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November 21, 2005

No New TV for Canada's Niagara Region

*It was a busy week for CANADA's regulators, as they denied a closely-watched TV application and announced hearings on several radio applications, including three in the nation's biggest market.

The denied application was TV Niagara's, for a new independent station that would have broadcast on channel 22 from a site near St. Catharines, Ontario, from which it would have served not only Niagara Region itself but also the rest of the "Golden Horseshoe" around the western end of Lake Ontario, including Toronto.

In turning down TVN's application, the CRTC said it was concerned that the company hadn't budgeted enough to pay the costs of operating a TV station with the ambitious schedule it proposed, including some 36 hours a week of local news and prime-time movies. In particular, the CRTC cited the experience of the former Toronto One (now SUN-TV), which debuted with similar ambitions a few years back and ran into devastating financial problems that eventually led owner Craig Media to be sold.

NERW suspects we haven't heard the last of the TV Niagara folks, though; they've already told the CRTC that they believe they can run a more economical operation than Toronto One did, and they have a compelling case to make for the relatively underserved nature of Niagara, in the shadows of the much larger Toronto/Hamilton and Buffalo markets.

(And if nothing else, the TVN proceeding put Global's CHCH Hamilton under some tighter CRTC scrutiny; the commission acknowledged concerns that "CH," which now reaches most of the province, was failing to live up to its own promises to cover news in Hamilton and in Niagara, and it reminded CHCH that it expects regular updates from the station's independent advisory board.)

That was just one piece of a busy week at the CRTC, though. It approved the move of CKDO (1350 Oshawa) to 1580, which will allow the oldies outlet to go from 10 kW day/5 kW night (with a fairly tight directional pattern) to 10 kW fulltime on a Canadian clear channel. (1580 was long occupied by CBJ in Chicoutimi, Quebec, and was later applied for by CHUC Cobourg, which instead is moving to FM.)

The CRTC also approved an application from religious broadcaster CITA (105.9) in Moncton, N.B. to add relays in Sussex, N.B. (107.3, 48 watts) and Amherst, N.S. (99.1, 50 watts).

And it announced a public hearing to be held January 16 at which it will review a number of interesting applications.

In Toronto, Rainbow Media applies for 50 watts/131.5 meters on 103.9 for "Rainbow Radio," which would feature programming aimed at the city's gay and lesbian community. Rainbow is owned by the Evanov group, which also operates second-adjacent CIDC (Z 103.5) in Orangeville.

Another Toronto application comes from Canadian Hellenic Toronto Radio, which wants 1000 watts on 1690 for an ethnic outlet that would be largely aimed at the city's Mediterranean population. A third comes from "World Radio," which wants 1 kW/276.8 meters, directional, for a station programming "world beat" music.

To the west, United Christian Broadcasters (which already operates CKJJ on 102.3 in Belleville) wants to put a new station on the air in Chatham, running 16.7 kW/181.9 meters on 89.3.

And in the Maritimes, CHNS (960 Halifax) is applying to move from its powerful AM signal to 89.9 FM, where it would run 100 kW/224 meters. That application conflicts with one from the Cooperative Radio Halifax-Metro Ltee., which wants to run 1925 watts/217 m on 89.7.

Away from the halls of the CRTC, there's other news to report as well. In Toronto, French community station CHOQ (105.1) is testing its signal from its new transmitter site at 6 Forest Laneway. "Radio-Toronto" began testing Novemner 7 and will wrap up the tests November 28, in preparation for beginning regular programming soon. (It's been on the air under the CKIE calls for several short-term special event broadcasts already.)

In Montreal, Andre Maisonneuve departs his afternoon drive slot on CJFM (95.9) November 25. Middayer Mark Bergman moves to afternoons, with night guy Rob Kemp taking middays.

*Moving stateside, NEW YORK got Christmas music in earnest this week - both in the west, where Buffalo's WJYE (96.1) and WTSS (102.5) made the flip, and in the city, where WLTW (106.7 New York) made its earliest flip yet.

WLTW also lost one of its longest-running voices, as the station parted ways with Steven E. Roy, who was there at the beginning, in 1984, and who'd become an afternoon fixture at "Lite." There's no word yet on a permanent replacement, or on Roy's next destination.

There was plenty of traffic action in New York City this week as well - WINS (1010) morning traffic veteran Pete Tauriello added TV to his repertoire, joining WNBC (Channel 4)'s Trish Yodice for expanded morning traffic reports. (He'll continue to be heard on WINS as well.) Over at WOR (710), George Meade announced that he'll retire from the morning traffic beat at the end of December, ending a 38-year run at the station.

Moving back upstate, it sounds as though the "Free Beer and Hot Wings" morning show, already heard on the "Hawk" stations in New Jersey and in Michigan, will be the replacement for Howard Stern on Albany's WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer)/WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill) when Stern leaves for his new gig (which, we hear, may involve one of the satellite services, though Howard's been awfully shy about the whole thing, hasn't he?)

Way upstate, Salamanca's two stations - oldies WGGO (1590) and rocker WQRT (98.3) - are changing hands, as Michael Washington's Catt Communications sells the pair to Bob Pfuntner's Pembrook Pines group. (No sale price was available at press time.)

Where are they now? Former WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) PD Jimmy Steele has resurfaced in San Diego, where he's the new PD at Clear Channel top 40 KHTS (93.3).

*In NEW JERSEY, mornings are a little less local at WBUD (1260 Trenton), as the Millennium Radio Group station sheds the services of news guys John Weber and Ed Salvas. WBUD says it plans to continue its "Mercer News Morning" block, but we're hearing that Weber and Salvas won't be replaced, and that the future for WBUD is more satellite and less local (even the local voicetracking that the station's been running.)

We're sorry to report that Donna Rose, who was heard doing news on Garden State stations that included WHTG, WJLK, WJRZ and most recently the "Breeze" trimulcast (WWZY/WBHX/WKOE), died Tuesday (Nove. 15). She was just 49.

*Just one bit of PENNSYLVANIA news - in Harrisburg, "Kiss" WHKF (99.3) hires "Silly Jilly" to replace Mike Miller at night. Miller's off to an APD gig at KKRZ in Portland, Oregon; Jilly's inbound from WKSC in Chicago, where she was doing weekends and fill-ins.

*In MASSACHUSETTS, Michael Graham's settling in as the new afternoon talker on WTKK (96.9 Boston), filling the slot last occupied by Jay Severin, whose future whereabouts on the Boston dial remain up in the air. Graham's last two gigs didn't end well - he was driven out of WMAL, Washington earlier this year after controversial remarks about Muslims, and he was fired from WBT, Charlotte a few years earlier after some tasteless remarks about the Columbine shootings. Will he fare any better in Boston - or is that sort of high-profile controversy exactly what WTKK is banking on?

On the FM side, WZLX (100.7 Boston) is looking for a PD to replace Beau Raines. After three years at WZLX and three years before that at WROR, Raines is leaving at the end of December.

At WMKK (93.7 Lawrence), Amy Caplan is handing off her GM duties to Julie Kahn, who's already GM of the rest of the Entercom Boston cluster. Caplan will head up national sales for the Boston Entercom stations.

On the TV side, Ken Barlow - not the Vox Radio executive from Vermont, but rather the Rhode Island native who's been doing weather at KARE-TV in Minneapolis - is headed to WBZ-TV (Channel 4) to fill what had been Ed Carroll's job as chief meteorologist.

And, oh yes, it's Christmas time on the air - WODS (103.3 Boston) went a day earlier than scheduled, flipping on Thursday, with WSRS (96.1 Worcester) right behind.

*The holidays are starting early in RHODE ISLAND as well - WWLI (105.1 Providence) made the flip at week's end.

*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, Gardner Goldsmith is the replacement for Arnie Arnesen on Bob Vinikoor's WNTK-FM (99.7 New London)/WUVR (1490 Lebanon).

*Speaking of Bob, he's bringing back some old calls in VERMONT, where WNBX (1480 Springfield) is returning to its previous calls, WCFR. (Those calls had stayed with the FM side on 93.5, now WTSM, then moved to 96.3 in Walpole, N.H., which is now being used to park the old Philly calls of WPLY.)

And there's holiday cheer in Burlington, where WEZF (92.9) is also doing the all-Christmas thing.

*Speaking of the holidays, Tower Site Calendar 2006 is the perfect gift for the radio guy (or gal) who has everything else - and there's still plenty of time to get your copy under the tree/menorah/Blaw-Knox diamond tower model of your choice. (And, let's face it, wouldn't an 8-foot Blaw-Knox diamond be an amazingly cool thing to hang your ornaments on?)

We've got to say, we're especially proud of the way this year's calendar 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!

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.