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November 29, 2004

New Sounds for Nova Scotia and N.B.

*While we in the U.S. were busy celebrating Thanksgiving last week, up in CANADA (where Thanksgiving was more than a month ago), the CRTC was busy approving a slew of new stations in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Halifax, in particular, has gone many years without any new stations, even as other Canadian markets of similar size have seen their dials explode with more formats and signals, so it was no surprise to see the CRTC authorize four new signals, which nearly doubles the commercial radio market there.

Leading the pack is Rogers, which won CRTC blessing for a new network of FM news-talk outlets in the Maritimes. In Halifax, the network will operate on 95.7 with 22.1 kW; it will also have outlets in Moncton, N.B. (91.9 with 40.3 kW) and Saint John, N.B. (88.9 with 79 kW).

Toronto's Evanov group (the folks who own CIAO, CKDX and CIDC there) gets a "youth contemporary" outlet (we'd call it urban CHR) with 78 kW on 103.5. Global applied for 103.5 as well, to do easy listening, and the CRTC says it will grant that application as well, but only if Global comes up with a different frequency to use. And International Harvesters for Christ Evangelical Association will have 5 kW on 93.9 for a religious outlet.

In addition to the Rogers outlet on 91.9, Moncton will also get a new French-language service, as Radio Beausejour adds a new signal with 30 kW on 90.7 to its existing CJSE (89.5 Shediac NB). Beausejour says the new signal will be "more contemporary" than CJSE, which will focus on French-language country music for older listeners.

Over in Saint John, Rogers' new 88.9 signal will be joined by a new French service as well, with La Brise de la Baie ltee. being granted 1.85 kW on 105.7.

And in Fredericton, Newcap was granted 76 kW on 92.3 for a classic rocker, while Ross Ingram gets 25 watts on 94.7 for a Christian music service. And Jack McGaw and Robert Stapells were granted travel information stations in Moncton and Fredericton, though the CRTC asked them to find alternate frequencies from the 90.7 and 93.1 that they had requested.

Heading west, community station CFUT (91.9) in Shawinigan, Quebec applies to move to 91.1.

And in Toronto, they're mourning the death on Nov. 20 of Dan Iannuzzi, the media entrepreneur who brought not only newspapers but television to the Italian community - and many other ethnic communities - in Canada.

Iannuzzi founded Corriere Canadese, still the most prominent Italian newspaper in Canada. In 1972, the group that was putting the new CITY-TV (then on channel 79) on the air in Toronto asked Iannuzzi to provide multilingual programming for the upstart station, which led to the founding of Multilingual Television (MTV). MTV - not to be confused with the U.S.-based music channel that wouldn't start for almost another decade - programmed part of the broadcast day on CITY for most of the seventies before getting its own broadcast signal in Toronto, CFMT (Channel 47), which was eventually sold to Rogers and is now "OMNI.1," still with multiethnic programming. Iannuzzi died in Rome, Italy; he was 60.

*Heading down to the U.S., we start in MAINE with another obituary of a broadcast pioneer. Richard Burr Bronson began his career in the early forties at WESX (1230 Salem MA), then moved to Bangor in 1949 to work at WABI (910 Bangor). When WABI-TV (Channel 5) signed on in 1953, Bronson became the new station's program director, and later served as its general manager before starting his own advertising agency in the late sixties. Bronson died Nov. 19; he was 84.

*A familiar MASSACHUSETTS voice was sidelined this week for some pretty serious surgery. Paul Sullivan, the 10 PM-midnight talk host on WBZ (1030 Boston), was hospitalized last Monday for what turned out to be a brain tumor. The good news is that the surgery reportedly went well, and Sullivan's already recuperating at home - and we look forward to hearing him back on the air soon.

The latest chapter in the ongoing saga of WBIX (1060 Natick) finds operations at the business talker continuing at least through this week under the supervision of Chris Egan, the would-be buyer of the station who pulled out after owner Brad Bleidt's financial troubles became public. Receiver David Vicinanzo asked Egan to continue to operate the station for now, while he negotiates with Alex Langer (the former WBIX owner who still holds the note on the station) for a possible takeover. As for Bleidt, he appeared in court last Monday and was ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric evaluation. And the Boston Globe reports that former WXKS owner Richie Balsbaugh is interested in buying the station once its current ownership mess is untangled.

Some bad news for fans of quality newspaper reporting on the Boston radio scene: the Boston Herald has taken veteran radio reporter Dean Johnson off the beat. Johnson's still at the paper - for now, anyway - but the radio beat is vacant, and that's a shame.

The FCC's Auction #37, for vacant FM allocations, wrapped up last week after 62 rounds of bidding - and when the dust settled, GBH Telecommunications' $3.927 million bid was the winner for the new 94.3A allottment in Brewster, on Cape Cod. WGBH will use the facility to relay its WCAI (90.1 Woods Hole)/WNAN (91.1 Nantucket) public radio service for the Cape and Islands.

*Only one of the three allocations that was up for bid in NEW HAMPSHIRE ended with a winner - Nassau Broadcasting takes home 97.3A in Jefferson, for $879,000.

*Nassau also gets 105.9A Hardwick, VERMONT, for $762,000, while Vermont Broadcast Associates won 100.3A Barton, for $936,000.

*A format shift is underway at WARL (1320 Attleboro MA), the upstart talker serving Providence, RHODE ISLAND, as "Reality Radio" - which featured some of the more extremist talk hosts displaced when WALE (990 Greenville) went Spanish - gives way to "1320 the Drive," a more mainstream talk format. (Among the hosts there is Charlie Profit, formerly heard on WARL's sister station WXCT 990 in Southington, Connecticut.)

*A veteran NEW YORK voice has left the Big Apple airwaves for now. "Dandy Dan" Daniel had been off the air at WCBS-FM (101.1 New York) for a few months, and now he says he won't be returning to his Saturday morning shift there.

As rumored, WQCD (101.9 New York) segued from smooth jazz last week to become "New York Chill, CD 101.9," with a mixture of electronica and Europop being added to the smooth jazz playlist there. It's running jockless for now, but expect the old CD101.9 airstaff to make a return soon.

The man who gave WQCD's former sister station, WPIX (Channel 11), its call letters has died. Vincent Krug was the New York Daily News' circulation manager in 1947 when he won an internal contest to name the paper's new TV station. (The calls, of course, stand for the News' slogan of "New York's Picture Paper." Krug retired in 1977; he died last Thursday (Nov. 18) at age 92.

Heading upstate, WELV (1370 Ellenville) is changing calls to WRWD, matching Clear Channel sister station WRWD-FM (107.3 Highland) - is a format change from standards to country on the way?

There's definitely a format change at WVKZ (1240 Schenectady) - it's dropped its short-lived talk format in favor of "Real Oldies" from ABC.

WAVX (90.9 Schuyler Falls) has signed on with contemporary Christian music as "The Wave"; the Plattsburgh-market station is co-owned with the "Light" religious network based at WGLY-FM (91.5 Bolton VT).

In Binghamton, Joanne Aloi takes over as market manager for the Clear Channel cluster, arriving from CC's Syracuse cluster just up I-81.

And the New York portion of FM Auction 37 wrapped up in the same place it was last week: Randy Michaels' "RadioActive LLC" won with bids of $2.695 million for 97.9A Dannemora NY, $301,000 for 92.5A Old Forge NY and $570,000 for 107.1A Saranac Lake NY, while Double O Broadcasting won with $399,000 for 97.5A Delhi NY; PPRE, LLC won with $144,000 for 96.5A Speculator NY; and Iorio Broadcasting won with $208,000 for 102.7A Clarendon PA.

*In PENNSYLVANIA, the Philadelphia Phillies are returning to the 50,000-watt airwaves of WPHT (1210) next season after three years on the lower-powered stick of WPEN (950). The Phils, who called 1210 home in its various incarnations (WCAU, WOGL, WGMP, WPTS, WPHT) from 1982 until 2001, were never happy with the 5,000 watts of WPEN, and they've now signed a five-year deal with Infinity to be heard on WPHT. (Except, that is, on Friday nights, when 1210's long-running "Sounds of Sinatra" will displace baseball to sister station WIP 610.)

Speaking of WPEN, the Greater Media oldies outlet has a new PD - Michael Sommers, who adds WPEN to his PD duties at sister WMWX (95.7 Philadelphia) - and a revised application to boost its power. 'PEN now wants to run 50 kW day from a six-tower array in Montgomery County (for which it already holds a construction permit - but it now wants to run night power (21 kW) from the WWDB (860) four-tower array on Germantown Pike in East Norriton.

In Harrisburg, Jeff Hurley arrives Dec. 13 as the new PD of WHKF (99.3), replacing Mike McCoy. Hurley comes from Erie's "Star" (WRTS 103.7), which is now looking for his replacement.

In New Castle, WJST (1280) has segued from AC "Star" to "Just Oldies 1280."

*And since we've spent most of the holiday weekend tracking all-Christmas format flips for, here's the list of stations that were doing the holiday thing as of Sunday afternoon (though a few may flip back after the weekend's over): WPLJ (95.5) and WLTW (106.7) in New York (the first time 'PLJ's made the flip, and they're sticking with it through Dec. 26); WODS (103.3) Boston; CJEZ (97.3 Toronto); WBEB (101.1) and WSNI (104.5) in Philadelphia; WWSW (94.5) in Pittsburgh, plus WLNH (98.3 Laconia NH); WGXL (92.3 Hanover NH); WEZF (92.9 Burlington VT); WSNE (93.3 Taunton MA- Providence RI); WSRS (96.1 Worcester, returning to AC on weekdays); WXLM (102.3 Stonington CT); WBMW (106.5 Ledyard CT); WEZN-FM (99.9 Bridgeport CT); WKJY (98.3 Hempstead NY); WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam-Albany NY); WUCL (93.5 Remsen NY); WYYY (94.5 Syracuse NY); WISY (102.3 Canandaigua NY); WRMM (101.3 Rochester NY); WBBF (93.3 Fairport-Rochester NY); WJYE (96.1 Buffalo NY); WTSS (102.5 Buffalo NY); WLEV (100.7 Allentown PA); WFEZ (103.1 Avoca-Scranton PA); WMGS (92.9 Wilkes-Barre PA); WROZ (101.3 Lancaster PA); CHRE (105.7 St. Catharines ON) and CJMJ (100.3 Ottawa).

*You're less than two months away from 2005 - so why haven't you ordered your Tower Site Calendar 2005 yet?

You read about it in the New York Daily News on Saturday, and 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/ 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?

Order the 2005 Tower Site Calendar for $16...
Order the 2005 and 2004 Tower Site Calendars together for just $20...
...or subscribe to NERW at the $60 level and get a FREE 2005 Tower Site Calendar
...and you can still order the 2004 Tower Site Calendar at our special clearance price of $8! (US and Canada only - e-mail us for overseas ordering information.)

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 (8.25%) for New York state calendar orders only, and send them along to 92 Bonnie Brae Avenue, Rochester NY 14618. (Sorry - we can't take orders by phone.)

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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 is copyright 2004 by Scott Fybush.