NERW's big 2004 Year in Review - now
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Flip Time in New Jersey
*TRENTON, N.J. - It's a week of change
in NEW JERSEY - and not just the big flip here in
Trenton that's taking place this afternoon.
That, of course, is the Nassau swap that's moving top 40 WPST
(97.5 Trenton) to 94.5 and shifting classic hits "Hawk"
WTHK (94.5 Trenton) to 97.5. It's a preface to a bigger move
that's at least a year down the road, in which the 97.5 signal
will move to Burlington, becoming a full-fledged Philadelphia
We'll be listening and rolling tape, and we'll have more on
this move next week.
But in the meantime,
there's another format change happening out at the Jersey shore,
this one the work of Press Communications. On Friday (Feb. 18),
top 40 "B 98.5" WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres) will shed its
format and flip to a simulcast of modern rock "G 106.3"
WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown), giving G full coverage of the Monmouth-Ocean
market for the first time.
there's yet another change on the way next month, when WCNJ (89.3
Hazlet) drops the calls it's had for almost two decades. WCNJ's
currently leased out to an Indian programmer who's running the
station as "Radio Dhoom," and that's what the new WDDM
calls will stand for.
*Across the river in PENNSYLVANIA,
one of the region's oldest religious stations will soon change
hands. Susquehanna, which already owns WSBA (910 York), WARM-FM
(103.3 York) and WSOX (96.1 Red Lion), will reunite 96.1 with
its former sister station when it pays Thomas Moffit Sr. $280,000
for WTHM (1440 Red Lion).
WSOX and WTHM used to be known as WGCB AM-FM, and those of
you who've taken broadcasting history courses might now be recognizing
the stations as the instigators of the famous "Red Lion"
case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the target of a personal
attack during a WGCB broadcast was entitled to equal time to
reply to the accusations.
Things have quieted down considerably since then in Red Lion,
where Moffit continues to operate WGCB-TV (Channel 49) and WINB
shortwave. There's speculation that the purchase of WTHM is less
about the AM signal (which is effectively a daytimer) and more
about the tower that it shares with WSOX. We wouldn't be surprised
if 1440 - which has been on and off the air sporadically the
last few months - ends up as a simulcast of WSBA, at least for
There's another station
sale in the Keystone State, too: H&P Communications is selling
WSPI (99.7 Mount Carmel) to Clear Channel for $460,000. Mount
Carmel sits in the mountains south of Wilkes-Barre and west of
Pottsville, and WSPI's signal already reaches a good chunk of
the I-80 corridor between Hazleton and the Williamsport area.
It appears that WSPI will be operated out of Clear Channel's
Williamsport cluster, which also includes news-talk WRAK (1400
Williamsport)/WRKK (1200 Hughesville), top 40 WKSB (102.7 Williamsport)
and country simulcast WBYL (95.5 Salladasburg) and WBLJ (95.3
Shamokin). Shamokin, by the way, is just down the road from Mount
And in Pittsburgh, it's "Polka Marathon" time. WKHB
(620 Irwin)'s Frank Powaski's been playing the polkas for 35
years, and from 8 PM Friday until 7 the next morning, he'll be
doing it non-stop.
*There's a format change coming in NEW YORK's
Catskills region, and it's being heralded with a Valentine's
Day stunt. WFKP (99.3 Ellenville) dropped its simulcast of top
40 "Kiss" WPKF (96.1 Poughkeepsie) on Friday and spent
the weekend playing love songs as "Cupid 99.3," complete
with a hokey-sounding "Cupid" doing liners. NERW hears
the station's headed to "Lite" territory when the stunting
ends, presumably in tandem with "Lite 92.1" WRNQ Poughkeepsie.
Down the road in Westchester County, WFAF (106.3 Mount Kisco)
did indeed, to nobody's surprise, drop the "Flix 106"
stunt in favor of a simulcast of rocker WPDH (101.5 Poughkeepsie)
Clear Channel's Albany-market cluster will soon have some
spiffy new digs. The company is moving its stations out of two
separate facilities in the Albany suburbs. By June, WGY (810
Schenectady), WOFX (980 Troy), WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam), WRVE (99.5
Schenectady), WKKF (102.3 Ballston Spa), WHRL (103.1 Albany)
and WPYX (106.5 Albany) will be operating from a new 28,000-square
foot space at the Riverhill Center complex on Troy-Schenectady
Road in Latham.
WGY, WRVE and WHRL have been in studio space on Washington
Avenue Extension (near Crossgates Mall) for a little over a decade
now; WOFX, WTRY, WKKF and WPYX have been in the old WTRY 980
building on WTRY Road in Latham, near the new studios.
In New York City, the WNYE stations (WNYE-TV 25 and WNYE-FM
91.5) are changing hands, sort of; they're moving from the city's
school board to the "NYC TV" organization that's part
of city government. "NYC TV" operates several public-access
cable channels, and its programming is already part of WNYE's
prime-time schedule. (No word yet on what changes might be afoot
on the radio side.)
We're sorry to report the death of Robert McCabe, who worked
at Syracuse's WOLF (1490) back in the day, then served many years
as morning show engineer at WSYR (570). McCabe lived in LeRoy,
near Rochester; he died Feb. 1 at age 84.
*A correction in RHODE ISLAND: WAKX
(102.7 Narragansett Pier) is not, in fact, simulcasting the Portuguese-language
programming of WHTB (1400 Fall River). It seems that one of the
program producers who'd been leasing time on WHTB moved to WAKX,
which is still in the midst of putting a program lineup together.
And the Rhode Island state Senate paid tribute to the late
Salty Brine last week, a well-deserved gesture for the biggest
broadcast legend the state will probably ever know.
*WAKX's new owner, Davidson Media Group,
is making big inroads in MASSACHUSETTS. It's paying $6.8
million to acquire Spanish-language WSPR (1270 Springfield) and
WACM (1490 West Springfield) from Antonio Gois. Davidson now
has operations in Hartford (WXCT 990 Southington), Providence
(WALE 990 Greenville and WKKB 100.3 Middletown) and Springfield,
and it's hard not to wonder if Boston might be next.
(Gois continues to own WORC 1310 in Worcester.)
Dale Arnold's suddenly flying solo on WEEI (850) after former
"Dale and Neumy" co-host Bob Neumeier failed to come
to terms with the station on a contract renewal. Could Neumeier
be headed back to local TV, where he was a sports anchor on WBZ
(Channel 4) before joining WEEI? (He still does some freelance
network TV work...)
The "Progressive Talk" duo of WXKS (1430 Everett)/WKOX
(1200 Framingham) will add another voice soon; Clear Channel
plans to roll out its Cincinnati-based Jerry Springer talk show
to the Boston market in the next few months.
Down in Middleborough Center, WVBF (1530) has completed its
power increase and tower rebuild; owner Steve Callahan checks
in to let us know it's now putting out a full 2200 watts.
Out west, WRRS-LP (104.3 Pittsfield) signed on last Saturday
(Feb. 5) at 3 PM. It's running reading for the blind from the
Talking Information Center and from the Dalton-based Berkshire
And Nichols College's WNRC (95.1 Dudley) applies to change
calls to WXRB; the WNRC calls are believed to be heading for
Nichols' new LPFM at 97.5.
*Last week's format flip-flops in central
NEW HAMPSHIRE have now been followed by call changes:
what was WNHI (93.3 Belmont) is now WNHW, "the Wolf,"
while the former "Big" WBHG (101.5 Meredith) has become
WWHQ, "the Hawk."
Across town at WKXL (1450 Concord), Tony Schinella's been
named news director, part of a busy workload for him that includes
anchoring the station's daily entertainment talk show from 2-3
PM. (Congratulations, Tony!)
And we're sorry to report the death on Feb. 4 of Jim McCann,
Sr., who had a long career in New Hampshire radio that included
sales jobs at WFEA and WKBR before he entered ownership, first
with a stake in WEMJ (1490 Laconia) and later with WKBR and WZID
in Manchester, WTSN in Dover and WIDE/WSTG Biddeford, Maine.
McCann had been retired for the last decade or so; he was 78
*Some format flips up in MAINE last
week had folks scratching their heads (or perhaps just spinning
their dials): WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) dropped its talk format
in favor of AC as "Mix 107.9," sending the talk programming
over to the AM dial on sister station WSKW (1160 Skowhegan).
But that didn't last long at all - after just one day of talk,
WSKW went back to its former sports format.
heading into Portland on I-295 have been getting an eyeful lately
of a big construction project: Saga Communications is rebuilding
the WMGX (93.1) tower that came crashing down a little more than
a year ago.
The tower's now more than halfway to its finished height of
xxx feet, and check out the size of that guy-wire anchor mounted
securely on some very deep pilings!
(Thanks to Saga engineer Andrew Armstrong for sharing his
pictures with us!)
Another Saga station is losing a program director: Rick "R.J."
Jordan is leaving WPOR (101.9 Portland) after three years in
the PD chair to return to central New York, where he'll become
PD of Galaxy's classic country WSCP (1070 Sandy Creek) and WSCP-FM
(101.7 Pulaski), which have been targeting the Syracuse market
and even showing up in the ratings with the help of a Salt City
Jordan knows the market: before moving to Portland, he was
PD of WBBS (104.7 Fulton), the market-leading country station
Before we leave New England behind, we note that last week
was the deadline for TV stations to make their initial choices
about which channel they'll keep when the time comes - someday
- to turn off analog transmissions and go digital-only.
Over at the NECRAT site, there's a handy
list of the choices that stations have made so far. A few
interesting notes: several stations had no choice this time around,
with either an analog or a digital allocation that was "out
of core," beyond the channels 2-51 spectrum that will be
left after the conversion. Despite evidence that suggests that
low-band VHF (channels 2-6) will be susceptible to interference,
one low-band VHF station will survive after the transition, when
Bangor's WLBZ-DT moves from 25 down to the station's analog channel,
2. And despite evidence that high-band VHF (7-13) may be the
ideal band for DTV, Providence's WJAR opted to keep its channel
51 digital allocation instead of moving back to its analog channel
10. (This may have to do with the decision that WTNH over in
New Haven made, to stick with 10 instead of its analog channel,
8.) Several duopoly groups did some horse-trading within their
ranks; in the Boston market, Univision's WUNI (Channel 27) goes
to 29, but Telefutura's WUTF (Channel 66) abandons its channel
23 DTV allocation to go to WUNI's abandoned 27. In Providence,
WPRI (Channel 12) goes to 13, while LIN sister station WNAC (Channel
64) takes over channel 12. (WNAC was one of several stations
with "dual out-of-core" allocations for digital and
analog; others, like Springfield's WGBY, will wait for the second
round of the process to make their picks, now that they know
what channels will be vacated by stations that picked in the
*And from CANADA comes word of the death
of Bob McAdorey, who first came to prominence in the sixties
as midday jock on legendary top-40 station CHUM (1050 Toronto).
McAdorey's career also included stops at the old CHFI (680,
later CFTR) and CFGM (1320 Richmond Hill, now CFMJ 640) before
he transitioned to TV, becoming midday news anchor at Global
television in 1980.
He was popular enough to fend off an attempt by Global to
move him out of the noontime slot, and he remained on that newscast
until his retirement in 2000.
McAdorey died Saturday, Feb. 5 in St. Catharines, Ontario.
He was 69.
(And thanks to Dale Patterson's excellent Rock
Radio Scrapbook for the picture.)
*We're pleased to announce the return
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*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.)
Thanks for your support!
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2005 by Scott Fybush.