We're in holiday mode here at NERW as we do some traveling in the Midwest and work on the next installment of our big 2011 Year in Review package (check out part one here, wherein we recap the top 10-ish stories of the year, and come back January 2 for part two) - but we can't let you go too long without catching up on a few of the stories making headlines while the bosses are away:
*In NEW YORK City, they're mourning Lynn Samuels, the veteran talk host whose worldview (somewhere out on the anarchist side of liberal) long made her a distinctive alternative to talk radio's usual political bent. Samuels had worked over the years at stations such as WBAI (99.5) and, yes, at WABC (770) in the days before it limited itself to just one flavor of talk. More recently, she'd been working for SiriusXM, where she was supposed to have been on the air Christmas Eve from her home studio. When Samuels didn't start her show on time, the satellite company sent police to her Queens apartment, where they found her dead, apparently of natural causes. Samuels was 69.
Friday is moving day for WBGO (88.3 Newark NJ), which plans to switch on its new transmitting facilities atop Four Times Square in Manhattan at 1 PM. That new facility is 2.5 kW/883′, directional, reducing power but significantly increasing antenna height from WBGO’s old 4.5 kW/430′ non-directional facility in downtown Newark.
Upstate, WHAM (1180 Rochester) is shifting its schedule next week. It's long been the only significant Rush Limbaugh affiliate to delay the show, and that delay will be reduced by one hour starting January 2. That's when WHAM becomes the latest Clear Channel station to drop the fading Glenn Beck show from a live clearance. WHAM moves Bob Lonsberry, now heard 11 AM-2 PM, to the 9 AM-1 PM slot, followed by Rush on a one-hour delay from 1-4 PM and an expanded two-hour afternoon news block from 4-6 PM. The move means the end of Lonsberry's Utah talk show - he'd been on the air during morning drive at KLO (1430 Ogden UT), mostly via ISDN from Rochester, but his new WHAM shift conflicts with the Utah timeslot. As for Beck, he's getting pushed back to an 11 PM-1 AM delayed airing.
CNYRadio.com reports former Utica morning man Hank Brown (last heard on WUTQ) will be back on the air next Monday on a brand-new station - WKAJ (1120 St. Johnsville). That new facility, which will serve a chunk of the Thruway between Herkimer and Canajoharie, is owned by the Cranesville Block Company, which also owns WCSS (1490 Amsterdam).
*From western PENNSYLVANIA comes the sad word of the passing of longtime radio executive Bob Dickey, who'd served as president and general manager of KQV (1410) for more than three decades. Dickey's radio career in Pittsburgh started back in 1954 when he joined KDKA (1020) as a reporter; he later became the station's general sales manager before departing in 1966 to run sister station WINS (1010) in New York. Dickey came back to Pittsburgh in 1976 to be general manager of KQV, and six years later he joined forces with publisher Richard Mellon Scaife to form Calvary Inc., which bought the station from Taft Broadcasting. Dickey died Christmas Eve, just short of his 85th birthday, after a short illness.
Over at KQV's onetime sister station, WDVE (102.5), morning co-host Jim Krenn has been embroiled in negotiations that have had him off the air since the start of December. Krenn's representatives are telling local media they're hopeful about getting him back on the air; Clear Channel isn't commenting.
*A prominent jock in CANADA is off the air as well: "Bad Pete" Marier is a longtime fixture at Montreal's CHOM (97.7), but he abruptly vanished from the air there after his December 22 show. CHOM is getting ready to bring another veteran Montreal jock, Terry DiMonte, back to its airwaves January 9, and it appears the station wanted to cut Marier's pay as it rearranges its airstaff to make room for DiMonte in morning drive. (Much, much more from Montreal media blogger Steve Faguy, here.)
And Dan Sys of Canadian Radio News checks in to report a call swap in Niagara Falls: the CFLZ calls move from 105.1 to 101.1, ex-CKEY, where they more closely match the "Z101" branding; 105.1, now "Ed FM," CJED.
Our next full NERW column appears January 9 - we're back January 2-3 with the wrapup of our Year in Review, and stay tuned for midweek updates here and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds...