March 15, 2004
Entercom Lands Buffalo's WNSA
TUESDAY UPDATE: Nassau has bought again in New England, and
in a big way. For $22 million, Lou Mercatanti's group is picking
up most of what's left of Vox: the Barre-Montpelier cluster of
WSNO (1450 Barre VT), WWFY (100.9 Berlin VT) and WORK (107.1
Barre VT); the Upper Valley cluster of WNHV (910 White River
Junction VT), WTSV (1230 Claremont NH), "Bob Country"
WSSH (95.3 White River Junction VT)/WZSH (107.1 Bellows Falls
VT), "Oldies 104" WXOD (104.3 Hartford VT)/WCFR (96.3
Walpole NH) and the big signal of WHDQ (106.1 Claremont NH).
That leaves Vox with the stations it's upgrading in Albany NY
and Springfield MA (below), as well as small clusters in Pittsfield/North
Adams/Great Barrington MA and Jamestown/Olean NY and single stations
in Rutland (WEXP 101.5 Brandon VT) and Bennington (WZEC 97.5
Hoosick Falls NY); we hear the ownership of those stations will
be reorganized under Vox principals Bruce Danziger and Ken Barlow,
with Jeff Shapiro exiting the group completely. Much more next
Monday right here at NERW...
*The bidding's all done, and western NEW
YORK's FM sports station will soon have a new owner. Amidst
the debris of Adelphia's bankruptcy, WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield
Township) and its translator W297AB (107.3 Williamsville) will
go to Entercom for $9 million as soon as the courts approve.
purchase gives Entercom a signal that covers most of the Buffalo
market - and neighboring Rochester, too - and it includes a newly-renovated
transmitter plant and tall tower in Wyoming County. And it's
already got the rumor mills flying about what comes next for
Entercom's existing Buffalo cluster includes news-talk WBEN
(930), R&B oldies WWWS (1400), oldies WWKB (1520), top 40
WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls), AC WTSS (102.5) and WNSA's chief competitor,
sports outlet WGR (550).
Will Entercom move the best of WNSA's sports format - notably,
afternoon host Howard Simon - with its existing lineup of hosts
And will the new 107.7 format (we're hearing rumblings about
rock) also target Rochester, where 107.7 comes in quite well,
and where Entercom already owns news-talk WROC (950), country
WBEE (92.5), oldies WBBF (93.3 Fairport) and classic hits WBZA
Or will NERW's long-held wish of a "KB-FM" finally
come true? We wouldn't bet on it...but stay tuned.
Speaking of Entercom Rochester, a few changes to note: Chris
Keyzer is out as PD/afternoon drive at WBEE, which is now looking
for a replacement there as well as a new night jock; down the
hall at WBZA, Dem Jones (late of Infinity's WZNE) joins for middays.
And congratulations - and best wishes - to veteran WXXI (1370
Rochester) newsman Mark Giardina, who's crossing the great divide
from news to politics to join the staff of new county executive
Down in Binghamton, Tejay Schwartz leaves WLTB (101.7 Johnson
City) to take over mornings at Clear Channel's WMXW (103.3 Vestal);
across town, Kate Kelley's leaving her morning co-host gig at
Citadel's WWYL (104.1 Chenango Bridge).
Up in the Adirondacks, St. Lawrence University's WSLU (89.5
Canton) may soon have even more translators; the FCC's close
to granting construction permits for new signals on 92.7 in Wells,
93.5 in Lake George, 97.3 in Newcomb and 102.1 in Chateaugay,
as well as allowing W204BJ (88.7 Old Forge) to move to 103.7.
Albany's WXXA-DT has been granted a change of channel: instead
of being built on channel 4, it'll run 10 kW on channel 7.
In New York, WOR (710) won't renew its deal to carry New Jersey
Nets basketball, which it's broadcast since 1996. The station
says it wants fewer interruptions to its nighttime talk lineup,
which includes Lionel and Michael Savage. And veterans of WNBC
(660) and WYNY (97.1) are being invited to a reunion June 20
at the Hard Rock Cafe; contact Matt Seinberg at email@example.com
for all the details.
A new Arbitron market? You bet - the East End of Long Island
will soon be market #257, with AAA's stations there (WEHM 92.9,
WHBE 96.7, WBEA 101.7 and WBAZ 102.5) signed up as the first
clients. The East End will be an "embedded market"
in the Nassau/Suffolk book, which is in turn embedded in the
New York market.
has some big plans to rearrange the high end of the FM dial in
New York and nearby MASSACHUSETTS - and it plays
out like this: WNYQ (105.7 Queensbury) is supposed to be moving
south to Malta (in the Albany market) as a class A signal, but
it's now applied to upgrade to a 25 kW B1 signal (essentially
the same as the present Queensbury facility.)
To make that happen, Vox has to move WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield)
out of the way. It's applying to relocate the class A 105.5 signal
to Easthampton, in the Springfield market some 40 miles east
of its present location.
Assuming the moves are granted, will Vox put these signals
up for sale? It's already sold off the rest of the Glens Falls
cluster that WNYQ was part of, and it recently sold its other
stations near Springfield to Saga.
Translator news: public radio WFCR (88.5 Amherst) has been
tentatively approved for a slew of new Berkshires translators.
Assuming no objections are filed in the next few days, WFCR will
add 93.9 Pittsfield, 96.3 North Adams, 98.3 Lee, 98.7 Great Barrington
and 101.1 North Adams, giving some competition to Albany's WAMC,
which is now the main public radio service in the area.
LPFM news: The FCC's out with a list of 98 mutually-exclusive
groups of LPFM applicants in several states, including Massachusetts.
Based on a point system that gives credit for established local
ownership and promises of local programming, the FCC is now allowing
applicants to come up with time-sharing proposals for each of
the disputed frequencies. In Massachusetts, nine applicants are
tied for 99.7 in Springfield (though we believe the Assembleia
de Deus application has been withdrawn; that group applied for
numerous LPFMs across the region in spite of the "one-to-an-owner"
rule), with two applicants for 104.9 in Holyoke and Springfield
and just one (Torres Ministries) cleared to get 107.9 in Springfield.
In Greenfield, Greenfield Community TV and Living Waters Assembly
of God were tied for 107.9, and for some reason the FCC mistakenly
seems to have included two Trenton, N.J. applicants in this group
as well. Out on Martha's Vineyard, 93.7 in Menemsha and Oak Bluffs
had three tied applicants, though one was Assembleia de Deus
and another - M&M Community Development - also has numerous
applications around the country in seeming violation of the rules,
leaving "The Drum Workshop" as the only legitimate
local applicant. In Dudley and Charlton, Nichols College and
St. Joseph's Radio Station Inc. can fight it out for 97.5, and
in Gardner 102.9 goes to Amanecer de Esperanza Ministries.
And on the RHODE ISLAND border, WSNE
(93.3 Taunton) parts ways with afternoon jock Doug O'Brien.
*In VERMONT, it's court time for Radio
Free Brattleboro (107.9), as station co-founder Larry Bloch answers
the government's complaint against the unlicensed broadcaster
today. Meanwhile, that LPFM window may spell the end of RFB soon;
the station has promised it will sign off when a licensed LPFM
begins operating in town, and Vermont Earth Works' application
for 107.9 was cleared by the FCC for filing last week.
In Burlington, Radio Active Burlington and Spectrum Youth
and Family Services are tied for 94.3, while another tie exists
between New England Educational Fellowship for 94.7 Springfield
and Main Street Claremont Inc. for 94.9 Weathersfield. In West
Townshend, Calvary Church of West River gets 107.9.
*The lone radio station in Millinocket, MAINE may
soon be off the air, at least on FM. WSYY-FM (94.9 Millinocket)'s
lease has run out on its Hammond Ridge transmitter site. The
Magic City Morning
Star reports that Katahdin Timberlands, which owns the
site, won't renew the lease past June 2005; it's offered station
owner Katahdin Communications a short-term lease extension until
then, but the company says it's not interested in selling the
site to the station under any conditions.
*A few southern NEW JERSEY
LPFM applications made that FCC list: 106.5 West Creek goes to
Calvary Chapel of Southern Ocean County; 101.7 is tied between
Middle School of Pleasantville and Mainland Regional High School
in Linwood; Calvary Chapel of Toms River gets 104.7 in Lakewood
and 101.5 Cape May goes to the Center for Community Arts.
Over at WTKU (98.3 Ocean City), PD/morning co-host Jerry Beebe
is out; David Allen Pratt stays on in mornings and takes over
And the new 88.1 Cape May Court House CP has call letters:
PENNSYLVANIA LPFM has a new nickname. WFSJ-LP (103.7 Indiana)
signed on last year as "The Fish," but that's a service
mark of the much bigger contemporary Christian broadcasters at
Salem Communications, who asserted their rights in a cease-and-desist
letter to the station. So WFSJ and its sister LPFM in Florida,
WZPH-LP (96.7 Dade City), are now "The Switch."
Near Erie, WEYZ (1530 North East) continues to be silent,
though we heard WEYZ IDs on sister station WWCB (1370 Corry)
as we drove through on Thursday. Down in Greenville, we hear
a new format is coming to WGRP (940), which had been simulcasting
oldies WMVL (101.7 Lineville) and reportedly playing some dance
music as well.
The FCC's latest LPFM list includes five Keystone State facilities:
94.5 Nanticoke to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 103.5
Johnstown to Greater Johnstown High School, 100.3 Berwick to
Berwick Adventist Broadcasting, 104.9 Oil City tied between Pride
of Oil City and Oil Valley Center for the Arts and 95.3 Lancaster
tied between Lancaster Educational Radio and Youth Working for
And there's a new set of calls for a Pennsylvania construction
permit: mark down WWCF for 88.7 McConnellsburg.
*In CANADA, Standard Broadcasting
is crying foul at what it says is an illegal move of two Corus
stations to bigger markets. CKDK (103.9 Woodstock) has long served
London with its "Hawk" classic rock format, while CING
(95.3 Hamilton) and its country format covers nearby Toronto
- and Standard says Corus is overstepping the CRTC's localism
rules and operating the stations as London and Toronto facilities,
registering them with the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM)
in the London and Toronto ratings and programming them from studios
in the larger cities, where it already owns the maximum of two
FM stations in each market.
Corus says it's maintaing studios in Woodstock and Hamilton,
but the CRTC's concerned enough about the accusation that it's
getting ready to monitor each station for a full week, looking
for evidence of local programming aimed at the smaller cities.
In Simcoe, CHCD (106.7) has been granted its move to 98.9,
where it will power up from 3.42 kW to 14.37 kW. It'll have 60
days to simulcast on the 106.7 frequency.
Ottawa's Kiss (CISS 105.3) has a new jock lineup: Scott, Doug
and Laura in the morning, followed by Robin Michaels in middays,
Samantha Stevens moving from mornings to afternoons and Jeff
Graham at night. Graham comes from Cobourg's Star (CKSG 93.3),
where he's been replaced in afternoons by Dave Devine of CHTM
(610 Thompson MB), reports Milkman UnLimited.
And way up north, Haliburton Broadcasting adds CKNR (94.1
Elliot Lake) to its holdings, paying North Channel Broadcasting
C$625,000 for the station.
*That's it for another week...except for our usual housekeeping
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2003 by Scott Fybush.