May 24, 2010
Two Station Sales in New York
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*Local noncommercial radio
in NEW YORK's Hamptons region is about to take a big step
forward. Hamptons Community Radio, which holds an as-yet-unbuilt
construction permit for a new part-time signal in Montauk, WEER
(90.7), isn't waiting to get that signal on the air - instead,
it announced last week that it will begin leasing WPKM (88.7
Montauk) with plans to acquire that signal from its parent station,
WPKN (89.5 Bridgeport).
it debuted five years ago this month, WPKM has been programmed
from across Long Island Sound in Connecticut, and that's exactly
the reason HCR was formed: in addition to the WPKN/WPKM relay,
the noncommercial dial on Long Island's East End is dominated
by Nutmeg State rebroadcasters (WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio
on WRLI 91.3, WSHU on WSUF 89.9 and several high-power translators,
WMNR on several other translators). Only WLIU (88.3), which is
in the midst of a somewhat challenging transition to its new
Peconic Public Broadcasting management, has had a local staff
That will change come Memorial Day weekend, when HCR puts
its own programming on 88.7. The terms of the deal haven't been
announced, but a statement from WPKN says the move will allow
the station "to concentrate on WPKN's most immediate community
and the geographic reach of our 89.5 signal out of Bridgeport
that already covers large swaths of Suffolk County, Long Island,
including the North Fork and the Hamptons."
It's also not yet
clear what becomes of HCR's WEER construction permit on 90.7,
which expires next year; under the share-time agreement with
the other unbuilt CP on 90.7, Community Bible Church's WEGB Easthampton,
HCR would have had only 63 hours a week on the channel. HCR also
has two other applications sitting in the FCC's queue, one for
91.7 in Hampton Bays and the other for 89.1 in Westhampton.
MONDAY UPDATE: The
nice folks at HCR checked in to report that they're planning
to get the 90.7 signal built fairly quickly now, since the deal
with 88.7 will allow them to co-locate the two stations using
a combiner and shared antenna.
*At the other end of the state, Buffalo-market WNGS-TV is
back on the air for the first time since the shutdown of its
channel 67 analog signal last June. The station had all but defined
"troubled" in its last few years on the air, passing
from founders Bill Smith and Caroline Powley to Equity Media
Holdings, which ran it as an affiliate of the Retro TV and ThisTV
networks before succumbing to bankruptcy. After going dark, the
license was sold to the Texas-based Daystar Television Network,
and we'd thought that when WNGS finally activated its digital
signal (the lone VHF digital in the market, on RF channel 7),
it would be as the second religious TV station in Buffalo.
But while WNGS is currently on the air with Daystar's programming,
that's only a very temporary measure: last week, Daystar announced
that it's selling the station, for $2.75 million, to a new company
headed by two Buffalo TV veterans. Philip Arno was part of the
team that launched WUTV (Channel 29) in 1970 and also worked
at WKBW radio/TV and WIVB (Channel 4); Don Angelo was part of
the launch team at WNYB-TV (Channel 49, now WNYO-TV) in the late
eighties and has most recently been working in sales at WGRZ-TV
(Channel 2). If we're reading the FCC filings correctly, Arno
and Angelo have formed two companies to run WNGS: ITV of Buffalo
will hold the station license while Code 3 Broadcasting will
hold the station's non-license assets. And in keeping with some
of the deals Daystar has done in other markets, it will retain
the rights (for 10 years after the sale closes) to broadcast
its own religious programming over one of WNGS' digital subchannels.
Arno and Angelo aren't saying what they'll program on WNGS
when they take over, and they have some big challenges to overcome
first: WNGS has no studio, so they'll have to build one (reportedly
in the Clarence area), and the channel 11 slot it used to occupy
on Time Warner's Buffalo-area cable systems has been taken over
by CW affiliate WNLO (Channel 23). Many of the obvious programming
holes in the market have already been filled, too - WNLO has
the CW affiliation and the Yankees broadcast rights that WNGS
used to have, Sinclair's WNYO-TV has the My Network affiliation,
and even the Retro TV programming WNGS used to air has a new
home, on a subchannel of WGRZ-TV.
As for Daystar, it still has a western New York challenge
to deal with as well: among the other licenses it bought from
Equity last year was Ithaca-licensed WNYI-TV (Channel 52), which
also went dark at the end of analog TV last June and thus has
the clock ticking on its license as well.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: WNYI's
digital signal on channel 20 lit up sometime over the weekend
with Daystar programming.
other news around the state, there's another veteran Albany radio
guy on the beach. Ric Mitchell, who'd been PD and morning man
at Albany Broadcasting's WYJB (B95.5), says he was sent packing
after his show last Monday. Proving that radio really is a revolving
door sometimes, Mitchell's replacement is the very same guy who
preceded him in the job: Chuck Taylor. Morning co-host Laura
Daniels stays in place.
Down the road a bit, Doug Stephan is bowing out of upstate
radio ownership by selling WSDE (1190 Cobleskill) to the broadcasters
who've been leasing the little daytimer for three years now.
Edward and Alla Horak's Schoharie Broadcasting will pay Stephan's
Viva Communications Group $132,800 for WSDE.
In Ithaca, there's a new night guy at top-40 WFIZ (95.5 Odessa),
as Mikey V heads west from his fill-in/weekend gig at WFHN (107.1)
in the New Bedford, Massachusetts market. Z95.5 PD Corey had
been doing nights before being moved to mornings.
There's also a program
schedule up now at the new
website for WITH (90.1 Ithaca), the public radio station
set to make its official debut in the next few weeks; at least
initially, the programming will be largely AAA music, including
a simulcast of the late-morning "Open Tunings" show
from Rochester's WRUR (88.5). The schedule also includes "The
Takeaway" in morning drive and two airings of "Democracy
Now!," live at 8 AM and again at 7 PM. The new station is
broadcasting in HD Radio, with the national Classical 24 signal
on 90.1-2, and it's carrying WXXI's "Reachout Radio"
reading service on an analog subcarrier.
(Usual disclaimer: your editor works for Rochester's WXXI,
which is operating WITH in conjunction with the station's licensee,
Hobart and William Smith Colleges.)
*Former Corning/Elmira radio owner Bob Eolin has died. Under
the name "The Radio Works," Eolin bought Corning's
WCBA (1350) and WCBA-FM (98.7) in 1990, then went on to add WGMM
(97.7 Big Flats), WCLI (1450 Corning) and WENY (1230)/WENY-FM
(92.7) in Elmira to his cluster before selling the stations in
Eolin hosted the WCBA morning show, first as "Breakfast
with Jack and Bob" with business partner Jack Shane until
Shane's death in 2002, then as "Dee and Bob" with his
wife, Dee, until Route 81 Radio bought the cluster. (Ironically,
it was just a couple of weeks ago that Route 81's successor,
WS2K Radio, announced a sale of the stations.)
Eolin had started his own production company after selling
the radio stations. He died last Monday (May 17) of brain cancer,
at age 67.
*Two prominent obituaries top our PENNSYLVANIA
news this week.
Bill Webber was better known as "Wee Willie Webber"
(an ironic nod to his 6-foot-5 frame) during his long career
in Philadelphia radio and TV. Webber came to Philadelphia in
1953 after the failure of WEEU-TV (Channel 33) in Reading, where
he'd been an announcer. He worked briefly at WPEN (950) before
becoming a star at WFIL (560) and WFIL-TV (Channel 6, now WPVI),
where he hosted a morning children's show and served as a booth
announcer. In 1963, Webber moved to NBC's WRCV (1060) and WRCV-TV
(Channel 3), becoming the last music DJ on 1060 before the station
went to an all-news format under Westinghouse as it returned
to its former KYW calls.
Webber's next TV stop was the new WPHL-TV (Channel 17), where
his "Wee Willie Webber Colorful Cartoon Club" was an
afternoon kiddie-TV staple for a decade before moving up the
dial to WKBS-TV (Channel 48) in 1975. Webber continued to do
double duty in radio as well, spending 25 years in middays at
WIP (610), then moving to WPEN (950) in 1989. After WPEN's flip
to oldies in 2005, Webber was most recently heard on WHAT (1340)
and New Jersey's WVLT (92.1). Webber was inducted into the Broadcast
Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 1999, and also served
as that group's president and chairman. In 2006, the Pioneers
named him their "Person of the Year."
Webber died early Sunday morning while awaiting heart surgery;
he was 80.
One of the key players in WSBA (910)'s long dominance of the
York radio market has died. Bob Shipley came to WSBA in 1953
after starting his career at WCBA (1350) in Corning, NY and WCHA
(800 Chambersburg), and quickly rose through the ranks to become
program director. Shipley was briefly transferred to a sister
station, WHLO in Akron, Ohio, but returned to WSBA in the early
1960s and remained with the station until his retirement in 1987.
In addition to his work as operations manager and as an on-air
newscaster at WSBA, Shipley trained generations of broadcasters
in central Pennsylvania. He died Tuesday (May 18) at York Hospital;
he was 82.
*Where are they now? Former Pittsburgh programmer Chris Lash
has a new gig in Ohio: he's programming noncomm classic rocker
WMWX (88.9 Miamitown) in the Cincinnati suburbs.
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*Radio People on the Move in MASSACHUSETTS:
Jacky Ankeles, who'd been part of the airstaff at WBOQ (104.9
Gloucester) for 22 years, ever since the former WVCA took on
new ownership as "W-Bach," is out of her midday shift,
and she says the choice wasn't hers. Without a chance to say
goodbye to her listeners on the air, Ankeles did so in the pages
of the Salem News, where she wrote that she "was
informed that due to changes in the radio industry and in the
direction of the station, my daily midday program was being cancelled
Meanwhile, the "North Shore 104.9" website now lists
just one weekday jock, morning man Charlie Curtis.
Out on the Cape, Suzanne Tonaire has landed a new job. The
20-year veteran of WPXC (102.9 Hyannis) is now part of the airstaff
at WGTX (102.3 Truro), spinning the oldies at "Dunes 102.3."
Moving west, there's a new operations manager at Clear Channel's
Springfield and Worcester clusters, as Don Gosselin arrives to
fill Pat McKay's old duties. Gosselin has spent the last couple
of years at Greater Media in Philadelphia, where he was PD of
WBEN-FM (95.7) and WNUW (97.5).
And a "Where are they now?" entry: Ken Barlow, former
chief meteorologist at WBZ-TV (Channel 4) in Boston, lands in
Sacramento next month as chief meterologist at KXTV (Channel
10), that market's ABC affiliate.
*In MAINE, Bangor listeners are hearing
ESPN national programming in place of a local afternoon show,
at least temporarily. Jeff Solari left his "Afternoon Shootaround"
show at Bangor's WZON (620/103.1) last week to become the director
of business development for a local law firm.
Down the coast from Bangor, silent WLEK (101.1 Gouldsboro)
changes calls to WTUX.
There are call letters for two new FM construction permits
at opposite corners of the state: WTYP 90.5 York and WFHP 88.3
Madawaska. Both CPs are held by Catholic organizations.
*Former VERMONT Public Radio program
director Jody Evans has a new job: after a detour to Texas to
program KUT in Austin, followed by some freelance work back home
in Vermont, Evans has landed at Western North Carolina Public
Radio (WCQS in Asheville), where she was named executive director
last week. Evans will start her new job early next month.
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*In CANADA, My Broadcasting is applying
for another Ontario FM signal to add to its extensive regional
network. The latest My application calls for 4370 watts DA/46.5m
on 94.1 in St. Thomas, just south of London. The CRTC will consider
that application at a July 19 hearing at its headquarters in
Also on the CRTC's
agenda is an application for a power boost for Toronto's Spanish-language
station, CHHA (1610). The San Lorenzo Latin American Community
Center says it's still suffering from the move it had to make
a few years ago when neighborhood interference issues forced
it to relocate CHHA's transmitter to a new site along Toronto's
harbor, on the other side of downtown from its target audiences
on the city's northwest side.
CHHA now operates with 10 kW days and 1 kW at night, but it's
asking to be allowed to go to 6500 watts fulltime, adding a directional
antenna to concentrate its signal to the north and west of the
harbor tower site. CHHA won't add a second tower to create its
directional array; instead, it's proposing to use a "hot"
guy wire strung from its 150-foot Valcom whip antenna to serve
as the second directional element. That sort of operation generally
isn't allowed on the US side of the border, but the rules are
different up north.
*US-based talk shows have always been a tough sell north of
the border, but CFRB (1010 Toronto) is trying again: last week,
it replaced an overnight "best-of" lineup with three
hours of the Phil Hendrie show. Hendrie is now heard from 1-4
AM weeknights on "Newstalk 1010."
Over in Hamilton, CKOC (1150) is shuffling its schedule: Ted
Yates moves from morning drive back to the 9 AM-noon slot, trading
places with John Biggs, who takes over the morning show.
in Sudbury, Newcap's CHNO (103.9) took on a new identity Friday,
trading adult hits "Big Daddy 103.9" for oldies as
"Rewind 103.9." The move, ironically enough, takes
CHNO back to the last format it had as an AM station before abandoning
that big signal on 550.
And west of Sudbury in Espanola, Haliburton Broadcasting wants
to add to its holdings by purchasing CJJM (99.3) from JOCO Communications,
which put the classic hits station on the air two years ago.
Haliburton will pay C$125,000 for the station, which will surely
get a new nickname to replace its present "JOCO Radio"
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!)
May 25, 2009 -
- For the last decade, it's been a Memorial Day tradition for
fans of classic NEW YORK radio: tuning in to WABC (770) or its
webstream for a full day (give or take a Yankees game in the
early years) of vintage Musicradio 77 airchecks, carefully reconstructed
and introduced by legendary WABC production guru Johnny Donovan.
- "WABC Rewound" began in 1999, following on a shorter
"WABeatlesC" revival the previous year. But as New
Yorkers mark the Memorial Day holiday today, they won't be greeted
by the Beatles and the Stones on their AM dials. Instead, WABC's
new management is sticking with the station's usual talk format,
even though the holiday means Imus and Limbaugh and Hannity and
the rest of the station's daily lineup will have the day off,
replaced by third-string substitutes or canned "best-of"
- But while there won't be a "Rewound" on the AM
airwaves for casual listeners, there's still a fat package of
vintage audio available for die-hard Musicradio fans, thanks
to collector (and former WHN/WQXR chief engineer) Herb Squire
and "Rewound" producer Peter Kanze. These rarely-heard
airchecks, largely from the early '70s, will get played at some
point today on the HD3 subchannel of WABC's sister station, WPLJ
(95.5) - but most people will hear them as downloads from WABC's
own website, where at least one hour was apparently mislabeled
as of Sunday night, or from Allan Sniffen's tribute site, which
was offering faster downloads when we checked.
- Is this curtains for "Rewound"? From all indications,
yes - the airchecks that went into the 2009 edition were prepared
(a time-consuming process indeed) when the producers still expected
the package to air over 50,000 watts of AM. What's more, the
pool of "new" vintage airchecks is reportedly drying
up; what was fresh and long-unheard in 1999 has been ricocheting
around file-sharing sites for a decade now.
- For years now, listeners to "NEW JERSEY 101.5"
have heard announcements promoting the talk station's simulcast
serving south Jersey - but the latest home for the simulcast,
WXKW (97.3 Millville), is apparently on the verge of a format
change. Instead of "serving South Jersey on 97.3,"
the station's listeners have been hearing announcements promoting
the station's webcast and its main Trenton-based signal, WKXW
(101.5). What's in store for the big class B signal on 97.3?
- TUESDAY UPDATE: Tom Taylor of Radio-Info.com reports that
the new format on 97.3 will be ESPN Radio, presently heard on
WXKW's sister station WENJ (1450 Atlantic City).
- At least one MASSACHUSETTS victim of budget-induced layoffs
has his job back: Tom Cuddy quietly returned to the afternoon
sports shift at CBS Radio's WBZ (1030 Boston) last week, five
months after he became part of the big staffing cuts at the station
just before the new year. WBZ's afternoon news anchors had been
reading the sports in the interim.
- In Erie, PENNSYLVANIA, the days are numbered for WSEE (Channel
35)'s separate operation. Now that the station's off-air technical
employees have been laid off, the CBS affiliate will close its
studio at 1220 Peach Street on June 1, with its remaining staffers
moving in with sister station WICU (Channel 12) at its State
- Where are they now? Veteran central Pennsylvania broadcaster
Chris Lash, who recently lost his wife Karen to cancer, is keeping
busy by launching a new FM signal just outside Dayton, Ohio.
Lash just put WYNS (89.3 Waynesville) on the air as "Hybrid
FM," playing a mix of AC and country.
May 23, 2005 -
- Just a few hours after NERW went to press last Monday, upstate
NEW YORK got its first domestic taste of the real live licensed
"Jack FM" that's been so much the rage around North
America over the last couple of years, as Infinity dumped the
talk format on WBUF (92.9 Buffalo) and flipped the station to
"92.9 Jack FM." This is a slightly unusual Jack, since
it keeps one element of the old talk format from WBUF, retaining
Howard Stern in morning drive (at least until the end of the
year, when Stern's show leaves terrestrial radio) before segueing
into the "Playing What We Want" format that alert Buffalo
listeners may already have sampled via nearby CJAQ (92.5 Toronto).
- Out the door, however, are the late-morning Brother Wease
show imported from Rochester's WCMF (96.5), as well as Don &
Mike (who made a big deal about losing their Buffalo audience
on Monday's show), Tom Leykis, Lovelines and all the other FM
talk staples. In Wease's case, it was already a long shift (morning
drive at WCMF, then the post-Stern hours on WBUF) even before
the veteran Rochester talker began treatment for a rare form
of nasal cancer, so losing the Buffalo shift might be a blessing
in disguise; on the other hand, Wease was widely seen as the
likely successor for Stern in the morning had WBUF not flipped.
As with all new Jack startups, WBUF is running jockless for now.
- Buffalo made radio headlines again on Friday, when former
WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) PD Dave Universal, ousted earlier in
the year amidst a payola investigation, was named U.S. programming
and sales consultant for CKEY (Wild 101.1), the Fort Erie, Ontario
station that's been in the CRTC's crosshairs for allegedly having
too much of its programming and sales handled across the border.
CKEY has unwound its joint sales agreement with Citadel, and
now it appears that Universal will take a less formal role (Citadel
treated the station as almost a full member of its Buffalo cluster)
in tweaking Wild to appeal to a Buffalo audience while not running
afoul of Canadian regulators. (And NERW notes that there's probably
nobody alive who has better insight into how to compete with
WKSE for listeners...)
- That new sort-of-FM-signal on 87.76, otherwise known as LPTV
station WNYZ-LP (Channel 6), came to life late last week, playing
"Hurban" music on the audio channel and showing the
videos on the video channel; we understand the bulk of the promotion
will be as "WNYZ-FM 87.7," though.
- On the TV dial, WCBS-TV (Channel 2) fired Arthur Chi'en after
the much-publicized incident last week in which the reporter
responded angrily to a couple of hecklers who disrupted an early-morning
live shot he was doing. While we won't try to defend the use
of the F-word in front of what Chi'en should have known was still
a live mike, there's also no excuse for the way in which these
and other hecklers attempt to sabotage broadcasters in order
to draw publicity for a certain pair of satellite talk hosts
(who will therefore go unnamed here.)
- Down the shore in NEW JERSEY, Press Communications is asking
the FCC to allow it to move WKOE (106.3 Ocean City) to Bass River
Township, in Burlington County north of Atlantic City. If granted,
the move would shift WKOE from 106.3 to 106.5, though it would
remain a class A signal. The new WKOE signal at 106.5, which
would really be more of an Ocean County signal, would overlap
sister "Breeze" soft AC station WBHX (99.7 Tuckerton),
which would then free up one or the other of those signals to
take on a new format.
- In PENNSYLVANIA, Greater Media's WPEN (950 Philadelphia)
is one step closer to a better night signal. Last week, the FCC
granted its application to move its night transmitter from the
current 5000-watt, three-tower facility in southwest Philadelphia
to the five towers of WWDB (860 Philadelphia) on Germantown Pike
in Montgomery County. The new 21 kW night signal could be on
the air within a few months; since WWDB is strictly a daytimer
and WPEN will use the facility only after dark, there will be
no need to build complicated diplexing filters at the site. WPEN
is still pursuing plans to build a six-tower, 50,000-watt daytime
facility at another Montgomery County location.
May 26, 2000 -
- Nobody said it was easy running a little thousand-watt AM
station in the northern reaches of NEW HAMPSHIRE -- which may
explain why WMOU (1230 Berlin) went silent this week. The Associated
Press reports owners Gladys and Robert Powell were in negotiations
to sell the station, but after the deal fell apart decided to
shutter WMOU rather than try to keep it afloat.
- The closing of WMOU leaves the region north of Mount Washington
with no really local radio voice. Berlin's other AM, WBRL (1400),
went dark almost a decade ago. On the FM side, the erstwhile
WMOU-FM (103.7) is now WPKQ, running the country format from
WOKQ down in Dover (and soon to be relicensed to North Conway,
anyway), while the other commercial station in town, WXLQ (107.1
Gorham), was sold to New Hampshire Public Radio this year to
become noncommercial WEVC.
- The Powells say they'll still seek a buyer in the twelve
months remaining before WMOU's license would be revoked. NERW's
hoping for the best (and thinking we'd best get up to Berlin
to see the tower, just in case).
- It looks like there's a CHR war brewing in NEW YORK's Capital
Region, as Albany Broadcasting's WFLY (92.3 Troy) gets its first
real competition in a decade, since the old WGFM (99.5 Schenectady)
packed it in and went oldies. This time the challenger is Clear
Channel, which turned off the classic rock at WXCR (102.3 Ballston
Spa) Thursday night and began stunting with a loop that included
the sounds of a "FLY"-swatter (cute!) and a voice crying
"Help me!" At 9 this morning (5/26), Albany bureau
chief Gavin Burt reports the debut of "102.3 Kiss-FM,"
making Albany the latest market to get Clear Channel's prefab
CHR format. If the experience of Rochester's Kiss (originally
on 107.3 as WMAX-FM, now on 106.7 as WKGS) is any indication,
folks along the Hudson should expect a few months of jockless
music, followed by voicetracked jocks from markets like LA and
Tampa. Local? Well, there might be a promotions van, some club
remotes, and not much more...
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