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New Troubles for Maynard's WAVM
*The tangled tale of MASSACHUSETTS high
school station WAVM (91.7 Maynard) took another turn last Friday,
when station adviser and founder Joseph P. Magno was arrested
on charges of raping a former student.
Magno, 65, will be arraigned today in Concord District Court
on the charges, which also include indecent assault and battery
on a child, allegedly a male student who was under 14 when the
The news comes at a particularly challenging time for WAVM,
whose fight for survival has been chronicled extensively here
on NERW and elsewhere. Just before the holidays, Living Proof,
Inc., the California religious broadcaster that won a "tentative
preference" from the FCC to build a new facility in Lunenburg
that will likely displace WAVM from its spot on the dial, offered
a settlement proposal to WAVM and two other applicants that would,
at least in theory, allow for two new stations on 91.7 as well
as a WAVM upgrade to protected class A status.
The Living Proof filing challenges WAVM's claim that its application
to become a class A signal should have been treated as a "minor"
change. If treated that way, conflicting applications wouldn't
have been accepted in the first place and would now be dismissed
- but Living Proof attorney Harry Martin notes that both WAVM's
initial application and a challenge to it from Boston's WUMB
treated the move as a "major" change.
Nevertheless, Living Proof conducted engineering studies which
claim that the Lunenburg station, the WAVM upgrade and CSN International's
application for a new 91.7 in Lexington could all be granted
with the use of directional antennas, and with the concurrence
of WUMB, which has the other pending application in this mutually
exclusive group of stations.
Under the proposal, the new Lunenburg signal would be aimed
mainly west, while WAVM would upgrade to 100 watts at 76 meters,
with a directional pattern looking rather like a Hershey's Kiss,
aiming most of its signal south. The new Lexington signal would
get 199 watts, also aimed mainly to the south.
Maynard officials were reportedly considering the proposal
before the holidays, and with Magno's arrest, it's not clear
what will become of those discussions. Even if WAVM accepts the
plan, which would require a complicated and costly directional
antenna, the deal still requires WUMB's approval as well - and
NERW wonders whether WUMB would welcome the prospect of that
new CSN signal in Lexington, which looks as though it would wreak
havoc with reception of WUMB's main 91.9 signal (and even more
so with its IBOC subcarriers) in Boston's western suburbs.
And of course the accusations against Magno are coming as
quite a shock to the many students who passed through the WAVM
radio and television program over the past three decades. Will
the station with which he's been so closely identified be able
to survive this latest challenge? As always, stay tuned.
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- and enjoy another exciting year of NERW, including our comprehensive
in Review. (Have you checked out the Year-End
*In other news from the Bay State, the new year marked the
end of WBZ (1030 Boston)'s contract to carry Paul Harvey's daily
broadcasts, which have been a fixture there for years. The CBS
Radio station chose not to renew its deal with ABC for Harvey
(though it is apparently still using some ABC News Radio material),
and so far there's been no replacement in the market. (NERW notes
that the relationship between WBZ and Harvey extended to the
use of morning anchor Gary LaPierre as a substitute host on the
Harvey broadcasts on several occasions in the mid-nineties.)
A few other Radio People on the Move: Ben Parker moves from
the WRKO newsroom to the PD chair at WEIM (1280 Fitchburg). At
WZLX (100.7 Boston), Beau Raines' run as PD came to a close at
the end of 2005. WUMB (91.9 Boston) is losing music director
Sarah Wardrop to New York - she's headed for a new gig at WFUV
(90.7) there. And a couple of "Where Are They Now?"
items - veteran Boston jock "Hutch" has resurfaced
as the sidekick to David Lee Roth's CBS Radio morning show (heard
locally on WBCN), while former WODS morning man Paul Perry is
looking for work now that his contract with Chicago's WJMK has
ended. (Perry was doing mornings on WJMK's HD subchannel for
the latter half of 2005, after the main channel flipped from
oldies to "Jack.")
*In NEW YORK, Bob Grant returns from a three-week
vacation today for his final week in the afternoon slot on WOR
(710) - but what happens after that is anyone's guess. The station
had announced that chef Rocco DiSpirito would get the timeslot
after Grant's departure, but no sooner was that announcement
made than DiSpirito announced he was leaving the station.
Uptown at WABC (770), they're experimenting with going commercial-free
for two hours of morning drive. The first two hours of WABC's
morning show now feature news guy George Weber in a prominent
role alongside hosts Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby, with no commercial
breaks until 7 AM. Right now it's being billed as an experiment
that will last through the month. (And speaking of WABC, its
former general manager, Wally Schwartz, died last month in Florida.
Before moving on to bigger things at the ABC network level, Schwartz
guided WABC through much of its early "Musicradio"
A few more notes from the city - the WXRK calls didn't stay
idle long after departing what's now "Free FM" WFNY-FM
(92.3). They're now at the former WXTM (92.3 Cleveland Heights),
which will also be picking up the "K-Rock" nickname
that WXRK used in New York.
On TV, Penny Crone's contract wasn't renewed at WNYW (Channel
5), so the veteran morning reporter is now across town at Sirius,
doing news on the "Howard 100" channel. (Hey, he's
doing something important this morning, isn't he?)
Out on Long Island, the end of 2005 was also the end of analog
TV for Riverhead's WLNY (Channel 55). The independent station
won FCC permission to shut off its analog signal earlier than
scheduled, as part of a nationwide sale of the channel 55 bandwidth
to Qualcomm for its new MediaFLO broadband service, and now WLNY
is seen over the air only on WLNY-DT (Channel 57) and three LPTV
signals; its main viewership, of course, is on cable and satellite.
much for "ChannelCasting": The Morey Organization has
stopped using that term on its three East End FMs, and things
are pretty much back to the way they were at rocker "Bone"
WBON (98.5 Westhampton), dance-top 40 "Party" WDRE
(105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) and modern rock WLIR (107.1 Hampton
Bays), with highly reduced spotloads the only remnant of the
failed "ChannelCasting" concept.
Heading up the Hudson
Valley, Ed Levine's two Albany-market FMs relaunched for the
new year, dropping classic country on WEGQ (93.7 Scotia) and
reworking the rock format on WRCZ (94.5 Ravena) into a new simulcast
called "The Bone." JR Gach remains in place on the
new station, and new calls WOOB (93.7) and WBOE (94.3) are on
Sad news from Syracuse: WSYR (570) newsman Bill Leaf was killed
Sunday morning when his car was hit by another car being driven
the wrong way on I-81 near downtown Syracuse. Leaf, 25, also
did fill-in sports on WTVH (Channel 5). A 22 year old driver
from Rooseveltown faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and
DWI in connection with the crash.
(In somewhat happier news, Tom Joyner will bring his syndicated
morning show to the Salt City on January 20. Joyner is heard
on WPHR 106.9 from 6-10 AM, and he'll host as many as 2,000 fans
at his OnCenter appearance, which is free to the public.)
In Rochester, WROC-TV (Channel 8) is losing investigative
reporter Steve Levine. He's off to Baltimore, where he'll work
for Sinclair's Fox affiliate, WBFF (Channel 45). (WROC, a Nexstar-owned
CBS affiliate, operates Sinclair's Rochester Fox affiliate, WUHF.)
And Buffalo kicks off the year with a new format, as CBS'
WECK (1230 Cheektowaga) flips from standards to classic country,
flanking its big sister, market-leading country FM WYRK (106.5).
*One NEW JERSEY note: Anita Bonita's
now officially Big Jay Sorensen's co-host at WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin).
She's a familiar New York voice from Z100, WDBZ (105.1 the Buzz)
and WNEW, among others.
*The big story from PENNSYLVANIA as 2006
dawned was the shakeup at KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh), which abruptly
axed three of its talk hosts - mid-morning host Mike Pintek,
evening sports host Paul Alexander and night talker Mike Romigh.
KDKA-TV reporter Marty Griffin replaces Pintek in the 9-noon
slot, and former PCNC talk host John McIntire has been filling
in on Romigh's former 9-midnight slot, though he hasn't been
formally announced as Romigh's replacement. The shakeup also
ousted reporter Kyle Anthony from the KDKA newsroom.
It did, however, bring in a new face to Gateway Center: Pittsburgh
native Marshall Adams will arrive later this month as KDKA's
news director, the first time that post has been filled in a
few years. Adams comes back to town from WBT in Charlotte, N.C..
'Burgh news, WYEP (91.3 Pittsburgh) moved into its new digs at
Bedford Square last week. The move takes the station from the
Carson Street facility it's been using for a decade to a purpose-built
two-story facility that includes a live performance studio that
can fit 85 people. The station is in the midst of a $3.4 million
capital campaign to pay for the new studios.
Thom Hickling, who ran his family's WPLW (1590 Carnegie, now
WZUM) in the late seventies and eighties, was killed in a car
crash in Zambia on Dec. 27. Hickling was 51.
Former Pittsburgher Chuck Brinkman is out at Dallas' KLUV
(98.7) after 17 years in afternoon drive there; he's succeeded
by another ex-Pittsburgher, John Summers. Brinkman had stepped
down as KLUV's PD a year or so ago.
In Scranton, WQFM (92.1 Nanticoke) and WQFN (100.1 Forest
City) relaunched after Christmas as "92.1 QFM," playing
an AC blend that's heavy on music of the nineties. Meanwhile
in Carbondale, WCDL (1440) has changed musical direction, ditching
classic country for standards.
In Philadelphia, WPHT (1210) is reworking its nighttime lineup
to accommodate the new Jay Severin syndicated show. WPHT now
has former TV reporter Suzanne LaFrankie on from 6-7, followed
by Severin from 7-10. That pushes Dom Giordano back to 10-midnight,
Bill O'Reilly to midnight-2, and Rollye James completely out
of the weekday schedule. (She's still heard on weekend overnights.)
*Heading back up towards New England, the
new year starts with one fewer tower site in CONNECTICUT.
WSHU (1260 Westport) lost its two-tower site last fall, and it's
operating for now from a dipole strung from the nearby SNET telephone
Bernard Hurwitz, the longtime host of the "Jewish Variety
Hour" on a succession of New Haven stations (beginning with
the long-defunct WBIB-FM), died January 2. Hurwitz, who went
by "Berel Howard" on air, was 80.
*In RHODE ISLAND, WALE (990 Greenville)
has been silent for almost two weeks now. The station is reportedly
reworking its programming and may relaunch as an English-language
talker later in January.
Over at Clear Channel, Steve Peck is out as PD of WSNE (93.3
Taunton MA) and WWBB (101.5 Providence). Chris Eagan is acting
PD at WSNE, while Tom St. John is holding down the post at WWBB.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, WSMN (1590 Nashua)
is slowly returning to a separate existence. It's breaking from
its simulcast with sister WSNH (900 Nashua) for some sports coverage,
and beginning this week, veteran host Woody Woodland joins the
station from 7-9 AM weekdays. (Woodland is actually using the
old Russco console that was salvaged from the former WSMN studios
on Hollis Street!)
Up in the Lakes Region, Konrad Kayne is out at WLKZ (104.9
Wolfeboro). Kayne's career includes stops at WBHG, WZID and several
other New Hampshire stations, and he's now on the hunt for his
And we're sorry to report the end of the "Weather Notebook"
show, which has ceased production after 12 years of bringing
weather information from the top of Mount Washington. The Mount
Washington Observatory says it couldn't find continued sponsorship
for the two-minute syndicated feature.
CANADA, the CRTC granted a new signal in Haldimand County,
Ontario to Bel-Roc Communications. Bel-Roc had initially applied
for 106.7, but that frequency was instead granted to CIKZ (99.5
Kitchener-Waterloo). It then applied for 92.9, competing with
an application from CHCD (98.9 Simcoe) for a relay transmitter
on 93.1 in Haldimand County. The new station (with planned calls
CKNS) promised the CRTC that it won't solicit advertising in
Simcoe (to the west) or the Hamilton market, to the east.
Up in Sudbury, CHNO (103.9) dropped its "Z103" top-40
format and has flipped to adult hits as "Big Daddy 103.9."
In Ottawa, Newcap's CILV (Live 88.5) launched on December
26, with what sounds very much like a AAA format. Across town,
Evanov's CJWL (Jewel 98.5) is now planning a February launch.
It's hired Al Baldwin, formerly of CIWW (Oldies 1310), as its
music director, while Saul Jacobson moves from afternoons at
CJMJ (Majic 100) to become the new station's morning host.
And on TV, the CBC has reshuffled its news programming. "Canada
Now" is now a national newscast seen at 5:30 across the
country, followed by a half-hour local "CBC News at Six"
in each market.
*Didn't find a Tower Site Calendar
2006 under the tree/menorah/Blaw-Knox diamond tower model
of your choice over the holidays? Our supply is running low,
but you've still got time to place your order - don't wait!
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
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2006 by Scott Fybush.