July 26, 2010
Back to Country at Hamilton's CHAM
*After not quite two years as a talk station,
CANADA's Astral Media has flipped CHAM (820 Hamilton)
right back where it came from. On Thursday at noon, CHAM ditched
"Talk 820," which had failed to make much of a dent
in Corus' dominant CHML (900) since launching in September 2008.
In its place is
"Today's Country 820 CHAM," returning the 50,000-watt
signal to the format it had used for decades before making the
flip to talk.
The revived country CHAM features morning host Mike Nabuurs,
who'd been doing the station's late-morning talk shift. And along
with sister station CKOC (1150)'s oldies format, we believe it
makes Hamilton the only large Canadian market that still has
two stations playing music on the AM dial - three, if you count
Evanov's nearby CKPC (1380 Brantford), which recently flipped
to a news/country hybrid.
CALENDAR 2011 - IT'S ON THE WAY!
Production is underway on Tower Site Calendar
2011, starting with that fantastic cover image of New
York's Mount Beacon.
That's just one of more than a dozen thrilling
new pictures, spanning the globe (or at least the continent)
from Seattle to Tijuana to Georgia to Rochester.)
And if you order now, you'll be at the
top of the list to get your 2011 calendar as soon as they're
back from the printer, just before Labor Day.
We've still got a limited supply of Tower
Site Calendar 2010 as well - plus the signed, limited-edition
version of the 2011 calendar and much more in the fybush.com
(We've got special discounts for bulk orders,
too - they make great gifts for your business colleagues or friends...)
now at the fybush.com Store!
*Our abbreviated coverage of a slow week
in the region continues with several obituaries:
John Manzi worked in several New England states during his
long radio career, but it was in RHODE ISLAND that Manzi
became known as "Big Ange," bringing his high-energy
delivery to stations that included WJAR, WICE, WHIM and most
Manzi, who also went by "Andy Jackson," worked in
Binghamton (WINR), Elmira (WELM) and Maine (WASY, WZON) as well
during a career that stretched from the sixties into the late
He died July 17 in Providence, at 67.
*In CONNECTICUT, Hipolito Cuevas made
headlines a few years back when he sparred with the FCC over
his unlicensed Spanish-language station in New Haven. "La
Nueva Radio Musicale" was eventually shut down in 2000,
and Cuevas went legit shortly thereafter, working at WXCT (990
Southington) and later at WNEZ (910 New Britain). Cuevas had
a number of health problems, including kidney and heart disease
and diabetes; he died on July 7 at just 44.
*Almost a year after being displaced from
WCLX (102.9 Westport NY), VERMONT's "Album
Station" is back on the air down the dial. Diane Desmond
and Russ Kinsley had kept their eclectic AOR format alive via
a website (www.musicheads.us) after their dispute with WCLX owner
Dennis Jackson led to their departure from the FM airwaves over
Lake Champlain, but on Friday they returned to the air via another
leased facility, RadioActive's WZXP (97.9 Au Sable NY), transmitting
from the old WPTZ-TV site at Terry Mountain south of Plattsburgh.
WCLX, meanwhile, remains very much on the air with a similar
AAA format and a new operator, Chip Morgan's "Farm Fresh
And speaking of AAA stations in the Green Mountain State,
WEQX (102.7 Manchester) has made Amber Miller's PD job official.
She's been acting PD since March, when her predecessor Willobee
departed for Scranton.
good news for NEW HAMPSHIRE's scrappy little classical
station: Harry Kozlowski's WCNH-LP (94.7 Bow) received planning
board approval last week for the new transmitter installation
it's planning at its new full-power CP, WCNU (91.5 Bow). Some
neighbors had objected to the new signal, but others showed up
in force at a planning board meeting to support WCNU's proposal,
which would add a small transmitter shed and even smaller antenna
to an existing 40-foot pole.
(NERW notes that "I don't want to look at a shed every
day," an actual objection from an actual neighbor at the
board meeting, may well be one of the least persuasive NIMBY
complaints we've ever seen...)
*An unbuilt MASSACHUSETTS station
is getting new calls: WDMY (91.9 Stockbridge) will become WDVN
when it takes air.
And we offer our heartiest NERW congratulations to Sox color
commentator Jerry Remy of NESN, who crossed the 3000-game milestone
with the network during Sunday's game.
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*Clear Channel is donating a NEW JERSEY
AM station to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council,
the latest in a growing list of small AM signals that MMTC will
eventually pass along to qualified small broadcasters. This time
it's WTOC (1360 Newton), the former WNNJ(AM), which has been
running an automated "True Oldies Channel" format while
Clear Channel has tried to sell it off to remain under the ownership
cap in northwest Jersey.
*The last commercial FM channel in NEW
YORK's Hudson Valley went for a (comparative) bargain price
as the FCC's Auction 88 process wrapped up last week. The closed
auction was limited to applicants who'd already filed for the
class A channel in Rosendale (originally 102.5, later moved to
98.9), and after seven rounds of bidding that included Chet-5
Broadcasting (Woodstock's WDST) and Sacred Heart University,
the permit went to Hawkeye Communications for $499,000, a steep
drop from the multi-million dollar prices being paid for some
far less appealing frequencies in earlier auctions a few years
Who's Hawkeye Communications? That would be Irmgard Klebe,
wife of Joergen Klebe, whose Sunrise group owns WGNY (1220) and
WGNY-FM (103.1) in Newburgh.
*In New York City
itself, public station WNYC-FM (93.9) will soon be operating
from fully licensed facilities for the first time since 9/11.
Until now, WNYC has remained officially licensed at its long-gone
World Trade Center site, while its actual operation has remained
under Special Temporary Authority with 4 kW from the Empire State
Building master antenna.
The problem with WNYC's return to its old Empire home was
the short-spacing that plagues so many stations in the region
- when 93.9 moved from Empire to the World Trade Center in the
early 70s, it lost the grandfathered short-spacing it enjoyed
to adjacent-channel WZMX (93.7 Hartford), and WZMX's current
owner CBS Radio objected to the interference an Empire-based
WNYC-FM would cause to the Hartford station. WNYC and CBS finally
reached a settlement, and now WNYC-FM will once again be licensed
to Empire at 5.4 kW/1361', just shy of the 6 kW a full class
B signal would use at that height.
With WNYC's impending return to licensed status, only one
of the Trade Center FM signals is still in license limbo: SBS'
WPAT-FM (93.1) continues to operate under STA at Empire as it
works out its own short-spacing issues.
On TV, WPIX (Channel 11) kicked off the early-early-morning
news arms race when it moved the start time of its morning show
from 5 to 4:30 AM, a move widely followed around the country
(and in New York by WNYW and WNBC) - and starting Sept. 20, WPIX
will edge its morning show even earlier, becoming one of a handful
of stations around the country starting its morning news at 4
AM. Chris Burrous and Tamsen Fadal draw early-early anchor duty,
from 4-6 AM, followed by Sukanya Krishnan and John Mueller from
North of Albany, there's a familiar new morning host at WQAR
(101.3 Stillwater). Ric Mitchell, who'd been the morning man
at WYJB (95.5 Albany) until he was fired in May, starts August
2 at "Star 101.3" up in Saratoga.
And there's word that veteran Long Island DJ Ken Gholson has
died. Over a 25-year career, Gholson had worked at WSBJ (now
WHFM), WBAZ, WBEA and WLNG. He was just 49.
(Speaking of WLNG, it was off the air for part of the weekend
as it finally completed a long-pending project to replace its
old transmitter and antenna.)
*In western PENNSYLVANIA, there's
a new general manager at public broadcaster WQED, where Deborah
Acklin has been picked to succeed George Miles Jr. when he retires
in September. Acklin has been with WQED for 14 years, most recently
as executive VP/COO.
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!)
July 27, 2009 -
- NEW YORK's dance music station was back in the headlines
last week, but it's still not clear what exactly was going on
behind the scenes at "Pulse 87" (WNYZ-LP), the channel
6 LPTV license that's operated by Mega Media as an FM station
at 87.7 on the dial. On Monday, Pulse's announcers began telling
listeners that the station was in severe financial trouble and
would be gone by week's end...unless those listeners came forward
with donations to save the format. Listeners apparently responded
- but the fund drive didn't last long. By Tuesday morning, the
fundraising announcements (complete with premiums such as messenger
bags and wristbands) had been pulled, the "donate"
webpage on the Pulse website was gone, and the station was suddenly
announcing that it had won a reprieve from its creditors thanks
to an "overwhelming" response from listeners. But all
that money pledged by the Pulse audience isn't staying with Mega
Media - it's being returned to donors, the station says, leaving
it rather unclear as to what the point of the one-day fundraiser
- So while the good news for New York's dance fans is that
Pulse remains on the air, there are still plenty of unanswered
questions - what prompted the drive in the first place, and why
was it called off so abruptly? Even more curious is the low profile
Mega's leadership has been taking; the announcements of the pledge
drive and of its cancellation came from Pulse staffers, not from
CEO Alex Shvarts, and the normally outspoken Shvarts hasn't been
heard from at all during the latest series of events. Apart from
a one-line posting to his Facebook page on Monday, he's had no
public comment, and even the station's passionate fans, who've
been outspoken about the latest developments on all the usual
message boards, say they've heard nothing at all from Mega management
to clear up what's going on. Mega's stock dipped below a penny
per share last week, closing at $0.008 per share, and the company
has now pulled back from its ambitious expansion plans for "Pulse."
Mega had earlier announced that it wasn't going ahead with plans
to launch "Pulse" on channel 6 LPTVs in Chicago and
Los Angeles, and last week it dropped its plans to put the format
on a channel 6 LPTV in the Washington, DC market.
- After a tumultuous week in MASSACHUSETTS radio, things got
back down to business as Boston's WBCN (104.1) prepared for its
final farewell. The station's swan song will take place over
four days, starting Saturday, August 8 and wrapping up Tuesday,
August 11 with the three-way flip that sends WBCN to HD2 retirement
on 98.5-2, moves "Mix" WBMX from 98.5 to 104.1, and
launches the new all-sports "Sports Hub" WBZ-FM on
98.5's main channel.
- There's a physical move coming as well: by early August,
Mix will have finished its move from 1200 Soldiers Field Road,
next door to WBZ-TV/WSBK-TV/WBZ(AM), down the road to the CBS
Radio cluster studio at 83 Leo Birmingham Parkway in the former
WSBK studio building - and that will end some two decades of
radio at 1200 Soldiers Field Road, starting with WBOS (92.9),
which was joined there by WSSH (99.5, later WOAZ) before those
stations moved out and WBMX moved in as part of the big cluster
shuffles of the late '90s.
- The public broadcaster serving northwest PENNSYLVANIA is
warning that its impending removal from the cable lineup in London,
Ontario could be the last straw forcing it to close down. WQLN-TV
(Channel 54)/WQLN-FM (91.3) has already been hit hard by budget
cutbacks, including an $800,000 hit in state funding that forced
the station to lay off staffers and cut pay for remaining employees.
Losing its 1700 members across Lake Erie in London would reduce
the station's donations by about 20%, says president Dwight Miller,
removing another $150,000-$200,000 from the station's already
tight budget. "It would seriously jeopardize our ability
to stay open," Miller told the Erie Times-News last week,
forcing WQLN to put itself up for sale or to investigate consolidating
with other public broadcasters. WQLN says it's investigating
the possibility of a fiber connection to Rogers Cable in London
to replace the off-air pickup that Rogers says has been unreliable,
leading to its decision to replace WQLN with Detroit's WTVS,
effective August 18.
- Today is the last day for AM radio in the largest city in
CANADA's Maritimes, as CFDR (Kixx 780) in Halifax, Nova Scotia
signs off, ending a 46-year run that's found the station on 790
and 680 as well as its current dial position. It appears that
the CFDR staff, including morning host Frank Lowe, won't be making
the move from current owner Newcap over to Rogers, which bought
the AM license so it could be moved to FM as "Lite"
CKLT (92.9), which officially launches today. (It's not yet clear
whether CKLT will simulcast on the old AM frequency for a transition
period, though we'd suspect they won't.)
July 25, 2005 -
- As Boston's WBZ-TV (Channel 4) fights to regain the ratings
dominance it once held in eastern MASSACHUSETTS, it will do so
under a new news director. Last week, the station sent ND Matt
Ellis packing, two years after Ellis replaced longtime news director
Peter Brown. For the moment, newsroom veteran Jen Street is running
things until a permanent replacement for Ellis is named.
- NEW YORK may soon have one fewer analog TV signal, as the
owners of WLNY-TV (Channel 55) in Patchogue apply to turn off
their analog signal and go digital-only (on channel 57 for now,
though they'll have to move from that interim channel in a few
years.) Here's the back story - the spectrum that's now UHF channels
52-59 is being reallocated out of broadcast use, and the FCC
has already auctioned several of those channels to new users,
even though they won't be able to occupy them right away. A subsidiary
of Qualcomm landed what's now channels 55 and 56, and they're
now making offers to stations on those channels to speed up the
transition and abandon analog TV earlier than scheduled. It's
a pretty good bet, we think, that very few of WLNY's viewers
are watching the over-the-air analog signal, and for everyone
else watching on cable or satellite, the station will remain
available as usual.
- By our count, this would be the third analog TV station in
NERW-land to go digital-only, following the leads of WRNN in
Kingston and WMCN in Atlantic City, N.J. Both of those stations
abandoned analog transmitters in favor of DTV signals that were
substantially closer to their target markets of New York and
Philadelphia, and thus gained more cable must-carry than they
would have enjoyed otherwise. (That won't be the case for WLNY,
which is already available on cable as far afield as Rockland
County and parts of northern New Jersey.)
- Heading upstate, Albany's WAMC completed its takeover of
WRUN (1150 Utica) last week, returning the signal to the air
after a few days of silence. It's now the westernmost link in
the WAMC public radio network, which stretches north to Plattsburgh,
south to Middletown and east to central Connecticut and Massachusetts.
July 31, 2000 -
- After just a few months as a public radio outlet, the lone
AM station in Bennington, VERMONT is about to return to commercial
operation. WBTN (1370) came along with Vermont Public Radio's
purchase of WBTN-FM (94.3) from Belva Keyworth last winter, and
for the moment, VPR had been using the AM mostly to simulcast
the FM, breaking away for a few minutes of local news, commentary,
and death notices on weekday mornings. VPR announced this week
that it will sell 1370, and the new owner should be familiar
to anyone who's ever put a piece of professional broadcasting
gear in a carrying case. Those blue canvas camera covers and
bags come from Porta-Brace of North Bennington -- whose owner,
Robert Howe, will soon buy WBTN(AM) from VPR to continue operating
it as a local voice for Bennington County. "WBTN-AM is in
good hands with Bob Howe and I'm sure he will be successful in
operating this legacy station that the Bennington community supports
so strongly," said VPR president Mark Vogelzang,
- Staying north for another moment, we see that the FCC has
flagged the Clear Channel purchases in the Bangor market for
ownership-cap review. By the way, we miscounted in our estimate
of what Communications Capital Managers paid for the six stations
involved -- it was actually just over $13 million, for a tidy
profit of just under $7 million from the sale.
- The big news this week in MASSACHUSETTS is the impending
departure of Charles Laquidara. The Big Mattress' finale on WZLX
(100.7 Boston) comes on Friday (8/4), and Charles will have a
busy week leading up to the last show -- from being honored with
a star on the Tower Records sidewalk on Monday to an open house
Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Cafe. (Which reminds us...NERW
would very much like to hear from anyone in WZLX signal range
able to tape the last Laquidara shows; read on to see why we
won't have the NERW-mobile parked in the shadow of the Pru ourselves.)
- It must be "end of an era" week, as over on the
TV side, WCVB (Channel 5) announced its post-Chet'n'Nat lineups.
Just as the last issue was going to press, GM Paul La Camera
spake thusly: Natalie Jacobson will do the 5 and 6 PM shows,
the former with Anthony Everett and the latter solo. In between,
Everett and Heather Kahn continue on the 5:30, and both return
at 11. What of Jacobson's former (on- and off-air) partner, Chet
Curtis? He'll anchor Sunday nights with Pam Cross, as well as
doing in-depth reports for channel 5 and its Web presence. Just
to add to the fun, a new news director is also on the way to
5 TV Place: Coleen Marren comes to WCVB from Hearst-Argyle sister
station WISN-TV (Channel 12) in Milwaukee. She starts August
- Meanwhile over at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), the new post-Liz Walker
lineup shakes out like this: With Walker now doing the noon show
and going home to her son, Joe Shortsleeve and Lisa Hughes take
the 5 and 11, Ted Wayman and Sara Underwood handle the 5:30,
and Hughes does the 6 with Jack Williams.
New England Radio Watch, July 26, 1995
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2010 by Scott Fybush.