October 19, 2009
"X96" Launches in New York
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*Univision Radio relaunched its NEW YORK
FM presence Thursday morning, adopting new call letters and
a new slogan to go with its $33.5 million move from its former
FM home, "La Kalle" WCAA (105.9 Newark), to the more
powerful signal on 96.3 that was long home to WQXR.
we told you last week, the WCAA calls made a temporary move down
the dial to 96.3 on the night of October 8, when WQXR moved up
to 105.9 under the ownership of public broadcaster WNYC. But
the "La Kalle" slogan vanished in the move, and Univision's
frequent on-air exhortations to "mark your calendar with
an X on October 15 at 6 AM" made it clear that something
different was coming to the 96.3 frequency.
And as NERW first reported last week, that "something
different" includes the calls WXNY - and a new slogan, "X96.3,
La Mezcla de New York." That translates roughly as "The
Mix of New York," and it comes with a format that's not
far different from the old "La Kalle" on 105.9. We're
not experts on the nuances of Spanish-language radio, but it
seems to be described best as some mixture of "Spanish Tropical"
and "rhythmic AC," with some English-language dance
tracks in there as part of the playlist, and with DJ banter that's
largely, but not entirely, in Spanish.
So far, the new "X96.3" appears to be running jockless,
except for the station's star personality, the Luis Jimenez morning
*Over on the AM dial, Mike and the Mad Dog were reunited on
Friday, at least briefly, on both WFAN (where Mike Francesa has
been holding down afternoons since the departure of Chris "Mad
Dog" Russo last year) and on Sirius, where Russo now does
a national show. Both hosts were doing their shows from Yankee
Stadium before the start of the American League championship
series, and after a friendly call from Francesa to wish Russo
a happy 50th birthday earlier in the week, each host agreed to
do an hour on the other's broadcast. Will the reunion, which
found both men evidently free of the tension that marked their
last year or so together on the FAN, lead to something more permanent?
There's a management change at WFAN's competition: Tim McCarthy,
who's been serving as senior VP of ESPN Radio's WEPN (1050 New
York) and sister station WEAE (1250 Pittsburgh), has been promoted
to senior VP for the entire station group, putting him in charge
of ESPN Radio's Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago outlets as well.
And way at the top of the dial, one of the signature voices
of WWRL (1600 New York) died last Wednesday (Oct. 14). Hank Spann
was known as "The Soul Server" during his many years
on 'RL in the seventies and eighties. In later years, Spann crossed
over to the record industry, working for Warner Brothers Records;
recently, he'd been living in San Francisco.
Back on the FM dial, Joe Rosati is heading west from New York's
WHTZ (Z100), to take on imaging duties for Clear Channel sister
stations WKQI (95.5) and WDTW-FM (106.7) in Detroit. No word
yet on a replacement for Rosati's 10 PM-2 AM airshift.
We can now attach a price tag to Peconic Public Broadcasting's
winning bid for WLIU (88.3 Southampton): the deal is valued at
$2.425 million, though the management group will pay Long Island
University only $800,000 cash for WLIU. The rest of the deal
includes Peconic's immediate assumption of operating costs for
WLIU immediately, a three-year LMA of sister station WCWP (88.1
Brookville) that's valued at $1 million, and the costs of moving
WLIU off the former LIU Southampton campus to new digs at the
Wainscott Studios in Wainscott.
In Albany, the syndicated "Big Boy's Neighborhood"
morning show is now being heard on Albany Broadcasting's WAJZ
(96.3 Voorheesville), displacing former morning co-host Charlie
to middays on "Jamz 96.3."
Up north, St. Lawrence
University's North Country Public Radio has been granted a construction
permit for a full-power signal in Lake Placid, winning out over
competing applications from Albany's WAMC and the Northeast Gospel
Network. (As we reported
back in December 2007, WAMC had agreed to drop its Lake Placid
application in favor of NCPR.) The new 91.7 signal will replace
NCPR's present translator in Lake Placid, W219AK, which will
apply to move to a new frequency and relay WAMC.
And NCPR has signed on another new signal: WXLS (88.3 Tupper
Lake) replaces a translator on 91.7 in that mountain community.
Thanks to CNYRadio.com,
we can now offer a full schedule for Leatherstocking's new talk
format on WFBL (1390 Syracuse). There's one local show, a noon
talk hour hosted by Jon Alvarez, and the rest of the day comes
off the bird: "First Light" at 5, "America in
the Morning" at 6, Laura Ingraham at 9, Dennis Miller at
1 PM, Fred Thompson at 4 PM, Jason Lewis at 6 PM, and then Larry
King, Jim Bohannon and Phil Hendrie later at night. Alvarez'
local show will kick off on October 26, we're told. (And there's
no sign yet of WFBL's promised new website at CNYTalkRadio.com,
while the station's old site at WFBL.com now redirects to a Twitter account for
the new format.)
Here in Rochester, we're mourning the loss of one of the original
program hosts from the earliest days of WXXI-FM (91.5). Richard
Gladwell was a part of the station almost from its start in late
1974, and his weekend choral music show, "With Heart and
Voice," continues to be offered to public radio stations
nationwide. Gladwell had been diagnosed with brain cancer in
June, and he died peacefully with family at his side at his Rochester
home on Thursday, just short of his 89th birthday.
in the week, WXXI launched a revamped website
and unveiled a new logo and branding campaign for its radio,
television and interactive services. And WXXI was one of several
upstate New York public broadcasters to host NPR president Vivian
Schiller as she toured member stations across the region; her
tour also included stops at WNED and WBFO in Buffalo. (Usual
disclaimer: your editor is a part-time WXXI employee.)
Speaking of Buffalo, it's one of two markets in New York that
stands to get a new noncommercial signal as a result of an FCC
application window. Over the last few years, 67 channels in the
"non-reserved" (92.1-107.9 MHz) FM band have been set
aside for noncommercial use, and until now those allocations
have been sitting idle at the FCC. But in an attempt to clear
out the agency's backlogs, the FCC will open an application window
for one week in November for those facilities, including a class-A
signal on 92.1 in Amherst and another A on 102.5 downstate in
Rhinebeck, and we'd expect a bumper crop of applications for
those two channels.
(There are only three other NERW-land channels included in
the window: 93.3A Susquehanna, PA, just outside Binghamton; 107.5A
Liberty, PA, south of Mansfield; and 104.3A West Tisbury, MA,
on Martha's Vineyard.)
In the Southern Tier, look for the new 97.1 signal in Canaseraga
to be on the air within a few weeks - but you'll have to be right
in town to hear it. With Equinox Broadcasting's construction
permit set to expire in mid-November, George Hawras and Kevin
Fitzgerald have applied to modify the CP to specify minimum class
A facilities - 100 watts at 92 feet - in order to beat the expiration
date. They've also got a callsign for the new station: it'll
Over in Bath, Kurt Goff is inbound from KSOS in Las Vegas
to be the new afternoon co-host on the Family Life Network.
And in the Elmira market, two college stations are once again
fully licensed - or at least will be, once they pay $7,000 fines
for failing to file proper renewal applications during the last
cycle. Elmira College's WECW (107.7 Elmira) has been on the air
pretty regularly in the ensuing years, while Corning Community
College's WCEB (91.9 Corning) was operating only sporadically.
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*In PENNSYLVANIA, Jules Riley is out
of a job at Greater Media's Philadelphia cluster. Riley had been
PD of both WNUW (97.5 Burlington NJ) and WBEN-FM (95.7 Philadelphia),
but after WNUW's flip to sports, Greater Media sent her packing
last week, citing "budget isues."
(Perhaps Greater is saving its money in hopes of taking a
run at the radio rights for the Philadelphia Phillies? The Inquirer's
Michael Klein reported late last week that while CBS Radio's
WPHT just extended its contract through the 2010 season, Greater
is interested in making a bid for the Phillies in 2011.)
Christmas music has arrived on the Philadelphia airwaves,
at least for HD Radio owners, with all-Christmas channels now
running on both WBEB's 101.1-2 and WOGL's 98.1-2 channels.
Callsigns in the news: the venerable Pittsburgh WAMO calls
have landed up in the Scranton area, on the 91.3 in Carbondale
that was WCIG and then briefly WFUZ. Meanwhile down in Bedford,
WHJB (1600) has changed calls to WAYC, matching its FM sister
on 100.9, now WAYC-FM.
In Latrobe, WQTW (1570) quietly changed formats to classic
country a few months back, but it appears none of our usual sources
in the area noticed at the time, so we mention it now in the
interest of completeness, if nothing else.
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*In MASSACHUSETTS, the deal to transfer
classical WCRB-FM (99.5 Lowell) from Nassau to the WGBH Educational
Foundation is moving forward. The contract for the $14 million
sale is now at the FCC awaiting approval, and we noted a couple
of unusual items as we read through it: it obligates WGBH to
buy $100,000 of advertising on WCRB or other Nassau stations
during the period before closing - and it includes a clause we'd
never seen in a sale contract before, obligating Nassau to transfer
WCRB's Facebook and Twitter accounts to WGBH. (That clause, presumably,
will soon become a standard feature of sale contracts.)
Itinerant translator W236BX (95.1 Gloucester) is getting closer
to its eventual new home in Fitchburg: the latest construction
permit for the station finds it heading back across the state
line from Hollis, N.H. to a spot between Pepperell and Townsend
- which means the next CP could be the one that finally puts
W236BX in place as an FM translator for Fitchburg's WPKZ (1280).
Has anyone in the area heard W236BX on the air during its hopscotch
from Cape Ann to Worcester County?
*It's been a bad year for broadcast history
in CONNECTICUT, where two venerable TV studio buildings
have fallen to the wrecking ball in the space of just a few months.
The latest demolition is in West Hartford, at the 1953-vintage
studios of NBC's WVIT (Channel 30). The station is now settled
in at its modern new home just behind the old studios off I-84
and New Britain Avenue, and last week its old digs were reduced
to rubble. (Fortunately, we had a chance to visit last year,
and we'll show you the old place in an upcoming installment of
Tower Site of the Week.)
*One of the most enduring faces of TV news in VERMONT
retired from the anchor desk last week. Marselis Parsons
handed off his news director duties at WCAX-TV (Channel 3) to
Anson Tebbetts in May, and on Thursday he signed off WCAX's 6
PM newscast for the last time, inviting viewers to watch his
successor, Darren Perron.
Parsons started at Channel 3 as a reporter in 1967, and had
been news director and evening anchor since 1984 - and we suspect
both of those are, and will probably forever be, all-time longevity
records in the region. In his retirement, Parsons will continue
to file occasional stories from around Vermont for WCAX - and
in the meantime, the station has put up a web
page featuring all the video tributes it's been offering
for the longtime face of its news department.
In Manchester, Jeff Morad moves from nights to mornings and
production at WEQX (102.7), replacing former morning host Darwin.
And Goddard College has call letters for its new signal in
Hardwick: the 1100-watt signal on 91.7 will be WGDH, joining
Goddard's existing WGDR (91.1) in Plainfield.
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*In an otherwise quiet week in CANADA,
there's a frequency change coming in the Ottawa Valley: Astral's
CKQB-1 (99.7 Pembroke) has been granted a move from 99.7 to 99.9,
along with a downgrade from 45.2 kW to 7.5 kW. That gets the
"Virgin Radio" relayer out of the way of Astral's newly-granted
Ottawa signal on 99.7, when it's ready to take air.
In Peterborough, Andy McNabb is applying to relocate the FM
station he recently purchased. The former CKKK (90.5) is now
CJMB, and while it's still silent, McNabb wants to change the
tower site it's authorized to use. The back story: CKKK was bumped
from its former home on 99.5 when Corus' CKPT moved from 1420
to FM (initially on 99.3, now on 99.7) - and the tower site it
intended to use on 90.5 turned out to be unavailable. If granted,
CJMB's new facilities on 90.5 would be 206 watts/69 m, a big
increase over the old CKKK's 50 watts/12.9 m.
And out in the Maritimes, Jack McGaw's tourist information
station in Halifax is changing frequencies. CIRH was bumped from
97.9 by a new signal at 98.5, and is now operating on its new
home at 107.7. The move came with a significant power increase,
from 10 watts to 560 watts, though we're hearing that the new
signal still can't cover all of the sprawling Halifax Regional
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
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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!)
October 20, 2008 -
- Wall Street's lack of confidence in radio stocks hit home
in eastern MASSACHUSETTS in a big way late last week, as Boston
became one of the Entercom markets to weather big job cuts as
the broadcaster's stock continued to fall. A year ago, ETM traded
for more than $18 a share; it closed Friday at $1.40, matching
other radio groups such as Citadel and Westwood One in their
financial agonies. In addition to some company-wide austerity
measures, including pay freezes and a halt on company contributions
to employees' 401(k) plans, Entercom cut staff at its stations
around the country.
- In Boston, the most visible cut was in mid-mornings at troubled
talker WRKO (680), where Reese Hopkins had joined the station
last December as its lone African-American host, drawing some
rare critical praise for the station amidst its struggles with
high-priced morning man Tom Finneran and afternoon star Howie
Carr, whose attempt to flee to competitor WTKK was thwarted amidst
some contentious lawsuits a year ago. That didn't make Hopkins
any less expendable, though - and now he's out the door, his
local shift replaced by a live clearance for Laura Ingraham,
whose syndicated offering had been heard in late nights on WTKK.
- Also out at the Boston Entercom cluster: WRKO executive producer
Andy Strecker and WAAF morning show producer Dave DiGando, along
with at least nine others behind the scenes.
- The Entercom cuts hit the Rochester cluster last week, too:
cuts there included at least one on-air position: WCMF (96.5)
night guy "Big Marc" Ferenchak, who'd been one of the
handful of survivors when WCMF changed hands from CBS to Entercom
a year ago. (Ironically, one of the jocks who lost his job in
that shakeup is returning to the air - Dino Kaye, who's been
doing sales for WHEC-TV since losing his WCMF gig, has been hired
by Stephens Media to do afternoons at its WFKL 93.3. He'll be
selling for Stephens when he's not on the air at "Fickle.")
- Bruce Mittman's Community Broadcasting group is adding another
signal to its Watertown-market cluster: it's paying LiveAir Communications
$200,000 for the construction permit of WEFX (94.1 Calcium).
The new station will join a cluster that already includes talker
WATN (1240 Watertown), ESPN outlet WBDB (1400 Ogdensburg), talker
WQTK (92.7 Ogdensburg), oldies WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur), AC WTOJ
(103.1 Carthage) and top 40 "Border" WBDR (106.7 Copenhagen).
- Christmas came early in Pittsburgh: WWSW (94.5) was in all-holiday
mode over the weekend, but fear not: with more than a week yet
to go before Halloween, the station isn't on the all-Christmas,
all-the-time bandwagon just yet, returning to regular programming
this morning. (In our other life as news editor of 100000watts.com,
we note that the first all-Christmas station this year appears
to be St. Louis' WMVN, which flipped October 10 as it awaits
a format change early in 2009.)
October 18, 2004 -
- Add RHODE ISLAND to the list of states with Air America Radio
affiliates - and on one of the market's best signals, no less.
If you were wondering (as we were) just how long it was going
to take WHJJ (920 Providence) to replace the departed John DePetro
in the midday slot, the answer came last week when WHJJ revamped
its entire schedule. Don Imus stays in place in morning drive,
and local host Arlene Violet in afternoons - but the formerly
conservative talk station is now running Air America's "Morning
Sedition" on tape delay from 10 till noon, followed by a
live clearance for Air America's Al Franken. After Violet, WHJJ
now has Air America's Randi Rhodes on delay from 6-8 PM, followed
by Geoff Charles (doing double duty after his shift on WHJJ's
sister station, rocker WHJY 94.1) from 8-10.
- In MASSACHUSETTS, Boston University has named an interim
general manager for WBUR following the departure of Jane Christo.
Peter Fiedler, son of legendary Boston Pops conductor Arthur
Fielder, comes from within - he's an assistant vice president
at BU, responsible for sports broadcasting, media services and
- With no NHL hockey in CANADA (or in the U.S., for that matter),
radio stations are scrambling to replace the programming that
big-league hockey would have provided. Toronto's CFMJ (640) is
carrying the Leafs anyway, broadcasting "classic" Leafs
games on Saturday nights at 7.
- And over in the Lindsay area, the CRTC denies Andy McNabb's
application for a religious station on 96.7, which would have
been licensed to Kawartha Lakes (the megacity that now includes
October 15, 1999 -
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- Let's kick things off in MASSACHUSETTS, home of the 1999
World Champion Red Sox (well, we can dream, right?). Speaking
of dreaming, the WMEX calls are apparently about to return to
the Boston-area airwaves, at least based on the promos being
heard on WJLT (1060 Natick). The 1060 signal holds an unbuilt
CP to boost power to 40 kilowatts by day, 22 kilowatts at night,
which could be a contender in the market -- if it can ever get
built as a diplex on the WKOX sticks in Framingham.
- Meanwhile, what of the "J-Light" Christian contemporary
format and WJLT calls? We hear those will be migrating down the
dial to Ashland's AM 650, now WRPT and also owned by Alex Langer
(who leases 1060 to "J-Light" programmer Great Commission
Broadcasting). This station also holds an unbuilt CP, which would
boost power from 250 watts to 2000, transmitting from the WBPS
(890) sticks in Ashland.
- One more Langer note: His WSRO (1470 Marlborough), which
has been running on low power from a temporary site since losing
its three-tower area to a city land-taking, has modified its
application for a new directional array. The new application
calls for four towers, three by day with a 7kW signal aimed mostly
northwest and three (two shared with the day array) at night,
with a 5kW signal aimed east/southeast over Marlborough, Framingham,
- "And the dead air goes on!": That might as well
be the slogan at Brockton's WCAV (97.7), now in its second week
with a stereo pilot but no programming. Radio One's new urban
format is still expected...any...day...now.
- WBZ (1030) isn't getting out quite as well as it usually
does during the day -- but there's a reason. Having cancelled
plans to replace its two-tower array in Hull, the station is
now busy repainting, repairing, and re-guying the existing sticks
(vintage 1940) to last a few more decades. While the work continues
(through December), WBZ is broadcasting from 8 AM until 4 PM
daily from its 10kW non-directional backup site at the studio
in Allston. Nights are still 50kw from Hull (but we wouldn't
know, since we've had our dials glued to 1080 to listen to the
Sox play-by-play with the properly-biased hometown broadcast
team via WTIC!)
- Down in RHODE ISLAND, Carolyn Fox is embroiled in a non-compete
battle with her old employer. WPRO (630) is going to court to
force Fox off her new gig at WWRX (103.7). The Citadel-owned
talker has already won a restraining order that took Fox off
WWRX's air effective Wednesday (10/13). Citadel says it fired
Fox October 4 after she tried to persuade two other WPRO staffers
to join her at WWRX. Her contract included a six-month noncompete
clause. A hearing Monday will decide Fox's fate; we'll keep you
- Rochester's WPXY-FM (97.9) has named a new program director.
Mike Danger succeeds (we won't say "fills the shoes of;"
they're too big!) Clarke Ingram, who's now jammin' the oldies
at Pittsburgh's WJJJ (104.7). We've heard 'PXY using the "PX-Y2K"
nickname a few times lately...
- Chatham,Ontario's commercial broadcaster has been busy as
a beaver -- pardon, a Bea-Ver. Bea-Ver Communications put CKUE
(94.3) on the air last week, just days after the CRTC granted
its construction permit. "The Rock @ 94-3" is already
being heard as far east as London; we'll be there next week to
check it out. Bea-Ver has also won CRTC approval to boost night
power on CFCO (630) to 6kW from 1kW.
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2009 by Scott Fybush.