March 31, 2008
WEEI's Regional Network - Take 2
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - NOW AVAILABLE!!!
*As 2007 came to a close, it appeared that
Entercom was poised to extend the highly successful sports-talk
format of its WEEI (850 Boston) far beyond its present home turf
in MASSACHUSETTS and RHODE ISLAND. A syndication
deal with Nassau was to have taken WEEI's programming regional,
picking up Nassau-owned affiliates in Maine, New Hampshire and
Vermont, as well as on Cape Cod.
That deal abruptly
collapsed just before the new year, but the dream of regional
syndication remained alive inside the New Balance Building. Last
week, Entercom announced that it will begin offering WEEI's lineup
of local sports talk to other broadcasters in the region, and
it's moving fast - holding meetings with interested broadcasters
"over the next few weeks, with the goal to launch a
syndicated regional network during the Spring 2008 ratings period."
Who'll sign on with WEEI's network? Entercom already runs
WEEI relays in many of southern New England's biggest markets
- Providence (WEEI-FM), Worcester (WVEI) and Springfield (WVEI-FM).
It's hard to imagine Connecticut stations, sitting on the fence
between Red Sox/Yankees and Patriots/Giants, warming to the very
Boston-centric WEEI network. But that still leaves much of the
territory the Nassau deal was to have covered - Cape Cod, Manchester/Concord,
the Upper Valley, Portland - as well as the rest of Maine, not
to mention smaller communities in New Hampshire, Vermont and
western Massachusetts - where a turnkey affiliation with the
big-city sound of WEEI might be just the ticket, as it were,
for struggling AM operators.
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 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
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 major piece of Bay State broadcasting history may soon
have a date with a wrecking ball. After sitting all but vacant
for the last few decades, the old Westinghouse Electric plant
on Page Boulevard in East Springfield is being targeted for demolition,
with its high-visibility site just off I-291 to become home to
a new shopping center.
There's just one thing, though - it was on the roof of one
of those Westinghouse buildings that a little radio station called
WBZ made its first broadcasts in September of 1921. No, it wasn't
the "first" anything, except to receive the first "commercial
broadcast" license (though Westinghouse would promote that
technicality for many decades thereafter), but it was the beginning
of a long and distinguished broadcast history for New England's
biggest AM station. And as time and development took their toll
on other pioneer broadcasting sites - nothing now remains of
the original homes of KDKA or WJZ or 1XE - the towers that supported
WBZ's first antenna endured.
The site in East Springfield remained a transmitter site until
1962, when Westinghouse finally pulled the plug on WBZA, the
synchronous repeater that kept WBZ's programs coming to Springfield
after the main station was moved to Boston in 1931. Even after
Westinghouse shut down the East Springfield plant completely
in 1970, the towers remained a fixture on the rooftop. As far
as we've been able to tell here at NERW - and we've tramped all
over the country seeking out evidence to the contrary - the East
Springfield towers are the oldest AM broadcast facility still
standing in the United States, by at least three years. (The
other contenders would be the WCCO site in Minneapolis, where
the 1924 transmitter building remains, but without the original
towers; the KGFJ site in Los Angeles, dating to 1927 and still
in use; and at least an honorable mention to the building on
the University of Wisconsin campus that was home to 9XM/WHA as
far back as the teens, though only a basement storage room remains
there, with no visible signs of the station. Ironically, the
Westinghouse building in East Pittsburgh where WBZ's older sister
station, KDKA, got its start in 1920 was itself razed last year
for new development; any sign of KDKA's presence there had long
since been obliterated, however.)
Will the proposed $45 million development be the end of this
all-but-forgotten bit of New England broadcasting history? NERW
hears the question will be raised at a public meeting about the
project tomorrow night in Springfield...stay tuned.
*One more bit of Entercom news: with the departure of Globe
business correspondent Steve Bailey (he's headed to London
to work with Bloomberg News), fellow Globe scribe Steve
Syre takes over Bailey's former role on the Tom Finneran morning
In Fall River, WSAR (1480) PD Keri Rodrigues has moved from
the afternoon talk shift to mornings, joining "Happy"
Hec Gauthier in the wake of the departure of his former co-host,
Mike Moran. WSAR is trying out hosts in the afternoon slot as
it seeks a permanent replacement.
In Boston TV news, former WLVI (Channel 56) anchor Frank Mallicoat
just got a promotion at his new TV home, Fox's WFXT (Channel
25). He's now the regular weekend 10 PM anchor there.
In Springfield TV news, Kathy Tobin departs the news director's
chair at WGGB (Channel 40), but remains on board as news anchor.
Will WGGB's new "Fox 6" subchannel launch on schedule
later this week? We're hearing there may be some delays.
*From NEW HAMPSHIRE, we're sorry to
have to report the passing of John Guarino, who worked at numerous
stations in the region, including WLLH in Lowell, WSMN in Nashua,
WKBR in Manchester, WJYY in Concord, WOKQ in Dover and WDLW in
Waltham, under air names that included Jay Carroll and Jack Davis.
In recent years, Guarino had been working as a network administrator
at Anixter in Salem, though he was still heard on-air with liners
he'd recorded for WJIB in Cambridge. Guarino had been battling
lung cancer; he died last Monday (March 24) of complications
following multiple strokes. He was just 52; he's survived by
his wife Carol.
*In NEW YORK City, there's
once again a full-time program director at WXRK (92.3 K-Rock),
as Mike Tierney gets promoted from acting PD.
Meanwhile, WEPN (1050) has added a new hour of baseball talk.
"New York Baseball Tonight" will air from 6-7 PM weeknights,
as part of the Michael Kay Show, featuring an extensive cast
of baseball experts that will include ESPN's Peter Gammons and
former Mets/Yankees pitcher David Cone.
On the TV front, Saul Shapiro has been named as the new head
of the Metropolitan Television Alliance, the consortium that's
trying to find a permanent home for the city's DTV signals in
the wake of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Shapiro,
who's worked for ABC and for the FCC, replaces Paul Bissonette,
who ran the MTVA since 2004. The MTVA is still pushing for a
master DTV antenna atop the Freedom Tower, now under construction
at the Trade Center site - but with completion of that building
still at least three years away, it's also working on interim
solutions (including an experimental single-frequency network
with distributed transmitters) to improve sometimes-iffy reception
of the existing DTV signals from the Empire State Building and
Four Times Square.
It's been a quiet week upstate, but there's some news on the
translator front: in Canandaigua, daytimer WCGR (1550) now has
a full-time FM presence on the air via translator W283BF (104.5),
which operates from one of the towers of WRSB (1310 Canandaigua),
beaming a directional signal over Canandaigua from the west.
And in Warsaw, WCJW (1140) owner Lloyd Lane is buying translator
W279BO (103.7 Gainesville) from Family Life Ministries (which
also sold W283BF to the Finger Lakes Radio Group) for $5,000;
we'd expect the translator to eventually provide a 24-hour signal
for what's now a daytimer - and the only local radio voice in
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, http://www.sbe47.org/
*In eastern PENNSYLVANIA, tomorrow
marks the official launch of Philadelphia's rebranded "ESPN
950," which relaunches its sports format with a lineup that
moves Jody McDonald from afternoons to middays and brings Mike
Missanelli on board for afternoons.
Over at the competition - CBS Radio's WIP (610) - midday host
Steve Martorano is out, as the station has decided not to renew
his contract. It's the second time in four years that Martorano
has left WIP; ironically, it was Missanelli, now at WPEN, who
replaced him back in 2004.
rebranded "Q 92.9" (still WLTJ, with no sign of new
calls yet) has hired a new morning host. John Cline was most
recently morning host at CBS Radio's WZPT (100.7 New Kensington)
before budget cuts there blew him out - but he's best known as
part of B94 (WBZZ 93.7)'s long-running "JohnDaveBubbaShelly"
Mike Thompson is the new general manager of ESPN Radio's WEAE
(1250 Pittsburgh). He's spent the past year as ESPN Radio's New
Media Program Director, based at the mothership in Bristol, Connecticut;
before that, the Fox Chapel native spent three years as PD of
ESPN's WEPN (1050 New York).
Our friends over at PBRTV.com
report that Scott Paulsen's brief fling with nights at KDKA (1020)
is over. Paulsen had been co-hosting the 7-10 PM shift with John
Steigerwald on a trial basis since February, but apparently didn't
want to work the evening hours.
In the Scranton market, Jess Wright exits Citadel's WSJR (93.7
Dallas), where she was APD/MD/afternoon jock. She's headed to
Frederick, Maryland and Clear Channel's WFRE (99.9) to be MD
and midday jock; no replacement has been named yet at JR.
And there's a callsign for a new station in Hollidaysburg,
near Altoona: Radio Maria's 88.1 there will be WHHN.
wholesale transition from AM to FM in CANADA isn't proceeding
without a few rocky patches - and one of them is in Sherbrooke,
Quebec, where Corus has found that CHLT-FM (102.1) isn't fully
covering the wide area that was once served by the old CHLT (630).
As a result, Corus is asking the CRTC for permission to move
the FM station up the dial, to 107.7, and up in power, to 50
kW DA/161.9 meters, from a new transmitter site.
North of Toronto, Larche Communications wants to relocate
CICX (105.9 Orillia), moving it 10 km west to the tower of newly
co-owned CICZ (104.1 Midland), decreasing power to 20 kW DA and
increasing antenna height to 214.3 meters.
In Goderich, Ontario, CIYN (95.5 Kincardine, "The Coast")
has been granted a relay transmitter, which will operate at 99.7
with 750 watts. The Goderich transmitter was originally granted
in 2005, but a dispute with the tower owner kept it from getting
on the air before the permit expired. In the meantime, two new
signals have come to Goderich - Bayshore Broadcasting's recent
grant for 104.9, and Blackburn's relay (on 91.7 in Bluewater)
of CIBU (94.5 Wingham). Bayshore objected to the re-granting
of the CIYN transmitter, but its objection was denied by the
UCB Canada is applying to add a transmitter on 103.5 in Bancroft
to relay its CKJJ (102.3 Belleville). The new signal would run
250 watts/6.6 meters.
In Ottawa, The Real Darren Stevens has returned to CKQB (106.9
the Bear) after more than a decade. He'd had a brief return to
Ottawa radio late last year at CHEZ (106.1); for now, he'll be
handling vacation relief on CKQB.
reports the death of CFRB (1010 Toronto) and CKFM (Mix 99.9)
personality Chris "Punch" Andrews. He was heard doing
traffic reports on CFRB and Saturday night jock shifts on Mix;
he succumbed to lung cancer on Sunday.
*And as we sit here on the Offical
NERW Sofa on Sunday night putting this week's edition together,
we're watching the season opener (well, the season opener on
US soil, anyway) between the Nationals and the Braves...and looking
forward to some great minor league ball once the weather gets
warmer. Which brings us to part 2 of Baseball on the Radio,
NERW Style, in which we run down the radio lineup for the
region's AAA and AA teams, which start their seasons later this
The big news in the International League is a new team - the
former Ottawa Lynx have migrated south to Allentown as the Lehigh
Valley IronPigs, and their inaugural season at Coca-Cola
Park will be heard on WXLV (90.3 Schnecksville) and WZZO-HD2
(95.1 Allentown), with some games on a network that will include
WYBF (89.1 Radnor), WLSH (1410 Lansford), WMGH (105.5 Tamaqua),
WPAZ (1370 Pottsville) and WSAN (1470 Allentown). Matt Provence
and John Schaeffer will call the games on radio. On TV, the Pigs
will be seen on Service Electric Cable's SECTV 2 and the WYLN
LPTV network, with a few games on WFMZ-TV (Channel 69) as well.
In their second season of their new affiliation, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Yankees have a new play-by-play announcer, as Mike Vander
Wood comes on board from the Dayton Dragons to replace Kent Westling,
who departed after 19 seasons in town. Radio broadcasts remain
on Bold Gold's network that includes WICK (1400 Scranton), WYCK
(1340 Plains), WPSN (1590 Honesdale) and WFBS (1280 Berwick),
while WNEP-TV (Channel 16) takes five games (including the season
opener at Lehigh Valley) and several dozen more will be seen
on Blue Ridge Cable and Service Electric Cable.
The Syracuse Chiefs have a new flagship this year,
jumping from Citadel's WNSS (1260) to Clear Channel's WHEN (620),
which last had the team in 2001. WHEN also picks up the team's
Saturday morning Inside Pitch talk show. Conflicts with
New York Yankees games on WHEN will result in Chiefs games moving
to "Nova" WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter). TV coverage will be
on Time Warner Sports (cable channel 26).
Our hometown Rochester Red Wings continue on WHTK (1280),
with weekday day games bumping over to WYSL (1040 Avon); TV games
are on Time Warner Sports Net.
The Buffalo Bisons have a powerful new voice this year,
returning to 50,000-watt WWKB (1520) after several seasons on
WECK (1230 Cheektowaga). Some games will also be heard on WSPQ
(1330 Springville). There's no TV schedule for the team, though
we wouldn't be surprised to see some games show up on Time Warner's
relatively new Buffalo version of its regional sports channel.
The Pawtucket Red Sox continue on WHJJ (920), with
TV coverage on NESN and Cox.
On to the Eastern League we go, starting with the Portland
Sea Dogs and their extensive radio network, headed up by
WBAE (1490 Portland)/WVAE (1400 Biddeford). Also on the net are
WTME (780 Rumford), WEZR (1240 Lewiston), WKTQ (1450 South Paris),
WRMO (93.7 Millbridge) and WSKW (1160 Skowhegan). NESN will carry
two games on TV.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are on WGIR (610 Manchester),
WGIN (930 Rochester) and WGIP (1540 Exeter).
The Connecticut Defenders remain on WICH (1310 Norwich),
while the New Britain Rock Cats play on WDRC (1360 Hartford)
and its network of simulcasts across central Connecticut. Several
TV games will air on Comcast's CN8.
The Binghamton Mets enter the last year of their three-year
deal with WNBF (1290), with weekday day games bumped to Citadel
sister WYOS (1360).
The defending Eastern League champs, the Trenton Thunder,
remain on WBUD (1260) - but now they fit in very nicely with
WBUD's new Fox Sports format.
In Pennsylvania, the Reading Phillies continue on WIOV
(1240), with some TV games on Service Electric SECTV 2. The Harrisburg
Senators are on WTKT (1460); the Altoona Curve relocate
to WHPA (93.5); and the Erie SeaWolves have a new radio
home on WFNN (1330).
And there's one lonely team in NERW-land from the class A
South Atlantic League - the "Sally League" is represented
by the Lakewood BlueClaws on the Jersey Shore, and they're
heard on WADB (1310 Asbury Park) and WOBM (1160 Lakewood Township).
We'll hit the independent teams and the short-season A New
York-Penn League as their opening days approach, and in the meantime...play
ball! (And go Sox, and Wings...)
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!)
April 2, 2007 -
- There's an unusual ownership dispute playing out in NEW YORK's
Southern Tier, where the future of WKPQ (105.3 Hornell) has been
up in the air for several years now, as longtime owner Bilbat
Radio fights a planned sale to Robert Pfuntner's Pembrook Pines
group that apparently went sour somewhere along the way. We're
not quite sure how the whole dispute got started, but it's outlived
one of Bilbat's principals - Richard "Bat" Lyons died
last year, leaving Bill Berry to carry on his fight to keep the
sale to Pembrook Pines from going through.
- The latest installment of the saga finds control of WKPQ
passing from Bilbat, which had been LMA'ing the station to Sterling
Management, to Anthony Panetta, who began running the station
under an interim LMA Sunday morning, en route to a settlement
that will put WKPQ in Pembrook Pines' hands in exchange for WABH
(1380 Bath). Bilbat, which continues to operate WHHO (1320 Hornell),
is still fighting the transfer; the website for WKPQ's now-former
"Freedom 105" format offers information to listeners
about how to challenge a license transfer. It appears that the
"Freedom 105" programming has migrated down the dial
to WHHO; we can't hear the AM signal here at NERW Central, but
a check of the big FM signal Sunday afternoon found it running
satellite-delivered AC as "Power 105," a return to
an earlier WKPQ slogan. This saga's clearly far from over; we'll
be keeping an eye on it.
- Here in Rochester, Entercom was in the headlines last week
as it shuffled the lineup of stations it plans to keep when it
completes its purchase of CBS Radio's local cluster. Entercom
now says it will keep classic rock WCMF (96.5 Rochester) and
top 40 WPXY (97.9 Rochester) from the CBS group, as well as its
country WBEE (92.5 Rochester), classic hits WBZA (98.9 Rochester)
and talk WROC (950 Rochester). That means former CBS stations
WZNE (94.1 Brighton) and WRMM (101.3 Rochester), as well as Entercom's
WFKL (93.3 Fairport), will go up for sale. The decision makes
it clear that WCMF was the prize Entercom wanted from the CBS
cluster, bringing veteran Rochester morning man Brother Wease
into the Entercom Rochester fold. As for the rest of the stations,
the sale of signal- and ratings-challenged WZNE was a given -
but why keep WPXY and sell WRMM, which has higher ratings and
revenue with its AC "Warm 101.3" format? NERW suspects
the deal would have had a harder time winning Justice Department
and FCC approval if Entercom had ended up with both WBEE and
WRMM, which are usually two of the top three stations in town.
No buyer has yet been announced for the spinoff group (which
will presumably remain housed at CBS' facility in the HSBC Building,
while WCMF and WPXY move to Entercom's High Falls studios), which
probably means there's still some room for these station lineups
to change before the deal is finalized.
- There's another sports franchise changing channels in MASSACHUSETTS,
as the Boston Celtics prepare to leave current flagship WRKO
(680 Boston) after this season comes to a merciful end. The team
won't be going very far - just down the hall to Entercom sister
station WEEI (850 Boston) and its network of sister stations
across southern New England, giving Boston's sports station a
regular dose of play-by-play to replace the Red Sox, who begin
their season on WRKO today.
- WCRN (830 Worcester) says it'll flip the switch Wednesday
to put its new 50 kW night signal on the air. That date is no
coincidence - it's the first night game of the year for the Red
Sox, who are in their first season on WCRN, using its big new
signal to fill in the holes in WRKO's night coverage in Boston's
- A most unusual travel information station in CANADA is changing
formats. CFYZ (1280) signed on a few years ago as the voice of
Toronto's Pearson International Airport, and for a time it actually
offered live drive-time programming aimed at travelers heading
to or from the airport. Then the airport authority pulled the
plug on the station's funding, and CFYZ went silent. Now it's
back, under new calls and with a new programmer. Canada's Business
Network is providing a combination of business talk and syndicated
talkers (including Dennis Miller and Glenn Beck) to the station,
which will soon be operating under new calls CFBN.
March 31, 2003 -
- It's always sad when we have to begin the column with an
obituary, and sadder still when it's a radio personality who
died in the line of duty - and so it is this week with Bob Anderson,
"The Duke of Portland."
- Anderson spent forty years on the air in MAINE's largest
city (a former mayor dubbed him "the Duke" and the
name stuck), with stints at WPOR (1490), WLOB (1310), WMGX (93.1)
and most recently at oldies WYNZ (100.9 Westbrook), where he
was working Saturday morning (March 29) doing his usual weekend
shift. About 7:30, staffers at the other stations in Saga's Portland
cluster heard the silence sensor going off in the WYNZ studios
and walked in to find that Anderson had collapsed, apparently
of a heart attack. After Donna Steele of WMGX found Anderson,
Joe Lerman and Glori Marie Shanda of WPOR-FM (101.9) performed
CPR on Anderson until an ambulance could get there; alas, it
was too late to save him. (NERW notes: it is an excellent reminder
of the value of CPR training for everyone on a station's staff,
- We'll go next to CONNECTICUT and the sale of a longtime community
voice: for $1.5 million, Business Talk Radio takes over from
John Becker as the owner of WGCH (1490 Greenwich). Widely regarded
as one of America's best community stations, WGCH was founded
almost 40 years ago to provide an alternative voice to the then-commonly
owned WSTC Stamford, Greenwich Time and Stamford Advocate - and
Becker was one of the founders. Now he's cashing out, but not
without ensuring that WGCH will keep doing what it does: the
contract includes a provision that WGCH's current news team will
continue to have jobs for three years. The deal also appears
to solve, at least for now, the dilemma of WGCH's transmitter
site. Since the station has still been unable to get permission
from Greenwich officials to build a new tower, it looks as though
WGCH will stay put at its Putnam Avenue site with a new (and
more expensive) lease.
- Albany-based Pamal is moving deeper into MASSACHUSETTS. Jim
Morrell's group is paying $8 million to acquire WRNX (100.9 Amherst)
and WPNI (1430 Amherst) from Tom Davis' Western Massachusetts
Radio Company, making the Pioneer Valley stations its first in
central Massachusetts. WRNX does a rock-leaning AAA format for
Amherst, Northampton and Springfield, while WPNI operates in
a partnership with the University of Massachusetts' public WFCR
(88.5), carrying a schedule of NPR news and talk programs that
complements WFCR's offerings.
- The big news out of NEW JERSEY is the sale of yet another
Mega property - this time, the first of the group's FMs to be
sold. WEMG (104.9 Egg Harbor City), which puts a remarkably solid
class A signal across most of south central New Jersey and well
into the Philadelphia market, is about to become the latest addition
to Nassau's growing Jersey group. For now, the station is stunting
with a loop directing "Mega 104.9" listeners to the
AM side of the former simulcast, WEMG (1310 Camden NJ); we'll
keep you posted as a new format arrives on 104.9 any day now.
- In Binghamton, the CHR wars took another turn Sunday, as
Clear Channel pulled the plug on country WBBI (107.5 Endwell)
and replaced it with a dance-heavy CHR as "Kiss 107."
If you've been following this small-town CHR battle, you know
that it has pitted Clear Channel's established pop-CHR "Star
105.7" (WMRV Endicott) against Citadel's newcomer, "Wild
104" (WWYL 104.1 Chenango Bridge) - and that Wild has been
making big inroads in the last few books. The latest move, then
(assuming it's not a stunt), gives Clear Channel a second competitor
against Wild, flanking it on both sides of the format. It's not
all bad news for Citadel, though: the demise of "B107.5"
removes the only competition to its market-dominant country outlet,
WHWK (98.1 Binghamton). Stay tuned to see how this all plays
- TUESDAY UPDATE: "Assuming it's not a stunt," we
said - and hey, it is April Fool's Day, isn't it? At noon today,
"Kiss" went away, the folks at Wild breathed a little
easier, and their colleagues down the hall at Citadel classic
rocker WAAL (99.1 Binghamton) had their turn to get nervous as
Clear Channel launched classic rock "107.5 the Bear,"
with Jim Free handling PD duties. (Former B PD Doug Mosher is
still with the cluster in an off-air capacity.) We're told this
one is the real format, at least for now!
April 2, 1998-
can sponsor this weekly feature! Click here for information!
- What's the most powerful government agency involved with
broadcasting today? Give yourself a point if you said the Justice
Department. This week, DOJ antitrust inquiries prompted CBS to
agree to spin off most of the Boston properties it's buying from
ARS, and killed SFX's plans for Long Island expansion. Let's
go to the scoreboard:
- The Justice Department gave CBS the go-ahead on Tuesday to
buy American Radio System -- but with the condition that it stay
below the 40% revenue limit in every market it's in. Boston would
have been the biggest offender, with CBS/ARS taking in 59 percent
of the market's revenue. Also at issue were St. Louis (49%) and
Baltimore (46%). In Boston, CBS must now find buyers for talker
WRKO (680), sports WEEI (850), classic rock WEGQ (93.7 Lawrence),
and active rock WAAF (107.3 Worcester), leaving only modern AC
WBMX (98.5) and WAAF simulcast WNFT (1150) to join CBS's existing
group of news-talk WBZ (1030), classic rock WZLX (100.7), oldies
WODS (103.3), and modern rock WBCN (104.1). (It appears CBS also
gets to keep sports WWTM 1440 in Worcester, although that station
is largely a simulcast of WEEI and has always been co-owned with
WAAF, so NERW expects it will get spun off as well.)
- So what's next for the ex-ARS group? Whenever powerful AMs
are involved, it's safe to speculate Randy Michaels and Jacor
will be interested, especially since New England is one of the
only parts of the country with no Jacor presence. Another potential
buyer is Chancellor, whose Boston group of CHR WXKS-FM (107.9
Medford), urban CHR WJMN (94.5), and business/standards WXKS
(1430 Everett) is beginning to look small by comparison with
the CBS and Greater Media mega-groups -- although past relations
between CBS and Chancellor have been downright frosty, making
this deal a little less likely. NERW's also heard rumblings about
ARS' former leadership team buying back their ertswhile flagship
stations from CBS. Dark horses? Just look at some of the big
groups with no Boston outlets -- Emmis (which once owned WCDJ,
now WSJZ, 96.9), Cox, Clear Channel, Entercom, maybe even Disney/ABC...
- DOJ, part II: Hicks, Muse's Capstar and Chancellor groups
are slimming down in the New York market. Unable to win Justice
approval for its proposed purchase of SFX's Long Island group,
Capstar is spinning rockers WBAB (102.3 Babylon) and WHFM (95.3
Southampton), CHR WBLI (106.1 Patchogue), and talk/gospel WGBB
(1240 Freeport) to Cox for $48 million. Cox has no Long Island
properties...but it does own the powerful "Star 99.9,"
WEZN Bridgeport, just across Long Island Sound in Connecticut.
Capstar keeps AC WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue) and soft AC WALK (1370
East Patchogue, which had been simulcasting part-time on WGBB),
as well as Chancellor's Big Apple group of WLTW (106.7), WBIX
(105.1), WAXQ (104.3), WKTU (103.5 Lake Success), and WHTZ (100.3
- Also being spun is Capstar's group in Westchester County,
New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Frank Washington
will pay $15 million to pick up rocker WRKI (95.1 Brookfield),
oldies WAXB (105.5 Patterson), country WINE (940 Brookfield)
and WPUT (1510 Brewster), AC WFAS-FM (103.9 White Plains), news/talk
WFAS (1230 White Plains), and smooth jazz WZZN (106.3 Mt. Kisco).
It looks like Capstar is keeping oldies WKHL (96.7 Stamford),
classic rock WEFX (95.9 Norwalk), and news/talk simulcast WSTC
(1400 Stamford) and WNLK (1350 Norwalk).
- And across the border, Toronto's CBC Radio One outlet could
be on FM as early as next month. Once 99.1 FM signs on, the six-month
clock starts ticking for the demise of CBL on 740 kHz. Speaking
of calls, the CBC has been granted CBME-FM for its 88.5 in Montreal
(replacing CBM 940), CBFX-FM for its 100.7 Montreal (replacing
CBF-FM), CBF-FM for its 95.1 Montreal (replacing CBF 690), and
CBFX-FM-1 and -2 for the current CBF-FM-1 and -2 in Trois-Rivieres
(104.3) and Sherbrooke (90.7), respectively. CBM-FM on 93.5 appears
to stay CBM-FM, leading NERW to renew speculation that it makes
sense for the CBC to move the flagship Radio One service to 93.5
and move Radio Two to the weaker 88.5 signal...
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2008 by Scott Fybush.