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*The sound of public radio in western NEW YORK will change dramatically Thursday afternoon at 4.

That's when public broadcaster WNED will officially begin programming WBFO (88.7 Buffalo), WOLN (91.3 Olean) and WUBJ (88.1 Jamestown), the signals it's acquiring from the State University of New York for $4 million.

It took until Tuesday afternoon for WNED to finally unveil its planned program schedule for WBFO, and as had been widely expected, the plan is to simulcast WBFO and WNED (970), combining the lineups of the two public stations that had been longtime competitors.

From what we know so far, the new schedule somewhat more closely resembles the current WNED than WBFO, leaning heavily on syndicated talk offerings. (Some of those syndicated shows come from the current WBFO schedule, most notably "Talk of the Nation" on weekday afternoons, which had not previously been heard on 970.)

As rumored, WBFO's signature blues programming survives the merger, but not in its traditional afternoon slot; instead, blues will be heard Saturday nights from 7-11 with Jim Santella and Sunday nights from 7-midnight with Anita West.

The merger also means the last vestiges of WBFO's once-prominent jazz programming will disappear from the station's main channel, with BBC World Service filling overnights seven days a week. To at least partially placate jazz fans, WNED is planning to install the syndicated "JazzWorks" service (based at Pittsburgh's WESA) on 88.7-HD2, where it replaces the AAA "Xponential Radio," based at Philadelphia's WXPN. WBFO's existing HD3, which provides news content when the main channel is running music, will apparently go away - and the WBFO/WNED(AM) service will also continue to be heard, at least for now, on the HD2 channel of WNED-FM (94.5).

We'll continue updating as we learn more about how the finished schedule will look, and about WBFO's last broadcast from Allen Hall on the UB campus Thursday morning.

*At the other end of the state, a veteran Albany morning man is gone from Clear Channel's WPYX (106.5). Bob "Wolf" Wohlfeld had been with the rock station since 1997, but he was abruptly sent packing last week. "Sometimes we need to make changes, and that is what this is about. These decisions are never easy, and we wish them well," Clear Channel market manager Kristen Delaney told the Albany Times Union by way of explanation.

*And two bits of news from Philadelphia that we'll be following up in next week's column: Dennis Lamme is the new market manager at Clear Channel's Philadelphia cluster, moving east after holding the same job at Clear Channel Pittsburgh. Over at CBS Radio, WIP (610) is splitting from its sports-talk simulcast with WIP-FM (94.1) at night to add the new "Nick and Artie Show." Airing weeknights from 10 PM-1 AM, the show is hosted by comedian Nick DiPaolo and former Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange.

More in next Monday's NERW, or as news breaks...

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. As a former volunteer board operator at WBFO-FM, I wonder how much will the new WBFO will rely on volunteers to operate the equipment on-air? Or, will the volunteers only be needed during the periods of fund raising? For me, it was a great experience working on Tuesday afternoons in the late 80’s-early 90’s inside the WBFO ‘Wire Room’, where the AP teletype machine was located, and where the wall of automation, and tape decks recorded various NPR satellite feeds.

    Another point of my concern, is what was a huge, and I cannot understand the word, HUGE library of recorded material labeled, and listed by musical genre, from Jazz, Broadway, to Bluegrass, that WBFO had available. LPs, and what was then a moderate collection of CDs. I only hope they are not placed in a dumpster or sold pennies on the dollar to save on storage at Fountain Plaza from Allen Hall.

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