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2004 In Review

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

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September 12, 2005

Changes Ahead At Morey's LI Group

*The exact details are still murky, but it appears that some big changes are imminent at the Long Island radio stations owned by The Morey Organization. For the last few days, active rock "Bone" WBON (98.5 Westhampton), dance/top 40 "Party" WDRE (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) and modern rock WLIR (107.1 Hampton Bays) have been running jockless, and on Friday all three stations will reportedly drop their current formats.

That prospect has the message boards buzzing, especially where "Party 105" is concerned. (Dance music fans take their format very seriously, after all.) It appears that most, if not all, of the staff at the stations is out of work as well. More on this in next week's NERW.

There's another change out there on the island: WLIE (540 Islip) has dropped its local morning show with David Weiss and Amanda Clark, replacing it with programming from Connecticut-based Business Talk Radio, which leases out the remainder of the station's daytime hours as well. WLIE still has some local leased-time programming in evening hours, but BTR says it's likely to exercise an option to buy the station outright eventually.

*It's been a pretty quiet week elsewhere in NEW YORK, but we can't let the week go by without pausing for a moment to remember all those lost four years ago in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93. We remember, in particular, the six broadcast engineers - Isaias Riveras and Bob Pattison of WCBS-TV, William Steckman of WNBC, Donald DiFranco of WABC-TV, Steve Jacobson of WPIX and Rod Coppola of WNET - who were killed while doing their jobs high atop One World Trade Center that bright September morning.

(Our coverage of broadcasters' recovery from 9/11 remains available online via the links at the left of this page. It's a tribute to how quickly broadcasters were able to restore their signals that the article we put up three years ago remains pretty comprehensive. Since then, there's been little progress towards a new master tower for the TV stations that used the World Trade Center; instead, broadcasters have adapted to the limited space and resources at the Empire State Building to put full-power analog signals back on the air and to restore DTV service to the nation's biggest market.)

*It was anything but a quiet week in RHODE ISLAND radio, where what was supposed to have been a benefit broadcast for Hurricane Katrina's victims turned into an on-air brawl between WPRO (630 Providence) talk host DanYorke and his predecessor, John DePetro, who now does late mornings on Boston's WRKO (680).

Yorke, a frequent on-air critic of DePetro, was broadcasting from a furniture store in West Warwick when DePetro, who'd been listening to the show, showed up, grabbed the microphone and began castigating Yorke on the air, saying he'd been offered the WPRO job and had turned it down.

WPRO PD David Bernstein came on the air afterwards to say that the station stood behind Yorke - and the whole thing goes down as a reminder that Rhode Island talk radio, just like Rhode Island politics, is a most unusual thing.

(Need further evidence? Crosstown talk rival WHJJ 920, reinventing itself after a year or so as a mostly-syndicated progressive talker, announced that it's found a new local talk host for late mornings: former "Survivor" contestant and Rhode Island native Helen Glover takes the 10AM-1PM slot beginning tomorrow, replacing Air America's Jerry Springer and the first hour of Al Franken. This is the first of a series of changes at WHJJ, we hear; expect an announcement about another local host later this week.)

*One of the most respected names in MASSACHUSETTS broadcasting has been picked as the new leader of troubled public radio station WBUR-FM (90.9 Boston).

Paul LaCamera spent 33 years at WCVB-TV (Channel 5), most of that time at the helm of what's widely regarded as one of the best commercial TV stations in the country. LaCamera just retired from WCVB a few weeks ago, and the timing couldn't have been better for WBUR, which is still recovering from the turmoil that marked the end of the tenure of Jane Christo, whose long run at the station rivaled that of LaCamera's at WCVB.

LaCamera will take over as WBUR's general manager on October 3, replacing interim GM Peter Fiedler.

*Congratulations to NEW HAMPSHIRE's WOKQ (97.5 Dover), where "The WOKQ Morning Waking Crew" with Mark Ericson and Danielle Carrier were nominated as Small Market Personalities of the Year in the upcoming CMA awards. Best of luck...

*A few bits of news from VERMONT: WWBI-LP (Channel 27), which actually serves Burlington from across the lake in Plattsburgh, N.Y., has changed ownership and affiliation. After a few years as a Pax affiliate, the station's now part of the Daystar religious network. Word of God Religious Fellowship is paying Susan Clarke's SMC Communications $1.2 million for the station.

And we're sorry to report the death Sept. 1 of Paul Ford, whose day job was as a schoolteacher, but whose early-morning job for 20 years was as the wakeup host on WWSR (1420 St. Albans). Ford, who also worked at WLBZ and WFAU in Maine, was 83.

*A few new callsigns in PENNSYLVANIA, starting in Scranton, where the initials of former owner Doug Lane are disappearing from WWDL (104.9), which becomes WWRR.

There are a bunch of new calls for new stations, too: WWWH (88.5 Halifax), WXFR (88.3 State College) and WZZH (90.9 Honesdale).

*In eastern CANADA, Rogers has unveiled the call letters and studio sites for its trio of news-talk FM stations that will soon be launching in the Maritimes. CJNI (95.7) will be at 6080 Young Street in Halifax, CHNI (88.9) at 55 Waterloo Street in Saint John and CKNI (91.9) at 70 Assumption Blvd. in Moncton. The stations are expected to sign on sometime next month.

While we're out that way, CITA (105.9 Moncton) applies to add two relay transmitters for its religious programming, in Sussex, N.B. (107.3, 48 watts) and Amherst, N.S. (99.1, 50 watts).

North of Toronto, CJLF (100.3 Barrie) has been granted a power increase, going from 1800 watts to 18.7 kW (with a directional antenna). It's also been granted a relay transmitter at Huntsville, with 750 watts at 98.9.

And we send our best wishes to our radio-industry webmaster colleague Milkman, of Milkman UnLimited, as he awaits surgery later this week. (How's this for dedication? He's keeping his site updated from a laptop in his hospital room...)

*Tower Site Calendar 2006 is just back from the printer, and we've got to say, we're especially proud of the way this one turned out.

Once again, we bring you more than a dozen images from the collection that have never seen print before, including that nifty nighttime view of New York's WMCA that graces the cover. You also get to see WSB, KTAR, Mount Wilson, CBV and many, many more, plus all those fun dates in radio and TV history, civil and religious holidays, a handy full-page 2007 calendar, and the always-popular hole for hanging.

And we do it all with no increase in price, for the fourth year running!

The calendars are shipping now, so there's no need to wait until the holidays to enjoy all that tall steel and all that broadcast history. Order now and beat the rush!

You can get one free with your 2006 subscription to NERW at the $60 level, or order the calendar (plus other goodies) at our brand new Store! We think you'll like this one - and as always, we thank you 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.