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September 19, 2011

Citadel Becomes Cumulus

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*For many years now, one of the more challenging bits about being an editor of a radio industry trade publication has been trying to keep the holdings of the various "C companies" all straight. With Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Citadel and Cumulus all very active players across the region, it was always just a little bit too easy to inadvertently label a Cumulus cluster as "Citadel" or vice versa.

We won't be worrying about that anymore: as of late last week, the FCC has signed off on the Cumulus acquisition of Citadel Broadcasting - and within hours, the Atlanta-based Cumulus had taken over at the former Citadel stations, complete with new IDs on the air and new e-mail addresses for the staff.

Across most of the region, the merger came with little overlap: Citadel's clusters in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Allentown, Erie, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, New London, Providence, Portland, Augusta and Presque Isle had no in-market competition from Cumulus stations, and the Cumulus signals in the New York City suburbs and nearby Connecticut mesh nicely with the former Citadel stations in the city itself, WABC and WPLJ. (Because of the reach of WABC and WPLJ and the sprawling size of the New York metro, Cumulus will have to spin off one former Citadel station at the fringes: WELJ 104.7 is licensed to Montauk, NY, and even though it serves New London, Connecticut, it would have pushed Cumulus over the New York City market limits.)

And then there's Harrisburg, PENNSYLVANIA, where Cumulus and Citadel were active competitors. In last week's issue of NERW, we laid out the changes that were coming, including the spinoff of Citadel's WCAT-FM (102.3 Carlisle) and the Justice Depatrment-mandated format swap that's sending away the classic rock format of WTPA with the Palmyra-licensed 92.1 signal that was doing rhythmic top-40 as WWKL, "Hot 92."

What we didn't realize last week was just how fast those changes would take place.

On Friday morning at 6, WTPA moved down the dial to 92.1, while "Hot 92" moved up the dial (and a little closer to the core of the Harrisburg market) to WTPA's old spot at 93.5 on the dial.

At least for now, that's the extent of the changes: both WTPA and WWKL keep their existing airstaffs, and for the moment they're both in their existing north Harrisburg studios, which will become the home base of the combined Cumulus cluster in the next few months as WQXA-FM (105.7) and WMHX (106.7) move over from their present home in Camp Hill.

*Most of CBS Radio's recent wave of sports FM signals have been bolstered by a strong lineup of local play-by-play rights - except in Pittsburgh, where KDKA-FM ("93.7 the Fan") has managed to find success for itself even though all of the city's pro sports teams are heard across town on Clear Channel's non-sports FM signals.

Now CBS may be close to cracking that monopoly: the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported late last week that KDKA-FM had edged out Clear Channel talker WPGB (104.7) for next year's radio rights - only to backtrack on that report later in the week when the Pirates said they were still negotiating next year's deal with WPGB.

The Bucs have played on "FM Talk 104.7" since 2007, when they moved from their decades-long home on CBS' KDKA (1020). At least for now, the Steelers and Penguins remain in place over at Clear Channel, where they're heard on rockers WDVE (102.5) and WXDX (105.9) and ESPN Radio affiliate WBGG (970).

*In Philadelphia, they're mourning veteran KYW (1060) reporter Karin Phillips, who died on Tuesday (Sept. 13) at just 53. Phillips, who had also worked as a reporter, writer and editor at the all-news station, had been KYW's community affairs reporter. She also served as an adjunct professor of broadcast journalism at her alma mater, Rutgers University.

And just days later, KYW lost a second member of its news team: on Friday night, sports reporter Jack O'Rourke collapsed after covering the Phillies-Cardinals game and died shortly thereafter. O'Rourke was 80; he'd been with KYW for 15 years as a Phillies reporter. (He'd worked there once before, from 1966-1969, before joining NBC Radio for two decades, where his accomplishments included producing the network's coverage of several Olympics.)

Veteran air personality Scott Evans is the new morning man at WLEV (100.7 Allentown), where he joins Cindy Wear for "Scott and Cindy in the Morning." Evans' career includes more than a decade at WXTU in Philadelphia and some time at KPLX in Dallas as well.

*A station sale just across the state line: Erie radio veteran Bill Shannon is buying half of WWOW (1360) in Conneaut, Ohio for $35,000, and he's expected to flip the station from religious talk to oldies, similar to the format he programmed at WYNE (1530 North East) on the other side of Erie.

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As befits a tenth-anniversary edition, this one's special: in addition to all the great tower photos and historic dates you've come to expect from our calendars, the new 2012 edition is our first-ever themed calendar, paying special homage to the many stations that began broadcasting during radio's first big boom year of 1922.

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*It's birthday time for the oldest surviving radio station in MASSACHUSETTS: WBZ (1030 Boston) turns 90 on Monday, and there's no shortage of celebrations, both on and off the air. Steve LeVeille's overnight talk show is devoting two nights to radio history: on Monday night (Tuesday morning) at midnight, beloved Boston radio historian Donna Halper (PhD!) will be Steve's guest - and if you're reading this week's column early enough, tune in Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight to hear yours truly on the air with Steve.

On Monday night at 8, a special hour of "Nightside with Dan Rea" will be devoted to WBZ's history as well, with a guest list that includes current morning man Joe Mathieu and his longtime predecessor, Gary LaPierre.

Gary is part of the very exclusive club of "WBZ Hall of Fame" honorees, and that club will add another member on Monday afternoon. (The station's not saying who will get the nod this time, but we'll be on hand when the latest plaque outside the building is unveiled.)

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Today's induction will honor longtime 'BZ morning man Carl deSuze, and it's hard to imagine a more appropriate choice. Full coverage in the next NERW...

And WGBH-TV's "Greater Boston" will also feature WBZ's anniversary, Monday night at 7.

*It's not just WBZ handing out Hall of Fame inductions this week: the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame held its annual induction ceremony on Thursday. This year's class: 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 Donna Halper's hero, Eunice Randall Thompson, the pioneering female broadcaster of 1XE/WGI fame in the early 1920s.

*A week after WEEI's momentous move to FM, the sports-radio war in Boston is red hot. On the CBS Radio side, WBZ-FM (98.5) came home from the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Chicago with the Marconi Award for "Sports Radio Station of the Year," an impressive win for a station that's barely two years old.

The "Sports Hub" also announced plans to launch a 24/7 Boston Bruins HD Radio subchannel. CBS has launched similar services dedicated to the Philadelphia Phillies and Dallas Cowboys, and Clear Channel has found success in Pittsburgh with an all-Penguins channel. The Bruins channel will launch the day after Thanksgiving.

Over on the Entercom side, WEEI's FM launch came with some heavy-duty publicity, including a big ad on the Green Monster at Fenway and a huge on-air push surrounding the first Red Sox game on 93.7 on Tuesday. (Which, as the historians in the crowd were quick to point out, wasn't actually the first Sox game on that frequency; some games in the 1970s aired on then-WCGY to fill in some coverage gaps in the days when WWEL and WPLM were the Sox flagship stations.)

*Where are they now? Len Weiner, who programmed former Boston ESPN Radio affiliate WAMG (890)/WLLH (1400) a few years back, has a new job in Florida. Weiner, whose resume also includes stints as program director of Chicago's WGN (720) and at the ESPN Radio mothership in Bristol, Connecticut, is the new "market program manager" for Genesis Communications' stations in Tampa: ESPN outlet WHBO (1040) and talkers WWBA (820) and WMGG (1470).

And there's late word of the death of Len Zola, best known in recent years as the founder of the "Media Gang" gatherings of Boston-area radio and TV folks...more in next week's issue.

*For many years now, observant radio folks have puzzled over CONNECTICUT Public Radio's penchant for identifying its network as "WNPR" when those calls were assigned not to its flagship station, WPKT (90.5 Meriden-Hartford) but to its Norwich-based signal on 89.1.

Puzzle no more - as of last Thursday, they've swapped those calls, putting WNPR on 90.5 and WPKT on 89.1. (And now we won't grit our teeth quite so much when hearing an NPR network newscaster identify a report as coming from so-and-so at "member station WNPR in Hartford.")

*There's late word of some big staffing changes at Cox Radio's Milford-based cluster: Marit Price is gone from the morning show at "Star 99.9" (WEZN-FM Bridgeport), leaving Tad Lemire and veteran traffic reporter Tommy Edison to host the "Tad and Tommy Show" together. Also gone, we're told, are WFOX-FM (95.9 Norwalk) afternoon host Matt Zako and WPLR (99.1 New Haven) night jock Mike Prodoti.

*RHODE ISLAND's NBC affiliate has a new general manager, and he's a familiar face to upstate New York TV viewers. Vic Vetters comes to Media General's WJAR (Channel 10) in Providence from Smith Broadcasting, where he's been serving as general manager of WFFF/WVNY in Burlington, VERMONT and WKTV in Utica - and it's from WKTV that Vetters is best known, having spent much of his career there as lead news anchor and news director before rising into upper management. At WJAR, Vetters replaces Lisa Churchville, who retired in June after a career at Channel 10 that dates back to the Outlet Broadcasting days.

*Vermont Public Radio has added another full-power signal to its VPR Classical network: WVNK (91.1 Manchester) replaces a translator at 92.5 in that southern Vermont community. The 115-watt signal transmits from Green Peak in Dorset. (VPR also signed on another new signal this week: it has upped the power of its HD Radio signal from WVPS 107.9 at Mount Mansfield to -14 dBc, resulting in improved digital coverage of Burlington and vicinity.)

*There's a tower down in MAINE, but don't worry - this one came down on purpose. WEZR (1240 Lewiston) built a new tower to replace the 44-year-old stick at Summer and Park Streets in Auburn, and last week it invited the media over to watch the old tower topple. WEZR's former tower was actually built for the now-defunct WPNE (1530); what's now WEZR moved there two decades ago to replace its original site (as WCOU) in Lewiston. (Check out WGME-TV's video of the tower toppling here.)

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*As NEW YORK's Southern Tier continues to clean up from the historic flooding along the Susquehanna River, there's some good news from our friends at WEBO (1330 Owego): it turns out they'll be able to return to their flooded downtown studio building after all.

After initial reports that the building's foundation was crumbling and it would have to be condemned, a more detailed analysis found that the century-old building could be salvaged. It's still a long road back for Dave Radigan and his crew, who are operating out of a temporary studio at Radigan's home: much of the drywall in the building will have to be replaced along with most of the flooring, and all the equipment that was saved from the floodwaters must still be reinstalled.

More good news from the region's broadcasters: the Citad...er, Cumulus cluster in Binghamton (this will take some getting used to, clearly) in fact made it through the rains without taking on water in its basement studios downtown, we're told. The water came within blocks of the cluster's Court Street facility, but things stayed dry there while newsman Roger Neel stayed on the air all night with updates.

While we don't often hear much about WCDO (1490/100.9) in Sidney, that small station northeast of Binghamton was hit by the flooding as well: owner Dave Mance tells NERW the AM side of the operation went silent as floodwaters approached, prudently moving its AM transmitter out of the building to higher ground. WCDO-FM stayed on the air throughout the flooding to keep residents there informed.

*It's reunion and awards season all across upstate New York - and the fun kicked off here in Rochester Saturday night with the first-ever Rochester Radio Reunion, which drew more than 150 veterans of the Flower City radio and TV dials.

WHAM-TV (Channel 13) anchor Don Alhart emceed the event, which was organized by veteran broadcasters Larry White, Dan Guilfoyle, Pat Grover, Orest Hrywnak and John Gubiotti. Rochester radio alumni from at least ten states came in for the event, including former WSAY/WBBF jock Dave Mason (in from San Diego), WKLX PD Cary Pall (in from Cincinnati), Rich "Albert" Petschke (now in Washington State) and many more.

The Rochester event was just the beginning of a busy week of broadcast history: on Thursday night, Buffalo's broadcasters will gather at the WNED-TV studios for the annual Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with a list of inductees this year that includes Dick Biondi, "Shane Brother Shane" Gibson and Jacquie Walker. And then on Saturday, Southern Tier broadcasters will get together for Ray Ross' biennial Binghamton Broadcasters Reunion. (We'll be in Binghamton for that one, too!)

*In Albany, Brian Sinkoff is gone from his late-afternoon "Sound Off with Sinkoff" talk show on Townsquare sports talker WTMM (104.5 Mechanicsville). The former WTEN-TV sports director had been with WTMM for just over three years, initially as PD as well as afternoon host. He's being replaced in late afternoons by Bruce Jacobs.

*And an obituary from here in Rochester: Robert Fain was known as "Rob Jason" in his many years doing radio and TV news in Ithaca, Watertown, Syracuse and Rochester, most recently on Sundays at WHAM (1180) while working during the week at Rochester Institute of Technology. Fain, who was facing some legal issues, was just 51 when he died September 9.

*It's the end of the line for an AM signal in VERMONT's Upper Valley: WNHV (910 White River Junction) has surrendered its license. The sports station went off the air in May 2010 after its transmitter failed and later lost the use of its longtime tower site - and now owner Nassau has thrown in the towel on trying to resurrect the signal.

Much of the former WNHV coverage area can hear the same "Score" sports format on sister station WTSV (1230 Claremont), which remains on the air.

WNHV, as it turns out, may be the least of Nassau's problems right now: Radio Business Report says the company has hit an impasse with its lenders, who are reportedly trying to force the company into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would mean immediate shutdown of the company and liquidation of its assets. We'll be watching this closely to see how it develops.

*Radio people on the move in NEW JERSEY: Marc Miller is out in morning drive at WSJO (104.9 Egg Harbor City), with Tom Morgan moving from afternoons to mornings at the Townsquare (yup, we started typing "Millennium") hot AC signal. Rob Acampora, late of WSTW in Wilmington, Delaware, takes over afternoons at "SoJo 104.9."

Elsewhere on the shore, Harry Hurley is heading back to his old home base, WENJ (1450 Atlantic City) after more than five years down the dial at WIBG (1020 Ocean City).

*In a slow news week in eastern CANADA, the biggest headlines came from the world of radio sports, where Rogers-owned CJCL (FAN 590) said goodbye to one voice and hello to several more. Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro have joined the station after the demise of the "Score" sports channel on Sirius/XM satellite radio, while Scott Morrison comes to CJCL from CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada." But gone from 590 is Dan Dunleavy, who moves over to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization to be one of the team's play-by-play voices this fall on CFMJ (AM 640).

Over at TSN Radio (CHUM 1050), a schedule shift moves Dan Patrick from 1-4 PM on delay to 9 AM-noon live. That chops an hour of Mike Richards' morning show and shifts Bryan Hayes from 10 AM-1 PM to noon-4 PM.

*Out in the Grande Anse region of eastern Quebec, Radio-Canada wants to shut down the 10 kW transmitter at CBGA-1 (540 New Carlisle). It's applying to replace that AM signal on the Gaspe peninsula with five lower-powered FM signals: 104.5 Perce, 93.3 Chandler, 92.5 Port Daniel, 104.3 New Richmond and 98.7 New Carlisle.

*In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the CRTC has granted City Church Halifax a new low-power FM signal. CIRP (94.7 Spryfield-Halifax) will run 50 watts, offering 126 hours of local programming each week.

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: September 20, 2010 -

  • FM news-talk came to New York's Capital District at midnight, when Clear Channel flipped modern rock WHRL (103.1 Albany) from "Channel 103.1" to WGY-FM, a simulcast of its venerable AM news-talker, WGY (810 Schenectady). As a class A FM signal transmitting from Rensselaer County, across the Hudson from Albany, the new WGY-FM covers only a fraction of the territory served by WGY's mighty 50 kW clear-channel signal, but it brings WGY's programming to the younger FM audience - and gives WGY an edge that, for now, AM-only standalone competitor WGDJ (1300 Rensselaer) can't match.
  • Shamrock Communications split up a northeast PENNSYLVANIA FM simulcast on Thursday to launch a new format for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market: in place of classic hits WQFM (92.1 Nanticoke), Shamrock is now programming a 90s-heavy alternative format as "Radio 92.1" under new calls WFUZ. (Those calls had kicked around the market on what's now Family Life's WCIN 91.3 Tunkhannock; that station was formerly owned by Kevin Fitzgerald, who's also Shamrock's chief engineer.) For now, at least, the new "Radio 92.1" appears to be running jockless ("more music, less yada yada"), but it's got an experienced format veteran at its helm: Shamrock operations manager Willobee has programmed this music before at stations such as Vermont's WEQX. As for the other half of the old "Cool 92 and 100" simulcast, WQFN (100.1 Forest City), it's now carrying ESPN Radio in tandem with Shamrock's WEJL (630 Scranton)/WBAX (1240 Wilkes-Barre) and their FM translators in both cities' downtown areas. The WQFN signal extends the ESPN programming northeast to the Carbondale area; meanwhile, its former downtown Scranton translator on 100.5 is now carrying the WFUZ modern rock programming.
  • On a relatively quiet week in NEW YORK, we begin with a format change in Binghamton, where Clear Channel quietly flipped WBBI (107.5 Endwell) from classic rock "107.5 the Bear" to classic hits (don't say "oldies!") at midnight Wednesday. The new "Big 107.5" includes something the Bear lacked: a live, local morning show. Sonny King, who was last heard in the region at WXHC (101.5 Homer/Cortland) before becoming the victim of budget cuts, got the call - apparently on just a few hours' notice, we're told - to do morning drive on "Big." (King had worked with Binghamton Clear Channel GM Joanne Aloi a few years back at WIII/WKRT in Cortland.) The flip means Binghamton now has two old- er, "classic hits" stations, since Big is competing directly against Equinox's "Cool 100" (WCDW 100.5 Susquehanna PA).
  • Eastern MASSACHUSETTS wasn't slated to get a Catholic radio station until the end of October, but the deal to sell WBIX (1060 Natick) to Holy Family Communications moved ahead of schedule - and so last Wednesday night (Sept. 15) marked the end of business talk on WBIX, followed (after a few hours of silence) by the launch of Catholic programming under new calls WQOM. Alex Langer's sale of WBIX is valued at $1.5 million - $1 million in cash, plus $500,000 as an in-kind gift to Holy Family.
  • A surprise format change gave Burlington, VERMONT another top-40 station on Friday. WXZO (96.7 Williston NY) had been running Citadel's "True Oldies Channel" under the nickname "DOT-FM," in an attempt to revive the legacy of Burlington's old WDOT (1400/1390), but it's now "Planet 96.7," with a lineup that includes the syndicated New York City-based Elvis Duran morning show and apparently at least a local midday shift.
  • Another deletion marks the official end of the oldest college station in NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dartmouth College's WDCR (1340 Hanover) signed on in 1958, continuing a history that began with carrier-current broadcasts as early as the 1940s. But with the later addition of an FM station (WFRD 99.3) and a webcast (WebDCR.com), coupled with serious transmitter and ground-system problems, interest in the AM station waned. It fell silent in August 2008, and was resurrected by a group of alumni in the summer of 2009 for just long enough to keep its license alive. With the one-year silent clock again ticking, Dartmouth recently notified the FCC that it was surrendering the AM license, which has now been officialy cancelled. (Why not sell the AM? The tower sat on Dartmouth property, adjacent to athletic fields, and the college apparently felt buyers would be uninterested in a bare license requiring the speedy location and construction of a new tower site in a municipality known to be hostile to tower construction.)

Five Years Ago: September 18, 2006 -

  • It's a week of big changes on the eastern MASSACHUSETTS television dial - perhaps the biggest since the ownership and affiliation changes that rocked the Boston market in the mid-nineties - and once again, maverick station owner Ed Ansin is driving much of the action. Ansin's 1993 purchase of then-CBS affiliate WHDH-TV (Channel 7) introduced a new hard-driving tabloid style of news to the market, carrying the station from also-ran status to first place in the ratings. His move to NBC two years later (when former affiliate WBZ-TV became a CBS O&O) touched off more than a decade of tension between the Peacock network and Ansin's Sunbeam Broadcasting.
  • Boston is the largest market where NBC doesn't own its affiliate, and for the last few months, there's been a growing buzz that the network wants to change that. Since Ansin's not selling, the rumor mill quickly settled on Tribune's struggling WLVI (Channel 56), the WB-turned-CW affiliate whose "Ten O'Clock News" was once the premiere prime-time newscast in the market. The growth of Fox's WFXT over the last few years has damaged WLVI's ratings, and Tribune has made no secret about its desire to sell some of its weaker outlets. (It's already parted with stations in Atlanta and Albany.) With NBC openly sniffing around the market, and Ansin in danger of losing the lucrative affiliation, the next step was obvious: Ansin announced last week that he'll pay Tribune $113.7 million to bring WLVI under the Sunbeam umbrella. (Tribune paid $25 million when it bought WLVI from Gannett in 1994.)
  • The result: WLVI's current home on Morrissey Boulevard will be shuttered, most of its 130 or so employees will end up out of work, and the current "Ten O'Clock News" operation will be replaced with a 10 PM newscast produced by the existing WHDH news department, with a few WLVI refugees being added there to help.
  • In VERMONT, Nassau Broadcasting's worst-kept secret finally became a reality on Friday morning at 10, when top 40 WORK-FM (107.1 Barre) gave way to classic hits "Frank FM." The new "Frank" is the latest in a growing batch of stations with that name across New England, from the original WFNK in Portland to newer "Frank" outlets in Nashua, New Hampshire and on Cape Cod. (That one's an adult hits station, unlike the others.) We're not sure yet how much of the WORK-FM airstaff will remain; the new website for Frank appears to have been hastily copied from yet another Nassau "Frank" down in Pennsylvania, right down to the "107.5 Frank FM" in the title bar...
  • One of the best-known TV anchors in Rochester, NEW YORK has lost a battle with cancer that few in town even knew he was fighting. Gabe Dalmath left the anchor chair at WHEC-TV (Channel 10) at the end of 2004, ending a 29-year career at the station - and a career in broadcasting that began in the Army in the late sixties and continued in the suburbs of New York City in the early seventies at stations such as WFAS, WVOX and WNEW. (Another of his early gigs was at WGBB on Long Island, where he worked with another young newscaster named Rich Funke, who'd later become WHEC's sports anchor and is now the station's lead newscaster himself.)
  • In 1976, Dalmath came to Rochester as weekend anchor at WHEC, soon becoming lead weeknight anchor, a post he'd keep for 25 years before being moved to mornings in 2001. Dalmath also replaced the late Eddie Meath as host of the station's annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, which became a passion of his. After his departure from WHEC in 2004, Dalmath worked with a local mortgage company and with Dalmath Associates, the public-relations firm founded by his wife, Jean. Most recently, he'd been one of the principals in an audience-research firm called Critical Tracking.
  • Dalmath came to the U.S. from his native Hungary in 1956, at the age of 9, escaping with his family from the revolution there. He remained a fan of Hungarian sports, as well as an avid skiier. Dalmath was diagnosed with kidney cancer in June, but few in town knew he was seriously ill until the news of his death was announced Friday night (Sept. 15). He was just 60 years old.
  • In PENNSYLVANIA, Ken Matthews is out as morning man at WAEB-FM (104.1 Allentown) after many years on that shift. Afternoon jock Mike Kelly is filling in for now, but we suspect we haven't heard the last of Matthews in the Lehigh Valley. Down the hall at WZZO (95.1 Bethlehem), Kelly Nova returns (from weekend/swing duty at WMMR in Philadelphia) to take over middays, moving PD Tori Thomas to the vacant afternoon slot. And last Monday was launch day for religion on WYHM (1470 Allentown), after 24 straight hours of Vicki Carr's "It Must Be Him." "Him" - "Hymn" - get it? Yeah...

10 Years Ago: September 17, 2001 -

  • Almost a week after the attacks on the World Trade Center, New York's TV dial continues to return to something resembling normalcy. WABC-TV (Channel 7) returned to the air with a low-power signal from the Armstrong tower in Alpine, N.J. on Saturday afternoon, with WNET (Channel 13) restoring its signal Sunday evening from the Empire State Building, again at low power. That leaves WWOR (Channel 9) as the last VHF signal to return. It plans to join sister Fox outlet WNYW (Channel 5) from Empire sometime this week. Pax's WPXN (Channel 31) is being seen over several LPTVs, including W23BA (Channel 34) in East Orange, N.J. and WPXU-LP (Channel 38) in Amityville, L.I.; there's no word on when WPXN itself will get a signal back on the air.
  • On the FM side, WNYC-FM (93.9) was the last of the World Trade Center FMs to restore a signal on its own frequency; it returned from Empire at 3:00 Sunday afternoon. The next project for all the affected stations is to turn these low-power emergency installations into full-power transmission facilities that can be used for the long haul. Despite all the talk of rebuilding the Trade Center towers, any reconstruction would be years in coming, and that means the Empire State Building and the Alpine tower are likely to remain the area's primary TV sites for a while.

15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, September 18, 1996

  • New England's oldest radio station, Boston's WBZ (1030) celebrated its 75th anniversary this week, with much merriment both on and off the air. Off-air, the big event was a party for staff and clients Wednesday night at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Guests of honor from 'BZ's past included Carl deSuze, Dave Maynard, Guy Mainella, Don Kent, Ken Meyer, Don Batting, and Bob Wilson. On-air, many of those same voices were heard during special segments on the anniversary morning, September 19, along with anniversary greetings from many of the state's politicos, plus Paul Harvey and a birthday poem from Charles Osgood. The David Brudnoy talk show Thursday night included chats with Dave Maynard, a 'BZ vet since the late 50s, and former producer-talk host Ken Meyer. And this Saturday, September 21, 'BZ's "Sports Saturday" will mark the anniversary by bringing many of Boston's legendary sports voices in for a special show from 12:30 to 6:30pm.
  • Down in Southern Connecticut, Cox's adult-contemporary WEZN (99.9) in Bridgeport is changing its name. The station now bills itself as "Star 99.9." NERW Connecticut correspondent Bill Dillane says no call changes are planned; it's just that the old "WEZN" identity didn't mesh too well with the upbeat AC the station is playing these days. WEZN's big competition is WEBE (107.9) in Westport.

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