And now...The CW?
if you gave a network and nobody showed up?
OK, we'll acknowledge that in their 11 years of existence,
UPN and The WB drew at least a few viewers. (If pressed,
we'll even admit to watching "Charmed" on The WB -
ah, that Alyssa Milano. But we digress.)
The point is, of course, that after losing money season after
season, both networks will go out of business at the end of the
summer, with owners CBS and Time Warner immediately launching
a new, jointly-owned network (new, of course, so that all the
existing UPN and WB affiliation and programming contracts can
be cancelled when those networks "cease to exist")
that will just happen to pick up most of the biggest shows from
each of the "defunct" weblets. (But not, apparently,
No sooner was the bombshell announcement dropped on the media
community late last week than the speculation began about who'd
end up with the new network (tentatively dubbed "The CW,"
though that's likely to change) in each market.
Several NERW-land markets were covered in the initial announcement,
since they're home to stations owned by either CBS or Tribune,
which was a part-owner of The WB, trading its ownership stake
for the guarantee of affiliating 16 of its stations with the
new network. Here's how those markets break down:
- New York - Tribune's WPIX-TV 11 (WB) will be The CW's
biggest affiliate. That
leaves Fox-owned WWOR-TV 9 (UPN) stranded without an affiliation
(along with its sister stations in Chicago, Los Angeles and other
big markets), and it's already prompting speculation about a
possible "Fox 2" network to fill the prime-time hours
on those stations, and on others left without affiliations. Fox
wasted no time pulling the "UPN" identity from WWOR
and its other stations, turning "UPN9" into simply
"9," at least for now.
- Boston - Tribune's WLVI 56 (WB) gets The CW nod, with
CBS agreeing to let its WSBK 38
(UPN) go independent. WSBK will remain a strong contender, thanks
to its wide cable carriage, its cost-effective duopoly with WBZ-TV
("CBS4") and the potential that it will return to its
heritage as a home for plenty of Boston sports coverage.
- Providence - A slam-dunk, since CBS's WLWC 28 was
a primary UPN affiliate, also carrying WB programming later at
- Hartford/New Haven - Tribune's WTXX 20 (WB) trumps
LIN's WCTX 59 ("UPN 9"), leaving that station as an
independent, in a duopoly with ABC affiliate WTNH-TV 8.
- Albany - Tribune's WEWB 45 (WB) will take the CW affiliation,
stranding newcomer WNYA 51 (UPN) without an affiliation. WNYA
is managed by Freedom's CBS affiliate, WRGB 6, and will likely
draw on that strong station for content.
- Philadelphia - CBS's WPSG 57 (UPN) will be the CW
affiliate here, with Tribune's WPHL-TV 17 (WB) becoming one of
three Tribune stations to go independent. (KTWB Seattle and WATL
Atlanta are the other two.) While WPHL has no duopoly partner,
it does have a strong heritage in the market and cable carriage
deep into central Pennsylvania, both of which should make it
a competitive independent.
- Pittsburgh - CBS's WNPA 19 (UPN) will be the CW affiliate
here, leaving Sinclair's WCWB 22 (WB) as an independent. Both
are duopoly partners to larger stations - KDKA-TV (CBS 2) and
WPGH (Fox 53), respectively.
Outside the CBS- and Tribune-owned markets, the situation
gets murkier. From one end of NERW-land to the other, here's
how it shakes out:
- Presque Isle - The WB is represented by "WB 100+"
cable-only outlet "WBPQ." While no announcement has
been made about the future of the "WB 100+" operation,
it's reasonable to expect it will continue under The CW. There's
no UPN affiliate in the market.
- Bangor - "WB 100+" outlet "WBAN"
competed with cable carriage of WSBK (UPN) here.
- Portland - Pegasus owns both WPXT 51 (WB) and WPME
35 (UPN) in this market, so it will likely get to choose which
station - probably stronger WPXT - will get The CW.
- Burlington/Plattsburgh - Fox affiliate WFFF-TV 44
carries WB programming after 10 PM, with UPN on Equity's network
of LPTVs based at WGMU-CA 39. NERW expects that WGMU, which has
cable carriage through much of the market, would be a strong
contender for The CW, especially with WFFF's plans to launch
a 10 PM newscast soon.
- Springfield - "WB100+" outlet "WBQT"
competed with WSBK (UPN), via cable, here.
- Utica - "WB100+" outlet "WBU"
and a three-station LPTV network based at WPNY-LP 11 (UPN) were
the contenders in this small market.
- Watertown - Clear Channel's WWTI operates "WB100+"
outlet "WBWT," while some - but not all - UPN programming
airs in off-hours on Fox LPTV WNYF-CA 28.
- Syracuse - Sinclair-operated WNYS-TV 43 was originally
a UPN affiliate, but is now WB. UPN
now airs on Raycom's WSTQ-LP 14 ("UPN6"), the duopoly
partner of NBC affiliate WSTM-TV. The outcome here is likely
to hinge on affiliation deals with Sinclair and/or Raycom in
other, larger markets. (While Sinclair is also losing some key
WB affiliations in markets such as Norfolk and Tampa, its stations
will be essential to The CW in Milwaukee, Birmingham and several
other markets where it carries both UPN and WB; Raycom's WUAB
Cleveland, now UPN, is also likely to be a key CW affiliate.)
- Binghamton - "WB100+" outlet "WBXI"
is operated by CBS affiliate WBNG, while UPN airs on WBPN-LP,
owned by Fox affiliate WICZ. It's anyone's guess who'll get CW
- Elmira - Clear Channel's WTTX-CA 30 is "UPN Twin
Tiers," a sister station to dominant NBC affiliate WETM-TV
18, while The WB is on "WB100+" outlet "WBE."
Again, anyone's guess.
- Rochester - Time Warner Cable operates cable-only
"WRWB," "WB16," which competes fiercely with
scrappy UPN affiliate WBGT-CA 40. We'd expect the corporate cross-ownership
will keep The CW on cable, which has got to be bad news for WBGT.
- Buffalo - Another market where group-wide affiliation
deals will probably decide between Sinclair's WNYO-TV 49 (WB)
and LIN's WNLO-TV 23 (UPN).
- Erie - "WB100+" outlet "WBEP"
has the WB affiliation here. CBS affiliate WSEE was planning
to launch a UPN affiliate on its DTV subchannel this fall; until
then, Cleveland's WUAB has carried UPN to Erie viewers.
- Johnstown/Altoona - This market had neither a WB nor
a UPN affiliate, with New York's WPIX being carried on cable
for WB and Pittsburgh-market WNPA (which was once licensed to
Johnstown, and has a strong over-the-air signal there) for UPN.
We'd expect the WPIX cable carriage to continue.
- Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York - Clear Channel's
WLYH-TV 15 (UPN) expects to become the CW affiliate here. WB
was represented by cable carriage of WPHL from Philadelphia.
(NERW notes that Tribune owns a station in the market, but it's
a Fox affiliate - WPMT 43.
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton - No contest here; WSWB-TV 38
carries both WB in prime time and UPN later in the evening, and
will no doubt become the CW affiliate this fall.
It's been a long time since there's been this much turmoil
on the TV dial, and it promises to be an exciting few months
as affiliation deals are hammered out and new networks emerge
(perhaps) - and we'll be right there to cover it all. Stay tuned...
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*We'll start the rest of the week's news
in MASSACHUSETTS, where EMF Broadcasting, the California-based
religious broadcaster that's also one of the fastest-growing
groups in the industry, is poised to buy WSMU (91.1 North Dartmouth)
from UMass Dartmouth.
The $700,000 deal
won't mean the end of WSMU, though. The university's been sitting
on a construction permit for a more powerful signal on 89.3 from
the same location. That signal (which now has the calls WUMD)
will sign on with the WSMU calls when EMF takes over 91.1 for
its satellite-delivered "K-Love" contemporary Christian
format, already heard in the region on WKMY (91.1 Winchendon)
and WKIV (88.1 Westerly RI).
(And we hope that whoever it was at UMass Dartmouth who came
up with the idea to "recharacterize" WSMU's application
to simply move from 91.1 to 89.3 as an application for a new
station on 89.3, thus making 91.1 available for sale, gets a
big bonus from this...)
In Boston, Eddie Andelman is coming back to the airwaves,
three months after cutbacks at WWZN (1510) knocked him off the
air there. He'll be heard Sunday evenings on WTKK (96.9) with
a revived version of his "Sports Huddle" broadcast,
last heard in 1997 on WEEI, and he'll continue his "Hot
Dog Safari" charitable event this spring, as well.
Today's launch of Radio One's new urban talk network includes
WILD (1090 Boston), which drops its short-lived "Praise"
black gospel format (now relegated to weekends) to pick up a
national program lineup that includes Al Sharpton and the "Two
Live Stews" sports show from Atlanta's WQXI. WILD will eventually
have a permanent local morning show; for now, various guest hosts
will handle that shift.
Salem's WTTT (1150
Boston) is - as we'd reported a few weeks ago - adding Paul Harvey
to its schedule beginning February 6, returning the dean of radio
commentators to the Boston airwaves after WBZ (1030) pulled his
show at the end of 2005. Harvey's "News and Comment"
broadcasts will be heard at 9, 10 and 11:45 AM, with his "Rest
of the Story" at 6 PM. WTTT is also picking up Sean Hannity
for live carriage from 3-6 PM, displacing Michael Medved to 9
PM and knocking Laura Schlessinger to sister station WROL (950).
(Hannity had been carried at midnight on WTKK.)
ESPN Radio affiliate WAMG (890 Dedham) is applying for more
juice after dark. Right now, it drops from 25 kW to 3400 watts
at sunset; it hopes to increase that to 6000 watts, though that
will require a waiver of some minimal interference to WCBS (880
New York) along the coast.
On the FM dial, WCRB (102.5 Waltham) has turned on its HD
Radio digital signal, with separate automated classical music
on its HD-2 subchannel. (Meanwhile, Clear Channel launched its
HD-2 channels in Boston on Friday, with WXKS-FM 107.9 offering
"New CHR" and WJMN 94.5 offering "Old Skool Hip-Hop
Out on Cape Cod, the WUMB network has replaced a half-century-old
transmitter at WFPB (1170 Orleans) with a new solid-state model,
and the station threw a party over the weekend for listeners
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.
*The news from CONNECTICUT is all
about TV this week. At NBC's WVIT (Channel 30), news director
Sheila Trauernicht is departing after three years in the post.
And down the road at Telemundo affiliate WRDM-LP, it's a new
channel: the station has moved from channel 13 to channel 50,
operating from the WCCC (106.9) site on the West Hartford/Avon
week's biggest news from NEW YORK doesn't involve a single
radio station. It's about RCS, the White Plains-based software
company whose "Selector" music scheduling software
dominates the industry - and which last week announced that it
was being sold to Clear Channel, whose holdings also include
software maker Prophet Systems, whose automation products compete
with RCS' "Master Control." No management or staff
changes are expected at RCS, where president Philippe Generali
will remain on board. Inside Radio reports Clear Channel
may have paid more than $50 million for RCS, whose other product
lines include the Media Monitors subsidiary that tracks radio
and print ad placement around the country.
Out on Long Island, Austin Vali is departing the GM chair
at Cox's WBAB (102.3 Babylon)/WBLI (106.1 Patchogue) - he's headed
Former Albany PD Donnie Michaels is headed back to upstate
New York after parting ways with Clear Channel's WHYI (100.7
Fort Lauderdale-Miami); no word yet on a new gig back home for
A Syracuse radio veteran is getting ready to retire at the
end of March. After almost a decade at WTLA (1200 North Syracuse)/WSGO
(1440 Oswego), Phil Markert will call it quits March 31, heading
south to pursue his other passions, playing the piano and acting.
Markert's piano playing was a regular feature of his morning
show both on WTLA and before that for many years on WHEN (620).
In Rochester, WROC-TV (Channel 8) reporter/weekend anchor
Rachel Barnhart has parted ways with the station, after failing
to reach agreement on a contract renewal. NERW hears that the
station wanted Barnhart to take a significant pay cut; the Rochester
native, widely regarded as one of the most aggressive young reporters
in town, is the second prominent reporter to leave WROC this
year, following investigative reporter Steve Levine, who's now
at Baltimore's WBFF. (Full disclosure: Barnhart and your editor
were colleagues at cable news channel R News in the late nineties.)
Did you read about Barnhart in the Rochester Democrat and
Chronicle? Nope - and the paper's entire coverage of the
WB-UPN merger was limited to a wire-service story that wasn't
even localized with the barest mention of the local affiliates
of each network. We've complained about the paper's pathetic
media coverage before, of course, but it was truly shown up last
week by the excellent, in-depth reporting offered in similar-sized
upstate markets by Mark McGuire of the Albany Times-Union
and Alan Pergament of the Buffalo
News. The real shame, of course, is that Rochester readers
don't even realize what they're missing, and they have no other
local daily choice, anyway. (Oh, and speaking of the News,
it's finally converting its home-delivery customers from afternoon
to morning delivery, more than two decades after the erstwhile
Buffalo Evening News became a full-day paper.)
western PENNSYLVANIA, Renda Broadcasting is adding a fourth
station to its Pittsburgh cluster, which includes AC WSHH (99.7),
standards WJAS (1320) and talk WPTT (1360 McKeesport.) It's picking
up WJJJ (107.1 Greensburg) from Sheridan, for an as-yet-undisclosed
price, and it will replace the station's Pittsburgh-focused "Majic"
adult R&B format (simulcast on WAMO 860) with Westwood One's
"Sam" adult hits format later this week. The station's
calls will change to WGSM, and it will eventually reopen studios
and sales offices in Westmoreland County.
WAMO, as historians will recall, began its life as
Homestead-based WHOD, and in that incarnation gave birth to the
career of Porky Chedwick, one of the Steel City's most beloved
broadcasters. In subsequent years, Chedwick's R&B show was
heard on WAMO, KQV, WEDO and south suburban WLSW (103.9 Scottdale)
- and now he's holding down Saturday afternoons, noon to 3, on
WKFB (770 Jeannette). Operations manager Clarke Ingram reports
that Chedwick's first show this past weekend drew calls from
as far away as northern Ohio - and that, even with his ninetieth
birthday approaching next year, Chedwick's still going strong.
(Learn all about his fascinating career from Ed
Weigle's profile on the oldradio.com site.)
WKFB is also adding former WLSW jocks "Candy and Mike"
for weekdays, 1-3 PM.
On the HD Radio front, public station WDUQ (90.5 Pittsburgh)
launched not one but two HD subchannels last week. "WDUQ
HD-2" will counterprogram the main channel's news and jazz
offerings, carrying jazz while WDUQ has NPR news in mornings
and afternoons, and bringing the market NPR's "Talk of the
Nation," "On Point," "News and Notes with
Ed Gordon," Diane Rehm and BBC World Service during the
hours when WDUQ's playing jazz. And "WDUQ HD-3" will
be a 24-hour blues channel. The new services will also be available
as streams on WDUQ's website.
On TV, Sinclair's WPGH (Channel 53) did its last "News
Central" newscast last night, with the first WPXI-produced
10 PM newscast to debut tonight. WPXI has hired WPGH sportscaster
Alby Oxenreiter (who had been at WPGH since its newscast debuted
in 1996); the remainder of the WPGH news staff is out of work,
since existing WPXI staffers will handle the WPGH newscast as
well, with David Johnson and Darieth Chisholm anchoring and Steve
Teeling doing weather.
Speaking of WPXI, it will break ground in March on a new 66,000-square
foot studio and office facility in the Summer Hill neighborhood
(near WPGH and the KDKA-TV transmitter, alongside I-279 in the
North Hills), replacing the cramped "Television Hill"
facility on Rising Main Avenue that it's called home since 1957.
WPXI had originally planned to move its transmitter from Television
Hill as well, but neighborhood objections to the planned 800-foot
tower mean the station will keep its existing tower site instead.
in Blairsville (outside Indiana), Renda's WLCY (106.3) has dropped
its "Lucky FM" AC format and has flipped to country
as "Cat Country." (This gets its format out of the
way of the new "Sam" on 107.1, with overlapping coverage.)
Heading east, Nick Galli's 2510 group is selling two of its
stations to EMF Broadcasting, which has been LMA'ing the stations
for its "K-Love" contemporary Christian stations. EMF
will pay $2.3 million for WKVB (107.9 Port Matilda-State College)
and WLKJ (105.7 Portage-Johnstown). It appears that 2510 is keeping
its third K-Love affiliate, WLKH (97.7 Somerset).
(2510 is also the leading bidder, after 49
rounds in the FCC's FM Auction 62, for the 98.5 CP in nearby
Meyersdale. The bidding stood at $551,000 as of Sunday night,
exceeded in the region only by the $1.255 million Fine Arts Broadcasting
is bidding for 97.5 in Bristol, Vermont, and just ahead of the
$545,000 bid from Equinox Broadcasting for 106.7 Windsor, New
York, near Binghamton. We'll have much more on the FM auction
in next week's NERW.)
And over on the other
side of the state, our good friend Joe Reilly is adding to his
burgeoning media empire in Bloomsburg. His "Columbia FM"
will pay 4M Broadcasting $800,000 for WKAB (103.5 Berwick), whose
classic hits format can be heard from Wilkes-Barre to the Susquehanna
River. Reilly already owns WHLM (930) in Bloomsburg, and we suspect
103.5 will become WHLM-FM before long.
*In CANADA, Corus' CFEL (102.1 Montmagny
QC) is asking the CRTC to allow it to boost its power to 100
kW (with a directional antenna) and to relocate its transmitter
to better serve Quebec City's south-shore suburb of Levis - and
to put a signal over Quebec City itself. The application will
be heard at a CRTC hearing in Quebec City on March 20.
*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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click here to
learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2006 by Scott Fybush.