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Meadowlands AMs Fight Encroachment
*There was a time - and it wasn't that long
ago - when the NEW JERSEY Meadowlands were an undesirable
place for just about anything other than an AM radio transmitter
facility. From the 1920s, when stations like WOR and WLWL first
built sites there, to the present day, the swamps just across
the Hudson River from New York City have been the preferred spot
for AM broadcasters in the nation's largest market.
the construction of Giants Stadium in the 1970s, the Meadowlands
began to become desirable for other uses, too, and in recent
years, the area south of the stadium complex has become a hotbed
of development. WOR, as you'll recall, is losing its current
site in Lyndhurst to the massive EnCap golf course/housing development
that's being planned for 800 acres in East Rutherford, North
Arlington and Lyndhurst - and now two other AM stations in the
neighborhood are crying foul about what they say will be detrimental
effects to their signals from the EnCap project.
WINS (1010) and WLIB (1190) tried to prevent the New Jersey
Meadowlands Commission from granting its approval for Phase I
of the project, arguing that planned 15-story apartment buildings
would disrupt the stations' directional patterns, making their
transmitter sites unusable.
The matter will now go to the New Jersey Supreme Court, where
WINS and WLIB hope to get an injunction to keep construction
from starting on the housing portion of the project. It promises
to be an interesting fight, and we'll be keeping tabs on it -
*Down at the other end of the state, Multicultural Broadcasting
is testing the new transmitter site of WTTM (1680 Lindenwold),
and for the moment, listeners down there are hearing "T.E.D."
That's engineer Neal Newman's "Timeless Entertainment Device,"
and it's out-Jacking "Jack" with a pretty diverse mix
of music in its automation system. The station will, nevertheless,
become Spanish once the testing's over.
The all-Christmas station list we maintain over at 100000watts.com
exploded this past week, as it's done in Thanksgiving weeks past,
and here's who was added to the list in the Garden State: WWYY
(107.1 Belvidere) made the flip, serving the Easton, Pennsylvania
area, and so did WFPG-FM (96.9 Atlantic City). WJLK (94.3 Asbury
Park) flipped as well, but only for the weekend, we're told.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, all-Christmas flips
included WBEB (101.1 Philadelphia), WLTJ (92.9 Pittsburgh), WWSW
(94.5 Pittsburgh), WROZ (101.3 Lancaster) and - just across the
state line from Erie - WREO (97.1 Ashtabula OH).
a station sale to report: the Haddon family's Sunbury Broadcasting
is paying $3 million to acquire WVLY-FM (100.9 Milton) and WMLP
(1380 Milton) from Milton-Lewisburg Broadcasting. Sunbury's launching
an LMA with the stations (which now do AC on the FM and talk
on the AM) right away - and that apparently isn't sitting too
well with the existing staff there, which has replaced the WVLY/WMLP
home page with a message saying "We regret to inform our
faithful listeners..." that the stations have been sold.
NERW suspects there won't be much to regret, at least for
listeners, as Sunbury's known for running a pretty good shop
at its existing stations, WKOK (1070 Sunbury), WQKX (94.1 Sunbury)
and WEGH (107.3 Northumberland).
the Susquehanna River, Route 81's WHYL (960 Carlisle) has dropped
its talk format. It's doing all-Christmas music as well, with
a new format (likely standards) coming after the holidays.
into NEW YORK, the schedule is firming up for WXRK (92.3)'s
relaunch as "Free FM" in January. In addition to the
earlier announcement of David Lee Roth for the 6-10 AM slot,
we now know that "Radio Chick" Leslie Gold will return
to the New York airwaves with a 3-7 PM show. In between, "Free
FM" listeners will hear the "Dog House" show,
which moves to New York from San Francisco (where it's the interim
morning offering on KIFR 106.9 until the launch of the Adam Carolla
morning show in January). That'll run from 10 AM until 2 PM,
with the Penn Jillette show filling the 2-3 PM hour. (And, call
us crazy - that's the hour we're most curious about, for some
It didn't have the impact of the settlement he reached earlier
this year with Sony Music, but state attorney general Eliot Spitzer's
payola settlement with Warner Music still made for a good read
this week. Even without the smoking guns that the Sony settlement
contained, the Warner settlement featured some names that have
become familiar in this investigation, particularly that of former
WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls) PD Dave Universal, who now programs
CKEY (101.1 Fort Erie) just across the border (and conveniently
outside Spitzer's jurisdiction). Will the Feds launch their own
investigation? Stay tuned...
Air America's flagship,
WLIB (1190), has been getting plenty of criticism for not promoting
itself enough to a market where the calls and frequency are all
but unknown. So we were more than a bit surprised to flip open
the issue of The New Republic that arrived today and find
a full-page ad for the station. Yes, that's a national magazine,
with much of its circulation in Washington, D.C., far from the
WLIB signal - but it may, perhaps, give some sort of indication
of where Air America is now pitching itself, attempting to be
part of the progressive political establishment. (We'd be more
than a little curious to find out if the ad ran in The Nation,
as well, several notches to the left of TNR on the political
Christmas radio was all over the Empire State this week, including
no fewer than four stations here in the Rochester market - Clear
Channel's WVOR (100.5) and WISY (102.3 Canandaigua), Infinity's
WRMM (101.3) and Entercom's WFKL (93.3 Fairport, one of the very
few adult hits stations anywhere to go all-Christmas.) In the
Binghamton market, WMXW (103.3 Vestal) made the flip, as did
WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam) in Albany. Out on Long Island, WALK-FM
(97.5 Patchogue) and WKJY (98.3 Hempstead) joined the crowd,
In Syracuse, the International League SkyChiefs have signed
a new two-year radio deal that will return the baseball team
to WNSS (1260). The SkyChiefs had spent the last few seasons
with WFBL (1390), but the Buckley station moved many of last
year's late-summer games to WSEN (1050) and WAMF (1300), which
both have anemic night signals that barely reach the team's stadium.
Two obituaries close out our New York report this week: in
western New York, Edward "Eddy Jo" Joseph sang on the
1940 opening broadcast of WHLD (1270 Niagara Falls) and went
on to become a DJ, then the station's PD and finally its general
manager before he retired in 1979. Joseph died last Tuesday (Nov.
23) at 88. In New York City, Brijendra "Brij" Lal was
known both as a longtime newswriter/producer at ABC Radio News
and as a Sunday morning host of an Indian show on WFUV (90.7).
Lal, who also worked for the Voice of America, died last Sunday
(Nov. 20) in Ridgefield, Connecticut, at 81.
MASSACHUSETTS, WAVM (91.7 Maynard) is fighting back against
the FCC's tentative selection of Living Proof Inc.'s application
to build a new station on 91.7 in Lunenburg. The move would prevent
WAVM from upgrading to protected class A status, and would likely
force the station off the air completely after 35 years. But
the station, echoed by a letter
to the FCC from the Maynard board of selectmen, argues that
the FCC made a mistake - that WAVM's application to upgrade from
class D to class A should have been treated as a minor change,
which would not have opened it to competing applications. The
station also argues that the FCC's process for choosing among
competing applicants ignores the existing service provided by
WAVM, which stands to be lost if the Living Proof application
As we've said every time we've reported on this story, it's
far from over - stay tuned.
Another story that's far from over is the move of WAAF (107.3
Westborough) from Mt. Asnebumskit in Paxton to the WUNI-TV (Channel
27) tower on Stiles Hill in Boylston. The station's move to the
new site a few weeks back apparently didn't go very well, judging
by the reception reports we've been seeing. WAAF has returned
to the Asnebumskit transmitter for the moment and has asked the
FCC to withdraw its grant of a license to cover from the new
site; we suspect there will be another act to this story soon.
One Christmas addition in the Bay State: WMJX (106.7 Boston)
joins the ho-ho-ho crowd this year.
*A small RHODE ISLAND FM station has
become the latest addition to EMF Broadcasting's "K-Love"
network of contemporary Christian outlets. Chris DiPaolo is leasing
WBLQ (88.1 Westerly) to EMF for three years; he's moved WBLQ's
community programming to the former WCTD-LP (96.9 Ashaway), which
drops its country format to become WBLQ-LP.
(What was that about LPFMs not having overlapping ownership
with full-power outlets? The LPFM, in this case, is licensed
to the "Washington County Chamber of Commerce," a nonprofit
controlled by other DiPaolo family members...)
Where are they now? Jeff Ryan, late of the Clear Channel Providence
cluster, is now down in Philadelphia, doing weekends and fill-ins
at country giant WXTU (92.5).
*It's not a full-fledged format change, but
CONNECTICUT's WDRC-FM (102.9 Hartford) has shed the "oldies"
label and broadened its playlist of "hits of the 60s and
70s" a bit. Mark it down, we guess, as a classic hits outlet
And mark down WBMW (106.5 Ledyard) as an all-Christmas outlet,
while you're at it...
about Christmas radio in northern New England, too - in VERMONT,
WEZF (92.9 Burlington) jumps on the train, as do NEW HAMPSHIRE's
WHOM (94.9 Mount Washington), WLNH (98.3 Laconia) and WGXL (92.3
Hanover) and MAINE's WKCG (101.3 Augusta), WKSQ (94.5
Ellsworth) and WEZQ (92.9 Bangor).
*It wasn't even a holiday in CANADA
last week, but it sounded that way on at least a few FM dials.
CJEZ (97.3 Toronto) and CHRE (105.7 St. Catharines) joined the
CKWR (98.5) abandoned its year-old "Your FM" rock format
and returned to branding itself simply as "CKWR." It's
also playing holiday music until December 27, when it will adopt
a "soft favorites" AC format that will run most of
the day. (There's still specialty programming from 6 PM until
There's another new signal on the air in Toronto. Humber College's
low-power CKHL (96.9) signs on officially tomorrow (Nov. 29),
promising the first 100-percent Canadian playlist anywhere in
And in Ottawa, Al Pervin signs on as GM of Evanov's new "Jewel
98.5," due to sign on in the next few months, reports Milkman UnLimited.
through those holiday lists? 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 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, 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
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 fybush.com
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
2005 by Scott Fybush.