January 25, 2010
The Party's Over (in New York, anyway)
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*Fans of dance music in NEW YORK City
are once again without a radio station. After less than three
months, JVC Broadcasting abruptly pulled its "Party FM"
dance/hip-hop format off the audio carrier of Island Broadcasting's
WNYZ-LP (Channel 6) on Thursday, raising questions along the
way about the future of the "Franken-FM" stations that
have been using channel 6 LPTVs as pseudo-FM stations heard at
87.7 on the dial.
hard to invest in a radio station when you don't know if the
government will shut it down tomorrow," said JVC CEO John
Caracciolo in a statement announcing the end of the simulcast.
Caracciolo says it's not clear how much longer the FCC will continue
to allow analog LPTVs to continue without converting to digital,
a move that would make the channel 6 audio unavailable to analog
"Party" continues to be heard on Long Island, via
parent station WPTY-FM (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) on the East
End and once again via translator W268AN (101.5 Plainview), which
had been carrying JVC sister station "La Fiesta" WBON
As for WNYZ, it was off the air for a bit after the end of
the "Party" simulcast, though it returned, at least
briefly, with a simulcast of New York's WCBS-FM. An unsourced
item on WNYZ's Wikipedia entry claims that the station will be
leased out to Idaho-based CSN International for its religious
programming, but we've been unable to confirm that.
And as for those dance fans, it's been a tough year for them
- first last October's shutdown of the always financially-shaky
"Pulse 87" operation that had been leasing WNYZ, and
now this. Will there be a third try somewhere down the road?
final collapse of New York-based Air America Radio made big industry
headlines at week's end, but the bankruptcy liquidation of the
pioneering progressive talk network won't affect many timeslots
on any NERW-land radio stations. There were no full-time Air
America affiliates in the region, and hadn't been for several
years, and even in New York Air America was only being cleared
for a few hours a day on nominal flagship WWRL (1600): Montel
Williams' mid-morning show was delayed to 3-6 PM, followed by
Ron Reagan Jr. from 6-8 PM, and three overnight hours were filled
with a delayed Rachel Maddow rebroadcast and "Clout with
Richard Greene." There's no word yet on what programming
will now be heard during those hours on WWRL.
Ithaca's WNYY (1470) was carrying Air America's Lionel in
morning drive, and has now replaced him with Dial Global's Bill
Press. The only other weekday AA shows on WNYY were an hour of
Norman Goldman at night, replaced by Montel Williams, and an
hour of Rachel Maddow early in the morning, replaced by the Wall
Street Journal This Morning show.
In Buffalo, WWKB (1520) wasn't using any of Air America's
weekday shows in its lineup (a relic of the brief competition
between 'KB and former AA affiliate WHLD 1270 a few years back),
but it will have to replace some of the weekend programming it
was getting from the now-defunct network.
bigger news from Buffalo was the death of one of the city's media
pioneers. Alfred E. Anscombe began his radio career back in the
late 1930s as a sports announcer for the old Buffalo Broadcasting
Corporation, which then controlled much of the Queen City's radio
dial, including WKBW, where Anscombe rose into the management
ranks in the years following World War II.
As station manager, Anscombe led WKBW radio into its top-40
dominance in the late 1950s and spearheaded the effort to put
WKBW-TV (Channel 7) on the air in 1958. He served as vice president
of the TV station before leaving for bigger things in 1960, becoming
executive vice president of Metromedia.
Meanwhile, Anscombe was building new holdings in two other
areas: UHF TV and cable TV. On the UHF front, Anscombe put WEPA-TV
(Channel 66) in Erie and WBJA-TV (Channel 34) in Binghamton on
the air in the early 1960s, naming the Binghamton staton after
his wife's initials. While the Erie station eventually went dark,
the Binghamton station remained on the air through several subsequent
owners, becoming today's WIVT.
Anscombe founded several small cable companies in western
New York, which were eventually combined into International Cable,
which later merged into Adelphia and then into today's Time Warner
In 1996, he was the founding chairman of the Buffalo Broadcasters
Association, which inducted him into its hall of fame in 2000.
He was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Association
Hall of Fame five years later.
Anscombe died Tuesday at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
He was 89.
*While we're in Buffalo, there's a format change coming next
week at public station WBFO (88.7), where the last of the station's
daytime jazz is being replaced by more news and talk.
Starting February 1, WBFO will carry the first hour of "On
Point" from Boston's WBUR at 10 AM, followed at 11 by NPR's
"Tell Me More" and at noon by "Fresh Air,"
which will continue to be heard at 7 PM as well. At 1 PM, WBFO
had already begun carrying Susan Arbetter's new "Capital
Pressroom" show, produced by WCNY in Syracuse. (Crosstown
public radio outlet WNED 970 carries both "On Point"
hours from 10-noon.)
In the evening, WBFO's 8 PM strip of "On the Border"
music shows gives way to the second hour of "On Point,"
then a 9 PM hour of "All Things Considered" before
the jazz finally kicks in at 10 PM.
WBFO interim general manager Mark Vogelzang says the moves
come in response to listener demand for more talk programming.
"Buffalo and the entire region, including parts of Ontario,
has a strong interest in public radio and NPR, so we're glad
to be able to provide more of it starting in February,"
he says. Vogelzang plans to take listener calls about the schedule
changes during a "meet the manager" call-in show next
*There's a public radio schedule change in New York, too,
where WNYC is streamlining what had been a confusing ping-pong
match between its two morning shows. Since its launch in 2008,
the locally-produced "The Takeaway" had been running
in two hour-long chunks, from 6-7 AM on WNYC-FM (93.9) and from
8-9 AM on WNYC (820), breaking up the flow of NPR's "Morning
Edition" on both signals.
today, "The Takeaway" moves to the AM signal, where
it will be heard nonstop from 6-10 AM, while FM listeners get
an uninterrupted four-hour "Morning Edition" block
from 5-9 AM, followed by the BBC Newshour.
Radio People on the Move in New York City: Ken Duffy is the
new afternoon news anchor at Citadel's WABC (770), moving over
from Fox News Radio. Downtown at CBS Radio, Jake Ray is the producer
of Nick Cannon's new WXRK (92.3 Now) morning show, which debuted
last Tuesday to mixed reviews. And up the Hudson a bit, Chris
Marino has a new gig as PD of Clear Channel's WPKF (96.1 Kiss
FM) in Poughkeepsie. Marino did mornings at crosstown WSPK (K104.7)
until last March; he's also worked at New York's Z100 and at
WLCE and WIOQ in Philadelphia.
Another obituary from New York: George Jellinek, who served
as WQXR's music director from 1968 until 1984, died January 17.
Jellinek had been a record-store clerk and an author writing
about music when WQXR hired him. In addition to his work as music
director, Jellinek hosted the weekly "Vocal Scene"
show, continuing on the air at WQXR for another decade before
retiring in 1994. Jellinek was 90 years old.
In Syracuse, we hear that Galaxy has shifted translator W249BC
(97.7) from relaying "K-Rock" WKRL (100.9 North Syracuse)
to relaying WTLA (1200 North Syracuse); the move sets the stage
for the format flip on March 1 to ESPN sports on WTLA and sister
station WSGO (1440 Oswego).
Family Life Ministries has calls for its new signal on 88.9
in Unadilla, near Sidney: it will be WCIS.
And one more from the upstate rumor mill: is Sinclair's Rochester
Fox affiliate, WUHF (Channel 31), about to end the shared-services
agreement under which the station has been managed and operated
by Nexstar's CBS affiliate, WROC-TV (Channel 8)? We're hearing
that WUHF may be preparing to reopen the East Avenue studios
that it shuttered in 2005 - and looking for a new partner to
produce a 10 PM newscast as well.
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*This week's top story from PENNSYLVANIA
is one of the worst-kept secrets in recent radio memory:
CBS Radio is indeed pulling the plug on Pittsburgh's top-40 "B94"
WBZW for a second time, replacing it with an all-sports format
as "93.7 the Fan" under new calls KDKA-FM.
flip won't take place until February 15, but CBS isn't keeping
B94 intact in the meantime. No sooner did the press release go
out last Tuesday than the station went jockless - but at least
some of its airstaff will stay with CBS on sister station WZPT
(Star 100.7), which will add some of B94's top-40 playlist to
its existing hot AC format. B94 morning man Bubba will join J.
R. Randall and Shelley Duffy on the Star morning show, while
Melanie Taylor moves from B94 to Star for middays.
The details of the new sports format on 93.7 are less clear.
The new station has a program director - former ESPN Radio PD
Terry Foxx - and a sports director, Jeff Hathhorn, who already
holds that role for sister station KDKA (1020). And it sounds
as though Gregg Giannotti, who's been a fill-in host and show
producer at CBS sports flagship WFAN in New York, might be heading
to the Steel City as well; he tweeted that he's "leaving
N.Y. to host full-time in another market" soon.
There's speculation, too, that CBS may be putting the pieces
of a national sports network together, as Pittsburgh joins other
recent CBS sports-format launches in Boston and Dallas and more
established signals in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit
and several other big markets.
More Radio People on the Move in the Keystone State: Doc Medek
is leaving his PD/morning drive gig at Scranton's "Froggy
101" (WGGY 101.3) and moving down the Turnpike Spur to take
over mornings at Philadelphia's WXTU (92.5), effective February
8. Andie Summers stays on board as co-host; Kris Stevens becomes
a part-timer. And back in Pittsburgh, Tracey Morgan is out of
middays at CBS Radio's WDSY (107.9), replaced by morning co-host
Philadelphia newsman Ken Matz died Saturday. Matz started
in central Pennsylvania radio at WFEC in Harrisburg and WRAW
in Reading in the sixties before moving to Philadelphia's WIBG
(990, now WNTP) in 1969. After six years at Wibbage, Matz moved
up the dial to KYW (1060) in 1976, then segued into TV the next
year, moving to Baltimore and then to other large markets including
Miami and Los Angeles. Matz returned to Philadelphia in 1993,
working as an anchor at WCAU-TV (Channel 10). He left Philadelphia
in 1998, when he retired to Florida. Matz was 63.
Former KDKA-TV (Channel 2) anchor/reporter John Cater died
in Atlanta on Tuesday (Jan. 19) at the far-too-young age of 32.
Cater started at KDKA and sister station WPCW in 2004, anchoring
the mornng show on WPCW for several years. He moved to Atlanta
two years ago, and had freelanced at several stations there,
including WSB-TV, WXIA-TV and WGCL-TV. No cause of death has
And over at the western edge of the state, we note the passing
of station owner Harold Glunt, who made his fortune in the steel
industry before becoming a broadcaster a decade or so ago. Glunt's
Beacon Broadcasting includes WGRP (940) and WEXC (107.1) in Greenville
and WLOA (1470) in Farrell, as well as several AM stations across
the state line in the Youngstown, Ohio market. Glunt died Thursday
(Jan. 21) at age 75; there's no word yet on the future of his
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*While MASSACHUSETTS was focused on
the big Senate race - and in no small part on the talk hosts
at WRKO (680) and WTKK (96.9) who helped to propel Republican
Scott Brown to victory - there were some changes elsewhere on
the dial. Down the hall from WRKO, Entercom's WEEI (850 Boston)
sent veteran sports anchor Pete Sheppard packing in a budget-driven
move, prompting speculation about a new job for Sheppard across
the street at CBS Radio's WBZ-FM. (In a what may or may not have
been a related move, WEEI contributor and Sheppard fan Curt Schilling
moved his "38Pitches" blog off the WEEI.com website
*In MAINE, there's a format shift at Saga's
WBAE (1490 Portland)/WVAE (1400 Biddeford): the stations have
segued from hot talk to "Advice for Life." Bob and
Tom remain on board for mornings, and the rest of the syndicated
lineup includes Clark Howard at 10 AM, Laura Schlessinger at
1 PM, Dave Ramsey at 4 PM, Dr. Joy Browne at 7 PM and Loveline
at 10 PM.
Up in the Bangor market, the Air America shutdown takes at
least three shows off the schedule at Stephen King's brand-new
progressive talker, WZON-FM (103.1 Dover-Foxcroft). "The
Pulse" had been carrying AA's Montel Williams in late mornings
and Ron Reagan Jr.and "Clout" in the evenings; no word
yet on what might replace them.
*Saga's progressive talkers
in the Connecticut River Valley will have to fill just a few
hours of programming because of Air America's demise. WKVT (1490)
in Brattleboro, VERMONT and WZBK (1220) in Keene, NEW
HAMPSHIRE were carrying Reagan from 6-8 PM and a delayed
hour of Rachel Maddow from 8-9 AM, as well as some weekend shows.
Across the state line in Massachusetts, sister station WHMP (1400
Northampton) and its relays were taking only one weekday show
from Air America, the 5-6 AM replay of the Maddow show.
*Two bits of CONNECTICUT news: Jim
Vicevich is temporarily off the air at Hartford's WTIC (1080)
as he recovers from an auto-immune illness; while he's off, Ray
Dunaway has extended his morning show to 10 AM, with a Sean Hannity
repeat filling the remaining two hours of Vicevich's show.
And on the HD Radio dial, the HD3 channel of Hartford-market
WMRQ (104.1 Waterbury) is now a relay of contemporary Christian
station WYCM (90.1), up I-84 in Charlton, Massachusetts.
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*The struggling local TV business in CANADA
took another big hit last week when Rogers eviscerated its
local newsrooms at its CityTV outlets around the country - none
of them worse than the original, CITY-TV (Channel 57) in Toronto.
While Rogers says only 6% of its total staff was cut, those cuts
went deep, starting with veteran anchor Anne Mroczkowski, who'd
been with CITY-TV for 30 years.
Toronto, CITY cancelled its noon and 5 PM newscasts, as well
as its evening "CityNews International" broadcast that
was distributed to other CityTV outlets around the country. Gone
also are the weekend newscasts, leaving only a stripped-down
"Breakfast Television" and 6 PM and 11 PM broadcasts
on weekdays. That's still more than some other CityTV markets
- in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg all but "Breakfast
Television" were axed in the cutbacks.
As for the 24-hour cable news channel City was to have launched
in Toronto to replace the CP24 service that stayed with CTV in
the breakup of the former CHUM properties, we're hearing that
it won't materialize, either.
While Rogers won't confirm the exact extent of the cuts, it
appears that nearly three dozen CITY-TV staffers lost their jobs
in Toronto. In addition to Mroczkowski, prominent cuts included
5 PM anchor Merella Fernandez, noon anchor Laura Di Battista
and reporters Pam Seatle and Marianne Dimain.
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 26, 2009 -
- This week's lead story is yet another one we'd really rather
not be writing. The massive job cuts at Clear Channel made their
way from rumor to reality on Tuesday, and if the nation's largest
radio company really intended to use the headlines surrounding
Inauguration Day in Washington as cover to bury the story of
its cutbacks (a rumor to which we never gave complete credence),
it didn't work. The story not only dominated the radio trades
all week, it made it into the mainstream media as well, even
though the size of the Clear Channel cuts - 1850 jobs worldwide
in its radio, outdoor and international divisions, about 9% of
its total workforce - paled by comparison with the 30,000 jobs
disappearing in the demise of Circuit City and other economic
- As painful as the cuts were, especially in markets where
longtime station veterans were marched out the door without even
the opportunity to say farewell to their colleagues, some of
the most dire predictions making the message-board rounds did
not come to pass: there was no wholesale replacement of local
air talent with national, satellite-delivered formats, no shuttering
of local studios - indeed, with the exception of a few targeted
cuts to local sports programming in several markets (Syracuse
among them, but more notably Detroit and San Diego, where WDFN
and KLSD were gutted), the cuts were largely behind the scenes.
- In New York City, on-air cuts were minimal, with WHTZ (Z100)
night co-host Niko and Total Traffic's Brian de Masi the only
personalities to lose their jobs. But behind the scenes, the
cuts were more dramatic, with WKTU (103.5) local sales manager
Mark Magnone at the head of a long line of ousted salespeople.
The cluster's communications director, Josefa Paganuzzi, is also
out. (And we ask again - how can radio expect to grow new listeners
in the face of so many other entertainment options if it won't
even make a minimal investment in continuing to promote itself?)
- The cuts at Clear Channel in Rochester left 29-year news
veteran Bill Lowe with no opportunity to say goodbye to his longtime
listeners on the "Chet and Beth" morning show. Lowe,
whose career started in his native Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania at
WCNR (930, now WHLM) back in 1960, also spent time in Binghamton
(WNBF) and Syracuse (WFBL) before coming to WHAM in 1979. Also
out in Rochester were sports anchor Gene Battaglia, traffic guy
Barry Vee, as well as several salespeople.
- In Syracuse, the cuts hit hardest at sports WHEN (620), where
Jim "Manchild" Lerch, who was PD and co-host of the
afternoon "Bud and the Manchild" show, was let go along
with producer Ty Doyle. Post-Standard sports columnist Bud Poliquin
is also off the WHEN airwaves, whch are now entirely filled with
national sports talk from Fox Sports, Dan Patrick and Jim Rome
in a market that has distinctly local passions for its Orangemen.
Also cut were Carole Fargo, promotions director at WBBS (104.7
Fulton), and several salespeople.
- And it wasn't just Clear Channel making cutbacks in the Empire
State: in Buffalo, it was Citadel firing staffers at week's end.
WHTT (104.1) midday man Jim Pastrick, a veteran of Queen City
radio, was missing from the "Mix 104" website as we
went to press Sunday night, with afternooner Jim Siragusa listed
with a noon-7 PM shift, no doubt heavily voicetracked. And we're
hearing two salespeople are gone from the cluster as well.
- In Rochester, Stephens Media made another morning show cutback
- after reducing the "Tony and Dee" show on WRMM (101.3)
to just "Tony" when it took the station over last year,
Stephens has now cut the "Ace and Marti" show on sister
station WFKL (93.3 Fairport) to just "Marti in the Morning,"
leaving veteran Rochester jock Marti Casper solo and her former
co-host George "Ace" Acevedo, who came to town from
California five years ago to work at WFKL's predecessor, WBBF,
out of work.
- The week's other big story, beyond the Clear Channel cutbacks,
came on the NEW JERSEY shore, where Press Communications pulled
the plug last Monday on "G-Rock Radio," the latest
incarnation of the modern rock format that has given WHTG-FM
(106.3 Eatontown) a loyal, if not huge, following for several
decades. 106.3, and its simulcast down the shore on WBBO (106.5
Bass River Township), are now doing top-40 as "Hit 106."
For the moment, the hits format is running without local jocks,
using the "Hits Now" satellite service from Dial Global,
and morning host Matt Murray is out, but some of the former G-Rock
staff, including PD Terrie Carr, apparently remains on board
- indeed, in an open letter posted on the G-Rock website and
addressed to organizers of a planned protest at the station's
studios on Saturday, Press CEO Robert McAllan promised that G-Rock
jock Matt Knight would soon be back on the air from 3-7 PM weekdays.
As for that protest, it drew some 200 listeners to WHTG's studios
in Neptune, some of them bearing signs aimed at Arbitron, a reference
to McAllan's comments that the G-Rock audience had never been
properly measured by the ratings firm.
- In RHODE ISLAND, it wasn't just Clear Channel doing the cutting:
on Friday, Citadel made some deep cuts to its Providence cluster,
including WPRO-FM (92.3) night jock Kerry Collins (who'll be
replaced by voicetracking from Ralphie at WBHT in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre),
WWLI (105.1) afternoon guy Charlie Jefferds and WWKX (106.3 Woonsocket)
APD/afternoon DJ Joey Foxx. As for Clear Channel's Providence
cluster, Tuesday's cuts claimed more than a half-dozen salespeople,
several members of the Paul and Al morning show - Johnny "Skidmarks"
Hamblett and sportscaster Steve McDonald, aka "Jim Shorts,"
WHJJ "Helen Glover Show" producer Mike Fiske, and WHJJ
weekend host Bruce Newbury.
- It's not just US broadcasters getting chilled by the current
economic climate - it's happening up in CANADA as well, where
Newcap cited "seriously deteriorating credit markets"
in announcing last week that it was pulling out of its deal to
buy 12 FM stations in northern Ontario from Haliburton Broadcasting
Group. The C$12 million deal would have added "Moose FM"
stations everywhere from Huntsville and Bancroft up to North
Bay and Timmins and west to Kapuskasing and Hearst to Newcap's
existing holdings in the Sudbury market - and while Newcap says
the stations are still "assets we would like to own sometime
in the future," the deal is apparently dead for now.
January 24, 2005 -
- It's been an exceptionally quiet week on the U.S. side of
the border (and it didn't help that the FCC had two days off,
either), but at least our friends up in CANADA at the CRTC had
a busy few days. The big headline from north of the border was
Friday's approval of the C$11,000,000 deal that will put the
Radiomedia chain of Quebec AM signals in the hands of Corus,
which is trading them for five small-market FM stations that
will join the Astral Media group.
- The transaction closes the books on nearly three years of
false starts and unconsummated dealmaking that began when Astral
(successor to the Radiomutuel group) bought out Telemedia's half
of its joint partnership in Radiomedia, which includes flagship
CKAC (730 Montreal), CJRC (1150 Gatineau/Ottawa), CHRC (800 Quebec),
CHLN (550 Trois-Rivieres), CHLT (630 Sherbrooke), CKTS (900 Sherbrooke)
and CKRS (590 Saguenay), along with CFOM-FM (102.9 Levis) in
the Quebec City market. In most of those markets, Astral already
had one FM signal, and the addition of the FMs that it also got
from Telemedia meant that the AM chain had to be spun off. A
plan to sell it to CKAC management fell through, and so did an
attempt to sell it to a partnership between the TVA television
network and Radio Nord.
- Now the stations are finally leaving the Astral fold and
being transferred to Corus, which plans some big changes. Corus
already operates a news-talker in Montreal, CHMP (98.5), which
won official CRTC blessing for the talk format as part of the
approval of the Radiomedia transaction, and it plans to flip
CKAC to a format that's heavy on sports and "health"
programming, with none of the political talk that's long been
a hallmark of Quebec's oldest French-language radio station.
(Corus tells the CRTC that it believes "general interest
AM radio is a thing of the past," at least in major markets.)
- In Quebec, CHRC will take on a sports format. The Gatineau,
Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivieres stations will take on a news-heavy
format, fed largely from Corus' CINF (690) in Montreal. (Corus
plans to establish a central newsroom in Montreal to service
CINF, CKAC and CHMP, as well as providing news to the regional
stations.) And CKRS up in Saguenay is apparently doing well enough
to stay largely unchanged. The other half of the deal finds Astral
picking up five Corus FMs. CFVM (99.9 Amqui) and CFZZ (104.1
St.-Jean-Iberville) will join Astral's "Boom" oldies
network; CJDM (92.1 Drummondville) and CIKI (98.7 Rimouski) will
join the "Energie" hits network, and CJOI (102.9 Rimouski)
will join the "Rock Detente" soft rock network.
- A neat community radio station in northwest CONNECTICUT will
stay in local hands as it gets sold. Scott Johnson has reached
a deal to sell WKZE (1020 Sharon) and WKZE-FM (98.1 Salisbury)
to Will Stanley of Rhinebeck, N.Y. Anyone concerned about a change
to WKZE's AAA format need have no worries - Stanley created one
of the region's first AAAs at the old (and much-missed) WKXE
(95.3 White River Junction VT), then repeated the feat at WRSI
(95.3 Greenfield MA) a few years later.
- One NEW JERSEY shift change: WMGQ (98.3 New Brunswick) drops
the evening show that David Allan Boucher had been tracking from
sister "Magic" station WMJX (106.7 Boston); Leeza Gibbons'
syndicated show replaces Boucher weeknights at 7.
January 28, 2000 -
- The big news in MASSACHUSETTS was the long-awaited return
of the WMEX calls to Boston, as Alex Langer premiered his new
talk format Monday morning (Jan. 24) on the 1060 signal licensed
to Natick, ex-WJLT, WBIV, WTTP, and WGTR. This time around, 1060
is a 40-kilowatt daytimer running from the WKOX site in Framingham,
delivering a surprisingly solid signal to most of the market.Programming
on the new WMEX begins at 7 AM with business news from the Boston
Business Journal, followed by an hour of Langer staple "Health
and Fitness Today" with Frankie Boyer. At 10, WMEX is offering
Marjorie Clapprood, returning to the air after her ouster last
year from WRKO. The rest of the day continues the Boston-veteran
theme, with Jerry Williams in-house at the new studios on North
Washington Street in Boston, Gene Burns by satellite from San
Francisco (with a 2-4 PM block intended solely for Boston), then
Upton Bell, held over from the talk format's previous incarnation
as WRPT 650 Ashland (which now becomes WJLT, J-Light).
- We've already heard the usual carping about WMEX's lack of
a night signal and about the start-up glitches that can plague
any station. We tuned in ourselves (we have ways, you know...)
to hear Williams and Burns already absent from the schedule,
Burns due to a scheduled trip to Alaska and Williams for who-knows-what
reason. And we're concerned about the lack, thus far, of any
up-and-coming talk talent on WMEX, but we'll commit to this much:
Between WMEX's lineup of veterans and the promotional punch of
"FM Talk" WTKK, it's going to be an interesting year
for WRKO... (2010 note: is it ever not an interesting year for WRKO?)
- Elsewhere in the Bay State, we're learning more about the
collapse of Catholic Family Radio's deal to buy Ken Carberry's
Carter Broadcasting stations. It seems nobody from CFR came to
the scheduled November closing for the $15 million deal, even
though Carberry had already offered two extensions. Carberry's
telling the trades that he still intends to sell the station
group, and he's disappointed it won't be to CFR, which he saw
as an ideological soulmate. (NERW wonders if CFR perhaps spent
too much on transit advertising for its KDIA Vallejo CA; we saw
bus ads for the 1640 X-bander all over San Francisco!)
- Waltham's WRCA (1330) is getting a new owner, as Beasley
Broadcasting pays $6 million for the Spanish-language outlet.
No word yet on whether changes are in store for the station,
though we note that Beasley understands leased-time ethnic operations
(like the company's WTEL 860 in Philadelphia).
- We'll start NEW YORK, for a change, in Binghamton, until
now the second-largest market in the state without a Clear Channel
outlet (Buffalo, of course, being the largest). Not anymore:
Lowry Mays & company are paying $20 million for the Majac
of Michigan cluster that ranks #2 in market revenue. Joining
Clear Channel, then, are:
- * sports-talk WENE 1430 Endicott
* classic rock WKGB 92.5 Susquehanna PA
* -AC WMXB 103.3 Vestal (already branded as "Mix" --
no CC tweaking needed!)
* hot AC, verging on CHR, WMRV 105.7 Endicott
* country WBBI 107.5 Endwell
- Clear Channel's New York clusters now run seamlessly from
Rochester east to Syracuse and Utica, south to Binghamton, and
east again to Albany, not to mention the huge ex-Chancellor group
in New York City.
- While we're on the subject, Clear Channel launched its New
York State news network, with reporters for WSYR and WGY filing
stories to anchors based at Rochester's WHAM. Clear Channel is
promising no layoffs, but the company has lost one veteran anchor/reporter:
WGY's Peter Rief leaves to join ex-WGY talker Mike Gallagher
on his syndicated show. Across town at CC/Albany, WXXA-TV (Channel
23) has launched a new 6:30 PM newscast, joining the Fox affiliate's
existing 10 PM effort. And Clear Channel's WQBK-WQBJ and WHRL
Albany have a new OM/PD: Susan Groves comes up from Columbia,
South Carolina to enjoy the wintry weather in Rod Ryan's old
- Moving west to Buffalo, things are changing fast in the newsrooms
of Entercom's WGR (550) and WBEN (930), as the long-awaited consolidation
of the stations' separate newsrooms gets underway. Entercom's
strategy: make WGR the sports station and WBEN the news-talker,
which means the WGR news operation obsolete. Starting Monday,
WGR morning host Tom Bauerle (best known now for his, er, probing
questions to Hillary Clinton last week) gets Chris "The
Bulldog" Parker (formerly WBEN's night sports-talk host)
as his co-host in AM drive, WGR's Clip Smith moves to WBEN in
the evening, the syndicated Jim Rome show shifts from WWKB (1520)
to WGR, and Kevin Keenan becomes the lone newsperson at WGR.
The station's longtime news director, Ray Marks, was offered
a move to afternoons at WBEN but turned it down citing family
concerns. The fate of the rest of WGR's seven-person news team
will be decided over the weekend. Some will move to WBEN, others
will be let go, and Buffalo will join Rochester and Syracuse
on the roster of one-newsroom towns, at least where commercial
radio is concerned. (Though NERW thinks we ought at least to
be glad that WBEN's anchors will be in Buffalo, not halfway across
- Up in the Montpelier/Barre, VERMONT area, the FCC has approved
a station move that will put a new 50 kW signal in the state
capital. You can thank station owner John Bulmer for figuring
this one out; he obtained the CP for 93.7 in Hague NY a few years
back, moved it to Addison VT, then traded it for 100.9 (then
WGTK) in Middlebury. With that Middlebury class A license in
hand, Bulmer was then able to persuade the FCC to move 100.9
(now WWFY) to Berlin, Vermont -- as a class C2 (the equivalent
of a full B) allocation! But wait -- it just gets better: Montpelier
Broadcasting, aka WNCS, opposed the move, asking instead to open
up a new allocation at 100.7A in Hardwick, up in the hills north
of Montpelier. The FCC hates to send anyone home unhappy when
there's an FM dial to be filled, so Montpelier gets its class
A allocation in Hardwick -- at 105.9 instead. No word yet on
when the filing window on that one will be opened...
- Just in time for the primaries (we'll vote for any candidate
who'd vow to enforce the legal ID rules!), we cross the river
to NEW HAMPSHIRE to find a call change we'd been expecting. WKXL-FM
(102.3 Concord) becomes WOTX to match its new "Outlaw"
identity, with the WKXL-FM calls to replace WRCI on 107.7 in
Hillsboro as soon as the paperwork (or whatever you'd call the
new electronic forms) clears. The observation has been made that
until this change, every station licensed to Concord was using
the same calls they signed on with, and it's true -- except,
of course, for Channel 21.
New England Radio Watch, January 26, 1995
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2010 by Scott Fybush.