July 25, 2011
Millennium Merges Into Townsquare
Stay tuned to our Twitter
and Facebook feeds for breaking-news updates as they happen!
*One of NEW JERSEY's largest broadcast
groups has a new name and new management this week. Ever since
Oaktree Capital, parent company of Townsquare Media (the former
Regent Broadcasting), took Millennium Radio New Jersey under
its wing, rumors had been flying about the New Jersey stations
becoming part of the Townsquare umbrella.
rumors became reality last week, placing the 11 Millennium signals
in Trenton and on the shore under the Townsquare banner, where
they join other NERW-land Townsquare clusters in Buffalo, Utica
and Albany, as well as a slew of small-market Townsquare outlets
elsewhere in the country.
The move to Townsquare pushes Millennium president/CEO Bill
Sauer out of that post and into an "interim" consulting
role; replacing him at the helm of the New Jersey stations (WKXW
"New Jersey 101.5" in Trenton; WOBM/WADB, WOBM-FM,
WJLK and WCHR in Monmouth-Ocean and WENJ/WENJ-FM, WFPG, WSJO
and WPUR in Atlantic City) is Zoe Burdine-Fly, who'd been GM
of the Regent/Townsquare stations in Flint, Michigan.
*Radio People on the Move: Scott Taylor has returned to WAWZ
(Star 99.1) in Zarephath as station manager, just two months
after exiting the Pillar of Fire Christian AC outlet. Downstate,
Paul Hunsberger is ending a remarkable 63-year career at WSNJ
(1240 Bridgeton), where he's been serving as an account executive
and as host of the "Off the Cuff" show. Hunsberger
is now 93, and he says he's retiring at year's end because of
*The top story in NEW YORK this week, once
again, is at 101.9 on the dial, where NERW was first to tell
you that the new calls on the former WRXP would be WEMP. Those
calls showed up on the air at 5 PM on Thursday (July 21), a full
six days after NERW followers on Facebook and Twitter first heard
But the new calls, so far, haven't brought with them the full-fledged
new format that's been rumored for Merlin Media's signal. Instead,
the week brought more of the "FM New" AC programming
that's been occupying 101.9 (and 101.1 in Chicago, newly renamed
WWWN) since Merlin took over from Emmis, killing off WRXP's alternative
format. (There's alternative rock back on the New York airwaves
now, at least for HD Radio owners; Clear Channel quietly flipped
its HD2 channel on WAXQ 104.3 to its "Alt Project"
national format last week.)
What's next for 101.9? Merlin's certainly still not saying
- there's still no website or stream for "FM New,"
though very basic Facebook pages for the New York and Chicago
outlets quietly appeared over the weekend.
(You can hear the very first WEMP ID, by the way, over at
our sister site TopHour.com.)
*Once upon a time in an earlier incarnation as WPIX-FM, 101.9
was among the first FM stations to move its transmitter to the
World Trade Center - and later, as WQCD, 101.9 became the first
FM to return from the Trade Center to the Empire State Building
to escape some of the multipath problems that existed with FM
from Manhattan's southern tip.
It has, of course, been almost a decade since the remaining
FMs at the Trade Center were so abruptly and tragically forced
to move their sites elsewhere, but now one of those FMs is at
least talking about coming back. In a New York Times article
last week, managers at Columbia University's WKCR (89.9) raised
the possibility that they might look at moving their transmitter
from its current home at Four Times Square down to the new 1
World Trade Center skyscraper when it's completed soon.
We hadn't heard much talk about broadcast operations from
the new 1WTC since the early stages of planning, when it appeared
that the city's TV stations (working under the Metropolitan Television
Alliance banner) were planning to build a new master DTV site
there to replace the somewhat makeshift DTV facilities that were
built at the Empire State Building in the years after 9/11. But
the MTVA's plans had become hazy in more recent years; building
a new master DTV site is an expensive proposition, after all,
in an era when most New Yorkers get local TV from cable or satellite
and when the Empire facilities, if not perfect, seemed to be
functioning well enough.
There had been little talk at all about a new master FM operation
at 1WTC. Commercial broadcasters were well aware that the signals
that had been at WTC before 9/11 had experienced reception problems
in parts of midtown Manhattan, and the cost of building a new
master FM facility to replace or supplement the excellent facilities
at Empire (and backups at Four Times Square) would have been
The cost of a new standalone FM facility for WKCR would surely
be quite high, too, and WKCR's managers tell the Times they
still haven't done all the research to determine whether the
move would be financially possible. And so for now, we'll file
away WKCR's talk of a move as an interesting possibility that
appears to be a long way from reality...
New York chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers has rescheduled
the Ennes educational seminar that was to have taken place last
week. It's now planned for November 5, and we'll have all the
details about the lineup and new schedule as they become available.
*Out on Long Island, WNYG (1440) has become The Station That
Will Not Die. Widely given up for dead after Multicultural Broadcasting
bought it and took it silent to improve sister signal WNSW (1430
Newark), the little AM signal at 1440 returned to the airwaves
last week after a year of silence. WNYG's old Babylon site is
gone now, and instead the station is licensed to Medford, out
to the east. The new WNYG is a 1000-watt daytimer diplexed off
one tower of WLIM (1580 Patchogue), and it's running Spanish-language
religious programming from new owner Radio Cantico Nuevo.
*Radio People on the Move upstate: Buffalo's WGR (550) is
advertising for a new PD; we hear that Andy Roth is being moved
to a new position within Entercom, leaving a big opening for
a sports-talk programmer. In Watertown, Budd Yeman (aka "Bud
Green") has departed ratings monster WFRY; he recently moved
to a new home down south, leaving an afternoon opening at "Froggy."
And in Binghamton, Equinox is launching the market's first
HD subchannel/translator. "Sunny 107" is a combination
of the HD3 channel on WRRQ (106.7 Port Dickinson) and its co-located
translator, W296BS (107.1 Johnson City). When "Q107"
moved from an outlying transmitter site to the main Ingraham
Hill tower farm, that 107.1 translator suddenly became redundant,
but now it's carrying a very soft AC format that kicked off with
a nonstop stunt of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny."
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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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*Northwest PENNSYLVANIA's newest FM
signal has picked a tower site. Rick Rambaldo's First Channel
Communications says it's hoping to build a tower in Zuck Park
in Millcreek Township, on Erie's west side, for its new 92.7
signal licensed to Lawrence Park. First Channel won the high-profile
$2 million auction for the class A facility this spring, and
it has a somewhat challenging task in finding a workable transmitter
site for the signal, which must city-grade Lawrence Park (east
of Erie) at the same time it protects CJBX (92.7 London, Ontario)
from interference, all while trying to put a usable signal over
as much of the greater Erie market as possible. The Times-News
reports that First Channel is now negotiating with Millcreek
Township over zoning for the proposed tower as well as rental
payments for the land next to the park.
*In the Harrisburg
market, there are new calls coming to WWII (720 Shiremanstown).
New owner Holy Family Radio plans to relaunch the station as
WHYF when it puts Catholic programming on the daytime-only signal
*In Philadelphia, Radio One's WPHI (100.3 Media) has parted
ways with morning team Star and Buc Wild after just nine months,
the latest blow for a once high-profile duo that's bounced around
from New York's WWPR to Philly's WUSL to WPHI in recent years.
No replacement for Star and Buc Wild has been named so far.
*On TV, WTXF (Fox 29) in Philadelphia is getting a big-name
news director: Steve Schwaid is inbound from Atlanta, where he
was a news executive for Meredith and news director of that company's
CBS outlet, WGCL-TV. Schwaid, of course, has a long history in
northeast TV, having run the newsrooms at WVIT in Hartford, WGME
in Portland and at Philadelphia's WCAU before heading up the
news operations for NBC's O&O stations.
Congratulations to Pittsburgh radio veteran Jack Bogut, now
with WJAS (1320) but late of KDKA and WTAE: he's being inducted
into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio in November.
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*There's a new morning man at WGIR (610)
in Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Paul Westcott takes over
that role, and it's an unusual internal Clear Channel promotion:
he's been the host of "White House Brief" on Clear
Channel's iHeartRadio streaming service.
*Radio (and TV) People on the Move in MASSACHUSETTS:
David Baer is leaving the news director's post at Gormally Broadcasting's
WGGB (ABC40/Fox 6) in Springfield after three years there. Cissy
Baker is the interim replacement there. In Boston, Jimmy Chunga
has departed his weekend gig at Greater Media's WTKK (96.9);
he's headed back home to Salt Lake City for mornings at KENZ
(101.9 the End). And on Boston TV, several anchors are moving
on: Matt Lorch is leaving the early-evening newscasts on WHDH-TV
(Channel 7) to anchor the 5 PM newscast at Seattle Fox affiliate
KCPQ (Channel 13). Steve Lacy has left the weekend anchor chair
at WCVB (Channel 5) for the morning anchor chair at New York
Fox O&O WNYW (Channel 5). And with former WHDH anchor Frances
Rivera heading for mornings at New York's WPIX (Channel 11) starting
next month, 12-year WPIX veteran John Muller is out at the Tribune-owned
*It's another all-star class for this year's Massachusetts
Broadcasters Hall of Fame induction: the ceremony September 15
will honor sports talker Eddie Andelman; WBZ-TV reporter Charles
Austin; TV news pioneer Jack Chase; talk host (and longtime Fenway
Park announcer) Sherm Feller; writer/commentator/poet Dick Flavin;
WCVB anchor Natalie Jacobson; longtime TV/radio writer Anthony
LaCamera; his son, WCVB/WBUR executive Paul LaCamera; "Car
Talk" hosts Tom & Ray Magliozzi; late Sox announcer
Ned Martin; station owner Tom McAuliffe; talk producer and host
Ken ("Muck") Meyer; WCVB "Chronicle" host
Mary Richardson; Yankee Network founder John Shepard III - and,
perhaps most remarkably, Eunice Randall Thompson, the pioneering
female broadcaster of 1XE/WGI fame in the early 1920s. (And if
our good friend, historian Donna Halper, doesn't get to induct
Eunice Randall, something's gone terribly wrong.)
The induction ceremony will be held at the Marriott Quincy,
and there's ticket information at www.massbroadcastershof.org.
sorry to report the passing of Sidney Sanft, former owner of
WOKW (now WMSX 1410) in Brockton. Sanft got his start in broadcasting
with Armed Forces Radio in World War II (as shown), and went
on to a career with the federal government developing electronic
processing of tax returns. He moved to Massachusetts in 1962,
working on television productions and serving as a founding board
member of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell as well as
owning WOKW. That's where his son, Marshall, got his start in
radio - and today the younger Sanft, aka "Bruce Marshall,"
owns his own station, WARE (1250 Ware). Sidney Sanft died July
8; he was 86.
*There's HD local TV news
in the news at both ends of New England this week: in Bangor,
MAINE, ABC affiliate WVII (Channel 7) is trying to emerge
from its perpetual third-place rut with a staff expansion, HD
conversion and the addition of some new broadcasts. In September,
WVII will launch a new 6:30 AM newscast,hosted by Clay Gordon
and Nicole Gerber, followed at 7 by a local hour on sister station
WFVX (Fox 22); the 10 PM show on WFVX, which drew attention when
WVII began recording it right after its live 6 PM newscast, will
also go back to being live this fall. The conversion to HD at
WVII/WFVX will leave only one Bangor newscast in SD: NBC affiliate
WLBZ (Channel 2), which originates much of its news from sister
station WCSH in Portland.
In Providence, RHODE ISLAND, the race for full local
HD is about to hit the tipping point: keen-eyed observers have
noticed that CBS affiliate WPRI (Channel 12) and Fox sister station
WNAC (Channel 64) are originating their newscasts from a temporary
set this week. Once they're done with their HD conversion, only
ABC affiliate WLNE (Channel 6) will be in SD, and its new owners
have also promised to convert to HD soon.
*Lots of Radio People on the Move in CANADA
this week: in Toronto, Bill Watters is out of afternoon drive
at CFMJ (Talk Radio AM640), replaced by Arlene Bynon in the 4-7
PM slot. Tina Trigiani replaces Bynon in the 1-2 PM slot, and
Watters will still be heard doing the Maple Leafs pre-game shows
and offering hockey commentary in morning drive. Jonas Siegel,
who'd been part of the CFYI Leafs broadcast team, has moved over
to CHUM (TSN Radio 1050) to cover the team there.
The "Billie and Maddog" show is no more at Toronto's
CKFM (Virgin Radio 99.9); Billie has left the station, but Maddog
remains as solo morning host. At Montreal's Virgin Radio (CJFM
95.9), Milkman UnLimited reports Nat Lauzon has departed
middays, but she'll be heard on weekends over at CFQR (Q92.5)
while she pursues a freelance voice talent business. Milky also
reports that the morning team of Bob Magee and Corrie Miller
are out at Hamilton's CING (Vinyl 95.3), with bigger changes
possibly afoot at the classic hits station.
Another veteran Toronto talent, Fred Patterson (half of the
longtime duo of Humble and Fred), has departed his post as PD
of the Corus cluster in Peterborough.
a format change in London: Corus' CKDK (103.9), licensed to Woodstock,
ditched its classic hits format ("Greatest Hits 103.9")
on Friday morning at 10:39, replacing it with a somewhat more
recent gold-based format as "More 103.9," promising
"More 70s, More 80s and More 90s."
*Two new signals are on the air in the Maritimes: Tantramar
Community Radio's CFTA (107.9) in Amherst, Nova Scotia hit the
air at 1:07 PM on Thursday from its new tower (a monopole of
the kind you'd normally see cellphone antennas mounted on) and
Nautel transmitter. "So far today, we have had good signal
reports from Northern Nova Scotia, Southeast New Brunswick and
Prince Edward Island," says CFTA operations manager Ron
Bickle, who's been working for years to get the community station
on the air. And no sooner was CFTA on the air than its commercial
competitor in town, CKDH, signed on its new FM signal on 101.7.
Once CKDH-FM completes its testing, the clock will start ticking
on CKDH's AM signal at 900, which will have 90 days to sign off.
*And there's a new twist in Canada's impending conversion
to digital TV. Stations in "mandatory markets" have
to shut off their analog signals by August 31, but now the CBC
is asking the CRTC for permission to retain some smaller analog
signals that would oterwise have gone completely dark rather
than converting to digital.
In NERW-land, the list includes English-language CBC outlets
in London, Kitchener, Quebec City, Saguenay and Trois-Rivieres
and the Radio-Canada outlet in Windsor, and here's how it would
play out: CBLN-TV London would move from channel 40 to 23, reducing
power, as would CBLN-TV-1 Kitchener, moving from 56 to 29. In
Quebec, CBVE-TV (Channel 5) would take over the former channel
11 analog facilities of CBVT, the Radio-Canada signal moving
to DTV on 12; CBMT-1 in Trois-Rivieres would move from channel
28 (the new digital home of Radio-Canada's CKTM) to CKTM's analog
facilities on channel 13, while CBJET Chicoutimi would stay on
channel 58 but drop power from 12 kW to 595 watts. And in Windsor,
CBEFT wants to move from channel 54 to channel 35 at reduced
power. The CRTC has yet to rule on the requests.
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 26, 2010 -
- After not quite two years as a talk station, CANADA's Astral
Media has flipped CHAM (820 Hamilton) right back where it came
from. On Thursday at noon, CHAM ditched "Talk 820,"
which had failed to make much of a dent in Corus' dominant CHML
(900) since launching in September 2008. In its place is "Today's
Country 820 CHAM," returning the 50,000-watt signal to the
format it had used for decades before making the flip to talk.
- The revived country CHAM features morning host Mike Nabuurs,
who'd been doing the station's late-morning talk shift. And along
with sister station CKOC (1150)'s oldies format, we believe it
makes Hamilton the only large Canadian market that still has
two stations playing music on the AM dial - three, if you count
Evanov's nearby CKPC (1380 Brantford), which recently flipped
to a news/country hybrid.
- John Manzi worked in several New England states during his
long radio career, but it was in RHODE ISLAND that Manzi became
known as "Big Ange," bringing his high-energy delivery
to stations that included WJAR, WICE, WHIM and most memorably
WPRO. Manzi, who also went by "Andy Jackson," worked
in Binghamton (WINR), Elmira (WELM) and Maine (WASY, WZON) as
well during a career that stretched from the sixties into the
late eighties. He died July 17 in Providence, at 67.
- In CONNECTICUT, Hipolito Cuevas made headlines a few years
back when he sparred with the FCC over his unlicensed Spanish-language
station in New Haven. "La Nueva Radio Musicale" was
eventually shut down in 2000, and Cuevas went legit shortly thereafter,
working at WXCT (990 Southington) and later at WNEZ (910 New
Britain). Cuevas had a number of health problems, including kidney
and heart disease and diabetes; he died on July 7 at just 44.
- Almost a year after being displaced from WCLX (102.9 Westport
NY), VERMONT's "Album Station" is back on the air down
the dial. Diane Desmond and Russ Kinsley had kept their eclectic
AOR format alive via a website (www.musicheads.us) after their
dispute with WCLX owner Dennis Jackson led to their departure
from the FM airwaves over Lake Champlain, but on Friday they
returned to the air via another leased facility, RadioActive's
WZXP (97.9 Au Sable NY), transmitting from the old WPTZ-TV site
at Terry Mountain south of Plattsburgh. WCLX, meanwhile, remains
very much on the air with a similar AAA format and a new operator,
Chip Morgan's "Farm Fresh Radio."
- Some good news for NEW HAMPSHIRE's scrappy little classical
station: Harry Kozlowski's WCNH-LP (94.7 Bow) received planning
board approval last week for the new transmitter installation
it's planning at its new full-power CP, WCNU (91.5 Bow). Some
neighbors had objected to the new signal, but others showed up
in force at a planning board meeting to support WCNU's proposal,
which would add a small transmitter shed and even smaller antenna
to an existing 40-foot pole. (NERW notes that "I don't want
to look at a shed every day," an actual objection from an
actual neighbor at the board meeting, may well be one of the
least persuasive NIMBY complaints we've ever seen...)
- In New York City itself, public station WNYC-FM (93.9) will
soon be operating from fully licensed facilities for the first
time since 9/11. Until now, WNYC has remained officially licensed
at its long-gone World Trade Center site, while its actual operation
has remained under Special Temporary Authority with 4 kW from
the Empire State Building master antenna. The problem with WNYC's
return to its old Empire home was the short-spacing that plagues
so many stations in the region - when 93.9 moved from Empire
to the World Trade Center in the early 70s, it lost the grandfathered
short-spacing it enjoyed to adjacent-channel WZMX (93.7 Hartford),
and WZMX's current owner CBS Radio objected to the interference
an Empire-based WNYC-FM would cause to the Hartford station.
WNYC and CBS finally reached a settlement, and now WNYC-FM will
once again be licensed to Empire at 5.4 kW/1361', just shy of
the 6 kW a full class B signal would use at that height. With
WNYC's impending return to licensed status, only one of the Trade
Center FM signals is still in license limbo: SBS' WPAT-FM (93.1)
continues to operate under STA at Empire as it works out its
own short-spacing issues.
Five Years Ago: July 24, 2006 -
- The Citadel corporate mandate to install the syndicated Opie
& Anthony show at most of its rock stations nationwide landed
especially hard in western NEW YORK this week. With only one
logical place in the Buffalo market for the O&A show - modern
rock "Edge" WEDG (103.3) - this morning's arrival of
Opie & Anthony meant a big move for one of the Queen City's
top-rated (and longest-running) morning shows. After 11 years
on WEDG (and its predecessor, WUFX, "the Fox"), Ted
Shredd and Tom Ragan will move their "Shredd and Ragan"
show to the 3-7 PM slot beginning this afternoon. The duo used
their last morning show Friday to gamely promote the move, blowing
up their alarm clocks on the air in a nice bit of radio theater.
- WEDG managers are trying to put a positive spin on the move,
telling the Buffalo News that Shredd & Ragan may find a bigger
audience in the less-competitive afternoon hours - but in a city
with no huge afternoon rush hour keeping listeners in their cars,
can Shredd & Ragan find the kind of audience loyalty and
listening time they've enjoyed in the morning?
- The message boards were also quick to notice one area Citadel
market that wasn't getting "infected" with the "O&A
virus" - in Syracuse, where rocker WAQX (95.7 Manlius) would
seem to be an obvious candidate for the show, the morning team
of Beaner and Ken is being left intact, perhaps because it's
also being simulcast to Citadel's WRAX in Birmingham, Alabama.
Whatever the reason, "95X" lost a Syracuse competitor
last week, as Clear Channel euthanized "The Dog" and
flipped WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter) from modern rock to hot AC, focusing
on modern AC hits from the 90s and the last few years and rebranding
the station as "Nova 105.1" (or perhaps "nova
105-one," if you're the graphic artist who designed the
- Up in CANADA, the AM-to-FM juggernaut marches on in a big
way this week. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Maritime Broadcasting
System (MBS) launched the FM replacement for CHNS (960) at noon
on Wednesday, pulling the plug on the oldies format heard on
AM in favor of classic rock as "89.9 Hal FM. With the debut
of the new format on CHNS-FM, the AM signal will go dark within
90 days. Over on Prince Edward Island, we hear that Newcap has
begun testing its second FM signal. In addition to new CHTN-FM
(Ocean 100.3), "K-Rock 105.5" is now being heard, announcing
calls CKQK. (There's still no timeline for MBS' CFCY 630 to complete
its move to FM in Charlottetown, leaving PEI with no full-power
- Returning to Nova Scotia, CFAB (1450 Windsor) has applied
to make its own move to FM, with 100 kW DA/159 m on 92.9. The
CFAB move to FM is just one of many on the agenda for a CRTC
meeting September 11 in Quebec City; the bigger story, by far,
is a set of four Corus applications to move its network of AM
talk stations to the FM dial in most of Quebec.
- Here's how those applications shake out: CJRC (1150 Gatineau-Ottawa),
which has applied for FM moves in the past, would go to 104.7
(11 kW DA/95 m); CHLT (630 Sherbrooke) would move to 102.1 (23
kW DA/91 m); CHLN (550 Trois-Rivieres) would move to 106.9 (100
kW DA/87 m) and CKRS (590 Saguenay) would move to 98.3 (100 kW
DA/148 m). If the moves are granted, the AM dial would become
nearly silent in Sherbrooke (with only CKTS 900, the relay of
Montreal's English talker CJAD, still standing) and Trois-Rivieres
(which would have only CKSM 1220 Shawinigan, the relay of CHLN
- unless it, too, goes silent during the conversion) - and it
would be completely silent in Saguenay.
- In other news, "Humble Howard" Glassman has lost
his morning gig at CKFM (99.9 Toronto), a year after the station
dropped his longtime morning partner, Fred Patterson. Also out
at CKFM are morning producer "Bingo Bob" and newscaster
Judy Croon, and we hear the entire station is running jockless
for several weeks as it retools.
- In NEW JERSEY, WKOE (98.5 Ocean Acres) finally dropped its
"G Rock Radio" simulcast this morning at midnight,
stunting with the Eagles' "New Kid in Town" en route
to a noon flip (as had been widely rumored) to country as "Jersey
Kountry K98.5." New calls are WKMK, as of 10 this morning.
10 Years Ago: July 25, 2001 -
- Clear Channel has been awfully aggressive lately when it
comes to moving its signature talk talent to its own radio stations,
but in the Upper Valley of NEW HAMPSHIRE, one small station owner
is fighting back. As we told you last week, Bob Vinikoor's WNTK-FM
(99.7 New London) lost the Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Dean Edell shows,
both syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere, to Clear Channel-owned
WTSL (1400 Lebanon), with the programs moving to their new homes
on Thursday (July 19). But Vinikoor didn't take the move lightly;
he tells NERW he spent the last few months trying to persuade
Premiere it was making a mistake by moving from WNTK, whose FM
signal covers much of western New Hampshire, to the little 1000-watt
WTSL, which is strong in Lebanon and nearby Hanover but decidedly
a distant signal in New London and Newport, more than 30 miles
away. Vinikoor's efforts included a videotape showing the scenery
in his coverage area -- and the weak WTSL signal on his van's
radio. The tape was returned, unwatched, by Premiere executives,
leading Vinikoor to try to get it to Limbaugh himself. And when
it became clear that the battle was lost, Vinikoor switched to
a new plan: hiring former gubernatorial candidate Deborah "Arnie"
Arneson to fill Limbaugh's old shift on WNTK. Arneson's show
debuted Thursday on the station, bringing Vinikoor media attention
that included Manchester's WMUR-TV and several area newspapers.
- Elsewhere in the Granite State, a well-known name is getting
back into the ownership game with the purchase of WBNC (1050/104.5
Conway) and WMWV (93.5 Conway). Ron Frizzell sold his Portland/Lewiston
cluster to the Harron folks (WMTW-TV) last year; now he's buying
the Mount Washington Valley stations from Lawrence Sherman's
North Country Radio. It's always fun to see the old-fashioned
names Frizzell uses for his companies ("Wireless Talking
Machine" was the usual one in Maine, Massachusetts and upstate
New York in years past); this time it's the "Mount Washington
Radio and Gramophone, L.L.C" buying the stations. The WBNC
simulcast does country, while WMWV is AAA; purchase price hasn't
been announced yet.
- Ralphie Marino is coming back to MASSACHUSETTS, a year after
departing WJMN (94.5 Boston) for the morning gig at New York
City's WKTU (103.5 Lake Success). Look for Marino over at the
new Entercom complex, taking Charlie Wilde's old seat at the
middle of the WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) morning show, alongside Karen
Blake, Heather Gersten, and "Survivor" Richard Hatch.
- Some good news for the Entercom cluster here in Rochester:
the FCC this week approved the allocation shift that will transform
93.3A Avon, 20 miles south of Rochester, into 93.3A Fairport,
just a few miles east of Rochester. In practical terms, it means
a real city signal for WBBF-FM, once the paperwork is filed that
will move its antenna from a rimshot tower down in Livingston
County to the WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester) stick on Five Mile Line
Road in Penfield. (On a historical note, that tower was the original
"WBBF-FM," since that was the first call on what's
now WBEE-FM back in 1961 - and on 101.3 MHz back then, to boot!)
- In PENNSYLVANIA, Greater Media gets new calls to go with
its new "Mix" format on Philadelphia's 95.7: WEJM becomes
WMWX, a call last seen in the region on what's now WMEK (99.9)
up in Auburn, Maine. Harrisburg's new Clear Channel "Kiss"
changes calls from WWKL-FM (99.3) to WHKF, as long expected,
while up in Erie, 102.3 changes again from WLKK to WQHZ-FM, just
a few weeks after trading its longtime WJET calls with WLKK(AM)
- And across the state line in OHIO, the call changes from
the big format/facility swap in Cleveland are beginning to take
shape. We've heard Cleveland's 1220, ex-WKNR, using the "WHKC"
ID as it waits to take its new "WHK" identity (those
calls having been parked at the former WCCD 1000 Parma), and
we know Clear Channel temporarily moved the "Kiss"
WAKS calls from 104.9 Lorain to 98.1 Canton (ex-WHK-FM) in preparation
for swapping them with the WKDD calls still on 96.5 Akron (which
is hiding its calls with a "WKDD Akron has moved to 98.1"
announcement once an hour!). We know WCLV-FM's calls moved with
the classical format from 95.5 Cleveland to 104.9 Lorain - and
now we know that the WFHM calls that replaced it on 95.5 are
also showing up down in the Youngstown market, where Salem took
the dark 1440 facility that had been WHKW and changed the calls
to WFHM(AM). Whew...
15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, July 30, 1996
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- Nostalgia is big on the airwaves in Boston this summer. As
part of Barry O'Brien's big WVBF reunion on August 10, former
'VBF jocks have been invited to take airshifts for the day on
70s-rocker WEGQ 93.7. Tape will be rolling here at NERW headquarters.
The hi-fi VCR will also see action this coming Saturday, August
3, when the 3-8pm slot on WRCA (1330) formerly occupied by the
late Bill Marlowe will be home to a Marlowe remembrance hosted
by Ron Della Chiesa of WGBH. And from the rumor mill: Greater
Media's WMEX (1150) in Boston did a brief stab at bringing back
the oldies one Saturday night a few weeks ago, and while it hasn't
been heard since (the station is back to its usual leased-time
Spanish), rumor has it new jingles are being cut. 1150 tried
doing oldies when it got the WMEX calls a decade ago, and of
course the calls themselves were part of the "Wimmex"
top-40 legend on 1510 (now WNRB) in the '60s and early '70s.
- Also from the history files: Longtime (1951-1983) WBZ radio
and TV weatherman Don Kent was honored a few weeks ago with the
dedication of Don Kent State Park, a small portion of the Wollaston
Beach Reservation in Quincy. The park sits on the site of the
old Kent's Carpetland store, from which Kent first broadcast
the weather for WJDA (1300) in Quincy in the late 40s. Kent now
lives in New Hampshire, and his forecasts are still heard on
WQRC (99.9) on Cape Cod and WEMJ (1490) in Laconia NH.
- On the fringes of New England: M Street reports the former
WMJR (107.1) in Hudson Falls NY, some 50 miles north of Albany
and just a few miles west of the Vermont line, has become WHTR,
"Hot 107.1." I'll check that one out next weekend as
I hit the road for Buffalo and Syracuse. And a familiar sound
in the southeast Connecticut area is about to go FM-only... WLNG
in Sag Harbor, Long Island is selling its AM 1600 operation to
Unity Broadcasting of New York City. Unity will presumably shut
down WLNG(AM), allowing its flagship WWRL 1600 New York to expand
its pattern a bit to the east (and since the WWRL transmitter
is in Secaucus NJ, west of NYC, that's good news for WWRL). Unity
bought silent WQQW 1590 Waterbury CT earlier this year for the
same reason. The good news is that the very distinctive, jingle-laden
sound of WLNG will continue to be heard in glorious mono on 92.1
FM. Also down that way, the former WMRW 98.5 Westhampton LI has
become WLRI, after a brief stint with the WLIR calls that now
live on its simulcast 92.7 in Garden City LI. And 92.7's old
WDRE calls are now in Philadelphia on the former WIBF 103.9 Jenkintown.
Scorecards are for sale in the lobby...
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2011 by Scott Fybush.