Recent Issues:

April 5, 2010

March 29, 2010

March 22, 2010

March 15, 2010

2009 In Review

Movie Ticket Radio!

Your message here - contact to reach thousands of NERW readers every week!

April 12, 2010

NAB Time Again

NERW's now on Twitter - follow us @NERadioWatch for breaking news updates during the week!

*LAS VEGAS - Welcome to another year of "NERW from the NAB" (our tenth out here, as a matter of fact), and along with it the annual challenge of a column that's written over the weekend to appear on Monday from a convention that really gets rolling Monday morning.

So you'll forgive us, we hope, if we save the on-the-ground NAB reportage for next week's column (plus breaking-news updates via Twitter, and of course our other gig over at Radio Journal, which has the good sense to come out on Wednesday) and instead offer you some headlines from back home on what's turned out to be one of the slowest news weeks in recent memory. (A good thing, that, since we've been out west for a week now, visiting still more broadcast facilities in and around Los Angeles for upcoming Tower Site of the Week installments...)

*It was just a few months ago when VERMONT's long-running "Corm and the Coach" morning show returned to the airwaves in a burst of publicity, but as of Thursday the duo of Steve Cormier and Tom "Coach" Brennan is once again off the air. Money's at the root of the problem; in a Facebook posting, Cormier complained that he hadn't been paid by his new station, Convergence Media Group's WNMR (107.1 Dannemora NY), since last November. For now, WNMR is still on the air with syndicated talk, but without its star personalities, can the station still find traction in a competitive (and probably over-radioed) market?

*An FCC fine against a CONNECTICUT religious station is provoking lots of controversy among those who spend a lot of time reading the Commission's tea leaves. At issue is whether or not stations are required to keep their licensees' articles of incorporation as part of their public files. WIHS (104.9 Middletown) didn't have its articles of incorporation in its file when someone came to ask for it, nor did it make it available later on, and it now faces a $1250 fine as a result. (More on this one next week...)

Meanwhile on the commercial side of the dial, WTIC (1080 Hartford) has named a replacement for Jim Vicevich, recently dropped from the 9 AM to noon talk slot. Vicevich's successor is a familiar voice in the market: it's Sebastian, who's probably best known for his days as morning man on WCCC-FM some years back.

*In MASSACHUSETTS, there's a new PD at WPLM-FM (99.1 Plymouth): it's Kevin Cronin, who takes over the 3-7 PM airshift formerly filled by Scott Gibbons, who moves to morning drive.

*In southern MAINE, Nassau has pulled the plug on half of its "Bone" rock simulcast: WHXR (106.7 North Windham) is going into trust (and eventually up for sale) to keep Nassau within ownership limits, and it's now directing listeners just down the dial to sister station WHXQ (106.3 Scarborough), where "The Bone" lives on.


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.

(We've got special discounts for bulk orders, too - they make great gifts for your business colleagues or friends...)

Order now at the Store!

*In upstate NEW YORK, several public broadcasters are cooperating to get a new signal on the air in Ithaca before its construction permit expires. WITH (90.1 Ithaca) was granted to Hobart and William Smith Colleges almost three years ago, and now it's poised to sign on within a few weeks as part of a partnership between Hobart and William Smith station WEOS (89.7 Geneva) and Rochester public broadcaster WXXI.

Under the deal, WXXI is building the WITH facility at the tower site north of Ithaca owned by Binghamton public broadcaster WSKG, which already uses that tower to transmit WSQG (90.9 Ithaca), relaying the news/classical hybrid format of WSKG-FM in Binghamton. When WITH hits the air in May, it promises "fresh offerings to meet the needs of the Ithaca community," though specific details haven't been announced yet.

Meanwhile, WXXI will work with WEOS to provide expanded public-affairs programming, including coverage of HWS campus events. WEOS' existing staff will stay in place, and will continue to manage the school's low-power station, WHWS-LP (105.7 Geneva) as well. It's not yet clear what becomes of WEOS' existing Ithaca translator, W201CD (88.1), which is owned by Ithaca Community Broadcasting, which has its own unbuilt CPs in nearby Odessa and Watkins Glen.

(Usual disclaimers apply: your editor also works for WXXI...)


DO IT RIGHT PRODUCTIONS -- Visit our Web site,, to hear our three syndicated shows, Classic Clips, Country Roots and Gospel Doings, produced by longtime country and bluegrass lovers. We also provide demo and duplicating services. Contact Roland (Bruce) Cutler, PO Box 351, Lyons, NY 14489; or

You can have your ad here, for just a few dollars a week! Click here for information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands of Northeast radio and TV people each week.

*A format change in central PENNSYLVANIA: WMHX (106.7 Hershey) has segued from AC ("Mix 106.7") to a 90s-heavy AC format as "Channel 106.7."

Down the road in Lancaster, Clear Channel's WLAN (1390) is about to lose its longtime transmitter site. The land belongs to Franklin and Marshall College, which isn't renewing the lease - and now WLAN is applying to diplex with Hall's WLPA (1490). That's a single-tower, non-directional site, which means WLAN will drop its power from its present 5 kW days/1 kW nights to 1100 watts days and just 18 watts at night.

And that's our headline recap for the week...we'll be back next Monday with a full report!

From 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 for the idea - and thanks to you, our readers, for the support that's made all these years of NERW possible!)

April 13, 2009 -

  • When the new One World Trade Center rises in a few years as NEW YORK's tallest building, it won't have the city's TV stations broadcasting from its spire 1,776 feet above ground level. The Metropolitan Television Alliance (MTVA), the group formed by the stations after the 9/11 attacks destroyed their old sites atop the original 1WTC, is pulling out of a deal to build a new master-antenna site at the top of the new building. MTVA president Saul Shapiro says technology and circumstances have changed since 2001, making the new site (and its reported $10 million annual rent) unnecessary.
  • The big news from MASSACHUSETTS turned out to be no news at all: both NBC and WHDH-TV (Channel 7) assumed radio silence last week as, presumably, negotiations were going on behind the scenes over whether or not channel 7 will carry Jay Leno's new 10 PM show after all. Is WHDH caving in to NBC's pressure after finding no other Peacock affiliates ready to follow its lead and pre-empt or delay the Leno show in favor of local news at 10? Stay tuned...
  • Fitchburg's WEIM (1280) has a new set of calls and a new identity. The station scrapped the only callsign it's ever had last Tuesday, becoming "The Heart of New England's Pulse," with a new format of "talk, sports and information," new calls of WPKZ - and maybe a new FM relay on the way as well. Owner Central Broadcasting Company has just applied to buy translator W243CD (96.5 Gloucester) from Radio Assist Ministry for $45,000 after an earlier sale of the license failed to close over the winer, and there's a newly-filed application to move the translator down the dial to 95.9. Will the next step be a series of hops to move that translator west into the Fitchburg market? (2010 answer: yes, and it took 13 steps to get to 105.5 in Fitchburg!)
  • In Springfield, last Monday's flip of "True Oldies 1450" to "1450 AM, ESPN the Hall" also came with a change of venerable calls: the station that had been WMAS since its 1932 debut is now WHLL, for its studio home in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Unlike its crosstown competitor, WEEI affiliate WVEI-FM (105.5 Easthampton), WHLL has a local show in afternoon drive. And while WVEI carries the Red Sox, WHLL is now part of the Yankees network (last heard in town on WNNZ 640, before it was LMA'd to public radio WFCR.)
  • In RHODE ISLAND, we jumped the gun a bit on our report last week of a format change at Citadel's WPRV (790 Providence). The flip from oldies to talk/business in fact happens today, and here's how it plays out: Don Imus remains in place in morning drive, followed by Citadel's Joe Scarborough at 10 AM, Bloomberg business news at noon, Dave Ramsey at 2 PM, more Bloomberg at 5, then a local show, "The Making Money Show" at 5:30. When evenings aren't occupied by Yankees baseball, "AM 790" will be carrying Lou Dobbs' talk show at 7 PM, followed at 10 by Citadel's Curtis Sliwa.
  • J.J. Jeffrey's Atlantic Coast Broadcasting has shuffled its programming lineup again in southern MAINE, pulling the WEEI feed off the 95.5 signal in Topsham most recently known as WGEI. 95.5 is now WLOB-FM, simulcasting the talk format of WLOB (1310 Portland) - which means it's essentially swapped formats with the former WLOB-FM on 96.3 in Gray, which is now sports WJJB-FM, the same call and format that used to be on the smaller Topsham signal. Atlantic Coast is still carrying WEEI, via the Saco-licensed 95.9 signal (ex-WRED-FM) that's now WTEI.

April 11, 2005 -

  • There was a time when radio stations prided themselves on stability and consistency, celebrating decades of history and heritage call letters. Today, at least in upstate NEW YORK, it seems that the thing to be is "Fickle." In any case, that's the new nickname for the Entercom station formerly known as oldies WBBF-FM (93.3 Fairport), which flipped Thursday morning (Apr. 7) to a "random" mix of classic hits and hot AC tunes that sounds awfully similar to all those "Jack" stations and their clones from coast to coast, albeit developed locally by operations manager Dave Symonds and GM Mike Doyle. WBBF's "Ace and Marti" morning show continue, but the station's running automated the rest of the day, at least for the moment. And as of this morning, the heritage WBBF calls (which have been in the market since 1953, most of that time on the sister facility at 950 now known as WROC) have been replaced on 93.3 by "WFKL." (Interesting trivia: every single one of the signals in Entercom's Rochester cluster - 950, WBEE 92.5, 93.3 and WBZA 98.9 - has had the "WBBF" calls at some point in its history.)
  • Meanwhile at the other end of the Empire State, WXRK (92.3 New York) is still "K-Rock" - but as of last Monday morning, it's traded in the alternative rock it's been playing since 1996 for a broader rock format that includes older artists such as Motley Crue, calling itself "K-Rock. Great Rock. Period." The new (or perhaps "the new old") K-Rock ran jockless all last week (with the exception, of course, of Howard Stern in morning drive), but the jocks will be back this week, we hear. The modern rock lives on as a webstream called "Krock2."
  • In NEW JERSEY, WNNJ (1360 Newton) gets a morning man - and what a morning man they're getting! Max "SuperMax" Kinkel, whose career has included stints at CKLW and WCBS-FM, started at the station last week (and, yes, they do stream.)
  • Meanwhile, another great oldies jock is out of work in the Garden State. Don Tandler, "The Record Handler," had been spinning the tunes on Saturday nights at WKXW-FM (101.5 Trenton) for 14 years, but things had been changing at New Jersey 101.5. First the station changed his playlist, eliminating the older oldies and, in the process, Tandler's weekly homages to the old WABC - and now Tandler's out of the station completely.
  • RHODE ISLAND will continue to have public radio service on WRNI (1290 Providence) and WXNI (1230 Westerly). Boston University's WBUR announced late last week that it's officially dropping any thought of selling the two stations, ending a saga that started last fall and helped to bring about the downfall of longtime WBUR station manager Jane Christo. BU is reportedly talking to Bryant University about helping it manage the Rhode Island stations.
  • We're pleased to report that Jim Taricani is once again a free man. The WJAR (Channel 10) reporter served four months of his six-month house arrest for refusing to disclose the source of tapes that helped uncover a City Hall scandal. A judge reduced the sentence by two months for good behavior - and Taricani will be back on the job at Channel 10 on Wednesday.

April 14, 2000 -

  • One of the best-known names in MASSACHUSETTS television is scaling back her hours. Twenty-one years after coming to WBZ-TV (Channel 4) to anchor the evening news, Liz Walker is leaving the 5 and 11 PM newscasts to spend more time with her family. Walker will stay at WBZ working days and anchoring the noon news; no permanent replacement has been picked for the 5 and 11.
  • Whither Jeff Katz? The erstwhile (and almost-forgotten) WRKO morning host is back out West, where he's now doing mornings at Las Vegas talker KXNT (840 North Las Vegas).
  • CONNECTICUT gets a new TV newscast Monday (4/17), as WTNH (Channel 8) in New Haven launches a daily 10 PM newscast on sister station WBNE (Channel 59). WTNH reporter Verna Collins will anchor Sunday-Wednesday, while Andrea Stassou will take the chair Thursday-Saturday, competing with the 10 PM newscast simulcast on WTIC-TV (Channel 61) and WTXX (Channel 20).
  • Mega Broadcasting arrived in NEW YORK this week with a $24.5 million deal that gets the up-and-coming Spanish-language broadcaster an AM frequency in the Big Apple. Mega is buying leased-time ethnic WKDM (1380 New York) from Arthur Liu's Multicultural Broadcasting, with Liu getting not just the cash but also two Mega properties in the Washington DC market (WZHF 1390 Arlington VA, which does reach Our Nation's Capital, and WKDV 1460 Manassas VA, which does not), a new market for Liu. The New York station fills a hole in Mega's East Coast grouping that now includes Boston (WAMG "Mega 1150" and WBPS "Amor 890"), Hartford (WNEZ "Jamz 910" and WLAT "Mega 1230"), and Philadelphia (WEMG "Mega 104.9/900" and WSSJ 1310), not to mention several DC stations and two in Florida. Ironically, Mega won't be able to call WKDM "Mega," since that nickname is already being used by Spanish Broadcasting's WSKQ (97.9 New York). Mega also can't call WKDM "Amor," since that's in use at SBS's WPAT-FM (93.1 Paterson NJ).
  • Up in the Bronx, the talks between Fordham University and the New York Botanical Garden over the WFUV (90.7 New York) tower have been about as productive as the Elian negotiations -- they've just dragged on longer. Both sides announced this week that after three years of discussions with a federal mediator, they're no closer to a compromise than they were when they started. To recap: Fordham had to move the WFUV antenna off a rooftop to meet new RFR standards. When the new tower began rising in plain view of the botanical garden next door, garden officials went to court to halt construction...and that's where it's stood ever since, with a half-finished tower sitting above the garden. (NERW wonders: Why can't they disguise the thing as a really, really, really, really big tree?)

New England Radio Watch, April 10, 1995

  • The new calls at 104.1 Waterbury-Hartford CT are WMRQ -- calls that have a New England history behind them. WMRQ was the incarnation of Boston's 103.3 FM just before the current WODS, "Oldies 103." WMRQ - "Quality Rock Q103" lasted
    less than a year circa 1987-88, if memory serves. It was a sort of adult-oriented rock format -- I guess CBS's attempt to take on 'BCN and the then-new WZLX.
  • WRKO 680 (50kw DA, talk) is now live and local from 5:30am to midnight, except for Rush, with the addition of a weeknight "Sex Talk" show from 10pm-12mid. It's hosted by Phyllis Levy, who comes to WRKO from Chicago, where ARS's John
    Gehron heard her while he was working for Pyramid at WNUA. Rumor has it that 'RKO will want to syndicate the show eventually. Rumor also has it that Levy will do the show some of the time from her home in Chicago. The WRKO lineup now:
  • 5:30-10am Majorie Clapprood and Pat Whitley
    10am-12noon Jerry Williams
    12noon-3pm Rush Limbaugh
    3-7pm Howie Carr
    7-10pm Charles Adler (8-9pm simulcast with WABU-TV 68)
    10pm-12mid Sex Talk with Phyllis Levy
    12mid-5:30am Reruns of Rush and Howie
  • Sex Talk bumps Bruce Williams off WRKO and over to WBNW-590, which will run him earlier in the evening, 7-10pm I believe.
  • Two new TVs: In Boston, Telemundo has turned on LPTV W32AY, with a *very* good signal from the Prudential Tower. LPTV W19AH had been running Telemundo up till now...I can't see them here so I don't know what they're doing now. And in New Haven CT, after more than 35 years as a CP, WTVU(TV) channel 59 has signed on at long last. The station is owned by K-W Television of Skokie IL, and is being operated as an LMA by LIN Broadcasting's WTNH-TV 8, the ABC affiliate in New Haven. WTVU is running a paltry 100kw or so from WTNH's site in Hamden CT. WTVU gets the WB affiliation, the same week indie WTXX-20 Waterbury picks up UPN.
  • Opie and Anthony from Long Island (WBAB I think?) have taken over the afternoon duties at hard-rocker WAAF.

You can sponsor this weekly feature! Click here for information!

NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please click here to learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW is copyright 2010 by Scott Fybush.