January 17, 2005
NERW's big 2004 Year in Review - now
available! Click here!
Big Switch in Trenton
*Radio listeners in NEW JERSEY's capital
city are about to get a big shakeup on their FM dial. On February
14, Nassau will move WPST's calls and top 40 format from the
97.5 spot where it's been heard for nearly three decades to the
94.5 facility that's been classic rock "Hawk" WTHK.
The Hawk, in turn,
will move to 97.5 - but for how long? NERW notes that Nassau
recently won FCC approval to move the 97.5 allocation from Trenton
to Burlington, from which the facility will effectively become
a Philadelphia-market signal.
The 94.5 half of the move is pretty obvious in that context:
WPST is a dominant presence in the Trenton market (and a huge
cash cow for Nassau), so moving it to a comparable facility (both
97.5 and 94.5 are class B signals) that will remain focused on
Trenton will keep 'PST going for listeners there. But we strongly
suspect that many more changes are in the works for 97.5, especially
in light of the fact that Nassau has no other properties in the
core Philadelphia market, and that it's a company that prefers
to compete in suburban and small-city markets. (Not to mention
that the cash infusion from an eventual sale of an upgraded Philadelphia-market
97.5 signal would more than pay for all the buying Nassau's been
doing in New England and more recently in Maryland.)
It won't happen overnight, of course - Nassau has yet to file
an application to move the 97.5 license, and any construction
of a new facility would probably take at least another year -
but stay tuned...
*Speaking of Philadelphia, our lead PENNSYLVANIA
item for the week finds Christy Springfield moving from her
longtime (20 years!) home at WOGL (98.1) to oldies competitor
WPEN (950), where she'll be doing middays.
Over in the western part of the state, WKQW (1120 Oil City)
and WKQW-FM (96.3 Oil City) change hands, from the estate of
the late Stephen Olszowka to William Hearst's Clarion County
Broadcasting, which owns WWCH (1300 Clarion) and WCCR (92.7 Clarion)
down the road to the east. Hearst is paying $540,000 for the
pair, which are currently doing oldies on the FM and talk on
the daytime AM.
*The fight over payola allegations in upstate
NEW YORK took some noisy new turns this past week,
as former WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) PD Dave Universal took to
the trades to defend his actions while programming Buffalo's
Universal told All Access that "Entercom and my
GM knew that I occasionally went with record reps to various
sporting events to build relationships. Never once was I told
not to do this," adding, "With all that's going on
in the state of New York, it was easier for them to get rid of
me, than defend how I did business for them."
Unfortunately for Universal, the publicity about the whole
affair - coupled with the Armstrong Williams scandal in Washington
- got the attention of FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who
at week's end persuaded chairman Michael Powell to launch an
Enforcement Bureau investigation into the case.
Will the low profile of similar allegations against former
Infinity Rochester programming VP John McCrae protect him from
a similar investigation, especially with state attorney general
Eliot Spitzer reportedly beginning his own payola inquiry? McCrae's
kept quiet, unlike Universal - and it can't hurt him that the
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, unlike the Buffalo
News and the New York Times, hasn't shown any
interest in pursuing the story. (A D&C editor tells
NERW that the story's never made their pages because "we
haven't been able to source it.")
Former WPXY (97.9 Rochester) and WWHT (107.9 Syracuse) jock
"Java Joel" Murphy is looking for a new gig this week.
He was let go from his evening shift on Chicago's "Kiss"
(WKSC 103.5) last week after making what the station described
as "inappropriate" remarks on the air. (The Chicago
Sun-Times' Robert Feder reports that the remark had to
do with a reference to the 80s TV show "Mr. Belvedere,"
in which Joel joked about adopting "three black kids"
and "taking them to the zoo to see where they came from."
Joel had been voice-tracking evenings in Rochester (at "Kiss"
WKGS 106.7) and in several other markets as well; at press time,
he was still listed on the WKGS website. (And we notice, in checking
out said website, that the Rochester "Kiss" is no longer
airing the tracked-from-L.A. "Valentine in the Morning,"
instead offering a local morning show with PD Erick "E-Man"
Anderson. Guess we need to pay a little more attention to Kiss
every once in a while, don't we?)
Meanwhile on the
TV dial, the long-awaited call change at Rochester's channel
13 finally happened last Monday morning, with WOKR signing off
for the last time at 1:42 in the morning (using original WOKR
announcer Jerry Carr to make the final announcement) and WHAM-TV
debuting minutes before the 5 AM newscast. (NERW was most amused
by morning anchor Doug Emblidge, one of the wittier guys in the
business, starting the first newscast by appearing to be taking
notes on all the technical details - studio-transmitter link
callsigns and the like - that were mentioned in the sign-on.)
"13 WHAM News" brings with it a new graphics package
and music; we're still waiting to see much of the promised closer
promotional relationship with WHAM (1180), where we understand
several anchors were still slipping up and referring to "News
Source 13" instead of "13 WHAM News" for much
of last week. (All in good time, we're sure...)
A few more notes from upstate: in Buffalo, the International
League Bisons have a new broadcast home for the next three seasons,
leaving WWKB (1520) and its 50 kilowatts for Infinity's standards
WECK (1230 Cheektowaga) and a kilowatt signal that does fine
in the city but lacks the long reach of 'KB. (The Bisons manage
their own radio rights, leasing time to air their games.)
Down in Olean, Robert Pfuntner's Pembrook Pines group is paying
Vox $950,000 for talk WOEN (1360) and hot AC "Mix"
WMXO (101.5). Pfuntner already has WZKZ (101.9 Alfred) just up
the road from Olean, as well as eight other stations in Elmira,
Newark, Bath and Warsaw.
Former WGRZ (Channel 2) news director Randal Stanley has a
new gig in Washington, as he takes over the ND chair at sister
Gannett station WUSA-TV (Channel 9), whose GM, Darrell Green,
is a fellow WGRZ alumnus. And in Syracuse, Loren Tobia announced
that he'll be leaving the ND chair at WTVH (Channel 5) at the
end of January; no word on where he'll be heading next or who'll
take over at 5.
In New York City, the attention's on morning drive, as Star
and Buc Wild return to the airwaves this morning on WWPR (Power
105.1), kicking off what promises to be a heated battle for listeners
against their former station, WQHT (Hot 97.1). Meanwhile, Ru
Paul has a new co-host for his WNEW (Mix 102.7) morning show,
as he's reunited with former WKTU partner Michelle Visage.
*A veteran MASSACHUSETTS newscaster
is saying farewell to the daily grind. After just under a quarter-century
at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), Liz Walker announced Friday that she's
giving up her anchor chair on the station's noon newscast to
focus instead on her family and on her studies at Harvard Divinity
School. (Walker left WBZ's evening newscasts in 2000 to begin
her studies at Harvard.)
Walker won't vanish from the CBS4 airwaves completely, though:
she'll soon start a new Sunday morning public-affairs program
called "Sunday with Liz Walker," to be seen each week
Meanwhile, channel 4 has apparently come to terms with veteran
sports anchor Bob Lobel, who was back on the air this past weekend
after a lengthy leave of absence while his contract was renegotiated.
Across the room at WBZ (1030), overnight talk host Steve LeVeille
will spend some time filling in for 8-midnight host Paul Sullivan
while Sullivan undergoes another round of treatment for a brain
tumor. A series of substitute hosts will handle the overnight
hours while LeVeille's on evening duty. (We're still waiting
to get the call here...)
More talent shuffling on the FM dial: Neal Robert's out of
afternoons at WBOS (92.9 Brookline), which means veteran George
Knight moves from evenings to afternoons and Scott Lucus takes
over in the evening.
In Orange, WCAT (700) changes calls to WJOE; no word yet on
whether any format changes are planned at the daytimer, which
simulcasts talk with WGAW (1340 Gardner) down the road.
Cape Cod newsguy Matt Pitta has departed WQRC (99.9 Barnstable)
to go to work for the AP in Boston; Angela King takes over as
news director at 'QRC.
Out in Springfield, WPKX (97.9, licensed to Enfield, CONNECTICUT)
has a new morning show. Mark Spencer comes in from afternoons
at WVOR (100.5 Rochester NY) to replace Nick Damon, who's off
to Myrtle Beach.
America's getting a new affiliate today in VERMONT, where
Saga's flipping political directions at WKVT (1490 Brattleboro),
ditching Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Howie Carr, Clark Howard
and Lars Larson in favor of Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo, Randi
Rhodes, Jones' Ed Schultz and Fox's Alan Colmes. The move reflects
the lefty politics of Brattleboro - but will it find advertising
support? Stay tuned...
Meanwhile, the WCAT calls that just disappeared from Orange,
Mass. are apparently headed to Burlington, where Steve Silberberg
has requested them for what's now WVAA (1390).
*Barry Lunderville is adding to
his NEW HAMPSHIRE station cluster by converting his
LMA of Profile Broadcasting's WLTN (1400 Littleton) and WLTN-FM
(96.7 Lisbon) to a purchase. Terms of the deal haven't been disclosed.
*MAINE's minor league baseball team
has a new flagship station for the 2005 season. The Eastern League
Portland Sea Dogs move from WLVP (870 Gorham) to WBAE (1490 Portland),
plus a six-station network, one of the largest in the minors.
*In CANADA, the CRTC has opened a
call for applications for new stations in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Applications are due April 11 - and we'd be stunned if they didn't
include one from Rogers for a P.E.I. outlet for the FM news-talk
network it will soon be launching elsewhere in the Maritimes.
Speaking of Charlottetown, Milkman UnLimited reports
that veteran CFCY (630)/CHTN (720)/CHLQ (93.1) station manager
Frank Lewis has retired after a career that began at the stations
back in 1966.
There are several new DTV signals about to hit the air in
Toronto: the CBC has been testing CBLT-DT (Channel 20) and CBLFT-DT
(Channel 24) from the CN Tower, and CTV will soon begin tests
of CFTO-DT (Channel 40) as well, we're told.
In Montreal, Corus' all-news CINW (940) has a new morning
team, pairing Barry Morgan (formerly of CJAD and CKGM) with CINW's
Sorry to report the death Saturday (Jan. 15) of Willard A.
Bishop, the founder of the Kentville, N.S. stations that evolved
into today's Annapolis Valley Broadcasting. Bishop was, among
other things, an FM pioneer, creating Canada's first FM network
between CKWM in Kentville and CKTO in Truro. Bishop sold what
was then known as Evangeline Broadcasting in the late 70s; he
was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall
of Fame in 1997. Bishop was 78.
*We're pleased to announce the return
of the NERW Classifieds after a long absence. If you're
looking to reach thousands of broadcast professionals in the
Northeastern U.S., eastern Canada and beyond (more than 70,000
hits every Monday alone!), there's no more economical way to
do it. Rates start at just $5/week for a 50-word ad, and the
fifth week is always free when you pay for four. Click
here to learn more...and read on for this week's ads:
- 19yr broadcast veteran with
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Commercials, radio/tv imaging, narration, on-hold messages, spokesperson.
Home studio. Delivery via MP3, CD. 24 hour turnaround in most
cases. Dry or produced. Gary Begin Voice Talent (731) 424-5025.
*We're busy shipping out the Tower
Site Calendar 2005 to radio fans from coast to coast
and far beyond (would you believe New Zealand?)
Didn't find one
under the tree this year? That's OK - we've still got plenty,
and we're shipping them out daily.
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.
(You can see some previews of this year's calendar images
at Tower Site
of the Week - where the archive listing's newly updated!)
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. (Please note that the prices below are valid
for U.S. and Canadian orders only; please e-mail for information
about overseas shipping.)
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!)
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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2005 by Scott Fybush.