May 14, 2007
JV & Elvis Out at NYC's Free FM
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2007 - SELLING OUT FAST!!!
*The suspension is over for JV and Elvis
at NEW YORK's WFNY-FM (92.3 Free FM). As of Friday afternoon,
the mid-morning team who came to CBS Radio's Free FM from San
Francisco last year are out of work - and the talk station now
has another daypart to fill in addition to its late-night slot.
Vandergrift and Dan Lay had been off the air for over two weeks,
ever since a local Asian-American group began protesting a rebroadcast
of an old segment (originally aired in San Francisco, then later
aired at least once without incident on WFNY-FM) in which the
show called a Chinese restaurant and mocked an employee's accent.
What was acceptable even a few months ago, however, is now
problematic in the wake of the Don Imus debacle - and so after
a week of "best-of" shows and a week of fill-ins Cabbie
and Larry Wachs, JV and Elvis are gone and questions are swirling
about whether there's a future for a deliberately edgy talk station
in a world full of protests over any perceived slight.
The next Free FM hosts in the crosshairs are morning men Opie
and Anthony, who now have Al Sharpton calling for their dismissal
from CBS Radio over a segment that never even aired on the terrestrial
simulcast of their XM Satellite Radio show. The duo began their
XM show Friday by apologizing for the bit, which involved a homeless
man ranting about Queen Elizabeth II, and signed off with the
same line they've used in the past before previous dismissals
in Boston and New York.
So far, CBS appears to be standing by Opie and Anthony, but
we've seen how quickly that support can fade as protests build
- and if the O&A show were to disappear from the Free FM
schedule, the station would be on even shakier revenue ground,
raising serious questions about how long the format can survive.
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*Over at sister station WFAN (660 New York), the revenue hole
created by Don Imus' firing hasn't been filled, either, and as
Imus launches what's reported to be a $120 million wrongful-dismissal
suit against CBS Radio, the station's still trying to fill the
programming hole in morning drive, at the very least.
NBC News correspondent David Gregory is the latest fill-in,
and when he takes the morning drive reins today, he'll be the
first post-Imus host to be heard on WFAN and seen on MSNBC, which
will be producing the show in a reversal of the old Imus arrangement,
in which WFAN owned the show and sold the content to MSNBC.
Will Gregory be able to pull off the balance Imus struck for
so many years before his downfall, mixing low-brow morning humor
with top-name political interviews? As a regular Today fill-in
host, Gregory has the morning-show experience, and as NBC's White
House correspondent, he's as well-connected as it gets. We'll
be watching (and listening) to see how the experiment works.
Island, "101.7 the Beat" has returned to its previous
nickname, as WBEA (101.7 Southold) returns to "The Beach"
just in time for summer. Meanwhile, WEHM (92.9 Southampton)/WEHN
(96.9 East Hampton) PD/morning man Brian Cosgrove is leaving
the station and heading for public radio; he'll become midday
host at WLIU (88.3 Southampton) next month.
In Albany, Sally Stamp comes to WXXA (Channel 23) as general
manager, moving down the Thruway from her previous sales position
at sister station WSYR-TV (Channel 9) in Syracuse. And over at
the Times Union, Mark McGuire is the latest newspaper
TV critic to lose his gig; while he remains at the paper and
will continue to blog about TV and radio, his media writing will
be limited to a Sunday column that he describes as "a blend
of pop culture, including some TV-related coverage." The
rest of the TU's TV coverage, like so many other newspapers
today, will be limited to wire-service copy - and we'll miss
McGuire's deep reporting on the media scene to our east.
In Utica, Stew Schantz is out as PD of Galaxy's WRCK (107.3),
with budget cuts to blame.
And down in Liberty, WVOS (1240) is segueing from country
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behind a pay wall, and mandatory subscriptions are an established
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Here at fybush.com/North East
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*Our New England coverage
this week begins with a couple of "get well soon" stories.
broadcaster Dennis Jackson is in critical condition in an
Arizona hospital after a motorcycle crash in southern Utah on
Friday afternoon. Jackson, who owns a small cluster of stations
that include WQQQ (103.3 Sharon CT), WMEX (106.5 Farmington NH),
WCLX (102.9 Westport NY) and WRIP (97.9 Windham NY), was vacationing
with his son when he lost control of the cycle. He was airlifted
to a hospital in Flagstaff with multiple internal injuries, a
broken arm and a concussion.
That's the bad news - the good news is that at last report,
while Jackson was still sedated and in intensive care, his vital
signs are improving and he's expected to be off a breathing tube
We'll keep you posted as we hear more...and we're hopeful
for a full (if slow and difficult) recovery for one of our favorite
Meanwhile in MASSACHUSETTS, WBZ (1030 Boston) host
Paul Sullivan is recovering from surgery to remove another brain
tumor. The station reports that Sullivan is at home and resting
comfortably; he was scheduled to call in to guest host Dan Rea
on Friday night to update listeners on his progress.
*One other bit of CONNECTICUT news: the talk format
that had been airing on WXCT (990 Southington) under an LMA is
over; as of Thursday, the station is running Spanish contemporary
Christian "Radio Cantico Nuevo" in a simulcast with
WNSW (1430 Newark NJ).
*In VERMONT, it's all but official
that the Clear Channel stations in Burlington and Randolph are
being sold to Dean Goodman's GoodRadio.TV, LLC group. The Vermont
Guardian reports that Goodradio is spending a total of
$452 million to buy 36 markets from Clear Channel, including
the Burlington cluster of AC WEZF (92.9), oldies WVTK (92.1 Port
Henry NY), classic rock WCPV (101.3 Essex NY)/WCVR (102.1 Randolph)
and talk WXZO (96.7 Willsboro NY)/WEAV (960 Plattsburgh NY)/WTSJ
Meanwhile, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports
that the Clear Channel radio cluster there has been sold as well,
but that no buyer has been announced. Will that be GoodRadio,
*In MAINE, Jennifer Rooks is leaving
Portland's WCSH (Channel 6), where she's a weekend anchor and
reporter, to become host of a revamped version of Maine Public
Broadcasting Network's weekly "MaineWatch" public affairs
show. Rooks will debut on MPBN June 4.
*Mike O'Donnell has made the move from New
England to PENNSYLVANIA. The former OM/PD at NEW HAMPSHIRE's
WERZ (107.1 Exeter), whose career also includes stops at WXLO,
WRZE and WFHN, is the new PD at Entercom's WKRZ (98.5 Freeland)/WKRF
(107.9 Tobyhanna) in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market, replacing
There's a PD opening in Philadelphia, where AllAccess.com
reports that WPHT (1210) PD Grace Blazer has resigned after 11
years with the station and 13 with CBS Radio.
On the TV side, Fox O&O WTXF (Channel 29) has a new news
director. Phil Metlin, former news director at Fox's WTVT (Channel
13) in Tampa, moves north to take the job at Fourth and Market.
Milton's WMLP (1380) has named a replacement for the Don Imus
timeslot, and it's about as far in the other direction as the
station could go - Salem's "Morning in America" with
Bill Bennett is the new morning show at WMLP, and also at WKSN
(1340 Jamestown NY) and WYBG (1050 Massena NY).
*A NEW JERSEY translator is changing
hands, as Bridgelight LLC buys W220AA (91.9 Parlin) from Maria
Liadis for $55,000. The translator was a relay of WDDM (89.3
Hazlet), but will now relay Bridgelight's WRDR (89.7 Freehold)
*In CANADA, there may be some big
regulatory changes on the horizon. The Globe and Mail reported
Friday that CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein says he's planning
to ease the agency's regulatory hold on Canadian broadcasters.
In a speech in British Columbia, von Finckenstein said the CRTC
"must give fuller play to the energy and creativity of market
forces," within the confines of the Broadcasting Act that
religious CITA (105.9) is applying to move to 105.1, to get out
of the way of the impending move of CBA (1070) to 106.1. CITA
would increase power from 50 watts to 880 watts/82.5 meters on
its new frequency.
There's a new PD at CFQR (92.5 Montreal), as Chris Kennedy
moves from Joint Communications, where he'd been consulting clients
Also in Montreal, "Radio Shalom" has officially
launched on CJRS (1650).
*We promised you Atlantic League baseball-on-the-radio information
in this week's issue, and we aim to please...so here it is:
As reported last week, the Newark Bears return to WSOU
(89.5 South Orange) after four seasons away, with a partial schedule.
Downstate, the Camden Riversharks will be heard on Rowan
University's WGLS (89.7 Glassboro) for 14 games, as well as 19
more webcast-only games. And the Somerset Patriots enter
their tenth season on WCTC (1450 New Brunswick).
In Pennsylvania, the Lancaster Barnstormers' full 126-game
season will be heard on WLPA (1490), while the brand-new York
Revolution play all 126 games on WSBA (910), with Darrell
Henry behind the mike. (His debut even merited a review
in the York Dispatch.)
The Long Island Ducks are heard Fridays, Saturdays
and Sundays on WBZB (98.5 Westhampton) and WNYG (1440 Babylon).
In Connecticut, the Bridgeport Bluefish continue to
be heard on WVOF (88.5 Fairfield).
Next week, we'll continue our look at the independent minor
leagues, tackling the Can-Am League.
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!)
May 8, 2006 -
- It's been an exceptionally bad few weeks for hip-hop radio
in NEW YORK. First came the latest shooting at Emmis' WQHT (97.1),
which touched off an eviction battle with the station's landlord
that's still underway. And then came the rivalry between Hot
97's Raashaun Casey, aka "DJ Envy," and the station's
former morning host, Troi Torain, aka "Star," who moved
to rival station WWPR (Power 105.1) and was also heard, via syndication,
on about a dozen other stations, including WPHH in Hartford and
WUSL in Philadelphia. The feud between the DJs had been brewing
for a while, apparently, but it exploded last week, when Star
was first fired and then arrested for a series of on-air comments
beginning May 3 that apparently threatened DJ Envy's four-year-old
daughter with sexual abuse and kidnapping.
- Several New York City Council members brought the comments
to light in a news conference Wednesday, and by that afternoon
Clear Channel had fired Torain. On Friday, Torain was arrested
after appearing at a New York police station to surrender his
handgun and weapons permit. Charged with endangering the welfare
of a child and with a fourth-degree weapons possession charge,
Torain was released on $2,000 bail after pleading not guilty
early Saturday morning. At least for next week, WWPR plans to
use syndicated host Tigger and weekend DJ Egypt as a replacement
for the now-cancelled "Star and Buc Wild Morning Show."
It's still not clear what the ultimate consequences for Clear
Channel might be. Several New York politicians are calling on
the FCC to conduct an investigation of the incident, and it's
likely that even if New York has heard the last of "Star"
on its airwaves, it hasn't heard the last about this war of words.
- In the Upper Valley of VERMONT and NEW HAMPSHIRE, an FM station
is finally cleared to make its move all the way west into the
Burlington market. WWOD (104.3 Hartford VT) has been trying for
years to move to Keeseville, New York, a suburb of Plattsburgh
across Lake Champlain from Burlington. An initial attempt to
make the move was thwarted when a rival broadcaster came up with
a counterproposal that instead put a new class A facility on
94.1 in Keeseville. But WWOD owner Nassau came back with a new
proposal - they asked the FCC to shift that 94.1A Keeseville
allotment (which has not yet gone up for auction) to Morrisonville,
deeper into the Adirondacks, and then to move WWOD's 104.3C3
signal from Hartford to Keeseville. The FCC approved that move
last week. (It also approved two related moves - Nassau's WXLF
95.3 will change city of license from White River Junction to
Hartford to retain "first local service" there, never
mind that they're really the same place - and there'll be a new
allotment at 104.3A at Enfield, New Hampshire.) WWOD still needs
to file a full application to be relicensed at its new city of
license; we'll keep you posted as it picks a transmitter site
and moves forward with its big relocation.
- An update from NEW JERSEY on that devastating transmitter-site
fire in Atlantic City: WOND (1400 Pleasantville) is now back
on the air from that site, using a temporary transmitter into
the (undamaged) antenna tower. WMGM-FM (103.7 Atlantic City)
remains on the air from the WPUR (107.3) backup site atop the
Trump Taj Mahal hotel/casino, and WTKU (1490 Pleasantville) and
WMGM-CA (Channel 7) remain off the air for now.
May 13, 2002 -
- We'll start in NEW YORK, where last Wednesday (May 8) brought
the long-expected end to the country format on Big City Radio's
"Y107" quadcast in the Big Apple's suburbs. After a
day of construction noises, the four stations on 107.1 (WYNY
Briarcliff Manor, WWXY Hampton Bays, WWYY Belvidere NJ and WWZY
Long Branch NJ) launched into their new life as "Rumba 107,"
playing much the same diet of Spanish hits now heard on "Mega"
WSKQ (97.9 New York) and "Latino Mix" WCAA (105.9 Newark
NJ). Can the relatively weak in-city signals of the "Rumba"
stations (aided slightly by the tower move at WWZY last week
that now finds the station reaching Brooklyn much better from
Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) compete with the strong signals of
Mega and Latino Mix? Will the Belvidere (serving the Easton,
PA area) and Hampton Bays signals stay with the simulcast? And
what about the remaining staff at Y107, including morning guy
Ray Rossi, who are now out of work, not to mention the country
listeners in the big city who are again without a station? We'll
keep you posted...
- Elsewhere in New York City, two noncommercial FM stations
are at odds over a proposal by one to improve its Manhattan signal.
Bronx-based WFUV (90.7), the radio voice of Fordham University,
wants to put a 600-watt booster atop the Riverside Church, using
the tower once occupied by the former WRVR (106.7, now WLTW from
the Empire State Building). But the application has met with
opposition from WFMU (91.1 East Orange), the community-supported
station across the Hudson that draws some of its best listenership
in the upper Manhattan area to be served by the proposed "WFUV-2."
NERW hopes both sides can find a way to work this out, especially
after we've just spent some time listening to the many signals
in Paris and London that are just 0.4 MHz apart -- from the same
tower, in some cases -- and get along just fine.
- Talker WOR (710) added Bill O'Reilly to its schedule last
week (denying, the whole time, gossip that claimed syndicator
Westwood One was making big payments to large-market stations
to get clearances for the show), then lost PD John Mainelli the
next day. Mainelli resigned from the Buckley-owned talker May
9, in what he and the station are calling an amicable departure.
Mainelli had been at WOR for just a few weeks, arriving amidst
high hopes that he could freshen up the aging station to compete
against his old home, WABC. There's no word about Mainelli's
plans, yet, nor about WOR's plans for a replacement.
- Syracuse Community Radio is at it again: with just hours
to go before the expiration of its CP for translator W208AQ (89.5
Marcellus) on April 30, the SCR folks filed for a license to
cover for the facility, which could be their best hope to actually
put a listenable signal into Onondaga County. Only problem is,
W208AQ hadn't been built yet; several NERW readers who visited
the site report seeing no sign of an antenna, nor any power connections
to the transmitter! (This is not the first time SCR has done
this; alert readers will recall the saga of WXXC, 88.7 in Truxton,
which SCR falsely told the FCC was on the air, only to lose the
license after several other area broadcasters informed the Commission
otherwise. NERW's take: SCR missed several good opportunities
to win the friendly cooperation of the region's existing broadcasters,
and we don't see what the group hopes to gain by misleading the
FCC now, especially with the scrutiny it faces from other stations
in the region.)
- We'll start the PENNSYLVANIA catch-up in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre,
which saw plenty of action in NERW's absence. Citadel reshuffled
its deck in a big way, beginning with the demise of the doo-wop
oldies format on WARM (590), which returns to the news-talk it
had been doing for years. The doo-wop oldies end up on WEMR (1460
Tunkhannock), which is now "Mighty 1460," breaking
from the adult-standards simulcast with WKJN (1440 Carbondale)
and WAZL (1490 Hazleton). On the FM side, the "Z-Rock"
combo of WEOZ (95.7 Olyphant) and WAOZ (97.9 Hazleton) split
as well, with WEOZ becoming "Z-Talk" and WAOZ shifting
to a simulcast of new rock WBSX (93.7 Dallas). The Z-Talk lineup
includes Bob and Tom, Don and Mike, Opie and Anthony, Phil Hendrie
and Tom Leykis. WARM, meantime, starts its day with local host
Rob Neyhard. The schedule also includes Dr. Joy Browne and Sean
Hannity. WBSX, meanwhile, has been running promos announcing
a move to "97.9 X," and at press time the WBSX calls
have moved to 97.9, with 93.7 now identifying as WCWQ. That,
in turn, matches the new calls at two other Citadel stations:
WBHD (94.3 Carbondale) is now WCWI, while WEMR-FM (107.7 Tunkhannock)
is now WCWY. WBHD had been simulcasting CHR WBHT (97.1 Mountain
Top), while WEMR-FM had been simulcasting AC WMGS (92.9 Scranton);
speculation in the market is that WCWQ, WCWI and WCWY will all
soon be doing "Cat Country," a format that had been
heard on 94.3 and 93.7 a few years ago.
- In RHODE ISLAND, we hear half of the "Z-100" combo
of WZRA (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale) and WZRI (100.3 Middletown)
is breaking away; WZRA is becoming WSKO-FM, relaying the sports
programming of WSKO (790 Providence) to southern Rhode Island.
The FM side will split from the AM for some baseball play-by-play;
790 will take the Pawtucket Red Sox, while 99.7 will carry the
Yankees when there's a conflict. WSKO also shifts its schedule
a bit, adding local sports talk in late mornings.
May 15, 1997-
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- We'll start this mid-May NERW with the latest from Boston's
morning drive circus: Talker WRKO has hired "Morning Guy
Tai" from modern rock WFNX (101.7) as the station's new
morning co-host. He'll join Marjorie Clapprood in morning drive,
replacing the departed Pat Whitley. The new "Clapprood and
Company" morning show will debut next Monday at 5:30; it
will be shortened by an hour to make room for an extra hour of
Dr. Laura Schlessinger at 9 AM. WRKO program director Kevin Straley
is defending his unorthodox choice, saying Tai (whose real name
is Tom Irwin) is eager to move to the talk arena from his days
as a rock jock.
- From RHODE ISLAND comes word of new call letters for the
erstwhile WPJB-FM (102.7 Narragansett Pier). Now that the station
is owned by Back Bay Broadcasting and simulcasting WWKX ("Kix
106") Woonsocket, it's going by WAKX(FM).
- From MAINE comes some call letter confusion in the Bangor
market, where WWFX (104.7 Belfast) isn't going to become WEBR
after all. Instead, the station now known as "the Bear"
will be WBFB, a set of calls that was last seen in Rochester
NY some 22 years ago, on the classical FM at 92.5 that's today's
- Here in NEW YORK, there are new calls for Buffalo's "Alice
@ 92.9." The former WSJZ is now WLCE. And an historic set
of Rochester AM calls, WPXN, will soon resurface in the Big Apple.
With Lowell Paxson's purchase of WBIS (Channel 31) in New York,
the station will dump its locally-produced business, news, and
sports programming for Paxson's infomercials within a few months,
and become WPXN(TV). Channel 31 was noncommercial WNYC-TV until
just last year, when the City of New York sold it for $207 million.
(The WPXN calls, by the way, were on the 1280 signal once known
as WVET and WROC, later as WPXY and WKQG, and today as WHTK).
Paxson owns or controls several New England stations, including
WHAI-TV (Chanel 43) Bridgeport CT, WHCT (Channel 18) Hartford,
WHRC (Channel 46) Norwell MA, WGOT (Channel 60) Merrimack NH,
and W54CN Boston. His stated intent is to ally himself with programmers
to create a seventh TV network in the US.
*It's here! As seen in the St. Paul
Pioneer Press, the Chicago Sun-Times, and 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 only about
15 copies remain, and we expect to sell them all in the
next few weeks.
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.