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October 3, 2005
Sarandis, Blute out in Boston
*Even leaving aside the thrilling conclusion
of the Red Sox' regular season (on to Chicago!), it's been a
most interesting week in eastern MASSACHUSETTS radio.
At Entercom, two well-known talk hosts are out. First, WRKO
(680 Boston) announced on Monday that morning co-host Peter Blute
wasn't renewing his contract, which was to expire today. Blute
joined the station from the world of politics in 1999, working
first with the late Andy Moes, then with John Osterlind before
WRKO launched him on his current partnership with Scott Allen
Miller in 2003. Miller will continue doing mornings solo for
now; we wouldn't be surprised to see Blute re-enter the political
arena. (And we're most curious to see what other moves WRKO's
new operations manager, Brian Whittemore, has up his sleeve.)
days later, down the hall at sports giant WEEI (850 Boston),
came word that longtime night host Ted Sarandis was, er, "leaving
to pursue other interests." Sarandis joined WEEI in 1992,
not long after the station's shift to sports, and his "Ted
Nation" show had been a 7-midnight fixture there even as
much of the rest of WEEI's schedule shifted. There's no word
yet on a permanent replacement, or on what Sarandis will do next.
He'll remain the voice of Boston College basketball, and it's
not hard to imagine that he'll be talking to the new "ESPN
Boston" (WAMG 890 Dedham/WLLH 1400 Lowell), too.
The next chapter in the sad saga of Brad Bleidt and WBIX (1060
Natick) unfolded last week, as former WBIX owner Alex Langer
announced that he'll be regaining control of the station through
an agreement with Bleidt's court-appointed bankruptcy trustee.
Langer has been operating WBIX for the trustee since Bleidt was
charged with defrauding his investment clients last year. The
deal still needs FCC approval. (NERW expects WBIX's current mix
of business talk and leased-time programming to continue unchanged.)
best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to WBZ (1030 Boston)
morning institution Gary LaPierre, who underwent triple-bypass
surgery last week after suffering a heart attack. He's recovering
and resting at his North Shore home, and we hope he's back in
the anchor chair soon.
Elsewhere in the Infinity cluster, WODS (103.3 Boston) is
spinning its afternoon drive chair, sending J.J. Wright to overnights
as it brings in market veteran Karen Blake (WJMN, WQSX, etc.).
Meanwhile, WBMX (98.5 Boston) overnighter Dan O'Brien moves over
to WBCN (104.1 Boston) to serve as music director, replacing
Steven Strick, who's taken a new job with Radio & Records
And we've been terribly remiss in failing to note that the
FCC approved the move of WFNX (101.7 Lynn) from its current site
in Medford to the One Financial Center tower in Boston a few
weeks ago. Construction's now underway at One Financial Center,
and we look forward to bringing you pictures soon.
Speaking of signal upgrades, Costa-Eagle's WNNW (800 Lawrence)
is applying to triple its daytime power. The proposed upgrade
from 1 kW to 3 kW at the station's current site in Andover won't
give WNNW the Boston signal Pat Costa has said he wants (the
poor ground conductivity between Andover and Boston is the issue
here; ironically, it's that same poor conductivity that makes
it possible for a higher-powered WNNW to coexist with Providence's
WSKO on 790), but it should at least improve WNNW's signal up
and down the Merrimack Valley. WNNW will remain at 244 watts
*A well-known morning show is returning to
the airwaves in NEW HAMPSHIRE's Lakes Region. Allan Harrison's
"Lakes Region Newsday" used to be on WEMJ (1490 Laconia)
until an ownership change there displaced it; now the show's
moving to WEZS (1350 Laconia), where Harrison will lease the
6-9 AM slot on weekdays for the broadcast.
Clear Channel's WHEB (100.3 Portsmouth) and WGIR-FM
(101.1 Manchester) are getting a new evening show. Sister station
WHJY (94.1) in Providence, RHODE ISLAND will turn its
"Quinn and Cantara Show" into a network broadcast that
will also be heard on the New Hampshire rockers from 7-midnight
*From CONNECTICUT comes word that
a well-known morning voice has been silent. Ron Rohmer came to
the New Haven area from his native Canada to play hockey in the
fifties, but moved into radio at WELI (960 New Haven) in 1961.
He became the city's most popular radio personality during his
long run in morning drive there, but an ownership change in 1995
pushed him out of the slot. Rohmer sued Clear Channel for age
discrimination, and the company soon brought him back at sister
station WAVZ (1300), from which he retired in 1999. Rohmer died
last Sunday (Sept. 25); he was 74.
memory of legendary inventor Edwin Howard Armstrong will be saluted
again next weekend in NEW YORK at the Audio Engineering
Society's annual convention, which gets underway Friday at the
Javits Convention Center.
The Armstrong commemoration will take place Sunday (Oct. 9)
from 5:30-7:30 PM, reuniting the panelists who discussed Armstrong's
life and legacy in June at his historic tower in Alpine, N.J.
This panel will give the group (including Armstrong's colleagues
Henry Dietz, Gil Houck and Ren McMann, his nephew Bob Brecht,
his lawyer Jerry Minter, tower owner Chuck Sackermann, replica
transmitter builder Steve Hemphill and historian Mike Katzdorn)
more time to reflect on Armstrong's contributions to the radio
industry - and, oh yes, it will be moderated by yours truly,
in my capacity as a contributing writer for Radio World.
It will also be
broadcast live on WA2XMN, the Armstrong commemorative station
operating at 42.8 MHz, through a nifty hookup that will send
the audio to the APT booth on the AES show floor, from there
over a RedLine radio hookup to the Empire State Building (specifically
to the 85th floor, where Armstrong did his early experiments
and where WPLJ now has its transmitter facility), and from there
to WPLJ's backup site at the Alpine tower and then to the WA2XMN
transmitter. WA2XMN will likely be on the air quite a bit next
weekend, so if you can tune in 42.8, you'll probably enjoy what
you hear. (Well, maybe not if you're named Sarnoff or DeForest...)
And as exciting as the Armstrong panel will be, it's only
one of the historic events AES will be offering. On Friday afternoon,
Himan Brown, the creator of the CBS Mystery Theater, will be
staging a recording of a brand-new radio drama called "Rockets
It should be a good time, and we look forward to seeing you
there. (There's plenty of information at www.aes.org.)
we're in New York, we'll be checking out that new tower for WFUV
(90.7) - and perhaps also WFUV's new studios. While the attention
last week was focused on the new tower that went up on a Gun
Hill Road apartment building, WFUV was also moving out of its
longtime home on the top floor of Fordham University's Keating
Hall and into a new studio complex in the building's basement.
(Thanks to Bill Weeks for sharing his picture with us!)
We'll also be listening for WNYH (740 Huntington), which fired
up again last week after several months of silence. The former
WGSM has been testing with gospel music, on and off.
We'll look for WNET-DT (Channel 61), which is reportedly just
about to fire up its full-power service from the Empire State
Building. WNET had just finished building its DTV installation
at the World Trade Center when the buildings were destroyed four
years ago; since then, it's been operating at flea power from
the roof of the station's studio building at 450 W. 33rd St.
And we'll be sure to stop by and congratulate John Lyons,
who's just been promoted to assistant VP/Director of Broadcast/Communications
for the Durst Organization, which owns the Four Times Square
tower site that he's worked so hard to build into an impressive
auxiliary facility for many of the city's broadcasters.
Upstate, Holy Family's WHIC (1460 Rochester) has filed an
application to leave the three-tower site in Brighton that's
been the station's home since 1947. (It was WHEC back then.)
The station's losing its lease on the site, but it's found a
new location a mile or so to the west at the four-tower site
of Entercom's WROC (950). WHIC would use the three in-line towers
at that site, running 4500 watts non-directional from the center
tower by day and 3000 watts directional at night, more or less
replicating its current 5 kW DA-N signal from its existing site.
Kevin Legrett's been promoted to regional president at Citadel,
with responsibility for the company's stations in Buffalo, Syracuse,
Binghamton and Erie, Pennsylvania.
In Albany, WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville) moves from urban to more
of a rhythmic top 40 approach, still as "Jamz." (We
also hear that WZMR 104.9, the Albany-market relay of WFFG 107.1
from Glens Falls, was instead relaying WZLF 107.1 Bellows Falls,
Vermont for a while last week when WFFG was off the air.)
*A format change on the NEW JERSEY shore:
WADB (1310 Asbury Park) flipped from standards to country early
*Today's launch day for PENNSYLVANIA's newest
sports station. WPEN (950 Philadelphia) said goodbye to its oldies
format, with Jim Nettleton as the last live jock Friday night,
and today it enters the battle against entrenched market leader
In Scranton, the "Chet" stunt at WWRR (104.9) came
to an end on Monday, when the station relaunched as "105
the River." At least in its initial days - it's kicking
things off with a 5,000-song "River Cruise" - the station's
music mix seems like the "variety hits" formats known
elsewhere as "Jack," "Ben," "Mike,"
and so on. GM Bob VanDerheyden tells the local papers that the
River won't have the same attitude as the "Jack" clones,
though, and he prefers to think of it as an AC with a particularly
Is a format change coming to the Lehigh Valley? Nassau has
applied to change the calls of WYNS (1160 Lehighton) to WBYN,
which leads us to think that the station will be dropping its
sports simulcast with WEEX (1230 Easton) and WTKZ (1320 Allentown)
in favor of a simulcast with religious WBYN-FM (107.5 Boyertown).
Could a sale be next?
On the other side of the state, WZUM (1590 Carnegie) changes
hands from Horvath Broadcasting to Starboard Communications.
Starboard had been LMA'ing the station for its "Relevant
Radio" Catholic programming, so no changes will be evident
for Pittsburgh listeners.
And we note the passing of former station owner Nelson Goldberg.
Goldberg, who died last Sunday (Sept. 25) at age 76, owned WKPA
(1150 New Kensington, now WGBN) and WYDD (104.7 Pittsburgh, now
*In CANADA, we're just over a week
away from the launch of Rogers' new news outlets in the Maritimes.
"News 95.7" (CJNI Halifax), "News 88.9" (CHNI
Saint John) and "News 91.9" (CKNI Moncton) will sign
on October 11, with similar news wheels to Rogers' "680
News" in Toronto and "News 1130" in Vancouver.
Rogers has pulled the jocks from its "Jack FM" (CJAQ
92.5), and the station's running with just liners, listener phone
calls and music for now, fueling rumors of a possible format
Over in Hamilton, CIWV (Wave 94.7) wants to increase its power
from 11.3 kW to 45 kW, with a directional antenna at 136 meters
above average terrain. And in Wingham, Blackburn's CIBU (94.5)
has been granted an increase in power from 21.2 kW to 70.14 kW,
dropping its antenna to a lower height.
*And we'll close this week with a look at the first NHL broadcast
lineup in NERW-land in two years, with many thanks to Joseph
Gallant and his diligent research on the subject:
- The Boston Bruins continue on WBZ (1030) and NESN,
with Jack Edwards replacing Dave Shea on play-by-play duty for
- The New York Rangers are now on WEPN (1050), with
some conflicts moving to WABC (770) when the Knicks are also
playing. TV, of course, is co-owned MSG Network.
- The New York Islanders are on WBBR (1130) and Fox
Sports New York.
- The New Jersey Devils return to action with a new
flagship, WFAN (660); some games that conflict with WFAN's Nets
broadcasts will be moved, probably to WQEW (1560).
- The Buffalo Sabres have new radio and TV homes, since
their old ones (WNSA 107.7 and Empire Sports Network) disappeared
as part of the bankruptcy of former team owner Adelphia. Radio
coverage moves to WGR (550), while most games will be seen on
a regional split of the MSG Network in western and central New
- The Philadelphia Flyers continue on WIP (610) and
Comcast Sportsnet; ten games get broadcast coverage on WPSG (Channel
57), and there will be a few conflicts with WIP's 76ers broadcasts
that will likely end up on WPHT (1210).
- The Pittsburgh Penguins are on WBGG (970) and WWSW
(94.5), with TV coverage on Fox Sports Pittsburgh and six Saturday
night games on WNPA (Channel 19).
- The Toronto Maple Leafs continue on CFMJ (640), with
TV rights divided among the CBC, Rogers Sportsnet, TSN and the
team's own Leafs TV network.
- The Ottawa Senators will be heard on CFGO (Team 1200),
with TV rights divided among the CBC, "A Channel" CHRO-TV,
Rogers Sportsnet and TSN. Some games will also be seen in French
- The Montreal Canadiens are on CJAD 800 in English
and CKAC 730 in French (and Joseph notes that the schedule posted
on CJAD's website includes a Stanley Cup parade June 20!); there
are no full-season TV deals, but RDS has about half the games
in French, while TSN and the CBC share English-language coverage.
That's it for another week - see you back here on Monday!
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
Once again, we bring you more than a dozen images from the
fybush.com 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,
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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
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2005 by Scott Fybush.