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March 15, 2010

Joey Reynolds Off the Air - For Now

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MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Legendary WABC jock Ron Lundy died this afternoon. Lundy had a series of mini-strokes a couple of weeks ago, his wife Shirley tells Ted David - and Ted tells the New York Radio Message Board that Lundy went into cardiac arrest after becoming dehydrated. Lundy was put on a ventilator; he rallied briefly on Sunday, but suffered another heart attack on Monday. Lundy was 75.

*Back in the sixties, when Joey Reynolds was fired from his high-profile job doing nights at Buffalo's WKBW (1520), he supposedly said his farewell to the station - and his hometown - by nailing his shoes to the door of the PD's office with a note marked "fill these!"

There were no shoes tacked to any doors in NEW YORK last week when Reynolds lost his most recent job as overnight host on WOR (710); this time, the job was already filled thanks to a shift in the city's talk syndication scene. The dominoes started to fall a couple of weeks ago when Citadel took its overnight hours on WABC (770) in-house, replacing Premiere's "Coast to Coast AM" with Doug McIntyre's "Red Eye Radio," based at sister station KABC in Los Angeles.

Premiere wasn't about to let one of its flagship shows go without an affiliate in market number one, and its options were relatively limited: there was apparently some talk with Salem's new talker, WNYM (970 the Apple), but the much more desirable option was Buckley's much larger signal at WOR, which will become the new home for George Noory's 1-5 AM show beginning April 5.

And that in turn knocked Reynolds out of his overnight hours after 14 years at WOR, where he'll do his last show the night of April 2.

For Reynolds, there's already something new on the horizon: he'd been planning to take his show to TV. There's already a website up for "All Night with Joey Reynolds," which will be broadcast "from Times Square" and seen on NBC's "New York Nonstop" channel, WNBC-DT 4.2, "starting March 2010." (This is hardly Reynolds' first go-round with a station called "WNBC"; he was a star personality on the old WNBC radio in the eighties, of course.)

The website still promises a radio simulcast "on WOR-HD," but that was apparently there before WOR changed overnight directions - and contrary to what some trade publications and message boards are saying, Reynolds won't be heard on an HD subchannel of WOR, since there are no subchannels on AM HD.

Will Reynolds show up elsewhere on the New York AM dial? It's hard to imagine otherwise, especially with the TV simulcast for cross-promotion. What's less clear for now is what becomes of Reynolds' affiliates in other markets, where he's been heard via the WOR Radio Networks. (Ironically, those affiliates include WWKB in Buffalo, descendant of the very same KB Radio where Reynolds nailed his shoes to the door all those years ago.)

*ESPN Radio's WEPN (1050 New York) is shuffling its schedule to work around some of ESPN's national programming changes. Colin Cowherd's national show will now be heard from 11 AM-1 PM in New York, preceded by a new "ESPN New York" hour with Seth Everett at 10 AM and followed by two local hours with Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney from 1-3 PM. That in turn takes an hour off Michael Kay's show, which now runs 3-7 PM.

*Out on Long Island, Barnstable finally began simulcasting WKJY (98.3 Hempstead) on WKJI (96.1 Center Moriches, ex-WLVG) last week, ten days behind schedule. The "K-JOY" AC simulcast sets up Barnstable as a more potent competitor to Clear Channel's big gun, WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue), but WALK still enjoys superior coverage in western Suffolk County, where the two K-JOY signals don't quite fully overlap.

Way out in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Radio has found a new home for public station WLIU (88.3 Southampton), and it's now rushing to get the station's studios out of their longtime home on the former Long Island University Southampton campus. The station signed a one-year lease for space in an office complex at 71 Hill Street in Southampton on Tuesday night, and by the next morning equipment was already being moved to the new studio.

Because of the hurried move, WLIU's local programming is temporarily off the air; the station says it hopes to have the local hosts back in place within a couple of weeks, all as it works to raise the remaining $700,000 it needs to pay Long Island University by the end of June to take over the license.

 

*After more than 40 years at Oswego's WRVO (89.9), general manager John Krauss is retiring, effective April 1. Krauss was the first voice heard on the station when it signed on as a 10-watter back in 1969, and he worked his way up through the ranks as morning host and news director before becoming general manager in the nineties. No replacement has been named yet. Krauss will be honored at a series of WRVO events, including a June appearance by another recent public radio retiree, NPR's Carl Kasell.

Up north, the oldies on WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur) are history: the station flipped from "Oldies 95.3" to country last week as "The Wolf," with new calls WLFK in place.

There are call letters for St. Lawrence University's new Lowville outlet of the North Country Public Radio network: it will be WXLD on 89.7. (Meanwhile, CNYRadio.com reports that the former NCPR translator on 91.7 in Boonville, which has been replaced by WXLB on the same frequency, is now on the air at 105.9 and relaying WBRV 900 AM.)

CNYRadio.com also reports a departure in Syracuse: Alex Silverman is heading to Seattle's KIRO-FM (97.3) after two years anchoring at WSYR (570 Syracuse). Silverman won't make the move until June...because he still has to finish up his undergraduate degree at Syracuse University, which he's been pursuing while doing morning-drive news at WSYR. Silverman's last day at WSYR was Friday, though he hadn't been anchoring morning news for a few weeks, apparently.

In Ithaca, Saga's WQNY (103.7) has become the second station in the cluster to add HD Radio - and like WYXL (97.3), it's using both HD-2 and HD-3 subchannels. While WYXL's HD subs serve as the nominal primaries for two Ithaca translators ("Hits 103.3" on 97.3-2 and "98.7 the Vine" on 97.3-3), the WQNY subs are relaying Saga's AM signals. WNYY (1470) is on 103.7-2, while WHCU (870) is on 103.7-3.

Here in Rochester, WITR (89.7 Henrietta) has a new website at witr.rit.edu, complete with a new logo and a new slogan, as "The Pulse of Music" replaces the longtime "Modern Music and More" tagline. The changes come as part of a shift that's de-emphasized community programming and played up student involvement in the station.

And an obituary from Wayne County: Ken Synesael, who spent 20 years at WACK (1420 Newark) as morning host, died March 6 of ALS ("Lou Gehrig's disease"). Synesael, who'd also worked in radio in Geneva and in Florida, was just 56.

 

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*It's been a rough winter along the Atlantic coast, and the latest weekend storm to bring high winds and heavy rains to the region knocked out power at several stations in CONNECTICUT, NEW JERSEY and New York.

In Fairfield County, the storms silenced WFOX (95.9 Norwalk), but sister stations WSTC (1400 Stamford) and WNLK (1350 Norwalk) were on the air Saturday night with live storm coverage, we hear. WFDU (89.1 Teaneck NJ) was off the air due to weather damage, and so was WPST (94.5 Trenton). And with the Raritan River at seven feet above flood stage, we're waiting to hear how WGHT (1500 Pompton Lakes NJ) rode out the storm; it was off the air over the weekend as well. Power outages affected stations to the north, too: WAMC-FM (90.3 Albany) was off the air Sunday after National Grid lost service to its transmitter site (shared with WCDC-TV) on Greylock Mountain in western Massachusetts.

Back to the Nutmeg State: there's a new morning co-host at WEZN (99.9 Bridgeport), as former Providence talent Tad Lemire joins Marit Price and Tommy Edison on "Star."

*In eastern MASSACHUSETTS, the transition to "Rush Radio 1200" at WXKS (1200 Newton) went pretty much without a hitch...well, unless you ask the poor receptionist at Limbaugh's former affiliate, WRKO (680 Boston). Word is that the front desk at Entercom Boston was deluged with callers who apparently hadn't gotten the word about the show's new home up the dial - and that they weren't especially polite about it, either.

One other bit of Entercom news: WEEI is finally getting a Boston FM home - but only for listeners who own HD radios. The sports talk will soon be appearing on WMKK (93.7 Lawrence)'s HD3 channel, complete with Red Sox play-by-play. (Which reminds us: "Baseball on the Radio" begins next Monday right here on NERW...)

In Waltham, the old WRCA (1330) transmitter site is coming down. The two 306-foot towers were the last remnant of broadcast activity at 750 South Street, the longtime home of WCRB. But with WCRB-FM (now on 99.5 Lowell) having moved its studios into the WGBH complex in Brighton, and with the AM station having moved its transmitter to the new 1200/1330/1600 triplex in Oak Hill, Newton, there was no longer a need for the Waltham towers. One tower was mostly dismantled last week; the other was to have come down over the weekend, but bad weather delayed that work.

*Two VERMONT stations are changing hands. WCVR (102.1 Randolph) and WTSJ (1320 Randolph) were part of Clear Channel's 2008 sale of its Burlington cluster to Ken Barlow and Bruce Danziger's Vox group, and the stations were supposed to then be transferred to their former partner Jeff Shapiro. But that $700,000 sale was never consummated - and now the Randolph signals are going their separate ways.

Vermont Public Radio will pay $435,000 for WCVR's class B1 FM signal, which fills a hole in the statewide network's coverage along I-89 between the Upper Valley and Barre. (VPR also gets WCVR's translator in Hanover, N.H.)

The AM station, with 1 kW by day and 66 watts at night, is going to Bob Vinikoor's Koor Communications, which pays just $70,000 for the signal - and it's already changed formats, flipping from a simulcast of Vox's WEAV (960 Plattsburgh NY/Burlington VT) to Citadel's "Real Country."

*A call swap in NEW HAMPSHIRE and MAINE: New Life Media has swapped the calls on what were WMTP (88.3 Conway NH) and WPHH (91.1 Kennebunkport ME); both stations are unbuilt construction permits for now.

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*In western PENNSYLVANIA, WDUQ (90.5 Pittsburgh) is taking the next steps toward independence from its longtime owner, Duquesne University. The Post-Gazette reports that a new nonprofit, Pittsburgh Public Media, has been formed by WDUQ's current management team, working with the Pittsburgh Foundation and Public Media Capital to raise money to buy the WDUQ license from Duquesne. The P-G reports that an assessment of WDUQ by CMS Station Brokerage valued the station at $12 million.

An update on the WKVE (103.1) move: Bob Stevens' station signed off for the last time from Waynesburg on Tuesday, and is now testing from its new Mount Pleasant facility.

Meanwhile, another Steel City station has fallen silent: WZUM (1590 Carnegie) went into dead-air mode a few weeks ago, and as of last week it's off the air completely, evidently due to unpaid bills.

Call changes: Gospel Tabernacle has chosen WLPJ for its new 88.5 in Coudersport; in Hustontown, west of McConnellsburg, the unbuilt WZXF (91.7) changes calls to WRJV as it changes hands from Four Rivers Community Broadcasting ("Word FM") to Invisible Allies Ministries ("Rev FM").

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*CANADA's broadcast regulators are losing their patience with three Toronto-area radio stations, and the result may be a very interesting public hearing in Mississauga on May 12. Among the items on the CRTC's agenda are potential license-revocation actions against CKLN (88.1 Toronto), CHSC (1220 St. Catharines) and the remaining stations of the Aboriginal Voices Radio network, including CKAV-1 (106.5 Toronto).

All three stations have had run-ins with the CRTC in recent years: AVR ended up surrendering several of its licenses, including its Montreal station and an unbuilt Kitchener/Waterloo facility, to satisfy CRTC concerns about a lack of stable funding for the network; Pellpropco's CHSC has faced CRTC sanctions for improperly relocating its studio to Woodbridge, near Toronto, and for broadcasting in Italian instead of English; and CKLN has been the subject of previous complaints to the CRTC about programming irregularities and frequent off-air spells.

While the CRTC is unlikely to go so far as to pull licenses at the May hearing, it's not happy with what it's seeing from any of these operators. At CKLN, the big concern appears to be improper transfer of control; while the station is licensed to "CKLN Radio Incorporated," a community group, the CRTC says the student union at Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, where CKLN is based, locked out community volunteers from accessing the station's studios or its transmitter for several months running. The CRTC says it has received complaints that CKLN "has been experiencing ongoing difficulties with its governance structure, day-to-day management and operations, programming and ability to remain on-air," and that the station has apparently been silent for long stretches of time.

The big concern for AVR is the network's programming: it's supposed to contain at least 25% local content at each of its five stations in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, and the CRTC says it's not living up to that promise. The CRTC says it also wants to talk to AVR about "the current staff levels of the stations, the stations’ funding, the local newscasts, the continuity of the original proposed AVR service and the quality of that service provided in the markets."

Then there's CHSC, which was hit with a slew of CRTC "Mandatory Orders" a year ago in an attempt to resolve those problems with the station's studio location and format. The CRTC says CHSC has complied with most of the orders, but there's still a question about whether it's doing the local weekend news it promised to provide. The CRTC says Pellpropco has also failed to file the annual financial reports required by the mandatory orders. And the CRTC says it "will also wish to clarify certain programming and technical issues related to the operation of CHSC, including its programming service to the residents of St. Catharines and the Niagara region, its transmission facilities and the status of CHSC’s studio facilities in the St. Catharines market." (NERW hears that much of CHSC's programming continues to come from a makeshift studio at the station's rural transmitter site.)

One other CRTC note: the agency has approved My Broadcasting's application for a Port Elgin relay of its CIYN (95.5 The Coast FM) from Kincardine. The new Port Elgin signal will run 3100 watts/155' on 90.9.

*Over in the Rogers management suites, Julie Adam is moving up, yielding one of her two PD gigs at Toronto's CKIS (92.5 Kiss FM) and CHFI (98.1) to become VP/programming and national PD for Rogers Radio. National PD Chuck McCoy becomes VP/cluster manager for Toronto and Kitchener; a new PD for either CKIS or CHFI will be chosen soon.

*And in Montreal, former CJAD (800) host Rod Dewar has died. Dewar came to CJAD in 1957 and quit abruptly in 1970 when the War Measures Act made his on-air criticism of Quebec politics illegal. Dewar went to the BBC for a few years, returned to CJAD in 1975-76, came back in 1990, and remained at CJAD as a commentator until his job was cut last summer. Dewar was diagnosed with prostate cancer just six weeks ago; he died Tuesday (March 9) in Montreal at age 83.

From the NERW Archives

(Yup, we've been doing this a long time now, and so we're digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW was covering one, five, ten and - where available - fifteen years ago this week, or thereabouts. Note that the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest years as "New England Radio Watch," and didn't go to a regular weekly schedule until 1997. Thanks to LARadio.com for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

March 16, 2009 -

  • There's a good old-fashioned top-40 war underway in NEW YORK for the first time in many years - or at least a good new-fashioned top-40 war, the kind with a bare minimum of air personalities and a distinct lack of street promotions.
  • In one corner, of course, is veteran Clear Channel outlet WHTZ (100.3 Newark) - and its upstart competitor, CBS Radio's WXRK (92.3 New York) didn't miss a chance to emphasize Z100's 26-year history in the format as it relaunched itself last Wednesday at 5 PM as "92.3 Now." Just as CBS hot AC station WWFS (Fresh 102.7) built much of its initial imaging around the idea that Clear Channel's WLTW (106.7 Lite FM) was "old," the opening montage on "Now" was heavy on the idea that Z100 was a force to be reckoned with - back in the eighties, that is, when laser sound effects were all the rage. The attempt to pick a fight with Z100 continued on Friday afternoon, when the first "Now" air talent debuted. Afternoon jock Tic Tak comes to New York from Detroit's WKQI, and before that at Philadelphia's WIOQ (Q102), and he cracked the mike for the first time in New York by calling on Z100 operations manager Tom Poleman to, er, "resign."
  • So far, only one other "Now" air talent has been announced: Lisa Paige, late of middays at Q102, moves up to New York to start her shift today. There's still no word on a morning show at "Now" - just the word that Chris Booker, who'd been rumored to be waiting for a flip to CHR while doing afternoons at WXRK in its "K-Rock" incarnation, wasn't kept on for "Now." Indeed, it appears that the entire K-Rock airstaff is out of work, though middayer Nik Carter already has a new fill-in gig at Emmis' WRXP (101.9 New York), where he'll reportedly be covering afternoons for a while, filling the slot left vacant by music director Bryan Schock's return to the west coast. Carter and former K-Rock afternooner Matt Schwenker visited with WRXP's Matt Pinfield Thursday morning to talk to listeners and to promote the Emmis rocker as an alternative to the now-defunct K-Rock. (Well, mostly defunct - the rock will live on, for now, as an automated HD2 subchannel on WXRK, displacing the "K-Rock2" automated modern rock that had been on 92.3-HD2.)
  • Oh, and as for those WXRK calls? Despite what you might read elsewhere, they're staying in place, at least for "now"...
  • Elsewhere on the New York dial, it was a busy week for noncommercial FM stations looking to relocate to Manhattan from the outer boroughs - or even across the Hudson, where WBGO (88.3 Newark NJ) is now eyeing a move to New York City. After nearly thirty years of operating from the National Newark Building, the tallest structure in downtown Newark, WBGO has applied to move its transmitter to the Trump World Tower apartment building just north of UN headquarters on Manhattan's east side. From there, WBGO would run 2500 watts/869', using a complex directional antenna to prevent any new interference, at least on paper, to adjacent-channel WXBA (88.1 Brentwood) on Long Island and WNJP (88.5 Sussex NJ). Will the Long Island station - which has long enjoyed a sort of artificial "terrain protection" from WBGO's Newark-based signal thanks to all those tall Manhattan skyscrapers in the way - object to the move? Stay tuned...
  • Meanwhile, city-owned WNYE (91.5 New York) has completed its move from its longtime (70 years!) home atop Brooklyn Technical High School to its new transmitter site at Four Times Square in Manhattan. From there, it's running 2 kW/922', providing somewhat less signal to Brooklyn than the old 18 kW/430' from Brooklyn Tech did, but with a much improved signal over Manhattan and the Bronx. The Brooklyn Tech site will be retained as an auxiliary transmitter location for WNYE.
  • And one more note from the bottom of the dial: even as Mega Media struggles to find financial success with the audio carrier of its pseudo-FM station WNYZ-LP (Channel 6), which it operates as dance outlet "Pulse 87," it's now looking to expand the "Pulse" concept to other big markets. Mega has signed a deal with LPTV operator Venture Technologies to lease two other channel 6 outlets - WLFM-LP in Chicago and KSFV-CA in Los Angeles - which will soon begin operating as "Pulse 87" as well.
  • In PENNSYLVANIA, the biggest media headline of the week comes from WBEB (101.1 Philadelphia), where owner Jerry Lee says he's pulling the plug on the station's streaming audio to protest the new music licensing fees from SoundExchange, which he says "no longer make streaming a viable option." By 2015, Lee says, nearly half the station's revenues from streaming audio would go straight to SoundExchange, destroying a potential "growth business opportunity" for both stations and musicians.

March 14, 2005 -

  • Is a third all-sports station on the way to eastern MASSACHUSETTS? It certainly appears that way as we learn more about the impending sale of WAMG (890 Dedham) and WLLH (1400 Lowell and Lawrence) from Mega Communications to a new entity called "J-Sports." We've already reported theat the sale is financially backed by WallerSutton, the investment house that backed the Route 81 Radio acquisitions in Pennsylvania and upstate New York last year. But Route 81 doesn't appear to be involved this time, as it turns out. Instead, the key player is one Jessamy Tang, an MIT graduate who served as general manager of Pittsburgh ESPN affiliate WEAE (1250) until departing in 2002 "to pursue other interests."
  • Those interests appear to involve a flip of WAMG and WLLH from their present Spanish tropical format to ESPN Radio, presently heard late at night and weekends on WEEI (850 Boston). And we hear that WEEI is dropping ESPN (we're guessing Fox Sports Radio will replace it), clearing the way for an ESPN move up the dial to 890, which was once the Boston flagship of the defunct Prime Sports Radio, circa 1995-96.
  • (One other note on the $9 million deal: it seems the FCC's as uncertain as anyone about the status of WLLH's synchronous transmitter in Lawrence. The sales documents describe the Lawrence transmitter, on the air since 1937, as an "amplifier," and they explain that there's no formal renewal of that transmitter shown in FCC documents, since it's been considered an "auxiliary service," renewed along with the main WLLH license. One condition of the deal is that the Lawrence transmitter get a formal license renewal - and a clarification of its power increase to 1000 watts, which was apparently done on the basis of a verbal approval from the FCC - and it appears that that renewal may be for a short term only. Stay tuned!)
  • We can tell you more this week about Christopher Lydon's return to the public radio airwaves. The former WBUR (90.9) talk host will indeed be hosting a show on UMass Lowell's WUML (91.5 Lowell), but he'll be heard far beyond the Merrimack Valley. When "Open Source" debuts May 30, it will be produced at Boston's WGBH (89.7), which will also air the hourlong show Monday-Thursday at 7 PM, bumping back the start of the "Eric in the Evening" jazz show by an hour. Starting July 4, "Open Source" will also be syndicated via Public Radio International, which distributes WGBH's "The World" as well. And when new studios are ready at UMass Lowell in a year or so, Lydon will move production of the show up there.
  • There's a big change of scenery on the way for WBCN (104.1) - it's one week away from leaving behind the Fenway studios, at 1265 Boylston Street, that the station has called home for the last two decades and change (ever since moving from the penthouse of the Prudential Tower). The Infinity modern rocker will join sister station WODS (103.3) in the former Channel 38 facility at 83 Leo Birmingham Parkway in Allston, and we believe WZLX (100.7) will eventually move there as well from its digs in the Pru.
  • As expected, Nassau unleased its "Wolf" country format on VERMONT last week, putting the name (also in use in Concord, N.H. and Portland, Maine) on what had been "Bob Country" WSSH (95.3 White River Junction) and WZSH (107.1 Bellows Falls). The stations are now WXLF and WZLF, respectively. (And there are rumors that Nassau's "Frank" hot AC/classic hits blend, also in use in Portland, is en route to New Hampshire's WHOB...)
  • Long Island's most powerful AM station is staying put in NEW YORK state. WGSM (740 Huntington) was in the headlines last year when it applied, during the FCC's AM major-change window, to move to Mount Olive, N.J., where it hoped to build a big directional array and aim 50,000 watts back at New York City. But applicants who submitted proposals during that window that turned out not to be mutually-exclusive with other applications (as WGSM's was) had to follow up with full-fledged applications (and filing fees) by a certain deadline. Perhaps it was the pending sale of the station, or perhaps it had something to do with the almost certain opposition that the application would encounter both from the locals out in Warren County and its neighbors on the dial at 710 and 770; in any case, WGSM didn't follow through, and the Mount Olive application is now officially dead. (Also off the table are proposals for new stations on 1550 in Nantucket MA, 1060 Montpelier VT, 830 Bangor ME and 1230 Fort Fairfield ME.)
  • Our top PENNSYLVANIA story continues to be the merry-go-round of formats, calls and ownerships in the Johnstown and State College markets between Forever Broadcasting and Nick Galli's 2510 Communications in the wake of 2510's acquisition of the former Dame stations.
  • We'll start with the ownership swaps: 2510 is selling WGLU (99.1 Ebensburg), WQKK (92.1 Johnstown), WRSC (1390 State College) and WBUS (93.7 Boalsburg) to Forever for a total of $6.65 million ($4 million for WGLU/WQKK, $2.65 million for WRSC/WBUS). And Forever is selling WSPO (1490 Johnstown), WUZI (97.7 Somerset) and WUZY (105.7 Portage) to 2510 for $2.5 million. WGLU already has a new format - or at least slogan - as it prepares for its new Forever ownership, ditching its former "Power 99" identity to become "Hot 99" sharing a morning show, music playlists and perhaps some other air talent with what's now "Hot 103" in State College (the former WBHV 103.1, soon to be WJHT) and with Forever's WPRR (100.1 Altoona), which also becomes "Hot 100."
  • So as best we can piece things together, here's how each company's station lineup now looks: On the Forever side, it's news-talk WRSC and talk WMAJ (1450) in State College, along with classic rock WBUS, AC "Lite" WLTS (94.5 State College), "Quick Rock" WQWK (98.7 Mill Hall), "Hot 103" and the eventual Centre Hall move-in of WXMJ (99.5 Mount Union, now simulcasting WPRR), too. In Altoona, the company has talk WFBG (1290), sports WVAM (1430), country WFGY (98.1), WPRR, oldies WALY (103.9 Bellwood) and active rock "Rocky" WRKY (104.9 Hollidaysburg). And in Johnstown, Forever has talk WNTJ (850)/WNTW (990), country WFGI-FM (95.5) and AC WKYE (96.5), along with WGLU and rocker WQKK. Galli's 2510, meanwhile, has a State College cluster that includes oldies WOWY (97.1 University Park), WBLF (970 Bellefonte, temporarily simulcasting WOWY) and the former WJHT (107.9 Port Matilda), which will apparently be spun off under new calls WCNU. And in Johnstown, it has sports WSPO, southern gospel WYSN (1330 Somerset), the "Wuzz" classic rock combo of WUZI/WUZY and oldies WCCL (101.7 Central City).
  • If your head is spinning, you're not alone - these swaps follow hot on the heels of Forever's acquisition of Clear Channel's Johnstown cluster and subsequent format flips. And there's no question that these two companies now control a huge share of the central Pennsylvania listening audience (and radio revenue pie) between them.

March 17, 2000 -

  • The Clear Channel/AMFM merger has produced one group sale in NEW YORK. Most of the stations that Clear Channel would have picked up from AMFM will instead go to Regent Communications, the same group that bought the Forever stations in Utica and Watertown last year. Regent gets active rock WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer) and WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill); country WGNA AM-FM (1460/107.7 Albany); sports WTMM (1300 Rensselaer); and rhythmic oldies WABT (104.5 Mechanicville), in addition to three FMs in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in exchange for 11 Regent stations in Ohio and California and $67 million in cash.
  • NERW says: The big prize here is WGNA, consistently among the top three stations in Albany. The others are either signal-impaired or consistent ratings has-beens. What Clear Channel ends up keeping from AMFM is oldies WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam/980 Albany) and mainstream rocker WPYX (106.5 Albany), to go along with the former Dame group of WGY (810 Schenectady), modern AC WHRL (103.1 Albany), and adult rock WRVE (99.5 Schenectady), along with the former Arcara property of WXCR (102.3 Ballston Spa), doing classic rock.
  • A TV note from Binghamton: WBGH-LP (now on channel 8, but applying for a move to 20) has applied for a transfer from Smith Broadcasting (owners of Elmira NBC affiliate WETM, which WBGH relays) to "CNY News, Inc.", aka Ackerley, which owns four ABC affiliates in the region, including Binghamton's own WIVT (Channel 34). More on this as we find it out...
  • This was the first sound listeners on Cape Cod heard on 91.1 this week: "Listen." With that word, Jay Allison signed on the newest station in MASSACHUSETTS, WNAN (91.1 Nantucket, at 6 Wednesday morning (3/15). Within a few months, WNAN will be joined by WCAI (90.1 Woods Hole), in what Allison says are the only two public-radio sign-ons anywhere in the country in 2000.
  • CONNECTICUT gets a powerful radio/TV combination as part of the merger of Tribune and Times Mirror. If the deal goes through, it will unite Times Mirror's Hartford Courant with Tribune's WTXX (Channel 20) and WTIC-TV (Channel 61). It would do the same in New York City and Long Island, with Tribune's WPIX (Channel 11) and Times Mirror's Newsday on the Island.

New England Radio Watch, March 14, 1995

  • Cape Cod FM duopoly WFXR 93.5 Harwich Port - WFAL 101.1 Falmouth has switched from simulcasting a satellite hot country format to the "Underground Network," based at WDRE in Garden City, Long Island. This is the first modern rocker on the Cape...although Providence's WBRU 95.5 can be heard in the western reaches of the Cape. WFAL dropped its AC format to begin simulcasting WFXR's AC format a few years back. The two class A stations manage to cover the whole Cape, with substantial overlap in the Middle Cape (Hyannis area). The stations switched to country in '93, and outlasted 50kw FM blowtorch WCIB-101.9 Falmouth, which also switched to country in '93, but then went back to its AC format in early '94. In early '94, heritage Cape FM WCOD-106.1 bought WFXR/WFAL, and today all three stations operate from WCOD's facility on Stevens St. in Hyannis. New calls are WUNZ for 93.5, WUNX for 101.1.
  • WKPE (FM 104.7, AM 1170) in Orleans, MA (Cape Cod market) has ditched oldies...and is in an interim format now while they choose a new one.

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