March 22, 2004
Vox Sells 10 More to Nassau
of the most interesting stories we've followed here on NERW in
the last decade has been the growth of the Vox group around the
region, as Bruce Danziger and Jeff Shapiro began with a handful
of stations and built them into one of the dominant ownership
blocks in New England.
But with last week's announcement that Vox would part with
10 of its core stations in VERMONT and NEW HAMPSHIRE,
the ride appears to be nearing an end. For $22 million, New Jersey's
Nassau Broadcasting will add the Barre-Montpelier
cluster of talker WSNO (1450 Barre VT), "Froggy" country
WWFY (100.9 Berlin VT) and top 40 WORK (107.1 Barre VT); the
Upper Valley cluster of sports simulcast 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 rocker WHDQ (106.1 Claremont
NH) to its fast-growing station group.
(For those keeping score at home, these
10 stations join 20 more that Nassau bought or is buying in New
Hampshire and Maine: WBYA, WBQI and WBQX in the Bangor area;
WTHT, WMEK, WLAM, WMTW, WMTW-FM and WBQW in the Portland area;
WBQQ and WQEZ in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport; WLNH, WBHG, WEMJ
and WLKZ in New Hampshire's Lakes Region; WNHI, WNNH, WOTX and
WJYY in Concord and WHOB in Nashua. Nassau says the latest deal
will give it more stations than any one owner has ever had in
New England, and we can't find any reason to disagree.)
We're already hearing rumors that Nassau
has its eye on the Burlington market, and we'd be not one bit
surprised to have another headline there in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, Vox is apparently restructuring
under remaining partners Shapiro and Ken Barlow. In an interview
with the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Shapiro dismissed
as "speculative" the possibility floated in last week's
NERW that the Vox group in the Berkshires (the largest cluster
remaining in Vox) and WNYQ (105.7 Queensbury NY, moving south
to Malta in the Albany market) will be sold soon as well. Shapiro
says the "Live 105" top 40 format at WBEC-FM (105.5
Pittsfield) will move to another Vox station (we'd bet on WUPE
95.9 in Pittsfield) when WBEC-FM moves east to Easthampton in
the Springfield market. And what of the other stations remaining
in the Vox group - WEXP and WZEC in Vermont, WTPL in New Hampshire
(LMA'd to crosstown WKXL) and the clusters in New York's Southern
Tier (Jamestown and Olean)? Time will tell...
*The week's other big story was the
release of the 1308 applications received during the FCC's window
for major AM changes and new AM station applications. The window
opened for one week in January, the first time in three years
such applications had been accepted, but it took the Commission
a couple of months to get everything ready for public viewing
and to sort out the applications that didn't come with all the
necessary paperwork (214 of them, leaving 1094 applications ready
After spending most of the weekend slogging
through application after application, we're ready to tell you
what's been requested where in NERW-land, and we'll do it state
by state as we make our way through this week's issue.
We may as well start in VERMONT,
where there'll be an auction fight between two 1590 applications
in the Burlington area. Jet Fuel Broadcasting wants 10 kW day/500
watts night in Winooski, while "RAMS II" (one of the
bigger applicants nationally) wants 50 kW day/320 watts at night
in Essex Junction. Charles A. Hecht and Alfredo Alonso want 25
kW day/17 kW critical hours/400 watts at night on 670 in Essex
Junction as well.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE,
Bob Vinikoor had two applications - one to move his unbuilt WQTH
(720) from Hanover to Claremont, using 50 kW into six towers
by day and 1700 watts at night, the other for a new signal on
990 in Lebanon, with 5 kW by day and 250 watts at night. Steven
Wendell, who never built 540 in Jaffrey, applies for 870 in Fitzwilliam
Depot. Ron Frizzell, former owner of WLAM in Maine and WLLH/WSSH
in Boston, applied for a new 1340 in Conway. And Barry Lunderville,
who owns WXXS in Lancaster and WMOU in Berlin, applied for 1450
in Lancaster and 1490 in Berlin.
(One more Granite State note: Charlie
Sherman is leaving WMUR (Channel 9) in Manchester after a long
run as sports director there.)
*There were ten applications
in the window for MAINE, including a bunch for new stations
way up north. Steven Wendell applied for 250 watts on 650 in
Raymond. Charles Hecht and Alfredo Alonso want 50 kW day/1500
watts night on 750 in Hampden. In Monticello, Allan Weiner wants
to go full-time on WREM, moving it from 710 to 780 with 5 kW
day and adding 60 watts at night. Alpine Broadcasting wants 1000
watts on 1120 in Richmond. Advance Acquisition's application
for 1230 in Presque Isle will compete with Evangelical Broadcasting's
app for 1230 in Fort Fairfield. Dan Priestly's Waterfront Communications
(owner of several new AMs around Bangor granted in the last AM
window) applied for 1230 in Newport and 1240 in Ellsworth. Cleo
Broadcasting (another national applicant) wants 1440 in Orono,
with 13,276 watts by day and 664 watts at night, while the "RAMS
IV" folks want 1530 in Orono with 50 kW by day and 600 watts
*A veteran MASSACHUSETTS jock
has a new gig: Bill Abbate, long of Infinity's WBCN (104.1),
is joining Greater Media's WBOS (92.9 Brookline) as Amy Brooks'
morning co-host. Meanwhile, Barbara Jean Scannell is leaving
Greater Media (where she was general sales manager) to be the
new GM at Infinity's WBMX (98.5). WBMX gets a new OM/PD, too,
as Jon Zellner arrives from Kansas City's KMXV/KSRC to handle
programming for Mix and for WODS (103.3 Boston). Zellner is also
Infinity's VP for adult top 40 programming.
here's some good news: David Brudnoy returns to the air tonight
at WBZ (1030), where he's been off the air since last September.
We couldn't be happier to welcome him back!
The Bay State AM window applications
begin with our old friend Alex Langer, who wants to upgrade WSRO
(650 Ashland) again. This time, his plan is to move the station's
city of license to Lexington and boost power to 5 kW, with a
six-tower directional array down near Walpole.
Salem wants to upgrade WROL (950 Boston),
moving the city of license to Revere and building three new towers
near its existing day site to go from 90 watts to 1000 watts
Radio Westfield wants 1340 in Westfield
with 1000 watts, while Neil A. Rones, Esq. applies for 1000 watts
day, 250 watts night, non-directional on 1550 in Nantucket. And
in Cordaville, a hamlet on the south side of Southborough, those
"RAMS II" folks apply for 1580 with 1000 watts nondirectional
by day and 250 watts into six towers at night!
*Two applications in
RHODE ISLAND: Alex Langer wants 1140 in Greenville, running
1000 watts day, 213 watts at night, non-directional. And the
old WKFD (1370 Wickford) frequency would be resurrected by Radio
786, who wants the channel in Charlestown with 2000 watts day,
500 watts night into two towers.
*WXCT (990) in Southington,
CONNECTICUT is getting a new owner, as ADD Media files
to sell the talk station to the Davidson Media Group for a reported
$1.4 million. Davidson owns or is buying six stations in North
Carolina, most of them running either Spanish-language programming
In Bridgeport, Samantha Stevens (formerly
of WKCI in Hamden) joins the airstaff at WEZN-FM (Star 99.9),
where she's now doing afternoons.
Only four applications from the Nutmeg
State made the AM window, and three of them are from our pal
Dennis Jackson, refiling for facilities he was granted but never
built in the last window - 250 watts each on 1400 in Falls Village
and 1490 in Uncasville and Torrington. In West Simsbury, the
"God Radio Group" (don't suppose they'll do religion,
do you?) applies for 1040 with 200 watts day (into three towers!)
and 129 watts at night, which doesn't seem to meet the minimum
class B standards as we read them. (We've since been corrected
on that point; the plan is to use tall towers for maximum efficiency,
which would meet the minimum field requirements for class B even
at that reduced wattage.)
*Another station has
dropped the Laura Schlessinger show, and this time it's one of
the biggest talkers in NEW YORK state. WHAM (1180)
here in Rochester has pulled Laura from its schedule, effective
today, replacing her in the 9-11 AM slot with Premiere's Glenn
(And congratulations to WHAM for being
named one of 40 finalists nationwide for the NAB's Crystal Awards
for community service; it joins fellow NERW-land nominees WUPE
Pittsfield MA, WSYR Syracuse NY, WBAB Babylon NY, KYW Philadelphia,
WUSL Philadelphia, WGHT Pompton Lakes NJ, WDEL Wilmington DE
and WSTW Wilmington DE in contention for the honor next month
in Las Vegas.)
In Binghamton, Dan Michaels crosses
Vestal Parkway to take over the assistant operations manager
post and midday shift at WLTB (101.7 Johnson City); he trades
places with Tejay Schwartz, who just left WLTB to join Michaels'
former station, WMXW (103.3 Vestal).
In Syracuse, Shannon Wells joins the
morning show at WWHT (Hot 107.9); she comes from WOZN in Greensboro,
And in Cobleskill, Bob Heckler's finally
found a buyer for WXBH (1190), which has been on the block for
quite a while now. Cholene Espinoza's "Viva Communications
Group" will pay $120,000 for the 1000-watt daytimer.
On to the AM window, which brings lots
of interesting applications in New York. WJJL (1440 Niagara Falls)
wants to change city of license to West Seneca, going to 5000
watts day/1000 watts night from four towers way down near East
Seneca. Here in the Rochester area, two applicants want 1220;
Bob Savage's Radio Livingston proposes 2500 watts day and night
licensed to Lakeville, using five towers at the site of Savage's
existing WYSL (1040 Avon), while that Cleo Broadcasting group
would put 1220 in Greece, using three towers for 297 watts day
and night. Just east of town, engineer Charles "Bud"
Williamson wants 1330 in Ontario, with 1000 watts day and 2000
watts night into three towers near the Monroe/Ontario county
Michael Celenza wants 1120 in Little
Falls, with 1000 watts by day, 250 watts night, non-directional.
The "RAMS III" folks want to resurrect the 1040 Menands
that once had a CP but was never built, this time with 900 watts
day into two towers and 250 watts night into six towers south
of Albany. Also in the Albany area, Bud Williamson's applying
for 1280 in Rotterdam, reviving the old Saratoga Springs frequency
and asking for 5000 watts day, 400 watts night into two towers
just south of the Thruway near Schenectady.
In the Hudson Valley, Sunrise Broadcasting
still wants that 1200 frequency on which it once operated WGNY,
Newburgh (now back at 1220); it already has a CP for 1200 in
Kingston and now applies for 1200 in Highland, calling for 2500
watts day, 650 watts night from five new towers just across the
river from Poughkeepsie. Bud Williamson's applying for 1000 watts
on 1400 in Middletown.
*Two more New York
AM stations want to move to NEW JERSEY, including one
biggie. WGSM (740 Huntington) wants to jump right over Manhattan
and relocate to Mount Olive, N.J., building six towers just south
of Hackettstown to run 50 kW as a daytimer. And WNYG (1440 Babylon)
wants to move to Elizabeth, N.J. and 1530, replacing WJDM and
running 1500 watts day, 450 watts during critical hours from
the WNSW (1430 Newark) towers in Union, N.J.
The morning show at WKXW-FM (New Jersey
101.5) in Trenton has disappeared from the TV dial; the station's
deal with Comcast's CN8 ended last Friday, and now the channel
is offering viewers an exciting diet of "Yoga Zone"
and "Kardio Knockout" instead of the New Jersey 101.5
And we're sorry to report the passing
of Bob Balfour, who died March 9 in Union. Balfour was the chief
engineer of WERA (1590 Plainfield) and WVNJ (620 Newark) - in
fact, he was the last CE for 620 in its WVNJ days.
*A northeast PENNSYLVANIA
broadcaster is in trouble with the law. Doug Lane, owner of WWDL
(104.9 Scranton), WICK (1400 Scranton) and WYCK (1340 Plains),
was arrested last week and charged with involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse, indecent assault and corrupting a minor. Police
say Lane molested a boy between 1990 and 1994; the victim, now
25, recently came forward, and media accounts say several others
have now also accused Lane of molesting them. Lane is free on
(NERW notes that the last radio owner
to face such charges, Missouri's Michael Rice, lost all six of
his licenses after being convicted, and that those stations,
in Missouri and Indiana, remain dark almost three years later.)
On a happier note, WBZR (107.7 Tunkhannock)
launched its new format over the weekend; it's now running country
as "Buzzard Country."
Rick Edwards is the new morning man
at WLEV (100.7 Allentown); he comes to the Lehigh Valley from
In Philadelphia, Don Cannon's getting
ready to retire from his morning gig at WOGL (98.1), having logged
stints at WIBG, WFIL, WIP, WIFI and WSNI in addition to Oldies
98.1 during his 35 years in Philly radio. Cannon tells the Inquirer
that he'll retire sometime around his 64th birthday this May
- in the process missing WOGL's move to a new studio. Infinity
is moving WIP (610) from its current location just north of Independence
Mall to 2 Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd, and WOGL and WPHT (1210)
will follow it there in a few months, leaving their longtime
home in the WCAU (Channel 10) building at City Avenue and Monument
Paul Barsky is suing Beasley for more
than $1.7 million that he says he's owed under his five-year
contract with the former WPTP (96.5 Philadelphia). Barsky lost
his job at the station (now WRDW-FM) at the end of 2003; his
contract there called for a sliding salary that began at $350,000
and was to reach $475,000 at the end of five years.
Out west, Chuck Jewell exits as GM at
the Dame Broadcasting group in Johnstown, with Jeanne Feathers
adding GM duties to her role as general sales manager.
Lots of AM window applications in the
Keystone State, including one station moving over from New Jersey:
Disney's WWJZ (640 Mount Holly NJ) applies to change city of
license to Horsham Township PA. WWJZ would keep its 50 kW day
site in New Jersey, adding an 8-tower site near Skippack in Montgomery
County for 25 kW at night.
WPEL (1250 Montrose) wants to move to
800, with 1000 watts daytime only. Northeast Pennsylvania new
station applications include Bud Williamson's 1450 in Milford,
Romar Communications' 850 in Archbald, the Scranton Times' 1320
in Dickson City (reviving the old WSCR frequency, this time with
3500 watts day, 400 watts night into three towers) and Smith
and Fitzgerald's 1580 in Laporte.
Near Philadelphia, Four Rivers Community
Broadcasting wants 1390 in Morrisville, with 250 watts day and
night non-directional, while Andre Mondelus wants 1400 right
in Philadelphia, with 250 watts day and night from
a site in North Philly. And WNWR (1540 Philadelphia) applies
to change city of license to Bala Cynwyd, which we suspect means
a new application for night power to follow.
Just over the state line in Delaware,
WTMC (1380 Wilmington) wants to move to Newport and downgrade
to a daytimer with 250 watts; the Delaware Department of Transportation
("DelDot") also wants to build a second 1380 station
in Dagsboro, at the southern end of the state, to replace a 1380
TIS down there that now relays WTMC's traffic information format.
In central Pennsylvania, Hill and Glover
Broadcasting wants 850 in Enola, near Harrisburg, with 750 watts
day, 350 watts night into four towers. The Williamsport area
is full of applications, including Smith and Fitzgerald's for
1450 Montoursville, competing with Austin R. Kennedy for that
channel once occupied in nearby South Williamsport. Advanced
Modulation Broadcasting wants 1120 in Hughesville with 1000 watts
day, 250 watts night into four towers. Cary Simpson wants 1490
in Lemont, which will compete with Advance Acquisition's and
RAMS I's applications for 1490 in nearby State College. In Du
Bois, Priority Communications applies for both 1190 and 1490.
In northwestern Pennsylvania, Mark Himmler
applies for 1190 in Waterford and 1480 in North East, while the
Eaton-Dietrich Partnership wants 1580 in Kearsarge and 1230 in
In southwestern Pennsylvania, Renda's
WPTT (1360 McKeesport) applies to move to Apollo and 910 as a
9000-watt daytimer, while WAVL (910 Apollo) applies to move to
1360. WKHB (620 Irwin) wants to relocate to Brentwood and sister
station WKFB (770 Jeannette) to North Huntingdon, both much closer
to Pittsburgh. WURP (1550 Braddock) wants to move to Reserve
Township, relocating to the WAMO (860 Millvale) three-tower array
with 4 kW day, 32 watts at night. WANB (1580 Waynesburg) wants
to move to 1190 with 500 watts, and South Western Pennsylvania
Community Radio wants 1350 in Geistown, near Johnstown, with
plans for a six-tower array using 850 watts by day and 840 watts
And the region's biggest application
comes last: Clear Channel wants to move WWVA (1170) from Wheeling,
West Virginia to Stow, Ohio, where it will become a Cleveland-market
station with 50 kW by day and 27 kW by night. That application
will compete with one from WRTK (1540 Niles OH) to move to the
Cleveland suburb of Lakewood and run 300 watts, daytime-only,
on 1180; it'll also require WCUE (1150 Cuyahoga Falls) to move
or go off the air - and will no doubt provoke a protest in Wheeling,
where WWVA cut back considerably on its local news staffing last
year. (We'd expect sister station WBBD 1400 in Wheeling to take
on some of WWVA's programming and perhaps even the call letters
when and if this move happens.)
a new TV signal on the air this week. Rogers signed on the new
CJMT-TV (Channel 69) signal from the roof of First Canadian Place
(the "Bank of Montreal Building") in downtown Toronto,
replacing the low-power channel 44 signal that signed on last
year with "OMNI.2" multi-ethnic programming.
NERW reader Mark Lewis got a special
tour of the First Canadian Place broadcast facilities and generously
shared his images with us; at right you see the three masts that
now crown the rooftop, home to a whole slew of signals that can't
be accommodated at the nearby CN Tower. (In addition to CJMT,
First Canadian Place is home to the CBC's CJBC-FM 90.3 and CBLA
99.1, "Jack" CJAQ 92.5, community stations CKLN 88.1,
CIRV 88.9 and CIUT 89.5, urban "Flow" CFXJ 93.5 and
Aboriginal Voices Radio's CFIE 106.5 all use this tower - and
now Rogers has DTV applications pending for CJMT-DT on channel
44 and for CFMT-DT ("OMNI.1") on channel 64 at this
sends along his thanks to Gus Sondermeyer, who designed the installation,
and Steve Martak of CFMT Television for hosting his tour, as
well as Bruce Cowan of CHUM TV, who arranged the visit.
We'll feature more of his pictures in
an upcoming Tower Site of the Week (and needless to say, we'd
love to get up there ourselves someday!)
Up in Montreal, Canadian Hellenic Cable
Radio has signed on its new FM signal, CKDG (105.1). "Route
105" features a French-language morning show called "L'espresso,"
as well as programming in (deep breath now!) Greek, Armenian,
Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Tagalog, Romanian, Hungarian and
we'll close this lengthy edition of NERW with a word of advice:
if you're at all interested in radio and TV history around Lake
Ontario, set aside a few hours and check out Bill Dulmage's new
and improved site at www.billdulmage.com.
Bill's site has moved to a new, ad-free
home and is greatly expanded, with lots of neat tower pictures,
jock lineups, surveys and even some audio bits. Don't miss it!
*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
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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 March 5 have now been shipped,
so if you've already ordered, you should be enjoying your calendar
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received your calendar yet, please let us know!)
If you haven't ordered yet, what are you waiting for? It's
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tree, despite all those hints you dropped.
So order now and help support NERW and Tower Site of the Week.
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2003 by Scott Fybush.