NERW 11/12/2012: New pubcaster ahead for Pittsburgh

In this week’s issue… “Now” it’s WNOW in New York – Binnie flips New Hampshire formats – WUMB gets its upgrade – Nexstar buys in Burlington – Jazz comes back to Pittsburgh? – HD local news arrives in Erie – 600 returns to Montreal

By SCOTT FYBUSH

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*It’s been just over a year since the public radio scene in western PENNSYLVANIA changed dramatically with Duquesne University’s sale of WDUQ (90.5 Pittsburgh) to a new group called Essential Public Radio. Renamed WESA, 90.5 shed most of the jazz programming that had long been a staple there – and most of the former WDUQ staff, too. Many of those staffers had been involved with a rival bid for the 90.5 license under the “Pittsburgh Public Media” banner, and after losing out on the broadcast license, they remained active with other ventures. Even without a station to call home, former DUQ staffers kept the jazz format going by way of an online stream (“Pittsburgh Jazz Channel“) while planning more new formats to offer under the “PubMusic” banner.

It turns out they were planning something else, too: not long after WDUQ became WESA, Pittsburgh Public Media began negotiating to find a new FM home. On Friday, PPM announced it’s entered an agreement to buy WVBC (88.1), the radio signal of Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia, some 35 miles west of Pittsburgh. PPM openly acknowledges that the 1100-watt signal “is a station that needs signal improvements” before it can be easily heard in most of the Pittsburgh area, and NERW notes that will be a challenge, what with Carnegie Mellon’s WRCT (88.3) right in Pittsburgh and He’s Alive, Inc.s’ religious WRWJ (88.1 Murrysville) out to the southeast of town.

“We must start somewhere,” PPM says, and it’s now launching a fundraising campaign to bring in $150,000 for the purchase of WVBC by February 1, 2013. Once it’s on the air with its new 88.1 rimshot signal, PPM says it will be ready to go with a studio: it turns out WESA sold all of the old WDUQ studio gear to PPM when it built new South Side studios with quasi-sister station WYEP (91.3) late last year.

WICU’s previous set, 2009

*Two hours up I-79, Erie finally became a high-definition local TV news market last Monday, when Lilly Broadcasting debuted a new set and graphics on NBC affiliate WICU (Channel 12) and its CBS sister, WSEE (Channel 35).

The move puts WICU/WSEE a step ahead of its local news competition, Nexstar’s WJET-TV (Channel 24)/WFXP (Channel 66), and it means every TV market in the Keystone State now has at least one station doing HD local news. (The other holdout had been Johnstown-Altoona, where NBC affiliate WJAC-TV went HD earlier this year.)

*Congratulations to Drew Pinkney, who’s moving on to a new job. We first knew Drew when he was an engineer here in Rochester at Entercom’s local cluster. He moved on from there to Bud Williamson’s Digital Radio Engineering, where he’s been part of the crack team of contract engineers traveling the region building and maintaining broadcast facilities. And now he’s moving on to Cumulus in York, where he replaces Sam Michaels as chief engineer of WSBA (910), WGLD (1440 Manchester Township), WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) and WARM-FM (103.3), following Sam’s big move up to Cumulus’ Dallas/Fort Worth stations.

More Radio People on the Move: Derrick Corbett, aka “DC,” is the new PD of Clear Channel’s urban trio in Philadelphia, WUSL (98.9), WDAS-FM (105.3) and WDAS (1480). Corbett comes to Philadelphia from New Orleans, where he’s been PD of the Clear Channel urban trio there, WQUE/WYLD-FM/WYLD. In Pittsburgh, Ryan Maguire is the new PD at CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM (93.7 the Fan), arriving later this month from Kansas City’s KCSP (610). And in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market, Dale Mikolaczyk is out at Entercom, where he’d been doing traffic reporting (as “Rusty Fender”) for two decades and hosting a weekend oldies show on the WILK news-talk stations.

*When Infinity Broadcasting flipped NEW YORK‘s WKTU (92.3) to “K-Rock” back in 1985, could anyone have imagined that the WXRK calls would end up becoming among the city’s most enduring? Over 27 years, 92.3 saw the rise and eventual departure of Howard Stern, the ill-fated 2006 flip to talk as “Free FM” that briefly turned the station into WFNY-FM and the return of “K-Rock” and the WXRK calls in 2007. Even the flip to top-40 as “Now” in 2009 didn’t displace the WXRK callsign – at least, not right away. Why did it take until November 8, 2012 for CBS to finally change the callsign on 92.3 for good? We don’t know – but since the station is now WNOW-FM (a callsign that had been in North Carolina on what’s now WOSG 105.3 Gaffney/Charlotte and before that on what’s now WQXA-FM 105.7 in York, PA), it’s a good bet the “Now” format is sticking around for a while.

And unlike 2006, when CBS parked the WXRK callsign in Cleveland (or 2007, when CBS parked the even more legendary “WNEW” in Florida), the WXRK calls are free for the taking now by anyone who might want them (or at least they were free as of Friday night.)

WMCA, after Sandy (photo: Stu Engelke)

*There’s a little bit of good news on the New York AM dial: the last of the big NEW JERSEY-based AM signals silenced by Sandy’s high waters have returned to the air. Nautel provided emergency shipments of 1000-watt AM transmitters last week to allow WMCA (570) and WLIB (1190) to put low-power signals back on while they work to rebuild transmission systems heavily damaged by the flooding.

We’re also learning more about the damage to another  nearby station in Sandy’s path. WMCA’s sister station, WNYM (970 Hackensack), has asked the FCC for special temporary authority to operate fulltime with its 5 kW nighttime signal while it tries to repair storm damage to its 50 kW daytime transmitter.

Out on Long Island, WGBB (1240 Babylon) still remains silent; its transmitter building was flooded and its transmission equipment was reportedly damaged beyond repair.

*While we wait to find out what Cumulus has in mind for its new purchase, WFME (94.7 Newark), we know one thing for certain: the Cumulus New York cluster will have a new leader once it adds that signal. Steve Borneman had been president/GM of WABC since 2006 and of sister station WPLJ since 2009, and he’d been with WPLJ in sales management since 1999. He’s now headed downtown for an as-yet-unannounced management role with Clear Channel, and no replacement has been named yet at Two Penn Plaza.

*Christmas tunes are spreading: Buffalo’s WJYE (96.1) and WTSS (102.5) both made the flip on Friday, and CNYRadio.com reports Utica’s WUMX (102.5) became “ChrisMix 102.5″ on November 1.

A big promotion for a “Big” guy: Jay Fink, better known to his friends as “Biggie,” has been a part of Dennis Jackson’s WRIP (97.9 Windham) up in the Catskills since the station launched back in 1999. He joined the station full-time in 2002, and became its general manager and morning man in 2010 when Guy Patrick Garraghan died. Now Jay’s been upped to president of the station, and we send our “big” congratulations his way!

*It’s been a while since we’ve had LPTV news to tell you about here in the Rochester area, but this week there’s a whole bunch. Start with WGCE-CA (Channel 6), the tiny little station just west of Rochester in Greece that’s long been owned by Edu-Cable (which also used to provide “Cable 12 West” to Greece and surrounding communities.) Now Edu-Cable’s Brian Caterino is selling the 29-watt signal to another local low-power broadcaster. The $46,000 sale to Corning-based Milachi Media will put the station in the hands of William and Paige Christian, who between them own Rochester MyNetwork affiliate WBGT-CA (Channel 40) and the Vision Communications/Sound Communications radio/TV cluster in the Southern Tier. WGCE apparently won’t be staying on channel 6 much longer, either; the sale contract specifies that the channel 6 transmitter be returned to Caterino once the station moves to its new UHF home on channel 25.

As for WBGT, it’s been a long while since we’ve seen any over-the-air signal from “My18,” which gets its viewership and its branding from its position on Time Warner Cable. But that changed last week when WBGT’s digital signal finally made it to the air. It’s on RF channel 46, and at least at the moment is carrying just one standard-definition stream and no PSIP data, so it’s appearing as “46” instead of “40” on the TVs here at NERW Central.

But wait, there’s more – across town, WAWW-LP, which we haven’t seen on analog 38 for many, many months, has filed for a license to cover on its displacement application to move to analog 20. (We’re not seeing anything on analog 20 here, either, almost within sight of the Pinnacle Hill towers, and we can’t even recall what WAWW last programmed when it was on the air.)

Back to the Christians for a moment: Paige Christian’s Sound Communications is applying to boost the signal of its WKPQ (105.3 Hornell) with two new boosters. WKPQ’s a fringe signal right now in the two biggest cities in its Arbitron market, Corning and Elmira, but that will change if the on-channel boosters are granted. WKPQ-1 would run 440 watts, vertical-only, from Denmark Hill just east of Corning, while WKPQ-2 would run 32 watts, vertical-only, from Mount Zion just south of downtown Elmira.

*Binghamton’s WSKG Public Telecommunications is adding another FM signal to its extensive Southern Tier coverage. The construction permit for WWSA (88.1 Greene) expires December 30, and the permittee, the St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic parish, apparently can’t get the 11.5 kW/403′ DA (vertical-only) signal on the air by then. So the parish is selling WWSA to WSKG for $60,000, and the WSKG engineers will have to work quickly to get the station built from its CP site in Oxford, Chenango County. Once it’s on the air, the new signal will serve Norwich and vicinity, where the only strong public radio signal right now is a translator of Oswego’s WRVO (89.9).

*A few bits of translator news: in Lockport, W214BB (90.7) was displaced by new community signal WLNF (90.5 Rapids), and now the translator of Delaware-based religious WXHL has relocated to 89.1. Up north in Ogdensburg, the translator of Syracuse religious broadcaster WMHR (102.9) is applying to change channels. What’s now W261BN (100.1) wants to move to 100.5 – and, it tells the FCC, to relocate from a rented tower space to a “rent-free pole,” where it would run 250 watts.

*A sad end to a downstate broadcast career: The last time we wrote about John Katonah in this space was back in 2010, when the veteran broadcaster was in legal trouble after being charged with DWI, criminal trespassing and violating a restraining order. Katonah’s WNYX (88.1 Montgomery) and its two translators fell silent not long afterward, and last week Katonah’s wife Mary filed to have the licenses transferred to her, telling the FCC that John Katonah died on April 25, 2012. Katonah was 50 years old.

WUMB-FM’s current site (photo: Mike Fitzpatrick/NECRAT.us)

*Fans of folk and AAA music in eastern MASSACHUSETTS are about to get a better signal from WUMB-FM (91.9 Boston). Squeezed into an already packed FM dial fairly late in the game (1982), WUMB has been operating from atop the old stone water tower in Quincy, running 660 watts/206′, but it’s about to lose that site when the historic tower gets renovated sometime soon. The engineering wizardry of Dave Doherty identified a new site on the Industrial Communications tower near the Quincy/Milton line, and as of last week the FCC has granted WUMB a CP to move to that site with 160 watts/620′.

To make WUMB-FM’s move possible, the FCC had to be persuaded to grant waivers to two co-owned, co-channel simulcast stations to power down slightly. WBPR-FM (91.9 Worcester) will drop from 370 to 270 watts and WFPB-FM (91.9 Falmouth) will drop from 6 kW to 5.2 kW – and in so doing, they’ll slightly reduce the incoming interference to WUMB-FM, which means the signal from the new higher antenna should get out even a little better to greater Boston, once the move is complete.

*Our Indiana radio friends are in mourning this week after the sudden death on Friday of “Big John” Gillis, best known as the longtime helicopter traffic reporter on WIBC in Indianapolis. But in the days when WIBC was owned by Fairbanks Communications, Gillis spent some time in the Boston market, too, working in the early 1970s as the program director of Fairbanks’ WVBF (105.7 Framingham). And when Fairbanks bought Philadelphia’s WIBG (990) in 1976, Gillis headed down there, becoming production director of the station under new calls WZZD. When Fairbanks sold WZZD three years later, Gillis returned to Indianapolis, where he quickly became exactly what he called himself on his LinkedIn profile: a “Media Icon.” Gillis was 64 years old.

*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, Bill Binnie is already starting to shuffle formats at the stations he’s acquiring from Nassau Broadcasting. Nassau had parked WNNH (99.1 Henniker) in a divestiture trust but had never completed the sale of the station, and now that it’s in Binnie’s hands and out of the trust, the Concord-market signal has dropped its “temporary” (but long-running) simulcast of Nassau’s MAINE “W-Bach” classical network and flipped to classic hits as “Frank FM.” This is WNNH’s second time as “Frank,” following a 2007-2009 simulcast with WLKZ (104.9 Wolfeboro) up in the Lakes Region, which isn’t part of the new Binnie group.

Up north, Ron Frizzell’s Mount Washington Radio and Gramophone has filed for a license to cover for a new AM signal in Conway. The new 620-watter on 1340 just got the callsign WPQR, and it’s a sister station to WBNC (1050), WMWV (93.5) and WVMJ (104.5) in Conway, and it shares WBNC’s tower just east of downtown Conway.

*Two VERMONT stations are getting new owners as the fast-growing Nexstar group expands yet again. Nexstar already has a presence in every upstate New York market except Buffalo, and now it’s paying Smith Media $17.1 million for a foothold in the adjoining Plattsburgh-Burlington market. Nexstar will buy Fox affiliate WFFF-TV (Channel 44) from Smith, while Nexstar affiliate Mission Broadcasting will pick up ABC affiliate WVNY (Channel 22) from Lambert Broadcasting of Burlington. Just as it did under Lambert, WVNY under Mission will continue to be operated under a local services agreement by WFFF.

A bit more TV news from the market: The FCC has downgraded Burlington’s WGMU-CA (Channel 39) and its sister station W19BR Monkton after getting no response when it asked owner Convergence Entertainment & Communications to show why the low-power stations should retain “class A” status. WGMU (which is a repeater of WNMN-TV 40 in Saranac Lake, N.Y.) had failed to file the mandatory childrens’ programming reports with the FCC in 2009 and 2010.

*While the AM band in CANADA continues to empty out in most areas, it’s still roaring back in Montreal. Last week, the CRTC approved the application from Tietolman-Tétrault-Pancholy Media (TTP) for a new English-language news-talk station at 600 on the dial. That’s the former home of the city’s pioneering station CFCF, which later became CIQC before moving to 940 as CINW and then going silent.

The new TTP entry will take over right where CIQC left off back in 2002, operating with a similar 10 kW day/5 kW night signal from CIQC’s former transmitter site in Kahnawahke, south of Montreal. It will share that site with TTP’s new French-language news-talk entry at 940 on the dial, and Montreal media guru Steve Faguy says both stations will be on the air sometime in the spring of 2013.

TTP’s new entries will bring commercial competition to two of Montreal’s biggest existing stations: Astral Media’s CJAD (800) has been the only commercial English news-talk station in town since Corus shut down CINW a few years back, and Cogeco’s CHMP (98.5) shot to the top of the Montreal French-language ratings with its talk format. Can TTP’s local focus and the experience of its personnel (principal Paul Tietolman is the son of CKVL founder Jack Tietolman, and programmers for the new signals will include Steve Kowch, who used to program CJAD) overcome the big chains’ deep pockets? We’ll be listening.

*Local radio is about to grow in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario, too. In January, the CRTC will hear an application from the CBC to convert CBLA-FM-2 (89.1 Paris) from a full-time rebroadcaster of CBLA-FM (99.1 Toronto) to a separate local license. The CBC says the new local Radio One outlet will include a minimum of 12.5 hours a week of local content from a new local studio in the region.

In suburban Toronto, Subanasiri Vaithilingam has applied to move CJVF Scarborough from 105.9 to 102.7, boosting power from 45 watts/63 m to 1200 watts (476 watts average DA)/77 m. The move would take the Sri Lankan station out of the way of the 105.9 signal recently granted in nearby Markham.

*Radio People on the Move: Derek “Rock” Botten is the new morning co-host at London’s CKLO (98.1 Free FM), where he started co-hosting “The Big Show” last week with Blair Henatyzen and Lisa Brandt. In Peterborough, Pete Dalliday is the new morning co-host at CKRU (100.5 Kruz-FM) as of this morning, replacing Mike Melnik, who signed off on Friday. Dalliday had been doing afternoons at sister station CKWF (101.5 the Wolf), as well as announcing Peterborough Petes minor-league hockey.

*Good news, everybody! A new shipment of the 2013 Tower Site Calendar is back from the printer, and on its way out to YOU!

This is the 12th edition of our annual calendar, which features photos of broadcast towers taken by Scott Fybush on his travels.

The 12-month wall calendar boasts a full-color photo each month of a well-known broadcast transmitter site.

This year’s edition includes sites in Florida, Wisconsin, Kentucky, California, Iowa, Idaho, Las Vegas, Colorado, Boston, Cleveland, Albuquerque, upstate New York and western Massachusetts. We’ve also redesigned the calendar to make it more colorful (don’t worry; the pictures are still pristine) and make the spiral binding our standard binding — your calendar will hang even better on your wall now! And of course, we still have the convenient hole for hanging.

Order 20 or more for a 10% discount! And while you’re at the Fybush.com store, check out the new National Radio Club AM Log and the final stash of FM Atlas editions.

For more information and to order yours, click here!

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: November 14, 2011 -

So, where were you at 2 PM on Wednesday? The first-ever national test of the Emergency Alert System had broadcasters (and especially broadcast engineers) on alert themselves, waiting to see whether the system would actually work as federal officials attempted to deliver a test message from Washington to every broadcast station, cable operator and satellite provider in the nation.

To hear the mass-media reports after the fact, the test was a failure, and it’s not hard to see why listeners and viewers would have reached that conclusion: if they were in fact paying close attention just after 2, they’d have heard the usual EAS alert tones (the fabled “duck farts”), followed either by dead air in some areas or by muddy, doubled audio in others – and then a few more “duck farts” and right back to normal programming.

But behind the scenes, it’s increasingly clear that for the most part, broadcasters upheld their part of their “voluntary” partnership to help deliver emergency information: the test data and audio delivered from FEMA to the Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations around the region was successfully passed down the daisy chain to most of the local stations expecting to hear it. It’s just that the audio coming into the system was painfully bad – and the fault for that didn’t lie with the broadcasters but rather with FEMA itself, which reportedly fed it to the PEP stations via a garden-variety telephone conference bridge, only to have audio echo back into the bridge from one of the PEP locations.

So what’s to be learned from the test? Beyond the obvious – that there needs to be a better way to get audio to the PEP stations – the FCC and FEMA will be reviewing the mandatory reports from broadcasters to figure out if there were parts of the chain that didn’t deliver the message, however impaired it might have been. State-level emergency planners will also be reviewing the results to see if modifications are needed to the daisy-chain monitoring assignments used by EAS (though it should be noted that many states augment the daisy-chains with their own statewide satellite delivery systems that were not used for the national test). And there’s already talk about augmenting the PEP system with national-alert delivery over existing program paths such as network radio and TV satellite systems.

*In CONNECTICUT, former WNLK (1350 Norwalk)/WSTC (1400 Stamford) morning man John LaBarca didn’t take long to resurface after Cox sold those stations to public broadcaster WSHU: as of this morning, he’s doing the morning show at WDJZ (1530 Bridgeport), joining a colorful leased-time lineup that’s been heavy on religion.

LaBarca’s new show will air from 7-10 AM on WDJZ, give or take the station’s daytime-only schedule; it’s not yet clear what becomes of LaBarca’s weekend “Italian House Party,” which was originally set to continue on WNLK and WSTC.

*It’s sounding a lot like Christmas in eastern MASSACHUSETTS, where CBS Radio’s WODS (103.3) and Greater Media’s WROR-FM (105.7) both flipped to holiday tunes last week, as they’ve done for the last few years running.

Down the dial a bit, WFNX (101.7 Lynn) is cranking up its celebration of its 28th anniversary: it’s planning an extended “Flashback Weekend” that will start Wednesday, November 23 and wrap up Sunday, November 28, featuring many voices from the alternative rocker’s history.

*It’s rare to hear a new AM station on the air in CANADA, but there’s one in the greater Ottawa area this week: CIRA-5 (1350) began testing on Friday, running 1000 watts by day and 135 watts at night from a transmitter site on the Quebec side of the river. The new signal will eventually be the Gatineau/Ottawa relay of religious “Radio Ville Marie,” CIRA (91.3 Montreal), though for the moment it’s instead simulcasting “Radio Enfant” CJEU (1670), whose transmitter site it shares.

Five Years Ago: November 12, 2007 -

*It’s always nice to see radio stations join together to raise money for a good cause – but the impromptu collaboration of an entire NEW HAMPSHIRE radio market last week was truly something to behold.

We told you last week that Pauline Loyd (aka “Polly Robbins” of WWOD, WXLF, WNTK and several other Upper Valley stations) was struggling in her fight against breast cancer, and even as we were typing our news item, those stations were banding together for a one-day radiothon to raise money in Pauline’s name.

“Polly’s Think Pink Radiothon” took over the airwaves of pretty much the entire market – all the stations owned by Koor Communications, Nassau Broadcasting, Great Eastern and Dartnouth’s WFRD/WDCR – for a 13-hour simulcast last Thursday based at a phone bank at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth College.

It’s a small market, but by the time the phones stopped ringing and the simulcast ended Thursday night, the effort had raised over $37,000. Nice work, and a tribute to the good work broadcasters can do when they work together.

*Our NEW YORK news starts in Buffalo, where cutbacks at Entercom claimed the jobs of the entire airstaff at WLKK (107.7 Wethersfield) on Friday. PD Hank Dole remains in place, with automation running on the air while part-timers are brought in to replace the former “Lake Guides.” Also out, we’re told, is Brian B. Wilde, music director/APD at WKSE (Kiss 98.5).

Across town at Regent’s Rand Building headquarters, C.J. Lee and Al Wood are out of their jobs at WJYE (96.1 Buffalo) and WECK (93.7 Depew), respectively; Alexis Williams moves from the morning news shift on WBLK to take over middays at WJYE, where Cheryl Hagen joins the morning show. It’s not clear who, if anyone, will replace Wood on the late-night “Quiet Storm” shift at WBLK. (And WJYE, meanwhile, is counting down to this Friday, when it becomes the second all-Christmas station upstate…)

Down the Thruway in the Rochester market, Bob Savage has something to celebrate: he just got the word from the FCC late last week that it’s dismissed a rival application for a new AM signal on 1220. The other application proposed a low-power signal licensed to Greece, which already has a licensed service in the form of noncommercial WGMC (90.1). Savage’s proposal called for a new 2500-watt fulltime station licensed to Lakeville, Livingston County, which has no other licensed service. The new signal, for which Savage must now file a full application, will likely end up with something more than 2500 watts, especially by day; it will operate from the existing four-tower site of his WYSL (1040 Avon), just off the Lakeville exit of I-390.

*”Wake up with Whoopi” is losing big-market affiliates right and left – first Chicago’s WLIT dropped Whoopi Goldberg’s New York-based show, and now in eastern PENNSYLVANIA, Philadelphia’s WISX (My 106.1) has pulled Goldberg off its schedule, effective last Friday morning. She’s being replaced by former WISX afternoon jock Logan.

Over in the Lancaster market, Dennis Mitchell has departed Clear Channel’s WLAN-FM (96.9) for Hall’s WROZ (101.3), apparently to take the morning shift there. Jeff Hurley, APD/afternoon jock at WLAN, takes Mitchell’s PD post, but he’s looking for someone else to fill the morning slot Mitchell formerly occupied.

Out on the Ohio line, WLLF (96.7 Mercer) is being spun off by Cumulus Media to a new shell company called Stratus Media LLC. It’s part of a 19-station group (along with Youngstown clustermate WSOM 600 in Salem, Ohio) that’s being placed in the Stratus trust to avoid market-cap issues as Cumulus works through a privatization bid.

While we’re out that way, the other half of the “Majic” Meadville/Franklin simulcast has new calls, as WOXX (99.3 Franklin) becomes WHMJ. And a new CP in Sykesville (outside Du Bois) now has calls: the new 95.9 there will be WZDB.

*There were lots of rumors in MASSACHUSETTS about Howie Carr returning to the airwaves at Entercom’s WRKO (680 Boston), but the week ended as it began, with substitute hosts filling the afternoon shift there, as well as the morning shift at Greater Media’s WTKK (96.9 Boston) that’s looking less and less likely to become Carr’s new home.

*One of CONNECTICUT‘s oldest TV stations broke ground last week for its new studios. NBC’s WVIT (Channel 30) has been in the same facility in West Hartford since it signed on in 1953 as WKNB-TV; sometime in 2009, that building will be demolished and the station will move across the parking lot to the new facility where construction started on Monday.

*It was a quiet week in eastern CANADA- one station left the air for good (CHUC 1450 in Cobourg, Ontario, which gave way to its FM sister on schedule at 5 PM Wednesday), while one station was new to the airwaves.

Religious broadcaster UCB Canada, which already operates CKJJ (102.3 Belleville), put its new signal, CKGW (89.3 Chatham-Kent), on the air Nov. 3 at 11 AM.

The new signal had been testing on and off since April, while UCB tried to raise the money it needed to get the station on the air for real.

Ten Years Ago: November 11, 2002 -

In MASSACHUSETTS, Arthur Liu is adding to his Multicultural Broadcasting holdings with a $1.8 million purchase of WSRO (1470 Marlborough) from Alexander Langer. WSRO isn’t much of a signal at the moment, operating under a long-running Special Temporary Authority since the city of Marlborough took its old transmitter site, but Liu isn’t buying WSRO for its current signal. The purchase price includes $150,000 to build out WSRO’s construction permit to change city of license to Watertown and transmitter site to the Lexington facility of WAMG (1150), which you can see on the October page of the 2002 Tower Site Calendar. When it’s moved and the purchase has closed, WSRO will join WLYN (1360 Lynn) in Liu’s Boston cluster.

We’ve been remiss in mentioning the latest addition to the schedule at Sporting News Radio’s WWZN (1510 Boston); Mike Adams has joined the station to do mornings, which means that 1510 is now running local all day long before joining Sporting News in the evenings (when there’s not a Celtics game, anyway.)

It could just as easily fall under the Bay State heading — but the “new” station serving Fall River and New Bedford is still licensed to RHODE ISLAND, as WKKB (100.3 Middletown). The Citadel rocker, formerly Providence-based 80s outlet WZRI (“Z100″) made its debut last Friday (Nov. 1), with a schedule that includes Patriots football and voicetracking (initally overnight and now middays) from “Brian the Pharmacist,” late of the FNX network.

NERW hears a few of the top brass at Clear Channel’s MAINE clusters received their walking papers last week; in Augusta, GM Tim Gatz and GSM Brian Strack were dismissed, as was Bangor GM Keryn Smith. We hear Clear Channel regional exec Jim Herron will be running things up there for now…

On to NEW YORK, then: there will be a new addition to the skyline soon that should help the city’s beleaguered TV broadcasters restore a better signal to over-the-air viewers even in the event of problems at their primary Empire State Building site. Four Times Square, the “Condé Nast Building” on Broadway between 41st and 42nd streets, is already home to auxiliary FM transmitters for New York’s Clear Channel and Spanish Broadcasting System clusters, as well as public radio WNYC-FM (93.9). Now the building’s owner, The Durst Organization, plans to add another 200 or so feet to the mast atop 4 Times Square to provide auxiliary transmitter space for New York’s TV stations. (By the way, Durst has hired one of the city’s top broadcast engineers to supervise its own broadcast-leasing operations: John Lyons, the former chief engineer for Clear Channel’s WAXQ in New York, now calls Four Times Square home, which is only fitting, considering he had a huge hand in designing the broadcast facility there!)

Fifteen Years Ago: November 14, 1997 -

The last major locally-owned radio station in Hartford is being sold — but WCCC AM/FM (1290/106.9) won’t become yet another outlet of the big group broadcasters. Sy Dressner’s Greater Hartford Communications Corp. has owned WCCC for 28 years, and now Dressner says it’s time to bring in some younger owners with fresh ideas. Dressner turned down several offers from the big groups and turned to Marlin Broadcasting, the family group that owns classical WBOQ (104.9 Gloucester MA) and WTMI (93.1 Miami FL). It’s not Marlin’s first time in the Hartford market; the company owned WKSS (95.7) from 1980 until 1983.

What’s in store for the rock and roll format at WCCC? Marlin says it’s committed to keeping WCCC-FM rocking, and it’s locked into a three-year contract with Howard Stern in morning drive. On the AM side, the West Hartford-licensed daytimer on 1290 could end up with a new format when Marlin takes over in early 1998. No purchase price has been announced.

An historic VERMONT callsign is coming back to the airwaves. WDOT, last heard on 1390 Burlington (now WKDR) and 96.1 Warren (now WDEV-FM) a few years ago, has been picked as the new call for 1070 in Plattsburgh NY, the station currently known as WZBZ (and, ironically enough, the former WKDR before those calls moved to 1390). The FCC erroneously listed this one as an FM call change in its November 10th public notice…

And speaking of calls, 100.3 in Middletown, RHODE ISLAND is becoming WHKK to match its new “Hawk” classic rock format. Still no sign of new calls for sports-talk WLKW (790 Providence), or the new “WLKW,” still legally WPNW (550 Pawtucket).

From NEW YORK this week, a new format and soon, new owners for Glens Falls’ WYLR (95.9). The station remains embroiled in a license dispute, with Normandy Broadcasting appealing a 1992 FCC decision that awarded the WYLR license to competing applicant Lawrence Bradt. In the meantime, the financially-troubled Normandy had been LMA’ing WYLR out as a country station. That LMA has ended, and now former Normandy executive David Covey and his Entertronics company have taken over operations of WYLR. Covey has been stunting with an AOR format on the station, but local insiders say it’s likely WYLR will end up competing with the “K100″ hot AC simulcast of WKBE (100.3 Warrensburg) and WKLI (100.9 Albany). Covey plans to buy WYLR and sister station WWSC (1450) as soon as the license issue is settled. Entertronics already owns oldies WCKM (98.5 Lake George).

As expected, the 107.1 trimulcast surrounding New York City has applied to boost power. Here’s how the Odyssey Broadcasting “Y107″ stations plan to grow: WWXY in Briarcliff Manor would jump from 890 watts to 1.9 kW, WWVY in Hampton Bays, L.I. would double from 3 to 6 kW, and down in New Jersey, WWZY Long Branch would get a boost from 2.3 to 4.7 kW, helping to fill in some of the dead zones between the various Y107 transmitters.

 

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Comments

  1. mattosborne says

    In response to the update about Nexstar Broadcasting’s purchase of WFFF, there is actually one other upstate NY TV market where Nexstar does not have a presence…Albany/Schenectady/Troy. When they purchased the former Newport Television group, they did not include WXXA in the package (it went to Shield Media instead).

  2. MHVRadiofan says

    In regard to WNYX (88.1 Montgomery) are they even on the air? Here in Hyde Park on 88.1 I get a very weak signal the new WLHV mixed with something else. This is normal, however their Poughkeepsie based translator on 106.3 W292CM remains silent despite notifying the FCC of Resumption of operations on July 2, 2012.

  3. laurenceglavin says

    One reasoin I possess the body of a Greek God (ok, Bacchus, but still…) is my history of doing a great deal of hiking (including three treks up Mt. Washington from Pinkham Notch, until I got a clear view in all directions) in the Conway/North Conway area. During those years, I thought it odd that this bustling commercial area had only one radio station, and that a strict daytimer that in the fall was always subject to post-sunrise and pre-sunset interference in its own coverage area by at-that-time WHN-AM in NYC. It struck me that some Class IV “graveyard” signal must have been available up there, and 1340 seemed to work because WLNH-AM 1350’s daytime signal was pretty much stymied by the hilly terrain around Conway and N. Conway, even if the mileage separation might have been a little tight. So now it’s come to pass, but decades later.

  4. rbwny says

    The Capital District can now be added to the list of all-Christmas format flips. 95.5 WYJB and 98.3 WTRY are all “Santa” all the time.