September 6, 2010
A Reprieve for CHSC - For Now
*CANADA was supposed to have lost
yet another AM station at the close of business August 31 - but
troubled CHSC (1220 St. Catharines) was still on the air the
next day, and it now appears there will be more legal maneuvering
before the CRTC can enforce its order directing owner Pellpropco
to silence the station that's been at the center of numerous
CRTC actions in recent years.
On August 25, Pellpropco
asked the Federal Court of Appeals to issue a stay while it awaits
a response to an application for leave to appeal the CRTC ruling,
and with just hours to go before CHSC's death sentence, the appeals
court granted the stay. In its ruling, the appeals court concluded
that "The Crown has not alleged any specific harm to the
Crown or the public interest that could result if Pellpropco
is permitted to continue its broadcasting activities pending
the disposition of its application for leave to appeal."
A Crown response to the application for leave to appeal is
due September 13, and it now seems likely that CHSC will continue
to pursue legal options to stay on the air despite the CRTC's
decision not to renew its license. Among the precedents being
cited by CHSC is the case of Genec Communications and CHOI (98.1
Quebec City), the last time the CRTC attempted to pull a station's
Back then, the issue was purely one of content - CHOI had
run afoul of CRTC standards with its outspoken morning show -
and there was a considerable amount of public pressure helping
to push higher levels of the Canadian government to overturn
the CRTC's decision and allow CHOI to remain on the air under
a new licensee. In CHSC's case, the CRTC has amassed plenty of
evidence suggesting that Pellpropco is unwilling to abide by
some of the most basic tenets of Canadian broadcast licensing
(including an unauthorized change of studio location and programming
language), and it's not clear that CHSC has anywhere near the
kind of political influence that CHOI did.
*While we're in the Toronto area, we note that multiethnic
station CHIN (1540) is applying for a big power increase for
the FM relay of its AM signal. CHIN-FM-1 (91.9) wants to jump
from 161 watts DA (350 watts maximum) to 1850 watts DA (5 kW
maximum), from 86 meters above average terrain, increasing the
population in its 3 mV/m (70 dBu) contour from 442,756 to more
than 1.5 million.
Milkman UnLimited reports that Jason Barr is out at
Corus' CFNY (102.1 the Edge) in Toronto, where he spent many
years producing the old Humble and Fred morning show and more
recently served as co-host of Dean Blundell's morning show. Down
the dial, Taylor Kaye segues from afternoons at Astral's CKFM
(Virgin Radio 99.9) to middays at Rogers' CISS (Kiss 92.5), returning
to the station where her career began.
(And we join with Milkman editor John Mielke in sending
our best wishes to Craig Smith, founder and moderator of the
Southern Ontario-Western NY Radio Message Forum, aka "SOWNY."
Craig has been in and out of the hospital in recent years, and
as we assemble the column this Monday morning, he's been moved
to a palliative care unit after doctors decided he's not strong
enough to remain on the transplant list. There's an update
page on the SOWNY site where Craig's friends are providing
the latest news on his condition.)
*In London, Astral tweaked formats this morning at CIQM (97.5),
keeping the "EZ Rock" nickname but updating the station's
format from AC to a more contemporary hot AC sound. Veteran CIQM
morning man Rich Greven is gone from the station's staff after
a quarter-century on the air in London, replaced by Mark Lapointe
for "EZ Mornings." Down the dial, we're hearing that
Karl Josephs is out of morning drive on sister station CKSL (Oldies
1410) - and that at CJBK (1290), Shauna Rae's late-morning talk
show is being replaced by a simulcast of Tom McConnell's show
from CKTB (610 St. Catharines).
Out east, Evanov has been conducting signal tests for its
new CKHY (105.1 Halifax), with the official launch of modern
rock "Live 105" expected as early as today.
And over on Cape Breton Island, we're hearing that the CBC
is pulling back on its plans to replace CBI (1140 Sydney) with
a new FM signal, CBIT (97.1). While the FM signal was on the
air over the summer, it was apparently only for the purpose of
signal tests, and CBI remains very much on the air - and may
stay that way, with the FM signal becoming only a "nested"
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*If Press Communications gets its way, there
will soon be a frequency swap on the NEW JERSEY shore:
it's applying to move WBHX (99.7 Tuckerton) to 99.3, sending
Atlantic's WZBZ (99.3 Pleasantville) to 99.7. The swap would
allow WBHX to move its transmitter site from Long Beach Island
to another location a few miles inland, wasting less of its signal
over the ocean and reducing the overlap between WBHX and its
"Breeze" soft AC simulcast partner, WWZY (107.1 Long
before WBHX can move to those new 2.2 kW/210' facilities (lower
power but greater antenna height compared to its present 5.6
kW/108'), there are some FCC obstacles to overcome: WZBZ's move
to 99.7 would make it short-spaced to the Atlantic City Board
of Education's WAJM (88.9 Atlantic City). Press says that shouldn't
be a factor, because WAJM's license ceased to be valid way back
in 2006, when no renewal application was filed. Press says it's
tried to contact the school board about the current status of
WAJM (which NERW believes is on the air, at last check), but
received no reply. As a backup position, Press notes that the
IF-spacing rules that govern the spacing between 88.9 and 99.7
do not apply to stations of less than 100 watts, so it suggests
WAJM could be reduced in power from 150 to 99 watts, at Press'
There's one more station in the way of the proposed 99.7/99.3
swap: WPOV-LP (99.9 Vineland) already has a pending CP, also
at Press' expense, to move to the 107.7 frequency that became
available after WSNJ-FM in Bridgeton was moved off 107.7 a few
The rest of this week's Garden State news also comes from
the shore, which is fitting for this end-of-summer holiday: in
Wildwood, Jim MacMillan is retiring from WCMC (1230) on September
21, ending more than two decades with the station, most recently
as PD and morning host.
In Ocean County, Brick Memorial High School has officially
surrendered the license to WBGD (91.9 Brick). In a letter to
the FCC, principal Richard Caldes wrote that, "Unfortunately,
the wiring sustained damage during a roof replacement, and due
to the current economic climate facing public schools in New
Jersey, it is financially impossible to replace and/or repair
to operate." WBGD went on the air in 1975 as a 10-watter,
and had upgraded over the years to 195 watts/56'.
And in Monmouth County, there's a new oldies simulcast on
the air: WADB (1310 Asbury Park) has dropped its Fox Sports format
and is now paired up with WOBM (1160 Lakewood Township), which
segues from standards to a more up-tempo oldies format.
Away from the shore,
the political wheels keep turning in Trenton, where Governor
Chris Christie is pushing forward with a plan to spin NJN public
TV and radio away from state ownership, possibly as soon as the
start of 2011. On Thursday, Christie sent lawmakers a bill called
the "New Jersey Public Broadcasting System Restructuring
Act," which would either transfer the NJN stations to another
public broadcaster (presumably the big guns at opposite ends
of the state, New York-based WNET and Philadelphia-based WHYY)
or to a new independent nonprofit. It's not at all clear whether
lawmakers will go along with the Christie plan; they've scheduled
several public hearings later this month on the issue. Meanwhile,
NJN interim director Howard Blumenthal has announced that he's
leaving that post September 17 after a year at the helm of the
statewide network. He'll return to Philadelphia's independent
noncommercial TV station, WYBE (aka "MiND-TV"), where
he's been working part-time.
*We begin our PENNSYLVANIA news up
in the state's northwestern corner, where WWCB (1370 Corry) has
picked up a venerable set of calls, WHYP. That callsign spent
many decades on the air in nearby North East, where the inimitable
James Brownyard ran a one-man operation on AM 1530 (now Mercyhurst
College's WYNE) and FM 100.9 (now WRKT), distinguished by his
gravelly-voiced IDs and the occasional sound of a record running
out while Brownyard was out mowing the lawn.
last week, "WHYP" is back on the air, attached to an
oldies format on 1370 that's being operated by Vilkie Communications,
which also owns WMVL (101.7 Linesville) over in the Meadville
market. The FM is "Cool 101.7," and the AM is now "Cool
(Until Mercyhurst bought 1530 a few years back, it was co-owned
with WWCB and even simulcasted for a time; the old Jim Brownyard
version of WHYP, meanwhile, lives on by way of a pirate station
that's heard on the shortwaves every once in a while...)
*While we're up around Erie, Penn State Behrend is getting
an FM translator for its business-talk AM station, WPSE (1450).
Donors to the university have ponied up the $68,000 that it will
cost Penn State to buy W296AW (107.1 Erie) from Michael Celenza.
Just across the state line, former Pittsburgh broadcaster
Chris Lash has a new format on WRTK (1540 Niles, Ohio) - the
little Youngstown-market AM station is now doing classic country
as "AM 1540, the Farm."
Down in the southwesternmost corner of the state, WCYJ in
Waynesburg has changed frequencies: the class D station at Waynesburg
University has relocated from 88.7 to 99.5, boosting power just
a bit (from 6 to 7 watts) and getting out of the way of interference
from WYFU (88.5 Masontown) in the process.
In Williamsport, Daniel Klingerman and Larry Allison, Jr.
are buying out Jeff Andrulonis' 33% interest in Colonial Radio
Group of Williamsport, which owns WLYC (1050) and translator
W281AR (104.1). Andrulonis will receive $20,000 for his third
of the partnership.
And we're sorry to hear of the death of Ron Smith, who was
known on the air as "James Pond" doing mornings at
Forever's WGYY (100.3 Meadville)/WGYI (98.5 Oil City). Smith
died last Thursday (Sept. 2); he was just 49 and had been with
the stations for about three years.
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*Again befitting our Labor Day issue, our
NEW YORK coverage starts out in the Hamptons, where Long
Island University has granted Peconic Public Broadcasting yet
another extension to come up with the $637,000 it still owes
as the final payment for the license of public radio station
WLIU (88.3 Southampton).
money was to have been due at the end of August, but LIU extended
the deadline, first to September 3 and now to September 28.
"While PPB has not raised all of the funds required to
complete the purchase, it has indicated that significant progress
is being made and Long Island University has agreed to the extension
based upon their assurances that it will soon have the funding
needed to purchase the station," said a statement from the
university announcing the second extension.
In a part of the statement where some residents are driving
cars that cost as much as that last payment, Peconic has struggled
to persuade the area's largely seasonal inhabitants to pony up
for local public radio, but as the deadline loomed, the broadcaster
began to line up commitments. PPB says a local bank has now committed
to loaning it the needed funds, and it's lined up a $50,000 matching
grant from George Soros.
While we're out on the East End, there are new calls for Hamptons
Community Radio's new construction permit on 89.1 in Westhampton:
it will be WEEW, to go along with WEER on 88.7.
*Upstate New York was a little slower than the rest of the
country to get on the "early-early morning news" bandwagon,
but CNYRadio.com reports that the area is about to get
its first 4:30 AM newscast, courtesy of WSYR-TV (Channel 9) in
Syracuse, which starts its 4:30 AM show tomorrow. WSYR-TV is
also adding a 10 PM newscast on its 9.2 digital subchannel; the
15-minute show anchored by James Gaddis will repeat at 10:15,
10:30 and 10:45 in an attempt to pull early-late-news viewers
away from the market's only current option, the WSTM-produced
10 PM show on WSTQ (Channel 14/WSTM 3.2), which is itself expanding
from 30 minutes to a full hour this week.
no early-early-morning news in Rochester yet, but there's about
to be an early-early-evening option: CBS affiliate WROC-TV (Channel
8) rolls out the market's first 4 PM show next Monday, with Matt
Molloy at the anchor desk. Across town at WHAM-TV (Channel 13),
we're still waiting for the debut of the first HD local news
in the area; the initial plan to launch August 28 was held up
by some technical issues, and now we're hearing "sometime
in early September" for the start of the HD newscasts there.
Radio People on the Move: former WXXI (1370) news director
Peter Iglinski has landed a new gig outside the broadcast universe.
He's moving over to the University of Rochester as a senior science
writer later this month. (Usual disclaimer and then some: your
editor works at WXXI, and was hired there by Peter - and wishes
him all the very best as he heads off to new challenges!)
*The Buffalo Broadcasters Association has named this year's
class of Hall of Fame inductees, and for 2010 it leans very heavily
on the early days of Buffalo radio and TV. Only Ed Kilgore, longtime
sports director at WGRZ (Channel 2), is still working in the
market; the rest of the class includes WGR radio/TV personality
Frank Benny, WEBR music director Mary Brady, reporter Brian Meyer,
WEBR manager Margaret Russ-Guenther, WGR-TV/WBEN-TV/"Inside
Edition" reporter Les Trent, and public radio's Bill Siemering,
who took the innovations he developed at WBFO to the national
level when he helped create "All Things Considered"
for NPR in the early seventies.
The hall of fame induction ceremony on September 21 will also
include a tribute to the 50th anniversary of what's now WNED-FM
(94.5); there's more information, as always, at BuffaloBroadcasters.com.
Ithaca, WHCU (870) once again has an FM simulcast: it's being
heard over W240CB (95.9), which is the relocated version of an
older Ithaca translator, the old W238AA (95.5). WHCU had briefly
been heard on 95.5 before that translator was forced off the
air by the move-in of WFIZ (95.5 Odessa); this time, the translator
is getting promoted heavily on WHCU, including in the talk station's
There's significant Empire State representation on the newly-elected
board of the Society of Broadcast Engineers: SBE president Vinny
Lopez, also known as director of engineering at Syracuse's WSYT-TV/WNYS-TV,
has been re-elected to another yearlong term. He'll serve alongside
treasurer (and New Jersey-based engineer) Andrea Cummis and board
member Jeff Smith (Clear Channel Radio in New York City).
(And this is probably a good chance, too, to mention the upcoming
SBE 22 Broadcast and Technology Expo, which takes place at Central
New York's Turning Stone Casino on October 6. President Vinny
will be there, and so will your editor...)
*In Glens Falls, there's a new format at WENU (1410 South
Glens Falls): the Pamal station has segued from standards to
classic country. Across the hall at sister station WFFG (107.1
Hudson Falls), "Big Mike" Patrick is departing morning
drive after two years on the job. AllAccess reports that
Patrick just survived a second serious car accident on his 50-mile
commute from Albany to the Pamal studios in Glens Falls, and
he's now seeking work closer to home. Kate Sullivan has moved
from middays to mornings and Ken Edwards is handling middays
for now at "Froggy."
There's a new transmitter on the air for North Country Public
Radio: WSLZ (88.1 Cape Vincent) extends the network's reach westward
a bit, supplanting a North Country translator on 93.9 and improving
the network's signal over nearby Kingston, Ontario.
Moving down to New York City, Eric Meyrowitz is the new VP/general
manager at WPIX (Channel 11), moving up from Tribune sister station
WDCW (Channel 50) in Washington to take the place of Betty-Ellen
*As eastern MASSACHUSETTS
and RHODE ISLAND breathe deep sighs of relief at having
dodged the brunt of Hurricane Earl, two broadcast groups are
learning that they'll get one of the last open FM channels in
the area, as long as they're prepared to share time.
The FCC considered 13 competing applications in a mutually-exclusive
group that stretched from Palmer and Ware, Massachusetts down
to northern Rhode Island, and when the dust settled, two applications
for 91.5 - one from St. Joseph's Radio Station Inc. for Pascoag
and another from Providence Community Radio for Harrisville -
ended up tied under the FCC's point system. Each received a "tentative
preference," but they'll be required to come up with a time-sharing
agreement before they can receive construction permits for the
(Among the losing applicants were some big names - Boston's
WBUR sought a new signal in Ware, while Bryant University had
applied for Pascoag and Rhode Island Public Radio for Woonsocket.)
*With the impending end of business talk on WBIX (1060 Natick,
soon to be Catholic WQOM), some of the station's program lineup
is finding new homes elsewhere on the AM dial. That includes
Barry Armstrong, who's taking his financial talk down the dial
to WRKO (680), where he'll displace an hour of Charley Manning's
midday show for the noon-1 PM "Lunch Money with Barry Armstrong"
beginning later this week.
The 4:30 AM news trend continues to spread in New England
as well: Boston's WCVB (Channel 5) starts its early-early show
tomorrow, followed by WFXT (Channel 25) in two weeks, leaving
only WHDH (Channel 7) without a 4:30 AM show in Boston, which
is odd for a station that's usually led the parade into non-traditional
timeslots for news.
(Down east, Maine's WCSH Portland/WLBZ Bangor also added a
4:30 AM "Early Morning Report" over the summer.)
Where are they now? Former WBCN program director Dave Wellington
moved down to Washington two years ago to program Clear Channel
rocker WWDC (DC101), later adding Baltimore's "Jack FM"
WQSR (102.7) to his portfolio, but he's now parted ways with
*In MAINE, Bill Fox became the second
high-profile Portland morning man in as many weeks to lose his
job when he was ousted from Nassau's Portland "Frank-FM"
(WFNK 107.5 Lewiston) in late August. He's looking for new work,
and blogging at BillFoxRocks.com
in the meantime.
The University of Maine at Farmington has apparently completed
the upgrade of its student station. WUMF has been a 13-watt class
D signal on 100.1, but the University applied for, and was granted,
a new 100-watt class A facility on 91.5. The station received
$17,000 in student activity money to help pay for a new transmitter,
antenna and studio equipment.
Light of Life Ministries
has reshuffled its translator lineup in southern Maine, shifting
signals in Portland (W223BH 92.5 and W300BN 107.9), Sanford (W246BP
100.7), Freeport (W252BT 98.3), Biddeford (W272CG 102.3) and
Yarmouth (W272BV 102.3) from WMDR-FM (88.9 Oakland) to the "Worship-FM"
signal from WWWA (95.3 Winslow). The network is still ironing
out some technical issues: listeners reported hearing the Biddeford
102.3 signal relaying WLNH (98.3 Laconia NH) last week, as summertime
propagation knocked out reception of its intended parent signal,
the 98.3 Freeport translator. Northwest of Portland, Light of
Life will also sign on WFYB (91.5 Fryeburg) as part of the "Worship-FM"
network this fall.
*And in Hartford, CONNECTICUT, there's
word of cutbacks at Clear Channel's WHCN (105.9 the River): morning
man Chuck Taylor and music director/air personality Rod Warner
are both gone from the station, which is now advertising for
a new morning host who "will also put your deep Selector
knowledge and music flow theory to good use."
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 31 & September 7, 2009
- Vandals struck the tower sites of two AM radio stations around
the country early Friday morning: KRKO (1380) in Everett, Washington,
where the activist group Earth Liberation Front is taking credit
for the bulldozer attack that took down two self-supporting towers
at what's been a very controversial new transmitter site - and
WAEB (790) in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the northernmost
of five 1949-vintage guyed towers at the Whitehall, PA transmitter
site was brought down by someone who snipped three sets of guy
- WAEB, a Clear Channel-owned talk station, is licensed to
run 3600 watts by day using just two of the towers, with all
five towers in use at night with 1500 watts - and the station
has remained on the air, evidently using either the day pattern
or lower power, non-directionally. The tower that fell went down
in one piece, which is unusual for a guyed tower, and its tip
barely missed the guy wires for the next tower to the south,
avoiding still more damage to the site.
- An investigation into the vandalism is now underway, with
the FBI involved. There's on-line speculation about connections
between the WAEB attack and the KRKO attack just hours later;
our semi-informed speculation would suggest that there's no obvious
link between the two incidents, since WAEB - unlike KRKO - is
a longtime fixture that's never caused much controversy in its
- Back in the day, a format war in a place like Syracuse, NEW
YORK meant a head-to-head battle between two standalone stations
- say, WOLF and WNDR - each one throwing everything it had at
the wall in hopes of taking the competion down. As of last Friday,
there's once again a format war brewing in Syracuse - but this
time it's a somewhat tamer fight, pitting two arms of a big corporate
cluster against another signal recently spun off from that same
- At least there's one thing the latest battle in the Salt
City has in common with the wars of the last generation: it still
involves a station called WOLF, broadcasting from the same little
concrete-block building on Kirkpatrick Street that was the scene
of so much good radio in the sixties and seventies.
- The latest fight is in the country music arena, and here's
how it's all playing out: The dominant country station in Syracuse
for more than a decade now has been Clear Channel's WBBS (104.7
Fulton) - but when Clear Channel had to unload another signal
in its cluster, the former WWDG (105.1 DeRuyter), it inadvertently
unleashed a competitor to "B104.7." As NERW readers
know, the 105.1 signal went back to its former owners, Craig
Fox and Sam Furco, doing business as Foxfur Communications. Foxfur
initially took 105.1 back to its old calls, WVOA-FM, with the
same religious/ethnic format it had used until 2001. But a couple
of weeks ago, WVOA-FM flipped to a simulcast of Radio Disney
(heard on Fox's WOLF 1490 and two sister AM stations) - and then,
last Thursday, 105.1 flipped again, this time to "WOLF Country,"
going right up against B104.7 just two notches away on the dial.
- Clear Channel, as it turned out, had some additional weapons
in its arsenal: just a few hours after the launch of "WOLF
Country," Clear Channel's WPHR (106.9 Auburn) abruptly pulled
the plug on the "Power 106.9" urban format it had been
running for most of the decade, replacing it with "Young
Country 106.9," giving Clear Channel two FM country signals
to flank Foxfur's one - and setting the market a-twitter (and
in some cases, on Twitter) with speculation about what happens
next. For Clear Channel, the 106.9 flip is part of a bigger transition
for the station, which is in the process of moving east from
Auburn, where it's been licensed as a class B station since its
days long ago as WMBO-FM and WPCX, to the Syracuse suburb of
Solvay, where it will be a 9 kW/407' class B1 signal from a new
site above Onondaga Community College, putting a stronger signal
over Syracuse at the expense of the station's present broad coverage
of the Finger Lakes.
- How long will the battle last? "WOLF Country" says
it will bring live air talent on board in at least three dayparts
within a month or two, says CNYRadio.com - which also reports
that call changes are in the works to change the calls of 105.1
from WVOA-FM to WOLF-FM. That means Fox's pair of "Movin'"
FM signals will change calls as well - WOLF-FM (96.7 Oswego)
becomes WMVN, while WWLF-FM (100.3 Sylvan Beach) becomes WMVU
- and the WVOA-FM calls return to what's now WVOU (103.9 Mexico).
There's no word on air talent or new calls on "Young Country
106.9," and it's anyone's guess whether the country format
is just a temporary way to lure listeners away from the new Wolf
and back into the B104.7 family - or whether it will remain as
the new 106.9 signal settles in.
- MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: WPHR is reportedly back to its former
"Power" urban format as of 8 AM. More to come...
- Down the Thruway in the Albany market, the analog audio signal
at 87.9 MHz that WRGB (Channel 6) had been running is now off
the air. We'd been wondering about the authorization for that
signal, which is even closer to the bottom of the FM broadcast
spectrum than the old 87.75 MHz audio of WRGB's old analog channel
6 - and it appears that there simply was no authorization from
the FCC for the signal, which disappeared last Monday. "We
do not have FCC authorization to transmit an analog signal. We
only have authorization for a digital signal at this time,"
said WRGB VP/general manager Robert Furlong in a statement last
week. "We are reviewing our options and I apologize for
any inconvenience to our audience."
- Elsewhere in upstate New York, there's a station sale in
the Elmira market, where Calvary Chapel of Twin Falls will get
$275,000 as it transfers WREQ (96.9 Ridgebury PA) to Europa Communications,
which already owns classic rock WMTT (94.7 Tioga PA) and oldies
WPHD (96.1 South Waverly PA) in the market. WREQ also comes with
a 99-watt on-channel booster in Elmira.
- Speaking of radio wars, the sports battle in eastern MASSACHUSETTS
continues to heat up - and there's no hotter property this time
of year than the rights to carry Boston Red Sox games. Entercom,
of course, is in the midst of a big-ticket, ten-year deal to
broadcast the team's games, which have been running for the past
two years on WRKO (680 Boston)...except when they've been on
sister station WEEI (850 Boston) instead, generally on Wednesdays
and on early-season day games and some weekend games. Until last
week, that is - when Entercom abruptly shifted the entire Sox
lineup over to WEEI from WRKO. Why make the move? Competition,
obviously - with WEEI's sports dominance suddenly under fire
from CBS Radio's new "Sports Hub" (WBZ-FM 98.5), it
makes more sense for Entercom to put its biggest sports programming
on WEEI itself than to try to use the Sox to draw new listeners
to talker WRKO.
- But the move caused static - literally - for some Sox fans,
since the WEEI night signal doesn't reach as well into some parts
of the North Shore as the Burlington-based WRKO signal does.
It also doesn't have as much punch in southern NEW HAMPSHIRE,
which became a sudden problem when financial tensions flared
between Entercom and Absolute Broadcasting, which has been carrying
the Sox on WGHM (900 Nashua) and WGAM (1250 Manchester), which
simulcast sports as "The Game." Entercom pulled the
games off "The Game" last Monday (Aug. 24), citing
failure to pay the rights fees, something Absolute acknowledges
- but Absolute says in light of the weak economy, it's giving
its advertising clients more time to pay the stations, and therefore
it requested more time to pay Entercom. That dispute was resolved
by the weekend, when Manchester and Nashua listeners could once
again hear the Sox on WGAM/WGHM - but that may be the least of
Entercom's headaches, since it's not clear, from what we're hearing,
that the sudden change of Sox flagship AM signals was permitted
by the company's contract with the team.
- Could this be Entercom's way out of the expensive contract
with the Sox? Could WEEI still compete with WBZ-FM if it doesn't
have the baseball coverage - and would CBS make a play for the
rights? Or will both sides work things out and carry on with
business as usual?
- The death of Senator Ted Kennedy late Tuesday night, while
hardly unexpected, came at a difficult time for Boston's radio
and TV newsrooms. The announcement of his passing, around 1:30
AM, found stations lightly staffed - but they quickly rose to
the occasion. WBZ (1030) had a pre-produced special about Kennedy's
legacy that ran at 2 AM, and by the time it was over, evening
host Dan Rea was back at the station alongside overnight host
Steve LeVeille to talk about Kennedy's legacy while the morning
team got an early start on the news. Public radio WBUR-FM (90.9)
also geared up its morning crew early, as did all the TV newsrooms.
WRKO (680) pulled its syndicated talk lineup off the air for
the day, replacing them with extended shifts by its local talk
hosts, and all three radio stations, as well as all four TV newsrooms,
offered live coverage of the Friday night memorial service and
Saturday's funeral mass and burial - though WBZ-TV (Channel 4)
moved some of its coverage over to sister station WSBK (Channel
38) because of contractual obligations to carry a pre-season
- EMF's "K-Love" contemporary Christian programming
is about to get a much bigger footprint in western PENNSYLVANIA,
as EMF prepares to buy WOGI (98.3 Duquesne) from Keymarket Communications,
removing that signal from the four-way "Froggy" country
simulcast that rings Pittsburgh. Keymarket will move the WOGI
calls to another "Froggy" signal, the Moon Township-licensed
WOGF (104.3) that overlaps most of WOGI's Pittsburgh coverage
- and there are some interesting ideas making the rounds about
potential signal improvements for the class A 98.3 facility,
particularly in light of EMF's existing WKEL (98.5 Confluence)
at the southeastern edge of the Pittsburgh market, not to mention
the cross-ownership between Keymarket and Forever, which owns
big-signal WFGY (98.1) over in Altoona. No purchase price has
been announced for WOGI, and there's no word about what will
become of EMF's existing web of translators in the Pittsburgh
market, though it seems likely that they'd end up with EMF's
other network service, Christian rock "Air 1."
- The news from CANADA starts with more big changes on the
TV dial: the "E!" network programming that had been
on Hamilton's CHCH-TV (Channel 11) and Montreal's CJNT (Channel
62) is gone as of today, as Canwest Global shuts down the Canadian
version of "E!" and spins off the Montreal and Hamilton
stations to cable programmer Channel Zero. The Hamilton station
is ramping up its local news commitment, including all-news blocks
in late morning and, starting next week, early afternoon. It's
adding at least 12 news staffers, and will reportedly be opening
a Toronto office as well.
September 5, 2005 -
- It's been a busy week for Hall Communications - first, the
Connecticut format changes we told you about in our last issue,
and now a major station purchase in the Burlington, VERMONT market.
Hall was already a major player in town, with market-leading
country giant WOKO (98.9 Burlington), standards WJOY (1230 Burlington)
and oldies WKOL (105.1 Plattsburgh NY). Now, for $17 million,
it's adding Burlington Broadcasters' two stations - classic rock
WIZN (106.7 Vergennes) and modern rock WBTZ (99.9 Plattsburgh).
(WBTZ is actually still owned by Plattsburgh Broadcasters, and
Hall assumes Burlington's right to purchase the station, as well
as an LMA until the sale closes.) Hall says it won't change anything
at WIZN and WBTZ, and we tend to take that statement more seriously
when Hall's involved. The stations will stay at their current
home on the south edge of downtown Burlington, too.
- Meanwhile over at Steve Silberberg's stations, WXAL (93.7
Addison) takes its new calls WUSX this week. Those calls come
over from 105.7 Campton NH, which changes calls to WLKC, which
was the old call on Silberberg's 103.3 Waterbury VT. And the
circle goes round...
- A station sale in MAINE: Franklin Broadcasting is selling
WKTJ (99.3 Farmington) to Clearwater Communications for $450,000.
Clearwater brokers WSKW/WCTB/WHQO in Skowhegan from Mountain
- There's a station sale to report in MASSACHUSETTS, as well,
where William J. Macek's Central Broadcasting Company is paying
Liveair Communications $795,000 for WEIM (1280 Fitchburg). Macek's
a familiar name in central Massachusetts; he used to own WINQ
in Winchendon (and was a DJ on WLLH in Lowell years ago, too,
as "Bill Maxwell.")
- Our NEW YORK news kicks off with a brand-new tower - three
of them, in fact! The steel is beginning to rise at WOR (710)'s
new site in New Jersey's Meadowlands. The tower raising will
continue through the next couple of months, according to CE Kerry
Richards. Right now, just a couple of segments of one tower are
up, but all the pieces for the first of three 658-foot towers
(made by Indiana's Central Tower) are in place at the site just
north of WOR's existing plant in Lyndhurst, N.J. The transmitter
building's finished, too, and inside it two brand-new Harris
3DX50 transmitters, along with a phasor, ATUs and other goodies
- Up on the New York/Vermont line, we've learned a little about
the plans for WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls) once Troy's WHAZ takes
over. The station, which is getting new calls WHAZ-FM, won't
be a simulcast of the current four-station WHAZ network's religious
programming. Instead, it'll run a homebrewed format called "Gospel
Gold," playing classic religious music from the last four
decades. They're hoping to get WHAZ-FM on the air by mid-September,
if all goes well.
- In Rochester, Sinclair's "News Central" departed
WUHF (Channel 31) in a classy way Wednesday night, with a lengthy
credit roll listing the 120 or so staffers who've passed through
the doors at 360 East Avenue since the news operation began there
in 1997. WUHF's remaining staffers (about half of the 50 or so
people who worked there on August 31) moved into their new home
at Nexstar's WROC-TV (Channel 8) on Thursday; the new WROC-produced
10 PM news on WUHF will debut around November 1.
September 4, 2000 -
New England Radio Watch, September 4, 1995
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