February 19, 2007
A Great Week for NE Radio History
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2007 - SELLING OUT FAST!!!
*Almost two months after his retirement celebration
began, MASSACHUSETTS radio icon Gary LaPierre received
two more honors last week from the station he called home for
a remarkable 44 years.
(1030) inaugurated the "WBZ Radio Hall of Fame" Friday
morning, inducting LaPierre as its first member in a ceremony
that included the unveiling of a bronze plaque mounted on the
front wall of the station's Allston studios - and leaving the
veteran morning host uncharacteristically speechless.
"The WBZ Hall of Fame will recognize those WBZ broadcasters
whose presence had a significant impact on crafting WBZ's image
in the industry and the community," says Peter Casey, WBZ's
director of news and programming. He says WBZ will add other
members to the Hall of Fame soon, and if you're thinking of names
such as Glick, Maynard, DeSuze and Brudnoy, you're in the right
ballpark. (And speaking of ballparks, the LaPierre plaque was
made by the same firm that creates the plaques for the Baseball
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.)
LaPierre's retirement celebration wrapped up Friday night
with a party for current and former staffers at the Copley Plaza
Hotel, at which he was roasted by longtime morning colleague
Gil Santos and saluted by GM Ted Jordan and a crowd of WBZ'ers
past and present, including many of the newsroom staffers who
were there for the transition to the all-news format in the early
nineties. (And no, your editor wasn't even the most distant attendee;
AP Radio News anchor Ed Donahue came up from his current post
in Washington for what several BZ'ers called "a high school
By the way, that is indeed a cake in the shape of Gary's
head, below, and it's decorated with cutouts of Gary at various
ages, which were also distributed to the guests at the party.
LaPierre and wife Peg appear to be thoroughly enjoying their
retirement, with Peg reporting that Gary's having no problem
sleeping in after all those early mornings. And be sure to check
out wbz1030.com to see production ace Mike Coleman's video tribute
to Gary, complete with some priceless clips of old TV campaigns
But that's not the only moving piece of video we saw in our
quick weekend jaunt to our old New England stomping grounds...
He calls it a "birthday card" to radio, but the
Chronicle episode that WCVB's Art Donahue shot, wrote
and produced, and which airs Friday night, is really more like
a love letter to our medium.
Art's spent almost two months working on the half-hour show,
and it's truly a work of art, featuring interviews with everyone
from Dale Dorman to Arnie "Woo-Woo" Ginsburg to Gary
LaPierre to Sophie Zembruski, who's been doing the polka show
on WATR (1320 Waterbury CT) since 1934. The show also features
some of our favorite station owners, including WATD's Ed Perry
and WDEV's Ken Squier, plus some rare bits of radio history from
New Hampshire's Ed Brouder, Boston's Donna Halper, WTIC's Jeff
Hugabone and, yes, your editor's in there with that august group,
It's beautifully shot in HD, as the stills below demonstrate,
and it's a must-see for anyone interested in New England radio.
See for yourself Friday night (Feb. 23) at 7:30 on Boston's WCVB
(Channel 5) - and if you're not in range of Boston TV, find yourself
a friend in the Hub with a VCR or DVR to record it for you. It's
(And wait - there's even more broadcast history fun on the
way from 5 TV Place; while we were there watching a preview of
the Chronicle show on Saturday, we spotted WCVB's 35th
anniversary special being edited, and we'll be watching for that,
too, as the station approaches that milestone in a month's time.)
You can have
your ad here! Click
for information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands
of Northeast radio and TV people each week.
*In other news from around the Bay State, it's just over a
week until moving day for CBS Radio's WZLX (100.7 Boston), which
is leaving the Prudential Tower after 13 years on the 24th floor
for new digs in the former WSBK (Channel 38) building in Brighton,
already home to sister stations WODS (103.3) and WBCN (104.1).
When WZLX moves on March 2, it will leave the Pru with no radio
studios for the first time since the early seventies, when CBS
moved WEEI (590) and WEEI-FM (103.3) into the building. Over
the years, the Pru has also been home to studios for WBCN and
WVBF/WKLB/WROR, and of course its rooftop tower remains an important
FM transmitter site.
remarkably, WZLX's move will leave Boston's Back Bay with no
commercial radio stations for the first time since the thirties;
just as New York's radio stations have decamped from midtown
Manhattan for the cheaper rents downtown and in New Jersey, Dorchester
and Brighton have now become the hotbeds of broadcast activity
in the Hub.
Radio People on the Move: Ron Bowen is inbound from South
Carolina's WCOO to be the new operations manager at WXRV (92.5
Andover); his AAA credentials include the sign-on of WRNR in
Annapolis, Maryland back in the early nineties. Julia Clarke
is departing WUMB (91.9 Boston), where she's been music director
and morning co-host, for a new job in music promotion with Songlines,
Ltd. Boston Radio Watch reports John "Hutch"
Hutchinson, last heard as WBCN's local host of the ill-fated
David Lee Roth morning show, has resurfaced on Sunday afternoons
at WZLX. Mark Calandrello is inbound to WBMX (98.5 Boston) as
promotion director; he filled the same role at WPBZ in West Palm
Beach. And Entercom GM Julie Kahn is a newlywed; the Globe
reports she's gotten hitched to Boston Magazine president
(88.5 Amherst) has signed on a new translator. W242AT (96.3 Williamstown)
extends the public radio station's coverage into the northwesternmost
corner of Massachusetts, joining a nearby translator on 101.1
in North Adams, and WFCR says it's working to get three more
Berkshire County translators on the air in the near future.
And on our way out of Boston over the weekend, we stopped
in Leicester to see the new fourth tower at WCRN (830 Worcester),
which is now testing its new 50 kW night signal. As WCRN gets
the new night pattern tuned up, it's being heard everywhere from
Sweden to Michigan at the moment.
*An old RHODE ISLAND callsign is returning
to the airwaves, as the construction permit for 1370 in Charlestown
applies for the calls WKFD. Those calls were on 1370 in nearby
Wickford from the sixties until that station went dark in the
late nineties, and they'll now return to the frequency, albeit
with somewhat less coverage of southern Rhode Island than the
old Wickford facility had.
*We'll start our NEW YORK report this
week in Albany, where EMF Broadcasting is putting both of its
national religious networks on the air at once with a two-station
LMA (eventually to become a purchase) from Ed Levine's Galaxy
Broadcasting. As of Friday, rocker "The Bone" is gone
- and its simulcast signals have been replaced by contemporary
Christian "K-Love" (on WBOE 94.5 Ravena) and Christian
rock "Air One" (on WOOB 93.7 Scotia).
had struggled to find a foothold in the Albany market, where
its pair of class A signals was up against much bigger clusters
owned by Clear Channel, Regent and Pamal/Albany Broadcasting.
It's in a stronger position in its remaining markets, Utica and
Syracuse, where Levine will now focus all his resources.
As for EMF, the Albany purchases extend an upstate "K-Love"
foothold that already includes signals in Rochester, Utica and
Given the network's explosive growth in the last few years,
we're pretty sure it's not done buying yet.
In the Hudson Valley, Bob Dunphy exits as VP/market manager
of the local Clear Channel cluster, heading to Dallas, where
he'll serve as senior VP/station operations for First Broadcasting.
No replacement's been named yet in Poughkeepsie.
Way out west in the Southern Tier, where the Pembrook Pines
group has put its newest signal on the air. WQRW (93.5 Wellsville)
signed on a few days ago as "Q-93.5," with a satellite-delivered
rhythmic AC format. It's a sister station to WZKZ (101.9 Alfred).
Nexstar's WROC-TV (Channel 8) in Rochester has been looking
for a news director for a few months now, and suddenly it's got
a vacancy down the hall in the general manager's office, as Marc
Jaromin departs after just over a year in that role. Jaromin's
predecessor, Tim Busch, returns from his Nexstar corporate post
to serve as interim GM for WROC, which also manages Sinclair's
WUHF (Channel 31).
Entercom is shuffling the program lineup at its two upstate
progressive talkers. In Buffalo, the Leslie Marshall show on
WWKB (1520) is history after a year of "local" broadcasting
from southern California. In her place is a live clearance of
Ed Schultz (noon-3), followed by a live clearance of Randi Rhodes
(3-6, with the first hour repeated from 6-7), then a Stephanie
Miller rebroadcast at 7 and Lionel at 10.
At sister station WROC (950 Rochester), the new daytime lineup
is identical to WWKB's - Bill Press in morning drive, Miller
at 9, Schultz at noon and Rhodes at 3. At 6, WROC continues its
simulcast of the WROC-TV 6 PM news, followed by Rachel Maddow
at 6:30, and then at 8 the Rochester debut of "Democracy
Now," which local progressive activists have long been pushing
to get on the air here. That's followed by Lionel from 9-midnight
(with an interruption at 11 for another WROC-TV news simulcast),
"Politically Direct" at midnight and Joey Reynolds
overnight. (We tuned in Thursday, the first day of the new schedule,
to hear "Democracy Now," only to find it preempted
by a Sabres hockey game, which will be a somewhat regular occurrence
during the NHL season.)
In Utica, Fred Miller and Gene Conti move from Clear Channel's
"Sports Stars" (WUTQ/WRNY/WADR/WIXT) to Regent's WIBX
(950), where they take over as hosts of the 6-8 PM "Sportswatch"
show. Former hosts Dave Richards and news director George Tharalson
remain with the station.
Up in the North Country, we've neglected to note the grant
of a construction permit to WICY (1490 Malone) to move to 1500.
The one-channel move will allow WICY to boost its daytime power
from 1 kW to 50 kW, with the tradeoff of becoming a daytime-only
signal, albeit one that blasts across the border into Montreal.
In New York, WEPN (1050) has hired Mike Missanelli, former
WIP Philadelphia sports talker, to serve as co-host of
Stephen A. Smith's midday show. And WEPN hired Andrew Marchand
away from the New York Post to serve as managing editor,
a new position at the ESPN Radio outlet.
(92.7 Garden City) is apparently changing its calls to WQBU,
for its new "Que Buena" regional Mexican format, but
somehow the call change was filed at the FCC for sister station
WCAA (105.9 Newark NJ); we expect that to be straightened out
Out on Long Island's East End, we're hearing that WPKM (88.7
Montauk), which relays WPKN (89.5 Bridgeport CT), has been off
the air with equipment problems for several weeks.
And on TV, a big loss in the New York news community: WNBC
(Channel 4) reporter/anchor Ralph Penza died Friday morning at
74. Penza's long career included stops at WABC-TV, WCBS-TV and
Philadelphia's WCAU-TV. He had been at WNBC since 1980, with
a brief hiatus in 1996-97.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, the FCC's on its
way to town to hear what the public (or at least a small self-selected
segment thereof) has to say about ownership consolidation and
localism. FCC commissioners will be in Harrisburg on Friday for
a hearing at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, the
third in a series of such events to be held around the country.
The session will begin with a panel discussion (with panelists
yet to be announced) at 9:30 AM, followed by a public hearing
scheduled to start at 11 and end at 2:30, with a short break
Is an FM talk future getting closer at Pittsburgh's WRKZ (93.7)?
"K-Rock" middayer/promotions director Megan Slater
is exiting, with no replacement named yet.
In Philadelphia, the brief but well-remembered run of modern
rock on WDRE (103.9 Jenkintown, previously WIBF and today black
gospel WPPZ) will be saluted Wednesday night from 8-11 on WXPN
(88.5)'s "Y-Rock on XPN" programming block. Y-Rock
PD Jim McGuinn was WDRE's PD back in the day, and he'll host
a reunion of former DRE jocks to mark the 10th anniversary of
the station's end.
Former WHAT (1340 Philadelphia) talk host Mary Mason is moving
to WWDB (860 Philadelphia), for a leased-time show on Saturdays
from noon to 2.
On the TV side, WNEP (Channel 16) in Scranton will need a
new news director along with its new ownership. Dennis Fisher
is leaving the station after four years, moving to the ND chair
of Harrisburg's WHTM (Channel 27) to replace Keith Blaisdell.
In Towanda, Comcast is pulling Elmira's WETM (Channel 18)
off the cable system in early March. Comcast says one NBC affiliate,
Wilkes-Barre's WBRE (Channel 28) is enough - but WETM is protesting
the move, arguing that it covers events in Towanda and Bradford
County more than WBRE ever does. (What's really at stake here,
and in similar disputes, isn't so much the 1500 viewers that
the Towanda system serves, but the shifts in market size that
can result when Nielsen moves small fringe counties in and out
of small markets like Elmira as a result; gaining or losing a
few thousand potential viewers can move a little market up or
down a few positions in the rankings.)
*There's a new general manager at Press'
NEW JERSEY coastal cluster ("Breeze" WWZY/WBHX,
"G-Rock" WHTG-FM/WBBO, WKMK and WHTG), as Wes Matejka
arrives from Entercom Memphis, where he was director of sales.
MAINE, WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) applies for new calls WFMX,
last used in North Carolina, to better match its "Mix"
There's a new format coming to the FM dial in central Maine,
as Light of Life Ministries prepares to shuffle formats on its
cluster of religious stations. On March 2, the "God's Country"
Christian country format now heard on WMDR (1340 Augusta) will
move to WMDR-FM (88.9 Oakland) and its translators in Portland,
Freeport and Bangor, displacing the "Zap" Christian
rock format now heard there. There's no word yet on what will
show up as a new format on 1340.
*The AM dial is getting ever quieter in
CANADA's Maritime provinces. It's already empty in Prince
Edward Island, and soon you may be able to count Nova Scotia's
remaining AM signals on the toes of one foot.
Halifax was one of the earliest cities in which the CBC moved
its Radio One service from AM to FM, silencing CBH (860) in favor
of CBHA (90.5) way back in 1989. Now Sydney, the principal city
on Cape Breton Island, will soon lose CBI (1140). The CBC has
applied to move CBI to FM, on 97.1, with 100 kW DA/123 m. If
the move is granted, and once the various other AM-to-FM moves
that the CRTC has approved (including CHER 950 Sydney) are carried
out, Sydney will be left with only CJCB (1270) on AM, keeping
company with remaining Nova Scotia AM signals CJCH (920 Halifax),
CKDH (900 Amherst), CKAD (1350 Middleton), CKDY (1420 Digby)
and CFAB (1450 Windsor) - and CFAB has applied for a move to
The CBI application is only one of a pile of Sydney applications
that the CRTC will consider at an April 16 hearing in Membertou,
NS. Barry Maxwell Martin applied for 103.5 (26.5 kW/170 m) for
a rock station, Newcap applied for 101.9 (100 kW DA/123 m) for
a classic rock station, Andrew Newman applied for 93.1 (50 kW/86
m) for an AC station, and HFX Broadcasting applied for 100.9
(23.4 kW DA/168 m) for a "youth contemporary" station.
More applications to be considered at the April CRTC hearing:
Newcap wants a new classic hits station in Kentville, NS, with
30 kW DA/251 m on 89.3. Coastal Community Radio Cooperative wants
a new community station in Glace Bay, NS, with 6 kW DA/48 m on
In Leamington, Ontario, Blackburn Radio applies for a new
country station on 92.7, with 4 kW DA/144.5 m. Across the province
in Hawkesbury, Ontario, Ottawa Media Inc. wants a "new easy
listening" signal on 107.7, with 875 watts/137 m. Up in
Carbonear, Newfoundland, Newcap is re-applying to move CHVO (560)
to FM, too, with 30 kW DA/124 m on 103.9.
one more proposed AM-to-FM move in the Maritimes this week: Astral
Media wants to take low-power relay station CJCJ-2 (990 Plaster
Rock NB) over to the FM dial, shutting off the "inefficient,
worn-out" 40-watt AM transmitter and replacing it with a
new signal on 91.7 with 50 watts/25 meters. CJCJ-2 relays CIKX
(93.5 Grand Falls), and would continue to do so on FM.
And we're sorry to report the death of Jim Paulson, who'd
been a fixture on CHWO (740 Toronto) since 1991, and for years
before that on CING, CHFI, Oshawa's CKQT and CKEY, not to mention
his early days in Winnipeg and his native Edmonton.
He was also well known as a commercial announcer and as the
announcer for motor racing events in southern Ontario. Paulson
collapsed while on an AM740 remote on Tuesday and died shortly
thereafter from a brain aneurysm. He was 67.
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 20, 2006 -
- Curt Gowdy, the legendary voice of the Red Sox who later
became a network sportscaster and station owner (at Lawrence's
WCCM/WCGY and several stations in Wyoming), died early this morning
at his home in Florida. Gowdy was 86.
- Boston's sports radio giant, Entercom's WEEI (850), is about
to reach even more of MASSACHUSETTS, now that Entercom is paying
$5.75 million to acquire WBEC-FM (105.5), the class A FM signal
that Vox is moving from its longtime home in Pittsfield to Easthampton,
where it will transmit from Mount Tom with a signal reaching
from Springfield north into most of the Pioneer Valley. The move
will extend WEEI's reach one more market to the west, joining
the mothership in Boston, Worcester's WVEI (1440) and WEEI-FM
(103.7 Westerly RI), which covers all of Rhode Island and big
chunks of eastern Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts.
- The impending sale of WJDA (1300 Quincy) and WESX (1230 Salem)
to an owner who'll lease out most of the stations' airtime to
religious and ethnic broadcasters is spurring complaints from
some North and South Shore residents. In Weymouth, selectmen
passed a resolution calling on WJDA's new owner, Otto Miller,
to retain local news coverage. Miller says he's not planning
to keep any of the stations' 13 employees once the sale closes,
and he's told several North Shore newspapers that he's looking
to move WESX's transmitter from its longtime home in Marblehead,
as well. (With WKOX on 1200 soon to move its transmitter to Oak
Hill, it's not at all clear that WESX has much room to move,
especially as far south as Lynn, where Miller has said he'd like
to move the transmitter.)
- The largest radio group in northwestern PENNSYLVANIA is getting
a new owner, as NextMedia prepares to sell its cluster of signals
in Erie to Connoisseur Media. This is the second version of Jeff
Warshaw's Connoisseur group, which had holdings in Youngstown,
Ohio, among other places, before selling to Cumulus in 2000.
Among the stations Warshaw owned in Youngstown was WHOT (101.1),
one of the stations founded by legendary broadcaster Myron Jones
- and among the stations Warshaw will get with the $17.35 million
purchase of the NextMedia Erie properties is WJET (1400), which
was once Jones' flagship property. The cluster also includes
sports talker WFNN (1330 Erie), country WUSE (93.9 Fairview),
oldies WFGO (94.7 Erie), classic rock WRKT (100.9 North East)
and top 40 WRTS (103.7 Erie). NextMedia partner Rick Rambaldo,
whose history with the stations goes back two decades to his
purchase of then-WHYP-FM and creation of "Rocket 101,"
says he hopes to remain with the cluster as station manager after
the sale closes.
February 18, 2002 -
- One of NEW YORK's biggest AM stations will soon be on the
move again, for the second time in just over three decades, thanks
to a planned golf course that would claim its transmitter site
in the New Jersey Meadowlands. WOR (710) has been at its Valley
Brook Avenue site in Lyndhurst, N.J. only since 1968, when it
moved out of its prior location in Carteret, where it had been
since the early thirties. Within a few months, though, WOR will
have to tear down these three towers and its transmitter building,
thanks to a "notice to vacate" issued by the New Jersey
- EnCAP Golf Holdings will end up with the current WOR transmitter
site, but it will have to pay for WOR's relocation. It won't
be a long move this time; the new WOR site will be just 700 meters
northeast from the current site, on a swampy spit of land along
Fish Creek within sight of Exit 16W of the New Jersey Turnpike.
To make it work, WOR has applied to the FCC to maintain its current
50 kW day and night, with a slightly different pattern that throws
deeper nulls to the northwest and southwest, but otherwise leaves
WOR's coverage essentially unchanged. The new pattern will come
from three 204-meter towers. We'll keep you updated on the first
move of a New York 50-kilowatter in decades as it progresses;
- Up in VERMONT, Vox is engineering another big allocations
move that would put a new signal into Burlington. WWOD (104.3
Hartford) would see its 104.3C3 allocation moved way across the
state - and indeed, across Lake Champlain - to Keeseville, N.Y.,
where it would put a decent signal into Burlington. The all-important
local service to Hartford would be provided by WSSH (95.3 White
River Junction), which would see its 95.3A allocation changed
to Hartford, with a power boost to 6 kW.
- CANADA's broadcast regulators are trying again to put some
new radio stations on the air in Toronto. The CRTC reissued its
call for applications this week, noting that 101.3 (the channel
currently used by multicultural CHIN to relay its 1540 AM signal
to the eastern parts of the city) is one potential frequency
for a new station or stations in Canada's biggest city. The CRTC
also cleared up its Montreal call for applications, specifying
that the call is for new AM operations, presumably on the 600,
850, 1410 and 1570 frequencies now sitting vacant.
February 7, 1997-
can sponsor this new weekly feature! Click here for information!
- The folks at WHYN AM/FM in Springfield
MA are mourning their late general manager. Mike Marder died
early Monday morning, less than two months after he was diagnosed
with leukemia. Marder had been at WHYN since early 1995, capping
a career that started at Westinghouse's KYW-TV in Philadelphia,
continuing through several other Westinghouse stations, and then
as general manager at several stations in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Marder was 53 years old. PD Gary James is serving as interim
GM for the time being.
- Connecticut TV Fun: Hartford's WHCT-TV
(Channel 18) is back on the air to beat the FCC deadline, but
the station's ownership is still up in the air. Two If By Sea
Broadcasting filed a request for emergency relief last week,
asking the FCC to hurry up and grant its purchase of the station
from a bankruptcy trustee - and the answer from the folks in
Washington was a resounding "no." Meantime, WHCT owner-to-be
Lowell Paxson has sold his other Connecticut TV property. WTWS
(Channel 26) in New London, which runs the InfoMall service,
is being sold to Roberts Broadcasting. In another bit of TV fun
to come, the Boston Globe reports Meredith Broadcasting is getting
closer to a deal to buy WABU (Channel 68) in Boston and its satellite
stations in New Hampshire and on Cape Cod...we'll see what comes
- From our new home base in Upstate New
York: Radio listeners in Rochester are hearing a familiar voice
with a not-so-familiar name. To mark his 20th anniversary on
the Flower City's airwaves, Tony Matthews of WRMM-FM (101.3)
has returned to his real name, Tony Infantino. Matthews says
he never wanted to use an air name, but the programmers who were
running WMJQ (92.5, now WBEE-FM) when he started in radio insisted.
By whatever name he uses, his morning show with Dee Alexander
is one of Rochester's highest-rated radio shows. Up in Watertown,
radio listeners are getting used to a new FM lineup. Gone is
hit radio WTNY-FM "T93.5," and new to the air is "Froggy
Country 97.5," WFRY. Rocker WCIZ, which used to occupy the
97.5 frequency, is now at WTNY-FM's old 93.5 spot, with a much
*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.