February 5, 2007
Cumulus Applies for NYC FM Move-In
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2007 - SELLING OUT FAST!!!
*The FCC's continuing to
deal with the flood of applications it's received under its new
"one-step" rules for moving radio stations' cities
of license - and that means a few more interesting applications
in PENNSYLVANIA and NEW YORK for us to tell you
about this week.
biggest application in this week's batch comes from Cumulus,
which filed to move WFAS-FM (103.9 White Plains) to Bronxville,
New York. For now, WFAS-FM will stay put at its current transmitter
site in Greenburgh, just off the Sprain Parkway, but NERW expects
a subsequent application to move the station's transmitter within
New York city limits.
As a pre-1964 grandfathered station, WFAS-FM doesn't have
to protect its second-adjacent neighbors on the Empire State
Building, WKTU (103.5 Lake Success) and WAXQ (104.3 New York),
but it does have to stay at least 15 km from WPAT-FM (93.1 Paterson
NJ), which is also on Empire. That means it's likely to end up
somewhere in the Bronx, where it will probably end up joining
another move-in, Cox's WCTZ (96.7 Stamford CT, moving to Port
Will Cumulus hang on to the station after the move, or will
it become trade bait? Stay tuned...
Meanwhile, out at the other end of the state, Farm and Home
Broadcasting is applying to get WFRM-FM (96.7 Coudersport PA)
out of its economically-troubled hometown and into the larger
Olean market. Coudersport was the home base of Adelphia Communications,
and the economic boom there under the Rigas family has quickly
gone bust, with the collapse of the company, the convictions
of its founders and the impending closure of the Adelphia call
center that provided much of the town's employment base.
While WFRM (600) will stay in Coudersport, the FM side wants
to cross the state line to Portville, New York, running 460 watts
at 155 meters from a communications tower on Savage Hollow Road
And on the Ohio end
of Pennsylvania, Cumulus is again trying to move WWIZ (103.9
Mercer) closer to the center of its Youngstown-based cluster.
WWIZ's studios are already at the Cumulus compound in Youngstown,
and now Cumulus is applying to change its city of license to
West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, just south of Sharon.
WWIZ's transmitter wouldn't move, at least under the current
application, but that's the least of Cumulus' problems. A statement
attached to the application refers to the infamous "Note
4" of the FCC's new multiple-ownership rules. That's the
clause that blocks stations from changing city of license if
their owners are grandfathered above current ownership caps -
and with eight stations in the Youngstown market, Cumulus is
indeed grandfathered there.
In its statement, Cumulus says its WWIZ move wouldn't increase
concentration of ownership in the market. And because of the
way the rules changed - meaning that the WWIZ move wouldn't "implement
an approved community of license change (i.e., a rule making)"
- Cumulus believes it's exempt from the provisions of Note 4.
If it's not, and if the FCC won't grant a waiver, Cumulus says
it will simply drop the application so it doesn't have to divest
anything in the market.
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*In other news from around NEW YORK, the new "Fresh
FM" (WWFS 102.7 New York) has added its first air talent.
Long Island native Mike Perry, formerly of WOLL in West Palm
Beach, will take the 3-8 PM shift at Fresh.
On Long Island, WLIE (540 Islip) has flipped from business
talk to Spanish religion under Otto Miller's Principal Broadcasting
Network, which is LMA'ing it from Stu Henry's Long Island Multimedia
in anticipation of a $14 million purchase.
Michael Celenza, who already owns Long Island translator W284AZ
(104.7 Selden), is buying another translator. His new Apple Community
Broadcasting will pay $10,000 for the construction permit for
W286AN (101.5 Plainview); no word on what the signal will relay
when it gets on the air.
Heading up the Hudson
Valley, Pamal took over from Clear Channel on Thursday at WBPM
(92.9 Saugerties) and WGHQ (920 Kingston). At WBPM, Clear Channel's
oldies are out, and classic hits are in. No airstaff have been
announced yet, except for a website mention of Jack Hammer in
morning drive. Randy Turner's in the PD chair.
On the AM side, WGHQ keeps the leased-time "Kingston
Community Radio" in mornings and Rush Limbaugh from noon-3
PM, but the rest of the programming flips from Clear Channel's
news-talk to a simulcast of the standards format Pamal runs down
the valley at WBNR (1260 Beacon) and WLNA (1420 Peekskill), including
a partial simulcast of the "Good Morning Hudson Valley"
morning show and ABC satellite standards the rest of the day.
While we're in the Valley, we note the passing of longtime
WKNY (1490 Kingston) polka show host Bronislaw Hudela, who died
Monday (Jan. 29) at 88. Hudela hosted "Polkatime Sunday"
since 1948, and even anchored the news on the long-defunct WKNY-TV
(Channel 66) when it signed on in the fifties.
There's a new live afternoon show at Syracuse's "Movin'"
(WWLF-FM 100.3 Sylvan Lake/WOLF-FM 96.7 Oswego, plus a 96.5 Syracuse
translator). "Yo Sunny Joe" Allen, formerly with WBMW
(106.5 Ledyard CT), and at several New York City stations before
that, is now being heard in PM drive in the Salt City.
In Elmira, WENY-TV (Channel 36) is losing its news director
and lead anchor, as Jody Davis heads to Peoria and the ND chair
at WMBD-TV (Channel 31).
*There's a new tower up in MASSACHUSETTS.
Carter Broadcasting's WCRN (830 Worcester) put up a new fourth
tower at its transmitter site on Thursday, and with the tower
up and a new ground system in place, "True Talk 830"
is almost ready to boost its night power from its present 5 kW
to 50 kW - just in time for Red Sox opening day, as the station
becomes the Sox affiliate for Worcester and much of the Metro
West region, where new flagship WRKO (680) doesn't reach well
after dark. Veteran consultant and station owner Clark Smidt
is on board at WCRN helping the station take maximum advantage
of its impending power increase, too.
Another Worcester station is keeping its engineers busy, too.
Community station WCUW (91.3) was off the air for almost a week
after losing the tube in its transmitter. WCUW's suffered money
problems, and it took an emergency fundraiser to bring in enough
money to obtain a replacement tube (as well as to pay the heating
bill for the station's Main Street studios.) The station returned
to the air on Thursday, but it's still asking for help from its
listeners as it copes with other financial issues, including
rising music-rights fees from ASCAP and BMI.
music-rights bills have put Bob Bittner's WJIB (740 Cambridge)
in the headlines lately, too, as he copes with a change in the
fee structure that will take his fees from a few hundred dollars
a month to well into four figures.
That's usually not a big chunk of money for a commercial music
station in a big market, but Bob's not your usual broadcast owner.
He runs the station (and sister station WJTO 730 in Bath, Maine)
all by himself, covering his expenses by leasing airtime on weekends
(and, until recently, two hours of morning drive to Radio France
International), without selling any spot advertising.
So when WJIB began showing in the ratings, prompting the increase
in rights fees, what would have been cause for celebration anywhere
else became a problem for Bob. He's now contemplating taking
WJIB and WJTO to a listener-supported model, and he's talking
about simulcasting both stations from his studio up in Maine.
Paul Perry is the new afternoon jock on WROR (105.7 Framingham).
The former WWBB (101.5 Providence) and WODS (103.3 Boston) jock
was last heard full-time in Chicago, at oldies WJMK (104.3) before
it flipped to "Jack" in 2005.
On TV, Dawn Hasbrouck
moves up from CONNECTICUT (WFSB in Hartford) to become
weekend evening anchor at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), which appears (at
least judging by its website as we go to press Sunday afternoon)
to be rebranding from "CBS 4" to simply..."W-B-Z."
(Anyone else remember the old Westinghouse three-box "W-B-Z"
logo in the days before Group W?)
On Cape Cod, Qantum blew out a big chunk of its staff, including
WCIB (101.9 Falmouth) morning man Larry Egan and middayer Shelley
Stuart, as well as newsman Bill Lowell. WCIB's looking for a
new morning host; it's using WRZE (96.3 Nantucket) night jock
Jen Arra to do middays at WCIB.
predicted last week, progressive talk is now a thing of the past
in New Haven, CONNECTICUT, where Clear Channel flipped
WAVZ (1300) to ESPN sports on Sunday afternoon at 4, just in
time for that big football game.
Will there be an outcry over the disappearance of "The
Voice" on 1300, as there's been over the end of progressive
talk in Boston, Madison and other markets? Clear Channel kept
this format change more low-key than previous flips, and so far
we're not hearing about much in the way of protests.
Meanwhile, one channel down, WTMI (1290 West Hartford) has
applied to change its calls back to WCCC(AM). Is a change from
the classical format imminent there?
*In MAINE, Doug Rafferty is leaving
the 6 PM anchor chair at Portland's WGME (Channel 13), settling
in as a sort of community ambassador for the station. Gregg Lagerquist
takes over the 6 PM newscast there.
*A call change in NEW JERSEY: with
EMF Broadcasting's "K-Love" taking over at WSJI (89.5
Cherry Hill), the station's now WKVP, with the P standing for
And Michelle Jerson, formerly of "New Jersey 101.5"
(WKXW 101.5 Trenton) and Sirius' "Howard 100 News,"
has a new gig - she takes over nights at Washington's "Free
FM" (WJFK-FM 106.7 Manassas VA) tonight, alongside Michael
*In PENNSYLVANIA, we can clear up
some callsign confusion in Erie: though it initially announced
it was changing calls to WFGO, the oldies station on 1330 will
remain WFNN for now. Why not pick up the calls of the former
"Froggy" FM (now WXBB, "94.7 Bob FM") along
with the format? NERW suspects the idea is to keep the WFNN calls
out of the hands of crosstown WRIE (1260), which has picked up
the sports format formerly heard on 1330.
In the York area, Cumulus is applying to move WGLD (1440 Red
Lion) to a new city of license and a new transmitter site. WGLD
(ex-WTHM, ex-WGCB) has been operating on and off from a longwire
antenna at its Red Lion site ever since tower construction for
sister station WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) disrupted its original facility.
Now Citadel wants to change WGLD's city of license to Manchester
Township, moving the station to the WSBA (910) site with 730
watts day, 53 watts night, non-directional.
Near Scranton, GEOS Communications had to make a speedy move
of WGMF, Tunkhannock (107.7) after a dispute with the owner of
the tower the station was using. In an FCC filing, WGMF says
the spat over an electrical panel at the site led to the tower
owner cutting off power to its transmitter. WGMF has found a
new site on a pole a few hundred feet away on Brier Mountain,
and it's now operating there under STA with 1.1 kW/725', while
applying to license that site as its new main facility.
In Pittsburgh, they're mourning another former KDKA (1020)
personality. Bob Tracey (real name: Bob Michel) worked the overnight
and later the midday shift at KD from 1954 until 1968, later
working at WJAS (1320) and Metro Networks. His other big passion
was motorcycles, and after leaving the station, he opened a motorcycle
dealership near Pittsburgh. Tracey died Jan. 26, at 83.
There's an obit from Philadelphia as well - former WXTU (92.5)
PD Kevin O'Neal (real name: Raymond Frazier) died in Nashville
last weekend. O'Neal had most recently been working at KCYE in
Las Vegas. He was just 46, and had reportedly been suffering
from health problems.
*A few tidbits from CANADA: in Halifax,
"Crash" Carter and "Mars" McDonald are out
as morning jocks at CHNS-FM (89.9 Hal FM), replaced by Joe Leary.
In Saint John, New Brunswick, the campus station at the University
of New Brunswick Saint John wants to change frequency and boost
power. CFMH (92.5) says it's suffering interference from the
new CFRK (92.3) up in Fredericton, so it's asking to move to
107.3 and increase power to 250 watts/50.5 meters.
There's a new campus station coming to Pickering College in
Newmarket, north of Toronto. The 5-watt signal on 102.7 will
operate 28 hours a week with a wide-ranging music format.
In Arnprior, My Broadcasting's CHMY-FM-1 gets a frequency
change and a power boost. It needed to vacate 104.7 to make room
for the AM-to-FM move of Ottawa's CJRC (1150), and now it'll
go to 107.7 with 1 kW.
Way up in Thunder
Bay, CKPR (580) has been granted a move to FM. It'll operate
with 100 kW on 91.5, joining sister station CJSD (94.3) on the
FM dial and leaving the AM dial empty there. (The other commercial
AM, CJLB 1230, moved to FM in the mid-nineties, and the CBC's
CBQ 800 left AM in 1990.)
A Toronto traffic helicopter crashed during a maintenance
run Friday afternoon. The leased chopper, which provided traffic
reports for Corus' AM 640, Q107 and 102.1 the Edge, went down
in Waterloo, injuring the pilot and a mechanic. Nobody from the
stations was on board when the accident occurred.
And as Toronto's 1050 CHUM gets ready for its fiftieth anniversary
May 27, it's launched a new anniversary
web page and special programming, including a daily hour
(11 AM-noon) of the 1973 "History of Rock and Roll"
*You know that cold that's been going around all week? It
hit here at NERW Central, too, and so we trust you'll understand
when we say that the promised Part II of our programming Rant
didn't quite get done in time for this week's (ah-choo!) issue...and
that it will be right here in this space next Monday. See you
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!)
February 6, 2006 -
- So much for the oldies on Buffalo's WWKB (1520) - after a
three-year run with the format (almost to the day, actually),
they're gone, as of 3 PM Monday, replaced with liberal talk.
And that means two liberal talkers in Buffalo, unless Entercom's
pre-emptive strike on 1520 knocks WHLD's plans out before the
new station can even get out of the gate.
- There are certainly bigger stories making headlines in PENNSYLVANIA
this week - especially for football fans anywhere west of Harrisburg
or thereabouts - but for fans of old-time radio history, there's
a pretty significant story developing in the small town of Grove
City, halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie.
- That's where one of the last vestiges of the early history
of educational radio may now have breathed its last. WSAJ (1340)
traced its history back to amateur station 8CO, which began operations
in 1914. Sadly, WSAJ's long run on the AM dial now appears to
be over. The station added an FM service on 91.1 in the eighties,
and the AM facility's been somewhat neglected ever since. Its
1950-vintage transmitter was out of service for a while, and
the old cage antenna was damaged a few years ago. And while the
antenna was fixed and a new LPB transmitter installed, WSAJ's
management apparently lost interest in their historic little
treasure somewhere along the way. Last week, word began circulating
that there wouldn't be a renewal application filed for WSAJ(AM),
and it now appears that the FCC has cancelled WSAJ's license
and deleted the AM callsign.
- That's stirred concern among some NERW readers, who wonder
whether it's possible to save this nifty little relic of another
era of broadcasting. From what we've heard, there are engineers
and FCC experts out there who are willing to take on the task
of trying to get the license renewed and putting the AM 1340
signal back on the air - and there's apparently a closed-circuit
student station on campus that would no doubt appreciate having
the over-the-air signal, even with only 100 watts. (Students
are heard for four hours nightly on WSAJ-FM, which runs satellite-delivered
classical and jazz for the remainder of its broadcast day.) Does
Grove City College know what it's on the verge of losing for
good? And is it too late to do anything about it? (2007 update:
Apparently the answers are no, and yes; WSAJ has now been deleted
- Elsewhere in the Keystone State, WAMO (860 Millvale-Pittsburgh)
announced that it will join Radio One's new urban talk network
beginning February 27, adding Radio One's 10 AM-7 PM schedule
to a lineup that already includes Tom Joyner's morning show and
the local Bev Smith talk show in the evening. WAMO had been carrying
on the "Majic" R&B oldies format that was simulcast
with the former WJJJ (107.1 Greensburg), which relaunched last
week as "Sam FM" WGSM under new owner Renda.
- Near Binghamton, WEBO (1330 Owego) is getting a new owner,
as Terry Coleman's Tioga Broadcasting sells the station to Radigan
Broadcasting for $50,000. "Radigan Broadcasting" is
Dave Radigan, formerly of Rochester's WBBF and more recently
an assignment editor at WROC-TV (Channel 8). (There must have
been something in the water at WBBF in the late nineties - Dave
was working with Joe "Bobby Hatfield" Reilly, who got
into ownership at WHLM in Pennsylvania not long afterward...)
- It's the end of the line for more than half a century of
community radio at two eastern MASSACHUSETTS AM stations. The
Asher family, which put WJDA (1300 Quincy) on the air in 1947
(the calls stand for James D. Asher) and which has owned WESX
(1230 Salem) for years, is selling the stations, for $4.5 million.
The buyer is Principal Broadcasting Network, with financial support
from Mercury Capital Partners, and when the deal closes, Principal
principal Otto Miller (who ran New York's WNWK and WKDM for Multicultural
Broadcasting) will reportedly flip the stations to a religious
format similar to that at WDJZ (1530 Bridgeport CT).
February 4, 2002 -
- A 48-year legacy of television broadcasting from the highest
point in the Northeast is coming to an end within days, as WMTW-TV
(Channel 8) shuts down its transmitter atop Mount Washington,
NEW HAMPSHIRE in favor of a new tower west of Sebago Lake in
Maine. While Portland-area viewers will notice little change
in their WMTW-TV service, the move is causing some interesting
side effects in the North Country. Cable systems in places like
Berlin, Gorham and Lancaster all used WMTW-TV as their ABC affiliate,
but they won't receive service from the new Sebago Lake site.
- And that, in turn, ends up being very good news for Manchester
ABC affiliate WMUR-TV (Channel 9), which has long operated two
LPTVs in the North Country. W27BL in Berlin and WMUR-LP (Channel
29) in Littleton carried WMUR newscasts, but were barred from
carrying WMUR's ABC programming because of WMTW-TV. With channel
8 gone from the area, both signals (which dropped Fox late last
year and were running only the local newscasts) will begin carrying
the full WMUR schedule to North Country broadcast and cable viewers
- That brings us to MASSACHUSETTS, home of the World Champion
New England Patriots, and we're just sorry we don't still live
in Boston as we write this Sunday night. Sure, we're happy for
Messrs. Kraft, Belichick, Brady, et al...but we're especially
pleased for the team's longtime radio announcers, former Pats
coach Gino Cappelletti and veteran WBZ sports director Gil Santos.
It's taken far too long for Gil and Gino to be able to announce
a championship, and for a while there, we were afraid they'd
both retire without getting the chance. (Alas, only those within
range of the WBCN signal were able to hear Gil and Gino's call
of the game; NFL rules restrict home-team coverage to flagship
stations only, so the rest of New England had to listen to the
Westwood One network coverage.)
- The Pats' win will be one of the last big stories to be covered
on Fox Sports New England's late-night "Regional Sports
Report." Budget cuts at the regional network mean FSNE's
10 PM and weekend reports will be cancelled at the end of this
week, leaving only the 6:30 PM show. Among the job cuts: anchors
Eric Frede and John Holt.
- The big news in NEW YORK came from Buffalo - and we don't
mean the windy, windy weather last Friday. The winds of change
continued to blow hard at the Entercom cluster in the Queen City
earlier in the week, as Clip Smith was informed (upon arriving
to work on Tuesday) that his 6-10 PM talk show on WBEN (930)
had been cancelled and his services were no longer required.
Smith, a former sports anchor at WKBW-TV, came to WBEN in early
2000 as part of the format changes that turned his former home
of WGR into an all-sports station. Smith's time slot is being
filled by an hour of news at 6, followed by the Laura Schlessinger
show formerly heard from 9 AM until noon. Moving into that slot
is Tom Bauerle, who finally leaves the WGR sports format in which
he'd been an uncomfortable fit since being paired with Chris
"Bulldog" Parker in 2000. There's already plenty of
speculation in Buffalo media circles that Bauerle's being groomed
for morning drive at WBEN - and that the Laura move is just a
prelude to her disappearance from the Buffalo airwaves.
February 1, 1997-
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- Wanna buy a tower? The five-tower site
in Ashland MA that's home to WBPS (890 Dedham-Boston) is up for
sale, according to an ad in this week's Broadcasting & Cable.
The ad claims the 40-acre site can be used for all kinds of communications,
including beepers, cellphone, LPTV, and FM. The site is priced
at $3.5 million. This could be interesting for WBPS, as word
has it that they've had a hard time maintaining their directional
pattern as it is. The site was built in 1980 for John Garabedian's
WGTR (1060 Natick), which was upgrading from a 1000-watt non-directional
daytimer. WGTR later became WBIV (with a few stops along the
way), and then in 1994, the station's physical plant was sold
to Douglas Broadcasting, which used them to put WBMA (later WBPS)
on the air on 890, leaving 1060 dark.
- An unusual partnership between a noncommercial
FM and a commercial AM station is making headlines in Amherst
MA. WFCR (88.5) is leasing eight hours a day from WTTT (1430
Amherst), to broadcast programming that's otherwise unavailable
in the area. The "WFCR on WTTT" schedule runs weekdays
from 10am till 6pm, and includes "The Connection" from
Boston's WBUR, "Monitor Radio Midday Edition," "The
Derek McGinty Show" from WAMU in Washington, "Talk
of the Nation" from NPR, "The World" from WGBH
in Boston, and "The Diane Rehm Show" from WAMU. WTTT
broadcasts short underwriting announcements at the start and
end of each hour, and the stations split the revenue. The public
radio programming replaces Bloomberg business news on WTTT.
- More from the pirate front: It seems
Bloomfield CT's "Praise 105.3" was even claiming to
have call letters for a time. "FMedia!" says the station
went by "WPRZ," calls which belong to AM 1250 in Warrenton
VA. The station was reportedly running 60 watts. Meantime, "Radio
Free Allston" in the Boston area is looking far and wide
for support. Its founder has been running notices in the newsletter
of the National Writers Union local, asking for support for the
station and promising that it will feature copious coverage of
local arts. No sign of any actual broadcasting on 88.5 so far.
- O Canada...where have you gone?: That's
what CBC listeners in New England could be wondering in a few
years. The CBC has applied to move its Montreal outlet, CBM,
from 940 to 88.7 FM. CBM's 50 kilowatt signal blankets the region
at night. Another Montreal-area AM, CKVL (850 Verdun) is one
of the applicants for the vacant 95.1 FM slot. With CKVL gone,
night power could be in the offing for WREF (850 Ridgefield CT),
and Boston's 50kW WEEI could improve its pattern to the northwest
considerably. Competing for 95.1 is the CBC's French-language
CBF (690), which has one of the best AM signals in the northeast.
CBF's disappearance from the airwaves would allow WADS (690)
in Ansonia CT to stay on all night, and could allow a 690 somewhere
in upstate New York as well. Another Montreal FM frequency could
open up if CIME 99.5 Ste.-Adele is granted a move to 103.9. One
broadcaster has already applied for 99.5 in Montreal.
- And that closes the books on the final
column to come to you from Waltham MA. NERW hits the road this
weekend, and you can expect the next column to arrive from Rochester
NY sometime next week. We'll see you then!
*It's here! As seen in the St.
Paul Pioneer Press, the Chicago
Sun-Times, and soon on WCVB's "Chronicle,"
Tower Site Calendar 2007 is not only now shipping - it's
close to a sellout! If you're waiting for the 2007 edition to
go on clearance sale, don't keep waiting - the word from the
shipping department is that fewer than 200 copies remain, and
we expect to sell them all in the next month or two.
This year's edition
features what we think are the finest tower images yet - from
the cover image of WCCO Minneapolis all the way to the back-cover
centerfold of WBZ in Boston, and from KGO San Francisco to KOIL
Omaha to Philadelphia's famed Roxborough tower farm, captured
in a dramatic dusk shot with the lights all aglow.
This sixth annual edition once again contains plenty of historic
dates from radio and television history in the Northeast and
beyond, and as always, it comes to you shrink-wrapped and shipped
first class mail for safe arrival.
You can even get your 2007 calendar free with
your new or renewal subscription
to NERW at the $60 level.
Visit the Fybush.com
Store and place your order today - and be among the first
to get the Tower Site Calendar 2007!
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
2007 by Scott Fybush.