February 15, 2010
Fire on Penobscot Mountain
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*Two years after its Penobscot Mountain transmitter
tower was sheared in half by the ice-laden collapse of a neighboring
tower, Scranton, PENNSYLVANIA's public broadcaster WVIA
is once again coping with a transmitter-site disaster.
The culprit this time was not ice but fire - an electrical
blaze that broke out Friday afternoon while a WVIA engineer and
several electricians were working in the building. One of the
electricians reportedly noticed equipment sparking, and the entire
building was quickly in flames. It took about three hours for
fire crews to put out the blaze, hampered by the icy roads that
lead up to the tower farm that provides most of the TV and much
of the FM for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market.
WVIA president Bill Kelly says the transmission equipment
for WVIA-DT (channel 44/RF 41) and WVIA-FM (89.9) is a total
loss, estimated at well over a million dollars. Fortunately,
there was only one minor injury from the fire and the WVIA tower
(as well as the rest of the Penobscot tower farm) was undamaged.
It's always heartening to watch broadcasters cooperate when
someone's off the air, and this was a fine example: less than
a day after the fire, WVIA-TV programming was back on the northeast
Pennsylvania DTV airwaves with some help from WNEP-DT, its next-door
neighbor on Penobscot and the station whose falling tower clipped
the WVIA tower in 2008. WNEP-DT moved from its transitional RF
channel 49 to its permanent RF channel 50 last year, but its
channel 49 transmitter was still available for use on Penobscot,
and as of Sunday it was on the air with WVIA's full lineup of
(The temporary RF 49 operation is a great argument for the
utility of the sometimes-controversial practice of "channel
mapping" - with a simple rescan, the broadcasts from the
old WNEP-DT transmitter will appear to viewers as "44.x,"
just like the destroyed transmitter on RF 41 did. How's that
for a backup plan?)
WVIA-TV also remained available to most cable viewers throughout
the heavily-cabled region, while WVIA-FM's streaming audio and
its relay transmitter WVYA 89.7 in Williamsport stayed on the
air. As it turned out, WVYA had a new transmitter on order, and
it will be redirected to Penobscot to replace the destroyed 89.9
transmitter, with the hope that WVIA-FM service will be restored
by the end of this week.
While it works to rebuild its own FM plant, some of WVIA's
radio programming is being heard in Scranton through the generosity
of Marywood University's WVMW (91.7), which stepped forward on
Saturday to carry a selection of WVIA programs that includes
"Morning Edition," "All Things Considered"
and "Car Talk." (There's a long history of cooperation
between Marywood and WVIA; the university provided the first
studio space for a fledgling WVIA-TV in the late sixties.) WVMW's
signal covers Scranton, but does not reach south to Wilkes-Barre
- and to fill that gap, King's College has offered WVIA the use
of its WRKC (88.5 Wilkes-Barre), which will also be relaying
WVIA-FM programs beginning this morning. Oddly, WVIA's own website,
which was updated several times over the weekend with information
about the replacement DTV signal, made no mention of the WVMW
and WRKC simulcasts as of Sunday evening.
*It's a big week in Pittsburgh radio, with two new stations
launching in the space of less than 24 hours.
Sunday was Catholic radio's big day, as St. Joseph Mission
put the former WAMO stations back on the air. WAOB-FM (106.7
Beaver Falls) and WPGR (1510 Monroeville) were on the air at
11 AM, leading up to an inaugural Mass at noon; WAOB (860 Millvale)
was missing in action for the first day, and the announcements
during the Mass mentioned only 106.7 and 1510.
As it turned out, the launch of the "Catholic Radio Network"
was only temporary; the Mass broadcast was followed by a looped
announcement alerting listeners that the next few weeks will
bring more Sunday Mass broadcasts, with a "limited schedule"
of regular broadcasting set to begin March 19.
Today it's KDKA-FM (93.7)'s turn, with a 6 AM launch for "93.7
the Fan," the city's third sports-talk station. CBS pulled
the plug on the former "B94" WBZW on Saturday, spending
the weekend stunting with a loop of music interspersed with jingles.
Last Monday brought
a callsign change out in Westmoreland County: after applying
for new calls last October, WGSM (107.1 Greensburg) officially
flipped to WHJB on Feb. 8. Those calls have lots of history in
Greensburg and vicinity, having been heard on what's now WKHB
(620 Irwin) from 1934 until 1999. (The "new" WHJB actually
began as a sister station to the old WHJB 620 back in the mid-sixties.)
There's no "Law of Talk Show Host Conservation"
that we know of, but there might as well be one along the Ohio/Pennsylvania
state line, where WKBN (570) in Youngstown, Ohio has found a
fill-in host to cover morning drive now that Robert Mangino has
headed down the Turnpike to Pittsburgh to take nights at KDKA
(1020). And who would that WKBN fill-in be? None other than Mike
Romigh, who was blown out of the night slot on KDKA during a
round of budget-cutting four years ago. (Ohio
Media Watch reports that Romigh has been working in political
PR in recent years; he's apparently one of several candidates
for the full-time morning gig at WKBN.)
And we note the passing of a long-ago music director and DJ
at Pittsburgh's KQV (1410). Larry Aiken was at the station from
1959 until 1962, later returning home to southern Indiana to
enter the concert-management business. He later owned Evansville's
WGBF. Aiken died Saturday in Evansville, Indiana after a long
illness. He was 69. (Jeff Roteman has an extensive archive about
Aiken's KQV tenure at his KQV
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*The latest talk-radio battle in eastern
MASSACHUSETTS began very quietly last week, as Clear Channel
began running "Coast to Coast AM" in the overnight
hours on WKOX (1200 Newton). WKOX continues to run Clear Channel's
"Rumba" Spanish tropical format during the day for
now, but April 1 still appears to be the target date for WKOX
to swap calls with sister station WXKS (1430 Everett) and flip
to full-time talk.
When it does, it will have Entercom's venerable WRKO (680
Boston) squarely in its sights - and it's all but certain that
"Coast to Coast AM" won't be the only show to move
from WRKO up the dial to 1200. Whether or not the registration
of "RushRadio1200.com" was anything more than an attempt
to get the message boards buzzing, there's little doubt that
Clear Channel intends to bring the flagship talk show from its
Premiere Radio Networks lineup into the WXKS 1200 fold sooner
or later, to go along with a Premiere-dominated schedule that
will include Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, who are currently without
clearances in Boston.
What happens now at WRKO? In the short term, Entercom was
plugging reruns of Howie Carr's afternoon show into the overnight
slot abruptly vacated by the Coast to Coast move, but in the
longer term, overnights will go to Doug McIntyre's new Citadel-syndicated
"Red Eye Radio" out of KABC in Los Angeles.
As for the rest of WRKO's programming, there's plenty of buzz
out there in the usual places about a visit later this week by
Entercom's top brass for an all-staff meeting in Boston. For
all the noise, it seems unlikely that Entercom will do anything
really dramatic (an all-out format change, for instance) at WRKO,
which still enjoys a considerable signal advantage over 1200,
not to mention a quarter-century-plus head start in the format.
And in a city that loves to talk local politics, Carr - and even
morning host Tom Finneran, if his contract is renewed - remain
formidable opponents against the new WXKS, which has yet to announce
any local talent for its morning slot.
(Indeed, the real talk competition is likely to continue to
be the rivalry between Entercom and Greater Media's nearly-all-local
WTKK 96.9; while short-term revenue concerns mean there's almost
zero chance that Entercom would take the risk of moving WRKO
to one of its three FM facilities in the market, such a hypothetical
move would create a WRKO-WTKK FM-FM rivalry that would probably
all but doom WXKS on 1200 from day one.)
been five years, almost to the day, since the former WBCN (104.1)
abandoned its longtime Fenway home at 1265 Boylston Street to
move to the CBS Radio cluster studios in the old Channel 38 building
in Brighton, and now "1265," right there in the shadow
of Fenway Park, is getting a new tenant. The Herald reports
that Sox TV voice Jerry Remy is about to open the doors to "Jerry
Remy's Sports Bar and Grill," and that the "RemDawg"
has been allowed to dig deep into the Sox memorabilia vaults
to decorate his new restaurant. Opening day is slated for mid-March.
Public radio listeners in central Massachusetts are getting
a stronger signal this week from WICN (90.5 Worcester), which
installed its new antenna up on Mount Asnebumskit Feb. 1 and
filed last week for a license to cover for its new 1.1 kW/810'
directional signal. That's considerably less power, but from
a far higher and more favorable location, than WICN's old 8.1
kW/371' signal from the Stiles Hill WUNI-TV tower in Boylston.
*With RF channel 6 now vacant in Portland,
MAINE Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) is applying for
a power boost at its WMEA (90.1 Portland). If granted, the increase
would take WMEA from 24.5 kW to 50 kW, still at 1896' above average
terrain from the WCSH-TV (channel 6/RF 44) tower on Winn Mountain
in East Sebago; it would also mean the installation of a six-bay
Shively directional antenna to replace WMEA's current non-directional
antenna. The directional antenna would slightly reduce WMEA's
current coverage to the southwest, but would increase WMEA's
coverage to the north and east, bringing Lewiston fully within
the station's 70 dBu contour and improving WMEA's mid-coast coverage
Meanwhile, low-power station WJZP-LP (105.1 Portland) has
been denied a move up the dial to 105.3. The move would have
created third-adjacent interference to WBCI (105.9 Bath), and
while Congress is moving to end third-adjacency protections between
LPFMs and full-power stations, the rules haven't yet been changed.
*Maine's Light of Life Ministries has been
granted a CP for yet another new signal, this one across the
state line in Wakefield, NEW HAMPSHIRE. The class A signal
on 88.3 will serve the Lakes Region from a tower in Ossipee.
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*Not many medium-sized markets still have
a local talk rivalry between two stations, and right up until
last week, the political hotbed of Albany, NEW YORK was
all but unique in boasting three competitive talkers.
we told you in an update to last week's NERW, that competition
thinned out dramatically just after 10 o'clock last Monday morning
when Albany Broadcasting abruptly pulled the plug on talk at
WROW (590 Albany), surrendering the field to locally-owned WGDJ
(1300 Rensselaer) and its lineup of former WROW personalities,
as well as to Clear Channel's largely-syndicated lineup on the
big signal of WGY (810 Schenectady).
What we didn't know yet last Monday was that the new WROW
simulcast of standards/soft AC "Magic" WKLI (100.9
Albany) is more than just temporary - and that "Magic"
is in fact moving permanently to the AM 590 signal as Albany
Broadcasting prepares to launch an as-yet-undisclosed new format
(possibly bearing the moniker "The Bridge"?) on 100.9.
"The Bridge" may also describe whatever it was that
former WROW morning co-host Steve Van Zandt set afire in a
blistering attack on Albany Broadcasting and its owner,
auto dealer/entrepreneur Jim Morrell, that appeared in the Times
Union's business blog at week's end.
In a world where sniping comments about station owners are
usually the province of anonymous message-board postings, it
was actually rather refreshing to see Van Zandt attach his name
to criticism that we've heard often, albeit always off the record:
that Albany Broadcasting didn't give WROW the resources it needed
(even simple things like a microphone for an in-studio guest,
mic flags for field reporters and newspaper subscriptions for
the newsroom) to succeed.
Van Zandt's analysis of WROW's failure didn't seem to make
an impression on a small group of protesters who gathered outside
the station's Colonie studios Friday morning to charge Albany
Broadcasting with political censorship for removing shows such
as Glenn Beck and the "Steve and Jackie" morning show
from the airwaves - and it didn't seem to make much difference
when PD Chuck Benfer came out to tell the group it was all just
One more WROW note: one vestige of the old format survives,
in the form of Albany River Rats hockey, which had been heard
on AM 590 and is now being heard on both WROW and WKLI while
they're simulcasting. It appears that the hockey will stay on
the AM side once the simulcast splits again.
*In Watkins Glen, Backyard Broadcasting's WRCE (1490) is back
on the air at low power, two months after the Dec. 14 collapse
of the station's tower. While a replacement tower is being built,
WRCE is operating with 100 watts into a Morad antenna that's
designed for travelers information stations.
In translator news, WBRV (900 Boonville) is the latest addition
to the AM-on-FM translator club, as owner Flack Broadcasting
prepares to acquire North Country Public Radio translator W219CT,
which was displaced from 91.7 to 105.9 when NCPR put full-power
WXLB (91.7 Boonville) on the air. WBRV is building a new tower
on Jackson Hill for the 105.9 signal, which will relay the AM
station's oldies format and give the station a 24-hour presence
on the FM dial alongside sister station WBRV-FM (101.3), which
continues with "Moose Country."
On Long Island, Communication Ventures Ltd. is exercising
a purchase option on W243BF (96.5 Shirley), which it's been leasing
from Michael and Tammy Celenza since 2006. The translator carries
religious WLIX-LP (94.7 Ridge), and Communication Ventures is
paying $120,000, less what it's already paid under the lease.
On TV, Watertown anchor John Moore is leaving WWTI (Channel
50) after more than two decades at the ABC affiliate, which no
longer does its own local newscasts. Moore was the last local
news talent remaining at the station, remaining on after the
newsroom shutdown last fall to provide North Country headlines
while WWTI simulcasts news from sister station WSYR-TV in Syracuse.
Now he's moving down Arsenal Street to the city's dominant TV
station, CBS affiliate WWNY-TV (Channel 7), where he'll initially
be a field reporter.
Down in Binghamton, WIVT (Channel 34), another Newport sister
station to WSYR and WWTI, has lit up a second HD channel. Trip
Ericson of RabbitEars.info
reports that in addition to ABC's 720p HD on 34.1, WIVT-DT is
now carrying an HD feed (in 720p rather than native 1080i) of
NBC sister station WBGH-CA (Channel 20) on 34.2.
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*One of CANADA's top talk hosts is
crossing the border and heading west. Bill Carroll, who's been
with CFRB (1010 Toronto) since 1998, will start a new job in
Los Angeles a week from today as midday host on KFI (640), where
he replaces Bill Handel's syndicated show. (Handel had been doing
both that show, from noon-2 PM PT, and KFI's top-rated morning
Carroll will continue to contribute commentaries to CFRB's
John Tory show; no replacement has been named yet for the 9 AM-noon
slot Carroll had been filling since he was moved out of CFRB's
morning show last fall.
Downtown at the CBC, Matt Galloway has been named as the new
"Metro Morning" host on CBLA (99.1), where he'll take
over from the retiring Andy Barrie on March 1. Galloway has been
hosting Radio One's Toronto afternoon show, "Here and Now,"
since 2004, as well as serving as Barrie's fill-in on "Metro
The fast-growing My Broadcasting wants to add another signal
near Kingston. My already operates CIYM (88.7 Napanee) to the
southwest, and now it's applying for a new station on 99.9 in
Gananoque, northeast of Kingston along the St. Lawrence. That
new signal would run 4.47 kW/402' DA, with a format mixing country,
oldies and AC.
Bayshore Broadcasting wants to consolidate its Owen Sound
FM transmitter sites. It's applying to move CKYC (93.7) and CIXK
(106.5) to a new tower, a move it says would save about $100,000
in annual rent to the CBC and TVOntario for space on their Owen
Sound towers. Larche Broadcasting is also applying to move its
new CJOS (92.3 Owen Sound) to the new Bayshore tower site south
of Owen Sound, expanding CKYC's coverage to the north and east
and shifting CIXK's coverage area to the southwest.
In the Toronto market,
CINA (1650 Mississauga) is asking for more power. The Indian/Pakistani
station is currently licensed for 1000 watts by day and 680 watts
at night, but it tells the CRTC that a daytime power boost to
5000 watts would provide better coverage in the western and southwestern
parts of its coverage area.
Out east, CKOE (107.3) in Moncton, New Brunswick also wants
more power. The Christian station (which goes by "CKO Radio"
on the air, borrowing the identity of Canada's long-defunct all-news
network) wants to jump from its present 50 watts to 4.5 kW/367',
becoming a protected class A facility.
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!)
February 16, 2009 -
- Once upon a time - say, two weeks ago - it all seemed so
simple: on one coordinated date, publicized several years in
advance with wall-to-wall announcements, every full-power TV
station in the U.S. would shut off its analog transmitter, allowing
every full-power TV station in the U.S. to maximize its digital
signal on its final allocation, and more or less forcing procrastinating
viewers (of whom there are many out there!) to pay attention
to the transition and take whatever steps they need to take to
continue to watch TV. Then Congress showed up to help...and now
that massively-publicized "February 17, 2009" analog-shutoff
date has become one big "never mind" for viewers in
most markets around the country, leaving them free to conclude
that the new "absolutely final" date of June 12 will
probably slip, too - and leaving thousands of stations on the
hook for unbudgeted analog power bills and scheduled tower crews
that won't be able to move antennas to maximize digital service
- Even the markets that took Congress at its word about the
new June 12 date being optional found out the hard way that the
FCC, at the direction of Capitol Hill, wasn't looking kindly
at any plans that would have left entire markets digital-only
come Wednesday morning. In all, 491 stations nationwide notified
the FCC that they intended to stick to the February 17 shutoff
date, and the Commission flagged 123 of those stations for further
scrutiny, at which point 43 of those stations decided to stay
on after all, while 10 more were placed under further review.
(Keep in mind that the FCC didn't finalize that list until late
Friday night, just four days before the original Feb. 17 deadline,
and that today is a federal holiday when Commission offices are
supposed to be closed...)
- The result was plenty of confusion, not only for viewers
but even for those in the industry, who were having a hard time
making sense of the welter of last-minute FCC releases and the
often-contradictory announcements coming from stations themselves,
where a "February 17" announcement was often likely
to be followed by another with "June 12," and where
individual stations' decisions were likely as not to be trumped
by group-wide decisions to stay in analog (Hearst-Argyle, for
instance) or to go digital-only (Sinclair), or to change at the
last moment based on what everyone else in the market decided
- One of the most challenging tower-site construction projects
in the country is finally nearing completion in eastern MASSACHUSETTS,
where Beasley's WRCA (1330 Watertown) and Clear Channel's WKOX
(1200 Newton) have filed for licenses to cover their new signals
from the site in Newton's Oak Hill neighborhood that they share
with Champion Broadcasting's WUNR (1600 Brookline). It's been
more than eight years since the planning began to replace WUNR's
old two-tower array with five shorter towers to be shared by
the three stations, and almost three years since the stations
overcame massive neighborhood NIMBY objections and began construction
on the site. Now the work is substantially complete, and for
the last few months WKOX and WRCA have been operating from the
Oak Hill site with the same power levels (10 kW/1 kW and 5 kW,
respectively) that they were using from their old sites in Framingham
and Waltham. Within days, they're expected to power up to their
new levels of 50 kW fulltime (WKOX) and 25 kW/17 kW (WRCA), and
WUNR should soon follow suit with a power increase from 5 kW
to 20 kW.
- It's not directly connected to WKOX's move, as best we can
tell, but the "Rumba" Spanish tropical format that
had been simulcast on WKOX and Clear Channel sister station WXKS
(1430 Everett) is being heard only on WKOX for the next few weeks,
while 1430's being leased out for an unusual sort of infomercial.
What the heck is the "Automatic Radio" being heard
on 1430 at the moment? It's a continuous loop of the new album
"Low Expectations" by the local band Ernie and the
Automatics - and it's appearing non-stop on 1430 because "Ernie"
is none other than car dealer Ernie Boch, Jr., who may well be
the single most prolific buyer of radio ad time in New England.
(He's got legitimate musical chops, too - he graduated from Berklee
College of Music, and his band includes two original members
of the band Boston.)
- Buffalo has always been a good town for radio news, and even
if the news staffs are smaller these days, they still had a chance
to shine Thursday night when that commuter plane slammed into
a house in Clarence Center. It's a credit to the professionals
there - and in the neighboring Rochester market, too - that they
rose to the occasion, and then some. Entercom's WBEN (930) is
the only commercial radio newsroom of any significant size in
the Buffalo market, and its staffers stayed on the air with local
news and information all night long on Thursday and all day on
Friday, blowing out the station's syndicated programs to continue
taking calls from listeners. Buffalo's two public newsrooms -
WBFO (88.7) and WNED (970) - offered overnight updates and all-day
coverage as well.
- On TV, NBC affiliate WGRZ (Channel 2) and CBS affiliate WIVB
(Channel 4) were largely up to the challenge, more so than at
ABC affiliate WKBW (Channel 7), where a series of recent budget
cuts left the station so understaffed that, in the words of one
staffer, "we simply don't have the people to compete."
WGRZ took particular advantage of its Gannett corporate connections
to use extra staff from Cleveland's WKYC - and from the Rochester
Democrat and Chronicle. In this brave new world of media convergence,
the Rochester newspaper and the Buffalo TV station shared not
only text on their websites, but also video. (Yes, it's still
odd to see a "DemocratandChronicle.com" mike flag amidst
the sea of TV and radio mikes on the table at news conferences.)
- There's a new chapter in the long-running soap opera that
is Hornell radio: Bilbat Radio LLC has filed an application with
the FCC to sell WKPQ (105.3) to Phoenix Radio Group (PRG LLC)
for $600,000. If you've been following this saga for the last
few years, you'll note that one of PRG's owners is Terry Gilles,
who bought the real property of WKPQ and sister station WHHO
(1320) in a foreclosure sale in 2007 - and that PRG has been
operating WKPQ and WHHO under an LMA with Bilbat, which has continued
to hold the licenses and will apparently continue to hold the
WHHO license for the moment.
- Up in the Watertown market, "Real Rock" has a new
address. Last Monday, Community Broadcasters moved the format
from WOTT (100.7 Henderson) to the newly-debuted WEFX (94.1 Calcium),
which has a better signal over Watertown - and then swapped calls,
putting WEFX on 100.7, where it launched at noon Wednesday with
classic hits as "The Fox."
February 14, 2005 -
- TRENTON, N.J. - It's a week of change in NEW JERSEY - and
not just the big flip here in Trenton that's taking place this
afternoon. That, of course, is the Nassau swap that's moving
top 40 WPST (97.5 Trenton) to 94.5 and shifting classic hits
"Hawk" WTHK (94.5 Trenton) to 97.5. It's a preface
to a bigger move that's at least a year down the road, in which
the 97.5 signal will move to Burlington, becoming a full-fledged
Philadelphia market signal. We'll be listening and rolling tape,
and we'll have more on this move next week.
- But in the meantime, there's another format change happening
out at the Jersey shore, this one the work of Press Communications.
On Friday (Feb. 18), top 40 "B 98.5" WBBO (98.5 Ocean
Acres) will shed its format and flip to a simulcast of modern
rock "G 106.3" WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown), giving G
full coverage of the Monmouth-Ocean market for the first time.
- And there's yet another change on the way next month, when
WCNJ (89.3 Hazlet) drops the calls it's had for almost two decades.
WCNJ's currently leased out to an Indian programmer who's running
the station as "Radio Dhoom," and that's what the new
WDDM calls will stand for.
- Across the river in PENNSYLVANIA, one of the region's oldest
religious stations will soon change hands. Susquehanna, which
already owns WSBA (910 York), WARM-FM (103.3 York) and WSOX (96.1
Red Lion), will reunite 96.1 with its former sister station when
it pays Thomas Moffit Sr. $280,000 for WTHM (1440 Red Lion).
WSOX and WTHM used to be known as WGCB AM-FM, and those of you
who've taken broadcasting history courses might now be recognizing
the stations as the instigators of the famous "Red Lion"
case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the target of a personal
attack during a WGCB broadcast was entitled to equal time to
reply to the accusations. Things have quieted down considerably
since then in Red Lion, where Moffit continues to operate WGCB-TV
(Channel 49) and WINB shortwave. There's speculation that the
purchase of WTHM is less about the AM signal (which is effectively
a daytimer) and more about the tower that it shares with WSOX.
We wouldn't be surprised if 1440 - which has been on and off
the air sporadically the last few months - ends up as a simulcast
of WSBA, at least for now.
- There's another station sale in the Keystone State, too:
H&P Communications is selling WSPI (99.7 Mount Carmel) to
Clear Channel for $460,000. Mount Carmel sits in the mountains
south of Wilkes-Barre and west of Pottsville, and WSPI's signal
already reaches a good chunk of the I-80 corridor between Hazleton
and the Williamsport area. It appears that WSPI will be operated
out of Clear Channel's Williamsport cluster, which also includes
news-talk WRAK (1400 Williamsport)/WRKK (1200 Hughesville), top
40 WKSB (102.7 Williamsport) and country simulcast WBYL (95.5
Salladasburg) and WBLJ (95.3 Shamokin). Shamokin, by the way,
is just down the road from Mount Carmel.
- There's a format change coming in NEW YORK's Catskills region,
and it's being heralded with a Valentine's Day stunt. WFKP (99.3
Ellenville) dropped its simulcast of top 40 "Kiss"
WPKF (96.1 Poughkeepsie) on Friday and spent the weekend playing
love songs as "Cupid 99.3," complete with a hokey-sounding
"Cupid" doing liners. NERW hears the station's headed
to "Lite" territory when the stunting ends, presumably
in tandem with "Lite 92.1" WRNQ Poughkeepsie.
- Down the road in Westchester County, WFAF (106.3 Mount Kisco)
did indeed, to nobody's surprise, drop the "Flix 106"
stunt in favor of a simulcast of rocker WPDH (101.5 Poughkeepsie)
- Clear Channel's Albany-market cluster will soon have some
spiffy new digs. The company is moving its stations out of two
separate facilities in the Albany suburbs. By June, WGY (810
Schenectady), WOFX (980 Troy), WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam), WRVE (99.5
Schenectady), WKKF (102.3 Ballston Spa), WHRL (103.1 Albany)
and WPYX (106.5 Albany) will be operating from a new 28,000-square
foot space at the Riverhill Center complex on Troy-Schenectady
Road in Latham.
- Last week's format flip-flops in central NEW HAMPSHIRE have
now been followed by call changes: what was WNHI (93.3 Belmont)
is now WNHW, "the Wolf," while the former "Big"
WBHG (101.5 Meredith) has become WWHQ, "the Hawk."
February 18, 2000 -
- # Suppose Stephen King is scared yet? His MAINE hometown
of Bangor will soon be home to two multi-station groups competing
with his own WZON (620) and WKIT (100.3 Brewer). Cumulus came
first, assembling a four FM, one AM group (WDEA, WEZQ, WWMJ,
WQCB, WBZN) in 1997-98. Now a company called Communications Capital
Managers is assembling a five FM group in two separate purchases.
- CCM, which is headed by a former principal in 62nd Street
Broadcasting, is buying talker WVOM (103.9 Howland) and adult
AC WBYA (101.7 Searsport) from Jerry Evans' Moon Song Broadcasting,
and combining them with three stations from Mark Osborne and
Natalie Knox: hot AC WKSQ (94.5 Ellsworth), country WLKE (99.1
Bar Harbor), and country WBFB (104.7 Belfast). We hear the price
on the Osborne/Knox stations was $8.2 million; no word yet on
the Evans properties. The usual "no format changes are planned"
applies here; we'll wait and see.
- From way up north in Aroostook County comes word that the
long-running simulcast between talkers WEGP (1390 Presque Isle)
and WREM (710 Monticello) has ended, effective February 1. That's
when Al Weiner broke WREM away with its own rock format, largely
automated. Those with long memories will recall WREM was running
a rock format, staffed mostly by volunteers, until the WEGP simulcast
began in the mid-nineties. Down the road from the WREM tower,
we're told a second transmitter is coming on line for Weiner's
shortwave outlet, WBCQ.
- A few more changes are on the way to the radio dial in central
NEW HAMPSHIRE: After almost four years in the morning seat at
WJYY (105.5 Concord), Kevin Hilley is packing for a move to the
much bigger Albany market. Hilley's last show at WJYY is next
Friday (2/25); the following Monday, he'll start on the morning
shift at WCPT (100.9 the Point). Meanwhile, Vox has switched
the calls of WRCI (107.7 Hillsboro) to WKXL-FM, completing the
move that began when the former WKXL-FM (102.3 Concord) became
WOTX, "Outlaw Country," last month.
- Digital TV is coming to VERMONT, eventually. Vermont Public
TV applied for a construction permit this week for WVTA-DT (Channel
24) in Windsor. WVTA-DT will join WVTA (Channel 41) atop Mount
Ascutney once it's built. (We hope they'll have more viewers
than Maine's public DTV attempt; a newspaper article this week
claims there are exactly two DTV sets in private homes in Maine,
one of which is out of range of the WCBB-DT Augusta signal).
- Our best wishes go out to MASSACHUSETTS talk-show veteran
Jerry Williams; after just a few days on the air at the new WMEX
(1060 Natick), he's on indefinite leave as he undergoes treatment
for an undisclosed illness. WMEX is filling Williams' noon-2
slot with the syndicated Gene Burns offering, followed by Burns'
Boston-only show from 2-4 PM.
- After forty years at 2077 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo's WBEN
(930) and WMJQ (102.5) are moving out this weekend. They'll be
the first of Sinclair's Buffalo stations to move into the new
group HQ off Maple Road in suburban Amherst. The stations, then
WBEN AM/FM, moved into the North Buffalo facility with what was
then WBEN-TV (now WIVB, Channel 4) in 1960, taking over the space
that had been built by NBC for erstwhile O&O WBUF-TV (Channel
17). WIVB remains at Elmwood Avenue.
New England Radio Watch, February 18, 1995
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- When last we left this sorry excuse for 25 kilowatts, WBMA-890
Dedham/Boston was still running leased-time Spanish-language
programming....with a promise to flip to Prime Sports "sometime."
Well, sometime is now, or at least Saturday afternoon 2/18.
The local Spanish is gone, and in its place is satellite-delivered
Prime Sports. You may recall that the management at WBMA had
preferred to keep identifying their station by its former calls,
WBIV, which were the legal calls when the station was on 1060
in Natick (until October 1994). The legal ID on 890 (when they
remembered to run one) was "WBMA Dedham WBIV Natick."
- Early press reports about the switch to Prime Sports claimed
the station would "change its call letters from WBIV to
WBMA" (sic). Later reports (as in last week) mentioned neither
set of calls and referred to the station under its new format
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2010 by Scott Fybush.