June 1, 2009
Severin Returns to WTKK
*Three weeks after WTKK (96.9 Boston) pulled
him off the airwaves of eastern MASSACHUSETTS, talker
Jay Severin will be back on the air tomorrow, following what
Greater Media says were ongoing discussions about the direction
his show will take.
have had conversations with Jay Severin over the past several
weeks about his hurtful, inappropriate remarks," said a
Greater Media statement released Saturday. "He understands
that we will not accept this type of commentary on our airwaves
in the future...We want to emphasize that WTKK still strongly
supports an open and spirited debate about the many issues our
community and our country currently face. There will no doubt
be times when people disagree with what Jay says. Our goal is
to maintain a level of discourse that is compelling and thought-provoking,
yet civil and respectful. While we will not always succeed in
walking this line, we will continually strive to do so."
Severin disappeared from WTKK's afternoon slot following comments
he made about Mexicans in the wake of the swine flu epidemic;
it wasn't his first suspension in a long career of controversy,
and it's a pretty safe bet it won't be his last.
Elsewhere on the dials, it was a quiet week, shortened by
the Memorial Day holiday, but here's what we could glean around
*Down the hall from WTKK, Greater Media is shaking up the
jock lineup at WROR (105.7 Framingham), giving morning-show sidekick
Tom Doyle new visibility on an afternoon show he'll be co-hosting
with Julie Devereaux, who returns to the station after being
laid off from her night shift a few months back. J.C. Haze, who'd
been doing afternoons, moves to weekends on WROR.
The plan by two Boston TV stations to combine some resources
is hitting potential union snags. IBEW Local 1228, which represents
photographers and behind-the-scenes staff at both CBS' WBZ-TV
(Channel 4) and Fox's WFXT (Channel 25), has filed a grievance
with the National Labor Relations Board over the proposal for
both stations to share the helicopter now used by WFXT, and to
pool news video on "everyday" stories such as fires,
car crashes and news conferences. Such video-sharing deals are
becoming increasingly common around the country, including at
CBS and Fox stations in markets such as Philadelphia and Washington.
And speaking of Local 1228, the union is putting out a call
for help for one of its own: WHDH-TV engineer Brian Edgerton
is recuperating from a mild stroke, and the union says he gets
no benefits from the station because he's a part-timer. They've
set up a fund to assist Edgerton and his family, with donations
being collected via the union office at 77 Access Road, Norwood
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*In NEW HAMPSHIRE and
MAINE, several new construction permits have been saved
from deletion, thanks to the FCC rule that allows small business
owners to get an 18-month extension if they buy a CP prior to
the three-year construction deadline.
In Maine, Daniel Priestly's Waterfront Communications has
transferred CPs on 1230 in Newport and 1240 in Ellsworth to Gary
Fogg's Wireless Fidelity of North America, Inc. for $22,000 each,
while in Stratford, N.H., Jackman Holding Company has sold WTTT
(98.7) to Virginia-based Silver Fish Broadcasting, controlled
by Carlton and Aubrey Fitch and Peyton Young, for $100,000. (WTTT
has a still-pending application from 2007 to change community
of license to Bretton Woods - and to put its transmitter atop
A few more Pine Tree State notes: in Bangor, Pencil Boone
is departing the GM chair at WHCF (88.5) for a new job with Bangor
Baptist Ministries. Marc Tischart takes over as GM, while WHCF
PD/music director Joe Polek adds morning-drive duties. WHCF also
gets a new nighttime host next week, when Shelly Mitchell arrives
from North Carolina's WRCM.
Some call changes: EMF Broadcasting has installed new "K-Love"
calls on its new Bangor-area signals: mark down WKVV for the
former WFZX (101.7 Searsport) and WKVZ for the former WGUY (102.1
Dexter). In Richmond, WZME is the new callsign for the as-yet-unbuilt
And outside Bangor, WLEK (101.1) is now licensed at low power
from its original city of license, Machias, while an application
to move the station to Gouldsboro - with transmitter on the tower
of Blueberry Broadcasting sister station WLKE (99.1 Bar Harbor)
- was granted last week as well.
*Back to New Hampshire:
Nassau is rearranging its airstaff on its Concord/Lakes Region
stations, where Dominic Biello is out of morning drive at WLNH
(98.3 Laconia), replaced by 20-year veteran Pat Kelly. He's moving
over from the morning shift at WNNH (99.1 Henniker)/WLKZ (104.9
Wolfeboro) as Nassau prepares to shed WNNH from the cluster.
The impending spin-off of WNNH (and of WWHQ 101.5 Meredith)
is part of the reorganization of Nassau filed with the FCC last
week, in which Nassau's senior lenders, led by Goldman Sachs,
will take 85 percent of the company's equity in exchange for
wiping out the company's debts.
Two of Nassau's markets are being reorganized separately:
The Goldman Sachs-led group will end up with all of the equity
in Boston-market WCRB (99.5 Lowell), one of Nassau's biggest
properties, while the Nassau stations on Cape Cod will be transferred
to a separate "Mid-Cape Broadcasting LLC" in which
Goldman will not hold an equity interest.
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*One of VERMONT's longest-running
specialty shows is coming to an end. "Floydian Slip,"
a weekly hour all about Pink Floyd's music, started at the old
(and much-missed) WEXP (105.1 Plattsburgh NY) back in 1994, then
moved across town to WCPV (101.3 Essex) after WEXP's 1995 format
change. Host Craig Bailey will do a farewell show on "Champ
101.3" next Sunday, June 7, and he says the show - which
started when he was a student at Ithaca College in the late eighties
- could yet find a new home or might continue as a podcast.
*It was a very quiet week in NEW YORK,
though it began with some sad news from the Watertown radio community,
where WFRY (97.5 Watertown) afternoon jock Bud Green lost two
daughters - one of them eight months pregnant - in a car crash
the weekend before. Susan Melgar, 18, and Denise Yeman, 14, were
two of four people killed when the SUV in which they were riding
went off the road.
(We learned about the crash from CNYRadio.com,
which also reports the too-young death, at 32, of former Regent
Utica board op R. Clark Witt IV, who'd been working more recently
for a Utica-area law firm before succumbing to a long illness
on May 24.)
Just one bit of news from the big city: the New York Jets
signed an extension to their radio deal with ESPN's WEPN (1050
New York) that will keep the team on "1050 ESPN Radio"
through the 2012 NFL season. The team has been on 1050 since
Up the Hudson River, WCKL (560 Catskill) has made its annual
return from silence - but this time it's keeping its license
alive with an automated loop of rock music and IDs, rather than
the FM simulcasts it's used in previous years.
Where are they now? Rochester native Dave Mason has just been
promoted to PD at San Diego oldies station "105.7 the Walrus"
(XHPRS-FM, licensed across the border in Mexico.)
And one more obituary - Jim Chaplain, who used the name "Jim
Lord" when he was midday host and production director at
WTRY (980 Troy) in the sixties, fell in his yard on Memorial
Day, and died the next day. Albany Broadcasting's Joe Condon
reports that Lord had just recently been part of a reunion of
WTRY's 60s-era airstaff. His career also included stops in Toledo
- where we hear he took great pride in being the local "Bozo
the Clown" on TV - and eventually landed him in Florida,
where he worked in sales and became a station owner.
*In northwestern PENNSYLVANIA, the
consolidation of sister stations WICU-TV (Channel 12) and WSEE-TV
(Channel 35) in Erie entered its final stage late last week,
when several WSEE staffers offered on-air goodbyes as the CBS
affiliate prepared to vacate its longtime downtown studio building
and reconfigure its news schedule.
WSEE and WICU had been sharing services behind the scenes for
several years, including a common master control and sales department
(at WICU's State Street studios) and a common creative-services
department (at the WSEE building), their news staffs had remained
separate and competitive...until Thursday, when WSEE's airstaff
signed off from 1220 Peach Street.
Several familiar WSEE faces - most notably morning/noon anchor
Raychel Vendetti- won't be making the move to State Street, where
separate WSEE-branded newscasts will continue to air in some
timeslots beginning today. (The details of the new schedule were
still being firmed up over the weekend, we hear.)
*Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the weekly "Echoes of Lithuania"
show ended a four-decade run yesterday, signing off WEDO (810
McKeesport) for what host Dalia Yucius described as financial
reasons. Yucius, who took over the show from her late father
Vito Yucius, tells the Post-Gazette that sponsorships
and listener donations "just dwindled away," making
it impossible to keep buying weekend airtime on WEDO.
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*In CANADA, the CRTC has approved
a new station in Wallaceburg, Ontario, 20 miles or so north of
Chatham. The application from Five Amigos Broadcasting for 570
watts, directional, on 99.1 drew opposition from Blackburn Radio,
which argued that a new station in Wallaceburg would harm the
finances of its cluster of stations (CFCO/CKSY/CKUE) in Chatham-Kent
- but the CRTC disagreed, finding that the new Wallaceburg station
will serve only a limited area compared to the wide reach of
the Blackburn signals.
On the national level, Milkman
UnLimited reports Rob Farina is moving from his current VP/programming
position with CTVglobemedia to archrival Astral Media.
And if you ever worked at Montreal's CKGM - or any of its
other incarnations at the 980 or 990 dial positions - veteran
'GM jock Marc "Mais Oui" Denis wants to hear from you.
He's organizing a staff-only reunion this fall, coinciding with
the station's 50th anniversary; you can find more detail at his
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, ten and - where available - fifteen years
ago this week, or thereabouts. Note that 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!)
June 3, 2008 -
- It was just five years ago this summer that Access.1 Communications
spent $22 million to buy the former Howard Green stations in
the Atlantic City, NEW JERSEY market - NBC affiliate WMGM-TV
(Channel 40 Wildwood), plus two FM and three AM stations. Two
years later, Access.1 added another FM to the cluster, paying
$5 million for modern rock WJSE (102.7 Petersburg). And now Access.1
is selling most of its Atlantic City radio cluster, putting the
signals - WJSE, classic rock WMGM (103.7 Atlantic City), oldies
WTKU (98.3 Ocean City), news/talk WOND (1400 Pleasantville) and
progressive talk WTAA (1490 Pleasantville) - in the hands of
a new group called "Atlantic Broadcasting."
- The new owners are local, led by president Brett DeNafo,
programmer Paul Kelly (currently at WAYV, though today will be
his last day there), engineer Michael Ferriola and promotions
director Joseph Borsello, and they say they have a "well
thought out and innovative game plan to bring the stations back
to the high ratings and revenue level they once achieved."
The cluster's current GM, Dick Irland, and sales director, Mike
Kazala, will stay on board. The purchase price hasn't been announced,
but we hear that Atlantic is getting the stations, plus the studio
building in Linwood and two transmitter sites, for considerably
less than Access.1 paid for the stations back in 2003.
- We'd heard the rumors a few weeks back, and now it's official
- Blake Lawrence, the last holdover from the old WQCD, has resigned
as PD of Emmis' WRXP (101.9 New York). No replacement has been
named so far.
- In western PENNSYLVANIA, it didn't take long for ESPN management
to pull the plug on WEAE (1250 Pittsburgh) afternoon host Mark
Madden, once the headlines about his controversial Ted Kennedy
comments started spreading. Madden was off the air last Monday,
and by Tuesday the word came down from Bristol that ESPN was
exercising its "contractual rights" to remove Madden
from the air. The move comes at perhaps the worst possible time
for the station, what with the hometown Penguins in the Stanley
Cup finals and all, and WEAE is trying to make the best of it
with a rotating cast of fill-in hosts until a permanent replacement
for the high-profile Madden can be named.
- One of Atlantic CANADA's oldest AM stations made an abrupt
disappearance from the dial late last week, as CTV wasted no
time moving CJCH (920 Halifax) to its new home on the FM band.
After less than a week of testing, CJCH-FM (101.3 Halifax) signed
on for real Friday morning (May 30) at 10 AM, with none of the
usual FM/AM transitional simulcasting that's common in Canadian
FM-to-AM moves. Instead, the 25 kW AM signal went to a "move
to FM" loop for a few hours, then went silent for good.
The new FM signal isn't picking up the AM station's oldies format,
either. Instead, it's doing top 40 as "101.3 the Bounce."
Out as part of the transition is 30-year station veteran Rick
Howe, who'd hosted the "Hotline" talk show that was
heard in middays on CJCH(AM).
June 1, 2004 -
- Oldies music has returned to the FM dial in NEW YORK's Hudson
Valley. Clear Channel dropped the rock at WRKW (92.9 Saugerties)
on Friday, replacing it with oldies as "Cool 92.9."
The slogan and the format were last heard in the valley on Cumulus'
WBPM (94.3 Kingston), which flipped to country as "Kix"
WKXP last year - and sure enough, Clear Channel has even applied
to pick up the WBPM calls for the 92.9 signal.
- Vox Media continued its sell-off this week: it's unloading
its Jamestown cluster to Jim Embrescia's Media One Communications
for $4.5 million. Embrescia already owns WJTN (1240) and WWSE
(93.3) in Jamestown, and this deal will add oldies WKSN (1340),
country WHUG (101.9) and classic rock WQFX (103.1 Russell PA)
to the cluster, giving Media One a huge lock on the Jamestown
- It took 17 years, but William H. "Bud" Walker now
has a construction permit for channel 14 in Bath. The CP, granted
in late April, calls for 1 megawatt of visual ERP at 318 meters
above average terrain, using a tower in Savona. Bath is in the
Elmira/Corning TV market, and the new channel 14 will join commercial
WETM-TV (NBC), WENY-TV (ABC) and WYDC-TV (Fox) there. (NERW notes:
many of these recently-granted CPs are bypassing analog television
completely and signing on as DTV-only facilities, depending on
cable carriage to reach most viewers.)
- In CANADA, Pat Marsden is out as morning host at CJCL (Fan
590) in Toronto, where he'd been on thin ice ever since making
what was perceived as an anti-Arab comment earlier this spring.
Marsden was dismissed after his show last Friday. He'd been at
the Fan for eight years.
- Around the Golden Horseshoe, Hamilton's CHCH-TV (Channel
11) turns 50 on June 7. Canada's first independent commercial
TV station, now owned by Global, will mark the occasion with
a special that night. (And congratulations to Hamilton's CIWV
94.7, as well, which just increased its power from 3600 to 11,390
watts and raised its antenna, significantly improving its signal
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- One of the nation's fastest-growing minority-owned broadcasters
is entering MASSACHUSETTS. From its base in Washington, D.C.,
Radio One has been branching out into markets such as Detroit
and Cleveland. This week, it agreed to pay KJI Broadcasting $10
million for WCAV (97.7) in Brockton. While it's pretty much a
given that WCAV's country format will switch to something with
an urban focus once the sale goes through, it's not immediately
clear what hope Radio One has of using WCAV to reach Boston's
urban community. While the Class A station has a CP to move from
the south end of Brockton to the north side, it's still tightly
bound by WOKQ (97.5 Dover NH) up the coast and co-channels WINQ
Winchendon MA and WCTY Norwich CT, so a massive power upgrade
to reach Boston seems unlikely.
- Radio One, which just recently went public, probably won't
stop buying in the Bay State just yet -- and NERW has to wonder
if this is the owner the Nash estate would feel comfortable selling
WILD to? If not, the little urban daytimer could face its biggest
threat yet. This will be an interesting one to follow.
- Up the coast we go to MAINE, where Cumulus puts a new spin
on the problem of over-concentration of group ownership. It seems
the company's plan to buy what was left of Mountain Wireless'
Skowhegan operation (WSKW 1160 and WHQO 107.9) would have put
it over the revenue share the FCC and Justice Department want
to see. But rather than spin WHQO off to a commercial operator
who might provide competition to Cumulus (and Pilot, which controls
the other half of the market, more or less), WHQO will be spun
off to Maine Public Radio, which won't have to pay a penny. All
sides say the deal will bring public radio to a new audience
in Central Maine -- but the NERW-mobile wasn't too far from Skowhegan
a year ago when we were able to tune in all six of the existing
MPR stations. At once. Meantime, fans of WSKW's sports format
will still be able to hear it on FM as well once WHQO is spun
off; it's already being relayed on Cumulus' WIGY (97.5 Madison).
(2009 update: the transfer never took
- A new radio station is on the air in VERMONT. John Bulmer's
WRRO (93.7 Addison) has been heard with classic rock as "the
Arrow." Meantime, the 100.9 in Middlebury, which used to
run the same format and slogan, has changed calls from WGTK to
WWFY, which were the calls on the 93.7 CP until a few weeks ago.
WWFY's new format is contemporary hits as ``Y-100''.
- There's a TV affiliation swap in Burlington, as Fox affiliate
WFFF (Channel 44) adds a secondary WB affiliation, with WB shows
running at 10 PM after Fox is over for the night. Former WB outlet
WBVT-LP (Channel 39) moves to UPN, while ex-UPN outlet WWBI-LP
(Channel 27) in Plattsburgh goes independent. Could WFFF be making
backup plans if the simmering battle between Fox and its affiliates
over compensation erupts into full-fledged rebellion?
- Topping the NEW YORK news this week is the sale of WMHQ (Channel
45) in Schenectady -- again. Tribune will pay $18.5 million for
the Capital District's secondary PBS station, converting it into
a WB affiliate. You'll recall that Sinclair offered $23 million
for the station last year, withdrawing the offer after running
into its own financial difficulties. WMHT will use the money
from the WMHQ sale to build its new studios and offices for the
remaining services it operates (WMHT-TV and FM), while WMHQ will
likely end up being operated mostly from Tribune's WPIX New York
(much as Paramount is doing with its UPN stations in New Bedford/Providence
- One note from CANADA this week: While in Buffalo today, we
hit "scan" on the NERW-mobile radio and found it coming
to a stop on 91.7 -- the new FM home of CHOW (1470) from Welland,
Ontario. The 25 kW signal is quite good in Buffalo and environs,
but it's not using the familiar "See-How" IDs from
the AM side. Instead, it's "Spirit Radio," albeit still
with country music and Broadcast News on the hour. The AM signal
is still on the air for a few months with a simulcast, but we
expect the towers on Regional Road 58 to go away by winter. As
a result of the new FM signal, Niagara Falls tourist radio CFLZ
has finally left its original 91.9 spot for 105.1, where it's
sounding pretty cheesy with almost-nonstop promotion for Casino
Niagara and very poor audio. The signal from the Skylon tower
is still very good, though -- strong enough to stop the scan
as we climbed the hills south of Buffalo heading for Springville.
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2009 by Scott Fybush.