January 28, 2008
Now Ryan's Gone at WLTW, Too
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*Now that NEW YORK's "Lite 106.7"
has cut its ties to most of the airstaff who helped lead it to
the top of the city's ratings and revenue charts over the last
two decades, the station is also losing the program director
who oversaw many of those successes.
After 11 years at
the helm of WLTW, Jim Ryan announced last week that he'll step
down at the beginning of May to form his own consulting firm
focusing on adult contemporary stations. And just as WLTW looked
to Philadelphia's WBEB (101.1) to find Ryan back in 1997, the
station is once again calling on a veteran of Jerry Lee's Philly
AC giant as Ryan's replacement.
Chris Conley replaced Ryan at B101, but recently left the
station to become vice president for AC programming at McVay
Media. He'll leave that firm on May 1 to become WLTW's next PD,
where he'll face some interesting challenges. Clear Channel budget
cuts over the last year have left WLTW without most of its signature
personalities, and the financial pressures of the company's impending
privatization look to leave Conley without much in the way of
resources to rebuild.
*Way back in December 2006, NERW was the very
first to report that Clear Channel had begun shopping its
Long Island properties, WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue) and WALK (1370
East Patchogue), to prospective buyers.
than a year later, those stations are finally about to leave
the Clear Channel fold, even though they've yet to find a buyer.
On Thursday, the FCC released its decision approving the as-yet-unfinalized
deal that will take Clear Channel private under the ownership
of the Thomas H. Lee and Bain Capital private equity funds. To
keep the new privatized Clear Channel under the FCC's current
multiple-ownership limits, stations in several markets will be
transferred to the "Aloha Station Trust" - and that
includes the Long Island stations, which are nested into the
New York market, where CC already owns the maximum five FM signals.
So WALK and WALK-FM will become Aloha holdings, with an FCC
mandate to try as hard as possible to find a buyer for the stations
within six months.
Also entering the Aloha fold will be WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter)
and W252AC (98.3 Camillus) in the Syracuse market, WURH (104.1
Waterbury) in the Hartford market, WHCY (106.3 Blairstown) and
WNNJ (1360 Newton) in northwest New Jersey and WGIP (1540 Exeter)
on the New Hampshire seacoast.
been another subtle format change in the lower Hudson Valley:
after a couple of weeks of stunting (if you can call nonstop
adult contemporary music "stunting"), Cumulus' WFAF
(106.3 Mount Kisco) has returned to a near-simulcast of AC WFAS-FM
(103.9 Bronxville). WFAF was a WFAS-FM simulcast from 2001 until
2005, when it flipped to a simulcast of Poughkeepsie's WPDH (101.5).
With WFAS-FM now holding a pending application to move its
transmitter south into the Bronx, will Cumulus attempt to use
106.3 (whose signal doesn't get much south of the Cross-Westchester
Expressway) as a replacement for 103.9?
(Oh, and about that "near-simulcast" - 106.3 is
actually eight seconds ahead of 103.9, since it doesn't have
an HD Radio delay, and it's running PSAs in place of the local
spots on 103.9.)
Across the Hudson in Rockland County, we've heard plenty of
complaints in recent years about the 1999 flip of WRKL (910 New
City) to Polish-language programming, but it turns out one Rockland
resident took matters a step further. Robert Schore of Monsey
asked the FCC to deny WRKL its license renewal, on the grounds
that the station isn't serving the public interest or meeting
its EAS obligations. Last week, the FCC granted WRKL's renewal
over Schore's objection. It says programming choices are up to
the licensee, not to the Commission, and that Schore failed to
present any actionable evidence of EAS violations at WRKL. (We're
still waiting, incidentally, for any word from the FCC about
the four pending applications for 1700 in Rockland County; that
frequency was allocated in an unusual special proceeding last
year to provide for full-time AM coverage of the county.)
In Watkins Glen, WTYX (1490 Watkins Glen) has changed calls
to WRCE, presumably to honor the famous "Race" track
there. WTYX has been simulcasting country WPGI (100.9 Horseheads)
for the last few years; we remember it when it was still live
and local as WGMF ("Watkins Glen-Montour Falls") many
years ago, originally as a daytimer on 1500.
Stick a figurative fork in WCKL (560 Catskill); after several
years in which the station has been silent except for a brief
return to the air each June, the FCC has cancelled WCKL's license.
(NERW wonders if WCKL's licensee, Black United Fund of New York,
didn't let the FCC know that the station made its annual return
from the dead last June.)
Greg Catlin is getting a promotion: the news director at Binghamton's
WBNG-TV (Channel 12) is now VP of news for both WBNG and Granite
sister station WTVH (Channel 5) up I-81 in Syracuse. Catlin will
give up his anchor chair at WBNG to focus on his management responsibilities.
Over at Syracuse University, student-run WJPZ (89.1) made
headlines last week for a stunt that signaled a shift in the
format at "Z89." The station played Michael Jackson's
"Beat It" for 24 hours last Monday, followed by the
sound of a heartbeat for most of the day Tuesday before relaunching
as "The Beat of Syracuse," with a more rhythmic top
40 sound replacing the former mainstream top 40 format.
a change in the scenery overlooking NERW Central: for the first
time in almost half a century, there are no FM antennas on the
oldest TV tower in western New York. The first FM signal showed
up on Rochester's WROC-TV/WHEC-TV tower on Pinnacle Hill back
in 1959, when WROC-FM (97.9) signed on there. The station later
became WPXY-FM, and even after it moved its main antenna to the
new American Tower facility on Pinnacle a couple of years ago,
it maintained backup facilities at the WROC site. So did Entercom
sister station WCMF (96.5), which used the WROC/WHEC tower from
1980 until 2006. (The tower was also home to WXXI-FM 91.5 from
1974 until 1980, just to keep the historical timeline complete.)
any event, Entercom's lease at the WROC/WHEC site was apparently
up; while we were downstate, tower crews were working through
the night of January 16-17 to remove the old WPXY and WCMF antennas
from that tower. NERW expects more work yet to come at that site,
as temporary DTV antennas for WHEC-DT 58 and WROC-DT 45 (and
the analog antenna shared by WROC-TV 8 and WHEC-TV 10) get replaced
by permanent DTV antennas for WHEC (on 10) and WROC (on 45) over
the next year or so.
Over in Buffalo, our friends at the Buffalo Broadcasters Association
are launching a new lecture series. Veteran ABC News executive
Av Westin will be the first speaker in the series, which kicks
off Feb. 20 at the studios of WNED in downtown Buffalo. There's
more information (and a boatload of Buffalo broadcasting history,
too) at buffalobroadcasters.com.
Up in Watertown, Lance Hale is the new PD at rocker WOTT (100.7
Clayton), moving north from WAVF in Charleston, SC, where the
words "lake-effect snow" don't have any real meaning.
(Welcome to the neighborhood, Lance...and watch out for that
Tug Hill Plateau!)
GETCHER 2008 TOWER SITE CALENDAR
- BEFORE THEY'RE ALL GONE!
Still haven't ordered your 2008 Tower Site Calendar?
You do realize that it's now...er...2008, don't you? We're already
down to the last 120 or so calendars, and they're going
fast. The 2006 and 2007 editions of the calendar sold out, and
this one will do so as well, possibly as soon as this month.
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.
The calendar is just $18 with
shipping and handling included - or better yet, beat our move
to mandatory subscriptions later this year 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
right here and you can be sure 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 addition to all of the week's news, we should note that
it's a great time for fans of broadcasting history in
bookshelves, there's a new novel out about the later years of
inventor Nikola Tesla (The Invention of Everything Else,
by Samantha Hunt), and that in turn prompted Kurt Andersen to
devote last weekend's "Studio
360" show to Tesla and related radio topics. Among the
show's highlights, as far as we're concerned, was a
visit to the WNYC-FM transmitter room in the company of WNYC's
new director of engineering, Jim Stagnitto.
Yes, there's even video there of "Stag" (who moved
to WNYC from Clear Channel's WWPR last fall) showing Kurt around
the processing racks and the transmitter, as well as several
other neat stories about Tesla and his fellow inventors.
And then there's Philo T. Farnsworth, the television inventor
who's getting his long-deserved share of attention by way of
the new Broadway play The
Farnsworth Invention, written by Aaron Sorkin (of "The
West Wing" fame) and starring Hank Azaria as David Sarnoff
and Jimmie Simpson as Farnsworth.
Your editor took in the play (in the congenial company of
several other New York radio folks) earlier this month, and while
NERW doesn't often review Broadway theater, we'll make an exception
just this once.
Let's stipulate, first of all, that anyone looking to learn
the history of American broadcasting from The Farnsworth Invention is
in the wrong place. In the interest of dramatic tension, Sorkin
plays some big games with the timeline of early radio, conflating
the 1921 WJY broadcast of the Dempsey-Carpentier prize fight
(over a "50,000-watt transmitter," yet!) with the late
1922 start of commercial broadcasts over WEAF, and then mixing
those up with the 1926 founding of NBC.
Later in the play, there are a few teeth-grinding moments
in which Sorkin's characters claim Major Armstrong "jumped
to his death from a radio tower," and in which the $1 million
payout that RCA made for Farnsworth's patents in 1939 fails to
garner a mention, allowing Sorkin to portray Farnsworth's later
years as unrelievedly gloomy ones.
In the bigger picture, though, these are nitpicks: the story
Sorkin has set out to tell is not simply that of one inventor
and one media mogul. In the play's second act, after his Sarnoff
and Farnsworth characters have each narrated the basics of the
other's life stories, Sorkin ups the ante, offering a gripping
depiction of the 1929 stock market crash on the way to an exploration
of some bigger questions.
His Sarnoff (again, somewhat historically improbably) evolves
from an opponent of explicitly commercial broadcasting into a
corporate chieftain determined "to burn (Farnsworth's) house
down so he wouldn't burn mine down first," and as the play
ends, Sorkin is reaching for a bigger conclusion about the role
of big businesses and the ideas that fuel them - an idea that
the play can't quite wrap its arms around, even when the moon
landing and Farnsworth's later experiments with nuclear fusion
are thrown in at the last moment.
There's a refrain that runs through The Farnsworth Invention
every time Sarnoff mentions RCA's own electronic television
experiments, led by the unjustly-maligned Vladimir Zworykin:
"We invented television first. There was just one problem:
it didn't work."
And here's the funny thing about The Farnsworth Invention:
for all its glosses on history and for all the contortions Sorkin
puts his script through to turn the tale of Sarnoff and Farnsworth
into a 20th-century morality play, it does work. Sorkin
is unparalleled in his ability to pack detail upon detail into
fast-moving dialogue, to fill the stage with multiple characters
in locations from coast to coast, and to still keep it funny.
(And occasionally moving, too, as in a subplot involving Farnsworth,
his wife, and the illness of their young son.)
Imagine Sarnoff and Farnsworth as characters on "The
West Wing" (or, better yet, "Sports Night") and
you've got the basic underpinnings of this play.
Once inside Sorkin's version of reality, director Des McAnuff
and a very talented cast (especially Simpson as Farnsworth) have
created a tight, gripping two-hour drama that may be a little
too esoteric for the average Broadway aficionado (which might
explain why our little band of radio folks had too much of the
balcony to ourselves), but which makes delightful entertainment
for anyone who already knows some of the terminology and the
basic history. (If you're reading this column, that's you.)
It's also bound to start conversations, and in fact there's
a great one going on over at a website (thefarnsworthinvention.com)
that breaks the play down scene-by-scene for historical accuracy.
If you're within easy reach of Broadway, or planning a trip
to New York sometime soon, take the two hours to see The Farnsworth
Invention. How else, after all, can we someday get Sorkin
and his producers to take on the even more gripping tale of Major
to today's broadcast scene - there's a call change to reports
in NEW JERSEY: with the start today of the simulcast of
WEPN (1050 New York) on WCHR (1040 Flemington), 1040's calls
change to WNJE, which presumably stands for "New Jersey's
(For those obsessive types, we'll note that the WNJE calls
were briefly parked on 920 in Trenton, ex-WPHY, which will again
There's a TV station sale to report, too: WWSI (62 Atlantic
City), the Telemundo affiliate serving Philadelphia, is being
sold by Hispanic Broadcasters of Philadelphia to Washington-based
ZGS Communications, which owns several other Telemundo affiliates
in the region (including WTMU-LP Boston, WRIW-LP Providence and
WRDM-LP Hartford/WDMR-LP Springfield), for $11 million.
How to hold up a radio station's renewal application for almost
two years: When WWFM (89.1 Trenton) applied for renewal in 2006,
one William Knight filed a petition to deny. Knight accused WWFM
of being a "wholly amateur organization" and complained
about "gross racial insensitivity" in a Martin Luther
King weekend broadcast about Al Jolson. Needless to say, those
aren't actionable grounds to deny a license renewal, so the FCC
renewed WWFM's license (noting in passing that there are no rules
prohibiting amateurs from running radio stations)
*Across the Delaware River in PENNSYLVANIA,
Four Rivers Community Broadcasting's application for a new station
on 1390 in Morrisville has been dismissed. The proposed new Trenton-area
signal was one of 14 applications tossed out by the FCC last
week for failure to submit a full technical application.
Congratulations to Joe Reilly - his WHLM (930 Bloomsburg)
is getting more daytime power. The FCC initially denied his request
to increase day power from 1000 to 2000 watts, but WHLM filed
an amendment with updated ground-conductivity measurements to
show that the increase wouldn't cause additional interference
to co-channel WBEN in Buffalo, New York, and now the FCC has
granted the power boost.
Miss our complete look
back at the year that just ended? Have you caught (and responded
to) our Year-End Rant yet? We'll be printing some of your
responses in this space next week - and in the meantime
here for NERW's comprehensive recap of 2007.
*Where was MASSACHUSETTS programming
veteran Jay Beau Jones headed when he left the PD chair at WORC-FM
and WWFX in Worcester last week? Down the Pike to Boston, as
it turns - he's been named PD of CBS Radio's WBMX (98.5 Boston)
and WODS (103.3 Boston). At "Mix," Jones displaces
Jerry McKenna, while at "Oldies" he replaces another
PD, Pete Falconi, who also made the Worcester-to-Boston move
a few years back. Jones has also programmed in Hartford (at the
old WMRQ) and Chicago (at Clear Channel's "Kiss" WKSC).
On the noncommercial side of the dial, the Boston Globe's
Clea Simon reported
last week on a $500,000 federal grant that's allowing WUMB-FM
(91.9 Boston) to reevaluate some of its programming and promotion
strategies. With only a few shows from Public Radio International
remaining on its schedule ("Mountain Stage" and "Afropop
Worldwide"), WUMB is considering dropping its PRI affiliation
in order to avoid paying what it calls excessive fees. WUMB general
manager Pat Monteith tells Simon the station may also tweak its
"Folk Radio" imaging to better reflect the current
direction of its programming. Money from the CPB grant (of which
WUMB is one of five recipients nationwide) is being used to survey
listeners and conduct focus groups, and Monteith says some of
the results may start showing on the station as soon as March.
CONNECTICUT, WTIC-TV (Channel 61) has named the anchor
team for its new morning newscast, set to debut March 3. Current
10 PM weekend anchor Rebecca Stewart, former WVIT (Channel 30)
anchor Logan Byrnes, WTIC (1080) chief meteorologist Joe Furey
(who's also director of the New England Weather Service) and
traffic reporter Rachel Lutzker will host the show.
Former WICC (600 Bridgeport) morning man John LaBarca returned
to the air yesterday, bringing his popular "Italian House
Party" back to the air on another Bridgeport signal, WDJZ
(1530). But there's a controversy brewing over the "House
Party" name - WICC owner Cumulus says it registered the
name as a service mark just after LaBarca's split from the station,
and it threatened legal action if LaBarca used the name on his
new WDJZ show.
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*A long-dead MAINE AM station rose
briefly from the dead last week, at least in FCC filings. Fittingly,
WNSW (1200 Brewer) was last owned by Stephen King, and even the
master of horror couldn't resurrect the station back in December
1997, when he applied for a license renewal. (NERW,
Back then, the FCC turned down the renewal application on
the grounds that WNSW had already been dark for more than a year,
and thus there was no valid license left to renew. So imagine
our surprise last week when another application to renew
WNSW's long-dead license came over the FCC transom, and was promptly
accepted for filing.
What the heck is going on here? The latest application was
filed by one Joseph E. Jurkenas of Brewer, whose somewhat incoherent
filing is apparently attempting to move a never-built (and itself
long-dead) CP for 990 in Belfast (or possibly the even longer-dead
1230 in Belfast) to 1200. Unfortunately for Jurkenas, the subsequent
grant of a CP for a 50 kW power boost at WKOX (1200) in the Boston
market would make a new 1200 in Brewer impossible, even if there
weren't that pesky law that says any signal that's off the air
for 12 consecutive months no longer has a license to renew anyway.
an unusual application from CANADA: CFRM (100.7 Little
Current ON) is applying for a 50-watt relay transmitter on the
same frequency in Sudbury, 50 miles away, to bring its community
radio programming from Manitoulin Island to the nearest sizable
city. The rationale? "The licensee advises that the transmitter
would allow Sudbury residents who own property on Manitoulin
Island to stay connected by providing them with important information
relating to local weather, marine and road reports and events
specific to Manitoulin."
One more thing we learned from CFRM's website:
the station, known as "The Island FM," claims to be
operating with HD Radio, one of a handful of signals testing
the system north of the border.
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!)
January 29, 2007 -
- Outside the engineering trade press, it's received almost
no attention - and even in the engineering trades, it didn't
get the attention it deserved. But the FCC rule changes that
took effect last week certainly had the attention of consulting
engineers all over the country, and they have the potential to
lead to some dramatic station moves here in the northeast.
- The new rules streamline the process by which AM and FM stations
change their communities of license, frequency and class. For
AM signals, any change of community was once considered a "major
change," requiring a filing window that, in recent times,
came only once every three or four years. For FM stations, changing
communities was done through a cumbersome two-step process that
began by filing a petition to alter the Table of Allotments,
and only then was followed up with an application to move the
station itself. Now that's all changed, and most of those moves
can be filed as a simple one-step application, without waiting
for a window. The first batch of applications began to emerge
from the FCC last week, and we here at NERW spent the better
part of our weekend sifting through them.
- The biggest beneficiary of the new rules, interestingly,
is the small community of Keene, NEW HAMPSHIRE, which could get
two new FM signals, including one moving down the Connecticut
River from the VERMONT side, plus a significant upgrade to a
Massachusetts-based rimshot signal. The two new Keene FMs would
come from the Clear Channel Upper Valley-based cluster that Jeff
Shapiro's Great Eastern group is buying. Clear Channel filed
(just before the sale itself was filed) to move WTSM (93.5 Springfield
VT) to Swanzey NH, making it a class A signal with 2.3 kW/521'
from West Hill in Keene - and to move WVRR (101.7 Newport NH)
south to Westminster VT, relocating it to 101.9, where it would
be a class A signal with 1.1 kW/774' DA from the WEKW-TV tower
north of Keene. WTSM would have some company up on West Hill,
too - Saga has applied to move WSNI (97.7 Winchendon MA) to Swanzey
NH as well, moving it to the West Hill tower that's already home
to Saga's WINQ (98.7 Winchester NH), where it would run 1.8 kW/613',
with a signal identical to WINQ's.
- The founder and longtime station adviser to high school station
WAVM (91.7) in Maynard, MASSACHUSETTS, died last week, just as
his trial on child rape and indecent assault charges was getting
underway. Joseph Magno spent all day last Monday in court as
attorneys held a pre-trial hearing in the case, then died at
his home in Hudson that night, apparently of a heart attack.
Magno had been under house arrest there since last March. Magno,
66, had been in poor health for the last year or so, since the
charges against him became public. A jury was to have been seated
for the trial later in the week; the charges will now be dismissed
once a formal death certificate is filed with the court.
- In NEW YORK, the new FM change rules brought with them several
applications for station moves and upgrades. On Long Island,
WEHM (92.9 Southampton) applies to move west to Manorville, where
it would run 3.1 kW/462' with a directional antenna from the
same tower currently used by WBZB (98.5 Westhampton) and WDRE
(105.3 Calverton-Roanoke), losing some of its existing coverage
in the Hamptons in exchange for more of central Suffolk County,
almost as far west as Coram and Patchogue.
- In the Adirondacks, little Old Forge already lost one of
its two FM allotments to Watertown when Randy Michaels' RadioActive
moved 92.5A to Black River last year. Now the other unbuilt Old
Forge signal hopes to move to Watertown, too, as Live Air applies
to take WZNY (94.1A) out of Old Forge and reallocate it as 94.1C3
in Calcium, running 12.5 kW/328' from a Time Warner tower on
State Street Hill in Watertown. Michaels wasn't idle during the
rule change: he's applying to move his new construction permit
for a class C2 facility on 97.9 in Dannemora to Keeseville, much
closer to Plattsburgh. RadioActive's 107.1A CP in Saranac Lake
would move to Dannemora - and that's not the only move in the
area, as Saranac Lake Radio's WYZY (106.3 Saranac Lake) would
change city of license to Saranac, about 30 miles to the northeast,
moving to the Lyon Mountain tower of WCFE-TV (Channel 57) and
becoming a 1500 watt/2296' C2 signal booming over Plattsburgh
- In northeast PENNSYLVANIA, sports radio is back on the AM
dial. Responding to Connoisseur's flip of sports WFNN (1330 Erie)
to oldies WFGO a couple of weeks ago, Citadel's flipping WRIE
(1260 Erie) from standards to sports today as "ESPN Radio
1260 the Score." WRIE will also carry the Jim Rome show
January 27, 2003 -
- Just in to NERW Central Thursday afternoon is word that one
of New England's longest running morning teams is no more. Smith
and Barber, of Cox's WPLR (99.1 New Haven), are calling it quits
after more than 18 years at the rock station. Bruce Barber had
been looking at getting out of radio for several months, we're
told, and WPLR management decided not to keep going with just
Brian Smith. Inbound to 'PLR are "Chaz and AJ" from
WRCN (103.9 Riverhead) on Long Island; they'll work with the
rest of the Smith and Barber morning team when they start on
WPLR in mid-February. Much more in next Monday's NERW....
- To the strains of Don McLean's American Pie, a legend returned
to the airwaves of western NEW YORK this morning at 6. As first
confirmed right here at NERW last week, Entercom pulled the plug
on the ratings-challenged business talk format that had been
occupying the 50,000 watts of Buffalo's WWKB (1520), returning
the erstwhile WKBW to the music that made it great -- the hits
(don't call them "oldies" these days) of 1958 through
1973. And what a way to do it -- complete with ads in the Buffalo
News, a spiffy new Web site at www.kb1520.com, plenty of cross-promotion
on Entercom sister stations WGR (550) and WBEN (930), including
90 minutes' worth of Friday's Sandy Beach (himself a 'KB alumnus)
talk show on 'BEN, and a lineup of talent that Buffalo radio
history buffs have long fantasized of reuniting at the top of
- Anchoring the revitalized 'KB, as long rumored, is Danny
Neaverth, a morning fixture on the original 'KB from 1963 until
its 1988 demise -- and joining him on the 6-10 AM shift is Tom
Donahue with "Pulse... Beat... NEWS". On afternoons
is Hank Nevins, who followed Neaverth out the door at Citadel's
oldies WHTT (104.1) last year, and holding down the 6-10 PM shift
by voicetrack from his home base at WMQX (93.1 Winston-Salem
NC) is none other than "Your LeeeeeeeeeeeeDER," the
legendary Jackson Armstrong. Completing the initial lineup is
Joey Reynolds' overnight talk show -- and Reynolds, who worked
at 'KB in 1964-1965, will do his show live from Buffalo tonight.
- Just when we thought 'KB's return would be the week's big
story out of New York, though, the message boards began crackling
early Monday morning with news that Infinity's WNEW (102.7 New
York) was finally waking from its slumber and heading for a new
format. WNEW's hot talk format has been on the endangered list,
of course, since last summer's suspension of the station's flagship
talk hosts, Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia.
With the duo off the roster, WNEW has been limping along with
syndicated talk, a deliberately weakened morning show (so as
not to challenge Infinity sister WXRK and Howard Stern), Ron
and Fez in the evening and plenty of infomercials. Monday morning
at 1:00, though, that mess of a non-format was abruptly replaced
by Jennifer Lopez' "Jenny from the Block" and an announcement
(on the air and on the station's Web site) that a new station
was on the way to 102.7. That, in turn, is sparking a new round
of rumors in the nation's biggest market -- will WNEW go to a
female-leaning AAA-ish AC format, as message-board guru Allan
Sniffen declared he'd been tipped last week? Will it fill the
gaping hole in the country format? Or will Infinity shift 102.7
in some completely different direction?
- New York was one of the few states where nobody could see
the Super Bowl in digital form; amazingly, not one of the Empire
State's ABC affiliates has its DTV signal on the air yet! Only
a few viewers in the Albany area had a chance to see ABC's DTV
presentation from San Diego, thanks to the signal of WCDC-DT
(Channel 36) from Adams, Massachusetts, which beat its parent
station (WTEN Albany) to the digital airwaves -- and which was
picked up on Albany's cable system for game day.
January 26 & 29, 1998-
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- Montreal's CJAD is sliding around the dial again. The station's
attempt to return to the 800 kHz frequency with a single tower
proved unsuccessful, since non-directional operation on the crowded
800 frequency meant extremely low power. The temporary use of
CFMB's old 1410 kHz facility was also less than successful, since
the 1410 directional pattern misses most of CJAD's Anglophone
audience to the west of Montreal. Enter CKGM, the CHUM Group
talk station on 990 kHz. After reportedly failing to interrupt
its diet of US talk shows (Dean Edell, "Dr." Laura
Schlessinger, etc.) for ice storm coverage, CKGM has now agreed
to lease out its signal to CJAD until CJAD's own facility is
rebuilt, which could take several more months. CHUM Group officials
are making no promises that the low-rated talk format will return
to CKGM once the CJAD lease is over; the CKGM facility has been
troubled by low ratings and frequent format changes ever since
dropping its CHR format, changing calls to CKIS, and moving off
980 kHz in the late 1980s.
- Sinclair Broadcasting is finally free to sell four Rochester,
NEW YORK stations that it hasn't even bought yet. WBBF (950),
WBEE-FM (92.5), WQRV (93.3 Avon), and WKLX (98.9) are among the
Heritage Media stations Sinclair is buying -- and they're part
of the group that both Entercom and Jacor wanted to buy. Both
companies sued to get the Rochester stations, along with a 2
FM - 1 AM combo in Portland, Oregon. Jacor dropped its lawsuit
earlier in the month, and Entercom dropped its suit this week
after reaching a deal to pay $126.5 million for the seven stations.
NERW wonders how long Entercom will hang on to the Rochester
outlets. Portland is already an Entercom market, with 2 FMs and
an AM there, but you'd have to go to Florida or Missouri to find
the closest Entercom stations to Rochester. NERW suspects the
Rochester group may get spun yet again in the near future...stay
- Meantime, Sinclair may not be gone long from Rochester TV.
The group is reportedly eyeing Sullivan Broadcasting, which owns
Rochester Fox affiliate WUHF (Channel 31) and Buffalo Fox station
WUTV (Channel 29). Sinclair is already buying Syracuse's Fox
outlet, WSYT (Channel 68), and it's a major radio group owner
in Buffalo. By the way, WUTV is finally giving up its secondary
UPN affiliation. The weblet moves to little WNGS (Channel 67)
Springville, which is not yet seen by most Buffalo-area cable
- On the TV side of things, WHEC (Channel 10) reporter Kendis
Gibson is off to bigger things; he's headed for a reporter job
at Fox O&O WTXF (Channel 29) in Philadelphia -- just three
years after starting his very first paying TV job at WHEC.
- The big news from MAINE: Portland-market classical station
WPKM (106.3 Scarborough) is becoming the latest link in the "W-Bach"
chain. New owner Mariner Broadcasting will rename the station
WBQW; it'll simulcast WBQQ (99.3 Kennebunk).
- Across the border: CKLY (910) in Lindsay, Ontario is the
latest Canadian AM to get permission to move to FM. CKLY will
simulcast for three months or so on 91.9 with 20 kilowatts before
moving to FM for good sometime this summer. Up in New Brunswick,
CHSJ (700) in Saint John has started broadcasting on 94.1 MHz;
the AM signal, which is well-heard in coastal New England, will
go silent come spring.
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2008 by Scott Fybush.