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In this week's issue... Market concentration challenged in Ithaca - Entercom adds in Buffalo - WEEI names new midday team - Toronto's CFRB makes historic move

By SCOTT FYBUSH

CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi and 6ABC's Jim Gardner have been inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. They join KYW's Malcolm Poindexter and Larry Kane as the only other broadcast-news anchors in the hall.

Ciarrocchi, who celebrated her 32nd year behind the anchor desk at CBS3, has the distinction of being the first female anchor inducted. The Chester County native, who grew up watching Mort Crim, Vince Leonard and Jessica Savitch, joined the station on March 15, 1982, and credits her longevity to a genuine love of the community and desire to tell its story. She's come a long way since her radio days, when her first on-air appearance was as a screamer for a Halloween spot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/celebrities/20140501_Ciarrocchi__Gardner_get_a_Hall_of_an_honor.html#L4otRWVHVSKxmt7w.99

CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi and 6ABC's Jim Gardner have been inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. They join KYW's Malcolm Poindexter and Larry Kane as the only other broadcast-news anchors in the hall.

Ciarrocchi, who celebrated her 32nd year behind the anchor desk at CBS3, has the distinction of being the first female anchor inducted. The Chester County native, who grew up watching Mort Crim, Vince Leonard and Jessica Savitch, joined the station on March 15, 1982, and credits her longevity to a genuine love of the community and desire to tell its story. She's come a long way since her radio days, when her first on-air appearance was as a screamer for a Halloween spot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/celebrities/20140501_Ciarrocchi__Gardner_get_a_Hall_of_an_honor.html#L4otRWVHVSKxmt7w.99

CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi and 6ABC's Jim Gardner have been inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. They join KYW's Malcolm Poindexter and Larry Kane as the only other broadcast-news anchors in the hall.

Ciarrocchi, who celebrated her 32nd year behind the anchor desk at CBS3, has the distinction of being the first female anchor inducted. The Chester County native, who grew up watching Mort Crim, Vince Leonard and Jessica Savitch, joined the station on March 15, 1982, and credits her longevity to a genuine love of the community and desire to tell its story. She's come a long way since her radio days, when her first on-air appearance was as a screamer for a Halloween spot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/celebrities/20140501_Ciarrocchi__Gardner_get_a_Hall_of_an_honor.html#L4otRWVHVSKxmt7w.99

CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi and 6ABC's Jim Gardner have been inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. They join KYW's Malcolm Poindexter and Larry Kane as the only other broadcast-news anchors in the hall.

Ciarrocchi, who celebrated her 32nd year behind the anchor desk at CBS3, has the distinction of being the first female anchor inducted. The Chester County native, who grew up watching Mort Crim, Vince Leonard and Jessica Savitch, joined the station on March 15, 1982, and credits her longevity to a genuine love of the community and desire to tell its story. She's come a long way since her radio days, when her first on-air appearance was as a screamer for a Halloween spot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/celebrities/20140501_Ciarrocchi__Gardner_get_a_Hall_of_an_honor.html#L4otRWVHVSKxmt7w.99

CBS3's Pat Ciarrocchi and 6ABC's Jim Gardner have been inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. They join KYW's Malcolm Poindexter and Larry Kane as the only other broadcast-news anchors in the hall.

Ciarrocchi, who celebrated her 32nd year behind the anchor desk at CBS3, has the distinction of being the first female anchor inducted. The Chester County native, who grew up watching Mort Crim, Vince Leonard and Jessica Savitch, joined the station on March 15, 1982, and credits her longevity to a genuine love of the community and desire to tell its story. She's come a long way since her radio days, when her first on-air appearance was as a screamer for a Halloween spot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/celebrities/20140501_Ciarrocchi__Gardner_get_a_Hall_of_an_honor.html#L4otRWVHVSKxmt7w.99

(Another brief note before we launch into the column: Lisa remains in extremely serious condition in a hospital in Indiana, and while I'm able - barely - to get out an abbreviated column this week, there will be a delay in handling subscription inquiries, shipping orders from the Fybush.com Store and possibly in posts here as well. Thanks, once again, for your patience as we try to get through our latest ordeal.)

*There are few markets where ownership is as concentrated as in Ithaca, NEW YORK. As NERW readers know, Saga has used the FCC's rules on market definitions and HD-fed translators to build a cluster of stations that now includes two AMs, f0ur full-power FMs and nine translators, competing against commercial competition that consists only of one AM/translator combo (Todd Mallinson's WPIE 1160/107.1) and Cornell-student-run WVBR (93.5).

sagaBack in 2004, a group of local citizens banded together as "FLAIM," Finger Lakes Alliance for Independent Media, to challenge Saga's purchase of four stations (WHCU 870, WNYY 1470, WYXL 97.3 and WQNY 107.3) from Eagle II Broadcasting, which had itself overcome a 1996 challenge to its combination of WHCU/WYXL and WNYY (then WTKO)/WQNY. It took four years (and the addition of a fifth full-power signal, Cortland-licensed WIII 99.9 from Citadel) for the FCC to issue a split decision in Saga's favor, ruling that even though the combination gave Saga well north of 60% of Tompkins County radio revenue, it was legal under the FCC rules then in effect.

Since then, of course, Saga has added all of those translators (which don't count against market caps), as well as acquiring WFIZ (95.5 Odessa) from ROI Broadcasting last year as a sixth full-power station in the market. As we noted when the deal went through, it was made possible by a shift in the way the Ithaca market is defined: once Saga stopped buying the Ithaca ratings from Arbitron, Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) stopped rating the market - and once that happened, the WFIZ purchase was consummated under a different set of market definitions that look at contour overlap instead of a ratings market.

Saga made the case that at least on paper, those Ithaca signals overlap with more than 50 other stations from Syracuse, Elmira, Binghamton and elsewhere, and the FCC approved that sale, which included two translators as well as WFIZ itself. (Ironically, ROI itself had once objected to Saga's market concentration in Ithaca.)

The latest FLAIM petition, against the license renewals of all of Saga's full-power signals, calls on the Commission to pay closer attention to the specific and unusual nature of the terrain around Ithaca, which puts the city down in a terrain hole that prevents most of those Syracuse/Binghamton/Elmira signals from being even barely audible in town. FLAIM also cites the case of Jeremy Alderson, a journalist and anti-fracking advocate who tried to buy airtime on Saga's stations to get his message across. The petition says Alderson's attempt to place a paid show on the Saga stations was denied, leaving him with no option other than buying time on stations in Horseheads and Binghamton that don't put a significant signal into Ithaca.

The petition (which, we should note, draws heavily on NERW's own reporting over the years) calls on the FCC to either convene a hearing on whether the grant of Saga's renewals would be in the public interest, or to grant a short-term renewal while it assesses the "competitive nature of the Ithaca market." Will the FCC respond? We'll be watching.

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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: May 13, 2013

*Seven years after an upstate NEW YORK state college entered the public radio business, it has abruptly shut down its station, leaving behind plenty of questions about a newly open space on the dial. wuowSUNY Oneonta put WUOW-LP (104.7) on the air in 2007 to help provide emergency communications in town in the wake of devastating flooding in the region, and just last year it returned the LPFM license and signed on a new full-power outlet, WUOW (88.5 Milford), along with an Oneonta translator, W217BY (91.3), for which it paid $12,500. Even though that move had already been planned and paid for, it appears that the Oneonta campus had by then already decided to pull the plug on its venture into public radio. From an initial staff of three (plus a part-timer), WUOW was down to just one staffer – and on Thursday, that staffer, SUNY Oneonta communications lecturer Gary Wickham, had the sad duty of signing the station off. With a mixture of AAA music and some local talk, WUOW had competed against relays of two larger public stations, Binghamton”s WSKG (via WSQC 91.7 Oneonta) and Albany”s WAMC (via two translators in the area). Will either of them (or someone else) end up with the WUOW licenses? For now, SUNY isn”t saying whether it still plans to sell the licenses, though it had offered them for sale back in 2011. (In the meantime, WSKG is finding other ways to expand in Otsego County: it”s paying Bud Williamson $20,000 for translator W290CI on 105.9 in Cooperstown.) *We still think of Bruce Mittman primarily as a Massachusetts broadcaster, but he”s becoming a bigger name in upstate New York radio. Last week, Mittman”s Community Broadcasters (which he owns along with Jim Leven) filed a $3.6 million deal to buy Backyard Broadcasting”s stations in the Elmira/Corning and Olean markets. In Elmira, Community picks up a cluster of three FMs and two AMs: top-40 “Wink 106″ WNKI (106.1 Corning), the only class B signal in the core of the market, along with country “Big Pig” WPGI (100.9 Horseheads) and classic rock “Wingz” WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls), plus talker WWLZ (820 Horseheads) and WRCE (1490 Watkins Glen), which relays WNGZ when it”s not carrying auto racing on the weekends. In Olean, Community picks up market-leading country giant WPIG (95.7) and oldies WHDL (1450).Read more at: http://www.fybush.com/nerw-5132013-oneonta-loses-a-radio-voice/

*Seven years after an upstate NEW YORK state college entered the public radio business, it has abruptly shut down its station, leaving behind plenty of questions about a newly open space on the dial.

wuowSUNY Oneonta put WUOW-LP (104.7) on the air in 2007 to help provide emergency communications in town in the wake of devastating flooding in the region, and just last year it returned the LPFM license and signed on a new full-power outlet, WUOW (88.5 Milford), along with an Oneonta translator, W217BY (91.3), for which it paid $12,500.

Even though that move had already been planned and paid for, it appears that the Oneonta campus had by then already decided to pull the plug on its venture into public radio. From an initial staff of three (plus a part-timer), WUOW was down to just one staffer - and on Thursday, that staffer, SUNY Oneonta communications lecturer Gary Wickham, had the sad duty of signing the station off.

With a mixture of AAA music and some local talk, WUOW had competed against relays of two larger public stations, Binghamton"s WSKG (via WSQC 91.7 Oneonta) and Albany"s WAMC (via two translators in the area). Will either of them (or someone else) end up with the WUOW licenses? For now, SUNY isn"t saying whether it still plans to sell the licenses, though it had offered them for sale back in 2011.

*We still think of Bruce Mittman primarily as a Massachusetts broadcaster, but he"s becoming a bigger name in upstate New York radio. Last week, Mittman"s Community Broadcasters (which he owns along with Jim Leven) filed a $3.6 million deal to buy Backyard Broadcasting"s stations in the Elmira/Corning and Olean markets. In Elmira, Community picks up a cluster of three FMs and two AMs: top-40 "Wink 106" WNKI (106.1 Corning), the only class B signal in the core of the market, along with country "Big Pig" WPGI (100.9 Horseheads) and classic rock "Wingz" WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls), plus talker WWLZ (820 Horseheads) and WRCE (1490 Watkins Glen), which relays WNGZ when it"s not carrying auto racing on the weekends. In Olean, Community picks up market-leading country giant WPIG (95.7) and oldies WHDL (1450).

*Two Pittsburgh-market AM stations are changing owners for remarkably low prices. All-news KQV (1410) will apparently be keeping its format when the heirs of the late minority owner Robert Dickey Sr. buy majority control of the station from Richard Mellon Scaife. Back in 1982, Scaife and the elder Dickey paid just under $2 million to buy KQV from Taft, with Scaife taking 70% of licensee Calvary Inc. and Dickey taking 20%. After Dickey"s death in late 2011, his children Robert Dickey Jr. and Cheryl Scott inherited his shares, and their company, 22 Min LLC (named, we presume, for the "give us 22 minutes, we"ll give you the world" all-news slogan), is paying $200,000 for Scaife"s interest in KQV, which appears to value the entire station at under $300,000.

Down the road in Pittsburgh"s eastern suburbs, the bankrupt Business Talk Radio Network has sold WLFP (1550 Reserve Township) to a new group called AM Guys LLC, owned by Ed DeHart and Stephen Zelenko. They"re paying just $14,515 for the 1000-watt daytimer, a steep discount from the $225,000 BTRN spent to buy then-WURP from Inner City Broadcasting six years ago.

*Think that"s not a dramatic enough example of the way station values have shifted in recent years? Consider, then, that a 490-watt college station in the much smaller Williamsport market is changing hands for $125,000. That"s WPTC (88.1), and it will survive as a campus/community voice after nearly being closed down when its owner, Pennsylvania College of Technology, dropped the Mass Media/Communications program that had staffed WPTC with student managers and air talent. Instead of shutting down WPTC, the newly-formed Williamsport Lycoming Broadcast Foundation will take over the license. The foundation"s president, Todd Bartley, is also the general manager of the local ESPN affiliate, WLYC (1050), and the foundation"s address is WLYC"s address, too.

*Conventional wisdom says we”re living right now in a time of transformative media change, as established news sources come under siege from newer, more nimble ventures. wbin-smIn the world of local TV news, though, “new” doesn”t automatically mean “success” – especially in markets where a single player might have a six-decade head start on a newcomer. Markets such as, say, NEW HAMPSHIRE, which is where we start this week”s column with the news that Bill Binnie”s WBIN (Channel 50) has pulled the plug, for now, on the 10 PM local newscast that launched back in the fall of 2011.Read more at: http://www.fybush.com/nerw-20130506/

*Conventional wisdom says we”re living right now in a time of transformative media change, as established news sources come under siege from newer, more nimble ventures. wbin-smIn the world of local TV news, though, “new” doesn”t automatically mean “success” – especially in markets where a single player might have a six-decade head start on a newcomer. Markets such as, say, NEW HAMPSHIRE, which is where we start this week”s column with the news that Bill Binnie”s WBIN (Channel 50) has pulled the plug, for now, on the 10 PM local newscast that launched back in the fall of 2011. In its year and a half on the air, that newscast suffered from two big drawbacks: first, it was never truly “local,” emanating from the centralized newsroom at INN (Independent News Network) in Davenport, Iowa, where an Iowa-based anchor introduced stories from three reporters based in New Hampshire; second, it attempted to compete not only against the very established Manchester-based WMUR (Channel 9), which offers its own 10 PM show on its 9.2 MeTV subchannel, but also against the big newsrooms to the south in Boston. (And even here, the advantage went very much to WMUR, which can draw on the considerable resources of Hearst sister station WCVB in Boston.) The Binnie group promised early on that the Iowa-based production would be only temporary while it worked to build a full-fledged news operation in New Hampshire, and as recently as February Binnie told the Concord Monitor that he was planning to “double his reporting staff” and expand the evening newscast to an hour. But we”re hearing that concerns with the quality of the Iowa-based production led WBIN to pull out of the deal with INN, abruptly replacing the 10 PM newscast with the syndicated “OMG! Insider.” WBIN WBIN”s inaugural newscast, 2011 Will news come back to WBIN? The station has retained one of the three local reporters on its staff, and weatherman Al Kaprielian is still on staff as well, doing hourly weather updates from afternoon into prime time (the former INN-produced newscast used an Iowa-based forecaster instead) – but the most that Binnie VP Periklis Karoutas would tell the Monitor is that Binnie “is doing news and will continue to do so.” As for some of the bigger plans Binnie”s been talking about for his fast-growing radio/TV group, including a statewide live morning news show, their failure to materialize just yet might well be taken as another sign that even for an owner with the considerable resources of a business magnate like Bill Binnie, getting into broadcasting in a big way is still harder than it looks.Read more at: http://www.fybush.com/nerw-20130506/

*Conventional wisdom says we”re living right now in a time of transformative media change, as established news sources come under siege from newer, more nimble ventures. wbin-smIn the world of local TV news, though, “new” doesn”t automatically mean “success” – especially in markets where a single player might have a six-decade head start on a newcomer. Markets such as, say, NEW HAMPSHIRE, which is where we start this week”s column with the news that Bill Binnie”s WBIN (Channel 50) has pulled the plug, for now, on the 10 PM local newscast that launched back in the fall of 2011.Read more at: http://www.fybush.com/nerw-20130506/

Five Years Ago: May 11, 2009

There are few relationships as fraught with tension right now as those between broadcasters and bankers. As station values have dropped in recent months, we've heard from plenty of broadcasters who'd like to be station buyers, not to mention station brokers who'd very much like to complete sales, only to be thwarted by an almost complete freeze on lending for station purchases. Ask the bankers and venture capitalists, of course, and they'll tell you that radio is just too volatile and risky a business to be pouring money into right now...especially with station values continuing to slump. It's not just would-be buyers affected by the credit crunch - just ask any station owner facing a big credit line that's coming due.

Our latest example is one of the region's largest station groups: Nassau Broadcasting, which has been negotiating with its biggest lenders, led by Goldman Sachs, ever since its credit came due last September just as the market began its tumble. The immediate impact on Nassau was limited - the company backed out of LMA-to-purchase deals for WFKB in the Reading, PA market and for a station in Maryland - but the long-term problems were potentially severe. Last week, Nassau CEO Lou Mercatanti reached a deal with Goldman that will keep the company alive, but at the expense of a significant loss of control of the company, not to mention the sale of stations in NEW HAMPSHIRE and MAINE. Here's how it plays out: the Goldman-led lender group will trade two-thirds of Nassau's outstanding debt for an 85% equity interest in the company, with Goldman taking a seat on the Nassau board of directors. That constitutes a change of control of Nassau, as far as the FCC is concerned - and that means Nassau gives up its grandfathered status in Concord and Portland, where its clusters exceed current market caps.

In Concord and the Lakes Region, Nassau will put classic hits "Frank" WNNH (99.1 Henniker) and classic rock "Hawk" WWHQ (101.5 Meredith) in a divestiture trust pending a sale, while in Portland, it's "Bone" rock simulcast WHXR (106.7 North Windham) that goes into the trust. Meanwhile, Nassau will restructure Boston-market WCRB (99.5 Lowell) and its Cape Cod cluster into separate companies to avoid ownership-attribution issues stemming from lenders' interests in other broadcasters in those markets. In a memo to Nassau employees, Mercatanti promised that "there are no other changes occurring in connection with this transaction that will impact the operations of the Company," vowing that he and the rest of Nassau's management team will remain in place.

Ten Years Ago: May 11, 2004

More than a decade after its construction was halted 220 feet short of its target height, the tower of WFUV (90.7 New York) will soon be dismantled, ending the nastiest battle over a radio tower in the history of NEW YORK and perhaps the nation. The New York Daily News reports that the new president of Fordham University, WFUV's owner, has reached a settlement with the New York Botanical Garden that will find WFUV moving a mile and a half to a new tower to be built atop a Gun Hill Road apartment building owned by the Montefiore Medical Center.

Over in Buffalo, WGR (550) began simulcasting its sports talk over WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield Township), its former rival, in the middle of last week. We still hear that the simulcast is only temporary and that a music format is on the way at 107.7. Meanwhile, former WNSA talk hosts Howard Simon and Jim Brinson returned to the airwaves at Empire Sports Network, buying time from the struggling network in Simon's former "Simon-cast" afternoon time slot.

Renda Broadcasting is adding another signal in PENNSYLVANIA, paying $900,000 to buy WLCY (106.3 Blairsville) from Longo Media Group. "Lucky 106" will join WDAD (1450 Indiana), WQMU (92.5 Indiana) and WCCS (1160 Homer City) in Renda's Indiana cluster.

RHODE ISLAND's 990 signal will soon be a sister to WXCT: Davidson Media Group, which is buying WXCT from ADD Media, is paying $2.6 million to acquire WALE (990 Greenville) from Cumbre Communications, which couldn't make a go of the signal. We listened to WALE for a bit while driving around Providence this past weekend, and whatever it's doing, it's doing it without any legal IDs... (2009 update: It was still doing it without legal IDs when we visited Providence a couple of months ago.)

Fifteen Years Ago: May 7, 1999

The "rhythmic oldies" format has claimed a big CONNECTICUT convert this week -- but this time, Chancellor Media has nothing to do with it. CBS's WZMX (93.7 Hartford) made the switch at 10 o'clock Thursday morning, putting morning man Sebastian out on the street (literally so -- NERW hears his car was broken and he had to walk home) and taking on the moniker "Z-93.7, Dancin' Oldies." John Robbins is the new PD at the station. Across town, Buckley's more traditional oldies station, WDRC-FM (102.9 Hartford), is also trying to attract the same audience by positioning itself as "Good Times, Hot Oldies."

Charles River Broadcasting is buying another MASSACHUSETTS radio station. The owner of WCRB (102.5 Waltham) and WFCC (107.5 Chatham) is buying WKPE-FM (104.7 Orleans) on Cape Cod from David Roth's Gramcam. Roth donated the former WKPE(AM) to UMass/Boston a few months ago. WKPE-FM will be the only Charles River station with a format other than classical music. No word yet on whether there will be operational consolidations between WKPE-FM and WFCC; given that WFCC's programming already originates from WCRB's Waltham studio, it would seem logical to move WFCC's sales staff in with WKPE at the "Radio Circle" facility just off US 6.

Boston University is selling the TV stations it bought from the Christian Science Monitor six years ago, and the buyer is none other than DP Media, owned by Lowell Paxson's son Devon. The price tag for WABU-TV (Channel 68 Boston), WNBU-TV (Channel 21 Concord NH), and WZBU (Channel 58 Vineyard Haven) is estimated at $40 million. Once the deal closes, WABU and its satellites will become PaxTV affiliates, replacing WBPX-TV (Channel 46) in Norwell. As for WABU's local programming and its 70 employees? Most are likely to lose their jobs as the station becomes the typical all-network Pax operation.

WAAF (107.3 Worcester) is moving even farther away from its city of license. A decade after leaving the downtown digs nicknamed the "Cocaine Realty Building," WAAF is abandoning its office-park facility in Westborough to move into the former WBMX studios at 116 Huntington Ave. in Boston, where sister stations WRKO, WEEI, and WQSX are located. WAAF general manager Bruce Mittman tells the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that it doesn't make sense to pay rent on two facilities, and with the open space where WBMX used to be (that station is now in the old WBOS/WSJZ Soldiers Field Rd. studios), the move was the logical thing to do. WWTM (1440) and a satellite sales office will relocate somewhere in the Worcester area within a few months. Speaking of Worcester, we heard from WWFX (100.1 Southbridge) GM Craig Della Riva, who wrote in to let us know "the Fox" is more "classic hits" than classic rock.

Aurora Communications is still buying in NEW YORK. Frank Osborn's new group, which bought WEBE/WICC in Connecticut last week, also plunked down $20 million to pick up WFAS AM-FM (1230/103.9) in White Plains and WZZN (106.3) in Mount Kisco late last week. Osborn's partner Frank Washington had been managing those stations.

It must be nice to be able to shuffle radio station formats as easily as a deck of cards -- at least, that's the only conclusion we can draw from the latest changes at Jacor in Rochester, or, more correctly, Clear Channel in Rochester (with the closing of this huge deal this week). Here's the latest on the little class A FMs that seem to have changed calls and format almost every month since Jacor took them over in early 1998: The "Kiss 107" CHR format, just starting to make a ratings dent, disappeared from 107.3 (WMAX-FM "South Bristol Township") Thursday afternoon and was replaced with a loop advising listeners to retune their radios to 106.7. That would be WKGS Irondequoit, which dropped its soft AC "Sunny 106" format last December (after just 10 months!) to begin simulcasting "Kiss." The simulcast almost made sense -- the 106.7 signal is on an apartment building at the north end of the market and serves Monroe County and nowhere else (since it's rather short-spaced to WHCD 106.9 Auburn), while the 107.3 is on a short tower in Bloomfield, 20 miles south of Rochester, and does much better in the outlying counties to the south than in the city itself. What's more, the 107.3 will eventually be sacrificed to the top of Bristol Mountain, where it won't really reach Rochester at all. (This move preserves the fiction of local service to "South Bristol Township" once Jacor's WNVE on 95.1 moves its big class B signal from Bristol Mountain down to Baker Hill, using 107.3's old city of license of Honeoye Falls, but becoming a real Rochester class B in the process.)

Confused yet? We're just getting started...because when the loop on 107.3 ended at 5 o'clock Friday night, what popped up was a new country station. "The Big Cow 107.3" promised its listeners two solid hours of Shania Twain, which it delivered -- by repeating the same four songs over and over. But anyone anticipating real competition for the market's only country station (Entercom's WBEE-FM) was disappointed by what happened two hours later, when WMAX-FM became "Jammin' Oldies 107.3," presumably taking on another Entercom station, oldies WBBF 98.9. Real format? Weekend stunt? Sounds like the former...but with these guys, you never know.

As for the listeners, they're probably getting pretty confused by now. Since last February, these 106.7 and 107.3 outlets have delivered dance-CHR (on 107.3 as "Jam'n," February-December 1998), soft AC (on 106.7 as "Sunny," February-December 1998, later shuffled off to the Canandaigua 102.3), mainstream CHR, and now rhythmic oldies -- and all without people. Yep, it's all jockless, personality-free, straight-outta-Covington, Kentucky formula programming. And the shame of it is, 106.7 used to be a creative AAA (as WMAX-FM) owned by a small regional cable company, with real people doing real radio for a real audience. 107.3 was never as local (in its original incarnation as smooth jazz WRCD), but at least it didn't flip formats and calls every six months.

11 COMMENTS

  1. We will keep Lisa in our prayers, Scott. Thank you for trying to keep everything going. It must be very difficult juggling a family illness & keeping your other commitments going. Hope everything turns out okay for both of you.

    Mike Putnam

  2. God Bless you and Lisa. May he touch her with healing. And may he make your emotional burden lighter.
    Dave Macaulay

  3. Scott,
    Your amazing and I know your strength will be the Godsend to Lisa.
    All caring wishes and positive thoughts to your family. Clark

  4. Keeping you and Lisa in thoughts and prayers. May everything quickly turn out well.

    Edward Ogden

  5. Ruth & I believe in miracles and the power of God. We’re praying and believing for a complete restoration for Lisa in Jesus mighty powerful name.

    Fred & Ruth Koehler

  6. You’ve had some challenges to deal with, Scott. Best wishes to you and Lisa- and I hope there’s strength in knowing you’ve got friends who care.

Comments are closed.