January 31, 2011
CRTC Revokes CKLN License
of the oldest campus/community stations in CANADA is fighting
for its continued existence after a surprisingly harsh decision
from the CRTC that will compel it to sign off for good next month.
CKLN (88.1 Toronto) has been in the CRTC's sights since the
summer of 2009, when the station was locked out of its home at
Ryerson Polytechnic Institute by campus building managers who
were concerned about infighting among the station's board and
staff. The lockout lasted seven months, during which time CKLN
programming consisted only of an intermittent loop of pre-recorded
material that had been put in the automation system before the
That, of course, fell afoul of the strict content mandates
that the CRTC imposes, and that triggered a CRTC inquiry that
led to promises by CKLN's management that the problems with the
station would be resolved in short order. Believing those promises
hadn't been kept, the CRTC ordered CKLN to a hearing last May
(subsequently adjourned to December) at which the station was
asked to show cause why its license shouldn't be revoked.
On Friday, the CRTC announced
its decision from the hearing: instead of imposing the "mandatory
order" that the Commission usually uses to give a wayward
licensee one last chance to come into compliance (as it did for
CHSC in St. Catharines, which was called on the carpet at the
same CRTC hearing in May), it announced that CKLN's license was
being revoked, effective February 12.
The CRTC says it's simply lost any confidence in CKLN's management
to control the station, or in the power of a mandatory order
to bring about the needed changes.
"Moreover, when asked about how it would respond to the
issuance of mandatory orders or the suspension of its licence,
the licensee stated that it believes it is taking all necessary
steps to ensure compliance. It therefore stated that the issuance
of mandatory orders or the suspension of its licence would not
change its approach going forward," the CRTC said in its
Commissioner Louise Poirier dissented strongly from the decision:
"No other licences have been revoked in this manner in recent
Commission history," she wrote. "Such revocations have
always been preceded by either a mandatory order or a short-term
licence renewal. The Commission is thus creating a precedent
with respect to the principle of gradation of regulatory measures
taken by the Commission when dealing with a licensee in a situation
of non-compliance. This action is unwarranted and inequitable."
The CRTC's license revocation is unlikely to be the last word
on CKLN's fate: a station meeting is set for tonight, and it's
very likely that the station will appeal the decision, at least
delaying its fate.
*Last summer, A.
Fitzroy Gordon drew attention in Toronto for the test signal
he operated at 98.7 in a bid to demonstrate that there's room
on the city's crowded dial for at least one more FM station.
Gordon had applied for a station serving the city's Caribbean
communities back in 2006, and the CRTC granted the application
on the condition that he find an available frequency, and while
that approval eventually lapsed, Gordon has once again applied
for a license based on the results of his summer testing. The
CRTC will consider the application, calling for 1000 watts/908'
DA, at a hearing April 1 in Gatineau, Quebec.
It looks like AM oldies are on their way out in Montreal:
Diffusion Laval Inc. is asking the CRTC to approve the sale of
CJLV (1570 Laval) to Radio Humsafar Inc. The CRTC says the proposed
buyer (at a price of C$200,000) would continue to operate under
the terms and conditions of the current license, but we'd imagine
a flip to South Indian programming would be in the offing after
the deal closes.
Heather Backman has left the midday slot at Montreal's CJFM
(Virgin 959); she's headed across the border and down the Great
Lakes to Cleveland's WQAL (104.1), where she'll be doing afternoon
And we have a couple of new callsigns to report for new "My
FM" outlets: 99.1 in Gananoque, near Kingston, will be CJGM,
while 94.1 in St. Thomas, near London, will be CKZM.
CALENDAR 2011 - IT'S HERE!
It's 2011 now - and that 2010 calendar on your
wall won't do you much good, will it?
But lucky for you, we're here to help:
Tower Site Calendar 2011 is now available, featuring
more than a dozen great images of radio and TV broadcast facilities
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Thrill to a night shot of KFI's new tower!
Check out the WAEB Allentown array just after it lost a tower
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Orders of 20 or more calendars get a discount.
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*It's been eight years since Tom Joyner's
syndicated morning show was heard in NEW YORK City, but
now the Dallas-based "fly jock" is back in the Big
Apple - and right back at his old home. WRKS (98.7). The Emmis-owned
urban station never named a replacement for comedian D.L. Hughley
when he disappeared from his morning shift there last August,
and it's been filling the timeslot with music and interim hosts
When Joyner returns to "Kiss" next Monday, the station
will still have one local voice in the morning: veteran newsman
Bob Slade will continue to do local newscasts during the Joyner
show. (And the return of Joyner to morning drive means an all-syndicated
drivetime lineup for WRKS, which carries Michael Baisden in afternoons.)
*Two program directors are out in Buffalo: at Entercom, Brian
Demay is gone from WTSS (Star 102.5) after four years in the
PD chair; for now, Sue O'Neil will add WTSS duties to her PD
responsibilities down the hall at WKSE (98.5). Demay also did
an afternoon airshift on WTSS. Meanwhile at locally-owned WECK
(1230 Cheektowaga), Tom Schuh is out as PD after helping to get
the station on the air a couple of years back.
*One of Rochester's top-rated stations is getting a local
airshift back. Now that Entercom is pulling the plug on its syndicated
Alan Kabel "Second Shift" offering, WBEE-FM (92.5)
needed a replacement - and it turned to Justine Paige, who's
been doing promotions and some swing-shift air work on WPXY (97.9)
and WCMF (96.5). She started on the 7-midnight shift on WBEE
last week, and you can hear her talk about it in a podcast with
'BEE PD Billy Kidd, here.
the TV news front, it's "go" time for HD at Syracuse
ABC affiliate WSYR-TV (Channel 9), which launched its new graphics,
new logo, new set and - yes - high-definition studio and field
video over the weekend.
Today is the official launch date for WSYR's HD newscasts,
and the station has put up a page with photos of its new set
under construction - check it out here.
(One more Syracuse note: channel 9's former sister radio station
has once again modified its branding, returning a small mention
of "AM 570" to the new "FM Newsradio 106.9 WSYR"
identity at the simulcast of WSYR-FM 106.9 and WSYR 570 and defusing,
at least for now, speculation that the AM signal might be headed
to a new format.)
*Down the road in Albany, veteran WTEN (Channel 10) political
reporter John McLoughlin left the station last week, ending nearly
four decades on the job there. McLoughlin was writing for the
Times Union when he first came to WTEN as a commentator
in 1972; he left the paper in 1973 to go full-time at the TV
station, and he'd been there ever since.
Were you on vacation earlier
this month? Away from the computer? Did you miss our giant 2010 Year in Review special? It's available
all year, including the Rant, right
here! And don't wait until NERW Monday
for breaking news - follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates as they happen!
*A veteran western PENNSYLVANIA talk
host is dead. Doug Hoerth was a fixture on Pittsburgh's airwaves
from 1980 until 2007, making stops along the way at WWSW/WTKN
(970), KQV (1410), KDKA (1020) and most famously at WTAE (1250),
before ending his career at Renda's WPTT (1360) and WJAS (1320).
"Uncle Dougie" poured his distinctive personality
into his show, which was heard in afternoon drive for most of
its run, and friends tell the Pittsburgh papers that he slid
into depression after losing his last regular airshift at WPTT
in December 2007. Two years later, his longtime producer/co-host
Laurence Gaines died, and friends say Hoerth had become reclusive
Police were called to Hoerth's home in suburban Bellevue after
he didn't answer his phone for several days, and they found his
body there on Tuesday night. Hoerth was 66.
(You can read much more about Doug Hoerth here,
in an excellent tribute piece from Tube City Almanac's
*In Scranton, the demise of Entercom's syndicated Alan Kabel
evening show leaves an opening on the airstaff at "Froggy
101" (WGGY 101.3/WGGI 95.9); no replacement has been named
*There are calls for the new 90.3 construction permit in Bellefonte,
near State College: the new Catholic station there will be WJVM,
which we assume to stand for "Jesus and the Virgin Mary."
In Erie, PBRTV.com reports there's another AM-on-FM translator
coming to the airwaves. Penn State Behrend's WPSE (1450) already
has a spot on the FM dial, and now Citadel's WRIE (1260) is preparing
to simulcast its sports format on W285AI (104.9), the translator
that's long carried Mercyhurst College's WMCE (88.5). WMCE used
the 104.9 signal to augment in-city coverage from its transmitter
site south of town, but has since upgraded its main signal, making
the translator redundant.
*The state of NEW JERSEY is starting the
sale process for the nine FM licenses that make up NJN Radio.
Station broker Ray Rosenblum says New Jersey state treasurer
Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff is working with Colorado-based Public
Radio Capital on rules for a potential auction of the stations,
should one become necessary.
The nine signals (WNJT 88.1 Trenton, WNJS 88.1 Berlin, WNJP
88.5 Sussex, WNJY 89.3 Netcong, WNJB 89.3 Bridgeton, WNJN 89.7
Atlantic City, WNJM 89.9 Manahawkin, WNJO 90.3 Toms River and
WNJZ 90.3 Cape May Court House) don't quite add up to full statewide
coverage, missing the dense urban areas near New York City and
Philadelphia, but they do reach most of the rest of the Garden
As a much newer service, NJN Radio hasn't been in the spotlight
as much as NJN's TV service, the future of which remains unclear
as the state looks for a way to keep it operating without requiring
state funding. Legislation passed in late December authorizes
the state to sell the radio licenses, but bars the sale of the
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*After more than 17 years of operating WQQQ
(103.3) in Sharon, CONNECTICUT as a commercial station,
Dennis Jackson is turning the station's airwaves over to a nearby
public broadcaster in a week's time.
7, WQQQ will be LMA'd to WSHU-FM (91.1 Fairfield), which will
replace the station's current full-service AC format with an
expansion of the public radio service WSHU provides to Fairfield
County and much of eastern Long Island via its own three full-power
signals and a multitude of translators.
Acknowledging that it's "bittersweet to be ending the
local local local approach we've had all these years," Jackson
says he and his wife Maureen, longtime WSHU supporters, are "very
happy to be simplifying our lives and to be working with successful
and good people to carry a format I really believe in."
The handoff from WQQQ's local operation to WSHU will take
place during a special morning show next Monday, the last appearance
by veteran morning team Joe Loverro and Marie Castagna, who've
been managing the station for Jackson for many years.
The Spanish-language FM translator serving Hartford has
moved: W248AB (97.5 Bolton) is now on 97.1, having reimaged as
"Bomba 97.1." (Its nominal primary is the HD2 channel
of sister station WMRQ 104.1 Waterbury.)
*The FCC may have deleted the license of
WRJI (91.5 East Greenwich), but the RHODE ISLAND Spanish-language
religious station isn't cooperating: our ears in the Providence
area report that WRJI's programming is not only still on the
air, it's emanating from a transmitter right in Providence instead
of its licensed location in East Greenwich, a dozen or so miles
to the south. That's reportedly causing interference to other
licensed stations, including Providence College's WDOM (91.3),
and we'd expect the FCC to get involved in the situation soon.
Back in the land of legitimate operators, Citadel is advertising
for a local morning show on WWKX (106.3 Woonsocket), which appears
to mean that the days of the syndicated "Big Boy's Neighborhood"
on Hot 106.3 are numbered.
*Clear Channel's been hiring in eastern MASSACHUSETTS,
where two new program directors are now in place at its Medford
Dylan Sprague is the new operations manager for the four-station
cluster, as well as program director for the two FMs: top-40
WXKS-FM (107.9) and rhythmic top-40 WJMN (94.5), where he takes
the role last filled by "Cadillac Jack" McCartney before
he moved full-time down to New York and WWPR (105.1) late last
year. Sprague comes to Boston from Denver, where he'd been programming
Entercom's KALC and KQMT.
the hall on the AM side of the cluster, struggling talker "Rush
Radio" WXKS (1200 Newton) now has its own full-time PD,
and an experienced one at that: Paula O'Connor's history in Boston
goes back to the days when she produced shows for Jerry Williams
and David Brudnoy on WRKO. In 1999, she was the founding PD at
WTKK (96.9) when that station went to talk, and she remained
at WTKK until 2007. At WXKS, she takes over from Bill George,
who'd been overseeing both the Boston talker and WHJJ (920) down
in Providence; he returns to full-time Providence duty. (In Boston,
meanwhile, O'Connor will also hold the PD title for Spanish AC
"Mia" WKOX 1430, though that station's programming
comes entirely off the satellite.)
*More fallout from Clear Channel's local news cutbacks: Sherman
Whitman, who'd been doing news at Worcester's WTAG (580) for
more than a decade, lost his job there in mid-January. Meanwhile,
Worcester Magazine reports that WICN (90.5) has parted
ways with general manager Audrey Hall, who'd been leading the
station for the last two years.
*Where are they now? Former WHDH-TV/WLVI general manager Randi
Goldklank, who lost her job there after a disruptive incident
at Logan Airport in 2008, has now lost her most recent job, too.
Goldklank was fired as general manager of WPEC (Channel 12) in
West Palm Beach, Florida last week, a few days after police had
to be called to a bar where she was reportedly engaged in a drunken
striptease and refusing to leave.
*It's not clear whether
Nassau is still interested in pursuing a station shuffle
that would move WWOD (104.3 Hartford, VERMONT) across
the state - and across Lake Champlain - to a new home in Keeseville,
New York, serving the Plattsburgh/Burlington market. But if Nassau
does want to move WWOD, it's now clear to do so.
The FCC last week revisited a contested decision reallotting
WWOD's class C3 signal to Keeseville, in the process reconsidering
its initial rejection of a competing proposal from Hall Communications,
which had sought to block the move - and the competition it would
have offered to Hall's own Burlington cluster. Hall proposed
allocating 104.3C3 to tiny Morrisonville, New York, west of Plattsburgh,
leaving a vacant 94.1A allocation in place at Keeseville (and
leaving WWOD in place in the Upper Valley.) The FCC's decision
split the difference, as it were, keeping the 94.1A Keeseville
allocation in place on the basis of Hall's expression of "continued
interest" in applying for that channel - but also allowing
WWOD's 104.3C3 to be reallocated to Keeseville.
The WWOD move, if it happens at all, will also create a new
"backfill" allocation in the Upper Valley: a new 104.3A
in Enfield, NEW HAMPSHIRE. But given Nassau's pullback
from its big New England expansion plans of a few years back,
it's not at all clear that any of these moves will come to pass
in the end.
(Even so, the FCC used its announcement of the WWOD ruling
to set out a new policy: it will no longer allow vacant allotments
to be deleted as part of allocations proposals, instead expecting
those vacant channels to be filled, eventually, through the auction
*In southern MAINE, Saga is
rearranging the PD chairs at its Portland cluster: Randi Kirshbaum
hands off PD duties at oldies WYNZ (100.9 South Portland) to
Matty Jeff. Kirshbaum remains PD at WMGX (93.1), while Jeff remains
PD at WPOR (101.9).
the NERW Archives
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.
One Year Ago: February 1, 2010 -
- Two of CANADA's biggest AM signals were abruptly silenced
Friday afternoon in yet another sign of the continued slide into
oblivion for the senior broadcast band north of the border. At
7:00 Friday night, Corus turned off the 50,000-watt transmitters
at Montreal's CINF (Info 690) and CINW (AM 940), saying in a
statement that the stations were no longer able to support themselves.
"We put tremendous effort into trying to find the right
format and content to grow our audience base and operate profitably,
but after years of effort it is clear these AM stations are not
viable," said Corus Québec vice president Mario Cecchini.
- It's been just over a decade since CBC/Radio-Canada abandoned
its use of the AM dial in Montreal, freeing up those big 50 kW
allocations for new applicants. What was then Metromedia-CMR
applied to move two of its smaller signals - French-language
CKVL (850) and English-language CIQC (600) - to those class A
clear channels. At the time, it seemed like a good move, giving
both stations full-market coverage to compete with what were
then several other strong AM outlets in the market, and Metromedia
made a big splash with its launch of two new all-news formats,
"Info 690" in French and "940 News" in English.
Those ambitious ventures soon ran into static: on the English
side, the move of CBC's CBM to FM took much of the Anglophone
audience away from AM for good, leaving only the venerable CJAD
(800), which continued to own the lion's share of what AM listening
remained. After segueing from all-news to talk, CINW threw in
the towel in 2008, going oldies (mostly automated) as "AM
940, Montreal's Greatest Hits." CINF, meanwhile, also struggled
to find an audience, and its fate was probably sealed when a
change in regulations allowed Corus to launch a spoken-word format
on FM (CHMP 98.5). The 2004 launch of "FM 98,5" drew
most of the remaining Montreal Francophone AM audience over to
FM, weakening not only CINF but also sister station CKAC (730),
which found a small niche as a French-language all-sports station.
By late 2009, CINF had significantly cut back its programming,
turning over late-night hours to Corus' regional "Souvenirs
Garantis" oldies network, and in the most recent BBM ratings,
"Info 690" drew just a 1.2 share of the Francophone
audience, with barely 100,000 listeners a day tuning in. (CINW
drew a more respectable 2.6 share of the smaller Anglo audience,
while CKAC pulled a 5.7.)
- The end of CINF and CINW means the loss of only a handful
of jobs, since most of the stations' staff was shared with other
Corus stations. Three of CINF's eight news staffers will lose
their jobs, while the other five stay on to provide news to CHMP
and Corus' province-wide network. CINW had just one on-air host
and one producer remaining, and they're out of work as well.
With Corus returning the 690 and 940 licenses to the CRTC, it's
not clear whether the frequencies will ever light up again in
Quebec. While there's still demand for AM signals in Montreal
from ethnic broadcasters, the CRTC has been reluctant to put
those stations on signals that may be too big to be economically
sustainable for small broadcasters. (The 600 and 850 frequencies
that were abandoned in 1999 in favor of 940 and 690 have never
been reused.) Whatever happens, those frequencies won't become
available for bigger signals south of the border; they're reserved
for Canadian use by international treaty, and Canada continues
to "notify" its dead AMs for international purposes.
- In PENNSYLVANIA, KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh) has reworked its
schedule to fill the gap left behind by the death of midday talk
host Fred Honsberger late last year. Mike Pintek, who's worked
pretty much every shift on the KD schedule over the years, took
over the Honzman's noon-3 slot last week, and Friday brought
the announcement that Robert Mangino, who's been doing mornings
at Clear Channel's WKBN (570) in Youngstown, Ohio, will make
the move down I-76 to take over Pintek's former 6-10 PM shift
Five Years Ago: January 23, 2006
- What if you gave a network and nobody showed up? OK, we'll
acknowledge that in their 11 years of existence, UPN and The
WB drew at least a few viewers. (If pressed, we'll even admit
to watching "Charmed" on The WB - ah, that Alyssa Milano.
But we digress.)
- The point is, of course, that after losing money season after
season, both networks will go out of business at the end of the
summer, with owners CBS and Time Warner immediately launching
a new, jointly-owned network (new, of course, so that all the
existing UPN and WB affiliation and programming contracts can
be cancelled when those networks "cease to exist")
that will just happen to pick up most of the biggest shows from
each of the "defunct" weblets. (But not, apparently,
"Charmed"...sigh.) No sooner was the bombshell announcement
dropped on the media community late last week than the speculation
began about who'd end up with the new network (tentatively dubbed
"The CW," though that's likely to change) in each market.
- We'll start the rest of the week's news in MASSACHUSETTS,
where EMF Broadcasting, the California-based religious broadcaster
that's also one of the fastest-growing groups in the industry,
is poised to buy WSMU (91.1 North Dartmouth) from UMass Dartmouth.
The $700,000 deal won't mean the end of WSMU, though. The university's
been sitting on a construction permit for a more powerful signal
on 89.3 from the same location. That signal (which now has the
calls WUMD) will sign on with the WSMU calls when EMF takes over
91.1 for its satellite-delivered "K-Love" contemporary
Christian format, already heard in the region on WKMY (91.1 Winchendon)
and WKIV (88.1 Westerly RI). (And we hope that whoever it was
at UMass Dartmouth who came up with the idea to "recharacterize"
WSMU's application to simply move from 91.1 to 89.3 as an application
for a new station on 89.3, thus making 91.1 available for sale,
gets a big bonus from this...)
- The week's biggest news from NEW YORK doesn't involve a single
radio station. It's about RCS, the White Plains-based software
company whose "Selector" music scheduling software
dominates the industry - and which last week announced that it
was being sold to Clear Channel, whose holdings also include
software maker Prophet Systems, whose automation products compete
with RCS' "Master Control." No management or staff
changes are expected at RCS, where president Philippe Generali
will remain on board. Inside Radio reports Clear Channel may
have paid more than $50 million for RCS, whose other product
lines include the Media Monitors subsidiary that tracks radio
and print ad placement around the country.
- In western PENNSYLVANIA, Renda Broadcasting is adding a fourth
station to its Pittsburgh cluster, which includes AC WSHH (99.7),
standards WJAS (1320) and talk WPTT (1360 McKeesport.) It's picking
up WJJJ (107.1 Greensburg) from Sheridan, for an as-yet-undisclosed
price, and it will replace the station's Pittsburgh-focused "Majic"
adult R&B format (simulcast on WAMO 860) with Westwood One's
"Sam" adult hits format later this week. The station's
calls will change to WGSM, and it will eventually reopen studios
and sales offices in Westmoreland County.
- On TV, Sinclair's WPGH (Channel 53) did its last "News
Central" newscast last night, with the first WPXI-produced
10 PM newscast to debut tonight. WPXI has hired WPGH sportscaster
Alby Oxenreiter (who had been at WPGH since its newscast debuted
in 1996); the remainder of the WPGH news staff is out of work,
since existing WPXI staffers will handle the WPGH newscast as
well, with David Johnson and Darieth Chisholm anchoring and Steve
Teeling doing weather. Speaking of WPXI, it will break ground
in March on a new 66,000-square foot studio and office facility
in the Summer Hill neighborhood (near WPGH and the KDKA-TV transmitter,
alongside I-279 in the North Hills), replacing the cramped "Television
Hill" facility on Rising Main Avenue that it's called home
since 1957. WPXI had originally planned to move its transmitter
from Television Hill as well, but neighborhood objections to
the planned 800-foot tower mean the station will keep its existing
tower site instead.
10 Years Ago: January 29, 2001 -
- We woke up early here at NERW Central last Friday to listen
to what we thought might be a big change at one of Philadelphia's
lowest-rated FM stations. But while the news from WEJM wasn't
very big (read on...), we were stunned by another piece of breaking
news from another corner of NERW-land. After a career in Boston
that spanned three decades, Andy Moes died of heart failure at
his Milton home last Thursday night (Jan. 25). For a little over
a year, Moes had been co-host of the "Blute and Moes Show"
on WRKO (680), but his history in Boston radio began in the late
seventies, when he began filling in on WROR (98.5, now WBMX).
By 1979, Moes was co-hosting WROR's morning show with Joe Martelle,
a gig that lasted more than a decade. In 1991, Moes moved to
WEEI (590) as the first signature personality of that station's
new sports format. That lasted two years, until WEEI replaced
Moes with Don Imus in morning drive. For the next few years,
Moes was heard in a variety of weekend and night slots on WRKO
before landing the morning job (with former Massport director
Peter Blute) in October 1999.
- Off the air, Moes made headlines with his friendship with
"Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer, which extended to a
consulting deal for Moes in which he advised the show on how
to design the studio of its fictional "KACL Radio."
On air, WRKO filled Friday morning with Moes tributes, to be
followed by a retrospective show Monday, after which Blute will
be solo for now. Moes had been married for just six months at
the time of his death. He was 51 years old.
- Elsewhere in MASSACHUSETTS, WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) had some
big news of its own Friday morning. "Star" is adding
a well-known name to its morning show: Richard Hatch, the winner
of the first "Survivor." Hatch will join Charlie Wilde
and the rest of the "Wilde Show" gang Monday with a
remote broadcast from the Super Bowl, after which he'll become
a regular co-host, commuting to Star's Boston studio from his
home in Rhode Island. Hatch has been a guest on Wilde's show
several times in the last few months.
- The FCC has finally made it official: as we reported two
weeks ago, the new calls on 1410 in Watertown are WNER, replacing
WUZZ. The station was still doing its satellite urban-oldies
thing when we heard it on Friday, and we don't believe it ever
used the WGME calls for which it applied earlier in the month.
Also in Watertown, W25AB changes calls to WNYF-LP in anticipation
of its launch as a Fox affiliate soon.
- Over in Glens Falls, Vox has changed the calls on two of
its stations: WHTR (107.1 Hudson Falls) becomes WFFG-FM, while
the WHTR calls move to the former WZZM-FM (93.5 Corinth). WHTR
has been doing oldies as "Wheels," while WZZM-FM has
been country for years and years. Do the WFFG-FM calls portend
the arrival of "Froggy Country" on 107.1, to match
Vox's new Froggy outlet across the state line in Vermont (WWFY
100.9 Berlin)? We shall see...
- Up in MAINE, the Mariner Broadcasting classical network known
as "W-Bach" is getting another new addition. The chain
already includes WBQQ (99.3 Kennebunk), WBQW (106.3 Scarborough)
and WBQX (106.9 Thomaston). Now Mariner is buying Mount Desert
Island's WMDI (107.7 Bar Harbor) from Scott Hogg, for a price
Hogg describes as "roughly the size of a truckload of quarters."
Hogg just recently sold WMDI's sister station, WNSX (97.7 Winter
Harbor), to Clear Channel (for $1.1 million worth of quarters).
WMDI has been running a nicely eclectic rock format for the last
few years under Hogg's ownership, and while we're sure the folks
in Hancock County will appreciate the classical music (under
the new calls WBQI), we suspect many of them will miss 'MDI,
- On to PENNSYLVANIA, and the format change that wasn't: after
all that buildup on the air and on the Web, Philadelphia's WEJM
(95.7) ended up keeping its low-rated "Jammin' Gold"
format. The big announcement turned out to be a $2 million contest.
(This was the second time in a year that WEJM played up expectations
of a format flip without actually pulling the trigger, by the
way.) Meanwhile, Chuck Tisa, who programmed 95.7 during its WXXM
"Max" days a few years ago, has landed as PD at Philly's
new 80s station, WPTP (96.5 the Point).
- Up in Berwick, WHLM (106.5) is now WFYY, matching its slogan
"Flyte 106.5." The station reaches into the southern
end of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market pretty well.
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- WZPK 103.7, licensed to Berlin NH, but serving Portland and
most of southern Maine from high atop Mount Washington with 21640
watts at 3874' AAT, is being sold. New owners Fuller-Jeffrey
already have a strong presence in the Portland market with 100kw
album rocker WBLM 102.9 and modern rock simulcast WCYY
(94.3 Biddeford ME)/WCYI (93.9 Lewiston ME). I suspect this may
be one of those deals that will require waiting for the duopoly
rules to change. In any case, I'd expect the hot AC station to
move its studios from N. Conway NH down to the WBLM/WCYY/WCYI
facility at One City Center, Portland.
- W232AJ, licensed to Greenville NH, is on the air as yet another
translator of religious WGLV 104.3 Hartford VT. I heard it some
25 miles south of Greenville, in Ayer MA, and I suspect it may
be emanating from somewhere fairly far south of Greenville, which
is a small rut in the road southwest of Milford NH.
- M Street reports that WSNG, 610 in Torrington CT, is dark
for the moment, as the station is in the process of being purchased
by nearby WZBG 97.3 Litchfield. WZBG is owned in part by Carly
Simon and several other wealthy folks who have country homes
in the area.
- On the television front, WPXT-TV 51, the Fox affiliate in
Portland, Maine, has been sold out of bankruptcy to Florida-based
Pegasus Broadcasting. Meantime, still no
sign of channel 28 in New Bedford/Providence, which was supposed
to have debuted around New Year's Day as a WB affiliate, with
calls of either WFDG or WLWC, depending on who you believe.
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2011 by Scott Fybush.