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January 31, 2011

CRTC Revokes CKLN License

*One 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 lockout.

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 majority decision.

Commissioner Louise Poirier dissented strongly from the decision: "No other licences have been revoked in this manner in recent Commission history," she wrote.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 drive.

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.


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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 ever since.

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.

*On 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 after that.

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 Jason Togyer.)

*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 yet.

*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, 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 State.

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 TV licenses.


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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.

Starting February 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 studios.

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.

Down 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 process.)

*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).

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.

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 at KDKA.

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, too.
  • 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.

15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, February 1, 1996

  • 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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