July 17, 2006
CBS Cuts Claim Jobs in NY, Boston, PA
*It was a bad week at NEW YORK's Black
Rock - but even more so for more than a hundred CBS Radio staffers
around the country, including some veterans of the company, whose
jobs were cut in a mass layoff.
Among the biggest names in New York City to fall under the
budget-cutting axe were Chad Brown, general manager of "Jack
FM" WCBS-FM (101.1 New York) and Rob Barnett, president
of programming at CBS Radio. Out in Los Angeles, where he led
KROQ to revenue dominance, general manager Trip Reeb (a veteran
of Rochester's WCMF, way back when) lost his job. And there were
even more cuts in other NERW-land markets - which we'll get to
later on in this week's NERW.
INDEPENDENCE ISN'T EASY (OR
FREE): It now appears
that Radio & Records will keep publishing under its
new corporate ownership - but in the process, another respected
trade publication, Billboard Radio Monitor, has ceased
publication, and we're sorry to see it go.
It's a reminder that independence
doesn't come easily in today's corporate age.
Here at NERW, we pride ourselves
on twelve years (and counting) of editorial independence. There's
no filter on the news you read here. Our editorial staff of one
answers only to you, our readers, and therein lies the catch:
It all depends on your
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*Up here in Rochester,
the past week brought some huge changes to the antenna configuration
on Pinnacle Hill, just up the road from NERW Central. CBS Radio,
whose WCMF (96.5) and WPXY (97.9) have long transmitted from
the WROC-TV/WHEC tower at Pinnacle, has now hung a new 8-bay
Shively antenna from the new American Tower Systems tower on
the hill - and it's now building out a new transmitter room,
complete with two new Harris transmitters and Shively combiners
for both analog and digital. And not to be outdone, the other
class B FM signal from Pinnacle, public radio WXXI-FM (91.5),
lowered its 32-year-old Jampro antenna from its tower last week.
It's been replaced by a new Dielectric 8-bay antenna, and later
this year a new transmitter will bring HD Radio to that signal
With final bids due today from prospective purchasers of CBS
Radio's clusters in Rochester, Buffalo, and the other markets
the company plans to exit, the stations in upstate New York were
spared the company-wide layoffs, we're told.
Where are they now? Former Clear Channel Rochester market
manager Ken Spitzer has exited his most recent job, as market
manager for Clear Channel's Raleigh/Durham cluster, we're told.
Steven Portnoy, former news guy at WSYR (570 Syracuse), has moved
up the ranks from WMAL (630 Washington) to a new job as a reporter
for ABC News Radio. And we're sorry to report the death of Dave
Sennett, whose career in upstate radio included stints at WTLB
(1310 Utica) in the fifties, WOLF (1490 Syracuse) and WKBW (1520
Buffalo) in the sixties, and then many years as afternoon host
on WHAM (1180 Rochester). Sennett was also at WPRO in Providence
in the early sixties. Sennett died July 6; he'll be remembered
at a memorial ceremony Saturday (July 22) here in Rochester.
Moving downstate, WSPK (104.7 Poughkeepsie) has a new morning
guy - Chris Marino moves north from WLDI (95.5) in the West Palm
Beach, Florida market to take the spot last occupied by "Woodman,"
who's reportedly leaving the business. Marino starts his new
gig August 4.
town in Poughkeepsie, the old WKIP (1450) building at 20 Tucker
Drive was demolished last Tuesday. Chief engineer Bill Draper
tells NERW that Clear Channel originally planned to keep the
building (which dated from 1968), but with no easy way to connect
it to the two-year-old studio complex next door that now houses
WKIP and its sister stations, the decision was made to demolish
it and replace it with a new addition to the current studio building.
(Longtime WKIP/WRNQ morning man Van Ritshie came up from Florida
to take the first whack at the old building.)
In New York City, WWPR (105.1 New York) has a new program
director. Helen Little moves up from Radio One in Philadelphia,
where she was overseeing programming for the company's three
And out on Long Island, some changes are
coming at WBLI (106.1 Patchogue). NERW hears that morning man
Steve Harper is being moved across Long Island Sound to Cox sister
station "Star 99.9" WEZN-FM in Bridgeport, CONNECTICUT,
where he replaces Tony Terzi (who himself replaced another Harper,
longtime wakeup guy John Harper) - and we're hearing that bigger
changes may be on the way at WBLI. Stay tuned...
Also in the Nutmeg State, Brian "Munchie" Donovan
takes the music director/afternoon drive slot at WKSS (95.7 Hartford-Meriden),
filling the big shoes recently vacated by Jo Jo Brooks, who's
now at WIOQ in Philadelphia.
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*The CBS Radio cutbacks in MASSACHUSETTS
claimed several top sales managers at WBZ, WODS and WZLX;
WBMX (98.5) marketing director Anne-Marie Kennedy - and Edward
Hyson, better known as "Oedipus," the longtime program
director at WBCN (104.1 Boston). Oedipus stepped down from the
WBCN PD chair two years ago, and had been working as CBS Radio's
VP/alternative music, but with the gradual disappearance of that
format from prominence at CBS, it wasn't hard to see the writing
on the wall.
What's up with Mario Mazza? The WCRB (102.5 Waltham) programming
VP took issue with reports here and elsewhere last week that
he had exited the classical station to take a new job running
public radio WHIL (91.3) down in Mobile, Alabama. We're always
happy to correct errors when we make them, so we'll note that
Mazza is still at WCRB right now. But the president of Spring
Hill College, which owns WHIL, confirms to the Globe that
they've hired Mazza down in Mobile and still expect him to start
there this fall, so we're standing by that part of the story.
Mazza has not replied to our request for clarification.
*In RHODE ISLAND, Opie and Anthony's
syndicated show has arrived on WSKO (790 Providence) and WSKO-FM
(99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale), and that means some schedule changes
at "The Score." Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak move from
mornings to the 9-noon slot, which displaces John "Coach"
Colletto from the station's lineup.
(And just as NERW goes to press this Monday comes word that
O&A have also added Buffalo's WEDG, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's
WBSX and WMOS out on Long Island's East End to their lineup.
More on that next week.)
*In MAINE, WLOB-FM (96.3 Rumford)
has moved to its new transmitter site just east of Norway - and
we hear the 40 kW/1412' facility is putting a nice clean mono
signal into Portland, boosting the range of the news-talk station
*A happy 75th anniversary to one of the oldest
stations in VERMONT. WDEV (550 Waterbury), one of the
finest community radio outlets in New England, marked that milestone
yesterday, with tributes that included a special section in the
Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and an ice cream social for
current and former staff.
*Up to CANADA we go next, for the
latest round of media consolidation - the C$1.7 billion deal
that will make CHUM Ltd. part of the Bell Globemedia family.
BGM already owns the CTV television network, the nation's
largest commercial network, as well as the Globe and Mail
national daily, 17 cable networks and a minority share in
the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors. By adding CHUM, BGM immediately
becomes a major radio player, with 33 radio stations in the country's
largest markets. CHUM's 21 cable networks, including MuchMusic,
will add substantially to BGM's cable portfolio.
As for broadcast TV, here's where things get a little complicated.
BGM will keep CHUM's "Citytv" stations, including flagship
CITY-TV (Channel 57) in Toronto - but it will have to sell off
the "A Channel" outlets CHUM has assembled around the
country, including CHRO (Channels 5/43) in Ottawa/Pembroke, CKVR
(Channel 3) in Barrie and CFPL-TV (Channel 10) in London. As
soon as the deal was announced, CHUM began making deep cutbacks
in its news operations around the country. While Citytv in Toronto
was left mainly intact, we're told there were 22 people cut in
Barrie, where news coverage will be scaled back to focus mainly
on the station's home turf in Barrie and vicinity. In Ottawa,
the "A Channel" noon news has been cancelled - and
the cuts were even deeper out west, where Citytv newscasts were
cancelled in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
In other Canadian news, CHUC-FM (107.9 Cobourg) has begun
testing its signal; it will eventually replace the station's
current AM signal on 1450.
And up in North Bay, Haliburton's new CFXN (106.3) is now
on the air, testing its adult hits format as "The Moose."
*One of the deans of the broadcast industry in
southern NEW JERSEY has a new home on the dial. Harry
Hurley, a fixture on the 1450 spot in Atlantic City through several
callsigns (mostly WFPG, but more recently WKXW and WENJ), lost
his morning gig there a week ago as part of a larger set of cutbacks
at Millennium's Atlantic City operations, which also claimed
the jobs of marjet manager Dan Sullivan, WFPG-FM (96.9) midday
veteran Marlene Aqua, WPUR (107.3) jock Lyndsey King and accounting
clerk Lynne Spector-Olita.
No sooner was Hurley out the door at WENJ, though, than he
was hired down the road at WIBG (1020 Ocean City). Hurley's signed
a three-year deal to do mornings at the contemporary Christian
station, where he'll start July 31.
Just up the Parkway, the callsign swap is complete: WBBO (98.5
Ocean Acres) is now WKOE, while WKOE (106.5 Bass River Township)
is now WBBO.
And up in South Orange, the former general manager of WSOU
(89.5) at Seton Hall University pleaded guilty last week to embezzling
more than half a million dollars from the school. Michael Collazzo,
who ran WSOU until 2004, admitted that he created a shell company
(with the initials "W.S.O.U.") to divert income from
leasing out the station's subcarriers. He also admitted to stealing
nearly a quarter of a million dollars in WSOU underwriting income.
Collazzo, 58, will be sentenced August 18; prosecutors are recommending
he spend five years in prison.
*It made big headlines last year in eastern PENNSYLVANIA
when Radio One pulled the modern rock format off WPLY (100.3
Media), sending "Y100" into exile as a webcast. Now
"Y" is returning to the broadcast airwaves in collaboration
with innovative public radio station WXPN (88.5 Philadelphia).
WXPN has hired former Y100 PD Jim McGuinn to launch its "Y-Rock
on XPN" programming, which will include over-the-air segments
on WXPN's main channel on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8-11
PM and Fridays from 7-11 PM, beginning August 30. The "y100rocks.com"
site that has carried the torch for Y since the station went
off the air last year will be merged into WXPN's "XPoNential
Music" web service, and will relaunch August 1 as "yrockonxpn.org."
Over in Pittsburgh, the fallout from the CBS Radio cutbacks
includes longtime morning man John Cline, who was moved from
the former WBZZ (93.7 Pittsburgh) to WZPT (100.7 New Kensington)
when the plug was pulled on "B93.7" a few years back.
Now Cline's out of his gig at "Star 100.7," where JR,
Kate and Bubba continue on in mornings.
We've been remiss in not noting the FCC's ruling on Keymarket's
attempt to move "Froggy" WOGF (104.3) from East Liverpool,
Ohio across the state line to Moon Township, Pennsylvania, just
west of Pittsburgh. Keymarket had appealed the FCC's initial
denial of the move, and earlier this month the FCC affirmed that
decision, ruling that Keymarket's application was defective.
While WOGF's short-spacings to WPGB (104.7 Pittsburgh) and WLSW
(103.9 Scottdale) are indeed grandfathered under the pre-1964
spacing rules, the FCC says those spacing rules can't be invoked
at the allocations stage of a move-in proceeding - so unless
Keymarket can find a way to change its city of license without
moving its transmitter site at the same time (as it would apparently
need to do in order to put the required signal over Moon), the
WOGF move is off the table. (NERW notes that once the city of
license has been changed, then the transmitter can be
moved under the short-spacing rules, as we've seen done in cases
like that of 97.5 in Trenton/Philadelphia.)
Speaking of "Froggy," there's a new one in State
College: Forever Broadcasting has launched a "Froggy 98"
simulcast of WFGY (98.1 Altoona) on what's now WSGY (98.7 Pleasant
Gap). That sets a whole chain of call changes into motion: WJHT
(103.1 State College) becomes WQKK (it has the "Quick Rock"
format that was on 98.7 as WQWK); "Hot" WYOT (92.1
Johnstown) becomes WJHT; and "Froggy" WSGY (106.3 Mount
Union) becomes WFZY.
A few more Pittsburgh notes: Stan Savran, late of WBGG (970),
has been hired by crosstown competitor WEAE (1250), where he'll
do some fill-in sports hosting for now. And up at WAVL (910 Apollo),
they're still looking for the vandals who lit firecrackers under
the station's tower just before Independence Day, causing damage
that knocked the religious station off the air for much of a
There are new calls
for the former WNAK-FM (94.3 Carbondale) - it's now WLNP, reflecting
its new "Lite fm" identity.
And we'll close out with some TV news: WILF (Channel 53) in
Williamsport has new calls, WQMY, reflecting its upcoming flip
from a simulcast of WSWB (Channel 38) to the new My Network TV.
(WSWB will go from WB/UPN to The CW in September, and WQMY will
likely seek full cable carriage in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
market.) My Network TV also signed an affiliate in the Harrisburg
market, where it will be seen on a subchannel of WHP-DT, presumably
displacing the cable carriage of Philadelphia's WPHL in the area.
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!)
July 18, 2005 -
- A few years ago, it looked as though eastern MASSACHUSETTS
could become a major production center for public radio - not
just the weekly entertainments of "Car Talk," but also
a significant amount of daily news and talk programming. Over
at WGBH, the joint partnership with the BBC that produced "The
World" is approaching its tenth anniversary. But it was
Boston University's WBUR-FM (90.9), under former GM Jane Christo,
that harbored visions of serious national glory, launching Chris
Lydon's "The Connection" into national distribution
not long after its 1993 local debut, followed a few years later
by "On Point" in the evenings (an outgrowth of WBUR's
9/11 coverage) and "Here and Now" in middays. We know,
of course, what happened next: the heated departure of Lydon
and the team that created "The Connection" (now ensconced
at WGBH and producing "Open Source"), followed a few
years later by the ouster of Christo herself. And last week,
WBUR interim GM Peter Fiedler announced a series of cuts that
promise to bring WBUR's production load more in line with its
- The most notable change is the cancellation, effective after
the August 5 broadcast, of "The Connection." While
Lydon's eventual replacement, former CBC host Dick Gordon, was
doing a capable job with the program, it faced a crowded field
of competitors for a finite number of daytime slots in a public
radio universe where many stations are still trying to balance
news and music on a single signal. (We find that, in the end,
across NERW-land "The Connection" was being heard only
on WNED(AM) in Buffalo, New York's North Country Public Radio
and WPNI(AM) in Amherst, as well as on WBUR's own network.)
- On the commercial side of things, WODS (103.3 Boston) has
named Pete Falconi as its new PD, taking the "acting"
part of his title away. Falconi's a veteran of New England radio,
having been PD at the old WEGQ (93.7) as well as at WXLO/WORC-FM/WWFX
- On the TV dial, WBZ-TV (Channel 4) has opened a Worcester
bureau, staffed by reporter Ron Sanders and photojournalist Terry
MacNamara. WBZ is billing it as the first such effort by a Boston
station, though an alert reader reminds us that in the days when
channel 7 was WNEV (we're talking the late 80s here), owner David
Mugar had a Worcester bureau (at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette)
as part of his New England News Exchange.
- A veteran morning voice in MAINE returns to the airwaves
today. Mark Persky's been off the air in Portland since last
winter, when he quietly vanished from the morning show at WBLM
(102.9) after almost three decades. Now he's across town at Nassau's
"Frank," WFNK (107.5 Lewiston), starting at 5:30 this
morning with the debut of the revamped "Big Show" there.
- There's a station sale along US 6 in northwestern PENNSYLVANIA:
Kinzua Broadcasting is selling WRRN (92.3 Warren), WNAE (1310
Warren) and WKNB (104.3 Clarendon) to Frank Iorio's Iorio Broadcasting.
Iorio, who holds the CP for a new FM on 102.7 in Clarendon, is
better known as the owner of WMBA (1460 Ambridge) and WBVP (1230
Beaver Falls) outside Pittsburgh; he's paying $1.25 million for
the three-station combo.
July 16, 2001 -
- We'll begin this week in CANADA, where CTV is consolidating
its hold on the broadcast outlets that carry its network signal
across the country. Out in Vancouver, the CTV-owned "VTV"
(CIVT Channel 32) is about to begin carrying CTV network programming
after several years as an independent, and back East, the network
has struck a deal to acquire its Montreal affiliate for a whopping
C$ 121,500,000. CFCF-TV (Channel 12) was part of the WIC group
that merged with Global earlier this year, causing all that shuffling
out west as well. In Montreal, though, Global already owned CKMI
(Channel 46), which meant CFCF needed to be put in trust until
a buyer could be found. CTV and parent BCE were the obvious choice,
since CTV has been on an acquisition spree that's snapped up
almost all of the stations that were once privately-owned affiliates.
(You'd have to look all the way to St. John's, Newfoundland,
we believe, to find the biggest private CTV affiliate remaining!)
What will become of CFCF's distinctive on-air look and its "Pulse"
newscasts when the Great Homogenizers of CTV take over? We suspect
the generic blue set and CTV logo will end up gracing CFCF once
the deal closes...we'll keep you posted.
- We'll cross back to the States in NEW YORK, noting that Buffalo's
WWKB (1520) is still running that business format (with no legal
ID noticed on one recent top-hour break) instead of the promised
70s pop, and there's no sign of Opie and Anthony on WCMF here
in Rochester, either.
- In fact, about the biggest news we can offer this week is
Eolin's conversion of its LMA in Elmira to an outright purchase.
You might recall that Eolin, which operates four stations in
Corning, has been running WENY (1230) and WENY-FM (92.7) for
White Broadcasting under an LMA for a few months now; this week,
Eolin announced it would pay $2.2 million for the pair, which
simulcast news-talk WCLI (1450 Corning) and satellite AC WCBA-FM
(98.7 Corning), respectively. The purchase finally separates
the radio stations from sister TV outlet WENY-TV (Channel 36)
after more than three decades of common ownership.
- Over in Binghamton, Paul Szmal (formerly of Utica's WRCK)
and Maggie Page (formerly of crosstown WYOS) kicked off their
new morning show on Clear Channel's "Mix" WMXW (103.3
Vestal) this morning. Meanwhile, AC competitor WLTB (101.7 Johnson
City) has filed to move translator W273AB (102.5) down from Ingraham
Hill, where WLTB itself now operates, to the old 101.7 site a
few miles west in Endicott.
- A very happy 90th birthday to WTIC (1080 Hartford) institution
Bob Steele, who's still going strong with a monthly Saturday-morning
show, 62 years after joining the staff at WTIC. A check of the
NERW archives reminds us that Steele did promise to retire a
few years ago - but not until his 100th birthday a decade from
- RHODE ISLAND is getting a new radio tower, and we're getting
a good excuse to vacation on Block Island next summer. The flimsy
old tower that held WADK-FM (99.3) and WCRI (95.9) is being replaced
by a 250-footer bearing a new six-bay antenna to be shared by
both stations. With the change, WCRI will begin transmitting
in stereo for the first time in its history. (Quite a change
from the old days as WVBI, when we had trouble tuning them in
while walking from the ferry dock to the tower!)
New England Radio Watch, July 20, 1996
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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
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.