Welcome to 2012! We'll be back with a full-sized NERW column for subscribers on Monday, January 9, but here's what we're covering in the meantime:
*In Carlisle, PENNSYLVANIA, WIOO (1000) is recovering from a devastating fire Monday afternoon. It happened just after PD Ray Thomas had left the studio building on York Road, and in the space of just a few minutes it spread from the first-floor ceiling to damage much of the structure. The good news is that Thomas was able to recover the studio computers, and the station was back on the air from its transmitter site less than a day later. It will soon move into temporary quarters while its owners figure out what comes next for the classic country station, which is also heard over WEEO (1480 Shippensburg) and two FM translators.
Veteran Steel City jock Jim Krenn is gone from the WDVE (102.5 Pittsburgh) morning show, though Clear Channel says he's still an employee of the rock station. PBRTV.com reports the morning show continues with Krenn's colleagues Randy Baumann, Val Porter and Mike Prisuta.
Also departing Pittsburgh is KDKA newsman Bill Rehkopf: he's headed back to the Washington, DC area to be morning co-anchor at CBS Radio's new all-news WNEW (99.1), set to launch January 19.
*NEW YORK's only NFL team (the Giants and Jets play in New Jersey, after all) is changing flagships. After a dozen seasons with what are now the Cumulus stations in town, WGRF (96.9) and WEDG (103.3), the Buffalo Bills couldn't reach a deal with those station's new owners for the 2012 season - and so they're moving across town to Entercom's WGR (550). The all-sports station has frequently been critical of the team (and after this season, it's hard to blame them), but Bills CEO Russ Brandon says it was still the best fit: "We are excited about the Bills move to WGR 550 AM in Buffalo and the opportunity to speak and engage with our loyal fans, while providing them with the ability to hear our games on the 24/7 sports station they listen to most."
The Bills will move to new signals in other markets, too - in Rochester, they'll move from Clear Channel's WHAM (1180) to Entercom's WCMF (96.5) and WROC (950), with new affiliates possibly also replacing Cumulus' WSKO in Syracuse, WRIE in Erie and WNBF in Binghamton.
Speaking of Clear Channel upstate, there are some schedule changes underway: veteran Rochester talent Pete "The Mayor" Kennedy has landed at WDVI (100.5 the Drive) as its new morning man, months after exiting Entercom's WBZA. And WHAM's Bob Lonsberry is once again a two-market talent - after having to give up his KLO morning show in Utah, he's now doing 3-5 PM on Syracuse's WSYR (106.9/570), filling the slot long occupied by Jim Reith.
Another Syracuse veteran lost his job at the end of the year: Dave Frisina is out of middays at Galaxy's WTKW/WTKV ("TK99") and sister station WOUR (96.9 Utica), reports CNYRadio.com.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, several broadcasters are starting the year out of work. At WXRV (92.5 Andover), Catie Wilber is no longer PD; the station says budget cuts have eliminated that position. And at Fox's WFXT (Channel 25), morning co-anchor Kim Carrigan and meteorologist A.J. Burnett are without jobs as of this week, too.