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March 24, 2008

NBC Wants to Sell WVIT - Again


MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Ask just about any top-40 DJ of a certain generation to list their most respected colleagues, and the name "Jackson Armstrong" is almost sure to pop up somewhere near the top.

Armstrong, whose real name was John Larsh, died Saturday at his North Carolina home, ending a career that found "Your LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEADER" behind the mic everywhere from Los Angeles (KTNQ, KKHR, KFI) to Boston (WMEX).

Armstrong's career began at his hometown WCOG in Greensboro, NC in 1964, but he came into his fast-talking persona in Cleveland, where he worked both for WIXY and competitor WKYC.

Armstrong came to Boston in 1968 to work at WMEX, spending most of the next seven years in the northeast at CHUM in Toronto, WKBW in Buffalo (where his three-year stint on the night shift is still fondly remembered by listeners all over the northeast), WPOP in Hartford, WKTQ in Pittsburgh (where he was a key part of 13Q from 1973-75) and even a short stint at KDKA. A few years later, he did one shift on New York's WNBC as "The Unknown DJ" before heading west to work in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Fresno.

Armstrong returned to the northeast airwaves in 2003 when WKBW (by then known as WWKB) returned to an oldies format, voicetracking first an evening shift and then an afternoon shift from North Carolina until the demise of the oldies on KB in 2006.

In a memorial message, Armstrong's daughter Devon writes, "If you knew him at all, you'd know he wouldn't want you to be sad for a moment...he would also want you to help fight to bring back the personality in radio if at all possible. He loved being a DJ almost as much as he loved being a father and that says A LOT."

Armstrong was 62.

*In CONNECTICUT, NBC Universal is putting WVIT (Channel 30) up for sale after just over a decade of network ownership.

The New Britain-licensed station has actually been owned by NBC twice during its 55 years on the air, first from 1957-1959 (under the WNBC-TV calls) and then again since a 1997 trade with Paramount (which acquired WLWC-TV New Bedford/Providence and WWHO-TV in the Columbus, Ohio market). Under NBC's ownership, WVIT has been a solid competitor in the spread-out Hartford/New Haven market, consistently hitting at least second place in the local news ratings, with some nice first-place finishes in the February sweeps among 25-54 viewers in the mornings and at 11.

When NBC Universal announced plans to shed many of its smaller-market stations (including Providence's WJAR), WVIT was conspicuously missing from the list - and indeed, it wasn't long after the sale of WJAR and other NBC O&Os to Media General that NBC announced plans to build a new high-tech studio facility for WVIT next door to its half-century-old facility on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford.

That new building is currently going up in what had been WVIT's parking lot, but by the time it's finished, the station is expected to have a new owner.

That's because even with all the money it's spending on WVIT, NBC says it's focusing its station ownership on the top 10 markets. It owns stations in eight of them, leaving only Detroit and Boston without NBC O&O presence. (In Detroit, NBC has a long association with Post-Newsweek's powerful WDIV; in Boston, the network has long been rumored to be interested in a deal to buy WHDH from Ed Ansin's Sunbeam.)

Outside the top 10, NBC will be left with only KNSD in San Diego once it completes the latest round of sales, which also includes WTVJ in Miami.


Still haven't ordered your 2008 Tower Site Calendar? You do realize that it's, don't you? We're already down to the last 60 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 and analysis.)

So click 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.

*A windstorm in Bangor ripped the roof off the MAINE Public Broadcasting administration building Friday afternoon.

In January, MPBN had announced plans to move its staffers (about two dozen of them) out of that building, at 65 Texas Avenue, and into the neighboring building at 63 Texas Avenue that already houses MPBN studios and master control. Only the lower two floors of the three-story administration building were occupied when the windstorm hit, and that meant staffers escaped injury when the roof came off.

Because of damage to power lines, incoming electric feeds to the 63 Texas Ave. building were cut off after the storm came through, and MPBN operated its master control from generator power for several hours while the winds died down.

It's not clear yet whether MPBN will speed up its plans to move next door; we'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile in Brunswick, it's the end of the line for an old studio/transmitter building. The barnlike structure that was home to the stations on 98.9 and 900, variously WCME, WKXA and WCLZ, for almost half a century came down last week, we're told. There hadn't been studios in there for several years, since WCLZ (98.9 North Yarmouth) was swallowed up by first the Portland-based Citadel cluster and then the South Portland-based Saga cluster.

The AM side on 900, which is part of JJ Jeffrey's "Big Jab" group of sports stations, changed calls last week as well - it had been WJJB and is now WWBK. (The WJJB calls are apparently headed for Westbrook to replace WJAE on the 1440 half of the simulcast.)

In place of the old building, there's now a small prefab structure housing the transmitters for WCLZ and WJJB.

And veteran newsman Bob Dyk, whose career included network jobs at CBS and ABC, several years in California at San Francisco's KGO-TV and Sacramento's KRBK, and two decades of radio and TV news work in Maine at WMTW-TV and WGAN, has died. Dyk's network achievements included reports from London on the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, as well as the only on-scene US network coverage of the first few days of the Iran hostage crisis from Tehran in 1979. Dyk died Saturday at his home in Falmouth; he was 71.

*In MASSACHUSETTS, there's some good news from WEEI (850) sports talker Glenn Ordway. He returned to the air last week after an extended absence following the difficult birth of his daughter, and he spent the first part of his return recounting the medical heroics that allowed little Mia Grace Ordway to pull through. There's still a chance that the baby may have some damage to one area of her brain, but Ordway tells the Herald, "we’re feeling pretty optimistic that we’re going to have a fairly, positive outcome."

Don Imus is adding an affiliate in the Berkshires. WBEC (1420 Pittsfield) carried Imus' old CBS Radio show until it was cancelled nearly a year ago amidst Imus' now-famous remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. WBEC owner Vox tells the Berkshire Eagle they were waiting to see what Imus' relaunched show (which signed on in December) would be like before committing to it. The new show will join the WBEC lineup March 31, replacing Doug Stephan's syndicated "Good Day USA."

In Plymouth, Sean Casey exits as PD and afternoon jock at WPLM-FM (99.1); morning guy Frank Mitchell takes over as PD, with no replacement named yet for afternoons.

There's a new format at WNEB (1230 Worcester); it's flipped from religion to conservative talk as "1230 AM The Patriot."

At classical WCRB (99.5 Lowell), they're mourning overnight host Phil Patrone, who died March 15 after a fight with cancer. Patrone came to WCRB from Boston's theater community, where he worked with many of the region's theater companies and was honored with awards that included the Eliot Norton Award as best actor in 2001. At WCRB, Patrone also hosted Boston Pops and Boston Symphony broadcasts. He was just 48 years old.

Some fun news from Greater Media: the cluster marked St. Patrick's Day on Monday by bringing in many of Boston's Irish (and Irish-for-a-day) VIPs to spin their favorite Irish tunes and tell some stories on the all-Irish-music HD2 channel of WTKK (96.9). Now, if the radios were just out there to tune in the signal...

*There's a new TV newscast on the air in VERMONT. As we predicted when Fox outlet WFFF (Channel 44) launched a 10 PM newscast last year, the same news team is now producing a broadcast for sister ABC outlet WVNY (Channel 22).

But instead of competing head-on with the Burlington/Plattsburgh market's two news behemoths, WCAX (Channel 3) and WPTZ (Channel 5), WVNY is running its newscast on weeknights at 7 PM. And it's branding the show, oddly enough, as "Fox 44 News at 7."

(Yes, Vermont readers, we'd love to see tape of the WFFF/WVNY newscasts, if anyone's able...)

NERW LIVE IN PERSON! If you're in Southern California, come see NERW editor Scott Fybush deliver the latest version of the "Tower Sites I've Known and Photographed" slideshow, Tuesday, April 8 at the SBE Chapter 47 meeting in Burbank, CA. Details at the SBE Chapter 47 website,

*In NEW YORK, there's a new addition to the airstaff at WRXP (101.9). "Greg," as he's known on-air, is Greg Russ, formerly "Dekker" at Atlanta's WNNX. (And WRXP has also been using the talents of a former WQCD jock on weekends, when Paul Cavalconte's been heard recently.)

In Utica, reports a staff move at the Regent cluster: WIBX (950) news director Stacey Lynn moves to sister country station WFRG ("Big Frog 104.3") to co-host the morning show. On Big Frog, she's known as "Polly Wogg," and she replaces the exiting "Annie Croakley."

In the Finger Lakes, Geneva's WEOS (89.7) has amended its applications for its new facilities. WEOS itself is now proposing to move to 89.5, using 6 kW/312' from the current 89.7 site in Stanley NY. Its new Ithaca sister station, WITH (90.1) applies to modify its CP to move to a tower owned by Tompkins County on South Hill, adjacent to the Ithaca College campus. From that site, WITH would run 3 kW/-72'. WEOS has also modified its application for 90.3 in Auburn; the new application specifies the Cayuga County 911 tower, with 3.35 kW/289' DA.

*A NEW JERSEY format change: Press Communications is replacing oldies with Fox Sports at WBUD (1260 Trenton). When the flip takes effect on March 31, WBUD will run Fox 21 hours a day, with three hours a day of Jim Rome in middays.

Scott Lowe has a new full-time gig at Press' G-Rock (WHTG-FM 106.3 Eatontown/WBBO 106.5 Bass River Township). The veteran jock (WAEB-FM, WPST, WPLY, WYSP) has been doing part-time work for G-Rock, but now he's signed on full-time for the night shift. (He'll keep doing his Saturday night request show, as well.)

*In PENNSYLVANIA, Greater Media is preparing to relaunch its AM sports talker, WPEN (950 Philadelphia). The station has dropped its 6-9 AM show with Glenn Foley and Michael Bradley, replacing it with ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike. It's part of an overall rebranding of the station that will take effect April 1, as it picks up the ESPN affiliation and becomes "950 ESPN."

The rest of the WPEN day will shape up like this: former afternoon host Jody McDonald moves to the 9 AM-1 PM slot, followed by the Mike Tirico show from ESPN and then former WIP/WMMR talker Mike Missanelli from 3-7 PM. Harry Mayes moves from middays to nights, where he'll do 7-11 PM alongside Dan Schwartzman, who comes to WPEN from former Philly-area ESPN outlet WPHY (920 Trenton).

Across the state in Pittsburgh, Steel City media is making changes at WLTJ (92.9). As of Sunday evening, "Lite Rock 92.9" is no more, and we hear the station has reimaged as "Q 92.9."

Pittsburgh's "B94" (WBZW 93.7) has added a new voice to its morning team, and she's a familiar one from the station's earlier years as WBZZ. Melanie Taylor did middays on B94 for four years, then moved into traffic reporting for WTAE-TV after B's big format flip. She'll join the Buckhead and Bubba morning show April 1.

In Harrisburg, Scott Matthews is leaving WRVV (97.3) to focus on his voiceover business, Matthews Voice. Matthews had been afternoon host and creative services director for "the River."

A veteran Harrisburg jock died last week. Louis Torres, Jr. was known as "Joe Torre" on the air at stations that included WHTF (92.7 Starview, now WSJW), WTPA (in both its 104.1 and 93.5 incarnations) and WRVV. Torres died March 14 at age 54.

In Erie, Mike "Chico" Bormann is returning to the air with his sports-talk show. Bormann was formerly heard on WFNN (1330) and WJET (1400), but when his new "Chico and Company" show debuts next week, it will be on Citadel's competing sports station, WRIE (1260 the Score). The 4-7 PM weekday show will be the first local offering on WRIE since it flipped from standards to sports a year ago.

*Eastern CANADA is losing one of its biggest remaining AM signals in just a few weeks. The CBC signed on CBAM (106.1 Moncton) in January, and that set the clock ticking for the end of 50,000-watt, non-directional CBA (1070 Moncton), which has long been a beacon of CBC service not only for much of the Maritimes but for the northeastern U.S. as well.

We're hearing that CBA will breathe its last on the AM dial early on the morning of April 7, with the final sign-off coming at 8:30 AM ADT (7:30 AM EDT).

In Nova Scotia, Milkman UnLimited reports that Ian Smith is moving his "Smitty in the Morning" wakeup show from MBS Radio's CKPE (94.9 Sydney) to one of the new signals that NewCap will be signing on soon on Cape Breton Island.

There's a new community FM signal on the air north of Toronto. CIWS (102.7 Whitchurch-Stouffville) signed on last Monday (March 17) as "Whistle Radio," with a combination of talk, folk, blues, pop and so on. (We're told it's operating in mono, for what that's worth...)

And there's a new AM signal testing in Gatineau, Quebec. CJEU (1670) has been heard by some DXers with its "Radio Enfant" French-language children's format.

*And as we do every year at this time, we welcome the imminent arrival of Opening Day with our annual look at Baseball on the Radio, NERW Style -

We start, of course, with the world champion Boston Red Sox, who begin the season with a change of announcers. Gone is Glenn Geffner, who served as secondary color announcer last year when primary color man Dave O'Brien was working his other job with ESPN. With Geffner now handling play-by-play for the Florida Marlins, Dale Arnold will join Joe Castiglione (in his 26th season!) on Wednesday games. Jon Rish, host of the Sox' pre- and post-game shows, will fill in for O'Brien on a few occasions during the season as well.

The goofy dual-flagship situation continues this year for fans in greater Boston, with most games airing on WRKO (680), but with sister station WEEI (850) picking up Wednesday games and most day games. That includes the team's two opening games this Tuesday and Wednesday in Japan, which will air on WEEI with a 5:25 AM pre-game show and first pitch at 6:05. (The unusual morning-drive games will be pre-empted by some Sox affiliates, including WTIC 1080 in Hartford, which will send the Sox to WTIC-FM's HD2 signal.) WROL (950 Boston) continues as the Spanish-language flagship, with WPRX (1120 Bristol CT) as an affiliate.

The rest of the Sox affiliate lineup looks to be mostly unchanged: all games will air on the remainder of the WEEI network, including WVEI (1440 Worcester), which will share the Sox with WCRN (830 Worcester), filling the signal gap at night for much of the area just west of Route 128. WTIC will continue to be the 50,000-watt voice of Sox Nation for much of the northeast (yes, there's a button set for 1080 in the NERW-mobile), and the usual roster of about 60 stations throughout New England will continue to make Sox games the soundtrack for summer from northern Maine right down to Greenwich, Connecticut.

Once again this year, there are no broadcast TV games for the Sox except for the handful of Fox network offerings; otherwise, it's team-owned NESN all the way.

*There are no big changes this year for the New York Yankees' radio lineup, either, as John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman return for another season on flagship WCBS (880 New York) and dozens of affiliates around the northeast and as far south as Florida. The Yanks add a South Florida outlet this season, with WMEN (640 Royal Palm Beach) picking up the team's games in the apparent absence of a major league team in the region. (What was that about the Marlins, again?) And Yankees fans in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts can breathe a sigh of relief: despite the format change that wiped out "The Score," its Providence successor on 790, "True Oldies" WPRV, will continue to carry Yankees games this year.

Spanish-language Yanks broadcasts move to a new home this year, WNSW (1430 Newark NJ), and TV coverage remains mostly on YES Network, with some games on WWOR (Channel 9) and a network of local TV affiliates extending from Connecticut across upstate New York.

*The New York Mets enter their final season at Shea Stadium with a new color commentator joining Howie Rose in the WFAN (660) broadcast booth. Wayne Hagin comes to the Mets from the Cardinals, replacing Tom McCarthy. Spanish-language Mets broadcasts will continue to air on WADO (1280), and TV coverage is mostly on Sportsnet New York, with 35 games on WPIX (Channel 11) and a regional TV network.

*The Philadelphia Phillies remain on WPHT (1210) this year, boasting one of the longest-running radio announcers in Harry Kalas, calling his 38th season of Phillies games, along with an affiliate roster in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that's largely unchanged. Listeners in York get a new Phillies outlet this year, as Cumulus' relocated WGLD (1440 Manchester Township) is slated to be on the air in time for opening day.

Phillies' Spanish broadcasts are on WUBA (1480); on TV, opening day airs on KYW-TV (Channel 3), with the rest of the season split among Comcast Sports Network, CN8 and WPSG-TV (Channel 57).

*The Pittsburgh Pirates enter their second season on WPGB (104.7) with another veteran announcer, Lanny Frattare. The Rochester native (we take pride in that around here!) enters his 33rd season with the Bucs, and he'll be heard on an extensive network of affiliates covering western Pennsylvania and corners of Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. FSN Pittsburgh carries most of the games on TV

*The Toronto Blue Jays offer the only coast-to-coast radio network in baseball, with affiliates stretching from CKST (1040) in Vancouver to CJNI (95.7) in Halifax, as well as Toronto flagship CJCL (Fan 590) and the big 50,000-watt signal of CHML (900 Hamilton). There's one cross-border affiliate, too, as WSPQ (1330 Springville NY) returns for another season with a partial Jays lineup. Jerry Howarth returns for radio play-by-play, joined this year by former Jays catcher Alan Ashby for color. TV coverage for the Jays is once again spread out among Rogers Sportsnet, TSN and the CBC.

A few other teams boast affiliates within the friendly confines of NERW-land: the Cleveland Indians are heard on WRIE (1260 Erie), just down the dial from Pirates affiliate WFNN (1330). And the Baltimore Orioles have five affiliates north of the Mason-Dixon line in Pennsylvania, including WOYK (1350 York) and WPDC (1600 Elizabethtown). As more teams move their flagships to FM, it's getting harder to hear distant baseball on the clear channels at night, but some decent bets include the Indians on WTAM (1100), the Reds on WLW (700), the Cubs on WGN (720), the White Sox on WSCR (670) and the Nationals on WWWT (1500).

Our look at Baseball on the Radio continues next week with the first half of our 2008 minor-league listings. See you then...and play ball!

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!)

March 26, 2007 -

  • RHODE ISLAND will soon have its first locally-owned public radio station. "Rhode Island Public Radio" is buying two Rhode Island radio stations - existing public radio outlet WRNI (1290 Providence) and WAKX (102.7 Narragansett Pier). WRNI has been providing NPR news and talk to northern Rhode Island since 1998, when Boston's WBUR bought the station. It's been an up-and-down ride ever since, as WBUR has weathered management shakeups, a Rhode Island state investigation into the use of money donated by Rhode Island listeners, and an aborted plan by former WBUR general manager Jane Christo to sell WRNI and its sister station, WXNI (1230 Westerly). Now Boston University has agreed to keep WRNI in public radio hands, selling it for $2 million (paid over a ten-year period) to the Rhode Island Public Radio group, formerly known as the Foundation for Ocean State Public Radio. WBUR will continue to provide engineering and programming assistance to WRNI for the next five years, and it will sell WXNI separately, since RIPR's other purchase announced this past week will make the Westerly AM signal redundant. (Money from the WXNI sale will go towards reducing the sale price of WRNI.)
  • That other purchase is WAKX, for which RIPR will pay Davidson Media $2.65 million, funded by a loan from the Rhode Island Foundation. That signal will give RIPR coverage of much of South County and Newport for the first time. (It's currently LMA'd out with a smooth jazz format, which will continue to be heard on Davidson's WALE 990 Greenville, at least when that station's on the air - it's been off again for a few days, we're told.)
  • Just in from NEW JERSEY as we go to press Sunday night: WHWH (1350 Princeton) is reportedly back from the dead. Though the Multicultural Radio Broadcasting-owned station went silent just short of a year ago, in favor of its expanded-band sister WTTM (1680 Lindenwold), Multicultural was one of several broadcasters that asked the FCC to reconsider its "five-year rule" forcing expanded-band broadcasters to surrender one of their two licenses. It argued - successfully, it would appear - that the FCC's stated aim of cleaning up the AM band wasn't being met by the five-year rule. There's no word yet on whether WHWH will return to its last format, business talk programmed by former owner Nassau under an LMA.
  • On Long Island, it's the end of the line (terrestrially speaking, anyway) for Scotty Hart's modern rock "Radio X" network, anchored at WLIX-LP (94.7 Ridge), with translators W235BB (94.9 Hauppage) and W238BA (104.5 Selden). Next Sunday (Easter Sunday, as it happens), the stations will flip to a religious format, and they'll soon add two more translators, W268AN (101.5 Plainview) and W243BF (96.5 Shirley). Radio X will live on, for a while anyway, on its webcast at
  • The residual effects of Citadel's deal to acquire ABC Radio from Disney will be felt in the Portland, MAINE market. As part of the FCC's approval of the transaction, Citadel will lose its grandfathered market-cap status there - and that means it will have to spin off two stations. WCYI (93.9 Lewiston) and WCLZ (98.9 Brunswick) will be among 11 Citadel stations being placed in the "Last Bastion Station Trust" while the company seeks a buyer. WCYI is half of the modern rock simulcast with WCYY (94.3 Biddeford), while WCLZ programs an adult album alternative format.

March 24, 2003 -

  • One of the best known broadcast voices in central PENNSYLVANIA came back to the air last Thursday (March 20). Bruce Bond was a fixture in afternoons at WNNK (104.1) until December 2001, when the Cumulus station shifted from CHR to hot AC and let him go. Bond and sidekick "Stretch" quickly found a new home at Citadel's classic hits WRKZ (102.3 Carlisle) - but Cumulus soon filed suit to enforce Bond's one-year noncompete agreement, which left Stretch working mornings solo on "Z102." His absence from the airwaves (and a paycheck) hasn't been easy for Bond; a note on his Web site asks for donations from listeners to help him pay his bills.
  • Over in Pottsville, WPAM (1450) has returned to the air after being silent for a short time after its LMA by crosstown WPPA/WAVT ended. The station is now being run under a five-year LMA to Bob Murray (a former WPAM PD); it signed back on March 16 with a day of Bruce Springsteen singing "The Rising," followed by a day of Irish music; the permanent format at the new "Phoenix 1450" is classic rock.
  • NEW YORK is seeing some talk schedule changes as well; WABC (770) has pulled George Noory's "Coast to Coast AM" (the old Art Bell show) and installed Steve Malzberg in the 1-5 AM slot. That gives him four solo hours instead of the two hours he was sharing with Richard Bey from 6-8 PM. (Monica Crowley is filling that seat now.)
  • Upstate, rumors are swirling about the fate of WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield Township), the Buffalo-market sports station that's owned by bankrupt Adelphia. WNSA's afternoon host Howard Simon is now being seen on TV as well, with a 3-6 PM "Simoncast" on sister cable network Empire Sports; that pushes the "Fan TV" talk show back to 7 PM.
  • Down in RHODE ISLAND, the "O" word is becoming a thing of the past at Clear Channel's WWBB (101.5 Providence). That's "O" as in "Oldies" - the music B101 is playing is now going under the moniker "Big Hits of the Sixties and Seventies." This is a (forgive the pun) "Big" thing these days; we've seen similar shifts up the New Hampshire seacoast at WQSO (96.7 Rochester) and over in Utica at what's now WUCL (93.5 Remsen), and we expect to see more of these "non-Oldies" oldies stations in the months to come.
  • We'll have more on this when we get back to home base next week (we're coming to you from South Carolina at the moment, as we gather new pictures for Tower Site of the Week) - but some local sound is coming back to WWRX (103.7 Westerly). It's getting detached from the FNX Radio Network up in Boston, with PD Cruze taking over mornings and afternoon guys Storm and Birdsey becoming WWRX-only. Details on the 31st...

March 26, 1998-

  • There's a new CHR on Cape Cod. The former WJCO (93.5) in Harwich Port slipped away to an all-Chumbawamba stunt format over the weekend before resurfacing Monday morning as WYST, "Star 93." Chris Boles is PD for Ernie Boch's station, which goes up against established CHR WRZE (96.3) Nantucket.
  • Other news from MASSACHUSETTS: Boston's WBZ (1030) is making good on its claim of "news all day, every day" next month by dropping its "Sports Saturday" and "Sports Sunday" shows in favor of all news. BZ's specialty sports shows, "Calling all Sports," "Upton Bell and Bob Lobel," and "The McDonoughs on Sports" will continue.
  • Moving along to RHODE ISLAND, we find two call letter changes this week. In Providence, Portuguese WRCP (1290) will change to WRNI when Boston's WBUR-FM (90.9) takes over operation of the station this spring. And in West Warwick, the venerable WHIM calls have been pulled from AM 1450 for WDYZ -- for Radio Disney, of course. NERW wonders if WDYZ owner Hibernia will be applying for new calls for its WPZE (1260 Boston) and WRDM (1550 Bloomfield CT) as well.
  • The FCC has paid a visit to a MAINE radio station that was operating without a license. "I 97-3" was visited by an FCC agent last Tuesday night, with a promise of a formal letter from the FCC to follow. In a posting to a pirate radio newsgroup, the station's owner says he was running just half a watt -- and notes that the visit came just a few days after his station was mentioned here in NERW. The station remains on the air, reportedly running just a tenth of a watt for the moment.
  • In NEW YORK, we bid farewell to one noncommercial station. WOSS (91.1) in Ossining has returned its license to the FCC. No word on why the school-owned station is calling it quits.
  • Staff changes at several upstate CHR outlets: at Syracuse's WWHT (107.9), PD Ed Lacomb is out; no replacement has been named yet. In the Utica area, WOWZ (97.9 Whitesboro)/WOWB (105.5 Little Falls), a.k.a. "Wow FM," is shuffling staff in the wake of the departure of middayer Pam Anderson. Donna Jeffries is taking midday duties temporarily, while part-timer "Kookinbocker" (we don't make these names up, really!) takes over afternoons under the air name "Rick Devoe." (Or perhaps that's "Kehoe" -- we've heard both versions) And in Rochester, overnighter Magic Man has resigned from WPXY (97.9). "Norm on the Barstool" extends his 10PM shift all the way to 3AM, while former morning sidekick Athena takes on 3 to 5:30 AM, followed by producing duties for Scott Spezzano's morning show. As for the rumors of a job out of town for 'PXY PD Clarke Ingram, word at press time is that he's about to sign a new deal to stay with ARS/CBS and 98PXY.
  • There are new calls for Binghamton's soft AC outlet. The former WGRG (101.7 Owego) is now WLTB. NERW's still waiting to hear the modern rock format on its sister AM station, WEBO (1330). Rochester's "Sunny 106" is finally using its new calls on-air -- WYSY (106.7 Irondequoit) and WISY (102.3 Canandaigua) replace WMAX-FM and WMHX, respectively. The WMAX-FM calls migrate to the former WRCD (107.3 Honeoye Falls), where they're still hidden away as "WMAX-FM Honeoye Falls no longer lives...this is Jam'n 107."
  • The country trimulcast on 107.1 surrounding New York City (WWXY Briarcliff Manor, WWVY Hampton Bays, and WWZY Long Branch NJ) is adding a fourth player. Big City Radio is buying WRNJ-FM (107.1 Belvidere NJ), which serves the Easton PA market. It's expected to join the "Y107" simulcast April 1.

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