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February 22, 2010

More Talk in Scranton, Syracuse

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MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: When we put this column together over the weekend, we noted (as you'll read below) that there were "rumors" circulating about a new FM talker in Syracuse - and now they're rumors no more, as Citadel confirms that it will flip low-rated AC station WLTI (105.9 Syracuse) from "Lite Rock 105.9" to "The Big Talker" next week.

The new talk station will feature Indianapolis-based Bob & Tom in morning drive and local talker Gary Nolan in afternoons. (Nolan returns to Syracuse after working in Columbia, Missouri for the last few years.)

The rest of 105.9's program day will be an eclectic mix of syndicated talkers: Stephanie Miller from the left, Michael Smerconish and Dave Ramsey from somewhere in the center and Mark Levin on the right.

Will it make a dent in Clear Channel's venerable talk outlet, WSYR (570)? Stay tuned...

As for Citadel sister station WNSS (1260), the company has confirmed that it will become "1260 the Score" when it loses its ESPN affiliation next Friday. We already knew Don Imus was leaving Clear Channel's WHEN (620) next week, and now we know that he's coming to the 1260 airwaves, with Sporting News Radio replacing ESPN to fill much of the rest of the day. Brent Axe's local afternoon show adds an hour as it moves to 2-6 PM.

We'll have much more on the spinning Syracuse dial in next week's NERW...

*Next week will bring a new FM talk station to northeastern PENNSYLVANIA, as Bold Gold prepares to relaunch its recently-purchased WLNP (94.3 Carbondale) as "94.3 the Talker," with a syndicated lineup that includes Don Imus at 6 AM, Glenn Beck at 9, Laura Ingraham at noon, Sean Hannity at 3 and Mark Levin at 6. Will that national slate of hosts get much traction against the largely local lineup over at Entercom's established WILK network of stations, which goes national for Rush at noon and Michael Savage at 7 PM, but is live and local in morning drive, late mornings and afternoons?

Scranton's public radio station is getting back on its feet: WVIA-FM (89.9) returned to the airwaves early last week at low power, and the station says it's now operating at "75% power" as it works to rebuild from the fire that destroyed its Penobscot Mountain transmitter building, which was apparently touched off when an electrical arc set the ceiling tiles ablaze.

As for WVIA's TV services, they continue to be offered on the channel 49 DTV transmitter that was the transitional WNEP-DT facility before that station, right next door to WVIA on Penobscot, moved to its permanent channel 50.

While we've yet to turn up any FCC filings (possibly delayed in hitting the FCC's database as a result of the snowstorms that had the Commission out of business during the height of WVIA's emergency), it appears that the WVIA-on-49 operation will continue for a while, since it provides a convenient and nearly transparent way for WVIA to continue serving its over-the-air viewers while it plans for a more permanent replacement.

In Pittsburgh, Clear Channel wasn't talking about Randy Baumann's sudden disappearance from the WDVE (102.5) morning show a month ago, and they're not saying much about why he suddenly returned to the show last week as though nothing had happened. Was there a hitch in Baumann's contract renewal after a decade at the heritage rock station? If so, that's not an issue now, as he's apparently re-upped for what's being described as a "multi-year contract," as has Jim Krenn and the rest of the morning team.

Over at CBS Radio, we can fill out the rest of the weekday lineup at KDKA-FM (93.7 the Fan): Andrew Fillipponi, who'd been anchoring sports updates and hosting weekend talk shows at WGR (550) in Buffalo, is now holding down the 10 PM-2 AM shift, while Chris Mueller, who won the "Top Fan" contest to become a host at WEAE (ESPN 1250) a year ago, moves over to the Fan to take the overnight hours.

Up the road in Erie, pirate radio has been in the headlines ever since FCC field agents paid visits to two unlicensed FM broadcasters a month ago. One of the operators, who'd been transmitting at 89.5, pulled the plug after the Commission's warning - but the other, at 90.1, remains on the air, setting the stage for a bigger fight with the feds. Marshall Jones tells WJET-TV that his hip-hop/rap music format is serving a segment of the community that would have no voice if he signs off, and he says he'd like to go legal with an LPFM license.

*On TV, former KYW-TV (Channel 3) anchor Larry Mendte is back on the airwaves: he's signed a deal with Tribune to do nightly commentaries on New York's WPIX-TV (Channel 11), and he'll be seen back home in Philadelphia on sister station WPHL (Channel 17) as well.


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*The public radio talk battle in eastern MASSACHUSETTS may be about to heat up with another daily local show. WGBH (89.7 Boston) fired the first shots earlier this month with the launch of its Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney shows - and now established competitor WBUR-FM (90.9 Boston) has posted an opening for a producer for a daily version of its "Radio Boston," now a weekly show that preempts "Fresh Air" in its 1 PM airing on Fridays. If "Radio Boston" keeps that slot for its daily airings, it would go up against Crossley's hour on WGBH.

We know a little more this week about the lineup on Boston's new Clear Channel talker, WXKS (1200 Newton), when it launches April 1. In addition to "Coast to Coast AM," which is already airing on 1200 (now WKOX) and the Premiere-syndicated Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity shows that aren't currently cleared in Boston, 1200 will also carry the Jason Lewis show (from Clear Channel's KTLK-FM in Minneapolis) from 6-9 PM, reports the Herald's Jessica Heslam. She reports that PD Bill George is promising a local morning show, with talent as yet unannounced - and as for that noon-3 PM slot, it's still widely expected that it will eventually belong to Rush Limbaugh when his contract rights can be pried free from longtime Boston affiliate WRKO (680).

Oh - and that big all-staff meeting at WRKO last week that had the rumor mills churning in earnest? It was apparently cancelled, and at least for now the status quo prevails on Guest Street. (This week's rumor - and we stress, "rumor" - has to do with this year's Red Sox rights and the possibility that they might go elsewhere if Entercom can't make a big payment for them next week. Likely? Not very, it would seem...)

Out west, Berkshire Community Radio Alliance's low-power WBCR-LP (97.7 Great Barrington) will soon be trading its 100-watt signal for a 550-watt full-power license, now that the FCC has "tentatively selected" its application for a class A signal on 89.5. That ruling from the FCC last week was part of an order that sorted out several dozen mutually-exclusive groups of applicants for new noncommercial signals around the country, including several in the northeast.

WBCR's application competed against two proposals for new signals on 89.5 in Stockbridge, one from WFCR (88.5 Amherst) and one from Home Improvement Ministries, with WBCR winning a tie-breaking points determination because it has only one station - WBCR-LP, of course - while WFCR licensee UMass has 20 radio authorizations across the state.

WBCR told the FCC it will surrender the low-power license on 97.7 when it signs on at 89.5 from a site just across the state line in Hillsdale, NY.

*The FCC also sorted out several mutually-exclusive groups of applications in MAINE. Up north, Fraternal Building Association, Inc. (associated with the Knights of Columbus, who have become very active in building Catholic radio stations) won a tentative preference for a new 50 kW signal on 88.3. Its application beat out two other applicants - Northern Broadcast Ministries (WFST 600 Caribou) and the University of Maine System, which was hoping to put a new 1 kW signal on the air at 88.7 in Presque Isle as an upgrade to the existing class D WUPI (92.1) there.

Native American Radio Project beat out Light of Life Ministries for 89.9 in Littleton, just west of Houlton near the Canadian border, while out of four applicants at the state's southern tip, Sanford Fraternal Association (another Knights of Columbus group) prevailed with its application for 90.5 in York.

One more University of Maine note: at its flagship campus in Orono, WMEB (91.9) has completed its big upgrade to 10 kW, carrying the station south almost to Waterville, north beyond Medway and east to Ellsworth.

*In northern VERMONT, J.J. Prieve has resigned as PD of Steve Silberberg's stations, where he'd been overseeing the Burlington cluster that included WWMP (103.3 Waterbury) and WLFE (102.3 Grand Isle) for the last few years. Over at WEZF (92.9 Burlington), Lana Wilder is out - not voluntarily, we hear - as half of the "Lana and Nolan" morning show on "Star 92.9."

*Radio people on the move in CONNECTICUT: Mike McGowan is the latest departure from the morning show at Cox's WEZN (Star 99.9) in Bridgeport, leaving Marit Price and Tommy Edison to do the show together while the station looks for a new co-host. Up the road at Clear Channel's WKSS (95.7 Hartford-Meriden), Prolifik is the new night jock, moving over from weekends (and keeping his syndicated show, "In Tha Cypher") to replace Skillet, who's down in Florida now.

In the management ranks, Chuck Bortnick starts next Monday as regional VP/northeast for Cumulus, where he'll oversee the clusters in Bridgeport and Danbury as well as across the state line in Poughkeepsie and Westchester. The former VP/GM of New York's WFAN (660) has spent the last year with syndicator SparkNet Communications, where he was executive vice president in charge of the "Jack" adult hits format.

*On-air death notices? They're a reality now on RHODE ISLAND TV, where NBC affiliate WJAR (Channel 10) is carrying them at the end of its noon newscast and after its 10 PM newscast on its 10.2 subchannel. (That 10.2 subchannel is also carrying a live 11 PM newscast all week, while the late news on 10.1 is delayed to midnight or even later by Olympics coverage.)


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*Our NEW YORK news begins in the Hudson Valley, where the "True Oldies Channel" feed (from New York City's WPLJ 95.5-HD2) that was being heard on several translators disappeared last week - just in time for the format to resurface on the AM dial, at Cumulus' WEOK (1390 Poughkeepsie) and WALL (1340 Middletown).

WEOK and WALL had been carrying the Disney feed for just short of five years; it replaced a leased-time Spanish tropical format in March 2005.

As for the FM translators (95.7 in Poughkeepsie, 94.1 in Newburgh, 105.7 in Ellenville and 94.9 in Middletown) that had been carrying True Oldies, they're now hooked up with the Sound of Life religious network - but that's just temporary, we hear.

*On Long Island, there's another potential crisis looming for public radio WLIU (88.3 Southampton). While the pending sale of the station to Peconic Public Radio averted a shutdown threat from owner Long Island University, Peconic still faces some big challenges as it takes over operations.

Most critically, WLIU's days at its present studio space on the former LIU Southampton campus are running out very quickly. LIU sold the campus to SUNY-Stony Brook a few years ago, and while Stony Brook agreed at the time to allow WLIU to remain in place for three years, it's now getting closer to four years and Stony Brook is eagerly eyeing the WLIU studio space for an expansion of its MFA writing program. The Independent newspaper reported last week that Stony Brook has now set March 31 as the drop-dead date for WLIU to vacate the studio space.

Peconic says it has a "plan B" in place to keep the station operating if it has to move; we'll be following their progress closely.

*Fans of the old "Pulse 87" dance format on New York's WNYZ-LP (Channel 6/87.7 "FM") have a new webcast option: Pulse PD Joel Salkowitz bought the Pulse automation system at Mega Media's bankruptcy sale, and he's now relaunched a stream at, complete with the station's old liners (but not, as yet, any on-air talent.)

*On TV, the fast-growing Mega TV network gets a New York clearance next week. Starting March 1, the SBS-owned network (and thus a sister property to "Mega 97.9," WSKQ-FM, and "Amor 93.1," WPAT-FM) will be seen on the 48.2 subchannel of Kingston-licensed WRNN-DT, which had been carrying Chinese-language programming; perhaps more important, Mega TV will get cable carriage on Time Warner's New York city system and on Verizon FiOS in much of the region.

*In Syracuse, March 5 is the launch date for Galaxy's new ESPN Radio affiliate, WTLA (1200 North Syracuse)/WSGO (1440 Oswego) and its FM translators at 97.7 in Syracuse and 100.1 in Oswego. The ESPN affiliation will also come to Galaxy's WTLB (1310 Utica)/WRNY (1350 Rome)/WIXT (1230 Little Falls) that day, while WSCP (1070 Sandy Creek) moves from a simulcast of Galaxy's WTKW (99.5 Bridgeport) to ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports.

So what becomes of Citadel's existing ESPN outlet WNSS (1260 Syracuse)? Credit the "Net Gnomes" over at for picking up on the domain registration "," which now points to the WNSS website.

As for the rumors that Citadel will be flipping low-rated AC outlet WLTI (105.9 Syracuse) to talk? So far, they're just rumors.

*And there's a pretty significant obituary to mention: James Marik, known on-air as J.R. Nelson, made a name for himself in Cleveland radio. But like many of the radio people who were working for Cleveland-based Malrite in the early 80s, he made the migration to the New York market - or at least to the swamps of Secaucus - to be part of the 1983 launch of Z100 (WHTZ 100.3 Newark). Nelson was an integral part of Z100's groundbreaking "Morning Zoo," serving as the station's production director and imaging voice, as well as sidekick to ringmaster Scott Shannon.

Nelson eventually returned to Cleveland, then moved on to Detroit, where he had been doing production and imaging for the CBS Radio cluster there until two years ago. Nelson's imaging work was heard worldwide, including on many British commercial stations.

He died on Tuesday (Feb. 16) at his home in the Detroit suburbs after a long battle with bladder cancer. Nelson was 60.

*There's no longer an AM 1580 in Washington, NEW JERSEY, but alumni of the old WCRV are planning a reunion to pay homage to that little signal that launched a lot of careers in the tri-state area. It'll take place at the Coco Pazzo restaurant in Morris Plains on May 1 - and Frank Cipolla is pulling it all together at fcipolla at aol dot com.


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*As Bill Carroll heads south across the border from CANADA to the U.S. to start his new midday gig at KFI in Los Angeles, CFRB (1010 Toronto) has picked a U.S. talker with Canadian roots to take over Carroll's 9 AM-noon slot. Jerry Agar, who began his broadcast career in Dauphin, Manitoba, is best known for his recent work in Chicago at WLS and lately at WGN, where he has a weekend shift. He was also heard on WABC for a short stint in 2006-07, doing an evening show for the New York station from Chicago.

Here's another entry in the US/Canadian radio commute: Chris Ebbott, who's spent the last five years as operations manager at KCBS-FM (93.1) in Los Angeles, comes to Toronto next month as PD of CKFM (Virgin Radio 99.9) and CHBM (Boom 97.3).

Cub Carson is out after a decade in morning drive at CKQB (Virgin Radio 106.9) in Ottawa, reports Milkman UnLimited. Also out at the station are morning co-host Kitty Dines and jock Dylan Black.

In Quebec City, religious CFOI (96.9) has been granted a frequency change to 104.1 and a power increase from 13 to 42 watts, directional.

Out in Nova Scotia, Radio Beausejour is applying to change the frequency at its CJSE-FM-1 in Memramcook from 101.7 to 92.5, clearing the way for CKDH (900 Amherst NS) to move to 101.7.

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

February 23, 2009 -

  • Once again this week - and, we hope, for the last time until June - we lead off the column with a region-wide roundup of the latest on the digital TV transition, at the end of yet another tumultous week for the TV industry and the regulators who oversee it.
  • In much of the region, of course, the long-publicized February 17 transition date passed without any incident. For the most part, stations in the biggest markets - New York City, Boston and Philadelphia among them - followed the lead of the network owned-and-operated station groups, agreeing to postpone the shutoff of their analog signals until the new drop-dead date of June 12. In others - Providence, Scranton and Burlington, as well as Springfield, where most of the market had already transitioned - stations reached market-wide agreements to end digital service on the original date...or so they thought.
  • With just days to go, though, the government showed up, and it was most definitely "here to help." Even as NERW was compiling our lists last week of which stations were going and which were staying put, the FCC was combing its own lists to make sure that even in the markets where everyone was pulling the plug on analog, at least one of the big four network affiliates would keep an analog signal on the air as an "enhanced nightlight," carrying local newscasts along with DTV transition information and any emergency information that might need to be broadcast.
  • By the time last week's NERW hit the web on Sunday night, with 48 hours or so left to go before the big moment, that last-minute plan seemed to be working out, with "enhanced nightlight" stations lined up in Providence (WLNE and WNAC), Burlington (WCAX and WPTZ) and Springfield (WWLP, the lone remaining analog) and the FCC ready to give its blessings to everyone else in those areas to pull the plug.
  • But from the way things played out in Scranton, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Commission had outsourced management of the project to Michael Scott over at Dunder-Mifflin Paper - and that he'd passed the buck over to Dwight Schrute to handle the details. As late as midday Tuesday, the FCC appeared to be prepared to allow every station except ion Media's WQPX (Channel 64) in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton DMA to switch off its analog signal, and one of those stations - Local TV LLC's ABC affiliate, WNEP (Channel 16) - wasted no time, pulling the plug at 12:30 PM at the conclusion of its noon newscast. In the meantime, though, FCC representatives had arrived in the market, and they quickly figured out what we'd already reported on Sunday night: that while Fox affiliate WOLF-TV (Channel 56) was shown in the FCC's latest lists as retaining analog service until June, the station had actually ended its analog operations - with the Commission's blessings - back in January.
  • The FCC swung into action, contacting both WNEP and competitor Nexstar, which operates both NBC affiliate WBRE (Channel 28) and CBS affiliate WYOU (Channel 22). By early afternoon, both Local TV and Nexstar had offered to operate "enhanced nightlight" service, and by evening WNEP was back on the air in analog, while WBRE and WYOU (along with PBS outlet WVIA and My Network affiliate WQMY) had turned off their analog signals for good. How long will WNEP stay up in analog? Based on the proposed new rules released by the FCC late on Friday, there will be no more analog shutoffs until April 16 at the earliest, and the Commission (under intense political pressure from Capitol Hill) is strongly, strongly encouraging stations to retain analog service until June 12 - and no earlier than 11:59:59 PM on that day, if one of the many regulatory proposals being offered by the FCC is retained.
  • Our MASSACHUSETTS news this week begins on Cape Cod, where the Boston-based WEEI sports network almost landed a full-time affiliate back in 2007, when Nassau's WPXC (102.9 Hyannis) was poised to dump its rock format. But the Nassau/WEEI regional deal fell apart at the end of 2007, and since then Cape listeners (including the late "Butch from the Cape," one of WEEI's most legendary callers) have had to tune in to more distant signals - WEEI's main AM home on 850 from Boston, or WEEI-FM on 103.7 from Rhode Island - to hear New England sports talk. That will change in April, when Qantum Communications flips WRZE (96.3 Dennis) from its longtime top-40 format (as "The Rose") to a full-time WEEI simulcast, under new calls WEII. The move became possible last year, when WRZE relocated its transmitter from Nantucket to the Cape Cod mainland, downgrading from class B to class B1 (25 kW/297'), but improving its signal strength over most of the Cape's population. And there's no issue with Red Sox rights: they've been in Qantum's hands on the Cape for many years anyway, on its news-talker WXTK (95.1 West Yarmouth).
  • Back in November, when Costa-Eagle paid $65,000 to buy translator W275BH (102.9 Newton, NEW HAMPSHIRE), we suspected that a move southward across the state line would be in the offing - and sure enough, it was. W275BH's moves are a great case study in how the translator game is played these days, and here's how they were carried out:
  • First, Costa-Eagle found a friendly station to agree to be the nominal primary for its translator, in the form of WXRV (92.5 Andover). Then it took advantage of a quirk in the FCC rules that allows translators to move to frequencies 10.6 or 10.8 MHz away from their current channels as "minor changes," applying to move W275BH to 92.1, where it was granted (still licensed to Newton, NH) as W221CH. The next step was to move the new W221CH to a new location - in this case, one with at least minimal overlap to the initial Newton facility's contours, and one that would meet the relatively loose criteria for second-adjacent interference to WXRV. What site met those criteria? None other than the tower on Chandler Road in Andover that happens to be home to Costa-Eagle's own WNNW (800 Lawrence). With that construction permit granted (on Feb. 2), tower crews were on scene last week installing two Nicom antennas on the WNNW tower (in the aperture long occupied by the old WCGY 93.7), and the new W221CH was even heard testing, briefly.
  • But wait a second - what, exactly, does Costa-Eagle have to gain by putting a translator on the air for WXRV, well within that station's local signal area? Nothing of course, and that's the one shoe remaining to drop in this whole scenario: the other application Costa-Eagle filed on Feb. 2, for special temporary authority to relay WNNW (instead of licensed primary WXRV) over W221CH, thus overcoming AM 800's long handicap of minimal night service to much of the Merrimack Valley.

February 21, 2005 -

  • Until now, broadcasting in Port Elgin, Ontario has meant CFPS (1490), the 1000-watt simulcast of Bayshore Broadcasting's oldies CFOS (560) over in Owen Sound, 20 miles or so to the east. Now the CRTC has approved Bayshore's application to take CFPS dark, replacing it with a new adult contemporary station on 97.9, with 3800 watts of power and 126 hours a week of local programming for a community that's had almost none until now.
  • But wait, there's more: the CRTC also approved a rival application from Brian Cooper and Daniel McCarthy, for a new adult classic hits station with transmitters in Kincardine, Goderich and Port Elgin. The Kincardine signal will be at 95.5 with 5660 watts, while Goderich will operate on 99.7 with 1670 watts. And while Cooper and McCarthy had applied for 97.9 in Port Elgin as well, they'll have to find a new frequency (though the CRTC approved the application in principle.)
  • In NEW JERSEY, Friday night indeed brought the end of "B-98.5," WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres), as Press Communications replaced the hot AC there with modern rock "G Rock Radio," in a new simulcast with WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown). Matt Knight moves over from the old WBBO airstaff to do nights on the new "G."
  • The FCC grants the addition of 98.9A in Adams, MASSACHUSETTS to the table of allocations - but it'll be years before the frequency goes up for auction and anything gets built there. The FCC also allots 98.7A to East Harwich, denying competing proposals from John Garabedian to allot 98.7B1 to Nantucket and Monomoy Media for 98.7A at South Chatham. Garabedian tried to argue that East Harwich and South Chatham aren't "communities" for allotment purposes - and while the FCC bought the argument for South Chatham, it found that East Harwich is listed in the census and worthy of an FM allocation - and so the channel goes to East Harwich. (Again, it'll be years before anything actually gets built there.)
  • Ed Perry's not only the owner of WATD (95.9 Marshfield) - he's also trying to be the defender of journalists' right to cover stories in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Perry was arrested for disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest back in 2002 for attempting to interview a security guard at the Hanover Mall, and even though the charges were later dropped, he's suing the mall's former owner and its security company for violating his civil rights. Perry says the mall owners and the security company have tried to settle with him, but he's spent more than $20,000 in legal fees in an attempt to prove a point - that reporters should be able to cover stories (a report of a carjacking, in this case) without fear of arrest.
  • The move of WOQL (97.7 Winchendon) to a new tower site across the state line in NEW HAMPSHIRE has cleared the way for channelmate WBOT (97.7 Brockton) to apply for an audacious Boston move-in. The Radio One R&B outlet moved once, a few years ago, from the tower of former sister station WBET (1460 Brockton) to a tower in Abington - but now it's got enough spacing from WOQL to propose a move to Great Blue Hill in Milton, where the WGBH (89.7 Boston) tower overlooks Boston to the north. WBOT would run 2 kilowatts from 173 meters above average terrain from the Great Blue Hill site (it currently uses 2.7 kW/150 meters from Abington), with a directional antenna putting a null toward Winchendon - but with much better line-of-sight coverage to greater Boston.
  • And it turns out that WBOT's proposal isn't even the only audacious Boston move-in on the FCC's docket, as WFNX (101.7 Lynn) applies to move right into the heart of Boston. Some background here: the former WLYN-FM began on the side of the WLYN (1360) tower in Lynn proper, but for the last couple of decades or so, 101.7 has broadcast from the site above Malden Hospital that was once home to WNAC-TV (Channel 7). That produced a decent signal in the suburbs, but with just 1650 watts at 449', the 101.7 signal has never done a good job of penetrating the RF haze in the middle of Boston, a problem WFNX tried to rectify a few years ago with the addition of translator W267AI (101.3) on the Hancock tower in the Back Bay. But now WFNX is trying something bigger: it's applying for a new directional signal with 1690 watts at 627', high atop One Financial Center, the downtown skyscraper that's also home to WHRB (95.3 Cambridge) and WERS (88.9 Boston). WFNX's directional antenna (mounted a few feet above WHRB) would put a pretty deep null towards WCIB (101.9 Falmouth) and WWBB (101.5 Providence), and it would barely cover the city of license (still Lynn!) with the requisite 70 dBu signal.

February 25, 2000 -

  • Two central MASSACHUSETTS radio stations are changing hands, in a set of deals that promise to change the radio dial along Route 2 in a big way. A year and a half after buying WCAT (700 Orange) and WCAT-FM (99.9 Athol), Jeff Shapiro is selling the stations to Citadel for $875,000, a $25,000 profit from his August 1998 purchase price. While the stations sat at the southern arc of Shapiro's broadcast group in Vermont and New Hampshire (most of which was sold to Vox last year), they're at the northern end of Citadel's growing Worcester market, which includes WXLO (104.5 Fitchburg), WORC-FM (98.9 Webster), and WWFX (100.1 Southbridge). WWFX is the interesting piece here; another former Shapiro station, it's limited from moving its transmitter site northward (and closer to Worcester) by -- WCAT-FM! Do we see site moves (or at least a simulcast) on the horizon? As for the AM daytimer: it's never been much of a player in the market since moving to 700 from 1390 in the 1980s, and now runs mostly Talk America product.
  • Just to the east in Winchendon, WINQ (97.7) is also getting new owners, as Central Broadcasting sells the station to Joe Gallagher's Aritaur Broadcasting. Aritaur sold its Pittsfield group (WBEC AM-FM, WZEC) to Tele-Media last July, and ironically, Gallagher's KJI group sold the other 97.7 in Massachusetts, WCAV Brockton (now WBOT), to Radio One last June. There's no word yet on Aritaur's plans for WINQ, or on the purchase price.
  • News from NEW YORK: One of the state's oldest FM stations is getting a new owner. Religious WJIV (101.9 Cherry Valley) passes from Floyd Dykeman to Jon Yinger's Midwest Broadcasting for $1.3 million. WJIV was one of the old Rural Radio Network/QXR Network/Ivy Network/CBN stations, with a huge coverage over Albany, Utica, and into western New England. It'll stay religious under Midwest, which also owns religious outlets in Fort Wayne and several Michigan communities, including Detroit's WLQV (1500, the former twelve-tower directional).
  • From Green to White: A few weeks after unloading his WENY-TV (Channel 36) in Elmira, Howard Green is selling his Elmira radio stations as well. White Broadcasting LLC is the new owner for talker WENY (1230) and AC WENY-FM (92.7); no word yet on price or any format plans.

New England Radio Watch, February 25, 1995

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