Maine Sports Legend Dies in House Fire
*One of MAINE's best-known sports voices
was silenced early Friday morning in a fire that destroyed his
Falmouth home. Frank Fixaris served as sports director of WGAN-TV/WGME
(Channel 13) from 1967 until 1992, and had more recently been
part of the "Morning Jab" team at WJAE (1440 Westbrook)/WJJB
(900 Brunswick)/WJJB-FM (95.5 Topsham).
Investigators say the fire was touched off by a cigarette
that had not been properly disposed of. Fixaris' wife was able
to escape the fire, but Fixaris, 71, died in the blaze. The "WJAB"
stations ran syndicated programming in place of the "Morning
Jab" show on Friday, after learning of the news; at press
time Sunday night, their website
had been converted into a tribute to Fixaris.
MASSACHUSETTS, WAVM (91.7 Maynard) founder/advisor Joseph
P. Magno appeared in court Friday for hearings on the charges
that he raped an underage male student at Maynard High School.
During the hearing, evidence emerged accusing Magno of molesting
at least four other Maynard High students, some as long ago as
1980. Magno was taken to Emerson Hospital after the hearing,
where he's being treated for ongoing medical problems.
Meanwhile, WAVM itself returned to the air late last week,
as school officials assembled a team of parents and community
volunteers to oversee the operation of the station. Until further
notice, two adults will be present at all times when students
are at the station. There's no word on how the Magno arrest has
affected Maynard's consideration of the settlement offer from
Living Proof in the ongoing fight for the station's survival;
we'll keep following this story closely.
Some changes at the top at Greater Media's Boston cluster:
after five years as VP/GM, Matt Mills is retiring from the stations,
effective April 14. No replacement has been named yet. Down the
hall, Buzz Knight adds "VP/programming development"
to his already crowded slate of responsibilities as operations
manager of WROR/WBOS in Boston and WMMR/WMGK in Philadelphia.
His new post will put Knight in charge of Greater Media's HD
Radio multicast programming in all the company's markets. And
one more bit of Greater Media news: WBOS is adding the services
of Charles Laquidara. The longtime WBCN/WZLX morning man will
do a daily hourlong show, to air 9-10 AM, focusing on a particular
year or artist in Boston rock history. He'll record it in advance
from his home studio in Hawaii.
Over at Clear Channel, Matt Siegel celebrated 25 years as
"Matty in the Morning" on WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford) last
week, doing a roving 12-hour remote that moved from community
to community .
Longtime WBZ (1030) fixture Paul Harvey has found a new home
in Boston; NERW hears he's about to resurface on Salem's WTTT
(1150 Boston), which may finally bring some attention to that
most under-the-radar of talk outlets. Meanwhile, WBZ has also
parted ways with Neil Chayette's long-running Sunday-evening
legal show; he did his last broadcast in that slot on January
8, and he's now been replaced with the financial show "In
Where are they now? Former WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence, now WMKK)
jock and WEEI (850) imaging director Scott Mackay's been hired
as the morning man at Chicago's new oldies station, WZZN (94.7),
reports the Sun-Times' Robert Feder.
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*It appears that Charles River Broadcasting's
two RHODE ISLAND stations will stay within the Jones family.
The Charles River board has reportedly agreed to sell classical
WCRI (95.9 Block Island) and all-news WCNX (1180 Hope Valley)
to Christopher S. Jones, the company's president and son of its
founder, the late Rev. Theodore Jones. No word yet on a sale
price for the pair of stations.
*The bidding process is
underway for two VERMONT FM frequencies that are among
several dozen being auctioned by the FCC as part of its Auction
62. As NERW went to press Sunday night, Fine Arts Broadcasting
had the leading bid, at $1.255 million, for 97.5A in Bristol,
while Vermont Public Radio had the leading bid, at $26,000, for
106.9A Brighton, in the Northeast Kingdom.
Other leading bidders around the region: in Whitefield, NEW
HAMPSHIRE, Clark Smidt was leading the bidding for 99.1A,
while Steve Silberberg's White Park group led the bidding for
98.7A Stratford, at $20,000, and Alexxon Corp. led for 93.7A
Groveton, at $32,000.
In Maine, Louis Vitale's $43,000 bid was winning for 101.1B
coastal NEW JERSEY FM station is working towards a better
signal over Atlantic City and southern Ocean County. Press Communications'
WKOE (106.3 Ocean City) has filed its application for its new
106.5 Bass River Township facilities, which will be on the WWSI
(Channel 62) tower in Tuckerton. The class A station will operate
with 1.45 kW/682' from that site, if the application is granted.
Meanwhile, Press added another station to its sales portfolio,
signing a JSA deal with Pillar of Fire to provide sales representation
for contemporary Christian WAWZ (99.1 Zarephath).
can have your ad here! Click here for information on the
most economical way to reach tens of thousands of Northeast radio
and TV people each week.
*Bob Grant signed off from his afternoon
shift at NEW YORK's WOR (710) on Friday, but he's not
gone from the city's radio dial quite yet. This afternoon, he'll
make a guest appearance with WABC (770)'s Sean Hannity, the first
time Grant's been heard on that station since he was fired a
decade ago for making what were perceived as racial comments.
Will this lead to a more permanent slot for Grant on his old
radio home? Stay tuned...
Congratulations to veteran New York newsman Ted David; he's
just been named senior anchor at CNBC Business Radio.
and highest-rated TV station is changing hands. Granite Broadcasting,
which owns WTVH (Channel 5) in Syracuse and WKBW (Channel 7)
in Buffalo, will pay SJL Communications $45 million for WBNG
(Channel 12), which also serves as the CBS affiliate for the
neighboring Elmira/Corning market. NERW expects to see a fair
amount of news sharing between WBNG and its sister CBS affiliate,
WTVH, an hour up I-81; we'd be a little surprised to see Granite
do much more tinkering than that to what's already a very successful
and fairly lean news operation. (WBNG also operates cable-only
WB affiliate "WBXI" in the Binghamton market.)
In Newburgh, WGNY (1220) has been fighting for eight years
to build a new three-tower array on Rock Cut Road to replace
the temporary low-power facility it's using at a local lumberyard.
After a battle with town officials that ended up in court, the
two sides reached a settlement under which the needed permits
would be issued once the FAA had signed off on the 175-foot towers.
That "no hazard" declaration came through last week,
so WGNY will now be able to start construction at its new site
and return to its licensed 5 kW day power.
There are new towers coming to the Buffalo area as well; WJJL
(1440 Niagara Falls) received its construction permit last week
for its move to West Seneca, where it's had its studios for several
years now. The station, currently in bankruptcy protection, will
erect a four-tower array where US 20 splits from Transit Road
east of West Seneca. The 5 kW day signal will blanket most of
the Buffalo market, and even the 190-watt night signal looks
to be fairly potent into the city.
A familiar Rochester voice has resurfaced on the Buffalo airwaves:
former WHAM/WROC newsman and talk host Allan Harris has been
heard doing fill-in at Entercom's WBEN (930 Buffalo).
Rochester's WYSL (1040 Avon) is adding more talk to its mix:
the station began carrying Laura Ingraham from 9-noon last week,
and today it will add Bill O'Reilly from 12:30-2 PM. (What about
the station's big power boost? It's still waiting for its new
phasor to arrive, as well as some needed transmission-line work;
expect the new 20 kW day signal on the air sometime this spring.)
A few PD chairs spinning: in Syracuse, Rick "RJ"
Jordan departs Galaxy's WSCP-FM (101.7 Pulaski), while in Albany,
Glen Stacey adds PD duties at "Buzz" WABT (104.5 Mechanicville)
to his marketing duties at the Regent cluster there.
In the bidding in the FCC's FM Auction 62 as of Sunday night,
Randy Michaels' Radioactive, LLC was leading the competition
for 106.7A Windsor (near Binghamton), at $67,000, while DBM Communications
had the leading bid for 93.5A Wellsville (also $67,000), Equinox
Communications was leading for 97.1A Canaseraga ($55,000) and
Watermark Communications was ahead for 107.1A Livingston Manor
($61,000). Shamrock Communications led for 102.9A Narrowsburg
($53,000), and White Park led for 93.3A Saranac Lake, at $40,000.
Jonathan M. Becker led the bidding for 100.7A Minerva, at $9,100,
while LiveAir Communications' $4,000 bid was winning for 94.1A
And we just received our copy of "Serving Their Communities,"
the New York State Broadcasters' Association's newly-published
fiftieth-anniversary history. We'll have a full review of this
comprehensive volume next week!
*Sinclair is pulling the plug on its only
PENNSYLVANIA newscast. The company announced last week
that it will discontinue its 10 PM "News Central" broadcast
on Pittsburgh Fox affiliate WPGH (Channel 53), replacing it beginning
January 30 with an hour-long newscast produced by crosstown NBC
affiliate WPXI (Channel 11). The move leaves 35 WPGH news staffers
without jobs, and no promises that they'll be hired by WPXI,
which already has a substantial infrastructure in place for additional
news. (It's been producing a 10 PM newscast for its PCNC cable
news channel for many years.)
The move leaves only one "News Central" standing
in the region, at Buffalo WB affiliate WNYO-TV (Channel 49);
Sinclair axed its Rochester "News Central" operation
last year when it entered into an LMA with Nexstar's WROC-TV
to operate Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31) there, and it's always
contracted out for news at Syracuse's WSYT (Channel 68).
Meanwhile in the Steel City, WRRK (96.9 Braddock) changed
calls to WBZB last week, solving the not-much-of-a-mystery that
surfaced late last year when Steel City Media sister station
WLTJ (92.9 Pittsburgh) filed for, then withdrew its application
for, that callsign. (It fits nicely with the "Bob"
format on 96.9.)
Scranton news anchor has died. John Foster spent ten years behind
the desk at WNEP (Channel 16) in the sixties and seventies, then
worked as a reporter for the station before joining the Columbia-Montour
Tourist Promotion Agency as its executive director in 1981. Foster,
who died Sunday (Jan. 15), was 81.
Radio People on the Move: in Harrisburg, WCAT (106.7 Hershey)
afternoon jock Don Brake is moving to mornings, joining Brad
Flick there. In Philadelphia, "Wired" WRDW (96.5) is
expected to announce a replacement today for its "Big Mama"
morning show, which got the ax last week.
Auction 62 action in the Keystone State: 2510 Licenses, LLC
was the leading bidder Sunday night for 98.5A Meyersdale, at
$90,000, while First Media Radio's $97,000 was the leading bid
for 101.3A Strattanville.
And with the death of his business partner David Kurtz, Jerry
Lee is assuming sole ownership of WBEB (101.1 Philadelphia).
He's paying Kurtz's estate $85.2 million ($63 million in cash,
plus a promissory note) for Kurtz's half of parent company "WEAZ-FM
Radio," which appears to put the value of the station somewhere
well north of $160 million.
*A quiet week in CANADA - unless
you're an Ottawa Senators fan, in which case you'll be pleased
to know that the team has added an FM flagship. CKKL (Bob 93.9)
began carrying Sens games last week, simulcasting with AM flagship
CFGO (Team 1200).
And while we noted the format change at CHNO (103.9 Sudbury)
to "Big Daddy" adult hits last week, we should also
have noted the voice talent behind the station's imaging. That
would be none other than Howard Hoffman, now a big shot at Los
Angeles' KABC, but still best known to us as one of the original
voices of "Nine!"
*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.
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2006 by Scott Fybush.