March 6, 2006
Allentown's WDIY takes over at WXLV
*It was just a year or so ago that Allentown, PENNSYLVANIA's
WDIY (88.1) was fighting off a takeover attempt from crosstown
public television station WLVT. Now it's on the other end of
the takeover game, and that's caused some consternation for the
community and college DJs at Lehigh Carbon Community College's
WXLV (90.3 Schnecksville).
WXLV went on autopilot a week ago, after one of those jocks
mentioned on the air that automation equipment had suddenly appeared
in the studio. After a few days of rumors, the college announced
that it's signed a nine-year deal under which WDIY will manage
and program the station for the college.
For the next month or two, that means WDIY's programming will
be simulcast on WXLV, while WDIY works on a new program schedule
for the college station, which is expected to include a mixture
of some of WXLV's existing programming and some material from
WDIY and NPR. For the first year of the deal, WDIY will keep
90% of the underwriting and membership money raised from WXLV,
with a lower figure to be negotiated in subsequent years. WDIY
will also work with the college to create training programs for
In the meantime, though, fans of WXLV's alternative rock and
other music programs are out of luck, and the DJs who put those
programs together say they've been deprived of a chance to explain
to their listeners what happened. Can the college get past those
hard feelings and rebuild the station in a way that's satisfying
to everyone? Stay tuned.
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on the other side of the Keystone State, the call and format
changes that have run rampant across the radio dial from State
College down to Altoona and Johnstown struck again late last
week. This time, Forever Broadcasting swapped calls and formats
on rocker WRKW (92.1 Johnstown) and top 40 WYOT (99.1 Ebensburg),
creating "Hot 92" and "Rocky 99," and in
the process undoing the swap a few years ago that moved top 40
WGLU from 92.1 to 99.1. WRKW also shifts its musical mix somewhat,
becoming more of a classic rock station as it moves down the
Johnstown also got a new religious station last week, as American
Family Radio signed on WLGY (90.7 Nanty Glo) as its newest outlet.
Over in the Altoona market, Forever made another format change,
turning oldies simulcast WWLY (106.3 Huntingdon) into country
"Froggy" WSGY, and changing its city of license to
Mount Union to fill the gap left by the move of Mount Union's
99.5 facility to Centre Hall.
Up in Kane, Chuck Crouse (an alumnus of WBZ in Boston, among
other stops) is selling the station he's owned for more than
a decade. Colonial Radio Group of Darlington, S.C., which owns
WLYC (1050 Williamsport), will pay $390,000 for the station,
which is the community's only commercial radio voice. Pittsburgh's
Ray Rosenblum brokered the sale (and he brokered Crouse's original
purchase of the station, too.)
In Pittsburgh, Dan Oylear is departing the senior VP/GM chair
at CBS Radio's Pittsburgh cluster after eight years in the role,
as he retires and heads out west to go fly fishing. Meanwhile,
Jerry Bowyer is taking a leave of absence from Salem's WORD-FM
(101.5 Pittsburgh) as he deals with some serious health issues.
On TV, Steel City viewers now know where they'll see both
of this fall's new TV networks. The CW had already named WNPA
(Channel 19) as one of its charter affiliates (no surprise, since
station owner CBS owns half of the new network), and now Sinclair
has signed a nationwide deal with Fox's new "My Network
TV" that will make WCWB (Channel 22) a "My" affiliate.
And back across the state in Philadelphia, Greater Media's
WMMR (93.3) has signed morning men Preston and Steve to a new
contract that will keep them on the air through 2010.
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*One call change in NEW JERSEY: WUSS
(1490 Pleasantville) abandons those calls - again - and becomes
WTKU; it had been simulcasting WTKU-FM (98.3 Ocean City) for
a while, anyway.
*In NEW YORK, Howard Stern's successor,
David Lee Roth, took a vacation last week, less than two months
into his new gig, and that's spurred rumors that his show's lackluster
ratings will soon lead CBS Radio to pull the plug on the program.
Will Kidd Chris of WYSP (94.1 Philadelphia), who was guest-hosting
last week, become the next occupant of the timeslot? Stay tuned.
There's a new morning show on Univision Radio's "La Kalle"
(WCAA 105.9 Newark NJ/WZAA 92.7 Garden City), as DJ Neko and
Lisa Rodriguez take over the "Morning Jump Off" show.
Syracuse, Amanda "Ty" Tynan moves all the way from
part-timer to mornings at "K-Rock" WKRL (100.9 North
Syracuse)/WKRH (105.9 Minetto)/WKLL (94.9 Frankfort) after less
than a year at the station; she was formerly at Rochester's WZNE
Here in Rochester, there's a new set of calls on the local
"K-Love" outlet, as WMJQ (104.9 Brockport) becomes
WKUV, sending that heritage set of calls (for both the Rochester
and Buffalo markets) into oblivion for the third time.
And in a bit of Rochester news that probably won't matter
to anyone but your editor, WPXY (97.9) has applied to move from
the only tower it's ever used - the WROC-TV/WHEC tower on Pinnacle
Hill where it went on the air in 1959 as WROC-FM - to the new
American Tower stick at the top of the hill. WPXY will remain
a full class B facility from the new location, and your editor
will be happy because its antenna will be 300 feet or so further
away from NERW Central (this matters when it's less than a mile
away) and somewhat higher up, too. Will sister station WCMF follow
suit? Will some of the FM intermod that plagues NERW Central
go away? A guy can hope - and it is your editor's birthday
today, so we'll take this as a gift and move on...
Where are they now? Al Brock, who went from Binghamton to
St. Louis to Myrtle Beach, has just been named PD of Cumulus'
oldies WRQQ in Nashville.
the TV front, the affiliation picture for Fox's new "My
Network TV" in upstate New York is becoming clearer. Fox's
deal with Sinclair will land "My" on current WB affiliates
WNYS-TV (Channel 43) in Syracuse and WNYO-TV (Channel 49) in
Buffalo. Will rival network The CW now reach a deal with Raycom's
WSTQ-LP (Channel 14) in Syracuse and LIN's WNLO (Channel 23)
in Buffalo, which would seem to be the obvious places for The
CW to land?
*There's a nasty battle brewing in eastern
CONNECTICUT and neighboring RHODE ISLAND between
Citadel and local station owner John Fuller, and now it's exploded
into a petition from Fuller's Red Wolf Broadcasting against the
renewal of all of Citadel's stations in the New London and Providence
Fuller says Citadel honcho Farid Suleiman threatened to "crush
(him) like a bug" several years ago when he refused to sell
his WBMW (106.5 Ledyard CT) to Citadel, and that the company
tried to exact revenge by filing a petition to deny against Fuller's
application for a new translator on 99.5 in New London. While
the petition contained letters purporting to be from listeners
to Citadel's WSKO-FM (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale RI), more than
30 miles away from New London, Fuller's petition claims that
the "listeners" were in fact business associates of
local Citadel managers (and in one case, the mother-in-law of
a Citadel PD), and that none of them were actual WSKO-FM listeners.
(Fuller says Citadel engaged in similar tactics to stop a translator
in Fulton, N.Y. from getting on the air.)
Fuller also claims Citadel didn't construct a proper fence
around the new tower site of WSUB (980 Groton), across the street
from an elementary school, and that it failed to maintain the
obstruction lighting on the tower of WXLM (102.3 Stonington).
And Fuller says Citadel's involvement in the ongoing payola
investigations should also make the FCC examine the company's
record more closely before granting renewals. While his complaint
doesn't directly address Citadel's pending purchase of ABC Radio,
it has the potential to at least slow that deal down somewhat,
too. We'll be following it closely.
*One more Ocean State story: Dan Hoard, former sports director
of Cincinnati's WXIX-TV, joins WSKO to do Pawtucket Red Sox play-by-play.
Yes, opening day's just around the corner...
*In MASSACHUSETTS, WNNW (800 Lawrence)
has completed its power increase from 1000 watts to 3000 watts,
boosting its signal in Boston's northern suburbs.
WMKK (93.7 Lawrence) has hired a new station voice. John O'Hurley,
of "Dancing with the Stars" and "Seinfeld"
fame, won't be a jock on "Mike FM," but he will provide
brief vignettes that will air during "Mike" programming.
On the noncommercial side of the fence, Scottish
native Julia Clarke has been named music director at WUMB-FM
(91.9 Boston). She'd been working as promotions director and
midday host at WNCS (104.7) in Montpelier, VERMONT. Also
new at WUMB-FM is Cindy Howes, who joins the folk station as
music projects coordinator.
More baseball: the Worcester Tornadoes are looking for a new
broadcast home this summer, after a falling out with WCRN (830),
which broadcast the minor league team's games last year.
And on the pirate front, the FCC issued a $10,000 fine against
Jean Harold Marius for operating an unlicensed station on 89.3
in Randolph. The station was reportedly still on the air last
week, and of course there are dozens of similar Caribbean pirates
on the air up and down the Boston dial.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, WKXL (1450 Concord)
has dropped its bid to operate Concord's community-access cable
channel for now, but the station says it would still be interested
in taking over operations of the cable channel if the city changes
its mind in the future.
Sorry to report the death of Jim Clothey, who'd become a familiar
news voice in the Littleton area during his 15 years at WLTN
(1400). Clothey died Wednesday (March 1); he was 60.
*Citadel is putting two of its MAINE stations
in a trust for now, while it works on getting FCC approval for
its big ABC Radio deal. Because the deal may be interpreted by
the FCC as creating a new company, Citadel's concerned that its
holdings in several markets, including Portland, may no longer
be grandfathered under the old contour-overlap rules. So it's
putting WCYI (93.9 Lewiston) and WCLZ (98.9 Brunswick) into "The
Last Bastion Station Trust," held by Elliot Evers. The stations
may end up being sold, but for now no changes are imminent. (WCYI
simulcasts modern rock WCYY 94.3 Biddeford, while WCLZ programs
a AAA format.)
*In CANADA, the CRTC has granted
two new 16-watt tourist information stations in Quebec City.
They'll operate in English on 89.7 and in French on 90.3.
And on TV, we hear that Global is moving all its master-control
functions to Calgary, shuttering its existing master control
operations in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax in the process. (Local
news will continue in Toronto and the Maritimes, however.)
the NERW Archives
(Yup, we've been doing this a long time now, and
so we're digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW
was covering one, five and ten years ago this week, or thereabouts
- the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest
years as "New England Radio Watch," and didn't go to
a regular weekly schedule until 1997. Thanks to LARadio.com
for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support
that's made all these years of NERW possible!)
March 7, 2005 -
- The radio dial in central PENNSYLVANIA has been a confusing
one these last few months, and for listeners in and around State
College, it just got a little more turbulent. The home of Penn
State is also the place where Dame Broadcasting just sold its
cluster of stations to "2510 Licenses, LLC," a company
controlled by Burbach Broadcasting's Nick Galli. And no sooner
did 2510 close on the cluster (news-talk simulcast WBLF 970 Bellefonte/WRSC
1390 State College, classic rock "Bus" WBUS 93.7 Boalsburg,
rock "Quick Rock" WQWK 97.1 University Park and rhythmic
top 40 "Hot" WJHT 107.9 Port Matilda) than it entered
an LMA with the market's other big cluster owner, Forever Broadcasting,
to operate several of the stations. Forever will manage WRSC,
WBUS and the 97.1 signal, which swaps calls and formats with
Forever's oldies WOWY (98.7 Pleasant Gap), putting oldies on
97.1 and rock on 98.7. (The new WQWK on 98.7 arrives without
some of its airstaff; the "Morning Wood" show that
had been a fixture on 97.1 is history.) And WJHT's calls and
format move down the dial to Forever's WBHV (103.1 State College),
which drops the "Beaver" moniker it's had for the last
few years, along with the mix of hot AC and top 40 that it had
been programming. 107.9 has requested new calls WCNU, and will
reportedly be spun off, apparently becoming a religious outlet.
- Meanwhile in Philadelphia, fans (not to mention former staffers)
of modern rock WPLY (100.3 Media) aren't ready to let Y100 die,
even though the frequency's now playing R&B as "100.3
the Beat," WPHI. A rally Saturday on the steps of the Philadelphia
Art Museum drew hundreds of fans to protest the format change,
and the protest site at y100rocks.com has been very active, with
something like 50,000 signatures at last count. And with the
new callsigns in place on the Radio One stations (WPHI-FM on
100.3, WPPZ replacing WPHI-FM on 103.9 Jenkintown), the WPLY
calls are already spoken for - they've been reserved by Nassau
Broadcasting, though it's not yet clear which of Nassau's stations
will get the calls. And speaking of Nassau, it appears to have
won a strange little skirmish down along the Pennsylvania/Maryland
border, where it flipped WARX (106.9 Hagerstown MD) from oldies
to classic hits (as "106.9 the Eagle") last weekend,
just a day before VerStandig flipped its WWMD (101.5 Waynesboro
PA) to classic hits as, yup, "the Eagle" - complete
with new calls WEEG. (WWMD's former "Magic 101.5" top
40 format migrated down the dial to replace hot AC "Star
92.1" at WSRT Mercersburg, which became "the Point"
under new calls WPPT.) It didn't take long for the "Eagle"
references to disappear from WEEG, and it's now just "The
New 101.5," we're told. (Wonder how long those calls will
remain in place?)
- It was a quiet week in NEW YORK City - well, except at WQHT
(97.1), where gunfire erupted in the station's Hudson Street
lobby while rapper 50 Cent was being interviewed upstairs. One
man was injured in the shooting, for which no arrests had been
made as we go to press.
- Over at WWRL (1600 New York), controversial commentator-for-hire
Armstrong Williams will join afternoon host Sam Greenfield beginning
next week, converting the 3-6 PM show to a point-counterport
sort of format.
- Upstate, the Spanish Tropical "El Ritmo" format
that had been on the Hudson Valley's WEOK (1390 Poughkeepsie)
and WALL (1340 Middletown) for the last two and a half years
came to an end Friday, replaced by Radio Disney on both frequencies.
- One bit of news from MAINE: we hear that WJZP-LP (105.1 Portland)
has signed on with smooth jazz, and we expect to be hearing from
listeners who've become accustomed to tuning in the distant signal
of WTOS (105.1 Skowhegan) in the area.
March 5, 2001 -
- From beneath the snows of upstate New York, it's another
edition of NorthEast Radio Watch...and what a strange week it's
been around the dials. Let's start in MASSACHUSETTS, where the
dispute between WBUR-FM (90.9 Boston) and Christopher Lydon's
"Connection" crew turned into a full-fledged split
this week. If you've been following this saga, you know by now
that Lydon and "Connection" executive producer Mary
McGrath wanted partial ownership of the public-radio talk show
as WBUR prepares to offer it to the NPR system. WBUR management,
perhaps envious of the fortunes earned by the station's other
signature show ("Car Talk," which is owned by hosts
Tom and Ray Magliozzi), balked at the demand -- in the process
revealing to the media that Lydon had been offered a raise to
nearly $300,000 a year, and McGrath nearly half that. After months
of negotiations, Lydon and McGrath were suspended with pay two
weeks ago. Most of the show's staff quit WBUR last week, followed
on Thursday by conflicting statements from the station and from
Lydon, both amounting to the same message: Lydon and McGrath
won't be returning to WBUR. The station says the two "informed
WBUR that they are leaving their employment to pursue careers
in a for-profit, independent production company." A statement
posted at a hurriedly-created Lydon Web site says Lydon and McGrath
"didn't inform WBUR of anything except that we were willing
to negotiate a way to return to the station under any reasonable
circumstances to continue to do the program we love."
- Longtime observers of the Boston radio scene know to mark
down the call letters on AM 1510 in pencil, and here's why: just
weeks after changing calls from WNRB to WSZE, the station formerly
known as WMEX, WITS, WMRE, WSSH, WKKU and WSSH (again) made yet
another call change last week. It seems "Sports Zone"
is someone else's trademark, so the WSZE calls were quietly retired
in favor of WWZN, though with no change in the One-on-One Sports
programming (which will eventually be rebranded as Sporting News
- Here's one that should go under the Bay State headlines:
we now know why Attleboro's 1320 changed calls from WJYT to WARL
a few months back. Since the station is now targeting listeners
across the line in RHODE ISLAND, we'll put it in the Ocean State
for the moment: The new calls stand for "Web Access Radio
Live," a new format that will apparently feature leased-time
talk shows that will be streamed live (video and audio) over
the Web at the same time as they're heard on WARL. We couldn't
get much from the site at webaccessradiolive.com, especially
since all that unnecessary Java crashed our browser twice, but
here's what we gathered once we restarted our computer: WARL,
a new venture of station owner ADD Media, will lease hour-long
blocks of time (so far, judging by the posted schedule, it's
leased two hours a week, leaving just 166 to go!), allowing programmers
eight minutes of commercial time during the hour while also selling
its own ad time to corporate sponsors during program breaks.
- We'll start out our NEW YORK report with two new morning
shows in Binghamton. One's at WLTB (101.7 Johnson City), which
has lured longtime WMXW (103.3 Vestal) co-hosts John Carter and
Chris O'Connor over to Vestal Parkway for the wakeup shift beginning
today (March 5). The other marks the return to radio of the "Greaseman,"
aka Doug Tracht. The Ithaca College graduate cut his teeth in
Binghamton at WENE (1430 Endicott) before moving up to Rochester
(WAXC) and on to the big time in Jacksonville and Washington,
before a racist remark led to his dismissal from WARW (94.7 Bethesda
MD) two years ago. Tracht announced last week that he's coming
back -- albeit, for now, on a small scale, signing Binghamton's
WCDW (100.5 Conklin) as his first affiliate for a new DC-based
show that starts today (March 5). The only other affiliates so
far are small AM stations in Baltimore (WNST 1570 Towson) and
Washington (WZHF 1390 Arlington VA), but Tracht is hoping to
show that he's cleaned up his act and is ready to return to the
- Up in CANADA, the CRTC signed the death warrants this week
for four more AM signals, granting moves to FM for CJNH Bancroft,
Ontario (from 1240 to 97.7 and 50 kW), CKGB Timmins, Ont. (from
750 to 99.3 and 40 kW), CJCJ Woodstock, N.B. (from 920 to 104.1
with 10 kW) and CKCL Truro, N.S. (from 600 to 99.5 with 16.75
New England Radio Watch, March 4, 1996
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- Now that the telecommunications act
is law, Infinity is wasting no time in growing still larger in
Boston. Locally, Infinity already owns modern-rock WBCN (104.1),
which it's had since the beginning, and classic-rock WZLX (100.7),
which it purchased a few years back as part of Cook Inlet. With
its $410 million purchase of Granum, Infinity now also gets AAA
WBOS (92.9) and smooth jazz WOAZ ("The Oasis," 99.5,
licensed to outlying Lowell). The most recent Arbitrends give
the four FMs a 14.8 share, 12+, making it the third-most-listened
to radio group in Boston, behind Evergreen at 17.3 (including
WKLB, whose acquisition is still pending) and American Radio
Systems at 14.8, but now ahead of CBS at 13.1. If Infinity sticks
to established practice, it will keep WBOS/WOAZ operations separate
from WBCN and WZLX. This should be interesting for a few people
at WBOS, especially morning jock Ken Shelton, who just defected
from Infinity and WZLX last year. The deal also adds to Infinity's
holdings in Baltimore (2 AMs/2 FMs, including Granum's WXYV-FM/WCAO-AM),
Dallas-Ft. Worth (6 FMs/2 AMs, including Granum's KRBV-FM/KOAI-FM/KHVN-AM),
and Atlanta (2 FMs/1 AM, including Granum's WVEE-FM/WAOK-AM),
as well as putting Infinity in Orlando for the first time with
Granum's WHTQ-FM/WMMO-FM/WHOO-AM. This is Boston's first four-FM
combo, although American Radio Systems has two AMs and two FMs,
and Evergreen has two FMs, an AM, and is buying a third FM.
*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.