NYC Translator Makes Next Move
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*For the last few months, we've been closely
following the peregrinations of a new FM translator as it's migrated
around NEW YORK City and vicinity, and now it appears
to have found its permanent home.
The translator owned by Michael and Tammy Celenza (as "Apple
107.1, Inc") started out as W296BT (107.1) in Brooklyn,
then slid across the East and Hudson rivers to become W293BU
(106.5) in Union City, New Jersey, operating only long enough
from that location to get a license to cover - and to file for
its ultimate move, back across the Hudson to the top of Four
Times Square and down one notch on the dial to 106.3.
the FCC has granted that move, and speculation is running rampant
on the future of this new 99-watt signal from midtown Manhattan.
Will the new W292DV continue to relay the country format from
the HD2 channel of Clear Channel's WLTW (106.7), or will it become
the home of a new format sourced from a different HD subchannel
or AM outlet?
(Those HD-sourced translators are becoming big business: in
Detroit, veteran border broadcaster Tim Martz just launched two
of them, programming rock and smooth jazz formats "originating"
on the leased HD2/HD3 channels of the local urban signal, WGPR
And as long as the speculation is floating
around out there, it's worth noting that another new Big Apple
FM signal is moving closer to the airwaves: after months of preparation,
it appears that EMF Broadcasting is getting pretty near to launching
the relocated 96.7 signal it's acquiring from Cox.
In its current incarnation as WCTZ, "96.7 the Coast"
is telling listeners to adjust their dials to another Cox station
in CONNECTICUT, WFOX (95.9 Norwalk), and we're told an
antenna is now in place atop the Trump tower in New Rochelle
for the new 96.7 "K-Love" signal, for which the WKLV-FM
calls were requested back in January.
The new 96.7 signal, whenever it finally signs on, will blanket
southern Westchester, the Bronx, much of Queens and Fairfield
and at least the northern half of Manhattan - and surely we're
not the only ones noticing that it would mesh nicely with the
reach that the 99-watt 106.3 sigal from Times Square will have.
That directional signal will go mainly east-west, serving much
of Manhattan and portions of Brooklyn, Queens and north Jersey.
*Elsewhere in the region, we've been remiss in not mentioning
a new morning show in Orange County: for the last few weeks,
Mark West has been leasing time on WALL (1340 Middletown) for
a 6-10 AM show on weekdays, splitting the Cumulus station from
its "True Oldies Channel" simulcast with WEOK (1390
the road in Port Jervis, WTSX (96.7) is letting listeners know
that the "Fox" AC format will be moving soon, as the
96.7 signal gets sent down the Delaware River to its new home
in Lehmann Township, Pennsylvania, north of Stroudsburg, as part
of the shuffle that's moving a new 96.7 signal into New York
"Fox" listeners are now being directed to WDLC (1490
Port Jervis) and its new FM simulcast, W299BA (107.7).
Up in the Catskills, WRIP (97.9 Windham) is getting a new
morning man, and while nobody will ever really fill the shoes
of station co-founder Guy Patrick Garraghan, who died last November,
veteran jock Joe Loverro will certainly make a fine replacement
when he comes on board full-time next month. Loverro had worked
for WRIP owner Dennis Jackson at WQQQ (103.3) in Connecticut
before that station was LMA'd out to public broadcaster WSHU
earlier this year.
Some Hockey on the Radio news: since the Binghamton Senators
are in the AHL playoffs and the parent Ottawa Senators failed
to make the NHL cut, B-Sens flagship WINR (680 Binghamton) is
sending its playoff coverage north of the border to give Ottawa
fans something to listen to. Grady Whittenburg's call is being
heard in Ottawa on the NHL Senators' flagship, CFGO (Team 1200),
as well as on WINR and sister station WENE (1430) when Yankees
games don't conflict.
TV People on the Move: New York's WABC-TV (Channel 7) is lining
up its new anchor teams as it prepares to fill the 4 PM "Oprah"
timeslot with news after the syndicated talk show ends its run
in May. TVSpy.com reports Liz Cho will move from 11 PM to co-anchor
the new 4 PM newscast with David Novarro starting May 26; 5 PM
anchor Sade Baderinwa will replace Cho as 11 PM co-anchor alongside
Bill Ritter starting May 9.
Upstate, veteran Albany reporter John McLoughlin, who left
WTEN (Channel 10) earlier this year, has landed at WNYT (Channel
13) as a part-time reporter; he's also now writing a weekly column
for the Schenectady-based Daily Gazette. And down the
road at WRGB (Channel 6), Ken Screven has retired from the newsroom
after 34 years there - and a few years before that at WROW (590).
*And we send our best wishes to WNYM (970 Hackensack NJ) morning
man Curtis Sliwa, who had surgery Thursday morning for prostate
cancer. Ever the ironman, Sliwa was on the air for several hours
on Thursday before heading to the hospital for the surgery, which
doctors say was a success, and he says he plans to be on the
air again sometime later this week.
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*In NEW JERSEY, there's a new ownership
structure taking shape at Atlantic Broadcasting: on April 8,
the bankruptcy court handling the Atlantic case approved a transfer
of ownership to a new entity called "Boardwalk Radio, LLC."
The new owner is controlled by the Northwood Ventures/Northwood
Capital Partners group and Henry T. Wilson, who'd held 89.5%
of Atlantic after the bankruptcy and who now end up with a total
of 99% of the equity in Boardwalk. (Much of the remaining 1%
goes to Atlantic CEO John Caracciolo, while the sale wipes out
the remaining equity interests held by former Atlantic founders
Mike Ferriola and Brett DeNafo.)
The deal is valued at $3 million - but it's not quite final
yet. The FCC filings for the transfer to Boardwalk note that
it's still dependent upon the outcome of a bankruptcy auction
for the Atlantic assets. The court has designated the Boardwalk
proposal as the "stalking-horse bid" in that auction,
setting the baseline that competing bids, if any, would have
to exceed. Those competing bids are due Thursday, and would be
followed by an auction on May 4 if there's competition for the
stations and real estate.
*Just over the PENNSYLVANIA state
line in the Wheeling, WEST VIRGINIA market, EMF is actually
selling one of its "K-Love" outlets: for $550,000,
it's sending WLVW (96.5 Moundsville WV) into the hands of Keymarket.
The two companies have a long history together - Keymarket
has long leased WPKV (98.3 Duquesne) to Pittsburgh as its K-Love
signal there, and it's accepting a slight downgrade to WGYI (98.5
Oil City) to allow EMF to upgrade WKEL (98.5 Confluence) - and
now they've found a deal that will allow Keymarket to add a third
FM to its Wheeling cluster while EMF pockets some cash and moves
K-Love down the dial to a new noncommercial CP, WULV (90.7 Moundsville).
EMF will keep the WLVW calls when it sells off the 96.5 signal,
which will join Keymarket's "Jack" WYJK (100.5 Bellaire
OH), oldies WUKL (105.5 Bethlehem WV) and sports WOMP (1290 Bellaire
OH)/WSTV (1340 Steubenville OH) in the cluster. When it flips
to a new format, it will be at least the second format flip this
spring in Wheeling: earlier this month, Clear Channel flipped
WBBD (1400 Wheeling) from standards to True Oldies Channel oldies.
Brattleboro, VERMONT, community station WVEW-LP (107.7)
is working to rebuild after the six-alarm fire that devastated
its studio and transmitter site in the Brooks House building.
WVEW's website reports that the station's over-the-air signal
remains silent, but it's streaming a limited schedule from an
alternate location. The good news, so far, is that the station's
antenna appears to be intact on the Brooks House roof, and it
appears that the fire didn't actually reach into the station's
studios - but there's still no definitive word on the extent
of any smoke or water damage to the station, which is taking
donations as it attempts to rebuild.
*A deleted RHODE ISLAND noncommercial
FM station remains very much deleted, says the FCC, which has
tossed out an attempt by Educational Radio for the Public of
the New Millennium to get the Commission to reconsider its cancellation
of the station's license. In March, station president Carlos
Vasquez filed a packet of materials with the FCC to support his
contention that "we feel as though there is (sic) people
working against our favor in order to gain access to our freqency,"
and arguing that sabotage from Verizon and others prevented WRJI
(91.5 East Greenwich) from broadcasting for more than a year,
from November 2, 2009 until November 25, 2010.
But the FCC says it can't do anything to help WRJI: it notes
that the prolonged outage exceeded the one-year statutory limit
after which Congress mandates that a silent station's license
should be deleted, and that the petition for reconsideration
arrived long after the deadline for such filings to be made.
And the FCC says WRJI's application to relicense from East Greenwich
to Providence won't work, either, since it would create impermissible
overlap with Providence College's WDOM (91.3) and several pending
station applications. So the Commission has reaffirmed its deletion
of the WRJI license, adding a reminder that any operation of
the station is "unauthorized and must cease IMMEDIATELY"
(their caps, not ours!) Will 91.5, which we've been told is indeed
operating from its Providence studio location, in fact go silent
- or will it join the substantial ranks of unlicensed signals
in eastern New England?
*With new ownership takes over at WLNE (Channel 6) come layoffs:
a round of job cuts at the ABC affiliate last week reportedly
included the station's chief engineer, an assignment editor,
several photojournalists and production staffers.
*It didn't take long for veteran CONNECTICUT
weatherman Geoff Fox to find a new gig after being dismissed
from ABC affiliate WTNH (Channel 8) after a quarter of a century
there. Fox has landed at Fox outlet WTIC-TV (Channel 61), where
he debuted last Monday, reporting for the station's early-evening
newscasts and doing weather on the 11 PM show. Meanwhile, WTNH
has hired Erica Grow as a weekend weathercaster.
*There's a callsign now
for a new Catholic station in NEW HAMPSHIRE: mark down
"WSFO" for 90.7 in Barrington, the construction permit
assigned to Emmaus Christian Healing Ministries.
And in MAINE, WFYB (91.5 Fryeburg) is now on air, relaying
"Worship FM" from WWWA (95.3 Winslow).
(An update from last week, too: the two-person morning show
at WPOR in Portland is only temporary, we're told, and the station
continues to look "aggressively" for a replacement
for Joe Lerman.)
an otherwise fairly quiet week in MASSACHUSETTS, there's
a big change at WHAV.net, the online station that continues the
legacy of the old WHAV (1490 Haverhill): after seven years as
a commercial operation, WHAV.net is going nonprofit under the
aegis of a new organization, Public Media of New England Inc.
Founder Tim Coco, an alumnus of the original WHAV, will continue
as volunteer general manager and as a board member of the nonprofit,
which will continue to operate WHAV.net as a 24-hour service
on the web as well as on cable access audio and over low-power
AM signals at 1640 in northern Haverhill and in Plaistow, New
In Springfield, Paul Mueller has resigned from his anchor
position at WGGB (Channel 40) after the posting of a YouTube
video showing him delivering a slurred speech at an anti-bullying
benefit dinner. Mueller tells the Boston Herald he was
told to resign or be fired, and acknowledges that he has a problem
with alcohol that may permanently end his TV career. Mueller
says he's seeking treatment for his alcoholism.
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*Haliburton Broadcasting continues to
be one of the fastest-growing broadcast groups in CANADA,
and their cluster of "Moose FM" stations in Ontario
is about to grow again with CRTC approval for a new signal in
Kemptville, just south of Ottawa. The new station will run 2.8
kW/80 m DA (average ERP 1360 watts) on 97.5 with an adult contemporary
Another Ottawa station, CIDG (101.9 the Dawg), is getting
a power boost: the CRTC has granted it an inrcease from 4.5 kW
to 5.5 kW/98 m DA (average ERP increasing from 934 to 1,793 watts).
In Toronto, Gene Stevens has stepped down as PD at CFZM (740);
he remains on the air at the standards station.
While the new Sun News Network gets underway as a national
conservative TV voice, it's the end of the line - at least temporarily
- for an attempt at a local cable news operation in the Niagara
region. St. Catharines-based Niagara News TV (NNTV) suspended
its broadcasts last Monday after less than three months on Cogeco
digital cable. President Frank Thibault tells the St. Catharines
Standard he still hopes to relaunch the station this fall
(its cable channel remains active with weather and a news crawl),
and he regrets having to let the channel's 17 staffers go.
And way, way up north in Cochrane, Ontario, there are some
changes coming to the radio dial: the Cochrane Polar Bear Radio
Club has been granted a new 50-watt signal on 104.7 that will
replace its existing 5-watt "developmental" station,
while Cochrane Christian Radio has been granted a 37-watt signal
on 102.1 to provide a Christian music service in that small town
on Highway 11 north of Timmins.
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: April 26, 2010 -
- After four decades of state support, the NEW JERSEY Network
is on the verge of being cut loose. While the public radio and
TV system has survived plenty of previous budget crises in the
Garden State, New Jersey's new governor made it clear when he
took office that he intended to end a state subsidy that currently
provides a significant portion of the network's $28 million budget.
(The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that New Jersey currently
provides a $4 million cash subsidy to NJN, along with $2.4 million
in employee benefits and $4.5 million in other resources including
the use of state facilities and parking.)
- While NJN is hardly the first public broadcaster to lose
its government subsidies, the time frame specified by Governor
Chris Christie doesn't give the network much time to find new
sources of support. Christie wants NJN to operate without state
help as early as January 1, 2011, and he wants to begin the transformation
by cutting NJN's $4 million appropriation in half for the next
fiscal year, which starts July 1. NJN's interim executive director,
Howard Blumenthal, appeared before the state senate's budget
committee last week to report that planning is underway for the
transition, but that some questions remain unanswered - and NERW
wonders whether NJN's radio network, a very low-profile cousin
to its much better-established TV network, will survive the transition.
Might the network of nine stations, with somewhat less than full-state
coverage and relatively little local programming, end up being
sold to fund the TV network's survival?
- It was a quiet week in NEW YORK, where Fordham University's
WFUV (90.7) continues to tweak its signals. Now that the new
2500-watt WFUV booster is on the air from West 31st Street, aimed
southeast at lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, WFUV has turned off
(at least for now) its other booster, WFUV-2, which had been
serving Manhattan's west side from atop Riverside Church in Morningside
Heights. Meanwhile, WFUV quickly made good on its promise to
add a translator signal in the Hudson Valley: it's now on the
air from W233BM (94.5) high atop Mount Beacon, serving the Newburgh-Beacon
area and reaching north as far as Poughkeepsie.
- If WCBS-FM (101.1 New York) morning man Dan Taylor sounds
a little jet-lagged today, he has a good excuse: it's his first
day back on Eastern Time after an unplanned week of shows from
London. Taylor was in England for pilot training when that volcano
erupted in Iceland, and his scheduled April 18 flight home ended
up being delayed for a full week. The show went on from a studio
at CBS News in London; meanwhile, BBC Radio 1's Chris Moyles
was doing his morning show from Sirius XM in New York after being
stuck Stateside when air travel was shut down. Taylor probably
got the better end of the deal, starting his show at 11 AM London
time while Moyles had to be on the air at 1:30 AM in New York.
- The unbuilt AM station that wanted to move from Vermont to
Albany won't get to make that move after all. Alfredo Alonso
and Charles Hecht applied back in 2008 to move WVVT (670) from
Essex Junction, Vermont to East Greenbush, where they proposed
a four-tower array cranking out 15 kW by day and 260 watts at
night. But that move drew a protest from adjacent-channel WFAN
(660) in New York, which complained that Hecht and Alonso had
deliberately taken their ground-conductivity measurements on
WFAN at the worst possible time of the year. WFAN submitted its
own set of measurements, taken in January, that showed overlap
between WFAN and the proposed WVVT. Last week, the FCC sided
with WFAN and dismissed WVVT's application for East Greenbush.
Hecht and Alonso still have until April 26, 2011 to build out
WVVT's original Vermont construction permit, or to come up with
a new modification application.
- There's a new signal being tested on the air in CANADA's
capital city. Astral's CJOT (99.7 Ottawa) signed on last week
with the same adult contemporary music it's expected to be playing
when it launches officially soon. There's even a temporary website
at ottawa997.com, which may or may not be the permanent home
when CJOT signs on for real. CJOT's debut has pushed tourist
information station CIIO off the air at 99.7; its English-language
service has now moved to 101.9, which had been the French-language
signal - but even that's temporary, since 101.9 will soon be
occupied as well, by new blues-rock station CIDG (DAWG-FM).
Five Years Ago: April 24, 2006 -
- The end arrived Friday for one of the most publicized morning
shows in recent history. After less than five months on the air,
CBS Radio pulled the plug on the floundering David Lee Roth show
(heard in NERW-land on "Free FM" flagship WFNY-FM 92.3
New York, WBCN 104.1 Boston and WYSP 94.1 Philadelphia). It'll
be replaced with a sanitized three-hour simulcast of XM Radio's
Opie and Anthony, the duo who brought down the company's last
attempt at FM talk when they were in afternoons at WNEW (102.7
New York) a few years back. The show's final two hours will be
heard only on XM.
- From the sounds of Roth's show recently, the move was little
short of a mercy killing, allowing Roth to escape the battles
he's been fighting with CBS management and head out on tour,
while giving the former Howard Stern affiliates a more proven
commodity in mornings.
- Out on Long Island's east end, the AAA sounds of WEHM have
returned - sort of - to their original home. Cherry Creek Radio's
been doing some shuffling of its signals in the Hamptons, and
it recently moved WHBE (96.7 East Hampton) to 96.9, from a new
site about 12 miles west of its original location. With more
signal over portions of Suffolk County that can't hear WEHM on
the 92.9 Southampton facility (where the calls and format moved
a few years ago, flipping 96.7 to WHBE with Bloomberg business
news), Cherry Creek decided last Tuesday to pull the plug on
the business news at 96.9, in favor of a simulcast with 92.9.
- There's an anchor shuffle underway in Rochester, as veteran
WHEC (Channel 10) anchor Janet Lomax moves off the 11 PM news,
at her own request. Weekend anchor Jennifer Johnson takes over
the 11, while Lomax adds the 5 PM newscast to her existing duties
at 6. Those moves in turn take 5 PM co-anchor Robin DeWind off
the anchor desk (she's also the health reporter), send morning
anchor Nikki Rudd to weekends and move Lynette Adams to mornings.
And no sooner were those moves announced than news director Adam
Bradshaw landed a new gig in a much bigger market - he's headed
here to Las Vegas to become ND at Fox affiliate KVVU (Channel
- A call change in CONNECTICUT: "The Fox" in Norwalk
is now legally WFOX. Cox radio parked those very desirable calls
at 95.9 in Norwalk last week, replacing WEFX. The WFOX calls
had been on Cox's "River" 97.1 in the Atlanta market,
which just became WSRV.
10 Years Ago: April 23, 2001 -
- A call swap in PENNSYLVANIA is in the works, with the new
CP in Cooperstown getting WHUG-FM, the longtime calls across
the state line at 101.9 in Jamestown, New York. Jamestown gets
the WMHU calls that were on the Cooperstown CP; we'll have to
get down that way to hear whether a format swap is also taking
- There's a low-priced station sale to lead off our NEW YORK
report: Barnstable is transferring WFOG (1570 Riverhead) to Five
Towns College for the lordly sum of $72,000. The station on Long
Island's East End has been on and off the air for the last few
years; we heard it in February simulcasting rock sister WRCN
(103.9 Riverhead). Five Towns apparently plans to change the
calls to WFTU, and we presume it will become a student-run station.
That's good news for the students at Five Towns, but we've got
to wonder: with the price that low, did the folks at Polnet make
any attempt to add 1570 to their just-purchased WLIM 1580 down
the road in Patchogue? The stations did simulcast years ago (as
WPAC and WAPC), and the 1570 reaches a considerably larger Polish
community than the 1580 signal (which cost Polnet $850,000!)
- Going way upstate, we hear a Tuesday format change is planned
at Utica's "Wow FM" (WOWB 105.5 Little Falls/WOWZ 97.9
Whitesboro), now that the stations are owned by Clear Channel.
PD J.P. Marks stays with former owner Ken Roser, helping to run
"Bug Country" (WBGK 99.7 Newport Village/WBUG-FM 101.1
Fort Plain/WBUG 1570 Amsterdam). As of late Monday night, WOWB
and WOWZ were simulcasting Clear Channel's CHR "Kiss"
(WSKS 102.5 Rome); we'll let you know if that turns out to be
a permanent move.
- Also in Utica, Nelson Suggs' Bethany Broadcasting is selling
religious WVVC (100.7) to the Educational Media Foundation, which
owns dozens of religious stations and translators around the
country. The $1.25 million purchase of WVVC gives EMF its first
foothold in New York.
15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, April 23, 1996
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- A few weeks ago, I wrote about now-dark WRPT 1050 Peterborough
NH, which according to the Commission had applied to "change
city of license and power." What we didn't know until know
was just how much of a change. It seems WRPT's new owner, Alexander
Langer, wants to move the station more than a hundred miles to
the southeast, specifically to Foxboro, Mass. (M Street had this
erroneously as "Foxboro NH") Langer's application calls
for the new WRPT to move to 650 kHz, with 250 watts DA-D, diplexed
from the Norfolk MA transmitter/studio site of WDIS 1170. This
will be a somewhat tight directional, since Norfolk is just barely
north of the 0.5 mv/m contour for WFAN 660 New York. And giving
protection to WNNZ 640 Westfield MA and WPRO 630 Providence RI
means WRPT's 250 watts will be pointed mostly northeast...which,
how about this, just happens to be the direction of Boston! Clever
fellow, this Alexander Langer. (He also owns the license for
currently-dark WBIV 1060 Natick MA, which has applied for 50kw
ND-D, something that can only be possible with WRPT off 1050.)
As for the 650 frequency, there was a longstanding CP for WBSO
Clinton MA on that frequency. It was to have been a 10kw DA-2
operation, with a decent signal into Boston and a tight null
towards NYC. The CP was granted in 1984 and revoked about a year
ago, making this possible.
- It seems to me this is one of the more dramatic move-ins
of late... comparable perhaps to the still-unconsummated move
of WDMV 540 from Pocomoke City MD (on the Delmarva Peninsula)
to Brinklow MD (between Washington and Baltimore), or the never-permitted
move of WHMA-FM Anniston AL to the Atlanta area a decade or so
ago. Admittedly, there's no station licensed to Foxboro MA (the
home of the New England Patriots), but it's hard to claim to
be the first service to a community when you're diplexed off
an existing station's tower. In fact, Foxboro is within city-grade
contours of most of the Providence RI stations as well as Boston.
(WRPT didn't move to Foxboro, but it did end up in Ashland,
where it's now WSRO.)
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2011 by Scott Fybush.