Recent Issues:

2009 In Review

December 21, 2009

December 14, 2009

December 7, 2009

November 30, 2009

Your message here - contact fybush.com to reach thousands of NERW readers every week!

January 4, 2010

New Year, Big Losses

NERW's now on Twitter - follow us @NERadioWatch for breaking news updates during the week!

*As 2009 drew to a (merciful) close across the broadcast landscape, the obituary pages were full of notable broadcast names, seemingly nowhere more so than in NEW YORK, where the days around Christmas brought one piece of sad news after another.

Christmas Eve brought word of the death of a legendary top-40 voice, George Michael, who went on to a second incredibly successful career as a TV sportscaster. After an early stint as a music promoter followed by DJ jobs at stations in Wisconsin, Missouri and Colorado, Michael shot to fame as one of the original "boss jocks" on Philadelphia's WFIL (560) back in 1966, and he was the second big WFIL personality we lost in 2009, two months after the death of his colleague Jim Nettleton in October. As WFIL's night jock, "King George Michael" quickly became a legendary figure, winning numerous awards and dominating the ratings.

Michael moved north to New York's WABC in 1974, replacing Bruce Morrow on the night shift at "Musicradio 77" and becoming one of the dominant voices of the station's last decade as a top-40 giant.

The next phase of Michael's career began in New York, where he worked as a weekend sports anchor on WABC-TV, a gig that led him to fulltime TV work beginning in 1980 as sports director at Washington's WRC-TV, a job he held for more than a quarter of a century. Along the way, a local sports highlight show evolved into the syndicated "George Michael's Sports Machine," one of the most successful syndicated shows in the history of local TV.

Michael had been fighting cancer since 2007, though he was well enough to travel to Philadelphia in 2008 to be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. He was just 70 when he died December 24.

Christmas Day brought another obituary, as the New York radio community lost its good friend Henry Lewis, a staple of the city's radio dial for more than 60 years. Born Henry Lewis Lilienthal, Lewis' broadcast career began back in 1945, when he was a teen announcer on WNYC's Police Athletic League broadcasts, and it was with that station that he was most closely associated, working there as a staff announcer in the fifties, again in the sixties, and once again from 1987 until he was hospitalized in November. In addition to his WNYC work (most recently as a Saturday-night music host on WNYC AM 820), Lewis had worked at numerous other New York stations, including WINS, WNEW, WQXR, WNCN and WRFM. Lewis was 77.

And on the day after Christmas, New York lost one of its most notable broadcast owners - though station ownership was just one small part of the legacy of Percy Sutton, who was born the son of an ex-slave and rose to become one of the city's most powerful political figures.

The Texas native first came to prominence as a civil rights lawyer in the fifties and early sixties, counting Malcolm X among his clients. He was elected to the state Senate in 1964 after numerous failed attempts, and two years later became Manhattan borough president, holding that post for more than a decade before making an unsuccessful run for mayor of New York.

By then, Sutton was also a radio station owner. In 1971, he bought the Amsterdam News, the city's most prominent black newspaper, and followed that up later in the year by buying WLIB (1190), making it the city's first black-owned radio station. Three years later, Sutton's Inner City Broadcasting (whose partners included eventual New York mayor David Dinkins) added WLIB's sister station, WBLS (107.5), to the group, which would eventually expand to 18 stations as far afield as San Francisco and Texas, with additional business interests that included cable systems and the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Sutton was 89 and suffering from dementia when he died in a New York nursing home on December 26.

On December 27, the New York radio scene lost Damon "Dave" Mock, a reporter and producer at CBS Radio News who was just 41. Mock came to CBS in 1997 after starting his career at Hofstra University's WRHU (88.7 Hempstead) and working at a community newspaper; he had suffered a stroke in September and reportedly suffered a heart attack after Christmas dinner. A memorial service for Mock will be held next Saturday at the Westbury Community Church.

And later in the week, we learned of the death of Jim "Jimbo" Genovese, who started his career 40 years ago at WBRL up in Berlin, N.H. and went on to work all over the Long Island radio dial (WLIX, WLNG, WBAB, WSUF, WRCN/WHRF) as well as at Trenton's WBUD before relocating to Florida for several decades. Genovese was back on Long Island and working as a party DJ when he died Dec. 16 at age 61.

The Binghamton market's newest FM station has had a hard time reaching listeners in much of the area, but that's about to change. Since its debut in 2006, Equinox Broadcasting's WRRQ (106.7 Windsor) has been hampered by a tower site far to the east of Binghamton, forcing "Q107" to use several translators in an attempt to fully cover the market. Now WRRQ is applying to change its city of license to Port Dickinson, and to relocate its transmitter to the WICZ-TV tower on Ingraham Hill, right in the middle of the market's main TV/FM antenna farm. From there, WRRQ would run 1.2 kW/725', with a solid signal over the core of the market. (And to retain "first local service" to Windsor, CSN's satellite-fed religious signal, WIFF 90.1 Binghamton, is applying to change its city of license to Windsor, with no change in its technical facilities. In exchange for the "move," CSN will get a year of discounted rent on the tower it shares with the current WRRQ and Equinox sister station WCDW 100.5.)

Tyburn Academy's new WTMI (88.7 Fleming) is asking the FCC for more power. The station's construction permit calls for 100 watts/608' DA from a site southeast of Auburn - but now WTMI is requesting a power increase to 1300 watts, still directional, from that same site. If granted, the new WTMI signal will cover much of the eastern Finger Lakes region, and it will put at least a fringe signal over most of Syracuse to the east.

And here's an exciting event: with 2010 marking the 75th anniversary of Major Edwin Howard Armstrong's first demonstrations of FM radio, our friends at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) are gearing up for a year of celebrations, beginning with a panel discussion about Armstrong's life and legacy next Tuesday, January 12.

The event will run from 6:30-9:30 PM at the Hearst Corporation's Joseph Urban Theater, on Eighth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets, and will include presentations from veteran New York engineer Herb Squire of DSI, Steve Hemphill of Solid Electronics Labs, and your editor as well. AES' David Bialik is moderating the event, which is free and open to the public. There's more information at the AES NY Section website - and we hope to see you there!

 

Click on the banner above to visit's NERW's 15th annual Year in Review, brought to you this year by these nice folks:

*It was a quiet couple of holiday weeks in MASSACHUSETTS, with just one minor station sale to report: Horizon Christian Fellowship is acquiring two religious signals from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. Horizon already owns WRYP (90.1 Wellfleet) on Cape Cod, and it's paying $200,000 to Calvary for WFGL (960 Fitchburg) and WJWT (91.7 Gardner).

The "CBS Evening News" simulcast that came to Boston's WBZ (1030) for Katie Couric's first week on the air back in 2007 is returning to the station this evening, this time as a permanent feature. WBZ will carry the first ten minutes of the Couric broadcast, from 6:30-6:40 PM each weeknight, and Couric will appear each Wednesday with "WBZ Afternoon News" co-anchor Diane Stern for a Q&A about the day's big stories.

(We're also hearing that Lowell's WCAP 980 will soon be carrying a simulcast of ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer, following its existing simulcast of WCVB's 6 PM news.)

With continued unrest among classical listeners over the WGBH/WCRB transition last month, there's a panel discussion taking place tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 5) at Boston's Old South Church to discuss the changes. It's being presented by the Boston Musical Intelligencer website, and panelists will include WGBH general manager John Voci, talk host Chris Lydon, former Globe critic Richard Dyer and former WCRB general manager Dave MacNeill. Former state senate president William Bulger is moderating the discussion, which is sure to include some questions about the two largest issues of contention: the loss of classical service to listeners south of Boston unable to receive the WCRB (99.5) signal and the end of WGBH's Friday afternoon Boston Symphony Orchestra broadcasts.

And while family issues will keep us from attending, we'd sure love to be able to make it to Worcester on Saturday, January 16, when WTAG (580) chief engineer Dan Kelleher will be holding an open house at the station's 1936-vintage transmitter site in Holden. Kelleher has restored the site and built a small museum of vintage equipment and documents, and he'll be there (along with former WTAG CE John Andrews) from 10 AM until 4 PM to show it off. There will even be sandwiches and drinks - and Dan asks for RSVPs at dankelleher at clearchannel dot com to make sure he has enough food for everyone!

*MAINE's own Stephen King is taking a chance on progressive talk at one of his Bangor-market FM stations. WZON-FM (103.1 Dover-Foxcroft) moved to a new tower site with improved reach into Bangor not long ago, and it's dropping its relatively short-lived simulcast with sports WZON (620 Bangor) effective today to become "The Pulse."

The new station's lineup includes syndicated liberal talkers Bill Press (6-9 AM), Montel Williams (9-noon), Ed Schultz (noon-3 PM), Randi Rhodes (3-6 PM), Ron Reagan Jr. (6-9 PM), Stephanie Miller (9 PM-1 AM), Joey Reynolds overnight and a 5 AM replay of Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show, as well as local news and CNN Radio national news. The station may add a local talk show in the future as well.

*The new year brings some changes to the talk lineup in CONNECTICUT: at WATR (1320 Waterbury), Ed Flynn is retiring after 18 years as a talk host, handing over his 10 AM-1 PM slot to former CPTV executive and longtime Connecticut broadcaster Larry Rifkin. Flynn will still be on the air at WATR on at least an occasional basis. Meanwhile at Hartford's WDRC (1360) and its network of talk stations, the schedule shifts a bit on weekdays as Brad Davis ends his morning show at 9 AM instead of 10 to make room for an extra hour of Glenn Beck. At 2 PM, George Mikan's talk show is gone, replaced by an extra hour of Dr. Joy Browne, and there's now two hours of "best of" Dr. Joy shows at 11 PM, replacing the Radio Mystery Theatre.

And the old year ended with one more obituary: Michael Mancini, who did sales for several stations, most recently Cox Radio's WPLR, died Christmas Day at age 44.

IT'S 2010 - DO YOU HAVE YOUR NEW CALENDAR YET?

The brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2010 is now shipping, 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.

We're selling them at a pretty good pace this year, which means a sellout is likely.

(We've got special discounts for bulk orders, too - they make great gifts for your business colleagues or friends...)

Order now at the fybush.com Store!

*A few format changes kick off our first PENNSYLVANIA update of 2010, and both involve Clear Channel AM signals in the central part of the Keystone State. WLAN (1390 Lancaster) was running Citadel's soon-to-be-defunct "Timeless" standards format, while WRAW (1340 Reading) was carrying Citadel's "True Oldies Channel." Both have moved to one of Clear Channel's in-house formats, classic hits/oldies "The Hits of the 60s and 70s."

South of Pittsburgh, Bob Stevens' Broadcast Communications made the frequency switch Dec. 26 at WANB in Waynesburg, shifting the station from its longtime home on 1580 to a new spot at 1210 on the dial. WANB was a 720-watt daytimer on 1580, but it jumps to 5000 watts, still non-directional, at 1210. (During "critical hours," the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours before sunset, WANB drops to 710 watts.)

For now, WANB's "Cool Country" format is being heard on sister station WKVE (103.1 Waynesburg), the former WANB-FM, but the FM station will soon move to Mount Pleasant, near Uniontown. There's also an FM simulcast via translator, on W286AL (105.1 Waynesburg).

Radio People on the Move: Joe McCollum is now director of promotions for all six Clear Channel stations in Philadelphia, where he'd held that role for WIOQ (102.1). Meanwhile at WHYY (90.9 Philadelphia), Dave Davies is rejoining the full-time staff next week as senior reporter and interim news director. Davies worked at WHYY as a news reporter from 1982-1986 before moving to KYW (1060) as a city hall reporter; in 1990, he moved to the Philadelphia Daily News, where he's worked ever since, though he's remained a presence on WHYY as the fill-in host for Terry Gross on "Fresh Air."

In the Lehigh Valley, Brian "Big Mack" McKay is out of a job at Citadel's WLEV (100.7 Allentown), where he'd been doing afternoons for nearly five years. McKay is focusing on his production business, Big Mack's Production Tracks, while he looks for a new gig.

The end of 2009 brought a slew of new call letters for new stations: mark down WMMH (91.9 Houtzdale) for Counselors for Life's new Clearfield-area station, WLPP (91.5 Palmyra Township) for Four Rivers Community Broadcasting's new signal east of Scranton, WZXB (90.5 Bechtelsville) for Four Rivers' new Reading-area signal and WVBM (90.5 Morgantown) for another new Four Rivers signal south of Reading. The end of the year also brought a return to the air for long-silent WVZN (1580 Columbia), which is reportedly back on with Spanish-language religion.

*There's a new simulcast in central NEW JERSEY: WHWH (1350 Princeton) has flipped from the "Radio Ted" variety format it's been running on and off for several years, and it's now simulcasting WBCB (1490 Levittown/Fairless Hills PA), giving that community station a considerable signal expansion from its home base across the Delaware River in Bucks County.

On the shore, the year ended with two new formats: as expected, Greater Media's WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin) flipped from classic hits to AC "Magic 100.1," simulcasting the morning show from sister station WMGQ (98.3 New Brunswick) but running separately the rest of the day.

And down in south Jersey, WEZW (93.1 Wildwood Crest) emerged from a very long run with Christmas music as "Easy 93.1," with a very soft blend of standards and soft AC.

  • PROGRAMMING SERVICES

DO IT RIGHT PRODUCTIONS -- Visit our Web site, doitrightproductions.net, to hear our three syndicated shows, Classic Clips, Country Roots and Gospel Doings, produced by longtime country and bluegrass lovers. We also provide demo and duplicating services. Contact Roland (Bruce) Cutler, PO Box 351, Lyons, NY 14489; or [email protected]

You can have your ad here, for just a few dollars a week! Click here for information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands of Northeast radio and TV people each week.

*The weeks around Christmas and New Year's are typically very slow ones in CANADA - but this year brought one big format flip in the nation's largest market. Astral's CJEZ (97.3 Toronto) emerged from all-Christmas with new calls and a new format, ditching AC "EZ Rock" for classic hits with a strong 80s flavo(u)r.

The new format, called "Boom," is an import from Astral's network of stations in Quebec, where the music is similar but the announcers are in French. Toronto's new CHBM (Boom 97.3) has some familiar English-language voices behind the mike, carrying over morning hosts Humble Howard and Colleen Rushholme and afternoon jock Kris "KJ" James and adding former CHUM-FM jock Maie Pauts for middays.

In a weird coincidence, Toronto was just one of two new "Boom"s to launch right after Christmas: in the Cleveland market, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting blew up its smooth jazz WNWV (107.3 Elyria OH) to put AAA "Boom 107.3" on the air Dec. 28, a day after we drove through on the way to Indiana.

In Ottawa, Astral's new "Eve FM" hot AC station has call letters - CJOT - and a target air date of May 2010, followed (if all goes according to plan) a month or so later by blues station CIDG (Dawg FM 101.9).

And all those reports that teen pirate Jayhaed Saade had shut down his high-profile "Mix 91.9" operation in mid-December may have been premature: in the days just before Christmas, the station was once again being heard on the Ottawa airwaves. What will be the next chapter in this weird story as it enters a new year?

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!)

January 5, 2009 -

  • Yeah, it looks like 2009 is shaping up to be another one of those years, at least judging by the last moments of destruction that 2008 wreaked on an already fragile radio business. The culprit this time was CBS Radio, both in Hartford, as we'll see in a moment, and in eastern MASSACHUSETTS, where word began spreading during the day on New Year's Eve that more big changes were afoot at the once-mighty WBZ (1030 Boston). While so much of the industry had gone to syndicated programming outside of the major weekday drivetime slots, WBZ long prided itself on - and profited handsomely from - its steadfast determination to remain live and local all night long, with a stellar lineup of hosts in that slot over the years that included Dick Summer, Larry Glick, Bob Raleigh and most recently Steve LeVeille. Well, so much for that tradition. As of the new year, LeVeille - and his local "Steve LeVeille Broadcast," weeknights from midnight to 5 AM - is history at WBZ, as are Saturday night hosts Pat Desmarais and Lovell Dyett, the latter a 37-year veteran of the station.
  • Saturday nights are now occupied by the syndicated Kim Komando computer show - and weeknights on the mighty 50,000 watt voice of Boston will now come from...St. Louis, where Jon Grayson, who's been doing talk for a few years at CBS sister station KMOX (1120), will take his local show semi-national (as "Overnight America") beginning this week. In addition to WBZ and KMOX, Grayson's show will also air on WCCO (830 Minneapolis) and KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh).
  • Enough loss of local flavor for you? Wait, there's more: also gone, as part of the cutbacks, was WBZ's already fairly minimal committment to local news after 8 PM, when its daytime all-news format gives way to talk.
  • Over on the TV side of things, WCVB (Channel 5) starts the new year without a news director: after eight years on that job at the Hearst-Argyle ABC affiliate, and many years behind the scenes before that, Colleen Marren departed at the end of December, apparently after being unable to reach a new contract deal. Neil Ungerleider, the station's web guru, is handling the ND job on an interim basis. And down the street at New England Cable News, Boston TV veteran Tom Ellis is out of a job; his weekend shift on NECN ended in late December after 16 years at the cable network and decades in the industry.
  • And there's a format change to report on Cape Cod: WKPE (103.9 South Yarmouth) came off its all-Christmas format to become "Cape Country," the first stab at that format on the Cape in a few years, since WCIB (101.9) made a brief flip to country a while back, and a pretty far cry from the top-40 format the signal had been running for just under a year.
  • The CBS "Happy New Year" cuts weren't limited to Boston - they hit hard in CONNECTICUT, too, claiming two of the biggest on-air names from the WTIC (1080 Hartford) roster and leaving that once-proud station as not only a shell of its former self, but also as the target of what's proving to be a pretty noisy public outcry. WTIC's staff cuts, made just as 2008 slumped to its unlamented end, eliminated the jobs of morning co-host Diane Smith, who left her TV news career a decade ago to join Ray Dunaway on "Mornings with Ray and Diane," and Colin McEnroe, the Hartford Courant columnist who had been WTIC's iconoclastic afternoon talk host since 1992. Dunaway will go solo, at least for now, as host of a morning block that will be trimmed back by an hour, ending at 9 AM to allow Jim Vicevich to start his talk show an hour earlier. In the afternoons, McEnroe's show will be replaced by a news block anchored by Bill Pearse and Aaron Kupec.
  • Up the Thruway in Amsterdam, Ken Roser is trading talk for music at WVTL (1570 Amsterdam), where Christmas tunes gave way to a standards/soft AC format (they're calling it "beautiful music") similar to his WADR (1480 Remsen)/WUTQ (1550 Utica) an hour to the west. WVTL's local shows, Bob Cudmore in morning drive and "Valley Talk with Mike Mancini & Sam Zurlo," from 9-10 AM, remain in place on weekdays.
  • VERMONT rings in the new year with a new rock station. After spending some time stunting with Christmas music, former country outlet WLFE (102.3 St. Albans) flipped to active rock as "Rock 102.3, Pure Rock Radio" as soon as the holiday was over. Mornings on the new signal come straight outta Nebraska, courtesy of the syndicated "Todd N Tyler Morning Empire" based at KEZO (92.3 Omaha), giving the show its only non-midwest clearance; the rest of the day, at least for now, is satellite - and there's a power increase still in the works; now that WRGR (102.3 Tupper Lake) over in the Adirondacks has moved to 102.1, WLFE can follow through with its move to Grand Isle, closer to Burlington, and power increase to class C3. (WRGR, though it also had a pending CP to go to C3 on 102.1, tells the FCC that due to financial constraints, it will remain a class A signal for now.)
  • So much for oldies - er, classic hits - in Altoona, PENNSYLVANIA: WALY (103.9 Bellwood) flipped to AC right after Christmas, as "The New WALY 103.9."
  • There's a new format to go with new calls in Laporte: the former WCOZ (103.9) is now WNKZ, and it's migrated from oldies (simulcasting "Gem FM" WGMF 107.7 Tunkhannock) to hot AC as "KZ104." The WCOZ calls haven't gone far, though - WNKZ co-owner Kevin Fitzgerald is also the president of the nonprofit Telikoja Educational Broadcasting, which now has the WCOZ calls on its new 90.5 construction permit in Laceyville, west of Tunkhannock.

January 3, 2005 -

  • The new year brought a new format to MAINE, where Cumulus flipped Bangor-market oldies WWMJ (95.7 Ellsworth) to classic hits just after Christmas. Newspaper ads for "Classic Hits I-95" had been running for several weeks, so the flip wasn't much of a surprise for the market.
  • It was one of the first stations in the region to go all-Christmas, and now the NEW YORK Capital District's smooth jazz outlet appears to be the last to stay with the format. WZMR (104.9 Altamont) said it would go back to its urban AC/smooth jazz "Love 104.9" format when the holiday was over, but as late as press time Sunday (Jan. 2), it was still in all-Christmas mode. Hmmm...
  • Here in Rochester, New Year's Eve brought a big farewell celebration for WHEC (Channel 10)'s anchor of 29 years, Gabe Dalmath. His usual newscasts at 5:30 AM and 5-6 PM were filled with tributes and old clips, and Gabe ended up anchoring at 6 as well in place of his successor, Brian Martin. After Dalmath's farewell words at the end of the newscast, his co-workers came on to the set with a cake, and the newscast ended with a well-deserved round of applause.
  • In PENNSYLVANIA, Route 81's WCDL (1440 Carbondale) began testing right around Christmas, and it returns to the air for real today (Jan. 3) at noon, running a classic country format from its studios in Carbondale's municipal building.
  • Over in Williamsport, WLYC (1050) spent a few days stunting before making a format flip today, dropping Westwood One's standards format and picking up ESPN sports.

January 7, 2000 -

  • On we go into 2000, beginning in CONNECTICUT, where the waning days of 1999 brought one last format change. Under its new Citadel ownership, WVVE (102.3 Stonington) dumped oldies, spent a few days running the Citadel format-change "atomic clock" (last heard at WCLZ in Maine), then went into an active-rock format as "Rock 102" (no relation to that other "Rock 102," WAQY Springfield, whose fringes overlap the WVVE service area). It's the first all-out rocker in the New London market since the days of WXZR on 98.7 a few years back.
  • On the other side of the Nutmeg State, WKZE (1020 Sharon) rang in the New Year with an unusual nighttime broadcast. The 2500-watt daytimer (1800 watts during critical hours) pushed the boundaries of FCC regulation by signing back on at 11 PM and remaining on until just after 1 AM New Year's Day, with its usual music format but no commercials. Up here in Rochester, the frequency was still dominated by KDKA, but the WKZE broadcast was heard as far away as Albany and Stamford, at least.
  • So long, "News 4 New England," and welcome back, "WBZ 4 News," as Boston's number-three newsroom tries again to recover the momentum that disappeared around the time (can it be five years ago already?) the NBC peacock yielded to the CBS eye. Across town, Brian Leary is leaving WCVB (Channel 5) to start his own Web business, adding more uncertainty to an anchor roster already reeling from news of Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobsen's separation. Leary was one of the class acts in Boston TV; he'll be sorely missed.
  • Coming soon to an island near you: The folks at WGBH are almost ready to turn on the first half of their new service to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. WNAN (91.1 Nantucket) is slated to be on the air before the end of the month, with WCAI (90.1 Woods Hole) following as soon as some issues surrounding the Martha's Vineyard transmitter site can be resolved. The stations are in good hands, with veteran NPR producer (and head honcho of the very cool "Lost and Found Sound" project) Jay Allison running the show.
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE's newest station debuted Monday morning, as WKXL-FM (102.3 Concord) dropped its simulcast with WKXL (1450) (and now WRCI 107.7 Hillsboro) to go country as "Outlaw 102." Becky Nichols is holding down morning drive at the new FM; we assume a call change will follow sooner or later at both 102.3 and 107.7.
  • There's something about fires, Niagara Falls, and radio stations, or so it seems. Just a week after WJJL (1440) lost its Main Street studio in a fire, crosstown WHLD (1270) lost its Harris SX5 transmitter to flame. Fortunately, WHLD had a brand-new Harris DX5 waiting to go on the air at its new transmitter site (diplexed with WNED 970) down in Hamburg; that unit was moved to the old WHLD site on Grand Island and placed into emergency service.
  • Across the border in CANADA, a format change marked the New Year in the Ottawa market. Under new owner Rogers, CFMO (101.1 Smiths Falls) ditched the sleepy soft rock it had been running in favor of rock as "XFM @ 101," joining with sister station CHEZ (106.1 Ottawa; classic rock) to form a sort of bookend around standalone competitor CKQB (106.9 "The Bear"). Rogers pulled the same stunt in Vancouver, flipping CFSR (104.9) from sleepy AC "Star" to "XFM." (Does this mean we can go back to Vancouver now?)

New England Radio Watch, January 5, 1995

  • In Albany, WTRY-FM 98.3 has broken its simulcast with oldies WTRY 980, and is now satellite-70's "Star 98.3." WTRY AM and FM are part of an agglomeration of six stations, all with their ad time sold by Liberty -- WTRY-AM, WGNA-AM (// country WGNA-FM), WWCP-FM 96.7 (WDRE prog rock), WTRY-FM, WPYX-FM (AOR), and WGNA-FM (country). That's something like 35% of the market, but since Liberty doesn't actually own WTRY-FM and WWCP-FM (Jarad
    Communications does), it's allegedly kosher.
  • Also in Albany, Amsterdam's WKOL-FM 97.7, after a brief stint as Christmas music, is now classical as WBKK. Still finding its legs apparently, as they were very sloppy about legals (they did one at :40!) Sounded like it might have been the KDFC DAT service...definitely NOT live and local. Sister station WCSS 1490 was off air or at least inaudible.
  • Here in Boston, the switch has happened. WBZ-TV 4 is now CBS, after 46 years with NBC. WHDH-TV 7 is now NBC after 22 years with CBS (and 13 more years before that too, from 1948 till 1961, when ch. 7 went to ABC). Videos available on request.
  • And despite the promise (threat?) to go religious on 1/1, WSSH-AM 1510 is still brokered Spanish. The Spanish programmers had sued WSSH's owners Noble Communications for selling the station to Communicom just as the brokerage contract was being signed. Maybe it's held up in court. When and if religion happens
    here, requested calls are WNRB.

You can sponsor this weekly feature! Click here for information!

NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please click here to learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW is copyright 2010 by Scott Fybush.