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December 17, 2007

TV Towers Down in Scranton


*The weekend's icy, windy storm in northeast PENNSYLVANIA destroyed one Scranton/Wilkes-Barre TV tower early Sunday morning and caused serious damage to several others.

Just before 7:00 Sunday morning, the 823-foot tower of ABC affiliate WNEP-TV (Channel 16) atop Penobscot Mountain, east of Wilkes-Barre, collapsed under the weight of ice that had formed there overnight.

As it fell, the tower's guy wires apparently hit the next tower over on the mountain, belonging to public broadcasters WVIA-TV (Channel 44), WVIA-DT (Channel 41) and WVIA-FM (89.9), toppling the upper portion of that tower and taking those TV/DT signals off the air.

The WNEP tower fell on the station's transmitter building, damaging most of the equipment inside, including the station's two analog transmitters. (WNEP-DT is at a different tower location on Penobscot, and it was on the air through much of the storm, albeit at reduced power.)

Within a few hours after the collapse, engineers for WNEP and WVIA were making their way through the wreckage and the debris to figure out what could be salvaged and what was beyond hope.

For WVIA, an analog TV signal was restored at midday Sunday from a shorter auxiliary tower next to the damaged main tower. WVIA-DT remained off the air, and WVIA-FM remained on the air from the remaining portion of the damaged tower.

WNEP, meanwhile, briefly replaced the rotating wheel of news repeats on its DTV subchannel (and on a stream on its website) with its regular analog-feed programming, providing a signal that area cable companies could pick up in place of the destroyed analog signal. By Sunday afternoon, WNEP programming had been restored to cable systems in much of the station's wide-ranging coverage area, while its "newschannel" feed was back on 16.2.

Also silenced in the WNEP collapse was Wilkes College's WCLH (90.7 Wilkes-Barre), which had its antenna on the WNEP tower. WCLH is still programming via a webstream at until a temporary replacement site can be built.

There were more problems on the mountain in the meantime. Downed power lines and a tower heavily laden with ice took Nexstar's CBS affiliate, WYOU-TV (Channel 22)/WYOU-DT (Channel 13), off the air, with many area cable companies picking up Philadelphia's KYW-TV (Channel 3) or other CBS outlets in the region to keep CBS football (and the Survivor finale) coming to their subscribers. The tower of Fox affiliate WOLF-TV (Channel 56), which is also home to WNEP-DT's antenna, lost one guy wire to the storm but remained standing at last report. And Nexstar's NBC affiliate, WBRE-TV (Channel 28), which lost a tower to ice in 1989, had no reported problems at its new tower. (WBRE-DT, however, is located at the powerless WYOU tower, and remained off the air into Monday.)

The commercial radio stations on Penobscot, Citadel's WMGS (92.9 Scranton), WBHT (97.1 Mountain Top) and WBSX (97.9 Hazleton), are on separate towers from the TV stations, and remained on the air as long as the power held out. (As of about 7 PM Sunday, there was no power on the mountain, and all its signals were silent; we've since been told that power came back on about 9:20 Sunday night, restoring service from most of the stations up there that still had towers.)

A separate power outage on the market's other mountaintop site, Bald Mountain above Scranton, took CW affiliate WSWB (Channel 38) off the air as well; Pax/ion affiliate WQPX (Channel 64) remained on the air from the same location, presumably with the help of a generator. (WSWB finally returned to the air Monday afternoon, around 4 PM.)

We'll be following this story closely as these damaged stations work on returning to the air - including the interesting question of whether it's worth rebuilding an analog-only site like WNEP's when the sunset of analog TV is only 14 months away, and when only 10 percent of the viewers in the market get their TV over-the-air anyway. (And will WVIA, which stays on its present DTV allotment of 41, bother rebuilding its analog signal at full height, or just stay on the auxiliary tower until 2009?)


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.

Even so, we still think this year's edition is a bargain - just $18 with shipping and handling included.

Or better yet, beat our move to mandatory subscriptions (also coming later 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.)

So click right here and you can be one of the first to have your very own Tower Site Calendar 2008! (And thank you!)

The 2008 Tower Site Calendar is dedicated to the memory of Robert Eiselen (1934-2007), whose digital imaging skills made even a bunch of pictures of radio towers look almost like art. His contributions were essential to the calendar's evolution from 2003 to the current edition, and he will be missed dearly.

*In western PENNSYLVANIA, there's a changing of the guard on the morning news shift at KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh). Bob Kopler will retire Dec. 28, ending 19 years at KDKA, and he'll be replaced by Bill Rehkopf, who began his career in western Pennsylvania at stations in Clarion and Punxsutawney and later worked in Williamsport (WRAK/WKSB), Harrisburg (WHP) and Scranton (WARM). Rehkopf moves to Pittsburgh from Baltimore's WPOC (93.1), where he's been known on the air as "Aaron Rehkopf."

And we return to northeast Pennsylvania to wrap up the week's news with word of a reunion gathering at WAZL (1490 Hazleton). Wednesday is WAZL's 75th anniversary, and staffers Rocky Brown and Tony Pacelli will be leading an all-day on-air celebration. They'd like to hear from former staffers, too, at 570-455-1490 (and they're asking you to check in before the anniversary day to schedule a call-in on the day itself.)

*Our NEW YORK news starts downstate, with word of three more applications that were filed in that special window to create a new fulltime AM signal on 1700 for Rockland County. In addition to the application from Alexander Broadcasting's WRCR (1300 Spring Valley) that we told you about last week, the county's other existing broadcaster, Polnet, has applied for 1700 in Haverstraw to accompany its WRKL (910 New City). A former programmer of 1300, Zev Brenner's Talkline Communications, wants to put 1700 in Monsey, where it would presumably serve the community of Hasidic Jews there. And Gary Smithwick's S&B Communications applied for 1700 in Stony Point.

In Binghamton, it's the end of the line for a 20-year morning radio partnership. John Carter and Chris O'Connor have hosted the "John and Chris Show" at several stations, most recently WLTB (101.7 Johnson City). Last Wednesday, O'Connor departed the show, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family. O'Connor plans to continue to appear on "Magic 101.7" from time to time.

In Albany, WOFX (980 Troy) has parted ways with afternoon talk host Dan Murphy, who'd been hosting the "Murphy's Law" sports show from 3-5 PM weekdays. WOFX is filling the slot with Fox Sports network content for now.

There's sad news about WVKZ (1240 Schenectady) morning host and Albany market legend Joe "Boom Boom Brannigan" Motto, who's gravely ill at Albany Medical Center. We're told that cards or letters would cheer up Brannigan and his family; they can be addressed to Albany Medical Center Hospital, 43 New Scotland Ave., Albany NY 12208.

Here in Rochester, one of the city's top TV reporters is moving on. Dave McKinley came to WROC-TV (Channel 8) from WHAM (1180) in 1999, bringing with him an encyclopedic knowledge of local history that he soon put to good use in his weekly "News 8 Then" segments, digging through WROC's copious archives to pull out forgotten bits of film and video from days gone by. Dave's heading west at year's end, joining the reporting staff at WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) in Buffalo (where he went to college and began his radio career), and he'll be missed, dearly.

Speaking of Buffalo, former WKBW (Channel 7) sports anchor John Murphy quietly settled his lawsuit against the station last week. Murphy's contract expired back in September and wasn't renewed after he declined to take a pay cut, and he sued to escape the non-compete clause that would have kept him off the TV airwaves in Buffalo for a year. Murphy remains on the air on radio, as the voice of the Bills.

One more note before we move on this week: as you're thinking about year-end charitable contributions, may we suggest that you keep the Broadcasters Foundation of America in mind? In a business that too often eats its young, we all know how difficult things can be for older broadcasters and former broadcasters lacking the pension and retirement plans that are so rare in this industry.

When they're looking for help and it's slow in coming, the Broadcasters Foundation is there to fill in the gaps, providing a safety net in times of trouble.

Last year alone, the Broadcasters Foundation helped out with nearly $325,000 in grants, distributed across 36 states, for former broadcasters (and their widows and widowers) in need of financial help - not to mention more than $300,000 in emergency grants for broadcasters affected by Hurricane Katrina.

"Few of them were famous," notes Bill O'Shaughnessy of WVOX/WVIP, who chairs the foundation's endowment committee, but "all were once broadcasters, like us." (He'd prefer that credit for the foundation's good works go to chairman Phil Lombardo of Citadel Television and emeritus chair Ed McLaughlin, but we need to at least credit O'Shaughnessy for doing so much to make the industry aware of the foundation's work.)

Contributions are tax-deductible, and can be sent to the Broadcasters Foundation of America at 7 Lincoln Ave., Greenwich CT 06830.

*A veteran CONNECTICUT morning man lost his job last week. John LaBarca came to WICC (600 Bridgeport) from WMMM (1260 Westport) in 1989, and had been hosting the station's morning show and its Sunday "Italian House Party" ever since. He tells the Connecticut Post that he was on vacation when station management came to his house on Thursday to inform him that he wouldn't be returning. LaBarca admitted to the Post that there had been personality conflicts with WICC GM Ann McManus, and operations manager Curt Hansen told the paper that there had been long-running "personnel issues" with LaBarca. Replacing LaBarca in mornings is Tony Reno.

*In our rundown of new noncommercial station applications last week, we left out one big pile of NEW HAMPSHIRE applications. Highland Community Broadcasting, which currently operates classical LPFM WCNH-LP (94.7 Concord), wants to replace that signal (which suffers massive adjacent-channel interference) with a 250-watt 91.5, licensed to Bow. To the north, Highland wants 88.3 in Gilford; to the southeast, 88.5 in Kingston and 90.5 in Eliot, Maine; and to the southwest, 89.9 Hillsboro. All of those applications are caught up in big MX groups, with the Hillsboro proposal tangled in a 17-application logjam. (Highland's Harry Kozlowski points out that the FCC's point system for resolving conflicting applications will actually clear out many of these MX conflicts fairly quickly.)

*In MASSACHUSETTS, WRKO (680 Boston) morning host Tom Finneran is off the air until early January as he undergoes surgery for prostate cancer. The surgery is scheduled for Friday, and Finneran expects to return to the air from Iowa on January 2, just in time for the caucuses the next day.

In Worcester, WCRN (830) has added CBS' hourly newscasts at the top of each hour. And up in Lowell, WCAP (980) is now simulcasting the audio of WCVB (Channel 5)'s "Eyeopener" newscast from 5-6 AM and its evening newscasts from 5:30-6:30 PM. Those TV simulcasts worked well for co-owner Clark Smidt up in New Hampshire at WNNH and WTPL, where he relayed the audio of WMUR's newscasts; will they work in Lowell, too?

The 2007 NCE Window, cont'd: This week, we wrap up our look at the applications filed in the October noncommercial filing window with an examination of southern New England. There were no "singletons" (grantable applications that did not conflict with any other applications) out of the 69 applications filed in Massachusetts, and at least one that could be dismissed out of hand: Quinton Joseph's application for a 10-watt signal on 91.9 in Dorchester.

Not only isn't the FCC accepting class D applications in this window, and not only did Joseph specify transmitter coordinates somewhere in the Siberian Arctic, but there's also the fact that 91.9 is already very much occupied in the Boston area by UMass Boston's WUMB.

WUMB itself was a player in the window, applying for 91.5 in Gloucester. That application is MX'd (mutually exclusive) to an application from Light of Life Ministries for 91.5 Rockport, which is in turn MX'd to a North Andover Community Access application for 91.5 North Andover.

There's another cluster of North Shore MX'd applications on 88.5, including one in Amesbury from WBUR, one in Essex from the Beverly Cable and Telecommunication Corp. and several religious broadcasters, plus one on 88.7 in Amesbury from another Spanish-language religious broadcaster. (There's also one from Maine's Bangor Baptist Church for 88.5 in "Amesbury NH," which is clearly a typo, since it specifies a transmitter site near Amesbury, Mass.)

In the immediate Boston area, the dial is already full enough that there was no room for new signals, but down south in Brockton, the "Brockton Educational Outreach Center" applied for 90.1 (from an address that we're told has been used for several pirate signals in the past!), MX'd with a community station in Easton and possibly one in Fall River (Fall River & New Bedford Outreach Center) as well.

In the same neck of the woods, there's a set of MX'd applications on 88.5 from Talking Information Center in Middleborough Center, Home Improvement Ministries in Middleborough, and Academy of the Immaculate in Bayview, near New Bedford. Over in Mansfield, Peace Abbey/Life Experience School of Sherborn has applied for 91.7, while the Marconi Broadcasting Foundation wants 91.5 in Milford, which it erroneously located in Rhode Island.

There are several big MX groups on Cape Cod and the islands: on 88.1, Athens Christian Radio applies in Provincetown, while Dennis Jackson's Foothills Public Radio applies in Edgartown. A much bigger MX cluster includes (as best we can tell) 19 applications on 88.5, 88.7 and 88.9, with appearances by several big broadcast groups. Boston's WBUR is in the pile, with applications for 88.7 in Sagamore and a big 40 kW signal on 89.1 in Eastham. Competitor WGBH is in the hunt as well, applying for a similarly big Eastham signal on 88.7. Cape Cod Community Television seeks 88.7 in South Yarmouth, while Foothills wants 88.7 Oak Bluffs. Horizon Christian Fellowship seeks 88.5 in Orleans and 88.7 in East Falmouth. Home Improvement Ministries (will they carry "Tool Time"?) wants 23 kW on 89.1 in Brewster. Nantucket Public Radio (whose WNCK 89.5 relays WGBH) wants another signal on 88.7 in Nantucket. And Connecticut River Educational Radio, which operates religious WWBW-LP (96.9 Higganum CT) wants 88.5 Nantucket and 88.9 Martha's Vineyard.

Five religious broadcasters are piled up with MX'd applications on 89.3 in the Lunenburg-Leominster area; there's also a Horizon Christian Fellowship application on 90.1 in Fitchburg.

There's an MX cluster on 89.9 around Athol, including a WBUR application there. WBUR also has a 91.5 application in Ware, MX'd to Quaboag Hills Public Radio for 91.5 in Palmer.

Out west, there's an MX group on 88.1 in the Berkshires that includes Amherst's WFCR, Foothills Public Radio and Calvary Chapel of the Berkshires. Morgan Brook Christian Radio has an application for 89.5 in Baptist Village, near Springfield, while WFCR seeks 89.5 in Stockbridge. And there's an MX group on 91.7/91.9 in the Berkshires, including a Foothills application for 91.9 in Lee.

*There were all of 13 applications in RHODE ISLAND (fourteen if you count one mistakenly filed for "Milford RI"), including three from Rhode Island Public Radio (WRNI), which seeks 88.1 Newport, 89.5 Westerly and 91.5 Woonsocket. That 91.5 frequency is where most of the Ocean State action was in the window: Bryant University wants it in Pascoag, Providence Community Radio in Harrisville, and Peace Abbey/Life Experience School filed for "3000 kW" (since amended to the correct 3 kW in Burrillville.

Connecticut's Sacred Heart University (WSHU) applied for two Rhode Island signals, too: it wants 89.5 Charlestown and 89.9 Block Island.

And there was one "singleton": Colina Alta Ministries' application for 91.1 in Bradford, near Westerly.

*There were 20 applications in Connecticut, with two "singletons": Morgan Brook Christian Radio will get 89.9 in North Granby, while Tri-State Public Communications (which currently programs community station WHDD 1020 Sharon) will add a new community voice along the New York border on 91.9 in Sharon.

From outside the Nutmeg State, Albany's WAMC applies for 90.9 in Manchester, MX'd to New York's WNYC on 90.9 in Central Manchester and several other Hartford-area 90.7/90.9 applications.

Sacred Heart University (WSHU) applied for 89.9 in Niantic, while Monroe's WMNR seeks 88.3 in Warren. Calvary Chapel of Southeast Connecticut has three applications: 89.5 Pawcatuck, 90.7 Wauregan and 91.3 Moosup.

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*Yet another AM station in CANADA has made the move to FM.

CKEC (1320 New Glasgow NS) flipped the switch on the new CKEC-FM (94.1) at 9:41 AM last Tuesday (Dec. 11). The new "East Coast 94.1" is playing hot AC, and the AM signal will go silent in three months, leaving nine AM stations in the province - and five of those are planning FM moves as well.

One of them, CFAB (1450 Windsor), will have to try again to find a frequency and power level the CRTC can live with. Last week, the commission rejected CFAB's second attempt to go to FM, saying that the proposed 23.8 kW signal on 92.9 would far exceed the AM coverage area and create too much overlap with MBS Radio's other stations in Kentville.

In Yarmouth, the CBC has been granted a new 19.9 kW signal on 98.5 to carry Radio Two to Nova Scotia's west coast.

In New Brunswick, they're mourning Perry White, the morning host at CHTD (98.1 St. Stephen) and weekend jock at CHSJ (94.1 Saint John). He was killed last Monday in a car crash near St. George, New Brunswick. White was 43.

*And since nobody else is going to do it, we close this week's NERW by recalling that it was 117 years ago tomorrow that Edwin Howard Armstrong was born in Yonkers, New York.

Without his inventions, among them the superheterodyne receiver and a little thing called "frequency modulation," none of us would be doing what we do now. One can only imagine what else Major Armstrong would have accomplished if he hadn't spent the last unhappy years of his life fighting over the patents for FM

So raise a birthday toast to one of radio's great inventors tomorrow, won't you?

From the NERW Archives

(Yup, we've been doing this a long time now, and so we're digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW was covering one, five and ten years ago this week, or thereabouts - the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest years as "New England Radio Watch," and didn't go to a regular weekly schedule until 1997. Thanks to for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

December 18, 2006 -

  • As Clear Channel prepares to transition to private ownership, it's quietly putting one of its biggest NEW YORK stations on the market. WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue) came into what would become Clear Channel in October 1994, when Chancellor Media bought the station (and its sister station, WALK 1370) as part of its acquisition of American Media. As Chancellor evolved into AMFM and ultimately into Clear Channel, WALK became a Long Island sister station to Clear Channel's five-FM cluster in New York City, eventually sharing much of its management with the New York cluster.
  • Under the old multiple-ownership rules, that combination of station was acceptable, since WALK-FM's Suffolk County-based signal didn't overlap primary contours with the New York FMs. But under the current ownership rules, which are based on Arbitron markets, there's a problem: while WALK-FM is in the "Nassau/Suffolk" market, that market is embedded in the larger New York market. And rather than testing whether or not the privatization of Clear Channel might allow WALK-FM's grandfathered status to continue, Clear Channel is opting to make its license transfers as smooth as possible, shedding several stations around the country that are in the same ownership bind as WALK-FM.
  • But WALK-FM won't go at a fire-sale price. As the dominant AC station in a lucrative suburban market, and as one of only two Class B FM signals that reach the entire Nassau-Suffolk market, we're hearing that the price tag on WALK-FM is somewhere north of $100 million (with a few bucks in there for the AM operation as well) - and that there are already interested buyers, including at least one former owner looking to re-enter the region.
  • In Buffalo, it's the end of the line for Air America and the rest of the progressive talk format at WHLD (1270 Niagara Falls). Niagara Independent Media, which leased WHLD's airtime from Citadel beginning in early February to carry its talk lineup, says it couldn't keep the station afloat. In a message posted to the WHLD website Sunday night, station founder Brian Brown-Cashdollar wrote, "Start-ups face a huge up hill battle to get established, and it’s almost unheard of for a start up to launch a station with a format as expensive as the news/talk format." Niagara Independent Media had been leasing time on WHLD to broadcast "Democracy Now" before launching the full-fledged format, and the show will continue to be heard there on weekday afternoons at 1, in addition to a morning airing on sister station WBBF (1120 Buffalo). What now for WHLD? Expect a return to the leased-time ethnic programming that had been heard there before February.
  • Sports talk is coming to Albany's FM dial today, as Regent continues to shuffle its Capital District radio lineup. With hot AC "Buzz" successfully transplanted to the new WBZZ (105.7 Malta), its former home at WABT (104.5 Mechanicville) will flip today to ESPN Radio, picking up that format from Regent's "Team 1300" WTMM (1300 Rensselaer). What next for the 1300 signal? We're hearing a strong buzz (or is that the wrong word?) that Greenstone Media's new female-oriented talk format could be coming to the AM side early in 2007.
  • In MASSACHUSETTS, the Red Sox have made a change in their radio booth for the 2007 season: Jerry Trupiano is out after 13 years alongside Joe Castiglione. In his place, there'll be three voices in the booth, as Castiglione is joined by Dave O'Brien (who's called games for the Braves, Mets and Marlins in addition to his work for ESPN) and by Sox PR chief Glenn Geffner (who's also called games for the Padres - and, as we fondly remember here in Rochester, the AAA Red Wings...)
  • Tonight will mark the finale of "The Ten O'Clock News" on WLVI (Channel 56), ending 22 years of prime-time news from Morrissey Boulevard, and putting 150 people out of work as the station changes hands from Tribune to Sunbeam, which will launch a new 10 PM newscast produced by WHDH-TV (Channel 7) on Tuesday. The last word from Morrissey Boulevard, after anchors Karen Marinella and Frank Mallicoat say their farewells, will come from commentator Jack Hynes, who was WLVI's 10 PM anchor for most of its news history.

December 16, 2002 -

  • The big story this week comes from the snowy northern reaches of NEW HAMPSHIRE -- but it's a precedent that broadcasters all over the country could soon be studying as they fight local zoning boards standing in the way of broadcast tower construction.
  • Longtime NERW readers are already familiar with Bob Vinikoor's struggles to build WQTH (720 Hanover), the construction permit he was granted five years ago for a 50,000 watt daytime, 500 watt nighttime signal that would be a counterpart to his existing WNTK (1020 Newport), WNTK-FM (99.7 New London) and WNBX (1480 Springfield VT). The station would use four 266-foot towers on Etna Road in Lebanon, in an area zoned for industrial use. But Vinikoor ran up against a Lebanon ordinance that prohibits any broadcast tower higher than 42 feet -- and a city government that was unwilling to accept the laws of physics (and FCC minimum efficiency requirements) that dictate that no station operating on 720 can possibly use a tower that short.
  • Several years of court battles ensued, including a setback last year when a state trial court found in favor of the city and refused to grant summary judgment in Vinikoor's favor. The New Hampshire Supreme Court accepted his appeal, though, and on September 11 Vinikoor and attorney Fred Hopengarten of Lincoln, Mass. appeared before the court for oral arguments, with Chris Imlay, lawyer for the Society of Broadcast Engineers, submitting a friend of the court brief in support of Vinikoor.
  • The court issued its ruling on Thursday, and it's a pretty clear victory for Vinikoor and for the radio industry in general. In particular, the court agreed with Vinikoor that the city's laws prohibiting a 266-foot tower are in conflict with the federal regulations that require a tower of that height for a station on 720 -- and that simply arguing that Vinikoor is "not required by federal law" to build the station doesn't give the city's regulations precedence. Vinikoor's next step: returning to the trial court for an actual court order, after which he'll be free to apply for a building permit and build the most powerful AM signal (at least during daylight hours) in northern New England.
  • Jukebox Radio is off the air in northern NEW JERSEY and Rockland County, NEW YORK, but NERW's ears down that way report that the oldies/infomercials format continues for now on primary WJUX (99.7 Monticello).
  • Why was the plug pulled on the WJUX feed to translators W232AL (94.3 Pomona NY) and W276AQ (103.1 Fort Lee NJ)? The Bergen Record reports that Jukebox owner Gerry Turro received a letter from the FCC in mid-November raising questions about a loan Turro made to the former business partner who purchased the WJUX studios from him. The FCC says the loan creates an impermissible business relationship between the primary station and the two translators, which operate outside WJUX's primary contour. While Turro has won previous fights to keep the unusual translator network (fed from studios in Dumont, N.J., near the Fort Lee transmitter) intact, he tells the Record, "I'm sorry, I no longer feel like fighting." Turro and Wesley Weis, who owns WJUX, are reportedly trying to sell the three transmitters to a noncommercial operator, which would be able to legally operate the translators and the primary together.

December 18, 1997-

  • After six years of morning drive talk radio in Boston, Marjorie Clapprood is leaving the airwaves. Clapprood's contract with WRKO (680) is up at the end of December, and is not being renewed. Her last show was this morning. Clapprood started out on WHDH (850), co-hosting with Pat Whitley. Their show moved to WRKO in 1992 when the stations came under common ownership (ARS, soon to be CBS), and with Whitley's departure this past spring, the show was re-named "Clapprood and Company." Current co-host "Tai" will stay with WRKO, possibly filling the 10 PM to 1 AM slot now held by Jeff Katz, who moves to mornings to replace Clapprood. As for Clapprood's future, she tells the Boston Globe she'll work on a book while considering returning to law school or to television.
  • Plenty of news this week from NEW HAMPSHIRE, starting with the "other shoe dropping" in the ARS-Capstar deal on the Seacoast. Earlier this fall, Capstar picked up oldies WQSO (96.7 Rochester) and CHR WERZ (107.1 Exeter); now AM sister stations WZNN (930, CP 1700 Rochester) and WMYF (1540 Exeter) are being added to the deal, for a price reported at between $3 and 6 million.
  • An upstate NEW YORK daytimer is trying again to find a new frequency. WSIV (1540 East Syracuse) has withdrawn its application for 1500 watt daytime-only operation on 670 kHz. It's apparently part of a deal with Binghamton's WINR (680), which now gets the go-ahead to raise its daytime power from 1 to 5 kilowatts. WSIV has applied for 1500 watts, daytime-only, on 720 kHz instead.
  • WYSL (1040) in Avon has finally turned on its night power, several months after moving to the "24-hour" 1040 frequency from its old daytime-only spot on 1030. WYSL is staying on until 6:30 pm nightly with a simulcast of WOKR (Channel 13)'s newscasts.
  • Radio with Pictures: Kevin O'Neill, the "Why Guy" feature reporter at Buffalo's WIVB (Channel 4), is taking his dispute with the station very public. In an interview with the Buffalo News, O'Neill said this week that he wants to break his contract with WIVB because he's not being paid enough -- and he wants to take job offers in New York or Miami. In Syracuse, W18AL (Channel 18) is back with a simulcast of The Box programming from W35AQ (Channel 35). And as Lowell Paxson gets ready to launch his PaxNet next August, he's changed the calls on more than a dozen of his TV stations. WAQF (Channel 51) Batavia-Buffalo-Rochester will sign on under the WPXV call letters instead if the FCC approves.

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NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please click here to learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW is copyright 2007 by Scott Fybush.