September 17, 2007
Rock Returns to Philly's WYSP
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*The radio dial in eastern PENNSYLVANIA
was spinning like crazy last week - and nowhere more so than
at CBS Radio's WYSP (94.1 Philadelphia), where most of the remaining
remnants of the failed "Free FM" talk experiment were
wiped away on Thursday afternoon, replaced with a return to the
rock format that has long defined the station.
move back to rock came abruptly, with the first rumors reaching
print on Tuesday morning, followed quickly by talk of "being
fired" by late-morning host Paul Barsky, who's actually
apparently still at the station in an off-air capacity.
Wednesday brought the final shows for afternoon talkers Matt
and Huggy and night talkers Scotty and Alex, and Thursday found
Opie & Anthony broadcasting from the WYSP studios (an already-planned
appearance, promoting a local live show over the weekend) and
dropping big hints about a 5 PM announcement. Best-of shows filled
the remainder of the day until 5, when O&A and PM driver
Kidd Chris kicked off the new format with Guns 'n' Roses' "Welcome
to the Jungle."
The revived rock format will continue to include the New York-based
Opie & Anthony morning show, as well as Kidd Chris in afternoons
(though without two of his producer/sidekicks, Brad Maybe and
Monkeyboy, who are also out of work), with a new jock lineup
to be announced soon.
The move gives Philadelphia no fewer than four rock stations
- WYSP, Greater Media's WMMR (93.3), Clear Channel's modern-leaning
WRFF (104.5) and Greater Media's classic rock WMGK (102.9) -
which may be explainable, at least in part, by the switch to
the Arbitron people-meter and the renewed ability to measure
young male listenership.
Will any of the rock players blink? Stay tuned...
*It's not a format change for Jerry Lee's WBEB (101.1 Philadelphia),
but there's new branding for the venerable AC station: "B101"
has now licensed the "Fresh FM" branding that's been
fairly successful for CBS' WWFS (102.7 New York), and will apparently
use both sets of branding for now.
Veteran Philly jock Marilyn Russell has a new gig, as she
joins Greater Media's adult hits WBEN-FM (95.7 Ben FM) for mornings,
alongside Dave Cruise. Russell's most recently been associated
with WYSP on weekends, with the "Y Rock on XPN" modern
rock on WXPN (88.5 Philadelphia), and before that with WPLY,
WMGK and WIBF/WDRE.
Speaking of WMGK, Rob Calvert is the new morning producer/on-air
talent there, moving up from WOCL in Orlando.
on the AM dial, WPEN (950)'s "700 Level Sports Fanatics"
have moved from evenings to noon-3, replacing Jim Rome. Geoff
Harbaugh is now doing evenings on the Greater Media sports station.
Across the state in Pittsburgh, WDSY (107.9)'s morning co-host
Chris DeCarlo has left the station after a 20-year run (with
a six-year interruption from 1996-2002.) No replacement has been
named for DeCarlo, who's leaving for family reasons.
And in the Lehigh Valley, they're mourning former WAEB (790
Allentown) jock Guy Ackley, who died in a collision between his
motorcycle and an SUV being driven by a teenager Saturday afternoon
in Lowhill Township. Ackley had been working in the advertising
business in recent years, operating his own agency, Ackley Advertising.
He was 58.
IT'S CALENDAR TIME!
Think the arrival of the new
phone book is an exciting time of year? (We do, actually, with
apologies to Steve Martin, but that's not the point.)
Here's a really exciting spot
on the calendar - in fact, it is the calendar. Yes, the
2008 Tower Site
Calendar is back from the printer and ready for shipping
all over the US and beyond.
This year's edition is a particularly
fine one, if we do say so ourselves. From the cover photo of
KAST in Astoria, Oregon to the back cover shot of the Blaw-Knox
diamond tower at WBNS in Columbus, this year's calendar features
14 all-new full-color shots of famous broadcast sites far and
wide. There's KROQ in Los Angeles, KFBK in Sacramento, WESX in
Salem, WGAN in Portland, Black Mountain in Vegas, Mount Spokane
in Spokane, and many (ok, several) more.
If you've been following our
adventures, you know that the 2006 and 2007 editions of the calendar
sold out. If you've been following postal rates and the cost
of printing, you know they've both gone up.
Which is to say, there's every
reason to order this year's calendar right away - especially
because the price will go up after September 30.
Get your order in now, and you'll
be able to have all this tower-calendar goodness on your wall
for last year's price - just $17 with shipping and handling
Or better yet, beat our move
to mandatory subscriptions (also coming this fall) and get a
free calendar with your $60 subscription to NERW for 2008. (Remember,
the proceeds from both the calendar and the subscriptions help
keep NERW right here on the web, as we head into our fourteenth
year of news and analysis.)
right here and you can be one of the first to have
your very own Tower Site Calendar 2008! (And thank you!)
*In MASSACHUSETTS, all eyes are on Howie
Carr, whose contract with Entercom's WRKO (680 Boston) expires
Wednesday. Carr is set to start Thursday morning as the new morning
man on Greater Media's WTKK (96.9 Boston), but will legal action
keep him from making the jump across town to the FM talker, where
there's already an office and staff awaiting him? We'll be listening.
(In Worcester, meanwhile, Carr affiliate WCRN 830 has shuffled
its schedule to cover Carr's move out of afternoon drive. Hank
Stolz moves from mornings to 2-6 PM, while Peter Blute's morning
show expands to 6-10 AM.)
With veteran WCVB (Channel 5) general manager Paul La Camera
settled in in his new role running public broadcaster WBUR-FM
(90.9 Boston), it's no surprise to find some of WCVB's longtime
staffers making the move over to the noncommercial side. The
latest is David Boeri, who was in the public broadcasting arena
at WGBH before joining WCVB in 1991. He's been named as the host
of "Radio Boston," a new weekly hour-long show focusing
on a single issue each week. The show will debut on WBUR this
Friday at 1 PM, and its web component is already
up and running.
Where are they now? Former WEEI exec Bev Tilden is moving
from CSB School of Broadcasting to The Content Factory, where
she'll be vice president of marketing. (She rejoins former Chancellor/AMFM
colleague Jimmy DeCastro at the syndication company, which is
about to launch the new Dan Patrick radio show.)
In the Worcester market, Steve Tuzeneu is packing up and heading
out after more than a decade as station manager of Blount's WVNE
(760 Leicester) and WNEB (1230 Worcester). He's taking the same
position at KJRL (105.7 Herington KS), part of the Great Plains
Christian Radio network.
we hear that mourners waited in line for as long as two hours
on Wednesday to pay their respects at the wake for WBZ (1030
Boston) talk host Paul Sullivan, who died Sept. 9 at age 50.
Sullivan's funeral was held Thursday at the Immaculate Conception
Church in Lowell, where Sullivan's son Ryan delivered a eulogy.
Mourners also heard from WBZ's Carl Stevens, who read a moving
poem he'd written for the station's morning news on Monday, as
well as from Kendall Wallace, publisher of the Lowell Sun,
where Sullivan was the longtime political editor.
*A veteran NEW HAMPSHIRE talk host
has landed on a new station. Arnie Arnesen's now doing mornings
at WCCM (1110 Salem), as well as Sunday mornings at 11 on WZMY
(My TV 50).
*Clear Channel has launched the new program
schedule for its RHODE ISLAND talker, WHJJ (920 Providence):
Helen Glover moves from middays to 8-10 AM, shortening the syndicated
Quinn and Rose show to 6-8 AM and Glenn Beck to 10 AM-noon, followed
by Rush Limbaugh from 12-3 PM, moving over from WPRO.)
*A fire damaged a CONNECTICUT radio
tower last week, but it didn't knock WSTC (1400 Stamford), WCTZ
(96.7 Stamford) or WEDW (88.5 Stamford) off the air. The fire
350 feet up the 380-foot tower did melt the radome on one of
the WCTZ antenna bays, we're told; it burned out on its own,
which is just as well, as fire crews had no way to reach it.
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*We'll start our NEW YORK news, such
as it is, on Long Island, where the sale of three Morey Organization
stations has apparently fallen through.
Michael Metter's Connecticut-based BusinessTalkRadio.net was
to have paid $5 million for WBZB (98.5 Bridgehampton), WDRE (105.3
Calverton-Roanoke) and WLIR (107.1 Hampton Bays), but the deal
Now WBZB is dropping BTRN programming and has reverted to
its previous calls, WBON. Will the active rock "Bone"
format return as well? And will BTRN find a new Long Island outlet?
It should come as no surprise that when nighttime operation
of AM HD Radio became legal at midnight Friday morning, New York's
WOR (710) was first in line to flip its exciter on - and it should
come as no surprise, either, that the mailing lists were abuzz
within minutes with reports that ranged from "no big deal"
to "IBOCalypse Now!"
Within a day or two, WOR had been joined by WABC (770), WFAN
(660), WCBS (880), as well as Hartford's WTIC (1080), Schenectady's
WGY (810), Philadelphia's WPHT (1210) and Boston's WBZ (1030),
WMKI (1260) and WXKS (1430 Everett) in running digital after
Will stations like WYSL (1040 Avon) in the Rochester area
experience the interference they've been fearing? Will HD supporters
like WOR find that they're getting the coverage they're hoping
for? Will cheaper, more sensitive radios ever appear on the market?
We'll be following the saga as it develops.
Heading upstate, Dick Wells, weekend host at WTBQ (1110 Warwick),
is recovering after collapsing during a performance last week.
Wells, 74, was on a respirator at a local hospital late last
In Binghamton, commercial radio opponent William Huston has
lost his bid to deny license renewals to Clear Channel's six-station
cluster. The FCC last week dismissed the petition Huston filed
last year against the stations, in part because it was filed
two days late, and in part because it says any question about
whether that level of ownership is excessive should be handled
within the Commission's ongoing inquiry into ownership consolidation,
not in individual license-renewal proceedings.
In Elmira, Brian Thompson has left the morning show at WPGI
(100.9 Horseheads), where he was also program director. No replacement
has been named yet.
And in Geneva, Aaron Read is the new general manager of Hobart
and William Smith's WEOS (89.7). He comes from Boston, where
he was a contract engineer for several stations and an audio
engineer for the public radio show "The Infinite Mind,"
and he replaces Mike Black, who's now with WXXI in Rochester.
*NEW JERSEY 101.5 (WKXW 101.5 Trenton/WXKW
97.3 Millville) has made official a hiring decision we'd known
about for a few weeks: Casey Bartholomew is back at the Millennium
talk station fulltime, as Ray Rossi's new co-host on the "Jersey
Guys" afternoon show. The former "Scott and Casey"
co-host, who left New Jersey 101.5 in 2002, replaces Craig Carton,
now in mornings at WFAN (660 New York).
Speaking of New Jersey 101.5, there was a scare at the station's
Ewing Township studios Wednesday morning, after a station employee
developed a rash that was initially linked to a suspicious piece
of mail. The building was evacuated, with broadcasts moved to
an emergency studio (in the old building next door, we believe)
for about an hour and a half before the mail was determined to
be harmless and the evacuation called off.
*There's a fight brewing in CANADA's
largest market between the CBC and a small broadcaster hoping
to serve the city's Caribbean communities. The Caribbean and
African Radio Network (CARN) won a license from the CRTC last
year, but it was denied the use of its desired frequency, 98.7.
With no other space open on the Toronto FM dial, CARN is trying
to put public pressure on regulators to reconsider that decision.
That's where the CBC comes in, since it's the network's Radio
One transmitter, CBLA (99.1 Toronto), that's concerned about
interference from second-adjacent 98.7. The CBC says it has sound
engineering studies to prove that it can't coexist with a low-power
98.7 signal, but CARN says its plans to co-locate with the CBLA
transmitter, atop the First Canadian Place tower in downtown
Toronto, would alleviate that interference.
Sun TV (CKXT-TV 52) is adding transmitters in Ottawa and London.
Last week, the CRTC approved new rebroadcast signals on channel
54 analog/62 digital in Ottawa and on channel 26 analog/19 digital
in London. The station is already available on digital cable
in both markets, and it will be barred from soliciting local
advertisers outside its current Toronto/Hamilton home base.
And there's a new PD at Ottawa's CHEZ (106.1): James "Gruff"
Gushnowski is inbound from Lloydminster, Alberta and CKLM (106.1
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!)
September 18, 2006 -
- It's a week of big changes on the eastern MASSACHUSETTS television
dial - perhaps the biggest since the ownership and affiliation
changes that rocked the Boston market in the mid-nineties - and
once again, maverick station owner Ed Ansin is driving much of
- Ansin's 1993 purchase of then-CBS affiliate WHDH-TV (Channel
7) introduced a new hard-driving tabloid style of news to the
market, carrying the station from also-ran status to first place
in the ratings. His move to NBC two years later (when former
affiliate WBZ-TV became a CBS O&O) touched off more than
a decade of tension between the Peacock network and Ansin's Sunbeam
Broadcasting. Boston is the largest market where NBC doesn't
own its affiliate, and for the last few months, there's been
a growing buzz that the network wants to change that. Since Ansin's
not selling, the rumor mill quickly settled on Tribune's struggling
WLVI (Channel 56), the WB-turned-CW affiliate whose "Ten
O'Clock News" was once the premiere prime-time newscast
in the market. The growth of Fox's WFXT over the last few years
has damaged WLVI's ratings, and Tribune has made no secret about
its desire to sell some of its weaker outlets. (It's already
parted with stations in Atlanta and Albany.)
- There's another station sale in the Bay State as well - Karl
Nurse's Truro Wireless is selling little WCDJ (102.3 Truro) to
"Dunes 102FM, LLC," whose principal, Thomas Troland,
has owned several small stations in Arizona under the "Skynet
Broadcasting" banner. Sale price on the station is $550,000,
and while the trades are reporting that WCDJ was running a news-talk
format before going silent Sept. 1, it's our understanding that
the station has spent most of its life silent, being fired up
from time to time to keep the license alive.
- In VERMONT, Nassau Broadcasting's worst-kept secret finally
became a reality on Friday morning at 10, when top 40 WORK-FM
(107.1 Barre) gave way to classic hits "Frank FM."
The new "Frank" is the latest in a growing batch of
stations with that name across New England, from the original
WFNK in Portland to newer "Frank" outlets in Nashua,
New Hampshire and on Cape Cod. (That one's an adult hits station,
unlike the others.) We're not sure yet how much of the WORK-FM
airstaff will remain; the new website for Frank appears to have
been hastily copied from yet another Nassau "Frank"
down in Pennsylvania, right down to the "107.5 Frank FM"
in the title bar...
- One of the best-known TV anchors in Rochester, NEW YORK has
lost a battle with cancer that few in town even knew he was fighting.
- Gabe Dalmath left the anchor chair at WHEC-TV (Channel 10)
at the end of 2004, ending a 29-year career at the station -
and a career in broadcasting that began in the Army in the late
sixties and continued in the suburbs of New York City in the
early seventies at stations such as WFAS, WVOX and WNEW. (Another
of his early gigs was at WGBB on Long Island, where he worked
with another young newscaster named Rich Funke, who'd later become
WHEC's sports anchor and is now the station's lead newscaster
- In 1976, Dalmath came to Rochester as weekend anchor at WHEC,
soon becoming lead weeknight anchor, a post he'd keep for 25
years before being moved to mornings in 2001. Dalmath also replaced
the late Eddie Meath as host of the station's annual Muscular
Dystrophy Telethon, which became a passion of his. After his
departure from WHEC in 2004, Dalmath worked with a local mortgage
company and with Dalmath Associates, the public-relations firm
founded by his wife, Jean. Most recently, he'd been one of the
principals in an audience-research firm called Critical Tracking.
- Dalmath was diagnosed with kidney cancer in June, but few
in town knew he was seriously ill until the news of his death
was announced Friday night (Sept. 15). He was just 60 years old.
- In PENNSYLVANIA, Ken Matthews is out as morning man at WAEB-FM
(104.1 Allentown) after many years on that shift. Afternoon jock
Mike Kelly is filling in for now, but we suspect we haven't heard
the last of Matthews in the Lehigh Valley. Down the hall at WZZO
(95.1 Bethlehem), Kelly Nova returns (from weekend/swing duty
at WMMR in Philadelphia) to take over middays, moving PD Tori
Thomas to the vacant afternoon slot. And last Monday was launch
day for religion on WYHM (1470 Allentown), after 24 straight
hours of Vicki Carr's "It Must Be Him." "Him"
- "Hymn" - get it? Yeah...
September 17, 2002 -
- There's a new TV station on the air in CANADA - albeit with
some familiar faces and programming. Rogers launched "OMNI.2"
on Monday morning (Sept. 16) at 6, broadcasting to Toronto on
channel 44 with 179 kW visual. Industry Canada (which regulates
the technical aspects of Canadian broadcasting) doesn't have
a callsign listed for the station as of Tuesday; it's shown as
operating from a site north and west of downtown Toronto, not
the CN Tower where the rest of the city's TV stations are located.
- "OMNI.2" is a sister station to Rogers' established
CFMT (Channel 47), which will eventually be rebranded OMNI.1,
keeping the European, Latino and Caribbean portions of its multiethnic
programming, as well as its English-language lineup, including
David Letterman. That leaves OMNI.2 to pick up the African and
Asian-language programming that had been seen on CFMT, including
an English-language newscast at 8 PM, followed by "OMNI
News" in Cantonese. The new service had cable carriage from
the start (which is only fitting, since it's co-owned with Rogers
Cable), as far afield as London and Barrie. In most areas around
Toronto, OMNI.2 is seen on Rogers channel 14, displacing Buffalo's
WKBW-TV to channel 18. That, in turn, sends PBS outlet WNED-TV
(which IDs as "Buffalo/Toronto") way up the cable dial
from 18 to 61.
- We'll start the US side of things in MASSACHUSETTS, where
the big changes are taking place at Greater Media's WROR-FM (105.7
Framingham). The station is moving from 60s and 70s oldies towards
classic rock, and it's doing so in a big way: beginning this
Friday and continuing all weekend, WROR will turn over its airwaves
to a "Who's Who" of Boston rock radio history. Among
the jocks to be heard on the reunion weekend: Peter Wolf (who
made his name on WBCN before the J. Geils Band ever hit the charts),
Charles Laquidara, Ken Shelton, George Taylor Morris, Maxanne
Sartori, Harvey Wharfield, Jeff Gonzer, Annalisa, J.J. Jackson
and Tom "Tai" Irwin. And when WROR returns to its usual
lineup the next Monday, several familiar voices will be missing,
including middayer Stella Mars and night guy J.J. Wright. J.J.'s
already landed elsewhere; he's been heard this week doing fill-ins
at WODS (103.3).
- A familiar voice has returned to RHODE ISLAND's airwaves,
for a few months at least: Providence mayor Vincent "Buddy"
Cianci, fresh from his conviction on corruption charges, began
a stint co-hosting the mid-morning shift on WPRO (630 Providence)
with Steve Kass on Monday. Cianci is due to report to federal
prison in early December to begin serving a 64-month sentence,
so don't expect this to be as long a run as Hizzoner's early-90s
stint on talk competitor WHJJ (920)...
September 18/19, 1997-
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- American Radio Systems has a new owner, and it's not the
long-rumored Jacor. Late Friday afternoon, CBS announced that
it's paying $2.6 billion for ARS. Here's how the deal will shake
out in the Northeast:
- Boston will be the one Northeast market where the combined
CBS/ARS will have to shed stations. CBS already owns news/talk
WBZ (1030), classic rock WZLX (100.7), oldies WODS (103.3), and
modern rock WBCN (104.1). ARS has talker WRKO (680), sports WEEI
(850), WNFT (1150, currently simulcasting WAAF), Worcester sports-talker
WWTM (1440), 70s rock WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence), modern AC WBMX (98.5),
and hard rock WAAF (107.3 Worcester). Both companies were already
near the limit for station ownership in Boston; it will be interesting
to see what gets shed. NERW suspects WNFT, WEGQ, and WAAF will
be the first to get spun; likewise it's a near-certainty that
CBS will hang onto clear-channel WBZ, sports-rights-heavy WEEI,
and FM powerhouses WBMX, WODS, and WBCN. We'll keep you posted.
- The rest of the roster: In the Portsmouth N.H. market, ARS
brings standards WZNN (930 Rochester) and WMYF (1540 Exeter),
modern AC WSRI (96.7 Rochester), and CHR WERZ (107.1 Exeter).
In Hartford, ARS has newstalk WTIC (1080), hot AC WTIC-FM (96.5),
classic rock WZMX (93.7), and AC WRCH (100.5 New Britain). In
New York City, CBS has sports WFAN (660), all-news WCBS (880)
and WINS (1010), modern rock WXRK (92.3), oldies WCBS-FM (101.1),
and classic rock WNEW-FM (102.7). In Rochester, ARS contributes
modern AC WZNE (94.1 Brighton), rock WCMF (96.5), CHR WPXY (97.9),
and AC WRMM (101.3). And in Buffalo, ARS has standards WECK (1230
Cheektowaga), modern AC WLCE (92.9), urban WBLK (93.7), AC WJYE
(96.1), and country WYRK (106.5).
- It's a sad week for local radio listeners along Long Island
Sound, with two of the area's AM stations shutting down within
days of each other. We'll begin on the NEW YORK side of the line,
where the story of WVIP (1310) in Mount Kisco came to a close
Saturday night. As we reported last week, WVIP's historic round
studio burned to the ground, prompting an outpouring of assistance
from area engineers and from the Westchester community. As soon
as WVIP was back on the air from a temporary studio, listeners
and advertisers began showing up at the trailer with food, supplies,
and entertainment, while WVIP's air staff cranked out local programming
through an old Radio Shack mixer.
- It all came to an end on Saturday, though, with a phone call
from the hospital bed of owner Martin Stone. Unwilling to keep
losing money on the station, Stone ordered WVIP off the air at
the end of the broadcast day, and after a farewell speech by
phone from the hospital, WVIP broadcast a tape of its first broadcast,
40 years ago next month, and signed off, apparently for good.
The WVIP license has not been returned to the FCC, and it's possible
someone may buy the license and put 1310 back on the air, but
it won't be Martin Stone. NERW salutes the WVIP staffers and
volunteers who tried to keep the station alive; we hope someone
finds a way to pull it off in the end.
- Also silent is the 1260 frequency in nearby Westport, CONNECTICUT.
After years of struggling as a stand-alone AM, owner Mark Graham
announced late last week that he's donating WMMM's license and
transmitter to Sacred Heart University. WMMM's final broadcast
came Monday morning, complete with a phone call from Chile from
weekend DJ Jose Feliciano (of "Light My Fire" fame).
After an emotional farewell from Graham, WMMM played "My
Way" and left the airwaves. Sacred Heart will return 1260
to the airwaves around Thanksgiving, programmed by its existing
WSHU (91.1 Fairfield)/WSUF (89.9 Noyock, N.Y.) public radio operation,
and likely with news-talk programming similar to WSUF.
- Say goodbye to "Talk 94.9" on the Cape...and hello
to "Talk 95.1." West Yarmouth's WXTK fired up this
morning on its new frequency of 95.1, getting out from the shadow
of Mount Washington's giant WHOM, and giving the latter an incredible
signal all the way down into Boston once again. Further down
the Cape, the construction permit for Truro's WCDJ (102.3) has
been extended yet again; there's still no sign that Karl Nurse's
station will actually be built any time soon.
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2007 by Scott Fybush.