February 9, 2004
Fires Hit Two NE Studios
*Radio stations in two Northeast states are
cleaning up this week after suffering some damaging fires. In
western MASSACHUSETTS, Saga's WAQY (102.1 Springfield)
was the victim of an apparent arson at its East Longmeadow studios
on Thursday morning, when station staffers say they saw a man
set a fire outside one of the building's windows, then flee the
scene. Damage from that fire was minimal - less than $25,000
- but the Springfield Union-News reports the station
is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
*One day earlier, in PENNSYLVANIA,
an electrical fire struck the building on Domino Lane in Philadelphia's
Roxborough section that's home to Clear Channel's WUSL (98.9)
and WJJZ (106.1). Everyone inside the building escaped safely
- even WJJZ PD Michael Tozzi, who had to be pulled from the building
by his colleagues as the smoke got heavier - but the damage to
the office portions of the building was pretty severe. (Check
out the pictures
Meanwhile, in non-fire-related Philly news, WPEN (950) is
now testing in IBOC digital, though we hear the Greater Media
standards station has yet to commit to adopting the new standard
Up in northeastern
Pennsylvania, Tunkhannock's WEMR (1460) and WCWY (107.7) changed
hands last week from Citadel to GEOS Communications, which flipped
them to a simulcast of soft AC WCOZ (103.9 Laporte). WEMR, which
had been simulcasting "Cat Country" WCWI (94.3 Carbondale),
is expected to stay with the "Cozy" simulcast, but
WCWY, which had been simulcasting AC WMGS (92.9 Scranton), will
get a new format of its own in a few weeks.
Meanwhile in Altoona, WPRR (100.1) has added the Bob &
Sheri morning show; its sister station WFBG (1290) is now being
simulcast to the east on WHUN (1150 Huntingdon), replacing satellite
*In NEW JERSEY, Dan Henrickson replaces
Joan Gerberding as president of Nassau Communications; Gerberding
is scaling back after 25 years with Nassau.
*Our NEW YORK report starts with a
big sports shift in the Big Apple, as MSG Network moves its radio
deal for the Knicks and the Rangers from Infinity's WFAN (660)
to ABC's WEPN (1050), a major coup for the up-and-coming ESPN
Radio outlet. WFAN won't be hurting for hockey next year, though
- it picks up the New Jersey Devils action from WABC (770).
Upstate, Scott Petibone makes a big move - he's leaving his
OM post at the Backyard Broadcasting cluster in Elmira/Corning
(WNKI, WPGI/WGMF, WWLZ) to replace Abby Weber as PD of Galaxy's
"K-Rock" in Syracuse (WKRL 100.9 North Syracuse/WKRH
105.9 Minetto and, until it's sold, WKLL 94.9 Frankfort in the
Utica market.) Speaking of the Galaxy Utica cluster, we can now
report $2.75 million as the sale price for the three stations
(WKLL, WRCK and WTLB) and "Route 76 Radio" as the operating
company under which Lloyd Roach's Route 81 group is buying the
Up in Watertown, Matt Raisman departs as PD/afternoon jock
at ratings monster WFRY (97.5); no replacement has been named
Over in Batavia,
the Buffalo News reports that the sale of WBTA (1490)
will close this week, bringing some changes at the little community-oriented
full-service station. New owner Dan Fischer won't assume the
lease at 438 E. Main Street, where WBTA has been since the seventies;
instead, he'll move the station to a more visible location in
the former W.T. Grant store at the corner of Main and Center
In Buffalo, we're told WUTV-DT (Channel 14) signed on over
the weekend, bringing Fox DTV service to western New York and
southern Ontario. And our best wishes go out to Van Miller, longtime
voice of the Bills, who's hospitalized after surgery for diverticulitis.
*A new studio in NEW HAMPSHIRE is
bringing WHOB (106.3 Nashua) and WNNH (99.1 Henniker) under the
same roof; the soon-to-be-Nassau stations have relocated to 11
Kimball Road, #114, Hooksett NH 03106. (Nassau is paying $12
million, by the way, for WHOB, WNNH and WLKZ up in Wolfeboro.)
*Up in MAINE, Clear Channel has pulled
the plug on the sports format at WNSX (97.7 Winter Harbor), returning
to a simulcast of classic rock WFZX (101.7 Searsport) as "The
And we're told Gordon J. Lewis, one of the founders of WIDE
(1400 Biddeford, now WVAE), died January 31. He was 83.
*CANADA's already a hotbed of stations
named "Jack," "Bob," "Dave" and
"Joe" - and now the original "Joe" (Corus'
Edmonton outlet, recently upgraded from AM to FM) has a little
brother in Kingston, Ontario. Corus abruptly pulled the plug
on the longtime "Country 96" format at CFMK (96.3)
on Friday, flipping the big signal to classic hits/hot AC as
"96.3 Joe FM." CFMK's old website now points country
listeners to the streaming audio of Corus country outlets in
Hamilton, Calgary and elsewhere - but we suspect most country
listeners in Kingston will flip over to cross-border WFGY (97.5
Watertown), at least for now.
But the end of one country station in Ontario was balanced,
just hours later, by the start of another: Larche Communications'
new "KICX Country" (CIKZ 99.5) launched Friday afternoon
in Kitchener/Waterloo, bringing the format back to a market that
hadn't had a local country station since 1991, when the old CKGL-FM
(96.7) became AC CHYM-FM.
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