January 26, 2004
Nassau Grows Again in New Hampshire
*The eyes of the political world are on NEW
HAMPSHIRE this week, of course, but so are the eyes
of the radio business world in New England - as, yet again, New
Jersey's Nassau Broadcasting Partners L.P. has picked up another
radio group in northern New England.
In the last couple
of months, Nassau has bought clusters from Mariner and WMTW in
Maine and then from Tele-Media in New Hampshire, and now Lou
Mercatanti's group is shelling out $5 million for the three Lakes
Region stations that are all that remains of the Sconnix Broadcasting
At its height in the eighties, Sconnix owned stations from
Kansas City to Miami to Boston (WHDH, WBOS and WCOZ at various
times), and for a few years it even had a headquarters office
(thanks to partner Ted Nixon) right here in NERW's hometown of
Rochester, N.Y. More recently, Sconnix has been operated out
of Vienna, Virginia, and all it had left in its portfolio were
hot AC WLNH (98.3 Laconia), classic rock WBHG (101.5 Meredith)
and news-talk WEMJ (1490 Laconia), which now join Tele-Media's
oldies WLKZ (104.9 Wolfeboro) in Nassau's new Lakes Region cluster.
And NERW hears Nassau's not done in New Hampshire - as early
as this week, Nassau may be ready to announce another acquisition
that will give its other Granite State purchases some company.
One other Granite State note: when the New Hampshire Fisher
Cats (formerly the New Haven Ravens) of the AA Eastern League
begin their first season in Manchester, they'll be on two Concord-area
radio stations: the team signed a deal to air its games on WKXL
(1450 Concord) and WTPL (107.7 Hillsborough) this summer and
hopes to add several network stations as well before the season
starts. (We'll have our complete baseball-on-the-radio rundown
in a few weeks...)
*Is MASSACHUSETTS just not ready for
two all-Christmas radio stations? That's what WQSX (93.7 Lawrence)
seems to believe - unlike many of the stations that went to all
ho-ho-ho weeks before the holiday, "Star 93.7" saw
its ratings slump after making the flip. The Entercom station
tells the Boston Herald it "probably
won't do all-Christmas again," and if it does, it'll be
just for a day or two before Christmas. (Boston's other early
all-Christmas adopter, WODS, did see a ratings boost from the
Down the hall at Entercom, Mike Hsu is the new night jock
at WAAF (107.3 Worcester), moving there from his gig as morning
news anchor. Hsu is still WAAF's metal director as well.
Over at Sporting News Radio's WWZN (1510 Boston), Mike Winn
replaces Bill Flaherty as general manager. Sporting News Radio
president Chris Brennan, who was in town last week, told station
staffers the format is staying in place there, even though SNR
has sold its Chicago flagship and is leasing out all the airtime
on its New York station.
Up in Lowell, Gary Francis has departed WCAP (980)'s "Afternoon
Live" show, shutting down the storefront studio in his Gary's
Ice Cream shop from which he broadcast daily. Francis is still
involved with WCAP, voicetracking the overnight music show and
doing production; the afternoon shift has been taken over by
Regina Faticanti, who'll do it from the WCAP studios on Central
Street. (Small World Dept.: When your editor was working for
WCAP in the early nineties, he covered Faticanti, who was then
- and still is - on the Lowell School Committee.)
And down in Middleborough Center, Steve Callahan is applying
for a power increase at WVBF (1530), going from 1000 watts during
the day to 2200 watts day, 940 watts critical hours from a taller
(49 meter) new tower at the station's existing site.
*RHODE ISLAND's newest LPFM station
is already testing in anticipation of a February 7 debut; WCTD-LP
(96.9 Ashaway) will be operated by Chris DiPaolo of WBLQ (88.1
Westerly) fame - from a spare room in his parents' house!
*In VERMONT, "Sloppy Joe"
is out as PD of WEXP (101.5 Brandon)/WVAY (100.7 Wilmington),
with Kelli (Hughes) Kowalski inbound from Vox sister station
WNYQ (105.7 Queensbury NY) to replace him.
*One CONNECTICUT obituary: Ken Jordan,
whose real name was Kenneth Jordan Berger, died Tuesday (1/20)
of congestive heart failure. Jordan was a popular oldies DJ in
the New Haven area, with shows over the years on WNHC, WELI,
WAVZ and most recently on Long Island's WLNG (92.1 Sag Harbor).
Jordan was 60.
big doings this week in the Capital District of NEW YORK
state, especially at the Galaxy stations in and around Albany.
Ed Levine pulled the plug on modern rock "K-Rock" at
WKRD (93.7 Scotia) Thursday, playing construction noises until
3 PM, when 93.7 flipped to classic country as "The Eagle."
WKRD is also picking up NASCAR race coverage in a bid to siphon
at least a bit of audience from perennial market-leading country
outlet WGNA (107.7 Albany), though the station's signal has nowhere
near the coverage of WGNA.
Galaxy also shuffled some voices at sister station WRCZ (94.5
Ravena), cutting Bill Sheehan loose from the morning show he
shared with Bob Mason. (The two go way back, to the old "Mason
and Sheehan" days on WPYX.) WRCZ also named Laura Daniels
to replace Cree Arigoni, who departed last fall, as Mason's sidekick.
And over at Albany Broadcasting's WFLY (92.3 Troy), a familiar
voice returned to the air - Brian Cody, former co-host of the
"Brian, Ellen and Big Ray" morning show, joins Fly
92 as afternoon jock, while marketing VP Patrick Ryan takes interim
Up in the Adirondacks,
we're told WIRD (920 Lake Placid) is back on the air after several
weeks of silence.
On the Binghamton TV dial, that's a new logo there for top-rated
CBS affiliate WBNG (Channel 12), its first new look in about
a decade and a half.
Here in Rochester, Infinity modern rocker WZNE (94.1 Brighton)
sent morning guy Dem Jones packing, moving midday jock Ty to
mornings and music director Jeff Sottolano into middays. No word
on whether the move had anything to do with WZNE's abysmal ratings
- the latest book found it near the bottom of the pack in the
(Clear Channel talker WHAM stayed at the top despite a ratings
hit from the temporary loss of Rush Limbaugh and the permanent
departure of midday host Bob Lonsberry; the latest in the parade
of fill-ins for the Lonsberry shift include WRKO morning co-host
Scott Allan Miller, who did the shift last week for a day or
two, and former WRKO and WPHT talker Jeff Katz, who'll take a
swing at it today through Wednesday. But NERW really missed having
a local pro in the seat last week, when weekend legal-show host
Frank Cegelski was trying to field calls about the massive Kodak
layoffs in town without the experience to give the topic the
insight it deserved.)
Heading downstate, WCBS (880 New York) unveiled a new afternoon
format last Monday, breaking from the nonstop news wheel from
5-7 PM daily for a new show called "Drivetime Live,"
hosted by Mary Alice Williams, Wayne Cabot and Ed Crane. Could
WCBS, which already breaks from all-news for Yankees games during
the season, be moving toward more long-form programming? Its
Los Angeles sister station, KNX (1070), now breaks out of news
for several hours each weekend afternoon to do talk...
And we're sorry to have to report the passing of Harry Fleetwood,
the smooth-voiced announcer familiar to New Yorkers from "Music
in the Night" on WNBC/WRCA in the fifties and sixties and
later from WNCN (104.3). Fleetwood died January 18; he was 86.
*A familiar central PENNSYLVANIA voice
has not only left the airwaves, he says he's done with radio:
Bruce Bond and sidekick "Stretch" Raback were told
their WRKZ (102.3 Carlisle) morning show was cancelled, effective
January 14. Bond, the longtime afternoon jock on WNNK (104.1
Harrisburg), hoped Z-102.3 would bring him back to prominence
after a nasty contract dispute with WNNK that kept him off the
air for more than a year - but the ratings never materialized,
and now Bond tells the Harrisburg Patriot-News that
he's not looking for new work behind the mike. Raback, meanwhile,
says he's contemplating a career in politics.
An FM and UHF TV pioneer passed from the scene this month:
Raymond Frank Kohn, who died January 15 in Clearwater, Florida,
founded WFMZ (100.7 Allentown, now WLEV) way back in 1947, when
a standalone FM signal had almost no chance of succeeding. Yet
WFMZ stayed on the air through the forties and fifties, with
Kohn finally selling the station in 1965. Kohn also founded the
original WFMZ-TV (Channel 67), which went dark after a brief
period of operation in the mid-fifties and was later revived
(after he'd sold the station) on channel 69. Kohn was 87.
*In CANADA's capital, an application for
a new station has triggered a call for competing applications
by the CRTC. Applications are due April 21.
Veteran CHFI (98.1 Toronto) jock Don Daynard is hanging up
his headphones. Health problems have forced Daynard (the station's
morning jock from 1987-1999) to retire from his Saturday Night
Oldies show. Over at CILQ (Q107), weekend jock Bob "Iceman"
Segarini is out - not of his own volition, we're told.
And a very happy 25th anniversary to CJTN (1270 Trenton),
which marked the occasion with a special morning show last week.
*That's it for another week...except for our usual housekeeping
notes. First, a reminder that while we don't ask you for a password
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2003 by Scott Fybush.