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FCC Okays Sale of Lane Stations
*Three northeast PENNSYLVANIA radio stations
will be able to stay on the air under new ownership, now that
the FCC has agreed to allow their owner, who was convicted of
child-molestation charges, to sell the stations rather than to
surrender their licenses.
Regular NERW readers already know the background here: Doug
Lane, longtime owner of WWDL (104.9 Scranton, now WWRR), WICK
(1400 Scranton) and WYCK (1340 Plains), was arrested in March
2004. Prosecutors say Lane's history of molesting teenage boys
extended back several decades, with the statute of limitations
having expired on some of the earliest incidents.
In the past, the FCC has handled similar charges against licensees
(most notably Michael Rice, who owned stations in Missouri and
Indiana) by revoking the stations' licenses - and indeed, to
this day, Rice's former frequencies in Columbia, Missouri and
Terre Haute, Indiana remain dark.
In this case, though, prosecutors in Lackawanna County had
a different idea. They asked the FCC to allow Lane to sell the
stations to Bold Gold Media, which owns four nearby stations
(WDNH/WPSN in Honesdale, WYCY in Hawley and WDNB in Jeffersonville,
N.Y.) and which has been operating the Scranton stations under
an LMA for several months. Out of the $1.9 million sale price
for the stations, $300,000 would be set aside for reimbursement
to victims and for contributions to victim-assistance agencies.
The remainder would be put into a court-supervised account, with
the money (plus interest) going to Lane if he wins the appeal
of his conviction and to the county if the conviction stands
The FCC agreed to the plan last week, and now the transfer
of the licenses to Bold Gold will move forward.
*In Philadelphia, another legal settlement means the end of
the WOGL (98.1 Philadelphia) career of legendary jock Hy Lit.
Lit had sued WOGL owner Infinity for age discrimination, and
as part of a settlement with the company, he agreed to make yesterday
(Dec. 11) his final Sunday show on WOGL. Lit's far from finished,
though - he's now focusing on his 24-hour oldies webcast at hylit.com.
WHYL (960) has made it official - it'll return to adult standards
when the Christmas music ends in early January. The format change
includes the return of Ben Barber to morning drive; he'd been
doing mornings until WHYL flipped to talk a year ago, and had
been doing sales for the station since then.
Down the road in Lancaster, WLAN-FM (96.9) promotion director
Aaron Price is adding the night air shift to his duties, picking
up the slack from B-Rock's departure. Former WLAN morning co-host
Holly Love is also returning, to handle the 9-noon slot.
In Harrisburg, add WMHX (106.7 Hershey) to the all-Christmas
There's a new signal on the air in McConnellsburg: WWCF (88.7)
signed on a couple of weeks ago as "Eagle 88.7," with
what sounds like a community-focused variety format. (It's owned
by Morris Broadcasting & Communications.)
And we leave the Keystone State with the obituary of one of
Harrisburg's best-known voices: Ron Drake spent 35 years at WHP
(580) before his retirement in 1982, most of that time in morning
drive. Drake died Sunday, Dec. 4 in Fort Myers, Florida. He was
*Some changes in northwest NEW JERSEY:
Jay Wulff takes over as morning host at WNNJ-FM (103.7), replacing
Zach Martin (who moved down to WAWZ in Zarephath as creative
services director a few months back). Wulff comes to WNNJ from
Clear Channel sister station WPKF in Poughkeepsie, where he was
music director. He continues to voicetrack middays on WPKF.
*There's probably nothing we can add to the
media hype surrounding the impending departure of Howard Stern
from terrestrial radio, so we won't even try.
But there is some
news surrounding his NEW YORK flagship station: the calls
will apparently change from WXRK to WFNY-FM when it becomes "92.3
Free FM" in January (the WFNY calls are also in use on AM
and for an LPTV up in Gloversville, and we're sure owner Michael
Sleezer got a nice deal from Infinity to share them for New York
City use.) The new WFNY-FM will have a new manager, as Mark Chernoff
gets promoted from operations director at WFAN to VP/programming
for both WFAN and WFNY-FM. And current WXRK afternoon guy Chris
Booker will stay with 92.3 in its new incarnation, handling evenings.
Across town (OK - a block east and a couple blocks south)
at Clear Channel, WWPR (105.1) has a new program director. He's
Nate Bell, who comes to New York from St. Louis, where he was
a Clear Channel regional VP, and he replaces Michael Saunders,
who was ousted from the post amidst payola allegations in mid-October.
A few programming notes - at WNYC, Oscar Brand celebrated
his 60th anniversary on the air last weekend. He's currently
heard Saturday nights with his "Folksong Festival"
program, and the station has a "Celebrating Oscar"
special that's getting plenty of airplay during the holidays
on both its AM and FM frequencies. Over at WFUV (90.7), they're
putting their new performance studio to good use - the "Words
and Music from Studio A" broadcasts that had been an occasional
part of the "City Folk" blocks now have a regular nightly
slot, every weeknight at 9. And on WFAN (660), Phillies broadcaster
Tom McCarthy will replace Gary Cohen in the play-by-play chair
for Mets broadcasts beginning next season, as Cohen moves to
the Mets TV broadcasts.
Out on Long Island, the gospel tunes on WNYH (740 Huntington)
were reportedly replaced with a loop of oldies last week; still
no word on what the permanent format for the signal might be,
or when it might arrive.
It's been a quiet week upstate, with just one note - all that
speculation about WHLD (1270) in Buffalo becoming an Air America
affiliation appears to have been, at the least, quite premature.
*CANADA's regulators are getting impatient
with Aboriginal Voices Radio's repeated requests for extensions
of time to build its stations in British Columbia, Calgary, Montreal,
Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa. AVR, which currently operates
only one station, Toronto's CFIE (106.5), asked the CRTC last
week for a sixth extension in Ottawa and a second extension in
Montreal (including an extension of time to find an alternate
frequency, since it was denied its initial choice of 100.1),
among other requests.
The CRTC says it's putting AVR "on notice" that
it will use this proceeding to decide whether to grant the broadcaster
any further extensions for its unbuilt stations. In documents
filed with the CRTC, AVR indicates that it still hasn't purchased
a transmitter for the Ottawa station, and that similar purchases
for Montreal are on hold until a new frequency (tentatively 106.7)
Meanwhile, the CRTC has approved a power increase for CIWV
(94.7 Hamilton). It'll go from 11.39 kW to 21.4 kW average ERP,
increasing its reach over Hamilton, Burlington and neighboring
*In MAINE, the French-language show
that was displaced when WLAM (1470 Lewiston) flipped to ESPN
sports has a new home. Connie Cote's show now airs on WCNM (1240
Lewiston) each Sunday.
*Gary DeGraide has been waking up RHODE ISLAND
for 22 years on WWLI (105.1 Providence), but he says he'll
call it quits after his Dec. 23 show. DeGraide tells the Providence
Journal that he wants "to do more purposeful work
within my faith." No replacement has been named yet.
*Eastern MASSACHUSETTS gets something
different on the talk radio dial beginning tonight, when WRKO
(680 Boston) unveils "Taste of Boston Tonight." The
7-10 PM show will be hosted by Todd Feinburg, and the station
says it will go beyond Feinburg's usual focus on restaurants
to cover the full range of Boston-area nightlife and entertainment,
at least when it's not displaced by Celtics games. It's a far
cry from the timeslot's previous occupant, Michael Savage - he'll
now air on delay from 10 PM to 1 AM, displacing John Batchelor
(who's still easily heard in Boston via his flagship, WABC from
Former WBIX (1060 Natick) owner Brad Bleidt was sentenced
last week. As part of the plea bargain on his 115 counts of mail
fraud and one count of money laundering, Bleidt will serve 11
years and 3 months behind bars, followed by three years of supervised
There is, we're pleased to note, some good news from WBIX,
too: engineer Grady Moates is installing a brand-new Broadcast
Electronics 4MX50 transmitter at the station's Framingham daytime
transmitter site. We believe it's the very first 4MX50 to go
into service anywhere - and we're looking forward to seeing it
in the (proverbial) flesh in the spring.
You can keep tabs on the installation (and find out why Grady's
wearing a Todd Rundgren T-shirt during the installation) at his
Loud and Clean website...check
And we still can't
believe that last Friday (Dec. 9) marked the one-year anniversary
of the death of WBZ's David Brudnoy.
We defer to Bruds' good friend and colleague Jon Keller on
this one - in December's Boston magazine, he writes, "Pour
an extra martini this season - if it quickly vanishes, it means
Brudnoy's spirit is still with us."
*Working 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
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.