Recent Issues:

March 21, 2005

March 14, 2005

March 7, 2005

February 28, 2005

2004 In Review

9/11 Plus One: The World Trade Center Broadcasters Recover

Your message here - contact to reach thousands of NERW readers every week!

You can have your ad here, too! Click here for complete information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands of Northeast radio and TV people each week.

  • Cut through the clutter! Gary Begin Voice Talent gets your message heard. Commercials, imaging, narration, ANY vocal project. Quick turnaround. MP3 delivery. Gary Begin Voice Talent (731)424-5025. Demos: 4/11
  • WEB DESIGN - 100% BARTER FOR RADIO STATIONS. Get your station online for no cash at all! Have your professional website built (or re-designed) and online in days. Perfect for stations in big or small markets, nothing to lose! View client testimonials and examples at or call (888) 808-MIKE for details.

March 28, 2005

"Ben" Mixes It Up in Philadelphia

*The rumor mill in PENNSYLVANIA has been flying for a while now about changes at Greater Media's "Mix" WMWX (95.7 Philadelphia), and it'll probably be spinning even faster after last Monday's format change at the station found it flipping to the "we play anything" hot AC/classic hits mix that's known elsewhere as "Jack," "Bob," or a host of other names.

To the strains of Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom," WMWX unveiled its new identity as "Ben FM" (as in Franklin, of course) - and it's no surprise that the new format is running jockless for now, with morning team Joe Mama and Kim Douglas, midday jock Charlie Maxx and afternoon jock Brian Murphy all out the door.

Can "Ben" do what "Mix," "Jammin' Gold" and "Max" have all failed to do, making 95.7 a contender as a pop-music station after decades as classical WFLN-FM?

(We can guess, in any case, what the calls won't be - WBEN is a heritage AM callsign in Buffalo, belonging to Greater Media's Philadelphia-based rivals at Entercom....)

Across town at Radio One, Helen Little is the new operations manager at WPHI (100.3 Media), WRNB (107.9 Pennsauken NJ) and WPPZ (103.9 Jenkintown).

Radio One's old WPLY calls have found a new home out of the market - Nassau's parked them at 960 in Mount Pocono, the former WILT. (The station does oldies, simulcasting WVPO 840 Stroudsburg.)

There are new calls in Mount Carmel, too, where WSPI (99.7) will become WVRZ under new owner Clear Channel, which will use the station to simulcast Williamsport-market top 40 "Variety" WVRT (97.7 Mill Hall).

And the call-parking game is being played in western Pennsylvania, too, where WYSN (1330 Somerset) flips to WBHV and WSPO (1490 Johnstown) becomes WPRR, hanging on to calls abandoned in the big Forever swaps of recent days in the region.

*In upstate NEW YORK, Rochester's WHEC-TV (Channel 10) is turning to the sports department for its next lead anchor. You'll recall that veteran anchor Gabe Dalmath departed the station last fall, and the assumption was that relative newcomer Brian Martin would become the station's new star. But we hear Martin's agents overreached when negotiating a contract extension - and so the station's bumped Martin back to reporter status and is moving lead sports anchor Rich Funke into the news anchor seat at 5, 6 and 11.

Funke's been with WHEC since the late seventies (except for a brief stint in Miami), and he's got solid news credentials, having been news director at WAXC (1460, the former WHEC radio) in the early seventies and having anchored the 5 PM news with Donna Dedee in the mid-nineties.

(WHEC also has a new morning anchor, as Pat McGonigle arrives from WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan to fill Dalmath's seat on the 5-7 AM show.)

Over in Syracuse, there's a new coat of paint on CBS affiliate WTVH (Channel 5), where Granite replaced the orangey "5 On Your Side" look with a blue-and-red "CBS 5" on Tuesday.

Gone is evening anchor Matt Mulcahy, replaced by Frank Kracher, formerly of WLOS (Channel 13) in Asheville, N.C. Kracher also fills the news director role at WTVH.

In Ithaca, WTKO (1470) applies for new calls WNYY under new owner-to-be Saga.

In the Hudson Valley, it's the end of "The Cat" at WCTW (98.5 Catskill), as the AC station adopts Clear Channel's favorite new branding and becomes "98.5 Lite FM."

The move gives the company three "Lites" between Albany and New York: WCTW serving Columbia and Greene counties, WPKF (99.3 Ellenville) serving Orange and Sullivan counties and WRNQ (92.1 Poughkeepsie) serving Ulster and Dutchess counties.

And in New York City, we mark with sadness the retirement of Howard Reig, the last remaining staff announcer at NBC. (You hear him every night introducing "NBC Nightly News," among other things.) Reig, 84, has been working at NBC for 43 years, having arrived there after beginning his career with General Electric at WGY/WRGB in Schenectady.

*In NEW JERSEY, former WCTC (1450 New Brunswick) morning host Jay Sorensen will be back on the air this week, taking over mornings at WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin), the station he helped to sign on way back in 1976. Sorensen replaces Spyder, who moves to nights at WJRZ, where he replaces the departed Mark Matthews.

*In CANADA, CJLF (100.3 Barrie) wants a power increase to better serve the growing towns along the Highway 400 corridor that leads south to Toronto. Now 1800 watts, CJLF wants to go to 40 kW maximum/18.7 kW average ERP.

*A federal judge in Hartford wants Tribune to reduce its media-ownership concentration in CONNECTICUT, where the company owns the Hartford Courant, Fox affiliate WTIC-TV (Channel 61), WB affiliate WTXX (Channel 20) in Waterbury and the weekly Independent newspapers.

The cross-ownership has been an issue since 2000, when Tribune acquired former Courant owner Times Mirror. At the time, Tribune was granted several six-month extensions to sell WTXX, but the last of those extensions expired in 2002. Since then, Tribune has continued to operate channel 20 while waiting for the FCC to rule on its request for a permanent waiver of the cross-ownership rules (and, ideally, for those rules to be changed in a way that would make its ownership of WTXX legal, something the FCC attempted last year but which was struck down by a federal appeals court.)

In the meantime, though, real estate developer Neal Ellis (who just happens to be married to the publisher of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, a rival daily to the Courant) filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Hartford, asking for an order to make Tribune comply.

More appeals seem likely, and Tribune says it's confident it will find a way to keep both stations.

*The news from MASSACHUSETTS is largely about the engineers this week, and nowhere more so than at Steve Silberberg's WXRV (92.5 Haverhill). "The River" asked the FCC last week to move its class B allocation from Haverhill down the Merrimack River to Andover, where 92.5 would be the first local service, now that Phillips Andover's WPAA (91.7) has been deleted.

Even from its present tower site in Haverhill, WXRV is short-spaced to WBOS (92.9 Boston), WPRO-FM (92.3 Providence) and WWYZ (92.5 Waterbury CT), but because all of those stations have been on the air since before the present spacing rules were adopted in 1964, WXRV has some flexibility when it comes to a potential tower site move - there's no need at all to protect WBOS, and the current levels of interference to WPRO-FM and WWYZ can't be increased. That still gives WXRV some wiggle room to use a directional antenna to move south, though that would come at the expense of the station's excellent southern NEW HAMPSHIRE signal.

In Boston, Radio One's WILD (1090) has filed an application to move from the tower on Corporation Way in Medford that's been its home ever since the station signed on (as WBMS) in the late forties. The tower was threatened a few years ago by the planned Telecom City development, but it won a reprieve for a few years after the telecom bust. Now the land around the tower is slated for residential development, and WILD wants to move a few hundred yards south to diplex on one of the two towers of WXKS (1430 Everett), next to the Wellington T station.

WILD would go from 5000 watts day/1000 watts critical hours at its current site to 4800 watts day/1900 watts critical hours from the WXKS site, still non-directional.

The "Whatever Weekend" that WBMX (Mix 98.5) was doing for the last few days? It's not just a weekend stunt - it appears that Mix is following the lead of several other hot ACs around the country (most notably Washington's WRQX) in tweaking its programming to include a "Jack"-style broad playlist without making an all-out flip to the "Jack FM" attitude. (And, in the process, it blocks other stations in the market, most notably WBOS, from beating it to the punch. Hmm...if Greater Media's Philly station is "Ben," would that make Boston "Paul" or "Samuel"?)

On the TV side, there's a new station manager coming on board at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), WSBK (Channel 38) and RHODE ISLAND-market WLWC (Channel 28, New Bedford) - and she comes with prominent news credentials. Angie Kucharski was the news director at Viacom's KCNC (Channel 4) in Denver before becoming VP/news and station manager there; she'll make the move to Soldiers Field Road at the end of April.

And we're sorry to report (a bit belatedly, at that) the death of Bill Green, a veteran staff member at WHDH (850) and WHDH-TV (Channel 5) from the days when radio stations had staff musicians. Green played the piano alongside organist Ken Wilson on the "Bill and Ken Show" on WHDH radio from 1948-1967, and he was the pianist for Bob and Ray during their years at WHDH. Green died March 14; he was 91.

*It's March now - and that means a special deal for fans of the Tower Site Calendar 2005. We're well aware that many of the calendar's fans buy it for the pictures, not the actual calendar pages...but that doesn't change the fact that by this time of the year, we're not exactly shipping 'em out the door at a breakneck pace, and Mrs. NERW would very much like a corner of her living room back.

So while she rediscovers the floor beneath those boxes of calendars and we begin to line up the images for Tower Site Calendar 2006, you get the very first crack at our Calendar Clearance Deal for 2005.

Here's how it works: instead of our list price of $16 for this fabulous, full-color, glossy calendar, you can now pick one up for just $8, postpaid. ($8.66 to New York State addresses.) Better yet, if you order two calendars at this special clearance price, we'll throw in a third for free - $16 for THREE calendars, with nine exciting months of 2005 yet to go. (That's $17.32 in NYS.)

Maybe you've already hung your original 2005 calendar on the wall, and you're thinking it would be nice to have another copy to stick away in pristine condition. Maybe you really want to frame that spectacular September page right now - but you still need a calendar later this year. Maybe you just want to help Mrs. NERW clean out the living room and give happy NERW baby Ariel more space to practice walking.

Whatever your motive, now's your big chance, because while there are still 2005 calendars left, there may not be any in a few weeks. (Remember, the 2002 and 2003 editions were total sellouts, and I've had to turn away several of you who were hoping to add these now-rare calendars to your collections.)

And we've got two more great deals for you, too. We still have a few 2004 calendars left, and while they're getting rare, Mrs. NERW wants them gone - so they're yours, in pristine condition, for just $5 postpaid. (Buy two and the third is free!) Or order the 2004 and 2005 calendars together for just $10, postpaid. (What a deal!)

(New York orders pay $5.41 for the 2004 calendar, $10.83 for the 2004 and 2005 together.)

And as always, the calendar's free with your $60 or higher subscription to NorthEast Radio Watch/ In fact, we've got a great deal for new or renewing $60 subscribers: we'll send you two 2005 calendars if you subscribe now. Or, if you'd prefer, we'll hold a brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2006 for you with your subscription, and you can be among the very first to see the 2006 edition when it's released this summer. Remember, we count on your subscription dollars to keep NERW coming each and every Monday morning!

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.)

Order the 2005 Tower Site Calendar on CLEARANCE for $8...
Order the 2005 and 2004 Tower Site Calendars together for just $10...
...or subscribe to NERW at the $60 level and get two FREE 2005 Tower Site Calendars
...and you can still order the 2004 Tower Site Calendar at our special DEEP clearance price of $5! (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.)

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 is copyright 2005 by Scott Fybush.