March 22, 2010
Goodbye, Luv - Ron Lundy Remembered
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*"Hello, Luv - this is Ron Lundy from
the greatest city in the world!"
was the greeting Ron Lundy gave his listeners at the start of
each airshift for more than three decades in New York radio,
first as a key part of the airstaff at WABC (770) and then as
an oldies jock on WCBS-FM (101.1).
The Memphis native returned to the south after retiring from
WCBS-FM in 1997, and it was there that he died last Monday (March
15) at age 75.
Lundy came to New York in 1965 after a five-year run as the
"WIL Child" of St. Louis top-40 station WIL (1430),
where he crossed paths with another up-and-coming DJ by the name
of Dan Ingram. Ingram recommended Lundy for an overnight opening
at WABC, and it didn't take long at all for Lundy to get bumped
up to the midday shift, which remained his home for the rest
of his New York radio career - and it was Lundy and Ingram, side-by-side
in the famous eighth-floor studio, who signed off WABC's top-40
format in 1982.
Two years later Lundy was back on the air at WCBS-FM, and
it was by his own choice that he left the midday shift there
in September 1997 to move to Mississippi with his wife Shirley.
The news of Lundy's death brought tributes flowing from all
corners of New York radio, particularly at WABC and WCBS-FM.
Mark Simone's "Saturday Night Oldies" show on WABC
was dedicated to Lundy's memory, and WCBS-FM presented a series
of tributes, including a Sunday night rebroadcast of Lundy's
last hour on the air back in 1997. There were plenty of online
tributes as well, including a full weekend of Lundy airchecks
on Allan Sniffen's "Rewound Radio" at musicradio77.com,
which is also home to a great collection of Ron Lundy stories
(A reminder, by the way: while NERW publishes weekly on
Monday mornings, we do update this page with major breaking
news such as Lundy's death - so check back here a few times a
week to see if there's big news happening, and be sure to hit
"refresh" in your browser in case you're viewing a
cached page. And we also update the news on a regular basis via
our Twitter feed @NERadioWatch
and on your editor's Facebook page as well...)
*A decade and a half before Ron Lundy rocked the WCBS-FM studios
at Black Rock, Joe Dembo was the CBS executive who transformed
the network's other New York signal, WCBS (880), into the city's
second successful all-news voice.
who also died last Monday (March 15), came to WCBS in 1960, becoming
the station's executive producer and news director before being
promoted to news director for CBS Radio News, the post he was
holding in 1967 when Bill Paley named him vice president and
general manager of WCBS with the command to take the station
to 24-hour news.
Dembo hired a staff that included Charles Osgood, Lou Adler
and Pat Summerall, and after a rocky start (the station actually
launched on WCBS-FM after a small plane hit the AM tower the
day before the format flip), WCBS quickly emerged from also-ran
status to become a fierce challenger to Westinghouse's WINS (1010),
which had itself gone all-news in 1965.
Dembo returned to the network side in 1971, working as Rome
bureau chief for CBS News and later as producer of the CBS Morning
News and as an anchor for the network's hourly radio newscasts.
He eventually became CBS' vice president in charge of CBS Radio
before retiring in 1988.
After leaving CBS, Dembo began teaching journalism at Fordham
University, where he continued to teach until last year. He also
served as acting president of NPR and spent three years on that
network's board of directors.
Dembo was 83.
*Away from the obituary columns, it was a relatively quiet
week in NEW YORK radio:
Just below the bottom of the FM dial, WNYZ-LP (Channel 6/87.7
FM) never did pick up the Korean program that was supposed to
be leasing its daytime hours starting last month, and that meant
a few extra weeks of full-time "Indie Darkroom" modern
rock. Now there's word that today will bring a new Caribbean
format to WNYZ's daytime schedule, with Indie Darkroom taking
over at 8 PM.
upstate, there's a new set of calls on Citadel's FM talker in
Syracuse: WLTI (105.9 Syracuse) became WXTL on Thursday (March
19), better matching its new "Big Talker" slogan.
In Johnstown, we're hearing WIZR (930) has changed hands from
Pamal to Thomas Kuettel. After simulcasting Pamal's WJYB (95.5
Albany) for the last few months, WIZR is reportedly now on the
air with a country format, though we're hearing it's operating
only limited hours for the moment.
Time Warner Cable has expanded its YNN (Your News Now) brand
statewide; as of Friday, "YNN" replaces "News
10 Now" on the channel serving Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse,
Watertown and the North Country and replaces "Capital News
9" in Albany. The "YNN" brand is also replacing
Time Warner's local "Cable News 6" in the Hudson Valley;
it already replaced "R News" in Rochester last year.
And there's this bit of curiosity out of Buffalo: while we'd
emphasize that we've yet to confirm it, and there's nothing on
file about it with the FCC, we've now heard from several different
sources that Entercom's WWKB (1520) has cut its power back from
the usual 50 kW to 10 kW in order to save on its power bill.
That's legal - but it requires notification to the FCC and a
filing for Special Temporary Authority if it's to continue for
any length of time. More on this developing story to come...
Where are they now? Jessica Ettinger, late of Bloomberg Radio/WBBR,
WINS and the announcements on the 4, 5 and 6 trains on the New
York subway, is now out in Seattle and going by her married name,
Jessica Gottesman - and she's just been named afternoon anchor
at KIRO-FM (97.3), where she'd been freelancing.
Click on the banner above
to visit's NERW's 15th annual Year in Review, brought to you
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*If it's dedication you're looking for, the
folks at northern NEW JERSEY's WGHT (1500 Pompton Lakes)
might be good people to ask. As we'd mentioned last week, the
little AM station sits right on the banks of the Ramapo River,
which crested at some seven feet above flood stage after that
"storm without a name" that ravaged the East Coast.
WGHT's studios take on water when that happens, and this time
it was a whopping 13 feet of water that inundated the lower two
floors of the building.
Fortunately, the WGHT facility was designed for just such
an event: the studios and transmitter are on the top floor, and
the three towers and transmission lines are elevated high above
the swampy land out back - and that meant that WGHT was able
to stay on the air with emergency information throughout the
storm and its aftermath, though staffers had to use a fire boat
to get to the building.
Elsewhere in the region, the other stations that were knocked
off by the storm and its floodwaters (most prominently Boston's
WWZN 1510, which was flooded out, and New York's WLIB 1190, which
lost power at its New Jersey transmitter site) were all back
on the air by Tuesday, and there's no word of any permanent damage.
*Our PENNSYLVANIA news, such as it
is, is largely about Radio People on the Move: Michael "Mad
Dog" Ovadia is out at Cumulus' WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) after
a dozen years at the oldies station, most recently as APD and
morning host. "Mad Dog and Dave Show" co-host Dave
Crockett is now holding down mornings solo. In Philly, Clear
Channel's WIOQ (102.1) has found a replacement for former night
jock Jessie Jordan. "Maxwell" arrives from sister station
WNCI (97.9) in Columbus, Ohio next week to start his new "Maxwell's
House" show. No word yet on replacements for Jordan's other
two roles as APD and music director at Q102.
Mike Romigh, late of Pittsburgh's KDKA (1020), has been filling
in on morning drive at Clear Channel's WKBN (570) just across
the state line in Youngstown, Ohio, and now he's taking that
job as the permanent host. (He replaces Robert Mangino, who made
the opposite move recently to become KDKA's new nighttime talk
There's a price tag on the Beacon Broadcasting stations owned
by the estate of the late Harold Glunt: Ohio
Media Watch reports Glunt's executors are hoping to get $850,000
for his three Pennsylvania stations (WGRP 940/WEXC 107.1 in Greenville
and WLOA 1470 Farrell) and $400,000 for his two AMs just across
the Ohio line, WRTK 1540 Niles and WANR 1570 Warren.
the wrecking ball is leveling the famed "Concrete Donut"
at City Line and Monument, the round studio building that WFIL
radio and TV built in 1964 as its state-of-the-art new home.
That building replaced the building at 46th and Market that went
up in the late forties as one of the first purpose-built TV studios
(and the eventual birthplace of "American Bandstand");
by the turn of the century, though, the building had become too
cramped for the former WFIL-TV, now WPVI (Channel 6). The ABC-owned
station built another state-of-the-art building last year right
next door to the 1964 building, and the pressing need for more
parking on the site meant the end for the "Concrete Donut,"
shown here in a photo from last September, just after WPVI moved
(WFIL radio moved out in the early seventies, when longtime
owner Triangle sold the radio stations; today's WFIL operates
from the Whitemarsh Township studio and transmitter site of its
longtime archrival WIBG, now WNTP 990, which would have been
unthinkable forty years ago.)
We overlooked a February format change up in the hills of
central Pennsylvania: the former WHUN (1150 Huntingdon) has ditched
its simulcast of news-talk WRSC (1390 State College), changing
calls to WLLI and flipping to country.
Pittsburgh's silent WZUM (1590 Carnegie) now faces some FCC
headaches: a Notice of Violation issued earlier this month says
the station's directional array was out of tune during an inspection
last fall, resulting in higher-than-authorized signal levels
in at least one direction. The station also failed to do a proper
legal ID while the Commission was listening.
Down the dial, WAOB (860 Millvale) has returned to the air
with Catholic programming, simulcasting sister station WAOB-FM
(106.7 Beaver Falls); sister station WPGR (1510 Monroeville)
was heard last week breaking away from that simulcast with separate
Catholic teaching programs.
And there's an obituary in the Keystone State, too: Herb Denenberg,
who all but defined the role of "consumer reporter"
in nearly a quarter of a century at WCAU-TV (Channel 10), died
Thursday at 80. Denenberg served as Pennsylvania's insurance
commissioner before joining channel 10 in 1975. During his time
at WCAU, he also wrote for the Daily News; after his retirement
in 1998, he wrote a weekly column for the revived Evening
Bulletin and started his own blog. On a personal note, his
late brother Marshall was your editor's uncle by marriage, and
we send our condolences to the entire (very sizable) Denenberg
- DO YOU HAVE YOUR NEW CALENDAR YET?
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.
We're selling them at a pretty good pace
this year, which means a sellout is likely.
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too - they make great gifts for your business colleagues or friends...)
now at the fybush.com Store!
*There's a significant obituary leading off
our MASSACHUSETTS news this week as well. While the general
public will remember Edmund Dinis as the district attorney who
prosecuted the Chappaquiddick case, the New England radio community
knows Dinis as the longtime owner of WJFD (97.3 New Bedford),
the most prominent broadcast voice for the Portuguese community
that's such an important part of the region.
The son of an Azorean immigrant, Dinis entered politics on
the New Bedford city council in the early fifties, later serving
as a state senator before becoming Bristol County district attorney
in 1959. On a trajectory to higher office, Dinis' political career
was derailed by Chappaquiddick; controversy over his inquest
into the case contributed to his reelection loss in 1970, and
subsequent bids for Congress in 1976 and for a return to the
DA's office in 1982 failed as well.
Out of office, Dinis returned to his career as an attorney,
but along the way took an interest in media. In 1975, he bought
what was then WGCY from Gray Communications, renaming the all-Portuguese
station WJFD after the initials of his father, Jacinto F. Dinis.
Dinis later added a Springfield station, WSPR (1270), to his
holdings, a prelude to what proved to be an unsuccessful attempt
to build a new AM signal, WLAW (1270 North Dartmouth), on the
South Coast. Had the AM station been built, it would likely have
taken the Portuguese format from WJFD, allowing the FM to flip
to an English-language format; in the end, battles with zoning
authorities forced Dinis to allow the construction permit to
expire unbuilt just before the turn of the century.
Dinis died March 14 at age 85; for now, "Radio Globo"
continues to be run without changes, though speculation is already
swirling about the station's future.
*There's a prominent obituary in southern CONNECTICUT
this week as well. Don Russell died March 13, ending a broadcast
career that began after World War II at Stamford's WSRR but soon
took him to the Dumont Network, where the Stamford native (born
Donald Rustici) was an announcer for Jackie Gleason's "Cavalcade
of Stars" and the network's evening newscast. After Dumont
folded, Russell went on to work for the NBC network and then
at Nashville's WSM radio and TV, but in the end he came home
to Stamford. Russell returned to his old station, now WSTC (1400),
where he served as program director and continued to host a daily
talk show as late as 2001, when he turned 80.
Russell also served as general manager of Connecticut Public
Broadcasting, wrote a column for the Stamford Advocate, worked
as a political analyst for News 12 Connecticut, hosted a talk
show on WGCH (1490) and wrote a history of Stamford. He
One other Connecticut note: Glenn O'Brien is out at WBMW (106.5
Ledyard), where he'd been hosting mornings since 2003. Teresa
Berry is now hosting the show solo, while O'Brien's looking for
a new gig.
*The FCC has reached consent
decrees with two small school-owned noncommercial stations in
RHODE ISLAND and NEW HAMPSHIRE, allowing them to
renew their licenses after making "voluntary" payments
to the U.S. Treasury.
In Concord, N.H., St. Paul's School will pay $10,000 to close
an FCC inquiry into missing items in the public file at its WSPS
(90.5); it will also create a compliance plan to make sure the
public file is updated and ownership reports are properly filed.
In Bristol, R.I., it's Roger Williams University's WQRI (88.3)
that had more minor public file issues; in that case, RWU will
pay $1700 to close out the case and get its license renewed.
one station sale in MAINE, though it won't result in much
on-air change: Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa is selling WJCX (99.5
Pittsfield) to Calvary Chapel of Bangor, which will pay $200,000
over the course of the next two years to take over the license.
*There's a new TV station coming to CANADA,
at least on paper. Radio-Canada has received CRTC permission
to break off its eastern Quebec TV transmitters from the license
of CBVT (Channel 11) in Quebec City, restoring some local news
and ad sales to stations that have been full-time relays of the
Quebec City station since budget cuts closed down local operations
in Rimouski back in 1990.
The CRTC ruling last week re-establishes CJBR-TV (Channel
2) in Rimouski as a separate license, and it brings CBGAT (Channel
6) in Matane and CBST (Channel 13) in Sept-Iles and their many
transmitters under the CJBR license.
The "new" CJBR-TV will produce at least five hours
a week of local programming for the eastern Quebec region, replacing
the regional newscast that was produced for the area from the
Quebec City studios.
*Some Radio People on the Move, with a hat-tip to Milkman
In Kingston, Matthew Bisson is leaving CKLC-FM (98.9 the Drive),
where he's been morning co-host and news anchor. He's headed
for the Corus stations in Edmonton to do news at CHED (630) and
CHQT (iNews 880).
And in Owen Sound, Rob Brignell jumps from Bayshore Broadcasting
to Larche Communications, where he'll be GM of its new CJOS (92.3).
Brignell has been with Bayshore for 11 years, most recently as
director of marketing for the Owen Sound cluster.
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*It's a pretty brief Baseball on
the Radio major-league edition this year, since none of the
MLB teams in NERW-land has a contract renewal to deal with.
The Boston Red Sox continue with their 10-year deal
at Entercom's WEEI (850 Boston), which adds an FM HD simulcast
(WMKK 93.7-HD3) in its home market this year. We haven't heard
much about shifts in the outlying parts of the Sox radio network
this year, either - and of course TV coverage remains firmly
planted at Sox-owned NESN, where Jerry Remy is back in the saddle
for a full season after spending much of 2009 dealing with health
The Spanish Beisbol Network-produced coverage en espanol
will be heard on WWDJ (1150 Boston), WNEB (1230 Worcester) and
WCEC (1490 Haverhill).
The World Champion New York Yankees are back on their
flagship, WCBS (880 New York), and an extensive network of stations
across the region. Yankees-owned YES remains the TV home, of
course, with 20 games on WWOR-TV (Channel 9) - and that leaves
Spanish-language radio as the scene of the one big change this
year, with the Yankees moving from WQBU (92.7 Garden City) to
Univision sister station WADO (1280 New York), with a stronger
signal across the city.
The nowhere-near-World Champion New York Mets head
into yet another rebuilding year on longtime flagship WFAN (660
New York) and the partially-team-owned SNY network, with 25 games
on WPIX (Channel 11). The Yankees' Spanish-language shift bumps
the Mets off WADO, sending them to the smaller WQBU signal, which
at least covers the heart of the team's fan base in Queens, Brooklyn
and Long Island.
The almost-World Champion Philadelphia Phillies keep
the status quo this year, too: English radio on WPHT (1210 Philadelphia)
and an extensive network of affiliates in eastern Pennsylvania,
New Jersey and Delaware; TV on Comcast Sports Network and 45
games on WPHL (Channel 17); Spanish radio on WUBA (1480 Philadelphia).
The yet-another-rebuilding-year Pittsburgh Pirates remain
in place on flagship WPGB (104.7 Pittsburgh) and a sizable network
of affiliates in western Pennsylvania and neighboring states;
all TV coverage is on cable, via FSN Pittsburgh.
Home turf for the Baltimore Orioles is a little outside
the boundaries of NERW-land, but O's country extends north up
I-83 into York, Pennsylvania, where the team is switching affiliates
this year. WSBA (910) replaces WOYK (1350) on the Orioles network,
joining fellow Keystone State outlets WHVR (1280 Hanover), WIOO
(1000 Carlisle) and WEEO (1480 Shippensburg).
And across the border, the Toronto Blue Jays own not
only their TV outlet, Rogers Sportsnet, but also their radio
flagship, CJCL (FAN 590). The Jays' radio network remains stable
as well, with outlets from Nova Scotia all the way to British
We'll be back with more "Baseball on the Radio"
next week, as we gear up for the start of minor-league ball across
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!)
March 23, 2009 -
- There's word just in from CTVglobemedia that the plug is
once again being pulled on oldies on the Toronto AM dial. Thursday
morning at 5, CHUM (1050) will give way to "CP 24 Radio
1050," which sounds like it will be mainly a simulcast of
CTV's "CP24" cable news channel. With the CRTC's recent
rule change allowing oldies formats on the FM dial, will Toronto
see a move of oldies to FM...or is this curtains for the format
for good? More next week...
- During George Weber's years on NEW YORK's WABC (770), he
built up quite a following as the talk station's morning "News
Guy," and even after losing that gig in early 2008, after
the Curtis & Kuby morning show where he'd worked gave way
to Don Imus, Weber stayed active as a reporter and anchor with
ABC Radio News. He was scheduled for several shifts last week
at ABC, and after he didn't show up Saturday, concerned co-workers
called the police. They entered Weber's apartment in Brooklyn's
Carroll Gardens neighborhood Sunday morning, where they found
him apparently stabbed to death. Neighbors told the New York
Post they believe Weber was murdered sometime Friday night. (The
last entry on Weber's blog was dated Friday.) Police say there
were no signs of forced entry, but neighbors told the paper the
apartment had been ransacked.
- Weber was a native of the Philadelphia area who started his
career at WBUX (1570 Doylestown PA), then worked at WAEB (790
Allentown) before heading west in the mid-eighties, where he
worked at KIMN in Denver (alongside his future WABC program director
Phil Boyce), KOA in Denver, KGO in San Francisco and KOGO in
San Diego before joining WABC in 1995.
- Moving upstate, there's a surprise from Oneida, where one
of the region's truly old-school mom and pop stations has been
sold. We didn't know WMCR (1600) and WMCR-FM (106.3) were for
sale, and it appears owner Vivian Warren, who bought the stations
in 1969 and continued to run them after the 2005 death of her
husband and co-owner, Bill, wasn't actively trying to sell them.
But when Cooperstown-based James Johnson came calling with an
offer, Warren decided to accept - and now the stations are about
to get their first ownership change in four decades.
- From what Johnson tells the Oneida Daily Dispatch, the stations
are going into good hands. Beginning in 1995, Johnson built a
three-station cluster in Norwich (WKXZ/WBKT/WCHN) into the eight-station
BanJo group before selling the stations to Double O Radio in
2004 for nearly $10 million. Since then, he's bought and sold
restaurants and real estate and invested in a Broadway musical,
as well as getting elected to the Otsego County board of representatives.
- In TV news from around the Empire State, seven stations have
told the FCC they intend to drop their analog signals prior to
the June 12 finale of full-power analog TV. Citing ongoing problems
with their analog transmitters, the northern New York PBS duo
of WPBS-TV (Channel 16) in Watertown and WNPI (Channel 18) in
Norwood will go dark on analog April 12, followed on April 16
by two more PBS signals - WMHT-TV Schenectady and WNED-TV Buffalo,
both on channel 17 - along with Binghamton Fox affiliate WICZ
(Channel 40). On April 25, Elmira's ABC affiliate, WENY-TV (Channel
36), will end its analog broadcast; it's flash-cutting to digital
on 36, having never built out its interim channel 55 digital
assignment. And on May 4, religious WNYB (Channel 26) in Jamestown
will pull the plug on its analog signal
- Need a concrete sign of the downturn in the economy? Just
look to eastern PENNSYLVANIA, where Nassau, unable to carry out
its LMA-to-buy agreement due to "dislocations in the credit
markets," is handing WFKB (107.5 Boyertown) back to its
owner, Lancaster-based WDAC Radio Company, on April 1. The back
story here: Back in October 2005, WDAC signed a $22 million deal
under which the 107.5 signal, until then doing religion as WBYN-FM,
would be leased by Nassau, with three years to come up with the
money to convert the LMA into an outright purchase. Nassau flipped
the FM to classic rock as "Frank FM," targeting the
nearby Reading market, while the WBYN calls and religious programming
moved to the former WYNS Lehighton on AM 1160, which Nassau has
been leasing to WDAC ever since. As we told you in our October
6, 2008 issue, Nassau ended that three-year period without the
funding to close on the purchase of WFKB by the end of the LMA
on November 30. The companies agreed to extend the LMA by four
more months, but with no improvement in economic conditions since
then, the deal will expire at the end of March. (And in fairness
to Nassau, the softening of the radio sales market means the
$22 million price tag placed on 107.5 back in 2005 now looks
rather high, suggesting this might have been a deal not worth
consummating in the end.)
- Here's how things play out from here: at the end of the day
March 31, "Frank" will cease to exist on 107.5, with
the station reverting to WDAC management and reclaiming its old
WBYN-FM calls and "Alive" religious format. As for
1160 up in Lehighton, that signal will revert to Nassau management,
and we'd guess it will return to its prior format, simulcasting
the ESPN sports programming from Nassau's WEEX (1230 Easton)/WTKZ
- Our NEW JERSEY news is sad news this week, starting with
an obituary for Mike "Spyder" McGuire, who'd been doing
afternoons at WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin) for the last decade, and
mornings at WAYV (95.1 Atlantic City) for two decades before
that. McGuire had been fighting colon cancer for the last few
months, taking a leave of absence last October before returning
to the air briefly in January. McGuire, who was also heard on
the station's weekend "Beatles Brunch," his particular
pride and joy, died March 15 at the too-young age of 55.
- The fallout from the economic collapse in CANADA continued
to dominate the headlines there this week, and nowhere more so
than in Hamilton, Ontario, where fans of CHCH-TV (Channel 11)
joined political leaders and some of the station's staffers in
a bid to save the station as a local voice. While owner Canwest
Global continues to mull over the station's future, including
a possible sale to a group made up of current staffers, viewers
marched from Hamilton City Hall to the station's Jackson Street
studios for a parking lot rally on Tuesday in hopes of reminding
Canwest officials that there's a 55-year history of local programming
in Hamilton that's in danger of being wiped out if station operations
are cut back even further.
March 21, 2005 -
- Back in the fifties and sixties, just about every TV market
had its own beloved local kid's show host. In Boston, it was
"Big Brother" Bob Emery and Rex Trailer; in Buffalo,
Dave Thomas and "Rocketship 7." And in NEW HAMPSHIRE,
it was "Uncle Gus" Bernier on Manchester's WMUR-TV
(Channel 9). Bernier joined WMUR radio (610, now WGIR) in 1944
as an announcer, moving over to the TV side of the operation
a few years after its 1954 debut. "Uncle Gus" began
by accident, according to Ed Brouder's authoritative history
of New Hampshire broadcasting, Granite and Ether, when station
manager David O'Shea asked Bernier to go into the studio and
introduce the afternoon cartoon show. The rest was two decades
of history, as an appearance on the "Uncle Gus Show"
became a rite of passage for young New Hampshirites (after a
wait that could last a year and a half.) Bernier retired to the
Florida Keys, later moving to Hawaii, where he died in his sleep
Saturday morning. He was 85.
- Meanwhile on the present-day Granite State radio dial, Nashua's
WHOB (106.3) indeed made the flip to "Frank FM" on
Thursday, replacing its hot AC with classic hits. WHOB morning
drive host Sarah Sullivan adds PD duties, and new calls WFNQ
are said to be on the way.
- In MASSACHUSETTS, there's a big PD vacancy - two of them,
really - as Jon Zellner departs Infinity's WBMX (98.5 Boston)
and WODS (103.3 Boston) and his corporate gig as the company's
VP for hot AC to take a newly-created gig at XM Satellite Radio
as senior VP, music programming. Zellner's WODS duties are being
handled by Pete Falconi for now; no word on who's handling Mix.
- One of the iconic voices of NEW YORK radio has died. Ted
Brown (along with his then-wife, "the Redhead") was
the morning voice on WMGM (1050) from 1950 until 1962, when the
station returned to its former calls of WHN. Brown soon headed
up the dial to WNEW (1130) and afternoons (mornings at that point
still being the domain of Klavan and Finch), where he'd remain
for most of the decade, becoming known for his wry humor and
for on-air stunts that included getting drunk on the air at holiday
time (with a police officer present) to illustrate the dangers
of drunk driving. In 1970, Brown moved to afternoons on WNBC
(660) and went nationwide as one of the "communicators"
on NBC's weekend Monitor. He returned to WNEW's afternoon drive
in 1972, moving to mornings in 1978 upon Gene Klavan's retirement
and remaining there until his own retirement a decade later.
Brown returned to WNEW's airwaves on the station's final day
in 1993, becoming one of the last voices heard there before WNEW
signed off for good.
- In later years, Ted was heard on WRIV (1390 Riverhead) and
on WVNJ (1160 Oakland NJ). He suffered a stroke in 1996 that
left him incapacitated. Brown died in his sleep Sunday morning
(Mar. 20) at his New York home.
- In NEW JERSEY, Jack Ellery is returning to mornings on WCTC
(1450 New Brunswick) as the Greater Media news-talker says goodbye
to former morning host Jay Sorensen, who departed on Friday.
Ellery, who began on WCTC's morning drive back in the sixties,
is now on his third go-round at the station. He'd been doing
afternoons there, a slot which will now be filled by the syndicated
Jerry Doyle show.
- In CANADA, it's the end of the line for controversial Quebec
City morning man Jean-Francois "Jeff" Fillion, who
walked off his CHOI (98.1) show midway through Thursday morning's
edition. CHOI is, of course, the station whose license was nearly
pulled by the CRTC a few months back, largely over Fillion's
outspoken morning show. And while CHOI owner Genex Communications
continues to appeal that decision, it's been having other troubles
with Fillion, most notably a civil suit filed by TV weathercaster
Sophie Chiasson accusing Fillion of slandering her. (She's seeking
C$425,000 from Fillion and CHOI.) Genex owner Patrice Demers
says there's no chance Fillion will return to CHOI's airwaves,
and that the current CHOI morning team will continue without
March 24, 2000 -
- There's a tower missing in central MAINE -- one of the three
at WFAU (1280 Gardiner), to be precise! NERW reader Rob Sobczak
reports driving by the site (also home to the studios of WABK
and WKCG) and seeing two AM sticks instead of the three. It seems
the missing one fell sometime Wednesday night, though the circumstances
remain a bit unclear. WFAU remains on the air from the remaining
two towers; no word yet on power or pattern reductions as a result.
- Just outside Bangor, Communications Capital Managers strikes
again, adding one more station to the group it's assembling in
the market (WVOM/WBYA, WKSQ, WLKE, WBFB). This time, it's WGUY
(102.1 Dexter), for the price tag of $1.475 million, from Dan
Priestly's Innovative Advertising Consultants. NERW thinks WGUY
would make a useful simulcast to one of the other rimshots in
the group...WBYA, perhaps?
- Down to MASSACHUSETTS we go, to find yet another high-powered
AM signal on its way to the airwaves. Carter Broadcasting's WCRN
(830 Worcester) has quietly become that city's most potent AM
signal, especially with the grant this week of a daytime power
increase from 5 kilowatts to 50. WCRN's new daytime signal will
use the same three towers and the same pattern as the current
signal, nulling towards the southwest to protect WRYM (840) in
New Britain, Connecticut.
- WBOS (92.9 Brookline) has a new program director, but nobody
will need to give Shirley Maldonado a tour of her new offices
-- until a few months ago, she was PD of WBOS' sister station,
WSJZ (96.9 Boston). It didn't take long for the rumors to begin
flying of a WBOS format change to WSJZ's old smooth jazz format...but
here at NERW we're still sticking to our New Year's resolution
not to speculate on WBOS format changes. It's getting hard...
- The FCC is citing some of the Clear Channel spinoffs for
a closer look at market-concentration issues, and oddly enough,
Springfield is one of them. Saga, which already owns WAQY (102.1
Springfield) and WPNT (1600 East Longmeadow), is adding just
two more stations: WHMP-FM (99.3 Northampton), a small player
in the Springfield market, and WHMP (1400 Northampton), which
doesn't factor in Springfield at all. We don't expect this to
slow down the deal much.
- Just after press time last week, we learned that WAVM (91.7
Maynard) and the folks from WUMB (91.9 Boston) have been sitting
down in an attempt to work out their differences over their mutually-exclusive
applications for 91.7 in Boston's far northwest suburbs. The
word is that a share-time deal could be in the works...and we
think it's an awfully good sign that WAVM's Web site has taken
down its anti-WUMB page. Next big question: Can WAVM and WUMB
working together overcome the religious-translator-network applications
that also threaten both stations in the area?
- Coming soon to a TV dial near you: "WHUB." That's
the new name for USA Broadcasting's home-shopping outlet, now
known as WHSH (Channel 66) in Marlborough, and before that as
music-video WVJV "V66." July 1 will be the starting
date for the new programming on the independent station, following
in the heels of USA's WAMI in Miami, KSTR Dallas, and WHOT Atlanta.
Look for WHUB-TV to build downtown studios and try to line up
major-league sports committments to build its image in town,
just like the other three stations have done.
- (Two interesting notes here: First, Broadcasting & Cable
reports USA almost had a deal in the bag to buy WMFP (62 Lawrence)
a few weeks back, which leads us to wonder whether "WHUB"
was almost ready to debut from a stick in downtown Boston and
leave 66 with home shopping. Second, it's not the first time
a Boston broadcaster has tried to use the "WHUB" calls,
which have long been used on the AM dial in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Back when Westinghouse thought it was about to buy WKOX, circa
1993-94, the plan was to take AM 1200 sports talk as "The
Hub." Needless to say, it never materialized.)
- The rumors in RHODE ISLAND turned out to be true: Steve Mindich
is indeed buying WWRX (103.7 Westerly) from Clear Channel in
one of the final spinoffs of the AMFM purchase. No price has
been put on the deal, though we're hearing 16-18 times cash flow
rumored. The move will give Mindich's FNX modern-rock network
a huge boost to the south, picking up everywhere from the far
southern suburbs of Boston (where flagship WFNX 101.7 Lynn is
blasted by Clear Channel's WWBB 101.5 Providence) all the way
to eastern Connecticut.
- More on that Elmira TV sale we mentioned last week: It's
not just WBGH-LP (Channel 8) in Binghamton going from Smith to
Ackerley; it's also parent station WETM (Channel 18) in Elmira.
Ackerley apparently began LMA'ing WETM in February, giving the
company stations in Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton (all
ABC affiliates), and now Elmira as well. As for WBGH-LP: it's
dropped its simulcast of WETM's 6 and 11 PM newscasts in favor
of simulcasting Ackerley's WIVT (Channel 34) in Binghamton. And
by doing it with an LPTV, Ackerley manages to do what would probably
be impossible with a full-power station under duopoly rules:
it gets to provide both ABC and NBC service to Binghamton. (Could
WETM eventually wrest the ABC affiliation away from Elmira's
WENY, also under new ownership? We shall see...)
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- Although Haverhill MA's WHAV 1490 (1 kw ND-U) flipped from
oldies to Spanish talk a few weeks ago, the fireworks have just
started. Seems the whole thing is closely intertwined with the
long-running rivalry between the small Haverhill Gazette and
its much larger competitor 10 miles away in Lawrence, the "Eagle
Tribune." The Gazette put WHAV on the air some 50 years
ago, and sold it about a decade ago, with the hope that WHAV
would continue to be a local voice for news and public affairs.
So the Gazette's local owners were distressed to hear WHAV becoming
the second all-Spanish station in the Merrimack Valley (and the
fourth to run some Spanish), and
with a satellite format out of LA, at that! To make matters worse,
WHAV's new operators (and, with an LMA-to-buy, its prospective
new owners) apparently have financial ties with the Eagle Tribune!
(This is the same firm that owns and operates WNNW, 1110 in Salem
NH, serving Lawrence and Haverhill with a Spanish format).
- In the meantime, WCCM in Lawrence has started paying much
more attention to Haverhill news, and today a Gazette official
turned up on WCCM's talk show to talk about how the Gazette now
wants to lead a fight to prevent this LMA from becoming a sale...and
to bring WHAV back to local news etc. Among the things the Gazette
will be focusing on will be some problems with the way the LMA
is working (most noticeably, the near-complete lack of legal
IDs on WHAV - I listened for 2 hours this weekend and heard not
a one), and perhaps a problem with unauthorized transfer of main
studio location as well (WHAV is apparently operating from WNNW's
studio at 462 Merrimack St., Methuen). We shall see where this
- WBMA 890 - yes, them again - launched their first local sports
talk show Monday morning 3/27, as former Red Sox player Rico
Petrocelli hosted 3 hours from 6-9am. It's the first break in
the satellite Prime Sports since it debuted last month. Studios
are now at "a temporary location in Kendall Square, Cambridge,"
and will reportedly move to Flagship Wharf, Charlestown, soon.
As for this station's call letters: They want to be known as
WBPS (for Boston Prime Sports) -- although the Globe, with its
uncanny sense for mucking up all things radio, called them "WPBS"
this past weekend. But they are apparently either too cheap or
too lazy or both to spend the $55 to file for a call change.
So they run IDs like this: "WBMA Dedham Boston is WBPS AM
890, Boston's New Sound of Sports."
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2010 by Scott Fybush.