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July 24, 2006

O&A Displace Buffalo's Shredd & Ragan

*The Citadel corporate mandate to install the syndicated Opie & Anthony show at most of its rock stations nationwide landed especially hard in western NEW YORK this week. With only one logical place in the Buffalo market for the O&A show - modern rock "Edge" WEDG (103.3) - this morning's arrival of Opie & Anthony meant a big move for one of the Queen City's top-rated (and longest-running) morning shows.

After 11 years on WEDG (and its predecessor, WUFX, "the Fox"), Ted Shredd and Tom Ragan will move their "Shredd and Ragan" show to the 3-7 PM slot beginning this afternoon. The duo used their last morning show Friday to gamely promote the move, blowing up their alarm clocks on the air in a nice bit of radio theater.

WEDG managers are trying to put a positive spin on the move, telling the Buffalo News that Shredd & Ragan may find a bigger audience in the less-competitive afternoon hours - but in a city with no huge afternoon rush hour keeping listeners in their cars, can Shredd & Ragan find the kind of audience loyalty and listening time they've enjoyed in the morning?

The rest of the day on WEDG now shakes out like this: Val Townsend moves to 9-noon (from 10 AM-3 PM), Bull moves from afternoons to the noon-3 slot, and Adam 12 remains on nights. (Interestingly, as of Sunday afternoon, the Edge website still hadn't been updated with any of the changes, including the arrival of Opie & Anthony.)

The message boards were also quick to notice one area Citadel market that wasn't getting "infected" with the "O&A virus" - in Syracuse, where rocker WAQX (95.7 Manlius) would seem to be an obvious candidate for the show, the morning team of Beaner and Ken is being left intact, perhaps because it's also being simulcast to Citadel's WRAX in Birmingham, Alabama.

Whatever the reason, "95X" lost a Syracuse competitor last week, as Clear Channel euthanized "The Dog" and flipped WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter) from modern rock to hot AC, focusing on modern AC hits from the 90s and the last few years and rebranding the station as "Nova 105.1" (or perhaps "nova 105-one," if you're the graphic artist who designed the logo.)

Jason Furst arrives in Syracuse from KOOC in Killeen, Texas to become PD of "Nova," replacing the departing Scott Dixon; we'd expect a new set of call letters here soon as well.

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*Out on Long Island, our exclusive story last week about Steve Harper's impending departure from WBLI (106.1 Patchogue) apparently created a stir at the station, where the news became public a few days later. After 25 years at WBLI, Harper did his last morning show there on Wednesday (Jonny Weitz and Al Levine are covering mornings until a permanent replacement is named), and while Harper is telling Newsday that he hopes to stay on the island, NERW hears that he was up at Cox sister station WEZN (Star 99.9) in CONNECTICUT late last week, meeting the staff and getting ready for his new morning gig on the other side of Long Island Sound.

Way out on the east end of Long Island, but broadcasting from the Mohegan Sun casino in eastern Connecticut, WMOS (104.7 Montauk) is another Citadel station that's getting Opie & Anthony in morning drive beginning today, apparently moving Julie Johnson to the 9 AM-noon slot.

In New York City, they're mourning Max Cole, the longtime voice of Riverside Church's radio broadcasts on WLTW (106.7). Before 106.7 was "Lite" (and even before that, country WKHK), the station was owned by Riverside Church as WRVR, and Cole was one of WRVR's best-known jazz DJs in that era. He continued to announce and produce the Sunday morning church broadcasts until poor health forced him to hand off those duties just this past April. Cole was 91 when he died last Sunday (July 16).

In Binghamton, the feud between local media activist Bill Huston and public broadcaster WSKG escalated last Monday, when Huston was charged with trespassing at the station's studios during a meeting of its community advisory board. WSKG officials tell the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin that Huston was allowed to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting, but that he then refused to leave when asked to do so, instead engaging WSKG CEO Gary Reinbolt in an argument over the station's refusal to air documentaries that Huston had produced. Reinbolt says Vestal police were called after Huston began using "threats and profanity"; Huston, for his part, says he was engaging in "civil disobedience."

Here in Rochester, several TV people are on the move: after two years at WHEC-TV (Channel 10), Emily Smith is headed down to New York's WABC-TV for a reporting gig. Meanwhile over at WROC-TV (Channel 8), reporter/anchor Cathy Orosz is the latest victim of that station's bottom-line mentality. NERW hears that Orosz, like other WROC veterans, was told to take a pay cut if she wanted her contract renewed. Instead, she's now looking for work.

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*Up in CANADA, the AM-to-FM juggernaut marches on in a big way this week.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Maritime Broadcasting System (MBS) launched the FM replacement for CHNS (960) at noon on Wednesday, pulling the plug on the oldies format heard on AM in favor of classic rock as "89.9 Hal FM. With the debut of the new format on CHNS-FM, the AM signal will go dark within 90 days.

Over on Prince Edward Island, we hear that Newcap has begun testing its second FM signal. In addition to new CHTN-FM (Ocean 100.3), "K-Rock 105.5" is now being heard, announcing calls CKQK. (There's still no timeline for MBS' CFCY 630 to complete its move to FM in Charlottetown, leaving PEI with no full-power AM signals.)

Returning to Nova Scotia, CFAB (1450 Windsor) has applied to make its own move to FM, with 100 kW DA/159 m on 92.9. The CFAB move to FM is just one of many on the agenda for a CRTC meeting September 11 in Quebec City; the bigger story, by far, is a set of four Corus applications to move its network of AM talk stations to the FM dial in most of Quebec.

Here's how those applications shake out: CJRC (1150 Gatineau-Ottawa), which has applied for FM moves in the past, would go to 104.7 (11 kW DA/95 m); CHLT (630 Sherbrooke) would move to 102.1 (23 kW DA/91 m); CHLN (550 Trois-Rivieres) would move to 106.9 (100 kW DA/87 m) and CKRS (590 Saguenay) would move to 98.3 (100 kW DA/148 m). If the moves are granted, the AM dial would become nearly silent in Sherbrooke (with only CKTS 900, the relay of Montreal's English talker CJAD, still standing) and Trois-Rivieres (which would have only CKSM 1220 Shawinigan, the relay of CHLN - unless it, too, goes silent during the conversion) - and it would be completely silent in Saguenay.

That September 11 hearing ended up with a last-minute additional item, too: Genex Communications, the embattled licensee of CHOI (98.1 Quebec City), has a new plan to keep the modern rock station on the air in the face of CRTC attempts to deny the station a license renewal. Genex now plans to sell CHOI to Radio Nord, which has applied for a "new" license for the station - and it'll now be up to the CRTC to decide whether to put an end to the long-running controversy and grant the license to Radio Nord.

(Meanwhile, former Quebec shock-talker Andre Arthur lost a bid to overturn a C$370,000 libel judgment against him last week.)

And there's still more on the CRTC's plate in September: in Drummondville, Quebec, Radio Drummond is applying for a new station on 88.9 (1.28 kW DA/7 m), while over in Salabery-de-Valleyfield, between Montreal and Ottawa, MX Media wants a new station on 106.5 (840 watts/51 m).

On the Ontario side of the border, My Broadcasting Corp. wants to expand its little cluster of small-town stations west of Ottawa. Its latest application is down in Napanee, on the shore of Lake Ontario west of Kingston, and it's applying for 88.7 with 11 kW DA/184.5 m.

In the suburbs of Toronto, WhiStle Community Radio is applying to bring a community station to Whitchurch-Stouffville, with 50 watts on 102.7, while S.S. TV Inc. is applying for an ethnic AM signal in Brampton, with 1000 watts on 1650.

In other news, "Humble Howard" Glassman has lost his morning gig at CKFM (99.9 Toronto), a year after the station dropped his longtime morning partner, Fred Patterson. Also out at CKFM are morning producer "Bingo Bob" and newscaster Judy Croon, and we hear the entire station is running jockless for several weeks as it retools.

And in Cornwall, CJUL (1220) added Charles Adler's syndicated "Adler At Large" talk show to its afternoon schedule last week, displacing standards from 2-5 PM. (Milkman UnLimited reports CJUL has been off the air completely since Thursday, when it suffered storm damage to its transmitter.)

*Back to the US we go, starting up north in MAINE at WCYY (94.3 Biddeford)/WCYI (93.9 Lewiston), where the arrival of Opie & Anthony this week means an unusual change for Robin Ivy's morning show. She'll continue to do the show on the station's web stream while broadcast listeners get O&A; at 9 AM, the broadcast outlets rejoin the stream for three more hours of Ivy's show.

*It's an old story being replayed in MASSACHUSETTS this week: talk show host uses "regrettable" language on the air, talk show host is suspended, station's call letters get lots of ink in the papers and lots of chatter on WGBH's Friday-night "Beat the Press" show.

This time out, it was WRKO (680)'s John DePetro who used the "regrettable" language, twisting his colleague Howie Carr's "Fat Matt" nickname for Mass Pike chairman Matt Amorello into an anti-gay slur during his show on Tuesday. That earned DePetro two days off, with Brian Maloney filling in. DePetro returned to the air Friday, offering a general apology for his choice of words but no specific apology to Amorello, and that in turn got the whole thing another day in the media spin cycle.

On the TV front, Boston was the last major market without an affiliate for the new My Network TV, but that appears to have changed. WZMY (Channel 50), licensed to Derry, NEW HAMPSHIRE, will announce this week that it's joining the new network in September. The move takes away any possibility of a fight between WZMY, which began calling itself "My TV" in late 2005, and the new Fox-owned network over the "My" branding. It also means that previous reports that My Network TV would land on a digital subchannel of Fox-owned WFXT (Channel 25), with its prime-time shows being cleared on the main WFXT channel during the day, are now off the table.

*In NEW JERSEY, WKOE (98.5 Ocean Acres) finally dropped its "G Rock Radio" simulcast this morning at midnight, stunting with the Eagles' "New Kid in Town" en route to a noon flip (as had been widely rumored) to country as "Jersey Kountry K98.5." New calls are WKMK, as of 10 this morning.

*In PENNSYLVANIA, some changes are underway at the two Nexstar-operated stations in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market. On the heels of the dismissals of veteran WBRE (Channel 28) weatherman Vince Sweeney and sports director Jason Knapp comes a story in Broadcasting & Cable that WYOU (Channel 22), the CBS affiliate Nexstar operates under a shared-services agreement, will be trying a new "non-traditional" newscast. While the details of the new newscast remain fuzzy, it will apparently include much more live viewer interaction than a traditional newscast, including viewer call-ins and even stories produced by viewers. WYOU is portraying the move as an attempt to try something new to break the station's longtime hold on third place in the market; to us, it looks like an attempt to save money by getting viewers (however few they may be) to do more of the work traditionally done by paid employees.

Speaking of Wilkes-Barre, Opie and Anthony land there as well, replacing Jim Bone's morning show on WBSX (97.9 Hazleton). It's not yet clear to us where Bone will land; the website at "97.9X" hasn't yet reflected the change.

In Pittsburgh, Stan Savran's former afternoon slot on WBGG (970) will be filled by Tim Benz and Tribune-Review sportswriter Joe Bendel, with Benz doing 3-4 PM solo, both hosts working together from 4-5 and Bendel handling 5-7 by himself.

Up in State College, the callsign wheel spun yet again last week at Forever's 103.1, which was briefly WQKK but has now assumed the WQWK calls that have a long heritage in the market on 96.7, 97.1 and most recently 98.7.

There's a new signal on the air in the Harrisburg market: WZXM (88.7 Middletown) signed on last week as the newest outlet of the "Word FM" network based out of WBYO (88.9 Sellersville).

And we're sorry to report the death of a former station owner: Victor Mauck, Jr. owned WNAR (1110 Norristown, now WNAP) through much of the sixties and seventies. He died July 3 at 78, after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

*Before we leave you this week, some thoughts that have been percolating here about the new indecency fines ($325,000 and up) recently approved by Congress and signed by President Bush, as we present one of our occasional series of NERW Mini-Rants. As always, our opinions are solely our own, and we'll gladly present opposing viewpoints and comments in future issues...

Here at NERW, our custom over the last decade and a half has been to comment on local and regional issues, but to leave discussion of the big national radio and TV issues to our brethren at the big national trade publications.

But a few weeks ago, we received a note from Bill O'Shaughnessy, the owner of WVOX (1460) and WRTN (93.5) down in New Rochelle and a longtime NERW reader, reporting a change in a longtime policy at his stations.

Here's what Bill had to say: I've been immensely proud that our community radio stations have "flown without a net" (read: seven-second delay) for damn near 30 years of my stewardship, because I've always believed that our sophisticated audience in the "Golden Apple" and the New York area could handle an occasional vulgarity.

Phil Reisman, the star feature columnist of Gannett, once wrote: "WVOX has never put a condom on its microphone."

I'm heading for the drugstore...

Attached to the note was a memo - the proverbial condom on the WVOX microphone - that went out to the station's staff, warning that anyone who "utters a profanity or vulgarity over these airwaves will never work again in commercial radio, if I have anything to do with it."

Bill followed up the note a few days later with a phone call, in which he bemoaned the relative equanimity around the broadcasting industry about the new fine structure and the burden it places on small stations like his.

The fact is, he's absolutely right - not just about the lack of outrage over the new law, but about how misguided and potentially very dangerous it is.

Let's be clear about something: this column is not, and has never been, a friend to those who would use radio purely to shock and titillate. We've never been fans of morning shows whose sole reason for being is to talk about sex, and if we never hear another late-night college radio show with two drunk guys repeatedly using the f-word and assorted bodily noises in place of actual content, we won't be one bit sorry.

At the same time, we believe vehemently that broadcast TV and radio must be free to reflect a real world that is often vulgar, violent, offensive and indecent. It's particularly troubling that the new rules make no exemption for news and public affairs coverage, creating a potentially stifling effect that's utterly at odds with our understanding of the First Amendment. (This was borne out just this past week when President Bush himself was caught on tape during his European trip using a word that would theoretically subject broadcasters to that $325,000 fine if his words were broadcast. We can argue both sides of the question about whether there's a valid journalistic reason to broadcast the president's comment unbleeped; we're entirely certain, however, that the judgment in that case should rest entirely with the journalists and not on the question of whether or not such a broadcast would lead to a crippling fine.)

Beyond live news coverage, we believe the rest of the broadcast TV and radio community must be able to reflect the real world, too. There has to be some leeway for the occasional bit of salty language from a non-broadcaster during a live event, as the FCC correctly understood in its first stab at Bono's comments a few years ago during a live awards telecast. (Political pressure later led the Commission to reverse that ruling, alas.) It's deeply disconcerting to learn, as several trades reported last week, that the FCC is now asking broadcasters to provide tapes of recent live sports coverage with an eye towards imposing big fines. "They're trying to outlaw live TV," said one broadcaster, and we're inclined to agree.

There's also a place for drama, comedy and documentaries that speak to adults at a level that goes beyond "family safe." In a world where the lines between broadcast and cable grow more blurred by the day, the idea that HBO can show a "Deadwood" or "Lucky Louie," while the broadcaster a few notches down the dial would be bankrupted by the fines such shows would produce if aired uncensored, is increasingly indefensible.

We are, unsurprisingly, not at all impressed with the defeatist argument coming from certain industry groups that suggests that the solution is to impose still more restrictions by subjecting cable and satellite TV, satellite radio and even Internet broadcasting to the same draconian rules that now constrain broadcasters, particularly when those very trade organizations are the ones that should have been speaking out the loudest against more restrictions for any providers of video and audio content, no matter how it's delivered.

The responsibility for keeping youngsters away from inappropriate programming should continue to rest where it has always properly rested - with the parents and other adults who should be determining their family's values, not with self-appointed morals police, and not ever with government censors.

We're exceedingly troubled, too, by the capricious and inconsistent way in which the new law is defined and enforced. While the FCC points to a steady increase in the number of complaints it logs about radio and TV programming, there's a growing body of evidence to suggest that the vast majority of those complaints are filed by people who have never even seen or heard the programming about which they're complaining. As long ago as late 2004, Mediaweek reported that 99.8% of the complaints received at the FCC in a single year were generated by one special-interest group, the Parents Television Council. Subsequent reporting has demonstrated that the vast majority of (often incomplete or woefully inaccurate) complaints in several well-publicized cases have come from letter-writing campaigns organized well after the broadcast in question, while logic would dictate that a valid, legitimate complaint would be filed immediately afterward.

The greater flaw in such a system is that it is inevitably one-sided. There is no mechanism by which those who find artistic or cultural merit in, say, the uncut version of Martin Scorsese's "The Blues" (the broadcast of which subjected one California PBS station to a large fine even under the older fine structure) can inform the FCC that they don't think the broadcast violated community standards, whatever those are. (The new law is just as vague about exactly what constitutes "indecency" as were the rules that it replaced.)

As a result, a tiny number of complainers (and make no mistake about it - even the inflated number of "paper" complaints in most of these cases is far dwarfed by the total number of presumably non-offended viewers/listeners counted by the ratings) end up wielding a disproportionate amount of power over the process - a process that, given how high the new fines can rise, could do untold harm, especially to small broadcasters.

"They're trying to outlaw live broadcasting."

Will the industry sit back and let it happen?

Next week in NERW: The debut of the 2007 Tower Site Calendar!

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!)

July 25, 2005 -

  • As Boston's WBZ-TV (Channel 4) fights to regain the ratings dominance it once held in eastern MASSACHUSETTS, it will do so under a new news director. Last week, the station sent ND Matt Ellis packing, two years after Ellis replaced longtime news director Peter Brown. For the moment, newsroom veteran Jen Street is running things until a permanent replacement for Ellis is named. (There are also credible rumors being floated of changes in the anchor lineup at "CBS 4."
  • Out west, the folks at WHMP (1400 Northampton) are mourning Andy Wiernasz, known as one of the first polka DJs in the Pioneer Valley. Wiernasz began doing a Sunday polka show on WHMP in 1953, and he remained with the "White Eagle Music Hour" even after illness left him unable to speak. Andy Wiernasz was 79 years old when he died Wednesday (July 20).
  • NEW YORK may soon have one fewer analog TV signal, as the owners of WLNY-TV (Channel 55) in Patchogue apply to turn off their analog signal and go digital-only (on channel 57 for now, though they'll have to move from that interim channel in a few years.) Here's the back story - the spectrum that's now UHF channels 52-59 is being reallocated out of broadcast use, and the FCC has already auctioned several of those channels to new users, even though they won't be able to occupy them right away. A subsidiary of Qualcomm landed what's now channels 55 and 56, and they're now making offers to stations on those channels to speed up the transition and abandon analog TV earlier than scheduled. It's a pretty good bet, we think, that very few of WLNY's viewers are watching the over-the-air analog signal, and for everyone else watching on cable or satellite, the station will remain available as usual.
  • There's a TV call change on the way in PENNSYLVANIA, where Penn State is trying to streamline the identity of its public radio and television services. This fall, WPSX (Channel 3) in Clearfield will become WPSU-TV, sharing the calls of public radio WPSU (91.5 State College).
  • There are some changes coming on the TV dial for Ontario viewers in the next week or so; on August 2, CHUM will retire the "NewNet" identities ("The New VR," etc.) for CKVR in Barrie, CHRO in Pembroke/Ottawa, CFPL-TV in London, CHWI in Wheatley/Windsor and CKNX-TV in Wingham, flipping those stations to "A Channel," the branding it bought along with Craig Media's stations in Alberta and Manitoba. (Ironically, those stations become "Citytv" this fall.)

July 23, 2001 -

  • Clear Channel has been awfully aggressive lately when it comes to moving its signature talk talent to its own radio stations, but in the Upper Valley of NEW HAMPSHIRE, one small station owner is fighting back. As we told you last week, Bob Vinikoor's WNTK-FM (99.7 New London) lost the Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Dean Edell shows, both syndicated by Clear Channel's Premiere, to Clear Channel-owned WTSL (1400 Lebanon), with the programs moving to their new homes on Thursday (July 19). But Vinikoor didn't take the move lightly; he tells NERW he spent the last few months trying to persuade Premiere it was making a mistake by moving from WNTK, whose FM signal covers much of western New Hampshire, to the little 1000-watt WTSL, which is strong in Lebanon and nearby Hanover but decidedly a distant signal in New London and Newport, more than 30 miles away. Vinikoor's efforts included a videotape showing the scenery in his coverage area -- and the weak WTSL signal on his van's radio. The tape was returned, unwatched, by Premiere executives, leading Vinikoor to try to get it to Limbaugh himself. And when it became clear that the battle was lost, Vinikoor switched to a new plan: hiring former gubernatorial candidate Deborah "Arnie" Arneson to fill Limbaugh's old shift on WNTK. Arneson's show debuted Thursday on the station, bringing Vinikoor media attention that included Manchester's WMUR-TV and several area newspapers.
  • Elsewhere in the Granite State, a well-known name is getting back into the ownership game with the purchase of WBNC (1050/104.5 Conway) and WMWV (93.5 Conway). Ron Frizzell sold his Portland/Lewiston cluster to the Harron folks (WMTW-TV) last year; now he's buying the Mount Washington Valley stations from Lawrence Sherman's North Country Radio. It's always fun to see the old-fashioned names Frizzell uses for his companies ("Wireless Talking Machine" was the usual one in Maine, Massachusetts and upstate New York in years past); this time it's the "Mount Washington Radio and Gramophone, L.L.C" buying the stations. The WBNC simulcast does country, while WMWV is AAA; purchase price hasn't been announced yet.
  • Ralphie Marino is coming back to MASSACHUSETTS, a year after departing WJMN (94.5 Boston) for the morning gig at New York City's WKTU (103.5 Lake Success). Look for Marino over at the new Entercom complex, taking Charlie Wilde's old seat at the middle of the WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) morning show, alongside Karen Blake, Heather Gersten, and "Survivor" Richard Hatch.
  • Some good news for the Entercom cluster here in Rochester: the FCC this week approved the allocation shift that will transform 93.3A Avon, 20 miles south of Rochester, into 93.3A Fairport, just a few miles east of Rochester. In practical terms, it means a real city signal for WBBF-FM, once the paperwork is filed that will move its antenna from a rimshot tower down in Livingston County to the WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester) stick on Five Mile Line Road in Penfield. (On a historical note, that tower was the original "WBBF-FM," since that was the first call on what's now WBEE-FM back in 1961 - and on 101.3 MHz back then, to boot!)
  • In PENNSYLVANIA, Greater Media gets new calls to go with its new "Mix" format on Philadelphia's 95.7: WEJM becomes WMWX, a call last seen in the region on what's now WMEK (99.9) up in Auburn, Maine. Harrisburg's new Clear Channel "Kiss" changes calls from WWKL-FM (99.3) to WHKF, as long expected, while up in Erie, 102.3 changes again from WLKK to WQHZ-FM, just a few weeks after trading its longtime WJET calls with WLKK(AM) on 1400.
  • And across the state line in OHIO, the call changes from the big format/facility swap in Cleveland are beginning to take shape. We've heard Cleveland's 1220, ex-WKNR, using the "WHKC" ID as it waits to take its new "WHK" identity (those calls having been parked at the former WCCD 1000 Parma), and we know Clear Channel temporarily moved the "Kiss" WAKS calls from 104.9 Lorain to 98.1 Canton (ex-WHK-FM) in preparation for swapping them with the WKDD calls still on 96.5 Akron (which is hiding its calls with a "WKDD Akron has moved to 98.1" announcement once an hour!). We know WCLV-FM's calls moved with the classical format from 95.5 Cleveland to 104.9 Lorain - and now we know that the WFHM calls that replaced it on 95.5 are also showing up down in the Youngstown market, where Salem took the dark 1440 facility that had been WHKW and changed the calls to WFHM(AM). Whew...

New England Radio Watch, July 30, 1996

  • Nostalgia is big on the airwaves in Boston this summer. As part of Barry O'Brien's big WVBF reunion on August 10, former 'VBF jocks have been invited to take airshifts for the day on 70s-rocker WEGQ 93.7. Tape will be rolling here at NERW headquarters. The hi-fi VCR will also see action this coming Saturday, August 3, when the 3-8pm slot on WRCA (1330) formerly occupied by the late Bill Marlowe will be home to a Marlowe remembrance hosted by Ron Della Chiesa of WGBH. And from the rumor mill: Greater Media's WMEX (1150) in Boston did a brief stab at bringing back the oldies one Saturday night a few weeks ago, and while it hasn't been heard since (the station is back to its usual leased-time Spanish), rumor has it new jingles are being cut. 1150 tried doing oldies when it got the WMEX calls a decade ago, and of course the calls themselves were part of the "Wimmex" top-40 legend on 1510 (now WNRB) in the '60s and early '70s.
  • Also from the history files: Longtime (1951-1983) WBZ radio and TV weatherman Don Kent was honored a few weeks ago with the dedication of Don Kent State Park, a small portion of the Wollaston Beach Reservation in Quincy. The park sits on the site of the old Kent's Carpetland store, from which Kent first broadcast the weather for WJDA (1300) in Quincy in the late 40s. Kent now lives in New Hampshire, and his forecasts are still heard on WQRC (99.9) on Cape Cod and WEMJ (1490) in Laconia NH.
  • On the fringes of New England: M Street reports the former WMJR (107.1) in Hudson Falls NY, some 50 miles north of Albany and just a few miles west of the Vermont line, has become WHTR, "Hot 107.1." I'll check that one out next weekend as I hit the road for Buffalo and Syracuse. And a familiar sound in the southeast Connecticut area is about to go FM-only... WLNG in Sag Harbor, Long Island is selling its AM 1600 operation to Unity Broadcasting of New York City. Unity will presumably shut down WLNG(AM), allowing its flagship WWRL 1600 New York to expand its pattern a bit to the east (and since the WWRL transmitter is in Secaucus NJ, west of NYC, that's good news for WWRL). Unity bought silent WQQW 1590 Waterbury CT earlier this year for the same reason. The good news is that the very distinctive, jingle-laden sound of WLNG will continue to be heard in glorious mono on 92.1 FM. Also down that way, the former WMRW 98.5 Westhampton LI has become WLRI, after a brief stint with the WLIR calls that now live on its simulcast 92.7 in Garden City LI. And 92.7's old WDRE calls are now in Philadelphia on the former WIBF 103.9 Jenkintown. Scorecards are for sale in the lobby...

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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.