news, beginning in Syracuse, where Buckley Broadcasting is exiting the market with the sale of its classic hits pair WSEN-FM (92.1 Baldwinsville)/WSEN (1050 Baldwinsville) and oldies WFBL (1390 Baldwinsville). While rumors about the impending sale of the stations had been swirling for a few months, the identity of the buyer came as a surprise: it's James Johnson's Leatherstocking Media Group, which just closed on nearby WMCR/WMCR-FM (1600/106.3 Oneida).

Leatherstocking will take over operation of WSEN/WFBL under an LMA on September 1; the transaction hasn't yet been filed with the FCC, so we don't yet have a purchase price to report.

The addition of WSEN/WFBL to the Leatherstocking group puts Johnson into some stiff competition - unlike Oneida, where WMCR pretty much has rural Madison County to itself, the Syracuse stations face off against national players Clear Channel and Citadel, as well as two other local players, Ed Levine's Galaxy cluster and Craig Fox's stations.

Speaking of Fox, he quietly flipped formats on his latest acquisition a couple of weeks ago: WVOA (105.1 DeRuyter) is now carrying Radio Disney, also heard on Fox's WOLF (1490 Syracuse)/WWLF (1340 Auburn)/WAMF (1300 Fulton). The "Love Radio" religious/ethnic programming that's been heard on 105.1 in two incarnations is again being heard exclusively on WVOU (103.9 Mexico).

Downstate, we knew Jarad Broadcasting was selling WBON (98.5 Westhampton) to a new company called JVC Broadcasting, helmed by Jarad president John Caracciolo and programmer Vic "Latino" Canales - but now the sale has been reworked to include WDRE (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) as well, for a total price of $2.7 million, $1 million for "La Nueva Fiesta 98.5" and $1.7 million for "Party 105.3."

There's just one more station left to move into CBS Radio's new cluster studio at 345 Hudson Street in lower Manhattan, now that WINS (1010 New York) has made the move.

The switchover last Friday (Aug. 21) at noon came with a few technical hitches - the first few attempts to bring in traffic and weather reports were met with dead air, and the familiar teletype ticker that was heard behind the anchors at 888 Seventh Ave. was missing in the new location - but for the station's first studio move in more than a quarter-century, it went about as well as could have been expected.

(And thanks to fill-in WINS anchor Ted David for the pictures here, which we've shamelessly copied from his postings to Allan Sniffen's NY Radio Message Board...)

The last space at 345 Hudson Street to be filled will be sports radio WFAN (660), slated to make its move from the fabled dank basement in Astoria, Queens on or about September 2; after that, only WCBS (880) will be located elsewhere, and plans to move it downtown from the eighth floor of the Broadcast Center on W. 57th Street in 2010 are still somewhat uncertain.

Across town at Citadel's WABC (770 New York), the venerable Bob Grant is back again, this time in a Sunday slot from noon-2 PM, starting Sept. 13. Grant, 80, has been heard (and seen) lately on internet talker UbaTV.com.

Back upstate, EMF Broadcasting told neighbors in the town of Floyd, near Utica, that it's considering moving the antenna of WOKR (93.5 Remsen) to alleviate complaints of health problems that started back in the spring when the God's Country affiliate moved to its current transmitter site. While EMF insists that its operation in Floyd is within legal RF safety standards, officials from the company attending a town hall meeting last week with congressman Michael Arcuri apologized for the problems the station was apparently causing - and they say they're looking into raising the antenna or moving the station to a different site.

A bit of minor-league hockey news: when the former Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League move to Glens Falls as the Adirondack Phantoms this fall, their games will be heard on Pamal's WNYQ (101.7 Hudson Falls). Q101.7 signed a three-year deal to carry the broadcasts, with Owen Newkirk behind the mike.

On the TV side of things, Albany's WNYT (Channel 13) is losing its news director. Paul Lewis is returning to Connecticut, where he was news director at Fox affiliate WTIC-TV (Channel 61) until moving to Albany in 2006, to pursue a graduate degree in interactive communications.

THE 2010 CALENDAR IS ALMOST HERE!

The brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2010 will soon be back from the printer and ready for shipment, complete with more than a dozen full-color images of sites from Deer Point in Boise to KYPA in Los Angeles to Mount Mansfield in Vermont.

If you order now, you can be one of just 50 lucky recipients of our individually-numbered, hand-signed limited first edition - and of course your purchase of the calendar helps support the continued production of NERW and Tower Site of the Week.

And we still have a very small quantity of earlier calendars available, too, if you missed some...

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*We've been following the meanderings of translator W236BX (95.1 Gloucester) as it makes its way west from Cape Ann to the Fitchburg area to become an FM relay for WPKZ (1280, ex-WEIM) - and this week we have another move to report: the translator (still licensed to seller Radio Assist Ministry) has filed for, and been granted, a construction permit to move to a site just west of I-93 and just south of Windham, NEW HAMPSHIRE. We're guessing there's at least one, and probably two, intermediate hops in W236BX's future before it lands in or near Fitchburg sometime this fall...

Up in Hanover, long-silent WDCR (1340) was back on the air for a few hours last week, as Dartmouth College fired up the AM signal to keep the license alive while it figures out what to do with the station, last heard full-time back in August 2008.

*There's a slight power increase for a signal-challenged eastern MASSACHUSETTS FM: Entercom's WKAF (97.7 Brockton) will go from 1700 watts to 2050 watts from its site on Blue Hill, 567 feet above average terrain.

Calvary Chapel of the Berkshires now has calls for its new signal on 91.7 in Dalton: it will be WJNF whenever it signs on.

*There's a new PD at RHODE ISLAND's country station. Bob Walker comes to Hall's WCTK (98.1 New Bedford MA) next month both as programmer and as a jock. Walker was last in Milwaukee at the former WKTI (94.5, now "Lake" WLWK); he replaces Steve Guitarri in a post that's been empty for over a year.

*In MAINE, Hearst's WMTW-TV (Channel 8) is hoping to return to the dials of viewers using UHF-only antennas to receive digital TV - it's applying for a digital replacement translator in Portland on channel 26 (the old analog home of MPBN's WMEA-TV). The new translator would run 6.2 kW from atop the time-and-temperature sign above WMTW's studio building in downtown Portland. WMTW tells the FCC that it's still receiving reports from viewers unable to receive its channel 8 signal on indoor antennas, and it says many of those viewers, especially in urban Portland, are in situations where they can't install outdoor antennas.

Another of the Knights of Columbus' new FM stations has calls: mark down "WFGP" for 91.1 in Greene, north of Lewiston.

And a quick note to radio and TV engineers in the region: Larry Bloomfield's very useful "Taste of NAB Road Show" is making its way around the northeast this week and next, including a stop in the Portland area on Monday, followed by Scranton on Wednesday, Binghamton on Thursday and Rochester September 1.

You can find more information about this educational (and free!) event at http://www.tech-notes.tv/Taste_of_NAB.html.

*Just one note from CONNECTICUT: current and former staffers of Brookfield's WINE (940) and WRKI (95.1, ex-WGHF) are invited to a reunion September 19. Tom Zarecki's behind the event, and of course there's a Facebook page full of information and some historic pictures, including a few that desperately need your help with captions, if you can identify some of the station old-timers...

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*A northeastern PENNSYLVANIA AM station is changing hands. Lex Sloot, the owner of Panorama magazine, is buying WAZL (1490 Hazleton) from WS2K Media, the investment-firm group that acquired WAZL and its sister Route 81 stations last year. Sloot tells the Hazleton Standard-Speaker he intends to make the AM station even more local, including the addition of a new morning show; station manager Mike Moran, who's been running WAZL under an LMA with WS2K for the past year, will stay on with the new owners.

A correction from last week: it's WMAJ (1450 State College) that changed calls to WQWK last week when the former WQWK (103.1 State College) became news-talk WRSC-FM. WRSC (1390) continues to simulcast the Kevin and Pat morning show with WRSC-FM, but it's now split off for the rest of the day, with the AM carrying progressive talk. As for 1450, the change from the venerable WMAJ calls (still heard on FM) did not come with a format change - it's still running ESPN sports.

In Philadelphia, Marconi Broadcasting's WHAT (1340) has lured Jim Clark south from Albany to be its new PD. Clark had been the morning co-host at WFLY (92.3 Troy); at WHAT, he'll oversee the station's standards programming and host the 10 AM-5 PM shift, presumably voicetracked for at least part of that shift.

In Pittsburgh, WDUQ (90.5) is looking for a new local host for "Morning Edition" as Katherine Fink departs after eight years. She's heading to Columbia University to study for a doctorate in journalism; her last day was Friday.

In TV news, ABC's WPVI (Channel 6) is getting ready for its big move - or rather, its very short move, since its new state-of-the-art studio building is right next door to its 1960s-vintage "studio in the round" on City Line Avenue and Monument Road. WPVI's office staff has already made the move to the new building, and the on-air staff is expected to be in place by September 20.

And we're sorry to note the passing of Christopher Borod, better known on-air as "Chris Gable" during stints as air talent at New York's WYNY and Philadelphia's WMGK, as well as PD at WRKZ in Hershey. Borod had been working off-air at McKesson Inc. in recent years; he died August 12 at age 56 in Hershey.

*Greater Media is taking another stab at a power increase on the NEW JERSEY shore: after an earlier construction permit to increase the height of WRAT (95.9 Point Pleasant)'s tower was cancelled back in 2006, WRAT has again applied for - and been granted - the height boost. If it's built, it will take "The Rat" from its present 4 kW/239' to 1.45 kW/476' from a taller tower at its present site in South Belmar.

New Jersey's distinctive noncommercial WFMU (91.1 East Orange) now has a better signal up Manhattan's west side: it's filed for a license to cover for WFMU-FM1, a 22-watt on-channel booster with a directional signal aimed north from the 4 Times Square tower site.

Way down the shore, we note that Rick Brancadora has finally made the call change on his FM: WILW (94.3 Avalon) is now WIBG-FM.

And we send our best wishes out to "Big Jay" Sorensen, the veteran jock last heard on WJRZ-FM (100.1 Manahawkin), who's recovering from emergency surgery over the weekend. The good news, we're told, is that the recovery is going well, and he's expected to be out and about - and to "Be Big" - in no time.

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

*The last AM station in Sudbury, Ontario is following the trend in CANADA and moving to FM. Rogers' CIGM (790) signed off Sunday night at midnight, giving way to Newcap's CIGM-FM (93.5) as part of a station swap that traded the Sudbury station for another AM-moving-to-FM in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

CIGM-FM began transmitting late last week with a stunt: it's doing "Classic Chinese Hits" as "Kung Pao 93.5 FM," a faux format that's been heard several times south of the border, most recently at what's now WVHT (100.5) in Norfolk, Virginia. The new 93.5 is expected to debut its real format within the next few weeks.

*There's a subtle but significant name change coming to the chain of Astral Media FMs in Quebec now known as "Energie FM": CKMF (94.3 Montreal), CKTF (104.1 Gatineau-Ottawa), CHIK (98.9 Quebec City) and seven sister stations will soon be known as "NRJ-FM." In French, those letters are pronounced "Energie," just like the current nickname - but the change to "NRJ" is part of a licensing deal with France's NRJ-FM, one of that country's most popular nationwide broadcasters. This is Astral's second licensing deal with a European broadcaster - it launched "Virgin Radio" on several of its Anglophone signals last year.

On TV, there's a new identity coming to Quebec's "other" commercial province-wide TV network. In keeping with the recent Canadian trend toward single-letter network identities ("A" and "E!" in Anglophone Canada), TQS will become "V," apparently as early as next week. The new "V" identity is supposed to reflect several French words that start with the letter, including "vitesse" (speed) and "vedettes" (stars).

The demise of Montreal's Aboriginal Voices Radio station, CKAV-FM-10 (106.7), is good news for another new station there: Canadian Hellenic Cable Radio, which had been granted a license to operate on 106.3 under the condition that it find a new frequency if that signal caused interference to AVR on 106.7, no longer has that condition in its license now that CKAV-FM-10 is history.

One more Montreal move: CFQR (Q92.5) morning co-host Aaron Rand is now a solo act, as the Corus-owned station sends co-hosts Tasso Patsikakis and Suzanne Desautels packing. "Aaron and Tasso" had been working together since 1989, and Desautels had been with them since 1999.

On its second attempt, Groupe Radio Antenne 6 Inc. has been granted permission to move CFGT (1270 Alma QC) to FM, with 50 kW on 97.7. Antenne 6's first application to move CFGT to FM was denied due to overlap with sister stations CKYK Alma and CHRL Roberval, but Antenne 6 is altering CHRL's signal to avoid that overlap. CFGT is the last AM remaining in the Saguenay market up north, and one of only a tiny handful of AMs remaining in the province outside Montreal.

Near Quebec City, CHEQ (101.7 Ste.-Marie-de-Beauce) has been granted permission to change frequency to 101.5 and to boost power, from 4.7-kw/79' to 26-kw/214'. While the move will give CHEQ a fringe signal into the provincial capital, the CRTC says its real purpose is to improve CHEQ's ability to compete in its home market against incoming signals from Quebec City.

A small Quebec City FM signal is getting caught in a regulatory squeeze play: Sortir FM's tourist-information CKJN (90.3) got the thumbs-down last week from the CRTC in its attempt to move to 106.9, boosting power from 16 to 100 watts. The CRTC cited a conflict between the station's own application and the technical analysis performed by Industry Canada, which used a different power level - and it says there's a potential problem with interference to a co-channel station in Trois-Rivieres. In the meantime, though, CKJN may have to go off the air if it can't get the situation resolved quickly, since its operation is secondary to a new license in nearby Montmagny on 90.3.

In Moncton, N.B., Milkman UnLimited reports that Scotty Horsman, late of CKCW-FM (K94.5) and CJMO (C103), is the new morning man at CJXL (XL 96.9), where he starts today on "XL Mornings with Scotty Horsman and Tony Smith."

And in Toronto, it was a quiet end to more than a half-century of broadcasting from one of the city's most famous radio addresses: last Monday (August 17), CHUM-FM relocated from 1331 Yonge Street to its new digs at 250 Richmond Street West. That sets the stage for the wrecking balls to move in at 1331 Yonge, as the site is redeveloped with (what else?) high-rise condos...though at least the iconic CHUM sign has been relocated to the new studios.

Down the street at Corus' CFNY (102.1 the Edge), "Fearless" Fred Kennedy is the new afternoon jock, moving in from Edmonton and displacing Dave Bookman to evenings.

SCHEDULE NOTE: We'll be back next Monday, Aug. 31, with the last of our summer double issues, and then we'll be off for Labor Day, Sept. 7, before returning for the fall season September 14. See you then!

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. Note that the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest years as "New England Radio Watch," and didn't go to a regular weekly schedule until 1997. Thanks to LARadio.com for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

August 25/Sept. 1, 2008 -

  • Big news from CANADA - Toronto's CKFM (99.9) ended its stunting at 4 PM by flipping to "Virgin Radio," as Astral Media inaugurated a licensing agreement with Virgin that puts the international brand and a top-40 format on the former "Mix 99.9," with Mad Dog and Billie remaining in mornings and the inescapable Ryan Seacrest later on in the day. Much more on this change next week.
  • Last week, NERW broke the story of a major rearrangement of Atlantic Coast Radio's Portland-market signals, and this week we can fill in all the blanks - and tell you about some changes down the road at the Nassau stations, too, not to mention a big change up in Bangor.
  • First, Atlantic Coast: As we reported last week, it's the end of the line for "Red Hot 95.9." That station - WRED (95.9 Saco) - will become half of a new Atlantic Coast sports station in the market, as owner J.J. Jeffrey affiliates with Boston's WEEI and puts its sports programming on 95.9 and on WJJB-FM (95.5 Topsham), which had been half of the locally-programmed "Big Jab" sports signal. The Big Jab will stay in the market on a stronger signal, replacing talk on what's now WLOB-FM (96.3 Gray) and remaining on WJJB (1440 Westbrook). And the talk programming will stay in place, too, but only on WLOB (1310 Portland). Those changes will all take place Sept. 1, and there will be new calls, too - 96.3 will become WJJB-FM, 95.5 will be WTEI and 95.9 will be WPEI.
  • NERW readers with longish memories will by now have noted that the initial announcement of a New England-wide WEEI network last winter included numerous Nassau stations, WLVP/WLAM among them. As WEEI relaunches its regional network plans, Nassau is still absent - but there is now a Bangor affiliate. September 1 will also bring the WEEI network to Blueberry Broadcasting's WABI (910 Bangor) and WWBX (97.1 Bangor), replacing talk on the AM side and top 40 "B97" on the FM. That's a pretty big signal for WEEI, and even if the WEEI network is being handled separately from the Red Sox rights, we have to wonder how much longer Stephen King will be able to hang on to the Sox over at WZON (620).
  • And returning to the Portland/southern Maine end of things, there's a format shuffle coming from Nassau, too: In October, it will move classical "W-Bach" from its present homes on WBQW (106.3 Scarborough) and WBQQ (99.3 Kennebunk) to what's now "Bone" classic rocker WHXQ (104.7 Kennebunkport). The 106.3 frequency will flip to "The Bone," simulcasting with WHXR (106.7 North Windham) to blanket the Portland market, at the expense of York County; 99.3 will flip to "Wolf" country, simulcasting Nassau's WTHT (99.9 Auburn) to improve the Wolf's coverage of the full Portland market, where Nassau's apparently looking at sagging ratings for Saga's country giant, WPOR (101.9 Portland), and seeing vulnerability. (There are no changes planned - at least not yet - for the northern outposts of the "W-Bach" network, WBQX 106.9 Thomaston and WBQI 107.7 Bar Harbor.)
  • The RHODE ISLAND ratings scandal took another interesting turn late last week, as news emerged that the six questionable diaries in the Providence spring Arbitron book were filled out by Kristen DePetro of East Greenwich, wife of WPRO (630)/WEAN (99.7) morning talker John DePetro. Going into the weekend, DePetro and his bosses at Citadel closed ranks, with DePetro saying that he was unaware of the fraudulent diaries, which reportedly listed hundreds of hours of WPRO listening by nonexistent listeners in the prime 25-34 demographic. WPRO management issued a statement saying they were "profoundly disappointed" in Mrs. DePetro.
  • Upstate, we have this update on the move of Finger Lakes Radio Group's WFLR-FM (95.9 Dundee) to the Ithaca market, as a class A on 95.5 licensed to Odessa: with Dundee translator W245BL (96.9) now on the air and simulcasting WFLR-FM, listeners in the area are being told that "WFLR is moving to 96.9," effective Sept. 1. What will actually play out next weekend, as best we can piece it together, will be WFLR-FM going silent on 95.9 to make its Odessa move - and 96.9 translating WFLR (1570 Dundee), which will flip from its present news-talk format (as part of the Finger Lakes News Network) to the country format now heard on WFLR-FM.
  • And there's good news and bad news from our friends over at WCJW (1140 Warsaw). The good? A power increase to 250 watts on FM translator W279BO (103.7 Warsaw) is giving "CJ Country" greater reach on FM. We heard it clearly Saturday night while watching a Muckdogs baseball game in Batavia, as CJ was carrying a night NASCAR race that it never would have been able to carry in its entirety as a daytime-only AM facility. The bad news actually came from WBTA's Muckdogs broadcast, as the announcer noted the death on Saturday evening of WCJW news director and mid-morning personality Jenny Snow, who collapsed while doing volunteer work for the Perry Fire Department. Morning man Steve Weber will be serving as acting news director, while owner Lloyd Lane will handle mornings until a replacement for Snow can be hired.

August 23, 2004 -

  • It was a week of obituaries, and you'll forgive us, we hope, if we begin our report in NEW YORK and remember one of your editor's former bosses, Pete Dobrovitz, who died Tuesday (August 17) at 51.
  • Pete's long career in Rochester TV news began in 1975, when he graduated from Marquette University and went to work for WROC-TV (Channel 8). Over the next fifteen years, he hit the "grand slam" of local TV news, as he'd later put it, working as well for WOKR (Channel 13), where he launched the station's 5:30 newscast, and for WHEC-TV (Channel 10), where he served as the station's "Action Team" reporter. Then, in 1990, he made the big move from broadcast to cable, joining what was then Greater Rochester Cablevision to create a 10 PM newscast for cable-only indie "WGRC-TV 5." Pete then built his daily half-hour into something new called "R News," expanding it to six hours daily, then 12, then swallowing the rest of the station (by then "GRC 9") completely to become a 24-hour local cable news channel in July 1995, something utterly unprecedented in a market as small as Rochester. (Only New York's New York 1 was doing 24-hour local news sooner.)
  • And it's largely Pete's fault that you're now reading "NorthEast Radio Watch" and not "New England Radio Watch," for it was his job offer in late 1996 that moved me from Boston's WBZ to R News. Ironically, Pete was gone from R News just days after my arrival, the result of a disupte over editorial independence, a recurring problem in a newsroom owned by a cable company with no real experience in doing news.
  • But what he left behind was awfully impressive - the kind of TV newsroom that reporters and photographers dream of working at. Pete wasn't big on fancy sets or graphics, he loathed "personality" promos, but he placed a huge value on quality storytelling, giving his staff the time and resources they needed to cover their community deeply and honestly, wuthout ever needing to worry about ratings. (It says something, especially in a mid-seventies-size market, that four of the original photog staffers, several reporter/anchors and a number of producers and crew members who started with WGRC back in 1990 are still there almost 15 years later; others have moved on to bigger things everywhere from Schenectady to Louisville to Cleveland to Minneapolis to Denver to North Carolina's public TV network.)
  • Another obituary this week comes from Buffalo, where Warren P. Smith, Jr., known to viewers and listeners as "Clip," was killed Saturday (8/21) in a car crash in Niagara County. Smith began his broadcast career in the sixties at WUSJ (now WLVL) in Lockport, then went to Buffalo's WKBW-TV (Channel 7), where he did sports from 1971 until 1988. From there he returned to radio, working at WGR (550) for a decade and then at WBEN (930) until his job was eliminated in a cost-cutting move in 2002. Smith was also active in politics, running for mayor of Lockport and serving on both the city council and the school board there. Clip Smith was 63.
  • A veteran of the NEW HAMPSHIRE broadcast scene has died. Maury Parent was closely associated with both of Nashua's AM stations over the years, first at WOTW (900/106.3), then moving over to WSMN (1590) when WOTW went dark in the eighties, then returning to the revived AM 900 under its later incarnations as WMVU, WOTW and WSNH. (Most recently, he was hosting the morning show on WSMN.) Parent served as GM of both stations at one time or another, but was probably best known for his weekend show that served the area's large Francophone population. (It's heard on WSNH.) He was on his way to a remote Thursday when he suffered a heart attack and died behind the wheel; he was 72.
  • A PENNSYLVANIA radio station owner will go to trial on charges that he molested a young boy. A judge upheld all of the 19 counts against Doug Lane, owner of WWDL (104.9 Scranton)/WICK (1400 Scranton)/WYCK (1340 Plains), last week. Lane is free on bail while his case is being heard.
  • Over on the other end of the state, Corry Broadcasting's WEYZ (1530 North East) is changing hands. It's now WYNE, and it's simulcasting Mercyhurst College fine arts outlet WMCE (88.5 Erie) - though former sister station WWCB (1370 Corry) continues to ID "WEYZ North East" at the top of the hour, too!

August 27, 1999 -

  • We begin this week's news up in MAINE, where J.J. Jeffrey's new Atlantic Coast Communications has made another purchase. As expected, Jeffrey is adding WXGL (95.5 Topsham) to the group that already includes WRED (95.9 Saco), WJAE (1440 Westbrook-Portland), and WJJB (900 Brunswick). Will the $1.3 million purchase put WXGL in a simulcast with WRED? Or will some creative engineering with the two second-adjacents create a new full-market Portland signal? We'll be watching...
  • Up the coast, some sad news to report from Rockland, where WMCM/WRKD owner Peter Orne Sr. died this week in the crash of the private plane he was piloting. Orne grew up in Rockland, attended Bowdoin College, and went into TV sales and management, eventually ending up at WTNH in New Haven, then as general manager of WVII in Bangor, a post he left to go into radio ownership (at one time including WABI/WWBX Bangor in addition to the Rockland stations). Orne's son, Peter Jr., takes over management of WMCM/WRCD. Peter Orne Sr. was 64. A memorial service will be held Saturday.
  • Across the border in NEW HAMPSHIRE, there's one station sale to report and another possibly on the way, as Tele-Media moves into the Granite State by buying Clark Smidt's oldies WNNH (99.1 Henniker) in the Concord market. Smidt stays on with the new owners as "director of procurement for New England." Tele-Media (which northeast listeners know from the Albany WABY/WCPT/WKLI group) is reportedly looking at Nashua's WHOB as its next acquisition -- but we've heard that station mentioned in enough rumors to stock an entire issue of Inside Radio!
  • Don Imus switched MASSACHUSETTS affiliates on schedule Monday, with WSJZ (96.9 Boston) taking over from WEEI (850) (and from Worcester's WWTM, which also loses the I-man). Departing WSJZ PD Shirley Maldonado sent out an e-mail farewell to the station's mailing list this week, mentioning the Web as the only local source for smooth jazz all day (with sister station WMJX offering a few hours on Sunday mornings).
  • Up in Middletown (well, "down" in Middletown from our perspective, actually), Crystal Communications is making some big changes at WALL (1340), as the station's local programming gives way to a relay of WEOK (1390) in Poughkeepsie. Morning host John Moultrie was to have remained on WALL until next Friday (9/3), but after he voiced his opinions on the changes a bit too loudly, the plug was pulled a bit early. Also leaving is polka guy Jimmy Sturr, who returns to nearby WTBQ (1110 Warwick). Speaking of WTBQ, which we really should do more often, Dale Anderson is departing as news director to go home to New Jersey. OM Chris Cordani will fill in for now. And former morning guy Rob McLean rejoins the station as evening jock.

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