October 18, 2004
WHJJ Adds Air America
*Add RHODE ISLAND to the list of states
with Air America Radio affiliates - and on one of the market's
best signals, no less. If you were wondering (as we were) just
how long it was going to take WHJJ (920 Providence) to replace
the departed John DePetro in the midday slot, the answer came
last week when WHJJ revamped its entire schedule. Don Imus stays
in place in morning drive, and local host Arlene Violet in afternoons
- but the formerly conservative talk station is now running Air
America's "Morning Sedition" on tape delay from 10
till noon, followed by a live clearance for Air America's Al
Franken. After Violet, WHJJ now has Air America's Randi Rhodes
on delay from 6-8 PM, followed by Geoff Charles (doing double
duty after his shift on WHJJ's sister station, rocker WHJY 94.1)
(NERW notes that DePetro, now at Boston's WRKO, slams WHJJ
on his own personal website this week for its change in viewpoint
- but we're also amused to see that DePetro's site still contains
a whole bunch of links to his old Providence home.)
And we were remiss last week in failing to note the imminent
return of a Providence TV icon. Walter Cryan was channel
12 during his 35-year tenure at WPRO-TV/WPRI, and after four
years of retirement, he's headed back to the airwaves. Starting
next Monday (October 25), Cryan will anchor the 6 PM newscast
on WLNE (Channel 6) in the ABC affiliate's latest attempt to
pull itself out of third place. Current WLNE anchors Wendy Cicchetti
and John DeLuca will stay put at 11 PM.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, Boston University
has named an interim general manager for WBUR following the departure
of Jane Christo. Peter Fiedler, son of legendary Boston Pops
conductor Arthur Fielder, comes from within - he's an assistant
vice president at BU, responsible for sports broadcasting, media
services and publications.
On TV, WFXT (Channel 25) hires Kim Carrigan to replace Jodi
Applegate on the "Fox 25 Morning News." Applegate's
headed to New York to host WNYW (Channel 5)'s "Good Day
New York"; for Carrigan, it's the third stop on the Boston
media tour, after stints at WHDH-TV (Channel 7) and WBZ-TV (Channel
4). And speaking of 'BZ, this year's Children's Hospital Telethon
won't be seen on its longtime home. It's being shifted to sister
station WSBK (Channel 38) to avoid disrupting CBS network programming,
and WBZ/WSBK officials say the wider cable reach of channel 38
will actually give the telethon more visibility. (We'll see...)
Saga's WLZX (99.3
Northampton) is in some trouble with the FCC, thanks to DJ Christopher
Laursen. He broadcast a conversation with Dave Sears of competitor
WRNX (100.9 Amherst) without telling Sears - and that's a no-no
where the FCC is concerned. WLZX was fined $4,000 for the offense.
Out west, there's a rare sighting of common sense taking place
in Great Barrington. That's where the folks who live near Fairview
Hospital have decided it would be "neighborly" not
to challenge WBCR-LP (97.7)'s application for zoning permission
to put its antenna there. The community station hopes to be on
the air, at least with automated programming, within a few weeks.
*A call change nobody will notice in MAINE:
WEZW (1400 Augusta) is flipping to WJZN, saving those calls for
corporate owner Citadel after their retirement in the Memphis
market (the former WJZN, 98.9 Munford TN, is now WMPW, "Power
99.") Whatever its calls, 1400 is still simulcasting standards
with WTVL (1490 Waterville).
*Speaking of low power FM, in VERMONT
"Rootswork, Inc." applies for a license to cover for
WMRW-LP (95.1 Warren).
*In both Vermont and NEW YORK, Capital
Media Corporation is on the hook to the FCC for $4,000 for failing
to keep records of EAS tests for several months in 2002 and 2003
at WHAZ (1330 Troy), WBAR-FM (94.7 Lake Luzerne), WMYY (97.3
Schoharie) and WMNV (104.1 Rupert VT).
to buy a transmitter with some history behind it? WABC (770 New
York) chief engineer Kevin Plumb is selling the station's old
Harris MW50A - and on eBay, of all places.
No, it doesn't work - and you have to haul it out of the transmitter
site in Lodi, New Jersey yourself - but the listing notes that
the transmitter cabinet will be signed by some of the Musicradio
77 airstaff who were heard through the Harris in its heyday.
(And no, Mrs. NERW won't let us put it in our garage...)
Down the dial at WOR (710), there's a replacement for Arthur
Schwartz on the daily food show: Rocco DiSpirito, the restaurateur
perhaps best known now as the star of the reality show The
Restaurant, takes over there as host.
WNYE-FM (91.5) and WNYE-TV (Channel 25) in New York are being
transferred from the New York City Board of Education to the
New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.
The paperwork hasn't shown up on the FCC database yet, so there's
not much more we can tell you about this one right now...but
Sinclair Broadcast Group has been making headlines all over
the country, of course, because of its plan to air that John
Kerry documentary, and we thought we'd run down the list of when
it would be running on each of Sinclair's stations in NERW-land.
Well, guess what? Despite Sinclair's statement that the special
would run on each of the 62 stations it owns or programs, it's
not exactly going out of its way to promote the upcoming run
of "Stolen Honor." In fact, it's still not shown on
the advance schedules of WGME (Channel 13) in Portland, Maine
or WGGB (Channel 40) in Springfield, Mass. (Newspaper reports
in Portland say WGME will run the special on Saturday, October
23 at 9 PM, not exactly a high-visibility timeslot.)
Rochester's WUHF (Channel 31) will show the special Friday
(Oct. 22) at 8, while the Sinclair duopolies in Syracuse, Buffalo
and Pittsburgh will push the broadcast off to their lesser-viewed
WB affiliates rather than disrupt the baseball-heavy Fox schedule.
It'll air in Buffalo (on WNYO-TV 49) and Syracuse (WNYS-TV 43)
on Thursday (Oct. 21) at 9, while Pittsburgh, the lone Sinclair
market in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania, will find
the special buried on Wednesday night (Oct. 20) at 11 on WCWB
(Channel 22). (And it bears particular note here that in Syracuse,
the program isn't even running on the station Sinclair owns,
Fox affiliate WSYT-TV 68, but only on the one it operates under
So could it be that Sinclair's more interested in the national
publicity the show will generate than in the audience it will
actually draw in each of the company's markets? Stay tuned...
Some good news upstate: WWKB (1520 Buffalo) is running promos
for the impending return of Jackson Armstrong in the evenings
- and with sunset now falling right around the start of his airshift
and the Bisons' season long over, "your leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeader"
will be heard widely throughout NERW-land this fall.
And we say goodbye to Jason Crane; the station manager at
WGMC (90.1 Greece) is leaving radio to study for his doctorate.
During Crane's three years at WGMC, Rochester's jazz station
boosted power from 2050 watts to 15 kW (and it's soon moving
its studios as well), and we wish him just as many successes
in his studies.
*A format change in NEW JERSEY: WCMC
(1230 Wildwood) and WMID (1340 Atlantic City) drop standards
for 50s and 60s oldies.
The FCC has opened a comment period on the New Jersey Broadcasters
Association's petition to provide more protection from translators
to FM broadcasters in the Garden State. The petition (you can
read it here)
makes the case that New Jersey is severely underserved by FM
radio when compared with other states in the region, and calls
on the FCC to rule out 10-watt LPFMs and any translator with
less than 100 watts in the Garden State, as well as to make any
other new translators protect full-power FM signals all the way
out to the 44 dBu (50,50) contour, a sharp change from current
NERW's view: The NJBA petition is a daring move, and it's
well worth taking the time to read their arguments about how
New Jersey is a special case where the FM dial is concerned.
But it's our hope that the FCC comes away with another impression
when it's done reviewing the NJBA's arguments - that the explosion
of translators over the last few years has caused damage to the
FM dial on a nationwide level and ought to be restricted.
Comments on the NJBA petition are due in to the FCC November
*Speaking of translators - in PENNSYLVANIA,
WEZX (106.9 Scranton) has its new Wilkes-Barre translator, W297AR
(107.3) on the air, and we hear it's dramatically improved the
reception of Rock 107 in the southern half of the market.
Sorry to report the death last Wednesday (Oct. 13) of Robert
H. Sauber, who owned WTIV (1230 Titusville) and put WFRA (1450
Franklin) and WVEN (99.3 Franklin, now WOXX) on the air. Sauber
sold the stations and retired in 2000; he was 72 when he died.
*With no NHL hockey in CANADA (or
in the U.S., for that matter), radio stations are scrambling
to replace the programming that big-league hockey would have
provided. Toronto's CFMJ (640) is carrying the Leafs anyway,
broadcasting "classic" Leafs games on Saturday nights
And over in the Lindsay area, the CRTC denies Andy McNabb's
application for a religious station on 96.7, which would have
been licensed to Kawartha Lakes (the megacity that now includes
*And how about a Tower Site Calendar 2005
It's now for sale, among other outlets, at the NAB Store -
yup, that was the 2005 edition on the counter in San Diego -
as well as being on the racks at Universal Radio in Ohio.
And we're pretty sure the cover of the Tower Site Calendar
2006 has now been photographed - but we won't spoil the surprise
just yet, will we?
This year's calendar begins with WSTW/WDEL in Wilmington,
Delaware on the cover, ends with Sutro Tower in San Francisco
on the inside back cover - and along the way makes stops at WNBF
in Binghamton, CFNB in Fredericton, Poor Mountain in Roanoke,
KXNT in Las Vegas, WBBR in New York, Gibraltar Peak above Santa
Barbara, WDEV in Waterbury, Vermont, WRIB in Providence, WOOD
in Grand Rapids, KFJZ in Fort Worth, KYPA in Los Angeles and
the top of Chicago's Hancock Tower.
We're holding the price from last year, notwithstanding increases
in printing costs and PayPal fees - just $16 postpaid ($17.32
including sales tax to New York addresses). And as always, it's
free with your $60 or higher subscription to NorthEast Radio
Watch/fybush.com. You can use PayPal, below, or send your check
or money order, payable to Scott Fybush, to 92 Bonnie Brae Avenue,
Rochester NY 14618.
And here's an even better deal - We still have
plenty of 2004 calendars left, so how about this? For just $20
postpaid ($21.65 in New York), we'll send you both the 2005 and
2004 editions. It's almost like getting an extra calendar free!
(Or, if you just need the 2004 edition, that's still on clearance
at $8 - and if you buy two 2004 calendars, your third is free!)
So why wait until the last minute? Why make us wait until
the last minute? Why not let me park my car back in the garage
where it belongs? Buy your calendars now, won't you?
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2004 by Scott Fybush.