March 1, 2004
WZZD Flips to Conservative Talk
*There's a format change on the way in PENNSYLVANIA
in a few weeks. On April 5, Salem will flip WZZD (990 Philadelphia)
from the format of religious teaching and music that it's had
for 23 years to conservative talk. 990 will get new calls, WNTP,
and a program lineup that will include the syndicated offerings
from Laura Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved
and Michael Savage.
Salem has been rolling out its conservative talk in many of
its markets, including last year's launch of WTTT (1150) in Boston;
in addition to the April 5 launches in Philadelphia and Dallas
(KSKY 660 Balch Springs TX), Salem is also introducing a national
morning show hosted by William Bennett and veteran talk PD Tom
Tradup. "Bill Bennett's Morning in America" will also
be heard on WTTT, replacing the current Jimi Carter morning show
there; NERW suspects it's just a matter of time before Salem
clears that show and the rest of its network on one of its New
York outlets (WMCA 570 or WWDJ 970) as well.
Another call change in Philadelphia: WLDW (96.5) has become
WRDW-FM, reflecting its new "Wired" identity; those
calls have a long heritage down in Augusta, Georgia, where owner
Beasley has WRDW (1630) - and where there's also WRDW-TV, no
longer co-owned with the radio station.
Just over the line in DELAWARE, WAMS (1260 Newark)
applied for new calls WNWK last week, but apparently never used
them; it's being heard lately with ABC's soft AC satellite format.
There's a fight brewing in Chambersburg over the land where
the four towers of WCBG (1590) now sit. City officials began
building a water tower right next door to the site, apparently
without realizing that the RF field from the station would interact
with the new structure. Now the city says it will condemn the
land on which the towers will sit, offering Verstandig Broadcasting
a paltry $30,000 for relocating to a city-owned landfill site.
The station, understandably, doesn't want to move; we'll keep
you posted on how this one plays out.
Up in the Scranton area, WKJN (1440 Carbondale) applies to
change its calls back to WCDL; new owner Route 81 Radio is planning
to build new studios in the Carbondale city hall building to
get the station back on the air soon. (Sister station WCWI 94.3
has changed calls to WNAK-FM and is now simulcasting standards
WNAK 730; another Citadel spin-off, WCWY 107.7 Tunkhannock, is
changing calls to WBZR under its new owner, Geos Communications.)
Tom Bass is the new PD at WEZX (106.9 Scranton)/WPZX (105.9
Pocono Pines); he's probably best known in the region for his
many years in Connecticut, where he programmed WRKI and WHCN.
In State College,
WBHV (103.1) segues from top 40 to hot AC; it's still "Beaver
Howard Stern fans in Pittsburgh are making do without the
shock jock for now; WXDX (105.9) there was one of the six Clear
Channel stations that abruptly pulled the Stern show from their
airwaves on Thursday. "The X" played music Thursday
and Friday mornings, and it's not clear yet whether the Stern
show will be back there (or on Clear Channel's WNVE 95.1 in the
Rochester market, which also went Stern-less) any time soon.
Just over the state
line in Wheeling, WEST VIRGINIA, Keymarket took control
of WVKF (105.5 Bethlehem WV) on Friday, precipitating a format
flip at another station as well. Clear Channel keeps the WVKF
calls and the "Kiss" top 40 format, moving them down
the dial to the former WEEL (95.7 Shadyside OH) - and the oldies
that had been on WEEL move up to 105.5 as "Cool," with
new calls WUKL on the way.
And up in Greenville, we hear WGRP (940) has been back on
the air for a few weeks with a simulcast of oldies WMVL (101.7
*A format flip in NEW YORK's Capital
District leads things off this week; as we'd hinted last week,
Crawford Broadcasting will move the oldies "Legends"
WPTR (1540 Albany) over to the FM dial today, swapping calls
and format with religious WDCD (96.7 Clifton Park). While the
religious programming gets the big 50,000 watt AM signal, we're
hearing that some tweaks to "Legends" are on the way
at its new FM home, where it will compete with Clear Channel
oldies WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam) and its emphasis on the 60s and
70s, as well as Pamal's WKLI (100.9 Albany) and its standards
One WPTR jock won't
make the move to the FM dial: Kenneth "Hubcap" Carter,
whose Saturday night oldies show (based at Crawford's KAAM in
Dallas) was heard on WPTR and on WLGZ in Rochester, died Friday
(Feb. 27) at his home in Dallas. Carter was 60.
(One more upstate note: WBUG 1570 in Amsterdam has changed
calls to WVTL; no word yet if there's a format change from "Bug
Country" to go with it.)
Heading down the Hudson, NERW was first to report (in a Friday
extra last week) that Pamal will soon flip WXPK (107.1 Briarcliff
Manor) from its current top 40 simulcast of Poughkeepsie's WSPK
to adult album alternative - and now we can fill in some of the
details. Peter Mutino, late of WGCH (1490 Greenwich CT), will
be the station's general manager, and it'll be based at Pamal's
studio facility in Beacon. Latest word is that the new 107.1
will debut on April 1; the message boards have already noted
that the signal's original calls of WRNW are available (and,
as one wag noted, early WRNW jock Howard Stern just might be,
Out on Long Island, WMJC (94.3 Smithtown) snags another former
WLIR (92.7) staffer: the "English Muffin" has joined
many of her former colleagues at "Island 94.3."
Former WCBS (880 New York) news director Frank Raphael has
joined Sirius satellite radio, heading up its new local news
and traffic service.
And we're sorry to report the passing of Al Casey, former
PD at WXLO (98.7 New York, now WRKS). Casey died February 23
in Washington state; he was 60.
*In CONNECTICUT, Steve Marcus has
exited as PD of Cox's WEZN-FM (99.9 Bridgeport); the search is
now underway for a new PD at "Star 99.9."
WRYM (840 New Britain) has new owners - Lucio Rozzier's "Eight
Forty Broadcasting" is paying Hartford County Broadcasting
$1.06 million for the Spanish-language outlet.
And Fox DTV is coming to Connecticut - we hear WTIC-DT (Channel
31) was due to sign on over the weekend.
*A quiet week in MASSACHUSETTS - though
we can report a format change (of sorts) at WCCM (1490 Haverhill),
which drops its overnight sports in favor of oldies from 3 PM
until 5:30 AM daily.
And congratulations to Greg Strassell, who's been promoted
from VP/programming at Infinity's WODS/WBMX/WZLX in Boston to
senior VP of programming.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, WASR (1420 Wolfeboro)
has filed to officially change hands; Al Severy's Radio Wolfeboro
will sell the station to Grant Hatch's Winnipesaukee Network,
which has been operating WASR under an LMA for several months.
changes are relatively rare in CANADA, but we have three
of them this week, all related. Rogers flipped CISS (92.5 Toronto)
to "Jack FM" almost a year ago, and now it's finally
changed the calls there to CJAQ. The CISS calls replace CKBY
on 105.3 in Ottawa, which became top 40 "Kiss" earlier
this year - and the CKBY calls follow the country format south
to "Y101" in Smiths Falls, the 101.1 outlet formerly
known as CIOX.
Up in North Bay, CJTK-FM-1 was denied a power boost and frequency
change; the religious station wanted to move from 89.5 (with
33 watts) to 99.3 (with 800 watts).
In Niagara Falls, CKEY (101.1 Fort Erie) won a short-term
renewal from the CRTC; the license extension to August 31 will
allow "Wild 101" to stay on the air while the CRTC
decides whether or not it's being programmed from across the
border in Buffalo.
"Special Ed" moves from CIHT (Hot 89.9) in Ottawa
to CFMK (Joe 96.3) in Kingston, where he takes over mornings.
And in Montreal, the new 105.1 station won't go on the air
from Mount Royal - it's applied to change transmitter sites amidst
all the concern over too-high RF levels at the community site
in the middle of a popular park.
*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
to read NERW, this isn't a free product, either. Many of you
have already sent in subscription payments for 2004, and to all
of you we say "thank you." If you haven't, what are
you waiting for? Your contribution - of any amount
- makes it possible for us to keep NERW, now in its tenth year,
coming to you week after week after week...and if you sign up
at the $60 level, you even get a free 2004 Tower
Site Calendar. For all the details - and easy credit card/PayPal
payment links - just click
If you haven't seen it yet, don't miss our roundup of all
the news that was fit to remember from last year... Click
here for our 2003 Year in Review package!
if you still haven't ordered one, we still have plenty
of 2004 Tower Site Calendars still available for your
Just as in past years, the calendar features a dozen spiffy
8.5-by-11 inch full-color images of tower sites from across the
nation - everything from Washington's WTEM to New York's WCBS/WFAN
(shown at left) to Los Angeles' KHJ to WCTM in Eaton, Ohio.
Other featured sites include Cedar Hill in Dallas, Lookout
Mountain above Denver, CKLW Windsor, WELI New Haven, WPTF Raleigh
NC, WBT Charlotte NC, WAJR Morgantown WV, WMT Cedar Rapids IA
and the mighty 12 towers of KFXR (the old KLIF 1190) in Dallas.
Unlike last year, this year's calendar features heavier paper
(no more curling!) and will be shipped shrink-wrapped on a cardboard
backing to make sure it arrives in pristine condition.
All orders received by February 27 have now been
shipped, so if you've already ordered, you should be enjoying
your calendar any day now. (And if you ordered before January
10 and haven't received your calendar yet, please let us know!)
If you haven't ordered yet, what are you waiting for? It's
too late for Christmas gift-giving - but perhaps you still need
a calendar for 2004...or maybe you didn't find one under the
tree, despite all those hints you dropped.
So order now and help support NERW and Tower Site of the Week.
Better yet, place your subscription for 2004 at the $60 level
by using the handy buttons below, and you'll get your 2004 Tower
Site Calendar absolutely FREE. What more could you want? (Local
news on the weekends, maybe?)
Don't want to order by credit card? You know the drill by
now - make those checks payable to "Scott Fybush,"
be sure to include sales tax ($1.32 per calendar) for New York
state calendar orders, and send them along to 92 Bonnie Brae
Avenue, Rochester NY 14618. (Sorry - we can't take orders by
Thanks for your support!
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please
click here to
learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2003 by Scott Fybush.