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October 17, 2011

Tower Accident Kills Climber

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*Tower climbing is dangerous work, and the news from MASSACHUSETTS provided another reminder of that last week.

On Wednesday afternoon, an Iowa-based climber was at work on a project to replace the ladder inside American Tower's "FM 128" site on Chestnut Street in Newton (recently featured here on Tower Site of the Week) when he plummeted 500 feet to his death.

The Middlesex County DA's office quickly ruled the death accidental, and it's now the subject of an OSHA investigation. The climber's name had not been released as of Sunday. In a statement after the incident, American Tower said it has suspended work at the site while it investigates. The climber was working for a Texas-based tower company, Ultimate Tower Services.

The 1252-foot tower is the main site for four FM stations (WBUR-FM 90.9, WJMN 94.5, WBZ-FM 98.5 and WODS 103.3) and the auxiliary site for five more, as well as the main site for two full-power TV stations (WMFP and WBPX) and several low-power TV stations.

*Some staffing changes at CBS Radio in Boston: Jay Beau Jones is out after just under four years at the programming helm of WBMX (104.1) and WODS (103.3). Jones came to WBMX (then on 98.5) and WODS in early 2009 after a stint programming WWFX and WORC-FM in Worcester.

In Jones' place, CBS is shuffling its top programming staff in town: Mike Thomas, PD of WZLX (100.7) and WBZ-FM (Sports Hub 98.5) gets upped to VP of programming for the entire cluster, adding not only WBMX and WODS to his oversight but also WBZ (1030). As for the day-to-day programming of WBMX, it's reportedly being handled by CBS Radio's Hartford-based VP of hot AC, Steve Salhany, while Brian Thomas of New York's WCBS-FM is handling WODS.

*Greater Media talker WTKK (96.9 Boston) is rearranging its morning schedule: starting today, it's adding an extra hour to its weekday morning simulcast of New England Cable News. NECN's morning show will now be heard from 4:30 until 7 AM on "96.9 Boston Talks," with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan moving to a 7 AM start time. NECN will also be heard on 96.9 on Saturday mornings from 6 until 8.

*There's a station sale out along Route 2: Steve Silberberg's County Broadcasting Company, LLC is selling WGAW (1340 Gardner) to Steven Wendell for $150,000. Under Silberberg, the 1000-watt station has been running syndicated talk by day and ESPN sports at night. As for Wendell, he's best known for his long (and as yet, unsuccessful) battles to get several new AM stations on the air: he held a never-built construction permit for WKNJ (550) at two locations, Lakeside, N.J. and Harriman, N.Y., and he still holds CPs for WXNH (540) in Jaffrey and WZNH (870) in Fitzwilliam, N.H.

Wendell, who's worked for several Hudson Valley radio stations and for Cablevision's local origination there, tells NERW he's been away from full-time broadcasting for the last eight years while being mobilized on active duty with the military in Washington. But he says he's got big plans to bring WGAW back to prominence as "the source for local news, information and sports for North Central Massachusetts," including local morning, midday and afternoon shows and local sports coverage.

*Over at WGBH (89.7), there's a new nickname - "Boston Public Radio" - and a new weekend show that started on Saturday. "Innovation Hub" is described as "a one-hour radio program examining the latest in local innovations, premiering October 15." The new show will be hosted by Kara Miller, who's an assistant professor at UMass Dartmouth and a regular WGBH contributor. It airs Saturday mornings at 7 and Sunday nights at 10. (As for that "Boston Public Radio" name, it's been used before - it was a branding line for UMass Boston's WUMB a decade or so back.)

*More news from the public radio world in New England: high atop downtown Boston's One Financial Center tower, WHRB (95.3) has gone non-directional. The Harvard-affiliated station worked out a deal with Clear Channel's WSKX (95.3 York Center ME) to replace a 1990 interference-reduction agreement with new facilities at both stations. Going non-directional at WHRB (with a new Nautel VS1 transmitter) will significantly improve the North Shore signal for that station, while WSKX is in the finishing stages of the work to put a new directional antenna on the air that will improve its signal westward into Rochester and Dover, N.H.

*Up north, NEW HAMPSHIRE Public Radio has applied for a license to cover for its newest signal: WEVQ (91.9 Littleton), the network's eighth full-power license, runs 575 watts/1059' DA from Mann Hill, north of town.

*Congratulations to longtime friend-of-the-column Bob Welch, who's about to be a Radio Person on the Move in VERMONT. After spending the last few years doing the midday and afternoon news (and lots of other things, too) at WSTJ (1340 St. Johnsbury), Bob returns to the legendary WDEV (550 Waterbury)/WDEV-FM (96.1 Warren) in two weeks, where he'll take over the evening shift. Lee Kittell, who'd been doing nights at WDEV, is now the PD and afternoon host, replacing Jack Donovan.

*Radio People on the Move in CONNECTICUT: Mike Picozzi has vanished from the airwaves at WCCC-FM (106.9 Hartford), where the veteran jock had been doing mornings; afternooner Jay Raven has moved to the morning shift there.

*Charlie Bagley, who died last Sunday at age 82, was known as "Fair Weather Charlie" in a weather forecasting career that spanned three decades, most of it at Hartford's Channel 3 (WTIC-TV/WFSB).

Bagley came to WTIC-TV and sister radio stations WTIC (1080)/WTIC-FM (96.5) in 1972 from the co-owned Travelers Weather Service, and his no-frills presentation soon became a fixture on channel 3's newscasts. Bagley moved over to competitor WVIT (Channel 30) for a few years in the mid-1980s, but returned to WFSB in 1987, doing weather for the station's morning newscasts until his retirement in 1994.


It's been a month since we posted our "open letter" to NERW/ readers announcing some upcoming changes to the site.

The response has been unbelievably gratifying: already, hundreds of you have signed up for subscriptions to the new version of, and many of you have sent along very kind notes of thanks and support.

And now it's almost time to flip the proverbial switch (or, perhaps, to hit the proverbial "plates on" button). Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be transitioning and our sister sites, including, to a new server and a new site design.

While some content (including all of will remain accessible to everyone after the switch, most of the good stuff will be available only to paid subscribers - and if you're not one yet, we hope you'll join us soon. (All one-year subscriptions entered before the changeover will run through the end of November, 2012, so there's no advantage to waiting until the last minute.)

If you've already subscribed, first, thank you! - and second, watch your e-mail sometime next week for the login and password that will give you access to all the good stuff you've come to expect from NERW and Tower Site of the Week, as well as some new, subscriber-exclusive content.

Whether or not you've subscribed, please bookmark As we're going through the transition to the new server and new site, some content may be temporarily inaccessible at, but we'll try to keep the .org version of the site up and running as long as possible until the new site is complete.

Thanks for your patience. It's a big transition for us (our first redesign since...gulp...2001), and we appreciate your support as we work our way through it.

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*During the original 33-year run of WCBS-FM (101.1) as NEW YORK's oldies station, only one jock was there all the time.

Bill Brown, who died last week at age 69, was at the station even before it was playing oldies, and he was the last live voice heard on CBS-FM on the infamous "day the music died" in 2005, just before the start of the ill-fated Jack FM. By then, he'd become a staple at 101.1, known especially for his "Brown Bag" lunchtime specials.

Brown came to New York by accident, his family says: after working at small stations in his native Georgia and southern California and serving in the Navy (and some on-air work at the Far East Network in Tokyo), he fell into the Bill Drake orbit, working at KGB in San Diego from 1964-1967. As was common in the Drake top-40 days, Brown was tapped for another job at a Drake-consulted station, WUBE in Cincinnati - but before he could get there, Drake called him and told him to keep driving east to a different gig, at WOR-FM (98.7) in New York. Brown worked there from 1967-1969 before joining WCBS-FM. In addition to his 36 years on the air there, Brown also served as program director for a brief stint in the 1970s.

Brown died last Sunday (October 9) after a long illness; he's mourned by his family (including his wife of 35 years) and by his former colleagues at WCBS-FM, who put up a memorial page here.

Another CBS obituary: Vic Miles was one of the city's first black TV anchors when he started at WCBS-TV (Channel 2) in 1975. Miles spent two decades at the station, anchoring weekend newscasts and producing the "Our Block" features. He died Thursday at age 79.

*There are more programming changes coming at WOR (710 New York): in addition to its recent addition of a 10-minute segment of "NBC Nightly News" in the middle of the Michael Savage show at 6:30, the Buckley-owned talk station says it's now looking for new programming in the 8-10 PM weeknight slot, where it will replace the Philadelphia-based Michael Smerconish show.

*Upstate, there's a format change in Hornell: last Monday, WKPQ (105.3) dropped its hot AC format ("Power 105"), replacing it with country as "Kickin' Country 105.3." The station's staff remains in place as new owner Sound Communications (which also owns the former Eolin/Route 81 cluster down the road in Elmira/Corning) goes directly up against Hornell's longtime country station, Kevin Doran's WCKR (92.1).

*In Buffalo, it was Townsquare Media making cuts last week, and rather unexpected ones at that: local guy Chuck Stevens was ousted from his PD/afternoon job at WJYE (96.1) on Tuesday. No replacement has been named yet, and jocks from other Townsquare Buffalo stations have been heard filling in.

The changes keep on coming at Townsquare in Albany as well: Ellen Rockwell is out at "Crush" WQSH (105.7 Malta), where she'd been doing afternoons. Digital program director Darwin is filling in for now on that shift.

Over at Paul Vandenburgh's WGDJ (1300 Rensselaer), veteran sports talker John Graney has done his last show after more than 40 years on the air in Albany, much of it at WGDJ's predecessor, WQBK. Graney is also a former sports director at WRGB (Channel 6); he'd most recently been heard on Sunday nights on WGDJ.

*Dan Viles is on the air with a new low-power TV station at the southern edge of the Capital District. WYBN-LP (Channel 14) was recently relocated from Cobleskill (where it was licensed in analog on channel 57) to Windham Mountain, where its 15 kW signal is aimed northwest toward Albany.

The station, operated by Viles' Cable Ad Net New York, will carry five video streams and five audio streams once it's fully up and running, with a lineup that will include America One TV, Tuff TV and Mexicanal on the TV side and Brad Chambers' "Martini in the Morning" adult standards format on the audio side. It's not Viles' first venture into LPTV in the region: he put the WVBG group of stations on the air in Albany and southern Vermont in the 1990s.

*Clear Channel's latest national management realignment puts some new names at the helm of some of the company's smaller markets around the region. The new setup at Clear Channel creates some two dozen regional market managers and regional program directors ("RMM" and "RPM"s), each overseeing multiple smaller markets. In NERW-land, that puts Syracuse market manager Joel Delmonico and programming manager Rich Lauber in charge of Binghamton's Clear Channel cluster as well. In the Hudson Valley, Albany's Kristen Delaney (RMM) and John Cooper (RPM) oversee the Poughkeepsie and Sussex, N.J. clusters. Out of Harrisburg, Dan Lankford (RMM) and JT Bosch (RPM) will be supervising Lancaster, Williamsport, Reading and Allentown as well. And in New England, Sean Davey is the new RMM out of Springfield with oversight over Worcester, Manchester and Portsmouth; no regional program manager has been named there yet.

*Syracuse's WCNY-TV (Channel 24) is already moving ahead on construction of a new statewide master-control hub for PBS member stations all over New York State (and, by way of the management deal with New York's WNET, New Jersey's NJTV network as well) - and now it has secured federal funding for the project. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced a $6.6 million grant last week to help pay for the project. CPB says the new facility will save local PBS stations around the state more than $25 million over the next decade by allowing them to shut down their own local master control facilities.

On the commercial side, WSYR-TV (Channel 9) is partnering with Galaxy's ESPN outlets in Syracuse (WTLA 1200/WSGO 1440 and a pair of FM translators) for a radio-TV simulcast in the afternoons. The 3-6 PM show on the radio stations, formerly known as "Disturbing the Peace," is now known as "Upon Further Review," and reports that starting Monday it will originate from a new studio at WSYR-TV's East Syracuse facility, and will be simulcast from 3-5 PM on WSYR's 9.2 subchannel. The show is also getting a new co-host: Derrick Coleman, the former Syracuse University basketball star, will join Steve Infanti, Chris McManus and Donovin Darius beginning in December.

*An obituary from Rochester: newsman Dean Close came to Rochester after working for stations in his native Pennsylvania as well as Hornell and WKBW in Buffalo, and in a long career here he was a reporter and anchor for WROC radio and television, WSAY/WRTK (where he also served as news director) and WNYR/WEZO. Close died of a stroke October 7; he was 81.


A decade ago, it was just a goofy idea: "Hey, you should put some of those tower pictures into a calendar!"

But when Tower Site Calendar 2002 appeared, it was a hit - and ten years later, the fun still hasn't stopped.

And now it's that moment at least some of you have been waiting for: the release of our latest edition, Tower Site Calendar 2012, seen for the very first time right here!

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.

The 2012 edition brings something else that's new to the Tower Site Calendar: the option of a spiral-bound edition that will hang flatter on your wall.

The calendars are back from the printer, and the first shipments went out to early purchasers on Saturday. But don't worry: we still have plenty of both versions of the calendar (plus the signed, limited-edition version) on hand. So don't miss your chance to be part of the very first shipments...or to make your 2012 calendar order part of the subscription you'll soon need to continue enjoying all of the features of

Order now - or subscribe - at the Store!

*It's business as usual, more or less, for NEW JERSEY-based Nassau Broadcasting Partners: instead of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy that the company's lenders had sought, bankruptcy court judge Kevin Gross ruled last week that Nassau could instead convert the petition to Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

That decision keeps Nassau president Lou Mercatanti at the helm of the company, at least for now, and it allows Nassau's stations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and northern New England to stay on the air with their employees in place, rather than undergoing the immediate liquidation (and further loss of value) that would have resulted from Chapter 7.

*The worst-kept secret in western PENNSYLVANIA radio has been confirmed: CBS Radio's KDKA-FM (93.7 Pittsburgh) will be the new home of Pirates baseball, beginning with spring training next year. The new multi-year deal, for which terms have not been disclosed, ends a five-year run for the Bucs on Clear Channel's WPGB (104.7), as well as ending Clear Channel's monopoly on Pittsburgh's pro sports radio rights.

Because the Pirates' announcers work for the team, there won't be any change in the booth for next year. But there will be more baseball coverage on the radio: unlike WPGB, where the Pirates coverage was an interruption to the station's usual talk format, the team will be an integral part of the sports format on "93.7 the Fan," with extended pre- and post-game shows, a weekly show on Sunday featuring Pirates GM Neal Huntington and lots of tie-ins with the rest of the CBS cluster in Pittsburgh - including the team's former home of many decades, KDKA (1020).

*An interesting bit of news from the public TV world: Pittsburgh's WQED-TV (Channel 13) is rearranging its bandwidth to add a new service called "WQED Showcase" alongside its existing Neighborhood and Create subchannels. The new channel, which could launch as early as next month, will consist of nonstop pledge-drive shows - and if that sounds like a bizarre concept, WQED president Deborah Acklin tells the public broadcasting newspaper Current, "a lot of people really like pledge programming, and we forget that sometimes." As a prolific producer of pledge programs, WQED has a substantial library of shows that it's cleared to run ad infinitum on the new service, which it may begin offering to other stations as well.

*In Scranton, Sean O'Mealy is the new general manager at the Shamrock cluster (WEJL/WBAX, WEZX, WFUZ). O'Mealy comes to northeast Pennsylvania after serving as VP/GM of Saga's Northampton, Massachusetts stations.

And down the road in Berwick, WFBS (1280) has changed hands from Bold Gold to Joe Reilly. It's back on the air as a relay of Joe's WHLM (930 Bloomsburg), but will soon be taking on its own local identity with new calls WBWX.


WBTA Radio Batavia NY is currently accepting applications for the position of News Producer/Staff Announcer. This is a full time position that we anticipate will open before the end of the year. Qualified candidates shall have previous experience in a commercial radio station and a strong interest and proficiency in news reporting and production. WBTA offers an above market-average salary, health insurance benefit, 401K and paid vacation. Reply to Daniel Fischer, President, WBTA, 113 Main St., Batavia, NY 14020. WBTA is an equal opportunity employer.

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*It was a very quiet week in CANADA, with just a few applications for power increases at the CRTC. Out on Prince Edward Island, religious station CIOG wants to boost both of its transmitters (CIOG-FM 91.3 Charlottetown and CIOG-FM-1 92.5 Summerside) from 50 to 250 watts. And in northern Ontario, another religious station, CJTK-FM-1 (103.5 North Bay, relaying CJTK 95.5 Sudbury) has applied for a rebroadcast transmitter to the east at Mattawa. The new transmitter would run 50 watts on 93.9.

The week to come won't be as quiet, at least in Montreal: CRTC hearings start today and continue tomorrow on the fate of the city's vacant 50 kW clear-channel AM facilities on 690 and 940. Applicants include Cogeco, in partnership with Quebec's transport ministry, for an English-language all-traffic service on 940 to complement its French-language "Radio Circulation" on CKAC (730).

Cogeco had originally applied for 690 as well, but withdrew that application (instead flipping the format on 730) when rival broadcasters also filed for the channels: a partnership between Nicolas Tétrault and former CKVL owner Paul Tietolman has applied for news-talk stations on both 690 and 940, while Evanov Communications wants to do a gay-focused station on 690 and Bell hopes to move English-language sports "TSN Radio" CKGM from 990 to 690.

The hearings kick off this morning at 8:30 at the Delta Centre-Ville hotel in Montreal.

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: October 18, 2010 -

  • It's been a while since we've seen a true seven-figure radio deal, but there's one to tell you about this week out of NEW YORK. There'd been rumors flying for a while about Barnstable selling its properties in eastern Long Island, and late last week they came true with the $3 million sale of WRCN-FM (103.9 Riverhead) and WKJI (96.1 Center Moriches).
  • The buyer is JVC Broadcasting, the aggressive John Caracciolo-Vic "Latino" Canales partnership that's already a significant player in Suffolk County with rhythmic top-40 WPTY (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) and Spanish tropical WBON (98.5 Westhampton). This deal adds two more class A signals to JVC's existing pair, and guarantees at least one format change: while WRCN's rock format is expected to remain more or less intact, the sale will break the fairly recent simulcast between WKJI and AC "K-JOY" WKJY (98.3 Hempstead) in Nassau County. Will JVC keep 96.1 as an adult contemporary station, or will that signal also move toward a younger audience?
  • The FCC has granted the Special Temporary Authority (STA) requested by St. Bonaventure University's WSBU (88.3) to return to the air while it sorts out its apparent failure to file for a license renewal back in 2006. "Because our station is student-run, we have a lot of staff turnover," said the STA request from station manager Zachary Witzel. "No one currently working at the station would have received notice in 2006. What's more, the station never received any follow-up information in any year since 2006 stating our license had expired. We'd honestly just prefer to get back on the air and continue the education of students on campus regarding broadcasting over the air and how a noncommercial radio station works."
  • All those rumors floating around CANADA's capital city for a while now have turned out to be true: as of today, Rogers is flipping Ottawa's CIWW (Oldies 1310) to "1310 News," giving CTV's talk giant CFRA (580) its first serious competition (aside from CBC Radio 1) in a long time. Unlike CFRA, the new "1310 News" is promising listeners a 24/7 wheel of nonstop news - and to make it happen, Rogers says it's planning to hire a new staff of about 30 newspeople.
  • MAINE's first local TV newscast in HD comes not from the state's biggest market, Portland, but from smaller Bangor - and it comes from WABI-TV (Channel 5), which launched its HD newscast last week. WABI is also in the midst of moving its RF channel; it's replacing its temporary signal on UHF channel 19 with a new permanent signal on VHF channel 13. That UHF-to-VHF move goes against the national trend, but Bangor's an unusual market - WABI was the only UHF signal in what's otherwise been entirely a VHF digital city.

Five Years Ago: October 16, 2006 -

  • Fans of smooth jazz in southeast PENNSYLVANIA and southern NEW JERSEY are about to get their format back. Greater Media, which is acquiring WTHK (97.5 Burlington NJ) in a trade with Nassau, announced last week that it will flip the station from classic rock ("The Hawk") to smooth jazz on November 15, bringing back the format and the WJJZ calls that disappeared from the market when Clear Channel flipped the previous WJJZ (106.1 Philadelphia) to rhythmic AC "Philly's 106.1" as WISX in August.
  • The new WJJZ will launch from the longtime 97.5 transmitter site in Trenton, since Greater Media has not yet finished (or, as far as we know, even started) construction of the station's new transmitter facility at the Wyndmoor tower site just outside Philadelphia. Assuming nothing changes between now and November - it's always at least slightly risky, after all, to announce a format flip this far in advance - the flip to smooth jazz will broaden the demographic range of Greater's Philadelphia cluster, which currently leans heavily male and rock-oriented with sports WPEN (950), rock WMMR (93.3), adult hits WBEN-FM (95.7) and classic rock WMGK (102.9). Greater Media says it will have the new signal from Wyndmoor on the air by January 2007.
  • Some sad news out of eastern MASSACHUSETTS this week - WBZ (1030 Boston) nighttime talk host Paul Sullivan isn't out of the woods yet as he continues his fight against brain cancer. Sullivan underwent two operations in 2004, but recent tests turned up more signs of cancer, so he was back at Mass General last week for a third surgery. The good news? Word is he's already recuperating, and planning to be back on the air in time for election night next month.
  • When is "late news" not necessarily late news? When it's taped several hours before airtime, as Bangor's WVII-TV (Channel 7) plans to do with its 11 PM newscast, and the 10 PM news it airs on sister station WFVX-LP (Channel 22). "Not a whole lot happens in Bangor, Maine late at night," says GM Mike Palmer to the Bangor Daily News - and while that's probably true, we've got to imagine that when something does happen at night in Bangor, viewers there will be tuning to crosstown WABI-TV and WLBZ rather than to WVII/WFVX. (Of course, the ratings suggest that most of them are doing that already, anyway.) WVII says it will continue to offer live sports on Friday nights, and Palmer took a slap at WLBZ as well, saying "it’s not like we’re putting on the news from Portland and masquerading ourselves as a Bangor TV station." (Much of WLBZ's news comes from sister station WCSH in Portland.)

10 Years Ago: October 15, 2001 -

  • NEW YORK is where we start this week's report, with word that the latest round of anthrax scares disrupted things at Clear Channel/Albany Saturday morning. Two envelopes containing a whitish, sticky substance showed up in the station's mail, sending WGY (810 Schenectady) talk host Joe Gallagher to the hospital for a check-up after opening them. Gallagher wasn't hurt, and police think the whole thing was a hoax. (Sign of the times, though: we're seeing job listings that specify e-mail applications only because of delays processing paper mail!)
  • New York City's WKTU (103.5 Lake Success) is moving again. One of the four FMs displaced in the World Trade Center collapse, the Clear Channel station was the most fortunate, since it had a fully-functioning auxiliary facility at Four Times Square that was back on the air within moments. But that site is significantly lower than the rest of the market's FMs, and so Clear Channel is looking elsewhere for long-term use. An application filed last week will move WKTU to the ERI master antenna on the Empire State Building, joining more than a dozen other FMs (including fellow WTC refugees WPAT-FM and WNYC-FM) on the city's tallest remaining structure. The engineering study (dated September 12 - they weren't wasting any time!) notes that WKTU will suffer slight additional interference from WBZO (103.1 Bay Shore) and WNNJ-FM (103.7 Newton NJ) as a result of the move, an inevitable result of the area's overstuffed FM spectrum.
  • WNYC-FM, meanwhile, says it will cost $4 million to get back up to full power from Empire. It's looking to fellow public radio stations to help, and indeed Minnesota Public Radio has already received special permission from the FCC to do on-air fundraising to benefit WNYC, with other stations expected to follow suit. The TV DX types down that way tell NERW that the city's VHF signals are slowly getting back up to viewable power, with decent pictures being reported on channels 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 from respectable distances.
  • We'll take care of PENNSYLVANIA next, beginning in Erie, where the new Fairview-licensed 93.9 signal is reported on the air as of today (noon on Monday, 10/15, to be exact), running active rock as WRPL, "the Planet." While Nextmedia turns on that new signal, it's transferred its 102.3 license (currently WLKK) to Regent, which began stunting this afternoon with a rotating roster of 24 different formats. The real format will premiere on 10/23 (get it?), with new calls reportedly on the way as well. WLKK PD Tim Stephens is out as well with the demise of "the Point" there.

15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, October 16, 1996

  • After more than two years of promises, the Kidstar children's radio format makes its debut in Boston on Thursday, October 17, on WROR (1150 AM). The leased-time ethnic programming on WROR ended sometime Monday, and 1150 was mostly silent for much of Monday night and Tuesday, allowing Bostonians a rare chance to listen to the surprisingly good big-band format on WVNJ (1160) from Bergen County, NJ. As I write this, 1150 has returned to the air with a ticking-clock sound effect and a promotional loop that runs roughly every 20 minutes advertising Kidstar (and, unsurprisingly, no legal ID). The official kickoff of Kidstar in Boston will take place at 11:50 am on Thursday, with a celebration at Boston's Computer Museum downtown. The on-air promos on 1150 are urging kids to attend, which seems odd, given that Thursday is a school day. Picking up the leased-time ethnic slack is Douglas Broadcasting's WBPS (890 Dedham-Boston), which has lost most of the sports shows that were leasing the daytime hours, and which is now running Spanish-language programming from 9 am until 3 pm, and a variety of other languages in the evening.
  • Skowhegan, Maine's WHQO (107.9 FM) has shed its smooth-jazz/AC format ("The Light at the End of the Dial") in favor of a simulcast of all-sports WSKW (1160 AM, "The Score"). The format change accompanies an LMA of WHQO from Harvey Broadcasting to Mountain Wireless, which owns WSKW, album-rock WTOS (105.1), and AC WCTB (93.5 Fairfield ME). It gets the Score a much better signal in the Augusta-Waterville area, especially at night, when the 1160 signal is nearly inaudible with only 730 watts (as opposed to 10kw daytime).

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NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please click here to learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW is copyright 2011 by Scott Fybush.