August 16, 2010
Elvis Lands in Syracuse
*It's been a very slow week in NERW-land,
so in lieu of a full-sized column, we offer just a few headlines
from around the region:
Elvis Duran, who began his broadcast career in Syracuse, NEW
YORK at WJPZ (89.1), the Syracuse University station, is
returning to the market beginning today - but only in syndicated
WWHT (Hot 107.9), Clear Channel's top-40 station, is displacing
its own "Marty and Shannon" local morning show to pick
up Duran's New York-based "Morning Zoo." The morning
staff stays with the station on new shifts: Marty "the One-Man
Party" returns to the afternoon shift, while Shannon Wells
will be doing middays and "Deaf Geoff" will do weekends
and fill-ins. Former afternoon jock "Jus' Mic" will
move over to sister station WPHR (106.9), reports CNYRadio.com.
*Some other morning show shifts around the state: in New York
City, D.L. Hughley departed the morning show at WRKS (Kiss 98.7)
last week, saying on Monday that it was his last day with the
station. No replacement has been named yet for the comedian;
WRKS says he's simply away doing a movie, but it doesn't appear
he's coming back.
Also missing in action is Lilly Hisenaj, who's gone from the
website for the Brother Wease morning show at Rochester's WFXF
(95.1 the Fox) after under two years at the station.
*In Buffalo, "Swing 1270" is the new slogan for
the standards format Citadel has installed at WHLD (1270 Niagara
*Out on Long Island's East End, it will be down to the wire
for Peconic Public Broadcasting as it heads toward its August
31 deadline to make a $500,000 payment to Long Island University
for the license of WLIU (88.3 Southampton). Peconic is holding
a capital drive to put together the money for the station, and
the local papers are reporting that it's turning to Hamptons
bigwigs such as Alec Baldwin in an effort to step up its fundraising.
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*In MASSACHUSETTS, public station
WUMB-FM (91.9 Boston) has more than just call letters for its
new license northwest of Boston in Stow: the new WUMG (91.7)
signed on last Tuesday, and your editor heard its first afternoon
of broadcasts without even realizing it!
The new WUMG signal will operate only part-time when school
resumes this fall at share-time partner WAVM (91.7 Maynard).
The two stations share a common transmitter site, and the signal
is a big improvement over WAVM's old low-power signal, covering
much of the area between routes 128 and 495 north of the Mass
*There's a new AM-on-FM translator in MAINE,
where Dan Priestly checked in to report that he's put W231CH
(94.1 Bangor) on the air, relaying WWNZ (1400 Veazie).
Got swag? Here in Rochester,
your editor is part of the committee that's planning this year's
convention for two prominent DX clubs, the National Radio Club
and the Worldwide TV-FM Association. They're coming to town August
27-29, and if your station (or broadcast-related company) has
any bumper stickers, keychains, T-shirts, or anything else you'd
like to add to the convention's big door-prize pile, we'd love
to have them. (Contact your editor for a mailing address...)
*In western PENNSYLVANIA, they're
mourning Nellie King, the former Pirates pitcher who went into
broadcasting after retiring from the team in 1959. King worked
for several suburban stations in the early sixties, then announced
Bucs games from 1967-75. He later did sports for several Pittsburgh
radio and TV stations, including WWSW, KDKA, WTAE-TV and KDKA-TV,
and served as sports information director at Duquesne University.
King died August 11 at 82, of colon cancer.
In the Pottsville area, some changes at WAVT (101.9) and WPPA
(1360): Travis Sparks is leaving his full-time post as production
director to take a new job outside of radio; he'll still be heard
on T102 at nights via voice-tracking, while operations manager/WPPA
PD Jay Levan takes over production duties. Sherry Marchefsky
joins the stations as morning news anchor.
*An obituary in NEW JERSEY as well:
Mark Carros, who'd worked in TV and radio news in the Albany,
Elmira, Syracuse and Johnstown markets (and outside the region,
too), died August 7 of cancer, at age 55. Carros was most recently
working as news operations manager at WMGM-TV (Channel 40) in
Carros wasn't the only death in the WMGM-TV family last week:
Syd Small, president/CEO of parent company Access.1 Communications,
died at age 72. Small began his broadcast ownership career in
1982, when he purchased WWRL (1600 New York) from the United
Negro College Fund; he later added radio stations in Texas and
Louisiana to his holdings as well.
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*If it was quiet in the U.S., it was a downright
somnolent week up in CANADA, where everyone was apparently
away in cottage country. But as long as we're pointed up the
400 from Toronto, we note that the CRTC has approved Haliburton
Broadcasting's C$125,000 purchase of CJJM (99.3 Espanola) from
The CRTC also approved a frequency change on Prince Edward
Island, where CIOG-FM-1 in Summerside, the relay of Christian
station CIOG (91.3 Charlottetown), will move from 91.1 to 92.5
to make room for a new relay of Charlottetown's CKQK, also on
And a correction from last week: while CKOY (104.5 Sherbrooke)
is part of the "CKOI" network, it doesn't actually
simulcast parent station CKOI (96.9 Montreal).
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!)
August 17, 2009 -
- There was a common thread to a lot of the commentary about
the big radio changes last week in MASSACHUSETTS: if CBS Radio's
WBCN (104.1 Boston) had sounded all along the way it did in its
final days, wrapped in a powerful web of nostalgia for 41 years
of rock radio, it might still be thriving, rather than relegated
to an HD-2 subchannel on the station's successor, "Sports
Hub" WBZ-FM (98.5 Boston).
- It's true that the last gasp of WBCN was great radio, as
jocks from throughout the station's long and storied history
returned to say goodbye, even if the moment was marred a bit
by the curious decision by CBS management to bar even the mention
of the name of one of the station's most important personalities,
longtime afternoon jock Mark Parenteau, whose career-ending legal
issues came long after he'd departed Boston.
- In a week full of manufactured nostalgia for the 40th anniversary
of Woodstock, though, the farewell to a station that predated
that festival by a year felt both more genuine and more heartfelt,
especially in the final hours of WBCN's four-day retrospective.
As the clock neared midnight on Tuesday (Aug. 13), WBCN went
out in about as eclectic a way as possible, ending with Frank
Sinatra's "That's Life," followed by Cream's "I
Feel Free" (the first song played on WBCN as a rock station
back in 1968) and then by Pink Floyd's "Shine On (You Crazy
Diamond)," which gave way to a montage of WBCN IDs, followed
by two hours of simulated static and then the launch of the new
"Mix 104," WBMX. And what was that in between Sinatra
and Cream? One last stopset - a reminder that this is first,
last and always about business, and that the cost of running
a station like the "old" WBCN is probably more than
any commercial broadcaster could bear in 2009.
- On, then, to the future, which came a day and a half after
WBCN gave way to "Mix" on 104.1. By Wednesday morning,
WBMX's old home on 98.5 was broadcasting a loop reminding Mix
listeners to head up the dial, and Thursday morning brought a
soft launch of the "Sports Hub," as WBZ-FM debuted
with encores of several of the Patriots' recent Super Bowl wins,
leading into the station's official debut with the Pats' first
pre-season game that afternoon. Here's how the new station's
lineup shapes up: in addition to former WBCN morning jocks Toucher
and Rich handling wakeup duties, WBZ-FM features Gary Tanguay
of Comcast SportsNet and ex-Pats QB Scott Zolak from 10 AM-2
PM, CSN's Michael Felger and the Globe's Tony Massarotti from
2-6 PM, and Damon Amendolara, late of Miami's WQAM, from 6-midnight.
Sporting News Radio's syndicated sports talk fills out the overnight
and weekend lineup for now. Felger, interestingly, can now claim
to have worked at all three of the market's sports stations in
just over a year, as he's bounced from ESPN outlet WAMG (890)
to Entercom's WEEI (850) to the new WBZ-FM, where he's now a
key player in what's shaping up to be a most interesting battle
between established behemoth WEEI and the new "Sports Hub."
- Downstate, it came as no great surprise late last week when
Mega Media Group filed for bankruptcy. Mega owns "Pulse
87," the dance station that leases the audio carrier of
LPTV station WNYZ-LP (Channel 6) - and it reports that it owes
$3.5 million against assets of just $180,000. Mega says it hopes
to continue operating Pulse while it restructures under Chapter
- Radio (and TV) People on the Move: One of upstate New York's
most prominent public broadcasting voices is changing stations,
as Susan Arbetter departs Albany's WMHT for a new post as news
and public affairs director at WCNY radio and TV in Syracuse.
Arbetter joined WMHT two years ago to produce and host the statewide
"New York Now" public affairs show; before that, she'd
been news director at Albany's WAMC public radio. At WCNY, Arbetter
will be responsible for news coverage on both TV and radio, and
the station says she'll be working on developing a statewide
news service as well.
August 8 & 15, 2005 -
- In MASSACHUSETTS, WRKO (680 Boston) GM Tom Baker is out of
a job as Entercom eliminates his position; cluster manager Julie
Kahn assumes his responsibilities. (WRKO also had a guest appearance
by ousted WBZ reporter Flo Jonic last week; she filled in on
the station's morning show.) Over in Worcester, the WSRS (96.1)
morning team of Austin Davis and Kerry Mathieson is out as well,
with Jackie Brush and WTAG's Greg Byrne filling in.
- In NEW HAMPSHIRE, WEVS (88.3 Nashua) signed on Tuesday (Aug.
9) just before 11 AM, improving New Hampshire Public Radio's
service to the southern end of the state. The station's transmitter
sits atop St. Joseph's Hospital, with 5 kilowatts of power aimed
mostly north-northwest. Over in Keene, Jay Stevens is back on
the air at WKNE (103.7), replacing Adam Weinreich in mid-mornings.
Stevens was on WOQL (then at 98.7) until 2004, when he went to
work at Disney World as a sound engineer.
- And the new management at WNDS (Channel 50, soon to be WZMY)
in Derry made some waves last week by cancelling the station's
venerable "Candlepin Bowling" show.
- From PENNSYLVANIA comes word of the sale of WEEO (1480 Shippensburg),
as Cary Simpson's Allegheny Mountain Network transfers the station
to Eric Swidler, son of WIOO (1000 Carlisle) owner Harold Swidler.
Ray Rosenblum was the broker, and the sale price was $65,000.
- Outside Philadelphia, we're delighted to report that the
FCC has granted WHHS (107.9 Havertown) a construction permit
to move to 99.9. The station needed waivers from WJBR (99.5 Wilmington
DE) and WPHI (100.3 Media) to make the move, which allows it
to stay on the air after the class D high school station (the
oldest in the nation) was displaced from 107.9 by the sign-on
of WPHI sister station WRNB (107.9 Pennsauken NJ). WHHS still
has to be back on the air by December 18 to avoid losing its
license for being silent more than a year, but in the capable
hands of engineer Mark Humphrey and several other friends of
high school radio in the area, that shouldn't be an issue.
August 21, 2000 -
- In honor of our first stop on this August's travels, we'll
start in CANADA, where two new FM signals now grace the dial
in southern Ontario. First up was 102.3 in London, the new CHUM
Group FM. No calls have been heard yet, but it's running a test
loop and wiping out whatever reception of Erie's co-channel WJET
might have been left in the area. We're hoping for an actual
format on this one any day now.
- Over in Hamilton, Doug Kirk and Rae Roe have started testing
their new 1880 watt outlet on 94.7, and this one *does* have
calls and a format. CIWV will program smooth jazz when it takes
the air for real in a few weeks.
- Just across the border, TV duopoly is once again coming to
upstate NEW YORK -- and just maybe it'll stick this time. You'll
recall that Granite Broadcasting intended to add UPN affiliate
WNGS (Channel 67) to its ABC powerhouse WKBW-TV (Channel 7) in
Buffalo, but pulled out of the deal in May. Now Sinclair is making
Buffalo another of its many duopoly markets with the purchase
of Grant Broadcasting, which owns WB affiliate WNYO-TV (Channel
49). Adding WNYO to its own Fox affiliate, WUTV (Channel 29),
seems to make more sense for Sinclair than its original plan
from last year, which involved buying public TV WNEQ (Channel
23) from the Western New York Public Broadcasting Authority.
(That sale collapsed during Sinclair's financial problems, which
have apparently now been resolved). NERW wonders what will happen
now to the rumors that WNYO was planning to partner with one
of Buffalo's big three network affiliates for a 10PM newscast,
something Sinclair still isn't offering on WUTV. (We believe
that makes Buffalo the largest Fox market still lacking local
news.) Sinclair will also likely need an FCC waiver for the overlap
between the WNYO signal and that of Rochester's Fox affiliate,
WUHF (Channel 31). (WUHF and WUTV have a long-standing co-ownership
waiver that predates duopoly, so we don't really expect any problems
on that account.)
- Speaking of TV duopoly, it's about to happen in a big way
in New York City -- that is, if Fox can overcome the regulatory
hurdles that will no doubt accompany its proposed purchase of
the Chris-Craft/United Television stations. If the deal goes
through, Rupert Murdoch will add WWOR (Channel 9 Secaucus) to
his WNYW (Channel 5) in the Big Apple, as well as creating a
2-VHF duopoly (KTTV 11 and KCOP 13) in Los Angeles. [As an aside,
those are about the only markets where V/V duopolies are possible;
almost anywhere else, they're ruled out by the FCC's requirement
that only one of the TV stations in a duopoly can be one of the
four highest-rated stations in the market.] What might happen
to UPN (make that the Paramount Network) if it loses its affiliates
in the two largest markets? We'll know in a few months, since
the Paramount/United affiliation contracts expire in January
- Over on the radio side, Mega Broadcasting's AM 1380 in New
York is getting ready to return to the air under new calls. As
suspected, the WNNY calls that landed on the former WINX (1600
Rockville MD) in the Washington DC market were being parked there
for use on Alfred Alonso's new Spanish-language all-news station;
1380's former calls of WKDM are headed down to Washington for
new life on 1600. Expect the new WNNY on the air within a few
weeks -- just in time to compete with the stronger signal of
WADO (1280), which has finally accompanied its new towers with
the 50 kilowatt day power (and 7500 watts at night) for which
they were designed. (Thanks, but we'll take the old 5kw and the
now-destroyed Blaw-Knox diamond tower instead...)
New England Radio Watch, August 15, 1995
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- 92.5 in Haverhill MA (30 miles north of Boston) has new calls.
They started using them Monday August 14...and in keeping with
the station's new non-ID "The River," they're WXRV.
The former calls, WLYT, had been buried very quietly and quickly
at the top of the hour only, ever since the format change August
1. The format is still evolving -- it had started as almost a
straight AAA, but it now incorporates a lot of 80s pop as well.
Fun to listen to, and more lively than AAA rival WBOS 92.9.
- Jerry Garcia's death was marked here with daylong special
programming Wednesday on classic rocker WZLX, frequent Dead tunes
on AAA WBOS, a rerun of an old "Rockline" show featuring
Garcia on New Hampshire's WGIR-FM and Providence's WHJY, and
almost nothing from heritage rocker WBCN, now that it's leaning
more modern. BOS followed up with 5 hours of special programming
Saturday night, and WZLX did a couple of hours that night as
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2010 by Scott Fybush.