July 14, 2008
Local Yields to Satellite at WCTC, WMTR
TOWER SITE CALENDAR 2008 - ALMOST SOLD OUT!!!
*Central NEW JERSEY is a tough place
to operate a local AM station these days, up against a dial full
of FM signals from within the state and neighboring New York
and Philadelphia, not to mention a plethora of other entertainment
and information choices.
it was probably only a matter of time before Greater Media pulled
the plug on most of the local programming at news-talker WCTC
(1450 New Brunswick) and oldies WMTR (1250 Morristown). That
day arrived July 2, as both stations flipped to satellite "Good
Time Oldies," with only separate local morning shows remaining
to provide some sort of local identity.
At WCTC, the format flip kept veteran jock Jack Ellery in
the morning chair, once again playing the music that was a station
trademark before it switched to talk, but it ousted afternoon
talker Alan David Stein, middayer Lauren Pressley and a mid-morning
block of financial and food talk.
At WMTR, the move to satellite oldies knocked out local jocks
MK Dombrowski and the "Golden Gup," Robert Gascoigne,
who minced no words when he told the Star-Ledger, "Radio
has become a waste of electricity." WMTR's local voice-tracked
part-timers, including Mark Mitchell and Pete Tauriello, are
also out, but at least they're able to keep their day jobs -
Tauriello, for instance, is the morning traffic voice on WINS
(1010 New York). Chris Edwards stays on board doing mornings
*There's a new signal on the air in the Garden State, but
it won't do much for the cause of local radio, either: WNJY (89.3
Netcong) signed on July 8, bringing NJN Radio's mix of NPR news/talk
and jazz to the I-80 corridor through Morris County and parts
of neighboring Sussex County.
And that EnCap project that forced WOR (710 New York) to move
to a new transmitter site in the Jersey Meadowlands? The Star-Ledger
is now reporting that there's an investigation underway into
whether the billion-dollar project, which was halted after its
developers filed for bankruptcy this spring, had mob ties. The
paper reports that an "organized crime associate" may
have been taking bribes to allow dumping at the site. (In the
Meadowlands, of all places; who'd have thought such a thing was
*The biggest news out of PENNSYLVANIA
over the last couple of weeks came from the State College
area, where veteran station owner Cary Simpson handed over the
keys to WGMR (101.1 Tyrone) to Forever on July 7, bringing an
end to the station's many decades under those call letters, most
recently with top 40 as "G101."
surprise (but lots of chatter on the message boards), Forever
promptly flipped the station to country as "Froggy,"
using its big class B signal to give that regional brand new
reach in the areas north and east of Forever's other Froggy stations
in the area, WFGY (98.1 Altoona) and WFGI-FM (95.5 Johnstown).
The WGMR calls are gone from 101.1, too, replaced at week's end
Froggy's former home in State College, WSGY (98.7 Pleasant
Gap), was silent for a few days as its ownership transferred
from Forever to 2510 Licenses, but it returned July 9 with adult
contemporary music as "Wish," with new calls WWSH.
While we're up in this corner of north central Pennsylvania,
there's a station sale to report in St. Mary's, as Dennis and
Rose Heindl's Laurel Media buys back WDDH (97.5) from Intrepid
Broadcasting for $1.23 million, four years after Laurel had sold
the signal. Intrepid just bought a start-up FM in the Watertown,
N.Y. market, and its president, Michael Stapleford, is also president
of Magnum Broadcasting, which owns WPHB/WJOW in Phillipsburg,
WBLF in Bellefonte and WZYY in Renovo.
holiday week brought another format change in the Keystone State:
in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Shamrock Communications ditched the
AC "Q-FM" format on WQFM (92.1 Nanticoke)/WQFN (100.1
Forest City) on July 3, returning to the oldies format it had
used until late 2005. The stations are now "Cool FM,"
though with no call change. (We'd note that the WQFM calls have
a very long history with Shamrock and the Lynett family,
having lived for decades on the company's Milwaukee FM station,
now WLDB, until moving to Scranton a few format changes ago.)
Radio People on the Move in Philadelphia: Michael Chew is
the newest member of the morning team at Jerry Lee's WBEB (101.1),
replacing Samantha Layne alongside Tiffany Hill on the morning
show there. Chew had been doing mornings in Milwaukee at WRIT
until losing his job in last fall's Clear Channel cuts (and ironically,
his former partner there, Carol Von, just landed at WLDB, the
former WQFM.) At "Martini Radio" WHAT (1340), afternoon
host Mike Bowe is now hosting the "Morning Martini"
wakeup show. And at CBS Radio's WPHT (1210), the search may be
on for a new morning host, now that Michael Smerconish is making
noises about leaving local radio once his contract is up at year's
end. Smerconish has been ubiquitous in the cable news world of
late, guest-hosting shows for MSNBC and for Fox News Radio, sometimes
on the same day, and he's been making loud noises about seeking
a full-time career in the TV world, first to former Inquirer
TV columnist Gail Shister over at TVNewser.com, and subsequently...well,
We've been remiss in not mentioning a construction permit
granted in June: Greater Media's WPEN (950 Philadelphia) now
has FCC approval to boost daytime power from 25 kW to 43 kW from
its three-tower site on 77th Street and Brookhaven Road. WPEN's
21 kW night signal, from the WWDB (860) site in East Norriton,
would remain unchanged.
In York, WSBA (910) midday host Gary Sutton is also looking
for a new career - in politics, in his case, as he announces
a run for the Pennsylvania House in the 196th District. Sutton
tells the York Daily Record he'd "gladly" give
up his radio career if he's elected.
Up the road in Harrisburg, Jim Berman has landed on his feet
after being let go as part of the Newport Television cutbacks
at WHP-TV (Channel 21)/WLYH (Channel 15). Berman was hired last
week by Belo to be president and general manager at its WVEC-TV
(Channel 13) in Norfolk, Virginia. Also out at WHP/WLYH were
operations and program director Lou Castriota and several others.
Where Are They Now? Former KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh) sports talker
Thor Tolo is looking for work in Seattle, where he moved a few
years ago to do afternoon drive for Salem's conservative talk
station, KGNW (820 Burien WA). KGNW let Tolo go, saying it wanted
to move the station in a different direction, and Tolo says he'd
like to stay put in the Pacific Northwest.
And we close our Pennsylvania report by remembering Paul Oles,
who was a legend in Northeast Pennsylvania sportscasting. Oles
started at WCDL (1440 Carbondale) back in 1953, first as a DJ
and then as a sportscaster. In 1977, he began doing part-time
TV work for WNEP (Channel 16), and in 1984 he joined the TV station
fulltime as sports director. Oles died June 28 in his hometown
of Olyphant; he was 79.
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.
*One of the true veterans of NEW HAMPSHIRE
radio has retired. Paul Leblanc spent a remarkable 44 years
at WTSN (1270 Dover), pretty much all that time as morning man.
(His arrival at the station came right on the heels of the departure
of a talented young newsman named Gary LaPierre; there must have
been something in the water up there in the early sixties.)
last "WTSN Morning Information Center" broadcast on
July 11 was followed that evening by a big retirement dinner
at the Great Bay Gallery in Somersworth, where Leblanc was honored
with a "WTSN Lifetime Achievement Award" and a big-screen
TV. General manager Mike Dafoe tells Foster's Daily Democrat
that he hopes LeBlanc will return for some fill-in work down
the road - and LeBlanc tells the paper he plans "to do a
whole lot of nothing."
And there's a call change in the Upper Valley: after more
than half a century as WTSL (1400 Hanover), the new calls there
*There are call letters for a new FM construction
permit in the Portland, MAINE market: WRKJ (88.5 Westbrook)
will be run by the Calvary Chapel of Portland, with 415 watts,
directional, from an antenna just 10 feet above average terrain
near the Maine Mall in South Portland.
*Just after our last issue before our holiday break
came out, there was a format change in VERMONT: Northeast
Broadcasting's WUSX (93.7 Addison) dropped its "US Country"
format, which never made a dent in market behemoth WOKO (98.9
Burlington), in favor of oldies and a new nickname, "Cruisin'
Over at Vermont Public Radio, they're saying goodbye to one
of the network's longtime staffers. Jody Evans oversaw some big
changes in her ten years as program director, including the launch
of a full-time classical network. She's departing for the PD
chair at KUT (90.5) in Austin, Texas; no replacement has been
announced yet at VPR.
*Radio People on the Move in RHODE ISLAND:
Tom St. John is departing Clear Channel's WWBB (101.5 Providence),
where he was assistant PD and music director, to take an IT/engineering
job at Greater Media's Boston cluster. Downstairs at Hall's WCTK
(98.1 New Bedford MA), Steve Guittari departs as PD, with no
replacement yet named.
*The big news from MASSACHUSETTS is
on the engineering side, and specifically from 750 Saw Mill Brook
Parkway in the Oak Hill section of Newton. That's the WUNR (1600
Brookline) transmitter site, and it moved much closer to its
final configuration just before the holiday.
The first big transition came on June 18 at 3 AM, reports
chief engineer Grady Moates, when WUNR switched from its old
two-tower array to the new five-tower array that was built right
around the old sticks last year. For now, WUNR is running reduced
power under Special Temporary Authority - but as of 1 AM on July
4, it's doing so from its new Broadcast Electronics 4MX25 transmitter
in the renovated transmitter building, replacing the old AM5E
that had been moved to a trailer out back during the construction.
Meanwhile, on June 28th at 5 AM, WRCA (1330 Waltham) signed
off for good from the South Street site in Waltham that it's
called home for six decades. It's running at 5 kW under STA from
the new site, and with a new city of license of Watertown. The
lease on the old Waltham site, behind the studios of former sister
station WCRB-FM, ran out July 1, and the towers will soon be
demolished, we're told.
The next steps will involve proofing out the patterns from
the new array so that WUNR and WRCA can go to full power (20
kW day and night for WUNR, 25 kW day/17 kW night for WRCA) -
and the move of WKOX (1200 Framingham) to the Oak Hill site.
Boston's "ESPN 890/1400" (WAMG Dedham/WLLH Lowell
and Lawrence) is losing its star talk personality. Mike Felger,
who's been doing afternoons since the station signed on with
ESPN in 2005, departed after his Friday show, with no replacement
named; Felger is headed for competitor WEEI, where he'll be writing
columns for the station's website, at least initially.
Former WZLX/WBCN program director Dave Wellington has landed
a new high-profile programming gig: he's the new PD for Clear
Channel rockers WWDC (101.1 Washington DC) and WCHH (104.3 Baltimore).
We don't usually pay a lot of attention to radio and TV news
awards competitions; having spent enough years creating and judging
entries, we know all too well how subjective and political they
can be, and these days there's so little competition in so many
categories, because there are so few newsrooms left to enter
anything, that many of the regional contests have become all
but meaningless. But we can't let one particular award go unnoticed:
our former WBZ colleague and good friend Carl Stevens took home
a national Edward R. Murrow award for his newswriting, and that's
anything but meaningless. (It was one of two national Murrows
WBZ won this year; other awards in the region went to Amherst's
WFCR, New York's WNYC and WSLU/North Country Public Radio up
in Canton, N.Y.)
we remember Roger Allan Bump, who spent many years as news director
of WRKO (680 Boston), where he was better known simply as Roger
Allan. He came to the station in its WNAC/Yankee Network era,
having worked before that at WMEX, WCOP and Marlborough's WSRO,
and he weathered the transition to top-40 WRKO in 1967 and to
talk almost a quarter-century later before retiring in 1990.
Bump also taught at Curry College, and most recently had been
heard as part of the "Twin State Journal" afternoon
talk show on WNTK-FM (99.7 New London NH). Bump was 79 when he
died July 1 at a hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire.
*In CONNECTICUT, a war of words continues
between the town of Burlington and WJMJ (88.9 Hartford), which
has transmitted from a tower on Johnnycake Mountain for more
than two decades. The agreement that allowed WJMJ to use the
tower required the station to broadcast ecumenical programming,
and town officials have been complaining that WJMJ's recent format
change to Catholic talk programming is in violation of that deal.
The town is expected to issue a cease-and-desist order against
the station and its owner, the Archdiocese of Hartford, possibly
as early as this week. (NERW notes: the FCC has recently taken
a dim view of tower-use contracts that attempt to regulate programming,
labeling them in some cases an unauthorized transfer of control
of the station. Will Federal law overrule the town in this case?
In New Haven, there's a new afternoon talk show at Clear Channel's
WELI (960): former state senator Tom Scott and Ryan Jordan, who's
"Jordan" in the mornings on sister station WKSS in
Hartford, have teamed up for the "Tom Scott and Ryan Show,"
which started last Monday from 5-7 PM.
In Greenwich, Dima Joseph-Thompson has departed WGCH (1490)
after more than two decades, most recently as assistant news
And in Danbury, Zach Dillon moves up from music director/middays
to PD, filling the gap left by Chris Duggan when he moved east
to Providence and WSNE. Night guy Nate Mumford adds MD duties,
and Jayna comes north from WAZR in Harrisonburg, Virginia to
*We're still waiting to find out whether
NEW YORK governor David Paterson will sign into law a
bill passed a few weeks back by state lawmakers that would outlaw
non-compete clauses for broadcast industry employees in the Empire
The "Broadcast Employees Freedom to Work Act" is
being strongly opposed by the New York State Broadcasters Association,
which is asking its members to lobby Paterson to veto the bill.
If it's passed (as seems likely), the bill would have consequences
not only in the high-stakes world of New York City radio and
TV, but upstate as well. Here in Rochester, for instance, the
non-compete deal between Brother Wease and his former employer,
WCMF (96.5), made front-page headlines last fall; if WCMF owner
Entercom were suddenly unable to enforce that non-compete, it's
a good bet that Wease would be back on the air almost immediately
at his new employer, Clear Channel's WFXF (95.1), where he's
biding his time in an off-air capacity until his non-compete
*In Buffalo, former staffers and listeners of WKBW (1520)
held a small gathering outside the station's old 1430 Main Street
studio building July 3 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the
historic 1958 flip to "Futuresonic" top-40 radio.
stopped by to check out the party, which included commemorative
posters, classic cars and live music.
KB veterans Stan Roberts and Tom Donahue were on hand when
we pulled up, and Danny Neaverth showed up in a zippy little
convertible not long afterward. (We're told that later in the
evening, Neaverth even took the stage to perform the only-on-KB
classic "Rats In My Room," and we're sorry we missed
The oldies that have long since disappeared from WKBW and
its successor WWKB have resurfaced an hour to the south in Jamestown,
where WKSN (1340) has flipped from talk to ABC's True Oldies
Channel, returning to its former branding of "Kissin' Oldies."
(And yes, the sister FM station is "Huggin' Country,"
Radio People on the Move: in Elmira, Vinny Pagano has exited
as PD/morning man at Backyard Broadcasting's WNGZ; in Albany,
Russ Allen is inbound from Knoxville, Tennessee and WKHT to be
the new PD at Albany Broadcasting's WAJZ; middayer "Meredith
McGreen" and production director Geoff Storm are both hopping
out of Regent's "Big Frog" WFRG in Utica; and in Syracuse,
Dave Laird is retiring from Clear Channel's WYYY (Y94) at the
end of the month, ending a career that started way back in 1964
at WNDR and has included stops in Memphis (WMPS), Boston (WCOP),
Rochester (WHAM/WVOR/WSAY) and all over the Syracuse dial (WNTQ,
WFBL, WEZG, WSEN). For the last 11 years, Laird has been Y94's
production director and host of the Saturday Night Dance Party;
now he's heading to Tennessee, reports CNYRadio.com.
In New York City, it looks like WRXP (101.9) is getting a
midday host - the rumor mill down in Atlanta is churning with
word that former WNNX jock Steve Craig is following his former
PD, Leslie Fram, up to New York. Expect a formal announcement
sometime this week, we're told.
There's not much new to report on the ongoing soap opera that
is contract negotiations for Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad
Dog" Russo at WFAN (660); the two are still on alternating
vacations, though they did work together one day this past week.
Meanwhile, WFAN's morning talkers, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton,
will be in the broadcast booth for tonight's Brooklyn Cyclones
game, sharing play-by-play as the team gets some rare exposure
on the big WFAN signal while the parent Mets are off for the
All-Star break. (It's also "Boomer and Carton Bobblehead
Night" at Keyspan Park, as well as "Salute to the Pork
Rind." No, really.)
And over on the public radio side of things, NPR is pulling
the plug on its "Bryant Park Project" alternative morning
show after July 25. The New York-based show never picked up many
affiliates (and what few it did get, including Rochester's WXXI,
were largely on obscure HD subchannels) and it faced stiff competition
from another new morning offering, the higher-profile "Takeaway"
show that started recently at New York's WNYC.
TV People on the Move: Greg Kelly, late of Fox News Channel,
is the new morning co-anchor at Fox's WNYW (Channel 5) in New
York, replacing Ron Corning. In Rochester, budget cutbacks at
WHEC (Channel 10) claimed the job of sports director Mark Gruba
last week. In Albany, two anchors are out of work - veteran WRGB/WABC/WTEN
anchor Tracy Egan has departed Channel 10 there, while Michele
Smith is leaving WRGB (Channel 6) to stay at home while she awaits
the birth of her second child.
We know a bit more about some of the fallout of the Newport
Television cutbacks late last month: in Rochester, veteran WHAM-TV
(Channel 13) engineer Ted McWhorf was among the victims.
in Syracuse, WSYR-TV (Channel 9) reporter Mike Price retired
July 3 after an amazing 45-year run at the station, all the way
back to its genesis as WNYS-TV in the basement of Shoppingtown
Mall way back when. Price was a staff announcer back then, best
remembered for his portrayal of "Baron Daemon," host
of horror movies late at night and the kiddie cartoons in the
afternoon. (He even boasts the top-selling local record in Syracuse
music history, the 1963 novelty tune "Transylvania Twist.")
After a 1967 studio fire that destroyed his costumes and sets,
Baron Daemon was retired, and Price became an audio operator
and then a general-assignment reporter for Channel 9. More recently,
he's been contributing "Good News" segments to the
station's evening newscasts. Price says he's hoping to continue
to do some voiceover and freelance work in his retirement.
Up north, WVLF (96.1 Norwood) reimaged from "Valley 96.1"
to "Mix 96.1" on July 7, tweaking its AC format slightly
and replacing syndicated morning show Bob & Sheri with local
host Jerry Manor. He's followed by Chelsea in middays, then Ryan
Seacrest in afternoons and Delilah at night.
In Glens Falls, Eric Straus is exiting the radio scene with
a $2.75 million sale of the three radio stations his RegionalHelpWanted.com
(Regional Radio Group) owns there. The new owner at WWSC (1450
Glens Falls), WCKM (98.5 Lake George) and WCQL (95.9 Queensbury)
is Clayton Ashworth, who's acquiring the stations under the "Northway
Broadcasting" name. Sound familiar? That's the same operating
name Ashworth used more than a decade ago when he owned crosstown
WBZA and WMJR.
And in Rochester, it looks like the end of the line for progressive
talk at Entercom's WROC (950). Saddled with a poor signal and
distinct also-ran status in a cluster full of big and very profitable
FMs, the little AM station has been running essentially without
local programming for several years now, and it appears that
the current format will disappear after August 1. (At least,
that's what the station reportedly told representatives of the
syndicated Bill Press morning show when they called to inquire
about promoting an appearance Press recently made here.)
What's next for 950? We're hearing ESPN sports, which would
pull some programming away from Clear Channel's WHTK (1280 Rochester)
and Pembrook Pines' WACK (1420 Newark) - and much as we'd like
to see Entercom extend its Red Sox network this far west, that
doesn't appear to be in the cards.
*It was a quiet couple of weeks in CANADA
after the Canada Day holiday, but there are a few bits of
news to pass along: in Toronto, CFTR (680 News) morning co-anchor
Lisa Brandt announced she's leaving the station in October after
six years, hoping to pursue a career as a writer.
Catharines, the fate of CHSC (1220) is up in the air after a
bankruptcy sale of the station's studios and equipment. The St.
Catharines Standard reports that the CHSC studios at 36
Queenston Street will be sold in a bailiff's auction today, in
hopes of collecting C$28,000 in back rent and taxes. The station's
listed phone number has been disconnected, but the Standard
reports that as of Thursday, CHSC remained on the air. The
station has been trying to target listeners in Toronto, across
Lake Ontario, and is apparently now running its studios from
at a sales office in the Toronto suburb of Woodbridge, where
it was already originating the "Radio Uno" Italian-language
programming that fills most of its schedule. Will the CRTC allow
that to continue?
Another CHSC note: longtime news director Ed Eldred died last
Monday (July 7) at age 58. Eldred worked at CHSC from 1988-2003,
and at CFOS (560 Owen Sound) for many years before that.
Milkman UnLimited also reports the death on July 8
of Pete McNabb, who owned CKLY (910 Lindsay) from 1961 until
1986, and was renowned for the boat trips through the Kawartha
Lakes that he ran for potential advertisers. McNabb was 80.
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!)
July 9, 2007 -
- Thirty-five years after NEW YORK's WCBS-FM (101.1) flipped
to oldies, and two years after the station rocked the Big Apple
radio world with a flip away from oldies to adult hits "Jack
FM," the message boards once again began buzzing last Thursday
afternoon with word that the new management at CBS Radio was
about to reverse course and restore oldies to 101.1.
- Whether or not the news was an intentional leak, it came
at a perfectly slow moment in the larger news cycle, and by Friday
it had moved beyond the radio message boards and e-mail lists
and out to the TV newscasts and the headlines on WINS. By Saturday
morning, it was even the front-page story in the Daily News,
even though CBS had yet to confirm that the move was happening.
- As we head for our Sunday night NERW deadline, there's still
been no confirmation from within CBS, but all the signs we're
hearing tell us that the rumors are true, and that at some point
between today and Thursday, WCBS-FM will indeed return to some
version of the oldies format it was using until that dark day
in June 2005.
- That's good news for New York oldies fans, but perhaps not
quite as much good news as some of them were hoping for. Despite
the Daily News' claim that the station will be bringing back
"real DJs," our sources tell us that at least at first,
the new CBS-FM will sound very much like the HD2/webstream version
of CBS-FM that's been serving as a stopgap replacement for the
original station - no DJs, and a music mix that leans more heavily
on the 70s and early 80s than the old CBS-FM did.
- Elsewhere in the Empire State over the long holiday week:
In the Albany market, public broadcaster WMHT pulled the plug
on one of its two classical music services on Saturday, replacing
"cool, comfortable, classical" WBKK (97.7 Amsterdam)
with "Exit 97.7," a new AAA format with new calls WEXT.
WMHT says the two-year experiment with WBKK, which had been a
commercial classical station before WMHT bought it, found that
there was a tremendous amount of listener duplication between
97.7 and the more established WMHT-FM (89.1 Schenectady), producing
little in the way of new listeners or members to the station.
The new "Exit 97.7" will feature local jocks Dave Michaels
in morning drive and Eileen Roarke in middays, with station manager
Chris Wienk handling afternoons.
- Boston's channel 2 just moved, and now CONNECTICUT's channel
3 has started to load up the moving vans. WFSB (Channel 3) has
finished construction of its new studio complex in Rocky Hill,
and station staffers began moving in last week. Newscast production
from the new studios won't start for a few more weeks, so the
news department remains at the old Broadcast House in downtown
Hartford for a little while longer.
July 7 & 14, 2003 -
- Clear Channel flipped two of its VERMONT properties last
week, just in time for Independence Day. In Rutland, WZRT (97.1)
kept its top 40 format under a new name, taking on Clear Channel's
national "Kiss" branding (and the blue ball logo that's
already been phased out in some other Kiss markets); up US 7
in Burlington, the arrival of "Kiss" was a bit more
of a surprise, with the 4 PM change last Thursday (7/3) installing
"Kiss 92.1" on WJVT (92.1 Port Henry NY), the rimshotter
that had been doing smooth jazz for the last year and change.
Under its (pending) new calls of WVTK, Kiss will pose at least
something of a threat to established top 40 WXXX (95.5 South
Burlington), though the two stations' signals have little overlap
except over Burlington itself. Through the miracle of voicetracking,
the stations share an airstaff that consists of Dave Ryerson,
Judy Anderson, AJ and Mike Cruz, though we hear the programming
is separate at each frequency. (And wouldn't it figure that the
switch would come not 48 hours after we drove out of the market...)
- Just in to NERW at press time is word that one of the best-known
voices in MASSACHUSETTS has been silenced. Ernie Boch never had
an airshift, but his trademark "Come on DOWN!" beckoned
listeners to his auto dealerships over decades of high-intensity
radio and TV advertising. In 1991, Boch became a broadcast owner
with the $825,000 purchase of WOCB (1240/94.9 West Yarmouth),
and in the years that followed he expanded his Cape Cod holdings
into one of the market's most important clusters. With his 1996
purchase of three more FMs and his 2001 donation of the former
WOCB(AM) to Boston University, Boch's cluster now consists of
news-talk WXTK (95.1 West Yarmouth), AC WCOD (106.1 Hyannis)
and oldies simulcast WDVT (93.5 Harwich Port) and WTWV (101.1
Mashpee) - and with Boch's death Sunday at age 77, the rumors
are already flying about potential purchasers interested in the
- Up in CANADA, CHUM officially launched its new FM signal
in Brockville, Ontario, transforming CFJR (830) into CFJR-FM
(104.9), aka "JRfm." The FM signal has been on the
air testing for several weeks, but the official launch today
sets the clock running to the signoff later this year of the
AM signal. (Oddly, CFJR's website makes no mention of the FM
yet!) But in the midst of launching "JRfm," CHUM also
flipped its older Brockville FM signal. CJPT (103.7) has been
doing top 40 as "the Point," but as of today it's a
clone of CHUM's CKKL (93.9 Ottawa), running classic hits and
hot AC currents as "103.7 Bob FM."
July 3 & 9, 1998-
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- Another billion-dollar deal is making news in CONNECTICUT.
New Haven's WTNH (Channel 8) is one of the stations Chancellor
Broadcasting is buying from LIN for a total of $1.72 billion.
Investment firm Hicks, Muse, Tate, and Furst has significant
interests in both LIN and Chancellor -- and in Capstar, which
owns WPLR (99.1) and LMAs WYBC (94.3) in New Haven, as well as
owning four FMs and an AM in Hartford. The trades are already
buzzing about a combined Capstar-Chancellor, which would create
a massive media conglomerate in the Nutmeg State.
- In NEW YORK, it's tower-shifting time in the Watertown market.
WUZZ (1410) has applied to move from its current 5000/1000-watt
DA-N three-tower array to a single tower of the array at sister
station WTNY (790). As a non-directional station, WUZZ would
use 3500 watts by day, and just 58 watts at night. Meantime,
WCIZ (93.5, moving to 93.3) and WFRY (97.5) are building a new
tower next to the current WFRY stick in the town of Rutland.
- Big Apple news anchor Ernie Anastos is becoming a station
owner. The WWOR (Channel 9) anchor is one of the partners buying
WJKE (101.3 Stillwater) in the Saratoga Springs market. Peter
Coughlin's Fair Way Communications gets $900,000 for the adult
contemporary station. He's using the money to buy two stations
- Dedham-licensed WBPS (890) is one of several stations being
transferred to Z Spanish Radio from current owner TSG Associates
(which holds the stock of John Douglas' Achievement Radio Holdings).
NERW expects WBPS to begin running Z's nationwide Spanish programming,
which would mark the first time a national Spanish-language broadcaster
has operated an O&O in the Boston market. This also explains
why WBPS cancelled the proposed sale to Salem last month. The
full deal, which includes stations in Chicago, Houston, and San
Jose, is valued at $27 million.
- An upstate NEW YORK station has changed cities of license;
Johnstown's WSRD (104.9) is now Altamont's WSRD (104.9), which
NERW suspects opens the way to a transmitter-site move that would
make it more of a player in Schenectady and Albany. NERW notes
also that the initial FCC information about this move misspelled
the town name as "Altamount," although it seems to
be correct in the database.
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2008 by Scott Fybush.