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May 1, 2006

Unanswered Questions in Boston

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Greater Media has just announced that it's out of the running for the Red Sox rights in 2007. "The deal didn’t make economic sense for the company," says Greater Media president/CEO Peter Smyth. Read on for more insight on the factors behind the deal (or lack thereof), and we'll have much more in Monday's column.

*We're back from Las Vegas and the big National Association of Broadcasters convention (about which we'll have more to say later in the column), and we return to the Northeast to find a bunch of unanswered questions that are still making headlines in eastern MASSACHUSETTS, much to our continued surprise.

The biggest, of course, is the issue of Red Sox radio rights for next year. We take a bit of pride hereabouts in being the last media outlet of any sort that still hasn't confidently declared that a Sox deal is "just about to be announced," or "all sealed up," or what have you. When it happens, we'll tell you, and in the meantime, here are a few reasons why we still believe (as of Sunday night, April 30, as we go to press with this week's column) that the deal could still tip either way.

  • For the Sox, it's all about the money. The present Sox management has demonstrated repeatedly that it puts money above sentiment. (Just ask the Yankees' center fielder.) The years of tradition that have built up between the team and Entercom's WEEI (which hasn't quite had the games "forever," as the Herald's Inside Track claimed a few days ago) don't mean much in that context. Neither does whatever publicity Greater Media might be able to give the Sox as the central content of a new sports-focused WBOS, if that were to happen. The Sox know their fans will tune in regardless of where the team shows up on the dial, just as they'll sell out Fenway no matter who's on the field. This is about cashing in on the 2004 World Series win, plain and simple.
  • For the radio groups, it's about the money, too - sort of. If you assume, as we do, that the Sox have a (very high) number in mind for their next radio deal, then the delay in reaching a deal has to mean that none of the would-be Sox flagships has been willing to meet that number. That's not especially surprising. All three of the companies that have been rumored as players - Greater Media, Entercom and, to a lesser extent, CBS Radio - keep a very close eye on the bottom line. They're not going to spend crazy money on an unprofitable deal just for the privilege of being the Red Sox flagship. (And while we're not privy to anyone's internal numbers, it's a pretty good bet that most of the expensive baseball deals being made these days aren't, in themselves, profitable for the stations involved.)
  • WEEI may not need the Sox at all. Conventional wisdom says that the city's biggest sports talker needs to keep the region's biggest sports franchise on its airwaves. As good as the Sox have been to WEEI in the last few years, though, there's at least some evidence to suggest that the station's brand is now strong enough to survive even without being the home of Sox play-by-play. With no major winter pro franchise on its airwaves, WEEI's ratings have remained exceptionally strong for the last few years during the Sox' off-season. Entercom execs are probably looking south to Rhode Island's WEEI-FM, as well, where the absence (until this year) of Sox baseball hasn't kept the station from doing well. There's no Red Sox on WVEI in Worcester, and there won't be any Sox on the new WVEI-FM in Springfield, either. And if the Sox do end up taking an ownership interest in WBOS as a new flagship, WEEI has a ready-made position as the "independent voice" of the Sox fan.
  • Greater Media has other issues to solve. While the rumored WBOS deal, in which the Sox would take an equity interest in the station, solves one big problem for Greater Media - meeting the team's demands without spending precious cash - it still leaves the company with many questions to answer, most of them related to the other big unanswered question, the still-unconsummated acquisition of WCRB. Selling a piece of WBOS doesn't get Greater out from the ownership-cap issues it will face by attempting to add a sixth FM - so the company would still be looking to sell another signal (presumably not WBOS) outright, probably while shuffling several other formats and frequencies in the process, and while trying to launch a new FM sports format on WBOS. That's a lot for any company to tackle in just a few months - especially knowing that the competition won't just be sitting back and watching idly.
  • Two sports FMs in the Hub? It could happen, and for the model, we look to New Orleans, where Entercom's giant news-talker WWL (870) faces an impending threat from Clear Channel, which will soon flip rocker WRNO (99.5) to news-talk. Entercom's attempt to fend off that competition was to flip one of its FMs in the market to become news-talk as WWL-FM. Would Entercom try the same tactic in Boston to steal the thunder from an all-sports WBOS? The likeliest scenario would move WAAF's rock to the 93.7 signal now occupied by adult hits "Mike," which would then give WEEI the huge signal at 107.3 that would more than fill the holes in the existing network of WEEI signals. (As another bonus, it could free up 1440 in Worcester to help fill the coverage gaps Entercom talker WRKO experiences west of Boston.) Furthermore - and yes, we're deep into speculation territory now - all that sports and talk on FM (don't forget about Greater's WTKK and CBS Radio's increasingly talk-heavy WBCN) could well take a toll on overall AM listening in the market, which would be bad news for WRKO and WBZ.
  • Bad news for "ESPN Boston," too. While the upstart sports signal (WAMG 890 Dedham/WLLH 1400 Lowell) has made some early dents in the ratings, the launch of an FM sports signal in the Hub would not augur well for the other "other sports station." There's ample evidence that there's not room in the market for three sports stations (just look at poor WWZN up there at 1510, still awaiting a buyer to put it out of its misery), and the rumor mill is already awash with reports of poor morale and frequent staff turnovers at WAMG/WLLH. We're also hearing that ESPN Radio itself may be looking for a better signal in the market, another move that could spell doom for 890.

So here's the bottom line: Until we see an official press release, we're continuing to treat all reports of an "imminent" deal as speculative. (And can you imagine any other market where the negotiations over sports radio rights could generate this much speculative ink?)

It still looks to us - and yes, we're speculating, too - as though neither of the radio groups vying for the Sox rights is willing to put up the money the team wants. It certainly doesn't look like the team is at all ready to back down. By our count, there are still about 320 days until Opening Day 2007, and sometime between now and then, there'll be a deal. When there is, we'll tell you. Until then, our speculator is all worn we'll move on to some actual news.

STILL HERE - BUT NOT FOR FREE: If you're a fan of the national radio message-board sites, you're probably feeling a little disoriented this week by all the changes they're going through. (We are, too.)

Here at NERW, we're now in our twelfth year of regular, uninterrupted service to our readers, and we're not going anywhere. Same address, same weekly columns, same old design. (OK, perhaps a few things could use some freshening this year.)

And if we've learned anything after all those years in the radio website business, it's this: good things don't come for free. Or at least when they do, they don't last forever. But thanks to our loyal subscribers and our growing fleet of advertisers, we've built a solid community here. We were here in 1994, we're here in 2006, and assuming there's still a radio dial to cover, we have every intention - with your support - of still being here in 2018. (I wish I could say the same about my hairline.)

If you still haven't subscribed yet for this year, do it right now at our Support page - and enjoy another exciting year of NERW, guilt- (and password-) free. And if you have become one of our many subscribers, thank you!

*Today's the day new programming launches at WESX (1230 Salem), as the station's new owners-to-be take control from the Asher family, which has owned the station since the fifties.

Last Friday, fans of the little local station honored longtime personalities Al Needham and Betty Stavis at a ceremony at Salem City Hall that drew about 150 people. Under its new ownership, WESX will replace local programming with a format that's expected to be primarily foreign-language religious programming.

That format will arrive at sister station WJDA (1300 Quincy) soon, too, though it appears the local programming on WJDA will be around for at least a few more weeks.

(We'll showcase WJDA and WESX this Friday on Tower Site of the Week.)

On the FM dial, WBCN (104.1 Boston) has named a new afternoon team. "Toucher and Rich" come to Boston from Atlanta (where Fred Toucher was on modern rocker WNNX) and Dallas (where Rich Shertenlieb was a producer of the syndicated "Kidd Kraddick" morning show), and their arrival moves Hardy from afternoons to evenings and Mark Hamilton from evenings to overnights.

Another CBS Radio FM outlet in Boston is boasting that it will soon become the first station in the country to broadcast full time in 5.1 surround sound. WZLX (100.7 Boston) will work with Telos and Fraunhofer to implement surround sound on its HD Radio digital signal. The station says it's working with record companies to get remastered surround versions of most of its classic rock catalog.

Congratulations to WBZ-TV (Channel 4)/WSBK (Channel 38) VP/general manager Angie Kucharski, who began her year as chairman of the Radio-Television News Directors Association at the RTNDA@NAB convention, which took place concurrently with NAB in Las Vegas! Kucharski spent the past year as chair-elect, with her main duty being the planning of this year's convention.

(We didn't get to spend much time at the RTNDA side of the show, but attendance seemed good, and we saw a fair number of faces from NERW-land, including a healthy contingent of Emerson College students under the supervision of the indefatigable Marsha Della-Giustina, as well as former WHEC anchor Gabe Dalmath from right here in Rochester. He's now working with a market research/polling firm called Critical Tracking.)

One more Bay State note: Vox has transferred its Great Barrington translator, W231AK (94.1), to "Northeast Airchecks LLC," which is none other than Rick Kelly of the wonderful W231AK has been translating WBEC-FM (105.5 Great Barrington), but the terms of the sale will give Kelly permission to instead rebroadcast Vox's WUPE-FM (100.1 North Adams). Kelly (whose real name is Eric Elmendorf) will pay Vox $12,500 for the translator.

You 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.

*One of VERMONT's locally-owned radio voices is being sold, but all within the station family. Tri-State Broadcasters, which has owned WTSA (1450 Brattleboro) and WTSA-FM (96.7 Brattleboro) since 1985, is selling the stations to William and Kelli Corbeil. William Corbeil began his broadcast career as an intern at WTSA and later worked at WIZN in Burlington before returning to his family's auto dealerships. Corbeil says WTSA's staff (including WTSA-FM morning host John "Clarke" Kilduff, one of the station's current owners) will remain unchanged, and that no changes are planned to the AM's sports programming or the FM's adult contemporary format.

And we neglected to mention last week that Clear Channel is launching traffic reports on its Vermont radio stations. (Aside from some construction work on US 7 south of Burlington, we can't recall ever having seen anything we'd call "traffic" in the Green Mountain State, but if there's a sponsor willing to pay for it, who are we to argue?)

*It's been years since the Knight family has been active in NEW HAMPSHIRE radio ownership, but since Knight Quality Stations is still fondly remembered in New England, we should note that the family is now in the process of selling off its last stations. The Knights kept WVWI (1000) and two FM stations in the U.S. Virgin Islands when they sold off their New England holdings a decade or so ago, and we noted last week that the Knights are now selling their remaining interest in those stations, closing out a long and honorable career in broadcasting.

*RHODE ISLAND is getting some HD2 multicasts, but so far only one format has been announced as part of the next phase of the HD Alliance's rollout of multicasting. It comes from Entercom's WEEI-FM (103.7 Westerly), which plans to put a "live rock" format on its HD2 signal.

Over at WBRU (95.5), PD Seth Reisler is leaving after more than a decade at the helm of the modern rocker. He's going into documentary filmmaking, and WBRU is now on the hunt for a successor.

*In CONNECTICUT, Stan "the Man" Priest starts today as PD at WKSS (95.7 Hartford). He comes to the Clear Channel top 40 outlet from WSTO in Evansville, Indiana.

*Emmis Communications may be looking for a new home for its three NEW YORK stations after yet another shooting outside the Hudson Street studios that are home to WQHT (97.1) and its two sister stations. "Hot 97" has been a magnet for hip-hop rivalries that have ended in gunfire, with two incidents before last week's shooting, in which rapper Jamaal "Gravy" Woodward suffered a grazing wound to his posterior. Now the carpenter's union that owns the building at 395 Hudson Street says it wants the stations out. It's meeting with lawyers today; Emmis says there are no grounds for an eviction. There have been no arrests in the shooting.

On the AM dial, there's still no firm confirmation of the well-reported rumor that Inner City Broadcasting will LMA WLIB (1190 New York) to Randy Michaels when the current deal with Air America Radio expires in August. Michaels has been investing in progressive talk programming in recent years, and it's expected that WLIB would become a flagship for the Ed Schultz show, among others, if Michaels takes over. It's not clear whether WLIB would continue to clear some Air America programming, or whether the network would seek to lease its own outlet elsewhere in the market.

Meanwhile at WWRL (1600 New York), Armstrong Williams and Sam Greenfield have taken over morning drive, while Karen Hunter moves to their former afternoon drive shift.

The battle over that controversial WFUV (90.7 New York) tower in the Bronx ended with a whimper early last week. Now that WFUV is on the air from its new site at Montefiore Hospital, Fordham University officials acted without any publicity at all to take down the never-completed tower that stood on the edge of the Fordham campus, overlooking the New York Botanical Garden. It's always nice when these things end happily, and all sides are now satisfied - the Garden has its view back (not that we ever found the tower all that ugly!), and WFUV has a better signal from the Montefiore site than it ever would have had from the Fordham tower, had it been completed.

Out on Long Island, former WBLI (106.1 Patchogue) morning co-host Maria Garcia takes over nights at WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue). Meanwhile, WBLI and Cox sister station WBAB (102.3 Babylon) have a new boss, as John Shea arrives from Barnstable's Greenville, S.C. cluster as the new VP/GM for the stations.

Way out on the East End, WHBE (96.9 East Hampton) has changed calls to WEHN, reflecting its new simulcast with WEHM (92.9 Southampton).

In Albany, WZMR (104.9 Altamont) has a new morning team, as Darwin and Kat arrive from WEQX (102.7 Manchester VT).

Up in the North Country (rimshotting Montreal, in fact), WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay) has a new afternoon drive jock who should be familiar to Rochester listeners - he's "Java Joel" Murphy, late of "Kiss" WKSC in Chicago.

While we don't often have much news from Ithaca, this week we have two items. At Saga's WHCU (870), Casey Stevens is leaving the station after a decade in morning drive (and 15 years overall) to go back to school at Tompkins-Cortland Community College. Dave Visser moves from afternoons at sister station WQNY (103.7) to join Geoff Dunn on WHCU's morning show. Meanwhile over at Citadel's WIII (99.9 Cortland) and WKRT (920 Cortland), Mark Vanness takes over as PD and WIII morning host. The veteran of WPST in Trenton, New Jersey replaces Marty Brandon at the Citadel stations next Monday.

And a bit of history is gone in the Syracuse market: WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter) has taken down its original self-supporting tower from its days in the long-ago Rural Radio Network. It has a new tower at the same site southeast of Syracuse.

*Two new HD2 formats were announced last week for NEW JERSEY: Greater Media will put "WDHA Live" on WDHA (105.5 Dover), while WMGQ (98.3 New Brunswick) will get a soft AAA-ish "Over Easy" format on its HD2 subchannel.

Where are they now? Scott and Casey, formerly of "New Jersey 101.5" (WKXW-FM Trenton), have departed their latest gig, doing mornings at KTRS (550 St. Louis).

And while it probably belongs more in the PENNSYLVANIA section by now, Nassau's WTHK (97.5 Burlington) has been granted a construction permit to move from its longtime home in downtown Trenton to the WJJZ (106.1 Philadelphia) tower in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, just north of the Philly line. WTHK will have 26 kW at 682' from its new home, a full-fledged Philadelphia signal in every sense.

*More Philadelphia news: WIOQ (102.1) has hired Chris Booker as its new morning host. Booker comes to Q102 from nights at "Free FM" WFNY-FM (92.3) in New York, which creates a gap in the schedule at the New York station. Over at WIP (610), Steve Martorano returns after an absence of not quite a year. He's back in middays with Anthony Gargano.

In Lancaster, WLAN (1390) and WLAN-FM (96.9) are leaving their longtime home on Queen Street downtown. Their new home will be at 1685 Crown Avenue, Suite 100, just off the US 30 bypass north of town.

And in Scranton, the first payments from the sale of Doug Lane's stations (WWDL 104.9, now WWRR, and the WICK/WYCK AM simulcast) are being made to social services agencies. Lane lost the stations after being charged with child molestation, and instead of having the stations' licenses pulled, Lackawanna County officials arranged to have proceeds of the stations' sale (to Bold Gold Media) go to several social services and victim's rights groups. The first payment, $10,000 to Friendship House, was made last week.

*In CANADA, former shock jock Andre Arthur isn't just a Member of Parliament - he's now on one of the committees that oversees his old rivals at the CRTC. Arthur was named last week to the standing committee on Industry, Science and Technology, which oversees the technical - but not the content - portions of the CRTC's work.

In Toronto, they're mourning Pat Marsden, the veteran CFTO-TV sportscaster who later became a radio fixture at CJCL (Fan 590). Marsden died Thursday (April 27) of lung cancer. He was 69.

CFHA (103.5 Saint John NB) is changing calls and formats. It seems that a 50-watt all-comedy station couldn't quite make it in the third-largest municipality in the Maritimes (we're stunned, too) - and now the station's becoming CJEF, "103.5 the Pirate," with what Milkman UnLimited says will be a mix of new rock and urban programming.

From the CRTC files: CKPC (1380 Brantford) is again applying to boost power from 10 kW to 25 kW. CKPC held a permit for the power increase in the early nineties, but it was never built. Over in Leamington, CHYR (96.7) wants to leave the last remaining tower from its old split-frequency (730 days, 710 nights) AM operation, boosting power to 27 kW (DA)/153 meters. CFLZ (105.1 Niagara Falls) wants to move from its transmitter site on the Skylon Tower to a new site in Thorold, with 4 kW (15 kW max), directional, at 127 meters above average terrain, serving more of a Canadian audience and covering a bit less U.S. soil. United Christian Broadcasters' CKJJ (102.3 Belleville) is applying to add a transmitter up north at Foymount, west of Renfrew. It would operate on 106.5, with 26.9 kW (100 kW max), directional at 286 meters. And Barrie's CJLF (100.3) wants to put a relay transmitter up in Iqaluit, Nunavut. It would run 250 watts on 105.5 way, way, way, way up north in that territorial capital.

*Before we leave you this week, a few words about the just-concluded NAB show...

First, my thanks to Fred Baumgartner and the Society of Broadcast Engineers for the invitation to present a talk on "Towers I Have Known And Photographed" at the SBE/Ennes educational seminar. It was an honor to share some of my favorite tower pictures with an interested crowd of engineers - and for all those who weren't able to make it, I hope to have an HTML version of the talk available soon here at (You may also have a chance to hear the talk in person at a regional event or two here in the Northeast soon, too...stay tuned!)

Thanks are also due to the many great engineers in Los Angeles and Las Vegas who opened their transmitter sites to our roving lenses - we'll be featuring some great sites in the months to come at Tower Site of the Week.

So what about the show itself? As NAB has transformed over the years from an organization of independent broadcasters into more of a corporate voice, there are fewer local broadcasters to be seen walking the show floors and attending the sessions. But there are still a few hardy souls holding up the cause of the little guys - Mike Rice from Connecticut, Suzanne Goucher from Maine and of course Ed Perry from WATD in Marshfield, Mass. were among the broadcasters we saw at the show, at least in passing.

(That's Ed questioning the FCC's Roy Stewart at Monday's FCC Roundtable session, asking about the Commission's EEO rules and how they affect small employers like Ed himself.)

The largest presence from NERW-land, though, was the engineering contingent. NAB remains an important venue for engineers each year, providing an opportunity to check out all the new gear firsthand and to learn from other engineers at the many educational seminars.

We've already told you about the announcement of surround sound at WZLX, and about the new HD2 services in Providence and central New Jersey. What about the radios? While there was no Ibiquity presence on the floor (a much-discussed omission), several manufacturers did show receivers. We got our first look at the Radiosophy tabletop receiver, which is finally in production and expected to be shipping in about three months, and we're hoping to have a unit for review pretty soon.

And we hope broadcasters pay careful attention to all the talk at the show about disaster preparedness. While the Northeast isn't as prone to natural disasters as are other parts of the country, there are still plenty of ways in which radio and TV stations in our region can be better prepared to stay on the air in case of emergency. That was one of the major focuses of this year's NAB all across the board - for engineers, managers and newspeople - and it's one of the most important functions that broadcasters can serve.

Beyond that, there weren't many huge announcements this year, especially not from the FCC, which remains stalled by the lack of confirmation of a fifth commissioner. Until that happens, the Commission's not going to be taking action on several controversial issues, including a review of the ownership-cap rules. (Don't expect any windows for new AM or noncommercial FM stations for at least another year, either.)

We'll be back in Las Vegas in 2007 to see what's changed. (At the very least, we're hoping for more screeners at the airport...)

From 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 for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

May 2, 2005 -

  • There's been plenty of speculation - present space included - that the big move of WBEC-FM (105.5) in western MASSACHUSETTS would lead to the sale of some of the last remaining assets of Bruce Danziger and Jeff Shapiro's Vox Media. That will indeed be the case, as Vox files to sell WBEC-FM to Jim Morrell's Pamal Broadcasting, which will take over operation of the station when it completes its move from Pittsfield to Easthampton, where it will serve Northampton, Amherst and Springfield. Pamal already owns adult rock WRNX (100.9 Amherst) in the market, as well as WPNI (1430 Amherst), which is leased to public radio WFCR. It'll pay $7 million to add WBEC-FM to the group - and if we're reading the sales contract right, Pamal gets the WBEC-FM calls and the intellectual property that includes the "Live 105" nickname and top 40 format, which we'd expected to stay with Vox in the Berkshires on a different frequency. (2006 note: The deal with Pamal was never consummated, and 105.5 ended up being sold instead to Entercom.)
  • In MAINE, it's the end of the line for Mark Persky and WBLM (102.9 Portland) after 28 years together. The veteran morning man has been off the air at WBLM since February, when he disappeared from the "Captain and Mark" morning show, which still features PD "Captain" Herb Ivey along with former midday jock Celeste. Last week, the station announced it had parted ways with Persky; there's already plenty of noisy speculation that he's headed for Nassau's "Frank" WFNK (107.5 Lewiston), which has been eating away at WBLM's ratings. (NERW irony alert: When Persky joined WBLM way back, it was still operating on that very 107.5 signal...)
  • It's the end of an era in NEW YORK radio history: At 1:00 Saturday afternoon (April 30), WOR (710 New York) began broadcasting from its new home at 111 Broadway, closing the book on almost eight decades of radio from 1440 Broadway. Bob Gibson did the last newscast from 1440 at noon Saturday, followed at 1 PM by the first newscast from 111 with Dara Welles - and the word is that engineers Tom Ray and Kerry Richards had very little sleep over the weekend as they got everything in place at the new digs.

April 30, 2001 -

  • The biggest news came from QUEBEC, where a Cessna piloted by Gilbert Paquette, 38, of Ste.-Therèse struck the top of the tower between Trois-Rivières and Shawinigan that was home to most of the FM and TV stations serving the Mauricie region of central Quebec. Paquette's plane lodged a few dozen meters below the top of the 300-plus meter guyed tower, killing the pilot on impact Sunday afternoon (April 22). After studying the situation, local authorities decided it was unsafe to climb the tower to retrieve Paquette's body. Declaring the tower itself damaged, they brought it down at week's end by cutting the guy wires. Paquette's widow protested the plan, saying officials should have tried harder to recover the body before bringing it down with the wreckage and the tower itself.
  • The other big news from CANADA, of course, is the impending demise of music on Toronto's CHUM (1050). Mayor Mel Lastman declared this week to be "1050 CHUM Week," and the countdown is underway for the big "Final Hours" show, to take place Monday, May 7 from 10 AM until 3 PM. Duff Rowan and Bob Laine will be hosting. CHUM Group is also making official its plans to launch the "Team" sports format in Montreal next week, with "Team 990" replacing "Oldies 990" at CKGM on May 7. The station has signed a deal to carry Expos baseball in English, returning the team to the Anglo airwaves there for the first time since the 1999 season.
  • Up North in New York, the word is that the AC sounds of "The Valley" will make their permanent home on the new 96.1 Norwood signal (now WYSI), while the original "Valley" signal at 96.7 in Canton (now WVLF) will join Tim Martz' "Yes FM" hot AC simulcast, along with WYSX 98.7 Ogdensburg and WYUL 94.7 Chateaugay. Bet we see a WYSI/WVLF call swap soon...
  • Working our way back down towards Albany, Vox submitted a three-part plan to the FCC that will move the "Wheels" oldies signal much closer to the Capital District from its current Glens Falls home. Here's how it works: Vox would move WHTR, now licensed to Corinth, from 93.5 to 93.7. It would then move that 93.7 allocation from Corinth down to Scotia, not far from Schenectady. And to keep a "first local service" in Corinth, sister station WFFG (107.1) would change city of license from Hudson Falls to Corinth.
  • MAINE saw the launch of a new "W-Bach" outlet April 23, as WMDI (107.7 Bar Harbor) became WBQI at 6 AM, bringing classical music to the Mount Desert Island area. Just to the southwest, Gopher Hill changed calls on its WAYD (105.5 Islesboro); the standards station is now WBYA, the former identity of 101.7 Searsport, recently flipped by Clear Channel to "Fox" WFZX.

New England Radio Watch, April 30, 1996 -

  • From the high-school front: WHHB in Holliston MA has completed its transmitter move. This little class D outlet used to run 18 watts from the roof of the high school; now, according to an article in the (Framingham MA) "Middlesex News," it's moved to a nearby cell-phone tower, giving it somewhat better reach. The article could have been a bit better researched; it gave WHHB's frequency as "91.9" (try 91.5, with a CP for 99.9), and repeated without any verification WHHB's claim to be one of only 4 high-school stations in Massachusetts. In fact, I think Massachusetts may lead the nation in high-school broadcast FM.
  • The new evening lineup took effect this week at Boston talker WRKO (680). Lori Kramer and Leslie Gold, aka "Two Chicks Dishing," now hold down the 7-10pm slot last occupied by Charles Adler. Dr. Laura, who must be on just about every AM station in the country by now, takes over 10pm-1am from Phyllis Levy and "Sex Talk."

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*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 we have a few still available at special clearance prices!

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 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 year running!

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 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 is copyright 2006 by Scott Fybush.