November 23, 2009
WJAR's Art Lake Dies
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*A pioneering figure in RHODE ISLAND
broadcasting has died.
Lake came to Providence's WJAR radio (920, now WHJJ) in April
1944 as an announcer, putting him in position to be part of the
on-air team that launched WJAR-TV (Channel 11, now 10) in 1949.
In the station's early days, Lake (like most announcers of
the era) did a little bit of everything, reading newscasts, hosting
entertainment shows, working the announce booth. But he quickly
specialized in one area: weather forecasting.
For decades, Lake was the weather in southern New England,
delivering forecasts on WJAR-TV's evening news and, starting
in 1985, the station's morning show. Lake went into semi-retirement
a decade ago, though he returned to WJAR for his 60th anniversary
with the station in 2004 and continued to read birthday announcements
on WJAR's "Sunrise Show" until health problems forced
him to retire for good in 2006.
Lake died early Sunday morning, at age 85.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, we know a little
more about what's in store for listeners at WGBH (89.7 Boston)
and WCRB (99.5 Lowell) when the former takes over operation of
the latter just a week from tomorrow.
new "All Classical 99.5" will retain several familiar
voices from the WCRB staff, including Laura Carlo in morning
drive and Ray Brown in afternoons. WGBH's Cathy Fuller will handle
midday duties on weekdays, and at least for now, it appears the
station will be automated from 6 PM until 5 AM. WGBH's Brian
McCreath will provide a local voice on Saturday and Sunday mornings,
followed at 11 AM on Saturdays by the syndicated "At the
Top" show, also heard at 5 PM Sundays. Saturday nights will
continue to be the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a WCRB
It also appears that WCRB's classical programming will replace
the WGBH feed on WNCK (89.5 Nantucket); there's no word yet whether
there will be a similar flip for WGBH's Beacon Hill translator,
There's also not much yet to report about a new schedule for
89.7 - and indeed, it appears WGBH has not yet finalized the
news/talk lineup that will replace daytime classical and the
weekend folk and blues shows that go away next weekend. A live
clearance for NPR's Diane Rehm show (currently heard in Boston
only for one hout late at night on WBUR) seems likely for the
late-morning hours, but the rest of the day appears to be in
flux so far; expect a more definite schedule next week.
THE 2010 CALENDAR
The brand-new Tower Site Calendar 2010 is
now shipping, complete with more than a dozen full-color images
of sites from Deer Point in Boise to KYPA in Los Angeles to Mount
Mansfield in Vermont.
Our individually-numbered, hand-signed
limited first edition is now sold out - but your
purchase of any version of the calendar helps support the continued
production of NERW and Tower Site of the Week.
And we still have a very small quantity
of earlier calendars available, too, if you missed some...
now at the fybush.com Store!
*NEW YORK City's new FM translator,
W296BT (107.1 Brooklyn), isn't on the air yet - but it's getting
new owners. The translator was granted to River Vale Media Foundation,
a New Jersey-based nonprofit, but papers were filed at the FCC
last week to transfer it to a new for-profit company, "Apple
That company has some familiar names behind it: Michael and
Tammy Celenza, who've bought and sold several Long Island translators,
are paying $10,000 for 40% of "Apple 107.1" - and Young
and Eun Kwon, former owners of Long Island's WGSM (now WNYH)
740, get 60% of the new company "in consideration of River
Vale's assignment of the construction permit to Apple 107.1."
The Kwons are not listed as directors of River Vale, which
was incorporated in New Jersey in 2003, so it's not clear what
sort of "consideration" they might have provided for
As for the question of what the new 19-watt Brooklyn signal
will be programming, there was a change there, too: instead of
specifying Sound of Life's WLJP (89.3 Monroe) as a parent station,
W296BT is now telling the FCC it plans to relay New York's WPLJ
(95.5), which probably means a relay of the oldies from WPLJ's
HD2 until a buyer emerges for the translator signal.
*There's an interesting translator development in upstate
New York, too - Geneva and Seneca Falls, to be exact, where the
Finger Lakes Radio Group is trading away 1000-watt daytimer WSFW
(1110 Seneca Falls) to Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls in exchange
for translator W214BR (90.7 Geneva).
When the deal closes, Calvary will get much broader coverage
of the northern Finger Lakes (and a long-term sweetheart lease
deal on the WSFW transmitter site) - and Alan Bishop and George
Kimble will take ownership of the translator that already operates
from the tower of their WGVA (1240 Geneva). With a move to the
commercial part of the FM dial, W214BR will presumably begin
relaying WGVA, just as Finger Lakes already does with FM translators
for its other AM signals in the region. WSFW's current visitor-information
programming will likely go away when the AM signal becomes a
Calvary religious outlet.
last full week before Thanksgiving brought more all-Christmas
sounds to the Empire State airwaves. In New York City, WLTW (106.7)
made the flip during the 8 o'clock hour Friday morning, most
likely becoming the city's only all-Christmas station in the
absence of flips at CBS Radio's WCBS-FM or WWFS (Fresh 102.7).
Earlier in the week, several more upstate stations made the
flip: Rochester's WRMM (101.3) and Binghamton's WMXW (103.3 Vestal)
are ho-ho-ho'ing, and CNYRadio.com reports the "Bug Country"
pairing of WBGK (99.7 Newport Village/Utica) and WBUG-FM (101.1
Fort Plain) is doing all-Christmas with a country twist.
Down the road from WBUG, it's all-Christmas (except in morning
drive) at WVTL (1570 Amsterdam), which is now being heard on
FM as well, via translator W286AH (104.7).
In the Albany market, public radio station WMHT (89.1 Schenectady)
is applying to move its transmitter from the old WMHT-TV (Channel
17) analog tower to the new community TV tower a mile away. The
move would decrease WMHT's power from 11 kW to 4.9 kW, but with
a corresponding increase in height from 928' to 1319' above average
terrain, maintaining the station's existing coverage area. Since
WMHT's analog TV signal went dark, its old tower has been home
to just two FM stations, WMHT itself and Siena College's WVCR
More TV news: there's a new news director at New York's WPIX-TV
(Channel 11), where Karen Scott departed earlier this fall after
a decade on the job. Her replacement is a familiar face in town
- it's Bill Carey, who's worked at WABC-TV and as news director
at WCBS-TV. More recently, Carey was working as station manager
(and news director) at LocalTV's WQAD-TV in Moline, Illinois.
Out on Long Island's East End, WLIU (88.3 Southampton) will
stay put for a few more months in its current studios on what's
now the SUNY Stony Brook Southampton campus. Peconic Public Broadcasting,
which is buying WLIU from the campus' former owner, Long Island
University, has reached a deal to stay in the Southampton studios
until the end of March - giving it a few more months to find
a new permanent home for the station, which will be renamed WPPB.
The local papers out on the East End report that several other
possible studio sites are now in the mix, as well as the original
proposal to move 88.3 to the Wainscott Studios. Those possibilities
include a former public library building in Southampton and another
office location in the village.
Meanwhile, WLIU's most recent fundraiser brought in $90,000,
a significant improvement over previous fund drives at the station.
*Radio People on the Move: New York's WCBS-FM (101.1) has
added another part-time jock to its roster - and it's none other
than WNBC veteran "Big Jay" Sorenson, last heard down
the shore as half of the "Big Jay and Anita" morning
show on WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin NJ). After some health scares,
Jay's back in full form, and ready to spin the oldies on "Frijay,"
"Saturjay" and "Sunjay," as well as on Thanksgiving
There's a new market manager for Clear Channel in Poughkeepsie:
Brett Beshore, who's been running the Times-Shamrock stations
in Scranton, is headed east on I-84 to take the helm at Clear
Here in Rochester, we've been remiss in not mentioning the
arrival of Jesse Jordan as the new middayer at country giant
WBEE-FM (92.5). She comes to Rochester from Utica, where she
was part of the airstaff at "Kiss FM" WSKS/WSKU.
Are They Now?: "Ty," whose career started upstate at
"K-Rock" in Syracuse and Utica and at WZNE in Rochester,
has a new gig in Washington, DC. Ty had been APD/MD/middays at
Clear Channel's WCHH (Channel 104.3) in Baltimore, but when that
station flipped to top-40 as "Z104.3," Ty moved down
I-95 to sister station WWDC-FM (DC101), where she'll be known
as "Bailey" on the midday shift. (She'll also have
a Sunday-night new music show, reports DCRTV.com...)
*And we're sorry to report the untimely death of Dene Hallam,
who started his broadcast career at the old WRNW (107.1 Briarcliff
Manor) back in the mid-70s, when that station was turning out
a lot of future big-name talent (Howard somebody, among others),
then went on to become a major force in country radio.
At the age of 28, Hallam took over from Ed Salamon in the
PD chair at New York's WHN (1050) at the end of 1981; a little
more than a year later, he moved to country competitor WKHK (106.7),
where he remained until the flip to WLTW in 1984.
From there, Hallam added more big country calls to his resume,
including WDAF in Kansas City, WWWW in Detroit and KKBQ in Houston;
most recently he'd been in Atlanta, working as operations manager
at Citadel's WKHX/WYAY and then programming the Moby in the Morning
syndicated morning show.
Hallam died Friday in at Atlanta hospital after spending several
days in a coma. He was just 56.
*A few new Web destinations we've been enjoying: Allan Sniffen's
New York Radio
Message Board has spawned an offshoot, the New
York Broadcasting History Board, dedicated to discussion
of the long and colorful history of radio and TV in market #1.
Veteran newsman Ted David is moderating the new board, where
there are already some great discussions underway.
Up in Syracuse, Vinny Lopez is blogging
about his new role as president of the Society of Broadcast Engineers...and
about his day job as director of engineering at WSYT/WNYS-TV.
Over on the other side of the country, the Bay
Area Radio Museum, a fantastic resource for the history of
San Francisco radio, had a near-death experience earlier this
month, when creator David Jackson announced that a lack of funding
meant the site would have to shut down; thankfully, it's now
found some much-needed support and is back in business.
NERW's Bookshelf is coming! Next
week's column will include our annual look at new and interesting
books about broadcasting - and by Northeast broadcasters. Have
a volume to suggest? Drop us a line this week...we'd love your
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*A venerable PENNSYLVANIA TV personality
is calling it quits. Dave Roberts, who's spent 31 years doing
weather at Philadelphia's WPVI-TV (Channel 6), announced last
week that he'll retire next month after one last stint as co-host
of the station's Thanksgiving Day parade and a few more weeks
last day at the weather desk will be December 11, capping a 56-year
career that began in his student days at Syracuse University's
WAER (88.3), where he went on the air back in 1954.
As "Dave Thomas," Roberts became a fixture on the
Buffalo broadcast scene, working at the old WBUF-TV (Channel
17) and then, after a few years in the Army working for AFRTS,
at WKBW-TV (Channel 7). Beginning in 1961, he was an iconic part
of the Channel 7 team, hosting "Rocketship 7" and "Dialing
for Dollars" and doing the weather on "Eyewitness News"
alongside the legendary Irv Weinstein.
Under owner Cap Cities, many popular WKBW personalities found
their way to Philadelphia and then-sister station WPVI, and Roberts
was no exception, making the move in 1978, initially as host
of "AM Philadelphia," then taking over weather duties
in 1983 after the skydiving accident that claimed the life of
In recent years, Roberts was inducted into both the Philadelphia
Broadcast Pioneers and Buffalo Broadcasters halls of fame - and
his own fame in Buffalo and Philadelphia was echoed on a national
level by his son David, who used the family's real name - Boreanaz
- as he became a star of shows such as "Buffy the Vampire
Slayer" and "Bones."
*There are three more new noncommercial stations coming to
northwestern and north-central Pennsylvania, and they're all
religious: Calvary Chapel of Russell was awarded 89.1 in Tidioute,
near Titusville; Faith Baptist Church gets 90.5 in Beaver Springs,
west of Sunbury; and Four Rivers Community Broadcasting ("Word
FM") gets 90.1 in Newburg, east of Punxsutawney. In the
process of granting those applications, the FCC dismissed more
than a dozen other applications from religious, public and community
broadcasters in the area, as it continues to work through the
thousands of applications it received during the last noncommercial
window in 2007.
Up near the New York border, WREQ (96.9 Ridgebury) has flipped
from Calvary Satellite Network religion to a simulcast of WNKZ
(103.9 Laporte) under its new ownership.
Where are they now? Justin Bryant, former PD of Wilkes-Barre's
WBHT (97.1 Mountain Top), is the new PD of WVBX (99.3) and WWUZ
(96.9) in the Fredericksburg, Virginia market. Bryant started
his radio career up here in upstate New York, working as PD at
Binghamton's WWYL (as "KJ Bryant") and as APD/MD at
Rochester's WPXY (as "Norm on the Barstool," a name
he'd probably rather forget!)
A quick bit of Baseball on the Radio: The York Revolution
of the Atlantic League have signed a three-year deal with WOYK
(1350) to carry the team's games through the 2012 season. (The
team's press release calls WOYK the region's most powerful radio
station, though its 5,000-watt signal near the top of the dial
doesn't carry nearly as far as the 5,000 watts of the team's
previous flagship, WSBA 910.)
Some DTV news from Pittsburgh: WQEX (Channel 16) has moved
from its interim RF channel, 26, to the RF channel 38 facility
formerly occupied by sister station WQED (Channel 13), which
has now fully moved its own digital facility to RF 13.
many of the region's public broadcasters report record responses
to their latest membership drives, NEW JERSEY's very independent
freeform station, WFMU (91.1 East Orange), needed a little more
help from its listeners.
WFMU says its last drive last spring fell $100,000 short of
its goal, and the additional threat of losing its transmitter-site
lease on First Mountain prompted the station to do only its third-ever
emergency drive outside its annual March campaign.
The 24-hour drive did the trick: listeners came through Tuesday
and Wednesday with enough money to get the station to its goal.
Edited by NERW's own Scott Fybush - on sale now as
an e-book or printed volume!
*An update on those NEW HAMPSHIRE format
changes: WNNH (99.1 Henniker) has flipped from a simulcast of
top-40 sister station WJYY (105.5 Concord) to a repeating loop
directing listeners to Nassau's remaining radio stations in the
*A longtime CONNECTICUT station owner
has died as well. Daniel W. Kops, Sr. moved from the newspaper
business in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to the radio business in
New Haven after World War II, where he became a partner in WAVZ
(1300), forming Kops-Monahan Communications.
That station group expanded in time to include WKCI (101.3
Hamden), as well as WTRY/WDKC-FM in Albany, New York, and while
the Albany stations were sold in 1972, Kops-Monahan remained
in business in New Haven until the mid-80s.
Kops, a Cornell University graduate, served on the NAB board
and the board of the National United Way Association. He'd retired
to Palm Beach, Florida, but returned to Connecticut, where he
died Nov. 14 at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford, at age 92.
*Another New Haven
station, Yale's WYBC (1340), is finally ready to replace the
guyed tower that went down in a thunderstorm back in April 2007.
WYBC has been running from a temporary longwire antenna ever
since; now it's been granted a construction permit to erect a
Valcom fiberglass whip antenna on the same Front Avenue site.
Because the new antenna will be shorter than the old one, it
will generate more high-angle radiation toward adjacent-channel
WWRV (1330 New York), forcing WYBC to reduce night power to 880
watts; it will remain at 1000 watts by day. (Why not rebuild
a guyed tower at the old 185-foot height? WYBC tells the FCC
that environmental considerations at its tidal-marsh site make
*The week's media news from CANADA was
dominated by the CRTC's local TV hearings at its Gatineau, Quebec
headquarters. If you're a Canadian TV viewer, you're being bombarded
by messages from all sides in this battle: the owners of local
TV stations (themselves big national companies, for the most
part) who say local stations can only survive if cable companies
begin paying them retransmission fees and if further protective
barriers are put in place against incursions from US broadcasters,
and the cable and satellite companies who say the TV stations
shouldn't be billing them (and their customers) for programming
they send out for free over the airwaves.
It's an issue that's largely resolved on the US side of the
border, where a dual-system solution (more highly-viewed stations
can hold out for retransmission-consent deals, while lesser-viewed
outlets can force cable must-carry) seems to largely be working,
except for occasional skirmishes at retrans-consent contract
time. But Canada's more centralized environment, in which nearly
all network "affiliates" are actually owned-and-operated
stations, and in which local content has been minimized in many
cities, seems to make "local TV" a less-important concern
to many Canadians outside the biggest markets. Add in a few more
factors, such as the incredibly high cable/satellite penetration
rates north of the border and the possibility that the DTV transition
might shut down over-the-air broadcasting in many small towns,
and there's a lot at stake here.
*On a more cheerful note, CHUM-FM (104.5 Toronto)'s Roger
Ashby is being inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcast
Industry Hall of Fame. Ashby marks his 40th anniversary with
CHUM this year (16 years on 1050 CHUM followed by 24 more on
CHUM-FM), and he'll have his Hall of Fame induction on March
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!)
November 24, 2008 -
- There's no point in sugar-coating it: these are tough times
for the radio business, and that means far too many good radio
people are heading into the holidays suddenly jobless. By our
count, about a dozen radio people across NERW-land were added
to that list last week, and we begin our report in NEW YORK state:
- On Long Island, veteran morning man Steve Harper is out after
a year at his latest gig: he'd been PD and morning man at WBEA
(101.7 Southold), where budget cuts cost him his job last week.
Harper is best known for his years at WBLI (106.1 Patchogue),
which, ironically enough, is looking for a new morning co-host
at the moment as Dana DiDonato prepares to leave the station
at year's end.
- We now know what was behind the rumors of a spot on the New
York City FM dial for Bloomberg Radio: the New York Times' WQXR
(96.3) began outsourcing its newscasts to Bloomberg last week,
replacing the hourly newscasts that had originated at the Times
newsroom on Eighth Avenue with shorter briefs read by Bloomberg
anchors. The move appears to end the Times' plan to expand its
radio news product from WQXR to other stations, and it appears
to put two news staffers out of work: news director Steve Knight,
after just over two years, and afternoon anchor Kathyrn Herzog,
after one year at the station.
- There's a change at the top at Emmis' New York cluster (WQHT/WRKS/WRXP),
as Dan Halyburton departs his role as senior VP/general manager.
He's heading home to Dallas to start a consulting firm, and sales
director Alexandra Cameron takes over at the helm of the cluster.
- In Syracuse, Citadel's budget cuts claim the job of WNTQ
(93.1) midday jock "Big Jim" Donovan after 16 years
- and the station's being unusually open about it, including
a note from operations manager Tom Mitchell on the 93Q website
blaming the move on "a big business slowdown" and saying
"we hope to get him back as quickly as possible." CNYRadio.com
reports Mitchell is tracking the 10-noon shift, followed by a
noon start for former 2-6 PM jock Rick Roberts and a 5 PM start
for Mike Cauchon, who'd been doing 6-11 PM.
- In Erie, PBRTV.com reports a slew of job cuts at Citadel's
cluster: afternoon jock Tony Jay is gone from WXKC (99.9), with
middayer Ron Arlen's shift extended to 7 PM as a result; down
the hall at WXTA (97.9 Edinboro), morning co-host Laurie is out
as the station gets ready to pick up a syndicated morning show,
sending Truckin' Tom to afternoons and displacing Johnny Marx,
who'd just joined WXTA after losing his job at Connoisseur's
WTWF (93.9 Fairview).
- Progressive talk is returning to eastern MASSACHUSETTS, albeit
in a more modest form than Clear Channel's experiment with the
format as full-time programming on WKOX (1200)/WXKS (1430) a
few years back. This time, the venue is Blackstrap Broadcasting's
WWZN (1510 Boston), and the medium is leased-time, as Jeff Santos,
who'd done a weekend show on WKOX/WXKS, signs on to launch a
6-9 AM weekday offering beginning next week. The California-based
Peter B. Collins show will be heard at night on WWZN soon, we're
told, and if those shows find an audience, progressive talk could
displace more of the station's current mixture of sports and
religion. (The "Young Guns" sports talk show that had
been heard in mornings on WWZN moves to afternoons when Santos
launches his show Dec. 1.)
November 22, 2004 -
- It's becoming increasingly clear that there are no winners
in the scandal that's had the attention of most of MASSACHUSETTS
for the last week or so - and certainly not the staff or listeners
at WBIX (1060 Natick), where afternoon host Mark Mills admitted
on the air late last week that the people putting together the
station's business format weren't getting paid and expected to
be sent packing any minute. Mills' announcement actually came
a day before Chris Egan, the EMC heir who had been planning to
buy the station from self-confessed swindler Brad Bleidt, said
he was pulling out of the deal. Egan said that his withdrawal
from the deal would cost him somewhere in the six figures, but
that allowing the station to go through a court-ordered receivership
sale would be more likely to put at least some cash back in the
pockets of the clients Bleidt defrauded before attempting to
kill himself. Bleidt, meanwhile, ended the week under arrest
on federal mail-fraud charges, two days after he checked himself
in to the psychiatric ward of Massachusetts General Hospital.
- The inevitable question: what now for 1060? With Egan out
of the picture, the station's future now appears to be up to
attorney David Vicinanzo, the court-designated receiver in the
Bleidt case. At the head of the list of creditors, no doubt,
will be Alex Langer, to whom Bleidt still owes at least seven
million dollars for the WBIX license. (Bleidt paid more than
$13 million for the station, most of it in the form of a loan
from Langer.) But Bleidt's accused of taking roughly $35 million
from investors, and if WBIX is in fact the only significant asset
that's left from his activities, it will be up to Vicinanzo to
determine how to wring the most cash he possibly can from the
station. That, in turn, may mean not a continuation of the business
format but rather an outright sale to another operator - and
that, in turn, means there may not be much point to trying to
continue the station's operations under the current format. Several
staffers are already gone from WBIX, including Mills' afternoon
producer, and the rest are expected to learn more about their
fate this week. We'll keep you posted.
- A long-running dispute that threatened to take a northern
MAINE radio station off the air has been resolved, at least for
now, as WSYY (94.9/1240 Millinocket) buys its studio site from
landlord Katahdin Timberlands LLC - and, more importantly, signs
a lease for its Hammond Ridge tower site. WSYY had been operating
without a lease on the Katahdin Timberlands-owned site since
January, and had been threatened with eviction. It's now safe
at least through 2006, though the proposed construction of a
resort next to the tower site may still pose a problem down the
- There's a brand-new radio station on the air in NEW HAMPSHIRE
as of Friday (Nov. 19), as Bob Vinikoor flips the switch to launch
WUVR (1490 Lebanon) onto the Upper Valley's airwaves. WUVR is
the first AM station licensed to Lebanon, and Bob tells us it's
operating from a Nautel XL-1 transmitter and a Kintronics folded
unipole tower, with the site designed by Bill Sitzman and engineered
by Russ McAllister. For now, it's simulcasting Bob's talk station,
WNTK (99.7 New London) - but when Bob gets sister station WQTH
(720 Hanover) on the air in the next year or so, he hopes to
make WUVR a good old full-service community station for Lebanon.
- Our top story out of NEW YORK this week is the return of
a very old set of call letters to the Rochester TV dial, as Clear
Channel announced Friday that it will flip WOKR (Channel 13)
to WHAM-TV in January 2005. The WHAM-TV calls belonged to Rochester's
original TV station, first on channel 6 and then on channel 5,
from 1949 until 1956, when it and WHAM radio were sold to separate
owners and the TV side became WROC-TV (which moved from channel
5 to channel 8 in 1962). WHAM (1180) and WOKR have been co-owned
for several years now, and they've experimented with some newsgathering
cooperation and cross-promotion since then.
- Is a format change on the way at New York's WQCD (101.9)?
PD Blake Lawrence has been on the air saying he's working hard
on a project that's due Monday at noon, and the word is that
the Emmis-owned station is segueing from smooth jazz to something
called "chill," which is a sort of melange of smooth
jazz, electronica, world beat, pop, dance, and...well, OK, we
can't really explain it either. But it's doing OK out in Santa
Fe, New Mexico at "Blu 102.9," KLBU, and now it's apparently
coming to CD 101.9. More as it develops...
November 19, 1999 -
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- Let the duopoly races begin! The new TV duopoly rules allow
for a minimum of eight TV owners in a market, and it seems broadcasters
are ready to move with breakneck speed to reach that limit. Most
upstate NEW YORK markets don't have enough stations to allow
for duopoly, with one big exception. Buffalo has nine TV voices,
which was all the opening Granite Broadcasting needed to make
a $23 million offer for WNGS (Channel 67) in Springville, the
little UPN affiliate that signed on just three years ago. Owners
Bill Smith and Caroline Powley paid just $3,000 in fees for the
license, and just over $2 million to build the station's minimal
facilities on a Cattaraugus County hilltop, leaving them with
a very tidy profit for their work. For Granite, buying channel
67 provides a second voice for top-rated ABC affiliate WKBW-TV
(Channel 7), including an outlet for a 10 PM newscast, which
would be Buffalo's first. Still to be determined is a possible
technical upgrade for WNGS, which now runs just enough power
to reach a receive site south of Buffalo that feeds the area
cable systems. WNGS has had a CP to go full-power from a new
tower just south of WKBW's Colden facility; could it now share
the channel 7 stick instead? (2009 update:
That sale never went through, and WNGS is now dark, awaiting
takeover by religious broadcaster Daystar.)
- The big development in MASSACHUSETTS is the start of testing
on WMEX (1060 Natick)'s new 40-kilowatt day signal, as confirmed
to NERW by Alex Langer himself. Langer says the actual start
of programming with the new signal is likely to be sometime in
January, giving him the holidays to work out the kinks in the
triplex with WKOX (1200 Framingham) and WJLT (650 Ashland). Bloomberg's
morning show has migrated from WXKS (1430 Everett) to WBNW (1120
Concord) and WPLM (1390 Plymouth), replacing the local business
show there. WXKS returns to satellite standards in morning drive.
- Nothing doing in NEW HAMPSHIRE... but there's plenty in MAINE,
where Harron Communications will spend $11.8 million to buy the
last locally-owned radio group in the Portland/Lewiston-Auburn
area. Arnold Lerner's Wireless Talking Machine Company owns standards
trimulcast WLAM (870 Auburn)/WLAM-FM (106.7 North Windham)/WZOU
(1470 Lewiston), country WTHT (107.5 Lewiston), and AC WMWX (99.9
Auburn). Harron owns WMTW-TV (Channel 8) in Poland Spring; combining
the TV and radio properties will make it a much more potent force
against the market's TV operators (Gannett and Sinclair) and
radio clusters (Citadel and Saga).
- Happy 75th anniversary to Bangor's WABI (910), which marked
the occasion Friday (11/19) with the help of veteran morning
man George Hale and a special tribute on former sister station
WABI-TV (Channel 5).
- Around the fringes: We see Buffalo's old WLCE callsign popping
up in Philadelphia, as WYXR (104.5) dumps "Star" for
"Alice." On the other end of the state, Clear Channel
is swapping calls in New Castle, north of Pittsburgh, as WBZY's
talk format moves to 1280 from 1200, while WKST's oldies go from
1280 to 1200. Clear Channel's also swapping calls and formats
in the Youngstown market, where the WRTK calls that were once
in Rochester move from 1390 to 1540 in Niles, Ohio, while the
WNIO calls from Niles move to Youngstown and 1390.
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2009 by Scott Fybush.