the Memorial Day holiday, the May 26 NERW will appear Monday
evening - Ed.)
May 19, 2008
Kidd Chris Out at WYSP
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - ALMOST SOLD OUT!!!
*If a PENNSYLVANIA shock jock plays
a racially inflammatory song parody on his show March 21, does
it make an impact? In the case of Kidd Chris, morning personality
at CBS Radio's WYSP (94.1 Philadelphia), the answer would appear
to be "yes - but not until almost two months have passed."
in March, the show played a parody song called "Schwoogies,"
which crudely stereotyped blacks. And while the song was reportedly
played several times on March 21 and at least once more on March
24, CBS Radio management apparently didn't learn about it until
sometime very late last week.
Calling the song "highly offensive and completely inappropriate
for broadcast on our airwaves," WYSP fired Kidd Chris (real
name: Chris Foley) and PD John Cook, and quickly cancelled a
widely-publicized birthday party for Foley that had been set
for Friday night.
Here's what the official statement had to say: "When
senior management of the station learned that it had been played,
they took immediate steps to prevent it from ever appearing on
the station again. At the same time, we launched an extensive
internal investigation into the situation including a thorough
review of the editorial controls and systems we have in place
to prevent this type of content from airing. We instituted additional
educational training for the station, and have taken appropriate
disciplinary action, including termination of the individuals
And here's what we're wondering: given that the content of
Kidd Chris' show was hardly a secret, and given the kind of scrutiny
CBS has faced in recent years over controversial content from
Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, JV & Elvis and so on, can
we really believe that whatever "editorial controls and
systems" CBS had in place could have completely overlooked
the "Schwoogies" song for almost two months. And, furthermore,
that CBS would just happen to have "learned" that the
song had been played a few days after an e-mail went out from
the group "Racial Dignity in Media" that (according
to the Philadelphia Inquirer) called for complaints against
Maybe we're just cynical. Maybe it's that we haven't slept
all week since welcoming a new baby to the NERW family last Tuesday
morning (read on for the details)...but the whole thing seems
more than a little odd from where we sit.
the message boards are aflame with talk of WYSP's morning-drive
future. While Kidd Chris still had most of a three-year contract
remaining, the station was embroiled in a tough battle for rock
listeners against Greater Media's WMMR (home to Kidd Chris' nemeses,
Preston and Steve) and Clear Channel's WRFF. For now, reports
the Inquirer's Michael Klein, WYSP will go jockless with
rock in the morning, but there have been rumors of a return by
former WYSP host Paul Barsky, who's still under contract to the
station, or of a simulcast of the morning sports-talk show from
sister station WIP (610 Philadelphia).
*It looks like anchors Chuck Darling and Kelly Carr are out
of work at Pittsburgh's WURG-TV (Channel 9), now that - what's
that? Oh, right...WURG is the fictional Pittsburgh TV
station on the Fox sitcom "Back to You," which was
cancelled last week, the victim of mediocre ratings, frequent
timeslot shifts, the writers strike and probably Fox's general
difficulty sustaining sitcoms. There's been some talk of a revival
of the series over at CBS, but the outlook appears dim.
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 35 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.
*NEW YORK's WRXP
(101.9) has a new morning host. Allan Sniffen's New
York Radio Message Board broke the news last week that the
Emmis-owned rocker has picked Matt Pinfield for the wakeup shift.
Pinfield began his
radio career across the river in NEW JERSEY, first at
Rutgers' WRSU (88.7 New Brunswick) and then as the driving force
behind the modern rock format at WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown), where
he spent a decade as music director and PD before catching the
attention of MTV, where he worked for several years hosting "120
Minutes." More recently, Pinfield has worked for sister
network VH1, for Sirius Satellite Radio, and as an A&R executive
for Columbia Records.
There's no official confirmation from WRXP yet about Pinfield's
hiring or a start date - or about Sniffen's report that WRXP
PD Blake Lawrence, a holdover from the station's WQCD days, is
It's just a week now until Memorial Day, and that means "Rewound"
at WABC (770 New York). Johnny Donovan, Pete Kanze, Rob Frankel
and Frank D'Elia have been hard at work once again on a full
day of nostalgia at "Musicradio 77," and next Monday's
lineup will include three hours of Bob Lewis (two hours from
1964, plus a WABC-FM hour from 1968), a Chuck Leonard top 100
countdown from 1968, Jim Nettleton's 1969 debut, and a new addition
- an hour of Don Imus from his WNBC days, marking Imus' recent
addition to the present-day WABC lineup. The fun happens from
6 AM-6 PM next Monday (May 26), followed by the "Rewound
Radio People on the Move in Albany: "Rob De Latino,"
aka Rob Ryan, has departed Albany Broadcasting's WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville);
he's moving back to Colorado to be with his family. No replacement
has been announced as PD, but morning co-host JD Redman is handling
Rob's former afternoon shift. Over at Regent's cluster, Jeff
Levack moves from evenings at WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer)/WQBJ (103.5
Cobleskill) to morning show producer at WGNA (107.7 Albany);
Dave Hunter replaces Levack at Q103.
Jeff Monaski has been promoted from news anchor-reporter to
news director at Regent's WIBX (950 Utica), replacing Stacey
Lynn McAdams, who's now co-hosting the morning show at sister
At Utica's WKTV (Channel 2), general manager Vic Vetters is
adding new responsibilities: he's been promoted to VP/group manager
for Smith Media Licensing, putting him in command at WVNY (Channel
22)/WFFF (Channel 44) in Burlington, VERMONT as well as
at WKTV. Vetters will give up the noon anchor chair on WKTV's
newscasts after 13 years.
Some TV news from Albany, as well: Dana Dieterle is leaving
his post as news director at WTEN (Channel 10), moving west to
Cleveland to be assistant ND at Raycom's WOIO/WUAB. No replacement
has been named yet.
in Rochester, we told you that Entercom retained the contract
of Dee Alexander after Stephens Media Group chose not to keep
her on the WRMM (101.3) staff when it bought the station last
month. Now Entercom says it will bring Alexander back to the
air in two weeks on one of its own stations; there are no specifics
yet on when she'll return to the airwaves, or on which Entercom
High in the Catskills, a new noncommercial FM signal now has
calls: mark down "WIOX" for the 91.3 that's licensed
to the Town of Roxbury. (And while we're in the neighborhood,
we should note that the new WTBD 97.5 in Delhi is not, in fact,
running "satellite-delivered" adult hits, as we'd reported
when the station signed on a few weeks back. In fact, WTBD's
format is automated locally.)
*A RHODE ISLAND jock
is heading west to CONNECTICUT: we hear Robby Bridges
is departing morning drive on Hall's WCTK (98.1 New Bedford MA/Providence
RI) and moving into afternoons at Cumulus' WEBE (107.9 Westport
CT), filling the gap Peter Bush left last month when he departed
WEBE to pursue his auto racing career.
And going the other way, Chris Duggan moves from the PD chair
at WDAQ (98.3 Danbury CT) to be PD at Clear Channel's WWBB (101.5
Providence)/WSNE (93.3 Taunton MA), replacing Rick Everett there.
Hartford's WJMJ (88.9) is changing its programming direction.
The station, owned by the Archdiocese of Hartford, has long offered
a mix of relaxing music and ecumenical religious messages, but
that's about to shift. The Hartford Courant reported last
week that WJMJ has affiliated with the EWTN Catholic network,
and is dropping the programming it carried from several Protestant
denominations as it seeks to become more active in Catholic evangelization.
*The growing trend of AM stations obtaining special
temporary authority to relay their signals via FM translators
has reached southwestern NEW HAMPSHIRE. That's where Saga
is now rebroadcasting talker WKBK (1290 Keene) on W278BG (104.1)
and standards WZBK (1220 Keene) on W275BI (103.1). Both translators
have been shuffled around the dial, and both will have new calls
soon. The 103.1 signal uses 250 watts, while 104.1 has 59 watts,
both from the WZBK tower in Keene.
*The death of a MASSACHUSETTS real-estate
entrepreneur wouldn't seem to have any connection to NERW. But
while it went unnoticed in the Boston
Globe obituary, we recall Thomas Flatley for his brief
career as a television broadcaster in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Flatley put independent WNHT (Channel 21) on the air in Concord,
N.H. in 1984, affiliating the station with CBS in 1988. By that
time, Flatley had also put Fox affiliate WSYT (Channel 68) on
the air in Syracuse, and while WSYT was successful, WNHT was
less so. Flatley shut WNHT down abruptly in 1989, and sold WSYT
Television was but a sideline in Flatley's larger career,
which took him from being an Irish immigrant with $35 in his
pocket to being in command of a billion-dollar real-estate empire
that included the Tara hotel chain. Flatley had been suffering
from Lou Gehrig's disease; he was 76.
*MAINE's new Blueberry Broadcasting
group has found a temporary home for the two signals it can't
keep because of market-concentration issues. The Kalil Holding
Group, operated by Tucson broker Kalil and Associates, will take
WFZX (101.7 Searsport) and WGUY (102.1 Dexter) and search for
a buyer for them.
On the TV front, we hear Gannett's WCSH (Channel 6) in Portland
and WLBZ (Channel 2) in Bangor were hit by the company's latest
round of job cuts, losing about seven employees in master control
and graphics. Both functions will apparently be centralized at
new group hubs for the Gannett stations. We're not sure if it's
related to the corporate job cuts, but WCSH/WLBZ news director
Mike Curry is also (The company also owns WGRZ-TV in Buffalo;
we haven't heard anything about cutbacks there.)
*Some Radio People on the Move in CANADA:
"Gruff" Gushnowski has departed the PD chair at CHEZ
(106.1 Ottawa), returning home to Alberta and CIRK (97.3 K-Rock)
in Edmonton. Meanwhile, former Q107 Toronto PD Pat Cardinal has
joined Newcap's Edmonton cluster as operations manager.
Sudbury-based Eternacom has been granted a license for a new
signal over in Elliot Lake, Ontario. The new Christian music
station will run 865 watts on 102.5, with at least 42 hours a
week of local programming. The remainder will be a simulcast
of Eternacom's CJTK (95.5 Sudbury).
The CRTC has also put out a call for applicants interested
in providing new radio service to Bracebridge and Gravenhurst,
Ontario. Proposals are due July 14.
And there's late word that CJCH (920 Halifax NS) has begun
testing its new FM signal on 101.3; the move, when it happens,
will leave Halifax with just one AM station, CFDR (780 Kixx),
and it, too, has permission to move to FM.
*It's almost time for the independent Can-Am League to start
play, and here's a quick look at who's got those baseball games
on the radio:
In New Jersey, the Sussex Skyhawks join forces with
WDLC (1490 Port Jervis NY) for 17 home games this season. The
Atlantic City Surf appear to be continuing on WLFR (91.7
Pomona), as best we can tell. It's webcast-only for the New
In New England, the Brockton Rox once again air their
full season on WXBR (1460 Brockton), while the Worcester Tornadoes
play their full season on WTAG (580 Worcester). The defending
champions, the Nashua Pride, are webcast-only - and their
veteran announcer, Ken Cail, has moved south down route 3 to
handle play-by-play for the Lowell Spinners. (We'll get to the
short-season New York-Penn League when they start play next month.)
Across the border, Les Capitales de Quebec are heard
in French on CHRC (800 Quebec), and the new Ottawa Rapidz
(who take the place of the former International League Ottawa
Lynx, now the Lehigh Valley IronPigs) are heard in French on
CJRC (1150/104.7 Gatineau), with no English broadcasts that we
*So, about that whole
"new baby" thing: we weren't expecting him for another
month or so, but the newest member of the Fybush Media family
had his own schedule.
Eli Benjamin Fybush came into the world on Tuesday
morning, May 13, five weeks early. Weighing in at 5 lbs., 8 oz.
and 18.5", he's doing just fine, thanks - as are big sister
Ari, mom Lisa and of course, Freckles the NERW Wonder Dog. Dad
is a little freaked out, but that's the normal state of affairs
around here. And in the event we're a little late posting a Tower
Site of the Week or a NERW issue at some point in the next few
weeks, well, blame the little guy. (Hmm...too soon to name him
Director of the Complaint Department?)
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!)
May 21, 2007 -
- It seemed like a sure thing - put a Spanish-language format
on an FM signal in PENNSYLVANIA's biggest market and watch the
ratings soar. But Clear Channel's experiment with Spanish tropical
"Rumba" on WUBA (104.5 Philadelphia) never quite caught
fire after the station signed on last fall, replacing the soft
AC of "Sunny" WSNI. WUBA languished at the bottom of
the ratings, with revenue to match, and the advent of the Portable
People Meter in Philadelphia this year confirmed that it wasn't
just an issue with under-representation of the Hispanic audience.
- So on Thursday, "Rumba" disappeared from the big
full-market 104.5 signal, moving down to WDAS (1480 Philadelphia),
displacing black gospel from that frequency and its decidedly
less-than-full-market coverage. (WDAS had picked up Spanish-language
Phillies broadcasts at the start of the season, which should
have tipped us off that something was up.) Replacing "Rumba"
on 104.5 is Philadelphia's first commercial modern rocker since
the 2005 demise of the old "Y100" (WPLY 100.3 Media)
more than two years ago. "Radio 104.5" is running jockless
for now, with a logo (and programming) reminiscent of the old
WMRQ (104.1) in Hartford prior to its switch to urban in 2003.
- The post-Imus fallout continues to reverberate in MASSACHUSETTS.
At Imus' former Boston home, WTKK (96.9), the Mike Barnicle show
that's been a temporary replacement was itself replaced last
week, as WTKK picked up the David Gregory show that originated
for several days from MSNBC and was simulcast over former Imus
flagship WFAN (660 New York). Will the NBC White House correspondent
become the permanent replacement for Imus? The buzz we're hearing
suggests otherwise, which means WFAN and WTKK are still trying
to figure out what to do next.
- Boston-area viewers with HDTV sets are seeing Natalie Jacobson
and her colleagues a little more clearly last week. WCVB-DT (Channel
20) was the first DTV signal in Boston, and when it began producing
"Chronicle" in HD last year, that was the first regular
local show to be offered in HD in the market. As of last Monday,
WCVB's newscasts are all in HD as well, for another market first;
no word on when WBZ/WSBK, WHDH/WLVI or WFXT will follow suit.
- It's become almost a tradition by now that nearly every time
Clear Channel changes format on its Rochester rimshot at 107.3
(currently WSNP South Bristol), it stunts with country for a
few minutes before adopting whatever format it's really moving
to. The latest 107.3 flip, which took place Friday afternoon,
didn't include that stunt - because this time around, the format
du jour is, in fact, country. "Country 107.3" is the
new moniker, and we'd note that the previous occupant, rhythmic
AC "Snap 107.3," lasted all of eight months and change,
which means that maybe we weren't all that far off the mark,
after all, when we called it a stunt format last September. (Conventional
wisdom says putting country on 107.3 will serve as a flanker
to shave just enough ratings points off Entercom's market-leading
WBEE 92.5 to put Clear Channel's WHAM at the top of the ratings;
we'll see how well that turns out.)
May 19, 2003 -
- NEW YORK's oldies station is slowly returning some pre-1964
music to its playlist, after gradual changes over the past few
years that removed pretty much everything from WCBS-FM (101.1
New York) that predated the Beatles. No, the "O" word
hasn't returned to the Infinity station's imaging - and, yeah,
there's still some '80s Billy Joel in the playlist - but the
station made a concession to its older listeners over the weekend
when it returned doo-wop music to its Sunday night schedule.
- You'll recall the outcry last August when CBS-FM eliminated
the "Doo-Wop Shop" on Sundays; as of last night, it's
back, in a modified form - under the title "The Heart of
Rock'n' Roll," and hosted by former WCBS-FM personality
Norm N. Nite, who's back in Cleveland and doing the show from
the Alan Freed Studio at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Don
K. Reed loses that Sunday night airshift, but remains on weekday
- In Buffalo, we'd neglected to mention that WGRZ (Channel
2) dropped its 10 PM newscast on LMA partner WPXJ (Channel 51)
a few weeks back, while we were out of town. We'll miss the nice
signal on the Buffalo news (WPXJ, licensed to Batavia, comes
in quite well in Rochester!) - but we'll be able to tune in to
another sorta-Buffalo newscast in a few months, when Sinclair
expects to launch its Maryland-based "News Central"
on WB affiliate WNYO-TV (Channel 49); Sinclair's bigger Fox affiliate,
WUTV (Channel 29), will continue to carry syndicated shows at
10. The WPXJ newscast had been getting roundly beaten in the
ratings by WIVB's 10 PM news on sister station WNLO (Channel
- In NEW JERSEY, the last piece of the former Y107/Rumba "quadcast"
returned to the air last week, as Press launched "107.1
the Breeze" on WWZY (107.1 Long Branch). The station shares
its Jones soft AC format and "Captain Jack" Aponte
morning show with sister WBHX (99.7 Tuckerton) down the coast;
we hear it's looking to return to the Long Branch transmitter
site it used to use before Big City moved north to the current
site at Atlantic Highlands, which improved New York City coverage
at the expense of the Jersey Shore.
- Meanwhile down the dial, Nassau replaced the WPST simulcast
on WEMG-FM (104.9 Egg Harbor City) with country late last week;
still no commercials, and word is that this, too, may turn out
to be a stunt.
May 20, 1998-
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- The FCC has granted WXPS (96.7) a move from Vergennes, VERMONT
to Willsboro, NEW YORK, on the opposite side of Lake Champlain.
The 96 MHz part of the dial is getting active in New York's North
Country; WVNV (96.5) in Malone has been granted a change of class
from A to C3, and the FCC has allocated 96.5A to Speculator,
a tiny village high in the Adirondacks.
- The folks at Syracuse Community Radio have a callsign for
one of their construction permits. 88.7 in Truxton NY will be
WXXC. Meantime, the FCC granted a CP for SCR's 90.5 MHz station
in Fenner NY.
- The new 97.9 construction permit in Jewett (in the Catskills
between Oneonta and Albany) was assigned the WAXK calls, while
the 1660 kHz facility in the New York City market (licensed to
Elizabeth NJ) has applied to change calls from WJDM to WBAH.
The sister outlet on 1530 remains WJDM for now.
- On to MASSACHUSETTS, where news director Bill Pohovey has
parted ways with WHDH-TV (Channel 7); no replacement has been
named yet. One of the creators of Channel 7's format, Joel Cheatwood,
was ousted this week from his most recent job as news director
at WMAQ-TV (Channel 5) in Chicago. He's being moved to a position
in program development with NBC's owned-and-operated stations.
Cheatwood came under fire in Chicago for making many of the same
changes he made at WHDH and at WSVN in Miami; it seems Chicago
was even more resistant than Boston to the fast-paced tabloid
style that Cheatwood brought with him.
- A format change in the Worcester market: WXXW (98.9 Webster)
has dumped the satellite oldies (and the Don & Mike talk
show in afternoon drive) to go classic rock as "98-9 the
- In NEW HAMPSHIRE, there's a new station on the air way up
north. New England radio veteran Barry Lunderville, who sold
his WZBZ (now WDOT 1070 Plattsburgh NY) to Alex McEwing's Family
Radio, has put WXXS (102.3) on the air in Lancaster with a hot
AC format. "Kiss 102"'s studios are at 20 Middle Street
in Lancaster; it's transmitting with 700 watts from more than
600 feet above average terrain.
- Dennis Jackson's new 106.5 in Farmington has been assigned
the WZEN calls.
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2008 by Scott Fybush.