April 12, 2004
Nassau Shakeup in Maine
MONDAY UPDATE: CHUM Television is going national. Just after
NERW initially went to press Monday morning, the company announced
that it's buying Craig Television, giving it the "A-Channel"
stations in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg and CKX-TV in Brandon,
Manitoba, as well as MTV Canada. Craig went into competition
with CHUM in Toronto with last year's launch of "Toronto
1" (CKXT), which will have to be spun off because CHUM already
owns flagship CITY-TV and Barrie's CKVR in the Toronto market.
Much more next week!
*Now that Nassau Broadcasting is in control
of the former WMTW Broadcast Group radio stations in southern
MAINE, the company has set the dial spinning in a big
way for Portland listeners.
No sooner did Nassau
take over last Tuesday than it ditched the news-talk formats
at WMTW (870 Gorham), WMTW-FM (106.7 North Windham) and WLAM
(1470 Lewiston), as well as the hot AC "Kiss" at WMEK
(99.9 Auburn). The former news-talk stations have been running
a repeating heartbeat sound effect, interspersed with Howard
Dean speeches (or so we hear), while WMEK has picked up the country
format ("The Wolf") that used to be on WTHT (107.5
Lewiston). 107.5, in turn, has been broadcasting a repeating
message sending listeners to 99.9 (and its Portland translator
WMTW's seven-person radio news staff is out as a result of
the changes, which a Nassau memo to advertisers says will end
up with new - and separate - formats on each of the three former
news-talk facilities. (From Nassau's memo: "One format is
an 'old favorite.' One format will provide a nice counterbalance
to a big name already in the market. One format will 'shock and
And with "Wolf" now on 99.9, 107.5 will also get
a new format - possibly as soon as tomorrow - that Nassau tells
advertisers "has been specifically designed to compete with
one or two of the
other heavy hitters in Southern Maine."
(Tuesday update: 107.5 relaunched Tuesday morning
as classic hits "Frank FM," the same sort of 'we play
everything' mix as the Jacks and Bobs and Joes and Daves up in
Canada. Still waiting for the heartbeat to end on the former
*There's a new LPFM on the air in NEW
HAMPSHIRE: WLLO-LP (102.9 Londonderry) began testing late
last week from Londonderry High School, playing a variety of
songs about radio. "Leo 103" was scheduled for an official
launch Saturday (April 10).
Concord's WKXL (1450) is getting new owners, as Warren Bailey's
Embro group sells to a partnership of former Republican senator
Gordon Humphrey and George Stevens. The pair will pay a reported
$830,000 for the station, and they'll keep Bailey on to run things
for them, promising to add more local news coverage - and to
keep talk host Deborah "Arnie" Arnesen, whose politics
are about as far from Humphrey's as it's possible to get.
Saga will relaunch
WOQL (98.7 Winchester) next Monday (April 19) with a live jock
lineup, pulling the station off the bird for local shifts (from
an expanded and renovated Keene studio facility shared with WKBK,
WZBK, WKNE and WINQ) from Jay Stevens in morning drive, OM Mark
Healey from 10-2 and Fast Bobby from 2-6 PM.
Up the river in Claremont, Vox's (soon to be Nassau's) WHDQ
(106.1) parts ways with PD Doug Daniels; we hear Heath Cole has
added Q106 to his PD duties at sister stations "Bob"
(WSSH 95.3/WZSH 107.1) and "Oldies 104" (WXOD 104.3/WCFR
*A former MASSACHUSETTS DJ who made
the transition from top 40 to talk died last week. Mel Miller
began his career at Gardner's WGAW (1340), but he made his name
as one of the jocks playing the hits on the old WMEX (1510) in
Boston. Miller later worked at WEEI, then became the first PD
for the new talk format on WRKO (680) when it launched in 1981.
Miller died Wednesday (April 7); he was 75.
WBMX (98.5 Boston) is getting a new afternoon drive host;
Tom Mitchell (not to be confused with the ops manager of the
same name at Citadel in Syracuse!) comes to "Mix" from
sister Infinity "Mix" outlet KMXB in Las Vegas.
And Saga has closed on its $7 million purchase of WPVQ (95.3
Greenfield) and WRSI (93.9 Turners Falls)/WRSY (101.5 Marlboro
want longevity in this business? Look to RHODE ISLAND -
where Art Lake of WJAR (Channel 10) in Providence celebrated
his sixtieth anniversary at the NBC-owned station
last week, a heck of a feat for a station that's only 55 years
Lake joined WJAR on April 6, 1944, when it was a radio-only
operation (on AM 920, today's WHJJ); he began working at WJAR-TV
(then on channel 11) the day it signed on in 1949, and he's still
there, doing the weather on the morning news every weekday and
wishing kids a happy first birthday. Here's to many more!
Meanwhile, two WWRX (103.7 Westerly) staffers
blown out in the station's impending sale to Entercom have found
work: PD Kevin Mays up in VERMONT, as APD/music director
at WBTZ (99.9 Plattsburgh NY/Burlington/Montreal), and MD/night
jock Bryan Slater as overnight jock at the FNX Network mothership,
WFNX (101.7 Lynn MA).
*Mega Communications is exiting CONNECTICUT,
selling WLAT (910 New Britain) and WNEZ (1230 Manchester) to
Stephen Brisker's Freedom Communications for $3 million and making
the two stations sisters to WKND (1480 Windsor). Format changes
are likely to follow the sale; stay tuned... (And we can put
a price on the sale of WXCT in Southington: $1.4 million.)
Down in New Haven, WELI (960) is shuffling its schedule, moving
afternoon host Paul Pacelli to the morning show and adding the
syndicated Sean Hannity show in his place. Steve Kalb moves over
from CRN Radio to handle afternoon news duties.
YORK lost one of its best-loved morning men last week,
with the death on Thursday (April 8) of Gene Klavan, who woke
up New Yorkers on WNEW (1130) from 1952 until 1977, most of that
time with partner Dee Finch.
Klavan came to WNEW as the replacement for Gene Rayburn, who
left to launch the TV career for which he's best remembered.
Klavan's partnership with Finch lasted until 1968, and he remained
at 1130 solo for another nine years before leaving for WOR, where
he put in three more years before retiring in 1980.
Klavan had been suffering from cancer; he was 79.
Chris Booker ("JLo's sister's boyfriend!") is back
on the air; the former WNEW "Blink" morning jock is
now doing part-time and weekend work at Z100 (WHTZ 100.3).
upstate just a bit, Pamal launched its AAA "107.1 the Peak"
format at WXPK (107.1 Briarcliff Manor) a few hours behind schedule
last Monday night. The station's operating from new studios in
White Plains, and so far it's all been automated, we hear.
In the Elmira-Corning market, Route 81 Radio has a new GM
for its new properties there: Paul Lyle, whose career has included
stops at Long Island's WGSM, the Talk America network and Sacramento's
KSTE, joins the cluster that includes WENY AM-FM, WCBA AM-FM,
WCLI and WGMM.
Binghamton's WHWK (98.1) moved transmitter sites at the start
of the month, relocating from its longtime spot on the WBNG-TV
(Channel 12) tower (a former sister station, back in the WNBF
AM-FM-TV days) to a new tower down the road on Ingraham Hill.
WHWK goes from 10 kW at 290 meters to 6700 watts at 395 meters,
with a directional notch to the south (we'll get to that in a
minute), and Citadel sister station WAAL (99.1) takes over the
old WHWK facility on the channel 12 tower, moving there from
the Stainless (WICZ-TV) tower down the road.
Here in Rochester, Howard Stern is gone for good from Clear
Channel's WNVE (95.1 Honeoye Falls) as part of Clear Channel's
corporate decision to drop the Stern show in the six markets
where it aired. (Pittsburgh's WXDX 105.9 also loses Stern for
good, as do Clear Channel stations in Louisville, Orlando, Miami
and San Diego.) Will Stern resurface on Infinity's floundering
active rocker, WZNE (94.1 Brighton)? We'll be listening this
morning (not to mention pointing the antenna atop NERW Central
to Syracuse's WAQX to hear what Stern has to say about the whole
thing now that he's back from vacation...)
In Buffalo, the end of the sports format on WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield)
could be just weeks away now; the Buffalo News reports
that the court hearing on Entercom's proposed purchase of the
station out of the Adelphia bankruptcy will be held April 26.
(We noticed Entercom advertising heavily at a Buffalo Sabres
game we attended a couple of weeks ago, promoting "Sportstalk
lives on AM 550...")
Speaking of Entercom, WTSS (102.5 Buffalo) shuffles its night
shift, with part-timer Dave Edwards replacing the exiting JJ
*Clear Channel is bowing out of a western
PENNSYLVANIA market. It's selling its three stations (in
fact, the three stations) in New Castle to Kerby
Confer and Donald Alt's Keymarket/Forever companies in a $2.85
million deal that will send AC "Star" WJST (92.1 Ellwood
City) to Keymarket and its AM sisters, news-talk WKST (1200 New
Castle) and standards WBZY (1280 New Castle) to Forever. The
New Castle stations had been the southeasternmost fringe of Clear
Channel's big Youngstown-based cluster, but the company's been
selling off most of the Pennsylvania side of that group, including
a recent spin of country WICT (95.1 Grove City) to Forever.
Salem's WNTP (990
Philadelphia) launched right on schedule last Monday morning
with a conservative talk lineup that includes the network's new
Bill Bennett morning show (which, amazingly, has yet to sign
affiliates in Las Vegas or Atlantic City), Laura Ingraham, Dennis
Prager, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher
and David Lawrence.
town, Steve Fredericks is retiring from sports talker WIP (610
Philadelphia) after a 12-year run at the Infinity station. If
that name sounds familiar to our New England readers as well,
it should: Fredericks spent 13 years at WMEX and WEEI in Boston
before heading down to Philadelphia, where he worked at WIFI
and WCAU as well as WIP.
In the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market, Citadel's WCWY (93.7
Dallas) is changing calls to WSJR, fueling speculation that it
will finally drop the simulcast of modern rock "97-9X"
WBSX (97.9 Hazleton) that it's carried for several years. WBSX
actually began on 93.7, as you may recall, and the original idea
back in May 2002 was simply to move the calls and format over
to 97.9 and launch something new on 93.7 - but the 97.9 signal
didn't cover the core of the market the way 93.7 does, so the
simulcast stayed. But now that Citadel has moved WHWK up in Binghamton
to a directional antenna (see above), 97.9 can make its move
to the Penobscot Mountain antenna farm where most of the market's
biggest signals are found - a move that's expected to happen
within days - and 93.7 can flip at last. (WBSX gets a new morning
man next week, too; Jim Bone comes to the X from KQRC in Kansas
City on April 19.)
And Hazleton's WAZL (1490) is back on the air under Route
81 ownership, playing classic hits from the 70s and early 80s
as part of a full-service operation that's restoring local radio
to a town that's been without it for a while. Sister station
WCDL (1440 Carbondale) is expected back on the air soon, too,
reportedly with country music.
*A relatively quiet week in eastern CANADA -
except in Ottawa sports radio. "Dandyman" Don Romani
got himself suspended from CFGO (Team 1200) after getting a bit
carried away in his attack on Tie Domi of the hated (in Ottawa,
at least) Toronto Maple Leafs. The station pulled Romani off
the air after a comment that implied that Domi abuses his wife;
Romani has apologized but isn't back on CFGO just yet.
On a much more pleasant note, fans of Montreal radio history
will want to check out Marc "Mais Oui" Denis' history
site on the station where he once toiled, CKGM (980); you can
find the "CKGM Super 70s Tribute Page" at marcdenis.com,
complete with airchecks, coverage maps and more.
And we're sorry to report the passing of Jack Winter, who
was music director at the old CKFH (1430 Toronto) through much
of the 70s. Winter was one of the founders of the "Monday
Nighter" radio-history gatherings that continue on a monthly
basis to this day in Toronto. He died last Wednesday (April 7)
of complications from ALS ("Lou Gehrig's disease");
his funeral will take place Tuesday in Toronto.
*That's it for another week. We'll be back in abbreviated
form next Monday, as we head to Las Vegas for the NAB convention
- and we'll be back with a full column April 26. (After which
we'll head off to Boston the first week in May, so get ready
for a get-together, you New England readers...)
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
any day now. (And if you ordered before February 28 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.