In this week's issue: Cannon departs "Now" morning show - Brockton's WXBR sold - New talk lineups in Connecticut - Tower down in Vermont - Classical partnership in New Hampshire
by SCOTT FYBUSH
*It's been just over two years since Nick Cannon took over morning drive on NEW YORK's WXRK (92.3 Now), and now he's leaving the show under what he says are doctor's orders.
Cannon, who made a name for himself as a comedian, actor, rapper and host of "America's Got Talent" before marrying Mariah Carey, has been battling health problems for his last few months as Now's morning man. Cannon was hospitalized in California in early January with kidney issues, and last week he went back to the hospital, reportedly to treat blood clots in his lungs.
In a statement released Friday, Cannon said the strain of the radio show had become too much:
"Under doctor’s orders, I have been asked to make my health first and cut back on some of my professional commitments in order to allow my body to get the rest that it needs to keep up with the demands of my multi-tasking schedule. It has been an absolute pleasure working with CBS Radio and the 92.3 NOW morning show team and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support. I will continue to host my syndicated Cannon’s Countdown weekend show and look forward to contributing to 92.3 NOW whenever possible. Even Superman has to sleep," he said.
Taking Cannon at his word about his health issues (and we have no reason to doubt him about the stress level, especially as we've been dealing with repeated hospitalizations for Mrs. NERW at this end), his departure still raises some inevitable questions about the future of CBS Radio's attempt to take on Clear Channel's WHTZ (100.3) in the New York top-40 arena.
While "Now" and Cannon's show have done respectably in the ratings in a little over a year on the air, they still lag far behind the dominant Z100, and the departure of PD Dom Theodore earlier this month started the rumor mill chugging about the possibility of a format flip. CBS attempted to quash those rumors by putting out a release announcing its intention to hire a replacement PD, but no new PD has surfaced yet - and now CBS has a relatively low-rated huge FM signal in market number one with no PD and no morning star. (Cannon's co-host Sarah Lee is working with afternoon jock Lil Cee in mornings for now.)
Did we mention that the start of baseball season is just a few weeks away, and that CBS revenue behemoth WFAN (660) will be wanting to promote its new Mets radio team of Howie Rose and Josh Lewin? And that WFAN's sports rival, ESPN Radio's WEPN (1050), just got a big attention boost from the one-two punch of the "Lincredible" New York Knicks, for whom it's the radio flagship, and the seven-week absence of Knicks TV games from the screens of New York's Time Warner Cable customers? (Granted, the "Linsanity" may be subsiding a bit, and Time Warner Cable and MSG Networks came to an agreement Friday that ends the standoff, but we'd still expect at least a moderate boost in WEPN's January and February numbers.)
As we've noted in the past, CBS Radio knows all too well how quickly a sports rival armed with high-profile play-by-play deals and a potent FM signal can damage a heritage AM sports outlet, thanks to its experience in Boston as the upstart (WBZ-FM "98.5 the Sports Hub") that knocked down the heritage signal, Entercom's WEEI (850), forcing it to eventually pull the trigger on its own FM simulcast, probably several years later than it should have. Is CBS nervous about WFAN playing the WEEI role in a New York version of that scenario, especially if ESPN can grab an FM signal for WEPN in the near future? Whatever it's saying publicly about keeping top-40 on WXRK, it's hard not to believe that CBS upper management isn't at least plotting out a "WFAN-FM" scenario, and the question at this point isn't "if," it's "when."
*If you've carefully perused your 2012 Tower Site Calendar, you've probably noticed that it pays special tribute this year to all the heritage AM stations that can trace their history back to radio's first boom year, 1922. That means this will be a year full of ninetieth-anniversary celebrations - and the first few are taking place this month. In New York City, WOR (710) celebrates its anniversary on Wednesday, and it's kicking off with more than a week's worth of archival audio on the air and a promise of a bigger anniversary celebration later in the year. Up the Thruway in the Capital District, WGY (810 Schenectady) hits its big milestone today.
*Out on Long Island, WBLI (106.1 Patchogue) has named its night jock, Syke, as music director.
Upstate, CNYRadio.com reports Marty Brandon has departed WQNY (103.7 Ithaca), where he was the afternoon jock. He's bound for a new job outside of radio in the Albany area, and WQNY is now looking for a new afternoon host. (In the meantime, sister station WHCU still hasn't filled its morning anchor job. That meant WQNY morning man/ops manager Chris Allinger was handling WHCU duty and Brandon had been covering mornings on WQNY; now Allinger will be back on WQNY in the morning and Geoff Dunn will cover WHCU until a new host is in place there.)
Where are they now? Weslea Neas was just plain "Weslea" when she was music director and afternoon jock at WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester). Then she moved into the music business, working for Republic Nashville - and she's just been named director of promotion for the southwest and midwest for CO5 Nashville.
*WXBR (1460) in Brockton, MASSACHUSETTS is indeed being sold. As we first reported a month ago, the buyer is indeed a Haitian broadcaster: Azure Media, LLC, which is paying Michael Metter's Business Talk Radio $250,000, is owned by Florida-based Jhonson Napoleon and his wife Betsy. (He's a US citizen; she's a citizen of Haiti.)
Despite the huge hole in commercial radio for a Haitian-targeted station (filled out, of course, by a slew of pirates in the Boston and Brockton areas), it's not clear that WXBR will leave its existing English-language talk format behind when it changes hands. Azure's one existing station, WFHT (1390 Avon Park FL), is an English-language talker that runs mainstream shows such as Neal Boortz, Mark Levin and Michael Savage.
The quarter-million dollar purchase price, incidentally, is just a quarter of what Metter paid for the station (then WBET) in 2006; it's also a significant discount from the $325,000 asking price for WXBR.
*There's a new signal on the air on the east side of the Springfield market: WWQZ (89.5 Baptist Village) signed on for the first time on Saturday afternoon, the first New England outlet for the Greenville, S.C.-based "The Life FM" network. The new 33-watt facility in the hills between Hampden and Wilbraham was built by Mike Fitzpatrick of NECRAT.us tower-photo fame, and it will soon be joined by simulcaster WWQA (89.9 North Granby CT).
*Unless you vacation in a high-end hotspot such as Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket or the Hamptons, you've probably never heard of "Plum TV." But the denizens of the fancy restaurants and expensive boutiques in those resort areas (not to mention Sun Valley, Vail, Telluride and Aspen) have been tuning into the lifestyle-oriented cable channel for several years, though apparently not in sufficient numbers to save the network from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Plum TV founder Tom Scott (you might know him better as the co-founder of Nantucket Nectars juices) has found a savior for the network; "stalking horse" bidder PMG Media will kick off the bidding at $15 million when the auction takes place March 1.
*Jon Grayson got off to a bad start in the Boston market three years ago when CBS Radio decided to pull the plug on local overnight shows at several of its big signals, including WBZ (1030), and replace them with a new national "Overnight America" broadcast hosted by Grayson at KMOX (1120) in St. Louis. An outcry from fans and sponsors of WBZ's Steve Leveille, whose local show was dumped for "Overnight America," quickly restored local talk to WBZ's late-night air. But CBS isn't giving up on Grayson. It's now syndicating the show (which really wasn't all that bad, had it been a replacement for anything other than the beloved Leveille), and now Grayson has found a New England outlet. He's being heard on WCRN (830 Worcester) from 1-5 AM, replacing "Red Eye Radio," the Cumulus replacement for the former "Midnight Radio." Ironically, one of the other big CBS stations that did successfully replace its local overnights with Grayson's show back in 2009 was WCCO in Minneapolis, the original clear-channel occupant of 830.
*There's an overnight change in RHODE ISLAND as well: WPRO (630 Providence)/WEAN (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale) has replaced "Coast to Coast AM" with...Cumulus' in-house "Red Eye Radio."
*Radio listeners in NEW HAMPSHIRE are getting a better classical-music signal. Harry Kozlowski's Highlands Community Radio recently moved classical WCNH from a low-power license on 94.7 in Concord (now WNHN-LP) to a full-power signal on 91.5, licensed to nearby Bow. But that turns out to have been just the first step in some bigger expansion plans: WCNH has now moved in with New Hampshire Public Radio at its Pillsbury Street studios in Concord as part of a partnership that also includes a simulcast of WCNH's classical programming on the HD2 signal of NHPR flagship WEVO (89.1 Concord). Under the new brand "Classical NH," WCNH is hoping the partnership will expand to additional HD signals around the state, as well as a more prominent streaming presence.
It's the first time there's been classical programming associated with NHPR since the main NHPR network went to a fulltime news-talk format in 2000.
*There's a new 10 PM newscast coming to the Granite State, too: dominant ABC affiliate WMUR-TV (Channel 9) will add a prime-time newscast on March 5, airing on its "Me-TV" 9.2 subchannel. The new show will be anchored by Tom Griffith and Tiffany Eddy, who will hand over their current duties hosting "New Hampshire Chronicle" to Erin Fehlau and Sean McDonald; it will also compete with the 10 PM show that started last year on Bill Binnie's independent WBIN-TV (Channel 50).
*There's a schedule change at WKBK (1290 Keene), where Mark Levin's syndicated show has been replaced from 6-8 PM weekdays by the "Wall Street Journal Daily Wrap." More interesting, perhaps, than that minor shift is the string of e-mails from and about Levin uncovered by rival talker Ian Freeman over at his Free Keene site; chronicling the cancellation of Levin's show at another affiliate, WSPD in Toledo, Ohio, they inadvertently raise some very interesting questions about how the ideological rifts within the Republican Party as a whole are playing out in at least one corner of the talk radio universe.
(We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section below: Is it healthy for a station that was once a mass-market, full-service community voice - Toledo's WSPD, in this case, not WKBK - to have its PD making programming decisions based on a host's "common sense, Constitutional fealty and reasoned response" and his positions vis a vis obscure associates of Ron Paul? Somewhere, the ghost of Jerry Williams weeps...)
*There's a tower down in VERMONT's Upper Valley: WNHV (910 White River Junction) went silent in May 2010 and had its license deleted last September. By then, WNHV's owner, Nassau Broadcasting, had lost the lease on the station's longtime tower site just off US 5 south of White River Junction, owned by former station licensee Great Northern Radio. Last week, Great Northern had the tower dismantled, removing the last physical evidence of WNHV's half-century of existence. The land around it is being donated to the town of Hartford, which will use it for recreation.
*In CONNECTICUT, budget cuts have ended Dan Lovallo's run as afternoon host on Buckley's WDRC (1360 Hartford) and its sister stations WSNG (610 Torrington), WWCO (1240 Waterbury) and WMMW (1470 Meriden).
Lovallo had been with the "Talk of Connecticut" network since 2006; for now, WDRC and its sisters are carrying the Rita Cosby show, syndicated from Buckley's WOR in New York, in the 3-6 PM slot.
In Bridgeport, WDJZ (1530) is making a full-fledged flip from gospel and ethnic programming to English-language talk. The station took the first step toward a format change in November, when John LaBarca brought his morning show over from WSTC (1400 Stamford)/WNLK (1350 Norwalk) when those stations were sold. LaBarca's now being joined by Metro Networks' Bill Buchner with news and traffic, and WDJZ says it's looking for local hosts for additional talk dayparts.
*There's more talk coming to western PENNSYLVANIA, too: public broadcaster WESA (90.5) launches its daily "Essential Pittsburgh" broadcast next Monday at noon, with a repeat at 8 PM. It's been getting ready for the new show, hosted by Paul Guggenheimer, with Friday-afternoon preview broadcasts. To make room for the new local show, WESA will cut "On Point" down to an hour, shifting "Tell Me More" to 11 AM (from 1 PM) and "Here & Now" to 1 PM, from noon.
Local sports talk has disappeared at York's WOYK (1350), where afternoon talker Adam McAllister told listeners last week he was quitting after two years with the station. WOYK will fill the slot with more Yahoo! Sports Radio syndicated sports talk.
There's a new program director at WLAN-FM (96.9 Lancaster): Derrick Cole moves north from Clear Channel sister station WKSI in Winchester, Virginia to replace Jeff Hurley.
Mark Shepperd is moving down the Blue Route, leaving the afternoon slot at WLEV (100.7 Allentown) to do production work and weekends at Philadelphia's WBEB (101.1), where production director Brian Murphy died last November.
Joe Reilly's Columbia Broadcasting is trying to get a new translator out of the way of some interference. W291BD (106.1 Bloomsburg) has been relaying Joe's WHLM (930), but complaints of interference from the 250-watt translator to WLZS (106.1 Beaver Springs) prompted the translator to file for a frequency change to 105.9. The FCC rejected Columbia's application to make the move under Special Temporary Authority, following up with a formal application for a construction permit if it's satisfied that the move will work. The Commission says W291BD's proposed move "involves allocation matters best considered within the context of an application for a construction permit, rather than an STA request," and it says W291BD can request expedited processing of such an application.
And longtime WMAJ (1450 State College) general manager Milton "Mickey" Bergstein has died. Bergstein came to WMAJ as an announcer in 1953, a decade after he graduated from Penn State. Bergstein became one of the voices of Nittany Lions football, serving on and off as color commentator, analyst and play-by-play man between 1953 and 1970. Bergstein left radio in 1975 to become a full-time instructor at Penn State's Smeal College of Business. He retired in 2001, and died Tuesday at age 89.
*It was a quiet, quiet week in CANADA, but we've got this for you, courtesy of Dan Sys' Canadian Radio News: in North Bay, Ontario, CFXN (106.3 Moose FM) has segued from adult hits to hot AC-leaning top-40.
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: February 21, 2011 -
*It's still not a done deal as we wrap up this column late Sunday night, but the impending merger of Citadel Broadcasting into Cumulus Media promises to create a 900-station behemoth that could bring some changes to NEW YORK and several other NERW-land markets.
Given all the acquisitions both companies have made in the post-1996 consolidation era, it's remarkable how little overlap exists among their station groups. Nationwide, the analysts say, a combined Cumulus-Citadel would have to shed only a handful of stations: one in Dallas, two in Nashville and possibly (as we'll see later in this week's column) one in central Pennsylvania.
For the most part, though, each company has stayed away from the other's turf. In market number one, Citadel became a player with its 2006 acquisition of ABC Radio's WABC (770) and WPLJ (95.5) - but those stations have never competed directly with the suburban clusters that Cumulus picked up in its purchase of the old Aurora group in 2001.
Those stations - WFAS/WFAS-FM/WFAF in Westchester County; the Poughkeepsie-based cluster that includes oldies WALL/WEOK, modern rock WRRV/WRRB, AC WCZX, rock WPDH/WPDA and country WKXP/WZAD; the Danbury, Connecticut cluster that includes sports WINE/WPUT, rock WRKI and country WDBY; and the Bridgeport-based WEBE/WICC - will form a powerful suburban counterpart to WABC and WPLJ.
(And there's one interesting "what if": Cumulus has built out, but not yet licensed, a move of WFAS-FM 103.9 from Westchester to the WFUV tower site in the Bronx. Cumulus was reportedly trying to sell the moved-in 103.9 signal, which made no economic sense as a standalone with only partial coverage of New York City - but now that signal just might make some sense as an FM outlet for WABC.)
*Meanwhile in the Hudson Valley, Juergen Klebe's Sunrise Broadcasting has received a license to cover for WGNY-FM (98.9 Rosendale), and it's set to sign on with regular programming any day now.
The class A signal reaches from north of Kingston to south of Poughkeepsie, complementing the more southerly reach of Klebe's WJGK (103.1 Newburgh, the former WGNY-FM) and WGNY (1220 Newburgh).
According to the Sunrise website, 98.9 will be carrying the same oldies format now heard on 1220 and sister station WDLC (1490 Port Jervis) - and like the Newburgh FM, it will be operating in HD, with something called "The Drive" on 98.9-2.
*The North Carolina-based Bible Broadcasting Network has been trying to sell WYFY (1450 Rome) for years now, and it's finally found a buyer. Ron and Corinne Frisch's Tune In Radio, LLC will pay BBN just $20,000 for the 1000-watt station's license, plus an additional $70,000 for its real estate. Tune In Radio owns just one other station at the moment, silent WQMS (1500) in Quitman, Mississippi.
Down the Thruway, unbuilt WKAJ (1120) wants to move from Little Falls east to St. Johnsville, and to boost its power in the process. Currently permitted for 1500 watts day, 250 watts at night in Little Falls, WKAJ would go to 10,000 watts by day, 400 watts at night from a four-tower array off Route 5 just west of St. Johnsville. The daytime signal, using two of the towers to create a mostly north-south pattern, will give 5 mV/m coverage from Herkimer almost to Johnstown, neatly complementing the reach of sister station WCSS (1490 Amsterdam) to the east.
*A big shift in MASSACHUSETTS: one of the original talkers from the start of WEEI's all-sports era 20 years ago is being relegated to fill-in status as Entercom shuffles the lineup there. Dale Arnold had been co-hosting with Michael Holley in middays for many years - but now Holley's being moved to afternoons, effective next week, to co-host "The Big Show" with Glenn Ordway. Who replaces "Dale and Holley" from 10-2? WEEI's not saying officially, but the Herald reports that the nod will go to Lou Merloni and Mike Mutnansky
As for Arnold, he says WEEI has assured him he'll still get plenty of work doing vacation relief and weekends, as well as filling in on Celtics and Red Sox broadcasts as needed - but he admits (again, to the Herald) that he regrets passing up an offer to do Bruins play-by-play four years ago.
*One of the signature voices of WBZ (1030) at the dawn of its top-40 era has died. Jay Dunn began his broadcast career in 1954 at Portland's WGAN, and by 1961 he had joined the staff at WBZ, where he was mostly heard in the 12:30-3:30 PM slot, taking the handoff from Dave Maynard and passing the baton to Jefferson Kaye (and later to Ron Landry after Kaye's departure to Buffalo and WKBW.)
Dunn himself left WBZ in 1967, later working at Chicago's WGN, Cincinnati's WCKY, Philadelphia's WPEN and WIBG and New York's WNEW. He left radio in 1976 and went into real estate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., though he returned to New England in the mid-nineties to retire in New Hampshire, where he died last Monday (Feb. 14). Dunn was 78.
*Fresh off the success of its Kingston flip that transformed AC CFFX (104.3) into classic hits CKWS-FM, Corus has pulled a similar nostalgia act up the Seaway in Cornwall, Ontario. Last Monday, CJSS (101.9) ditched its "Rock 101.9" format, becoming "Greatest Hits, CJSS 101.9 FM." The station's airstaff stays in place (though the syndicated Donny Osmond show will be added soon), and sister station CFLG (104.5) has taken its AC music mix a little more contemporary to avoid playlist overlap.
More changes in Quebec radio: with Cogeco now firmly in control of the former Corus stations, the "Souvenirs Garantis" French-language oldies network is fading away in favor of Cogeco's own "CKOI" network based at Montreal's French hot AC CKOI (96.9). The latest switches are in Gatineau/Ottawa and Trois-Rivieres. In Gatineau, CJRC (104.7) made the flip to "CKOI" last Monday; in Trois-Rivieres, CHLN (106.9) makes the flip today. That leaves "Souvenirs Garantis" with just two full-time outlets: CJTS (104.5) in Sherbrooke, which is up for sale, and CFOM (102.9) in Quebec City. (The network is also heard overnight on CKAC 730 in Montreal.)
Five Years Ago: February 19, 2007 -
*In other news from around the Bay State, it's just over a week until moving day for CBS Radio's WZLX (100.7 Boston), which is leaving the Prudential Tower after 13 years on the 24th floor for new digs in the former WSBK (Channel 38) building in Brighton, already home to sister stations WODS (103.3) and WBCN (104.1). When WZLX moves on March 2, it will leave the Pru with no radio studios for the first time since the early seventies, when CBS moved WEEI (590) and WEEI-FM (103.3) into the building. Over the years, the Pru has also been home to studios for WBCN and WVBF/WKLB/WROR, and of course its rooftop tower remains an important FM transmitter site.
More remarkably, WZLX's move will leave Boston's Back Bay with no commercial radio stations for the first time since the thirties; just as New York's radio stations have decamped from midtown Manhattan for the cheaper rents downtown and in New Jersey, Dorchester and Brighton have now become the hotbeds of broadcast activity in the Hub.
*An old RHODE ISLAND callsign is returning to the airwaves, as the construction permit for 1370 in Charlestown applies for the calls WKFD. Those calls were on 1370 in nearby Wickford from the sixties until that station went dark in the late nineties, and they'll now return to the frequency, albeit with somewhat less coverage of southern Rhode Island than the old Wickford facility had. (2012 update: the CP eventually expired unbuilt.)
*We'll start our NEW YORK report this week in Albany, where EMF Broadcasting is putting both of its national religious networks on the air at once with a two-station LMA (eventually to become a purchase) from Ed Levine's Galaxy Broadcasting. As of Friday, rocker "The Bone" is gone - and its simulcast signals have been replaced by contemporary Christian "K-Love" (on WBOE 94.5 Ravena) and Christian rock "Air One" (on WOOB 93.7 Scotia).
Galaxy had struggled to find a foothold in the Albany market, where its pair of class A signals was up against much bigger clusters owned by Clear Channel, Regent and Pamal/Albany Broadcasting. It's in a stronger position in its remaining markets, Utica and Syracuse, where Levine will now focus all his resources.
As for EMF, the Albany purchases extend an upstate "K-Love" foothold that already includes signals in Rochester, Utica and Plattsburgh.
*In MAINE, WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) applies for new calls WFMX, last used in North Carolina, to better match its "Mix" identity.
There's a new format coming to the FM dial in central Maine, as Light of Life Ministries prepares to shuffle formats on its cluster of religious stations. On March 2, the "God's Country" Christian country format now heard on WMDR (1340 Augusta) will move to WMDR-FM (88.9 Oakland) and its translators in Portland, Freeport and Bangor, displacing the "Zap" Christian rock format now heard there. There's no word yet on what will show up as a new format on 1340.
*The AM dial is getting ever quieter in CANADA's Maritime provinces. It's already empty in Prince Edward Island, and soon you may be able to count Nova Scotia's remaining AM signals on the toes of one foot.
Halifax was one of the earliest cities in which the CBC moved its Radio One service from AM to FM, silencing CBH (860) in favor of CBHA (90.5) way back in 1989. Now Sydney, the principal city on Cape Breton Island, will soon lose CBI (1140). The CBC has applied to move CBI to FM, on 97.1, with 100 kW DA/123 m. If the move is granted, and once the various other AM-to-FM moves that the CRTC has approved (including CHER 950 Sydney) are carried out, Sydney will be left with only CJCB (1270) on AM, keeping company with remaining Nova Scotia AM signals CJCH (920 Halifax), CKDH (900 Amherst), CKAD (1350 Middleton), CKDY (1420 Digby) and CFAB (1450 Windsor) - and CFAB has applied for a move to FM, too.
The CBI application is only one of a pile of Sydney applications that the CRTC will consider at an April 16 hearing in Membertou, NS. Barry Maxwell Martin applied for 103.5 (26.5 kW/170 m) for a rock station, Newcap applied for 101.9 (100 kW DA/123 m) for a classic rock station, Andrew Newman applied for 93.1 (50 kW/86 m) for an AC station, and HFX Broadcasting applied for 100.9 (23.4 kW DA/168 m) for a "youth contemporary" station.
Ten Years Ago: February 18, 2002 -
One of NEW YORK's biggest AM stations will soon be on the move again, for the second time in just over three decades, thanks to a planned golf course that would claim its transmitter site in the New Jersey Meadowlands. WOR (710) has been at its Valley Brook Avenue site in Lyndhurst, N.J. only since 1968, when it moved out of its prior location in Carteret, where it had been since the early thirties. Within a few months, though, WOR will have to tear down these three towers and its transmitter building, thanks to a "notice to vacate" issued by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.
EnCAP Golf Holdings will end up with the current WOR transmitter site, but it will have to pay for WOR's relocation. It won't be a long move this time; the new WOR site will be just 700 meters northeast from the current site, on a swampy spit of land along Fish Creek within sight of Exit 16W of the New Jersey Turnpike. To make it work, WOR has applied to the FCC to maintain its current 50 kW day and night, with a slightly different pattern that throws deeper nulls to the northwest and southwest, but otherwise leaves WOR's coverage essentially unchanged. The new pattern will come from three 204-meter towers. We'll keep you updated on the first move of a New York 50-kilowatter in decades as it progresses; stay tuned!
Up in VERMONT, Vox is engineering another big allocations move that would put a new signal into Burlington. WWOD (104.3 Hartford) would see its 104.3C3 allocation moved way across the state - and indeed, across Lake Champlain - to Keeseville, N.Y., where it would put a decent signal into Burlington. The all-important local service to Hartford would be provided by WSSH (95.3 White River Junction), which would see its 95.3A allocation changed to Hartford, with a power boost to 6 kW.
CANADA's broadcast regulators are trying again to put some new radio stations on the air in Toronto. The CRTC reissued its call for applications this week, noting that 101.3 (the channel currently used by multicultural CHIN to relay its 1540 AM signal to the eastern parts of the city) is one potential frequency for a new station or stations in Canada's biggest city. The CRTC also cleared up its Montreal call for applications, specifying that the call is for new AM operations, presumably on the 600, 850, 1410 and 1570 frequencies now sitting vacant.
Fifteen Years Ago: February 15, 1997 -
The folks at WHYN AM/FM in Springfield MA are mourning their late general manager. Mike Marder died early Monday morning, less than two months after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Marder had been at WHYN since early 1995, capping a career that started at Westinghouse's KYW-TV in Philadelphia, continuing through several other Westinghouse stations, and then as general manager at several stations in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Marder was 53 years old. PD Gary James is serving as interim GM for the time being.
Connecticut TV Fun: Hartford's WHCT-TV (Channel 18) is back on the air to beat the FCC deadline, but the station's ownership is still up in the air. Two If By Sea Broadcasting filed a request for emergency relief last week, asking the FCC to hurry up and grant its purchase of the station from a bankruptcy trustee - and the answer from the folks in Washington was a resounding "no."
Meantime, WHCT owner-to-be Lowell Paxson has sold his other Connecticut TV property. WTWS (Channel 26) in New London, which runs the InfoMall service, is being sold to Roberts Broadcasting. In another bit of TV fun to come, the Boston Globe reports Meredith Broadcasting is getting closer to a deal to buy WABU (Channel 68) in Boston and its satellite stations in New Hampshire and on Cape Cod...we'll see what comes of that.
From our new home base in Upstate New York: Radio listeners in Rochester are hearing a familiar voice with a not-so-familiar name. To mark his 20th anniversary on the Flower City's airwaves, Tony Matthews of WRMM-FM (101.3) has returned to his real name, Tony Infantino. Matthews says he never wanted to use an air name, but the programmers who were running WMJQ (92.5, now WBEE-FM) when he started in radio insisted. By whatever name he uses, his morning show with Dee Alexander is one of Rochester's highest-rated radio shows.
Up in Watertown, radio listeners are getting used to a new FM lineup. Gone is hit radio WTNY-FM "T93.5," and new to the air is "Froggy Country 97.5," WFRY. Rocker WCIZ, which used to occupy the 97.5 frequency, is now at WTNY-FM's old 93.5 spot, with a much weaker signal.