April 12, 2010
NAB Time Again
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*LAS VEGAS - Welcome to another year
of "NERW from the NAB" (our tenth out here, as a matter
of fact), and along with it the annual challenge of a column
that's written over the weekend to appear on Monday from a convention
that really gets rolling Monday morning.
So you'll forgive us, we hope, if we save the on-the-ground
NAB reportage for next week's column (plus breaking-news updates
via Twitter, and of course our other gig over at Radio Journal,
which has the good sense to come out on Wednesday) and instead
offer you some headlines from back home on what's turned out
to be one of the slowest news weeks in recent memory. (A good
thing, that, since we've been out west for a week now, visiting
still more broadcast facilities in and around Los Angeles for
upcoming Tower Site of the Week installments...)
*It was just a few months ago when VERMONT's
long-running "Corm and the Coach" morning show returned
to the airwaves in a burst of publicity, but as of Thursday the
duo of Steve Cormier and Tom "Coach" Brennan is once
again off the air. Money's at the root of the problem; in a Facebook
posting, Cormier complained that he hadn't been paid by his new
station, Convergence Media Group's WNMR (107.1 Dannemora NY),
since last November. For now, WNMR is still on the air with syndicated
talk, but without its star personalities, can the station still
find traction in a competitive (and probably over-radioed) market?
*An FCC fine against a CONNECTICUT religious
station is provoking lots of controversy among those who spend
a lot of time reading the Commission's tea leaves. At issue is
whether or not stations are required to keep their licensees'
articles of incorporation as part of their public files. WIHS
(104.9 Middletown) didn't have its articles of incorporation
in its file when someone came to ask for it, nor did it make
it available later on, and it now faces a $1250 fine as a result.
(More on this one next week...)
Meanwhile on the commercial side of the dial, WTIC (1080 Hartford)
has named a replacement for Jim Vicevich, recently dropped from
the 9 AM to noon talk slot. Vicevich's successor is a familiar
voice in the market: it's Sebastian, who's probably best known
for his days as morning man on WCCC-FM some years back.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, there's a new PD
at WPLM-FM (99.1 Plymouth): it's Kevin Cronin, who takes over
the 3-7 PM airshift formerly filled by Scott Gibbons, who moves
to morning drive.
*In southern MAINE, Nassau has pulled
the plug on half of its "Bone" rock simulcast: WHXR
(106.7 North Windham) is going into trust (and eventually up
for sale) to keep Nassau within ownership limits, and it's now
directing listeners just down the dial to sister station WHXQ
(106.3 Scarborough), where "The Bone" lives on.
- DO YOU HAVE YOUR NEW CALENDAR YET?
The brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2010 is
now shipping, complete with more than a dozen full-color images
of sites from Deer Point in Boise to KYPA in Los Angeles to Mount
Mansfield in Vermont.
We're selling them at a pretty good pace
this year, which means a sellout is likely.
(We've got special discounts for bulk orders,
too - they make great gifts for your business colleagues or friends...)
now at the fybush.com Store!
*In upstate NEW YORK, several public
broadcasters are cooperating to get a new signal on the air in
Ithaca before its construction permit expires. WITH (90.1 Ithaca)
was granted to Hobart and William Smith Colleges almost three
years ago, and now it's poised to sign on within a few weeks
as part of a partnership between Hobart and William Smith station
WEOS (89.7 Geneva) and Rochester public broadcaster WXXI.
Under the deal, WXXI is building the WITH facility at the
tower site north of Ithaca owned by Binghamton public broadcaster
WSKG, which already uses that tower to transmit WSQG (90.9 Ithaca),
relaying the news/classical hybrid format of WSKG-FM in Binghamton.
When WITH hits the air in May, it promises "fresh offerings
to meet the needs of the Ithaca community," though specific
details haven't been announced yet.
Meanwhile, WXXI will work with WEOS to provide expanded public-affairs
programming, including coverage of HWS campus events. WEOS' existing
staff will stay in place, and will continue to manage the school's
low-power station, WHWS-LP (105.7 Geneva) as well. It's not yet
clear what becomes of WEOS' existing Ithaca translator, W201CD
(88.1), which is owned by Ithaca Community Broadcasting, which
has its own unbuilt CPs in nearby Odessa and Watkins Glen.
(Usual disclaimers apply: your editor also works for WXXI...)
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*A format change in central PENNSYLVANIA: WMHX (106.7
Hershey) has segued from AC ("Mix 106.7") to a 90s-heavy
AC format as "Channel 106.7."
Down the road in Lancaster, Clear Channel's WLAN (1390) is
about to lose its longtime transmitter site. The land belongs
to Franklin and Marshall College, which isn't renewing the lease
- and now WLAN is applying to diplex with Hall's WLPA (1490).
That's a single-tower, non-directional site, which means WLAN
will drop its power from its present 5 kW days/1 kW nights to
1100 watts days and just 18 watts at night.
And that's our headline recap for the week...we'll be back
next Monday with a full report!
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!)
April 13, 2009 -
- When the new One World Trade Center rises in a few years
as NEW YORK's tallest building, it won't have the city's TV stations
broadcasting from its spire 1,776 feet above ground level. The
Metropolitan Television Alliance (MTVA), the group formed by
the stations after the 9/11 attacks destroyed their old sites
atop the original 1WTC, is pulling out of a deal to build a new
master-antenna site at the top of the new building. MTVA president
Saul Shapiro says technology and circumstances have changed since
2001, making the new site (and its reported $10 million annual
- The big news from MASSACHUSETTS turned out to be no news
at all: both NBC and WHDH-TV (Channel 7) assumed radio silence
last week as, presumably, negotiations were going on behind the
scenes over whether or not channel 7 will carry Jay Leno's new
10 PM show after all. Is WHDH caving in to NBC's pressure after
finding no other Peacock affiliates ready to follow its lead
and pre-empt or delay the Leno show in favor of local news at
10? Stay tuned...
- Fitchburg's WEIM (1280) has a new set of calls and a new
identity. The station scrapped the only callsign it's ever had
last Tuesday, becoming "The Heart of New England's Pulse,"
with a new format of "talk, sports and information,"
new calls of WPKZ - and maybe a new FM relay on the way as well.
Owner Central Broadcasting Company has just applied to buy translator
W243CD (96.5 Gloucester) from Radio Assist Ministry for $45,000
after an earlier sale of the license failed to close over the
winer, and there's a newly-filed application to move the translator
down the dial to 95.9. Will the next step be a series of hops
to move that translator west into the Fitchburg market? (2010 answer: yes, and it took 13 steps to get
to 105.5 in Fitchburg!)
- In Springfield, last Monday's flip of "True Oldies 1450"
to "1450 AM, ESPN the Hall" also came with a change
of venerable calls: the station that had been WMAS since its
1932 debut is now WHLL, for its studio home in the Basketball
Hall of Fame. Unlike its crosstown competitor, WEEI affiliate
WVEI-FM (105.5 Easthampton), WHLL has a local show in afternoon
drive. And while WVEI carries the Red Sox, WHLL is now part of
the Yankees network (last heard in town on WNNZ 640, before it
was LMA'd to public radio WFCR.)
- In RHODE ISLAND, we jumped the gun a bit on our report last
week of a format change at Citadel's WPRV (790 Providence). The
flip from oldies to talk/business in fact happens today, and
here's how it plays out: Don Imus remains in place in morning
drive, followed by Citadel's Joe Scarborough at 10 AM, Bloomberg
business news at noon, Dave Ramsey at 2 PM, more Bloomberg at
5, then a local show, "The Making Money Show" at 5:30.
When evenings aren't occupied by Yankees baseball, "AM 790"
will be carrying Lou Dobbs' talk show at 7 PM, followed at 10
by Citadel's Curtis Sliwa.
- J.J. Jeffrey's Atlantic Coast Broadcasting has shuffled its
programming lineup again in southern MAINE, pulling the WEEI
feed off the 95.5 signal in Topsham most recently known as WGEI.
95.5 is now WLOB-FM, simulcasting the talk format of WLOB (1310
Portland) - which means it's essentially swapped formats with
the former WLOB-FM on 96.3 in Gray, which is now sports WJJB-FM,
the same call and format that used to be on the smaller Topsham
signal. Atlantic Coast is still carrying WEEI, via the Saco-licensed
95.9 signal (ex-WRED-FM) that's now WTEI.
April 11, 2005 -
- There was a time when radio stations prided themselves on
stability and consistency, celebrating decades of history and
heritage call letters. Today, at least in upstate NEW YORK, it
seems that the thing to be is "Fickle." In any case,
that's the new nickname for the Entercom station formerly known
as oldies WBBF-FM (93.3 Fairport), which flipped Thursday morning
(Apr. 7) to a "random" mix of classic hits and hot
AC tunes that sounds awfully similar to all those "Jack"
stations and their clones from coast to coast, albeit developed
locally by operations manager Dave Symonds and GM Mike Doyle.
WBBF's "Ace and Marti" morning show continue, but the
station's running automated the rest of the day, at least for
the moment. And as of this morning, the heritage WBBF calls (which
have been in the market since 1953, most of that time on the
sister facility at 950 now known as WROC) have been replaced
on 93.3 by "WFKL." (Interesting trivia: every single
one of the signals in Entercom's Rochester cluster - 950, WBEE
92.5, 93.3 and WBZA 98.9 - has had the "WBBF" calls
at some point in its history.)
- Meanwhile at the other end of the Empire State, WXRK (92.3
New York) is still "K-Rock" - but as of last Monday
morning, it's traded in the alternative rock it's been playing
since 1996 for a broader rock format that includes older artists
such as Motley Crue, calling itself "K-Rock. Great Rock.
Period." The new (or perhaps "the new old") K-Rock
ran jockless all last week (with the exception, of course, of
Howard Stern in morning drive), but the jocks will be back this
week, we hear. The modern rock lives on as a webstream called
- In NEW JERSEY, WNNJ (1360 Newton) gets a morning man - and
what a morning man they're getting! Max "SuperMax"
Kinkel, whose career has included stints at CKLW and WCBS-FM,
started at the station last week (and, yes, they do stream.)
- Meanwhile, another great oldies jock is out of work in the
Garden State. Don Tandler, "The Record Handler," had
been spinning the tunes on Saturday nights at WKXW-FM (101.5
Trenton) for 14 years, but things had been changing at New Jersey
101.5. First the station changed his playlist, eliminating the
older oldies and, in the process, Tandler's weekly homages to
the old WABC - and now Tandler's out of the station completely.
- RHODE ISLAND will continue to have public radio service on
WRNI (1290 Providence) and WXNI (1230 Westerly). Boston University's
WBUR announced late last week that it's officially dropping any
thought of selling the two stations, ending a saga that started
last fall and helped to bring about the downfall of longtime
WBUR station manager Jane Christo. BU is reportedly talking to
Bryant University about helping it manage the Rhode Island stations.
- We're pleased to report that Jim Taricani is once again a
free man. The WJAR (Channel 10) reporter served four months of
his six-month house arrest for refusing to disclose the source
of tapes that helped uncover a City Hall scandal. A judge reduced
the sentence by two months for good behavior - and Taricani will
be back on the job at Channel 10 on Wednesday.
April 14, 2000 -
- One of the best-known names in MASSACHUSETTS television is
scaling back her hours. Twenty-one years after coming to WBZ-TV
(Channel 4) to anchor the evening news, Liz Walker is leaving
the 5 and 11 PM newscasts to spend more time with her family.
Walker will stay at WBZ working days and anchoring the noon news;
no permanent replacement has been picked for the 5 and 11.
- Whither Jeff Katz? The erstwhile (and almost-forgotten) WRKO
morning host is back out West, where he's now doing mornings
at Las Vegas talker KXNT (840 North Las Vegas).
- CONNECTICUT gets a new TV newscast Monday (4/17), as WTNH
(Channel 8) in New Haven launches a daily 10 PM newscast on sister
station WBNE (Channel 59). WTNH reporter Verna Collins will anchor
Sunday-Wednesday, while Andrea Stassou will take the chair Thursday-Saturday,
competing with the 10 PM newscast simulcast on WTIC-TV (Channel
61) and WTXX (Channel 20).
- Mega Broadcasting arrived in NEW YORK this week with a $24.5
million deal that gets the up-and-coming Spanish-language broadcaster
an AM frequency in the Big Apple. Mega is buying leased-time
ethnic WKDM (1380 New York) from Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting,
with Liu getting not just the cash but also two Mega properties
in the Washington DC market (WZHF 1390 Arlington VA, which does
reach Our Nation's Capital, and WKDV 1460 Manassas VA, which
does not), a new market for Liu. The New York station fills a
hole in Mega's East Coast grouping that now includes Boston (WAMG
"Mega 1150" and WBPS "Amor 890"), Hartford
(WNEZ "Jamz 910" and WLAT "Mega 1230"), and
Philadelphia (WEMG "Mega 104.9/900" and WSSJ 1310),
not to mention several DC stations and two in Florida. Ironically,
Mega won't be able to call WKDM "Mega," since that
nickname is already being used by Spanish Broadcasting's WSKQ
(97.9 New York). Mega also can't call WKDM "Amor,"
since that's in use at SBS's WPAT-FM (93.1 Paterson NJ).
- Up in the Bronx, the talks between Fordham University and
the New York Botanical Garden over the WFUV (90.7 New York) tower
have been about as productive as the Elian negotiations -- they've
just dragged on longer. Both sides announced this week that after
three years of discussions with a federal mediator, they're no
closer to a compromise than they were when they started. To recap:
Fordham had to move the WFUV antenna off a rooftop to meet new
RFR standards. When the new tower began rising in plain view
of the botanical garden next door, garden officials went to court
to halt construction...and that's where it's stood ever since,
with a half-finished tower sitting above the garden. (NERW wonders:
Why can't they disguise the thing as a really, really, really,
really big tree?)
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- The new calls at 104.1 Waterbury-Hartford CT are WMRQ --
calls that have a New England history behind them. WMRQ was the
incarnation of Boston's 103.3 FM just before the current WODS,
"Oldies 103." WMRQ - "Quality Rock Q103"
less than a year circa 1987-88, if memory serves. It was a sort
of adult-oriented rock format -- I guess CBS's attempt to take
on 'BCN and the then-new WZLX.
- WRKO 680 (50kw DA, talk) is now live and local from 5:30am
to midnight, except for Rush, with the addition of a weeknight
"Sex Talk" show from 10pm-12mid. It's hosted by Phyllis
Levy, who comes to WRKO from Chicago, where ARS's John
Gehron heard her while he was working for Pyramid at WNUA. Rumor
has it that 'RKO will want to syndicate the show eventually.
Rumor also has it that Levy will do the show some of the time
from her home in Chicago. The WRKO lineup now:
- 5:30-10am Majorie Clapprood and Pat Whitley
10am-12noon Jerry Williams
12noon-3pm Rush Limbaugh
3-7pm Howie Carr
7-10pm Charles Adler (8-9pm simulcast with WABU-TV 68)
10pm-12mid Sex Talk with Phyllis Levy
12mid-5:30am Reruns of Rush and Howie
- Sex Talk bumps Bruce Williams off WRKO and over to WBNW-590,
which will run him earlier in the evening, 7-10pm I believe.
- Two new TVs: In Boston, Telemundo has turned on LPTV W32AY,
with a *very* good signal from the Prudential Tower. LPTV W19AH
had been running Telemundo up till now...I can't see them here
so I don't know what they're doing now. And in New Haven CT,
after more than 35 years as a CP, WTVU(TV) channel 59 has signed
on at long last. The station is owned by K-W Television of Skokie
IL, and is being operated as an LMA by LIN Broadcasting's WTNH-TV
8, the ABC affiliate in New Haven. WTVU is running a paltry 100kw
or so from WTNH's site in Hamden CT. WTVU gets the WB affiliation,
the same week indie WTXX-20 Waterbury picks up UPN.
- Opie and Anthony from Long Island (WBAB I think?) have taken
over the afternoon duties at hard-rocker WAAF.
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2010 by Scott Fybush.