July 11, 2011
Merlin Drops 101.9 Clues
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*If you're looking for hard facts about what's
coming next to NEW YORK's WRXP (101.9) once Randy Michaels'
Merlin Media takes over later this summer, you're not going to
find them here (or anywhere) just yet. But there's plenty to
speculate about this week, fueled by some interesting staffing
moves that the new Merlin group is making.
this: it's been widely rumored that the new calls on 101.9 will
be "WYNY," a rumor that gained force last week when
Merlin registered several related domain names - and then on
Friday, Merlin went and hired none other than Pete Salant, the
veteran jock/programmer/consultant who took the original WYNY
on 97.1 to #1 in the market as an adult-contemporary signal under
NBC in the early 1980s.
Nobody's saying much yet about what role Salant, best known
as a music programmer, will play at Merlin, though we're hearing
he'll be working alongside COO Walt Sabo (best known as a talk
programmer) on the format launch due later this summer.
the meantime, there is an all-news voice who's reportedly
joining Merlin's staff: Jeff McKay departed Metro Networks at
the end of June, just shy of his 20-year mark with the traffic
service. And McKay, of course, was one of the signature Metro
traffic voices on CBS Radio's WINS (1010)...and on New Jersey
101.5 (WKXW-FM Trenton), which was long consulted by none other
than Walt Sabo. (Radio is a small business, isn't it?)
Meanwhile, one of WRXP's current top executives is leaving.
Brian D'Aurelio, who was operations manager for 101.9 and its
sister Emmis stations WRKS (98.7) and WQHT (97.1), will be leaving
the company at month's end. D'Aurelio also served as night jock
*And as long as we're clearly in speculation mode, we cast
an eye across the Atlantic to the troubles Rupert Murdoch's News
Corporation is facing at its British newspaper operations. News
Corp. was forced to shutter the News of the World, one
of the oldest newspapers in the world, yesterday amidst growing
allegations of illegal phone hacking by journalists there. And
even as the company faces regulatory fallout in Britain, where
its planned buyout of the BSkyB satellite service is under attack,
it's worth wondering whether there are possible regulatory issues
ahead for News Corp. here in the US as well, especially if lawsuits
end up being filed against the company, which is incorporated
in Delaware, or if its top executives were to face criminal charges
as a result of the News scandal.
matters to NERW, of course, because News Corp.'s Fox Television
Stations unit owns several valuable TV licenses in the region
- WFXT in Boston, WTXF in Philadelphia and, most prominently,
WNYW and WWOR-TV in the New York market. As it stands, the Fox
TV stations have yet to be granted the most recent license renewals
for which they applied, hung up by the continued legal fracas
over the FCC's indecency rules. But the licenses for WNYW and
WWOR are especially sensitive issues, since they're also entangled
by two other issues: cross-ownership with Murdoch's powerful
(if not especially profitable) New York Post and the ongoing
complaints from top New Jersey officials that Secaucus-licensed
WWOR has failed to live up to its promises of public service
to the Garden State.
As it turns out, both of those issues were in the headlines
last week, too. On the cross-ownership issue, a federal court
in Philadelphia muddied the waters still further with a ruling
that essentially upheld the FCC's "scarcity" rationale
for imposing ownership caps and cross-ownership restrictions,
at the same time tossing out the most recent Commission attempt
to explicitly allow newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership in the
20 largest markets, New York included. (The court did indicate,
though, that the FCC's plans to relax the cross-ownership ban
in the largest markets would have passed muster if it had been
given more time for public comment.)
For now, though, the court's ruling means News Corp. will
continue to be at the FCC's mercy for ongoing waivers of the
statutory ban that would otherwise prohibit the company from
owning both WNYW/WWOR and the Post - and that in
turn would appear to make News Corp./Fox rather more vulnerable
to the political fallout that could follow if the scorching reaction
to the British hacking scandal gains traction across the Atlantic.
And then there's WWOR's New Jersey issue. With regulators
paying close attention to that station's unique situation, it
appears that Fox is taking no chances: not only did it restore
the station's late newscast to its old hour-long 10 PM timeslot
last week after moving it to a half-hour at 11, we're hearing
that the new 10 PM "My 9" newscast has been focused
almost entirely on New Jersey, complete with a backdrop of Jersey
City behind the anchors in Secaucus.
*We note, too, that while the region once
boasted numerous newspaper-broadcast co-ownerships everywhere
from Portland to Brockton to Philadelphia to Buffalo, the only
other owner that's currently at major risk from the continued
crossownership uncertainty is Tribune in CONNECTICUT,
which owns the Hartford Courant and two TV stations in
the market, WTIC-TV (Channel 61) and WCCT-TV (Channel 20). Tribune's
Hartford situation is even more dependent on waivers than Murdoch's
in New York, since Hartford/New Haven is outside the top 20 markets
where the FCC would allow TV/radio crossownership if it can get
its proposed new policy past the procedural hurdles.
(There's one other longstanding newspaper-broadcast co-ownership
situation in the region, the Shamrock stations in northeastern
Pennsylvania that are under a common roof with the Scranton Times-Tribune under
Lynett family ownership, but the Commission has traditionally
been loath to unwind grandfathered situations like that one,
which dates back to the early years of radio in Scranton, so
while some license renewals have been delayed, there's no reason
to think the FCC will make the Lynetts unwind WEJL, WBAX, WEZX
and their sister stations from the Times-Tribune, Wilkes-Barre
Citizens Voice and other regional holdings.)
*Upstate Radio People on the Move: after spending much of
his career at top-40 WPXY (97.9), Mike Danger is moving down
the hall to "98PXY"'s Entercom sister station, rocker
WBZA (98.9 the Buzz). On August 1, Danger will take over the
PD/afternoon drive duties last filled by the recently-departed
Dem Jones. He'll remain as PD of PXY as well, but will relinquish
his afternoon airshift there.
Down the road at oldies WLGZ (102.7 Webster), veteran jock
Chuck McCoy moves up from weekends/fill-in duty to the full-time
evening gig on "Legends 102.7." That shift was last
occupied by the late Tom Noonan, who died a few months back.
On TV, Arthur Chi'en is back on the air as a street reporter
for WPIX-TV (Channel 11) after a bizarre incident last October
when he ended up in a tussle with a man dressed as a clown during
the Greenwich Village Halloween parade. Chi'en suffered severe
facial fractures as he fell from a parade float to the street
while trying to get free from the man, who was trying to climb
aboard the float. He tells the Daily News he thought his
career was over, but with the help of good surgeons and seven
metal plates in his face, he's able to make a comeback. (His
attacker ran away and has never been caught.)
There's a news director opening in Albany, where Gary LaPlante
is leaving Fox affiliate WXXA (Channel 23) after three years
on the job. He's heading down the Pike to Boston to become assistant
news director at Fox's WFXT (Channel 25).
On radio in Albany, top-40 WFLY (92.3 Troy) is looking for
a new night guy as Eddie Hernandez leaves the job - and, apparently,
the radio business as well.
*It never made it on the air, and now it's history: at the
request of permittee Cram Communications (Craig Fox), the FCC
has deleted the never-built construction permit of WVOA (720
DeWitt). The AM signal would have served Syracuse, and it advanced
as far as an experimental signal test a few years back from another
proposed site south of town, but it evidently never made economic
sense to build the signal, which most recently was a CP for 2500
watts by day, 39 watts at night, non-directional from Fox's WOLF
(1490) tower at the south end of Onondaga Lake.
Out on the east end of Long Island, it appears another silent
AM won't be heading into history after all. WNYG (1440) signed
off from its longtime Babylon home last summer, and the clock
has been ticking ever since then toward the August date when
the station's license would be cancelled after a year of silence.
But we're now hearing WNYG will be back on the air before that;
under new owner Radio Cantico Nuevo, construction is reportedly
well underway for the new WNYG facility, diplexed with WLIM (1580)
out in Patchogue. The new WNYG will be licensed to Medford, running
1000 watts, daytime-only, from one of the WLIM towers. (Previous
owner Multicultural Radio Broadcasting needed to get WNYG's Babylon
facility out of the way of a power increase and pattern change
at co-owned WNSW 1430 in Newark, N.J.)
as long as we're back in the New York City area, a reminder that
our friends at SBE Chapter 15 are hosting an Ennes Educational
Seminar on July 23 at Columbia University.
It's a great way for radio and TV engineers to get up to date
with the very latest in automation, IT and RF technology, and
it's a lot cheaper than a trip to the NAB convention, too.
(Find all the information here...and
tell them NERW sent you!)
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Tower Site Calendar 2011 features more than a dozen great images of radio
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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
- or enjoy the history at venerable sites like those of KID in
Idaho Falls, WCAP in Lowell, KTKT in Tucson and Rochester's Pinnacle
But wait - there's more! We also have a
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back in stock, as well as a limited supply of Tower Site
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Orders of 20 or more calendars get an even
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*Larry Kruger was part of RHODE ISLAND's
most famous morning team, working alongside the legendary Salty
Brine at WPRO (630) from 1978 until 1993.
recent Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame inductee, who died Tuesday
at age 66, started his broadcast career at WEMJ in Laconia, N.H.
and WHYN in Springfield, then came to WPRO in 1973, moving to
mornings and Brine's show five years later. Kruger remained at
WPRO for two more years after Brine's retirement; he also worked
at WWBB (101.5) and several other Ocean State stations as well
as at Boston's WMEX and WODS.
*Rhode Island Public Radio/WRNI is providing some help to
Coventry High School's WCVY (91.5). Now that the high school
has FCC permission to stay on the air 24/7 after the deletion
of its former share-time partner, WRJI (91.5 East Greenwich),
WRNI is providing WCVY with programming to help fill those extra
hours. Students are on the air at WCVY from 2-8 PM on weekdays
when school is in session, and when they're not on, the WCVY
signal will fill a gap between WRNI's Providence-licensed 1290
signal and WRNI-FM (102.7 Narragansett Pier) down in South County.
The deal also includes internships for Coventry High School students
at WRNI. (And we should note also that WRNI-FM has boosted its
power; it has a new directional antenna that allows it to go
to a full 6 kW from its Narragansett Pier site.)
*Short of a championship duck-boat parade
(of which there's been no shortage lately), one of the greatest
public spectacles in MASSACHUSETTS is the July 4
Boston Pops concert and fireworks show over the Charles River
basin between Boston and Cambridge. So it's no wonder that plenty
of Boston media people are questioning why the national CBS TV
broadcast of the show had to be "enhanced" with a pop-music
soundtrack and faked special-effects shots showing fireworks
behind Boston landmarks where the real (and thoroughly spectacular)
fireworks show can't actually be viewed.
The show's producer, former WNEV-TV (Channel 7, now WHDH-TV)
owner David Mugar, defended the broadcast as an "entertainment"
production, but we're hoping he and the network will heed the
protests from those (your editor included) who believe the real
show is plenty entertaining on its own, needing no special effects
to please a national audience, as it did back in the days when
the local WCVB broadcast was simply simulcast to the nation on
(How petty is petty? We're hearing that the Bruins were going
to bring the Stanley Cup to the Hatch Shell stage for an Independence
Day appearance in front of the home crowd - see "duck-boat
parade," above - but the network nixed the plan because
it's NBC, not CBS, that has the Stanley Cup broadcast rights.
Now that's petty...)
*The creator of one of Springfield's most enduring TV shows
has died. As an announcer in the early years of WWLP-TV (Channel
61, later channel 22) in the 1950s, Phil Shepardson was a jack-of-all
trades, hosting kids' shows, reading the weather and working
behind the scenes. But he's best remembered for creating "As
Schools Match Wits," the high school quiz show that has
endured right into the present day (albeit over on public station
WGBY). Shepardson also taught for many years at Westfield State
College before retiring to Florida in the early 1990s; that's
where he died on June 29, at age 76.
while longtime NERW readers will recall our longtime criticism
of the Boston Globe for the quality of its reporting on
radio in the 1990s, we've got to tip our editorial (and graphic!)
hat to the paper for a nice
little piece that ran on Sunday, featuring a graphic comparing
the broadcast coverage of the Red Sox radio network to that of
The graphic even picked up on both teams' Florida radio affiliations,
and about the only quibbles we'd offer are that for a game that's
played largely at night, it might have been nice to compare the
skywave reach of each team's big AM outlets (WCBS 880 for the
Yanks, WTIC 1080 for the Sox)...and that the graphic treats part-time
affiliates as though they're full time, giving the Yankees credit
for Rochester's big-signal WHAM even though the station carries
only a limited schedule, which means there's a big chunk of western
New York that's not quite as Yankee-blue as the map suggests.
(Especially the area around NERW Central, but that's another
*In central PENNSYLVANIA, they're
mourning a radio guy who died far too young. Pat Boland spent
most of his career in State College, where he was most recently
PD/news director and morning host at WRSC-FM (103.1). But in
June, Boland had to leave that job as he fought brain cancer,
writing on his blog that "I do plan to return to the radio
someday. Now I have to take care of my body and mind. I cant
work myself into the grave."
Sadly, that return won't happen; Boland took a turn for the
worse not long after moving home to his native Somerset County,
and he died early Wednesday morning, July 6. Pat Boland was just
42 years old.
some happier news to report about a couple of Radio People on
the Move. Connecticut native Paul Walker is a familiar presence
on the message boards and mailing lists, but he's spent most
of his peripatetic broadcast career away from NERW-land, working
news and DJ jobs everywhere from Florida to North Dakota to Nebraska
to Illinois, where he's most recently been doing mornings at
WGGH (1150 Marion).
Now Paul's back in the region as the new afternoon jock at
Dennis Heindl's WDDH (97.5 St. Mary's), and we're especially
pleased to hear that he landed the job through a classified ad
he placed right here on NERW.
Down Route 6, another friend of NERW has a new on-air gig:
Tom Lavery, late of Erie's WQLN (and now at Erie's WMCE 88.5
and a contributing editor to PBRTV.com),
is now also the morning news guy at Joe Vilkie's WMVL (101.7
Lineville/Meadville) and WHYP (1370 Corry), where he replaces
And as long as we're in the Erie area, we note that Nexstar's
WJET-TV (Channel 24) and WFXP (Channel 66) debuted their new
on-air looks on Friday, with new graphics and separate new sets
for both stations. The stations aren't going HD just yet - that's
a "seven-figure project," says general manager Tim
Dunst - but they do plan to make the conversion before long.
While Erie's not yet in HD, Scranton is - and it should come
as no surprise that the station leading the charge into high
definition is longtime market leader WNEP-TV (Channel 16). The
ABC affiliate launched its HD newscasts over the weekend, beginning
with its Saturday 6 PM show, and it appears it will have the
HD local news marketplace to itself for a while, with only Nexstar's
NBC affiliate, WBRE (Channel 28), still in SD, as any real sort
of local-news competition at all.
*The tussle over a proposed new radio tower
in NEW JERSEY will continue for a little while longer.
Officials in the borough of Lake Como in Monmouth County say
they won't decide until at least mid-August on Greater Media's
proposal to build a new 533-foot tower for WRAT (95.9 Point Pleasant)
to replace its shorter (280') tower just to the north. Greater
Media proposes to build the borough a new "pocket park"
to replace protected state parkland where the tower would be
built. In order for the deal to move forward, the borough must
ask the state for permission, and that decision won't come until
next month at the earliest.
"We are going to be dealing with the facts not the emotional
issues and everyones opinions, Lake Como mayor Michael
Ryan told the Asbury Park Press.
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*It was a quiet week in CANADA, but
for fans of modern rock in Toronto, it brought some bad news:
just shy of his 25th anniversary with CFNY (102.1), station owner
Corus has parted ways with longtime personality Alan Cross.
In recent years, Cross had taken on more of a management role,
serving as senior PD of Corus Interactive and Integrated Solutions,
but he continued to host the weekly "Ongoing History of
New Music," which logged 691 episodes before taking its
summer hiatus this year. Cross tells the Toronto Star his
departure from Corus was a "business decision," and
he hints he might soon return to the air elsewhere.
*In Montreal, the
week brought good news and bad news about Cogeco's plan to return
the former CINF (690) and CINW (940) facilities to the air with
all-traffic programming in partnership with the provincial transport
A Montreal Gazette article touted the stations' return
as being imminent, though it also raised the possibility that
the revived 690 and 940 signals may run lower power than the
full 50 kW for which they were authorized as clear-channel facilities.
But no sooner did that article run than Cogeco removed its applications
from consideration at next Monday's CRTC hearing, where they
were expected to be approved. It's not clear why the applications
were withdrawn, but that's not an uncommon move, and there's
no reason to think it signifies any long-term problems with the
Elsewhere in Quebec, Radio Rimouski is applying to add a relay
transmitter to its CFYX (93.3 Rimouski). The new transmitter
in Amqui would run 900 watts max DA (280 watts average)/202.6
meters on 92.7. Radio Rimouski is also asking the CRTC to allow
it to sell local advertising on CFYX in the Baie-Comeau, Forestville
and Matane markets.
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: July 12, 2010 -
- Catholic radio is coming to Boston in a big way. Alex Langer
has filed an application to transfer WBIX (1060 Natick) to Buffalo-based
Holy Family Communications. Holy Family, which operates stations
in Buffalo and Rochester, will pay $1 million in cash for WBIX,
and Langer will take a $500,000 tax deduction for donating the
rest of the value of the station to Holy Family.
- If message-board chatter is any indication, then the big
story over the long holiday weekend came out of southern NEW
JERSEY, where Atlantic Broadcasting lobbed a pretty big bombshell
into the Atlantic City market on July 2 with the launch of "Wild
102.7," a new high-energy rhythmic top-40 aimed straight
at the summer beach crowd on the Jersey Shore. The new format
came with a new signal, as Atlantic completed its move of the
former WJSE (102.7 Petersburg) north from Cape May County into
Atlantic City, with a new class A transmitter facility atop a
beachfront high-rise building, a new city of license of Ocean
City and new calls: WWAC, last seen on the old Channel 53 analog
TV that's now WMCN-DT (Channel 44). "Wild" shares its
DNA with Long Island's "Party 105" - both have JVC
Broadcasting partners John Caracciolo and Vic Latino at the helm,
and south Jersey is, if anything, even more ready for an energetic
rhythmic format than the east end of Long Island. We'll be watching
closely as "Wild" ramps up its promotional effort to
take advantage of the all-too-short summer season at the shore.
- MASSACHUSETTS lost two TV news icons in as many weeks, one
as familiar to viewers in the Boston market as the other was
in Springfield. In Boston, John Henning never attained the star
status of a Chet Curtis or a Jack Williams, but over four decades
in TV news in the hub he quietly became a fixture in the industry.
A native New Yorker, Henning came to Boston for college and stayed,
becoming a reporter at WNAC-TV (Channel 7) in 1964. Henning soon
ended up behind the anchor desk, and over a long career he moved
seamlessly between the field and the studio.
- He moved from station to station, too, landing at WHDH-TV
(Channel 5) in 1968, then moving with most of the WHDH staff
to the new channel 5, WCVB, in 1972, where he had the distinction
of anchoring the last WHDH-TV newscast and the first WCVB news
the next morning. In 1979, he returned to channel 7 (by then
WNEV), then finally moved to WBZ-TV (Channel 4) in 1982. At Channel
4, Henning worked as both a statehouse reporter and for many
years as anchor of the midday news. He retired from WBZ in 2003,
by then having become the station's senior correspondent. In
recent years, until his health began to decline from myelodysplastic
syndrome, Henning had been working with his former WBZ colleague
Geri Denterlein at her public-affairs consulting firm. John Henning
died Wednesday night, at 73, and Boston TV is poorer for his
- Out west, Keith Silver was one of the class acts of Springfield
TV news. In nearly 40 years in the market, Silver rose from rookie
radio reporter (at WSPR 1270, where he worked from 1956 until
1964) to TV reporter to anchor to news director at WWLP-TV (Channel
22), where he became a fixture during a career that lasted from
1964 until his retirement in 2005. Silver died July 2 in West
Springfield, at age 80.
- MAINE has a new Catholic radio station, and it's apparently
just the start of a network that eventually hopes to serve much
of the state. The Presence Radio Network signed on WXTP (106.7
North Windham) in the Portland market last Wednesday (July 7)
after closing on the purchase of the former WHXR from Nassau.
The network says it's negotiating for a station in the Bangor
market as well.
- The head of RHODE ISLAND PBS (WSBE-TV) has died. Bob Fish
had been president of the public station since 2006, but his
history in New England broadcasting stretched back four decades.
A Bryant College graduate, Fish was the president of the Rhode
Island Broadcasters Association, and had worked in management
at WPRO and at Boston's WRKO, where he was the general manager
who oversaw the 1981 format change from top-40 to talk. In 1984,
Fish became president of Federal Communications, which owned
WHJJ/WHJY in Providence. After those stations were sold to Merv
Griffin in 1989, Fish moved in and out of radio and TV for the
next few years, at one point owning stations in Phoenix and for
a time owning part of a car dealership in Rhode Island. Fish
- In Utica, Ken Roser has reimaged his pair of AM stations
to promote their new FM translator. WUTQ (1550 Utica) and WADR
(1480 Remsen) are now calling themselves "B95.5" and
being heard on W238CA (95.5 Middleville), which has a CP to run
250 watts from the Smith Hill tower farm in Utica. That should
make for some interesting driving on the Thruway, as Utica's
"B95.5" quickly gives way to Albany's WYJB - also "B95.5"
- heading east from Utica. There's no format change to Utica's
B, which continues the "Beautiful Music" standards/soft
AC format already heard on WUTQ/WADR, running jockless except
for Hank Brown's morning show and some weekend ethnic programming.
(Roser, by the way, is no stranger to AM-on-FM translators: his
"Lite 104.7" in Amsterdam is an FM translator for WVTL
1570, running a similar format to WUTQ/WADR.)
- And we're sorry to report the death of Peter Shamin, who
was known as "Peter Shain" on the air during a career
that found him on both sides of the mike, most notably as a weekend
oldies jock on WNBC (660) in its final years. Behind the scenes,
Peter worked for NBC Radio, WQCD (101.9), WOR (710) and Westwood
One over more than 30 years in the business - and he always enjoyed
sharing his stories, both in person and on several message boards
that he frequented. He'd been in poor health lately, and he died
far too young on July 7, at just 53.
Five Years Ago: July 10, 2006 -
- One of the dangers of leased-time broadcasting is, quite
simply, that the broadcaster doesn't have full control of the
station - so when a leased-time station is sold, as happened
recently to WRIB (1220) in Providence, RHODE ISLAND - there's
always the danger that the new owners will want to change the
programming. The ethnic broadcasters who have called WRIB home
for decades are steaming this week, though, and given the way
their broadcasts were abruptly ended, we don't blame them one
- The sale itself was no surprise - NERW reported the $1.9
million deal back in our October 17, 2005 issue - but when Seekonk,
Massachusetts-based mega-church Faith Christian Center was making
its plans to take over operations from longtime WRIB owner Carter
Broadcasting, the expectation was that the Spanish, Portuguese,
Armenian, Italian and other ethnic broadcasters, as well as the
mainly Catholic leased-time religious programmers, would have
30 days' notice to allow them to transition to other signals
in the market. Instead, the end came with no warning at all.
Last Friday, church attorneys simply pulled the plug on WRIB
at 12:30 in the afternoon, giving several broadcasters just a
few hours to remove their office equipment from the station's
building and threatening them with trespassing charges if they
didn't move quickly enough.
- Across the border in MASSACHUSETTS, programmer Mario Mazza
has exited WCRB (102.5 Waltham) ahead of the changes that will
be coming to the classical station (and its associated World
Classical Network) whenever its long-pending sale is consummated.
Mazza came to WCRB in 1994, fresh from the controversial flip
of classical WNCN (104.3 New York) to rock, and while he's been
accused of "dumbing down" WCRB's format over his tenure
there, it should also be noted that WCRB is - at least for now
- still around and still doing fairly well in ratings and revenue,
which is more than most of the commercial classical stations
that were around in 1994 can say now. Mazza's getting about as
far from Boston as it's possible to get in the world of classical
radio - he's taking the general manager post at public radio
WHIL (91.3) in Mobile, Alabama, a community-operated station
licensed to Spring Hill College.
- And in CANADA, the launch of CHTN-FM (100.3 Charlottetown)
last Wednesday came with a big streetside live broadcast - but
lost in the hoopla over the new "Ocean 100.3" was the
end of oldies on Prince Edward Island, as CHTN (720) flips to
an "Ocean" classic hits simulcast for the next three
months, before going silent for good sometime between now and
early October. Newcap now has calls for the Ocean's future sister
station - it'll be CKQK, according to the latest Industry Canada
database - but its application to use 105.5 instead of 89.9 hasn't
been approved yet, and while initial reports said the station
would be called "K-Rock," the Newcap corporate website
calls the station "The Island." Stay tuned...
10 Years Ago: July 11, 2001 -
- It's every PD's dream to own a small-town radio station (isn't
it?), and now Bobby Hatfield of WBBF in Rochester is living it.
He's picking up WCNR (930) in Bloomsburg, PENNSYLVANIA from the
local Press-Enterprise newspaper. The station sits just down
I-80 from the big Scranton/Wilkes-Barre cluster belonging to
his Rochester employer, Entercom.
- Over in Syracuse, WBGJ (100.3 Sylvan Beach) made its on-air
debut just before we left, with a simulcast of WOLF's Radio Disney
programming that's said to be temporary. It's less clear whether
the simulcast of market-leading country station WBBS (104.7 Fulton)
on Clear Channel's new 105.1 DeRuyter signal is permanent or
not; Clear Channel just flipped the DeRuyter calls from WVOQ
to WXBB(FM), calls last heard in the region on what's now WSAK
(105.3 Kittery ME).
- Albany will soon have yet another FM drop-in, thanks to the
Vox folks, who won FCC approval this week for their latest allocations
swap. Here's how it will work: WHTR (93.5 Corinth) will move
south to Scotia and up the dial to 93.7. But to prevent Corinth
from being left (gasp!) without a "first local FM service",
WFFG (107.1 Hudson Falls) will change city of license to Corinth,
without changing transmitter site or power. Ah, bureaucracy...
- Up in the Catskills, mark down two new formats for Liberty's
WVOS and WVOS-FM. The FM, on 95.9, flipped from country to AC,
while the AM side on 1240 picked up the country, ditching standards
in the process.
- The big news in MASSACHUSETTS came from WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford),
where PD John Ivey announced he's leaving the building to head
up the biggest Clear Channel "Kiss" of them all, KIIS-FM
(102.7) in Los Angeles. Expect the jockeying to succeed Ivey
at Boston's "Kiss 108" to keep making headlines for
- The big deal in CANADA was, literally, a big deal: the long-dormant
Standard group flexed its muscles this week with an agreement
to buy 62 radio stations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia
from Telemedia. The latter group already cashed out of its Quebec
and Maritimes interests with a sale to Astral last month. The
deal turns Standard into a 75-station group with outlets in almost
every major community in Ontario, including a four-station cluster
in Toronto that adds Telemedia's sports CJCL (The Fan 590) and
AC CJEZ (EZ Rock 97.3) to Standard's news-talk CFRB (1010) and
hot AC CKFM (Mix 99.9). No sale price has been announced.
15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, July 5, 1996
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- The new FM station in Bedford (Manchester) NH has new calls
to match -- well, sort of -- its new nickname, "The Fox."
The construction-permit calls of WAEF were replaced by WOXF over
the Fourth of July weekend. 96.5 continues to crank out classic
rock, with copious ads for MacNeil's Banquet Hall, which just
happens to be owned by station owner Donna MacNeil.
- Boston rocker WBCN (104.1) has finally filled its evening
DJ vacancy. The 7 to midnight slot had been filled by part-timers
since the April 1 shuffle that moved Howard Stern out of that
slot and into mornings. Now "The Rock of Boston" has
hired Nik Carter to do evenings full-time. Carter used to be
heard locally on modern-rock competitor WFNX (101.7), then departed
to do mornings on WDGE (99.7)/WDGF (100.3) in Rhode Island. No
word yet on who fills his slot on Rhode Island's "Edge"
- From the radio-with-pictures file: Boston's WB affiliate,
WLVI (56) was off the air for more than an hour Wednesday night,
July 10, due to a power failure at the station's Needham, MA
transmitter site. The power failure came right in the middle
of "WB56"'s 10pm newscast, and blew out most of the
"Star Trek" rerun that followed. Problems with the
backup generator at their shared transmitter site also caused
brief outages for WFXT (25), the Fox affiliate, and WSBK (38),
the UPN affiliate. About a mile away from the shared 25/38/56
site above the Sheraton Needham hotel is the studio of WUNI (27),
the Worcester- licensed Univision station, and their programming
was also briefly interrupted. No interruption was noted on WCVB-TV
(5), the ABC affiliate with studios just across the highway,
or on any of the many FMs that share a nearby tower.
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2011 by Scott Fybush.