September 20, 2010
"Radio 92.1" Comes to Scranton
MORNING UPDATE: FM news-talk came to New York's
Capital District at midnight, when Clear Channel flipped modern
rock WHRL (103.1 Albany) from "Channel 103.1" to WGY-FM,
a simulcast of its venerable AM news-talker, WGY (810 Schenectady).
As a class A FM signal transmitting from Rensselaer County, across
the Hudson from Albany, the new WGY-FM covers only a fraction
of the territory served by WGY's mighty 50 kW clear-channel signal,
but it brings WGY's programming to the younger FM audience -
and gives WGY an edge that, for now, AM-only standalone competitor
WGDJ (1300 Rensselaer) can't match. Much more next week...
*Shamrock Communications split up a northeast
PENNSYLVANIA FM simulcast on Thursday to launch a new
format for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market: in place of classic
hits WQFM (92.1 Nanticoke), Shamrock is now programming a 90s-heavy
alternative format as "Radio 92.1" under new calls
WFUZ. (Those calls had kicked around the market on what's now
Family Life's WCIN 91.3 Tunkhannock; that station was
formerly owned by Kevin Fitzgerald, who's also Shamrock's chief
For now, at least,
the new "Radio 92.1" appears to be running jockless
("more music, less yada yada"), but it's got an experienced
format veteran at its helm: Shamrock operations manager Willobee
has programmed this music before at stations such as Vermont's
As for the other half of the old "Cool 92 and 100"
simulcast, WQFN (100.1 Forest City), it's now carrying ESPN Radio
in tandem with Shamrock's WEJL (630 Scranton)/WBAX (1240 Wilkes-Barre)
and their FM translators in both cities' downtown areas. The
WQFN signal extends the ESPN programming northeast to the Carbondale
area; meanwhile, its former downtown Scranton translator on 100.5
is now carrying the WFUZ modern rock programming.
*Speaking of Family Life Network, it's getting two more FM
signals in western Pennsylvania and nearby in upstate New York:
the FCC has granted it construction permits for 89.9 in Cambridge
Springs, near Meadville (8 kW/335') and for 89.3 in Silver Creek,
NY, just off the Thruway between Dunkirk and Buffalo (17 kW/108').
The Silver Creek signal would reach at least the southern fringes
of the Buffalo market, as well as providing a strong FLN signal
*There's a new PD coming to Max Media's trio of "BIG
Country" stations in central Pennsylvania, WYGL-FM (100.5
Elizabethville), WWBE (98.3 Mifflinburg) and WLGL (92.3 Riverside).
Dawn Marie, who's been the stations' PD and morning co-host,
is moving on to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to be operations manager
at Max's cluster there - and that created an opening for veteran
PD Rick "RJ" Jordan to fill.
RJ has been up here in the Rochester area for the last few
years, most recently working in promotions for Stroudavarious
Records and Golden Records Nashville, but he's got a long resume
in country radio, including PD stints at WBBS in Syracuse and
WPOR in Portland. He starts at "Max" a week from today.
In Lancaster, Franklin and Marshall College tells the FCC
it needs a few more months to complete the construction work
on the building where WFNM (89.1 Lancaster) usually has its antenna;
it's now expecting WFNM to be able to return to the air by mid-December.
*In NEW JERSEY and DELAWARE,
the FCC is taking comments on what promises to be an interesting
auction for two new commercial VHF DTV allocations. The Commission
allotted channel 4 to Atlantic City, NJ and channel 5 to Seaford,
DE after PMCM (a sister company to New Jersey's Press Communications)
applied to move two rural western TV stations to New Jersey and
Delaware to meet the statutory requirement that compels the FCC
to provide commercial VHF channels in both states.
While the Commission (and much of the broadcast community)
questions whether the VHF rule was ever intended to apply to
the DTV era, when VHF (especially low-band VHF) is of questionable
value compared to UHF, it's still moving ahead on an auction
for those two new channels. Designated "Auction 90,"
bids will begin to be taken February 15, 2011.
The Commission is proposing a $200,000 starting bid for each
of the channels. Unlike PMCM's proposals, which would effectively
have created a new channel 3 in New York City and a new channel
2 in Philadelphia, the FCC's proposed channels won't provide
much chance of big-city coverage, though the Atlantic City channel
may at least be able to assert cable and satellite must-carry
As for PMCM's appeal of the FCC's initial denial of its applications
to move its stations east, the auction announcement says that
will be dealt with separately; it's also promising a separate
resolution to an appeal from the Broadcast Maximization Committee,
which opposed the Seaford allocation on the grounds that it conflicts
with the BMC's still-pending proposal to reuse TV channels 5
and 6 for radio.
of radio, and of Press, the format swap between "Thunder
Country" WKMK (98.5 Ocean Acres) and "Hits 106"
WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown)/WBBO (106.5 Bass River Township) went
off on schedule at 3 PM on Wednesday (Sept. 15). The WKMK calls
moved up the dial to 106.3, marking that facility's first call
change in its nearly half-century on the air; the WHTG-FM calls
are now on 98.5, though it seems likely that there will be one
more call swap to put the WBBO calls on 98.5, matching the revived
"B-98.5" imaging there.
CALENDAR 2011 - JUST ABOUT HERE!
The production process was a little more complex
than usual for Tower Site Calendar 2011, but at
long last we're about to begin shipping the tenth installment
in what's become an annual radio tradition.
In just a few days, the new calendar will
be back from the printer, complete with more than a dozen exciting
new images including that nifty cover shot of Mount Beacon, N.Y.
And if you order now, you'll still be at
the top of the list to get your 2011 calendar shipped to you
But wait - there's more! We now have a
small supply of the new FM Atlas, 21st edition,
as well as 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 store!
(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!
*On a relatively quiet week in NEW YORK,
we begin with a format change in Binghamton, where Clear Channel
quietly flipped WBBI (107.5 Endwell) from classic rock "107.5
the Bear" to classic hits (don't say "oldies!")
at midnight Wednesday.
new "Big 107.5" includes something the Bear lacked:
a live, local morning show. Sonny King, who was last heard in
the region at WXHC (101.5 Homer/Cortland) before becoming the
victim of budget cuts, got the call - apparently on just a few
hours' notice, we're told - to do morning drive on "Big."
(King had worked with Binghamton Clear Channel GM Joanne Aloi
a few years back at WIII/WKRT in Cortland.)
The flip means Binghamton now has two old- er, "classic
hits" stations, since Big is competing directly against
Equinox's "Cool 100" (WCDW 100.5 Susquehanna PA).
*In New York City, it's "Bob Grant Day" at WABC
(770), where the venerable talk host will mark his 40th anniversary
on the air in the Big Apple with a special 10 AM-noon broadcast
hosted by Mark Simone and featuring appearances by most of the
rest of WABC's talkers.
Out on Long Island, WBAB (102.3 Babylon) is blaming a squirrel
for the transmitter disruptions that took the rocker off the
air for much of Saturday. No word on the fate of the squirrel,
but the station was back on the air Saturday afternoon (and kept
programming via streaming audio and East End relay WHFM 95.3.)
here in Rochester, Clear Channel's cluster makes a big deal out
of the local history that still lives up there on the 17th floor
of the HSBC Building, and last week they added to that history
by naming two of their conference rooms after veteran Rochester
radio people. One of them is now "the Jack," named
for longtime personality and former WVOR (100.5) co-owner Jack
Palvino; the other is "the Nick," named for legendary
WBBF jock and longtime Clear Channel salesman Nick Nickson.
*In TV news, Buffalo-market WNGS (Channel 67) has flipped
its main channel, 67.1, from Daystar religion to ThisTV (the
national service that shows old movies and classic TV shows)
now that the FCC has approved the station's sale from Daystar
to ITV of Buffalo, the commercial entity controlled by Philip
Arno, the long-ago co-founder of WUTV (Channel 29). ITV originally
counted another Buffalo independent TV pioneer, Don Angelo, as
a co-owner, but Arno tells the Buffalo News that Angelo
is no longer involved with the station.
The $2.75 million deal includes a clause giving Daystar the
rights to WNGS' 67.3 subchannel for the next ten years.
*Radio People on the Move: Former WCBS-FM (101.1 New York)
chief engineer Mike Erickson has landed a new job down south:
he's joining the staff of North Carolina-based Wheatstone, where
he'll be working on their Vorsis line of audio processors. While
we'll miss him up here in the northeast, it's no secret that
audio processing is Mike's passion - and we're excited to see
(or rather, hear) what he'll accomplish with Wheatstone/Vorsis.
And we're sorry to note the passing of Jim Walsh, who (along
with Glen Von Calio) bought the former WSNY (1240 Schenectady)
in 1975, flipping it to WWWD ("3WD") and later adding
FM station WVKZ (96.7 Clifton Park). Walsh served as the stations'
general manager for almost two decades before selling them in
the mid-90s. Walsh died Sept. 13 after a long illness; he was
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*Eastern MASSACHUSETTS wasn't slated
to get a Catholic radio station until the end of October, but
the deal to sell WBIX (1060 Natick) to Holy Family Communications
moved ahead of schedule - and so last Wednesday night (Sept.
15) marked the end of business talk on WBIX, followed (after
a few hours of silence) by the launch of Catholic programming
under new calls WQOM.
Alex Langer's sale
of WBIX is valued at $1.5 million - $1 million in cash, plus
$500,000 as an in-kind gift to Holy Family.
*If you're called "Rush Radio" and you're struggling
in the ratings, what do you do? You add more Rush, of course
- and that's just what WXKS (1200 Newton) is doing, plugging
an hour of Rush replays into its schedule from 6-7 PM weeknights.
The extra hour of Rush knocks out the first hour of the Jason
Lewis show from Minneapolis.
Over at talk competitor WRKO (680) and its Entercom sister
stations, Tim Murphy got a big promotion last week: he moves
up from VP/GM of the WEEI.com sports site to VP/GM of the entire
Entercom cluster. Murphy will continue to focus on Entercom's
"digital initiatives," as well as on sales, business
activities and engineering/IT.
*A surprise format change gave Burlington, VERMONT
another top-40 station on Friday. WXZO (96.7 Williston NY)
had been running Citadel's "True Oldies Channel" under
the nickname "DOT-FM," in an attempt to revive the
legacy of Burlington's old WDOT (1400/1390), but it's now "Planet
96.7," with a lineup that includes the syndicated New York
City-based Elvis Duran morning show and apparently at least a
local midday shift.
There's good news and bad news for Burlington TV viewers in
outlying areas: the good news is that Dish Network is now carrying
at least one Burlington-market signal, CBS affiliate WCAX (Channel
3), to viewers statewide (even in areas that are officially part
of the Albany or Boston TV markets); the bad is that the FCC
has now deleted at least two analog translators of Burlington
stations. W63AD in Rutland and W55AI in Lake Placid, NY both
relayed Burlington's WVNY (Channel 22), and we believe both had
been off the air for quite some time now.
*Another deletion marks the official end
of the oldest college station in NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dartmouth
College's WDCR (1340 Hanover) signed on in 1958, continuing a
history that began with carrier-current broadcasts as early as
the 1940s. But with the later addition of an FM station (WFRD
99.3) and a webcast (WebDCR.com), coupled with serious transmitter
and ground-system problems, interest in the AM station waned.
It fell silent in August 2008, and was resurrected by a group
of alumni in the summer of 2009 for just long enough to keep
its license alive.
With the one-year
silent clock again ticking, Dartmouth recently notified the FCC
that it was surrendering the AM license, which has now been officialy
cancelled. (Why not sell the AM? The tower sat on Dartmouth property,
adjacent to athletic fields, and the college apparently felt
buyers would be uninterested in a bare license requiring the
speedy location and construction of a new tower site in a municipality
known to be hostile to tower construction.)
*CONNECTICUT is joining what appears
to be a New England trend: turning disgraced politicians into
radio talk hosts after they've served their prison time. There's
Tom Finneran on Boston's WRKO, Buddy Cianci on WPRO in Providence,
and now former Connecticut governor John Rowland on Hartford's
WTIC announced late last week that Rowland and the Rev. Will
Marotti will co-host the 3-6 PM weekday afternoon shift, displacing
the all-news block that's been airing in drivetime there. Rowland
resigned as governor back in 2004, amidst a corruption investigation;
he later pleaded guilty and served ten months in federal prison.
John Rowland's arrival at WTIC means the end of his wife's
radio gig: Patty Rowland had been doing a regular commentary
on Brad Davis' talk show at competitor WDRC (1360 Hartford),
and that broadcast has now been cancelled.
And on TV, add another to the "early riser" club:
WFSB (Channel 3) is now starting its morning newscast at 4:30
*John Becker, the longtime owner of WGCH (1490 Greenwich)
and former head of the Greenwich Republican Party, has died.
Becker bought WGCH in the 1960s and operated the station until
2003, when he sold it to BusinessTalkRadio Network. He also ran,
unsuccessfully, for a seat in Congress and for Connecticut state
treasurer. Becker was 90 when he died Friday morning (Sept. 17.)
*Our news from CANADA starts
in the Maritimes, where Evanov has named a morning host for its
new "Live 105" (CKHY 105.1) in Halifax. It's Cub Carson,
who'd been working at CKKL (93.9 Bob FM) in Ottawa, and was formerly
morning host at CKQB (106.9 The Bear) there.
There's new-station news in Orillia, Ontario, too, where Bayshore
Broadcasting's soon-to-launch CISO (Sunshine 89.1) has picked
studio space at 490 West Street, just off Highway 11 as it passes
Cottage Country radio owner, Haliburton, is expanding its reach
with the purchase of three more stations. In southwest Ontario,
Steve Rae's Raedio, Inc. is selling Haliburton its two stations
in Stratford, CHGK (107.7 Mix FM) and CJCS (1240). Rae bought
CJCS from Telemedia in 1997 and put CHGK on the air in 2003;
financial terms of the sale haven't yet been announced.
Haliburton is also adding a station up north: after buying
CJJM (99.3 Espanola) from JOCO Communications earlier this year,
the company is making another purchase from JOCO, this time picking
up bilingual CFSF (99.3 Sturgeon Falls); again, terms haven't
over in TV-land, CTV is once again opening its doors to the public.
Last year's open house at CTV facilities in Scarborough and other
sites around Canada was meant to build support for a bid to compel
cable companies to pay carriage fees to broadcast TV outlets;
this year, it's less clear that there's any specific political
purpose to the open house, which will take place next Saturday
(Sept. 25) at CTV's studios on Channel Nine Court in Scarborough,
as well as at CKCO in Kitchener, CJOH/CTV Radio in Ottawa (the
old CJOH facility in Nepean is still vacant after that fire earlier
this year), CFCF in Montreal and elsewhere in the country.
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.
September 21, 2009 -
- Boston's largest public broadcaster, WGBH, is buying the
market's commercial classical radio station, Nassau's WCRB (99.5
Lowell), ending years of speculation about the long-term future
of classical radio in the Hub and doubling the daily radio output
from WGBH's Allston studios. Details of the deal are being announced
this afternoon - but NERW believes it will involve the transformation
of WCRB from commercial to non-commercial operation, in a move
strikingly similar to WNYC's impending acquisition of New York
City's WQXR. (According to a WGBH press release issued just
after 3 PM, that's exactly the case: WCRB will go non-commercial,
and a capital campaign is now underway to raise the purchase
price of the station, reportedly $14 million.)
- Unlike that deal in New York, it appears that at least some
of WCRB's airstaff will stay with the new WGBH-run 99.5. Like
that deal in New York, it appears that the transaction will move
WCRB into WGBH's Allston studios from the longtime WCRB facility
in Waltham. And like the New York transition, it appears that
the purchase of WCRB will allow WGBH to complete the shift of
its main FM facility on 89.7 to full-time news and talk by day,
which may explain the recent departure (later in this week's
column) of WGBH afternoon classical host Richard Knisely.
- There's no immediate word on a purchase price for WCRB, which
last changed hands in 2006 as part of a complex deal that sent
the station's intellectual property to Nassau and its former
frequency, 102.5, to Greater Media. In recent months, Nassau
has been beset by financial problems, with control of most of
its stations passing to a group of lenders led by Goldman Sachs.
That lenders' group now holds 100% of WCRB, which has been rumored
to be up for sale - and the deal to transfer the station to WGBH
closes the book on some strong rumors that had 99.5 becoming
part of Entercom's cluster and perhaps flipping to sports as
an FM home for WEEI.
- One of the most familiar sports voices in MASSACHUSETTS has
been silenced. "No one I've heard in 45 years of New England
residence has ever broadcast anything better than Fred Cusick
broadcast hockey," wrote the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan in
a tribute this week, and there are few in New England who would
disagree with Ryan's assessment of the veteran Bruins announcer
who died Tuesday at the age of 90, just hours before he was to
be inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
- Cusick started with the Bruins on radio in 1952, and in addition
to announcing the games on radio he soon became the driving force
behind the team's early TV broadcasts. Under Cusick's leadership,
the team began buying time on Sundays (initially on WMUR-TV and
WHDH-TV) to broadcast tape-delayed broadcasts of Saturday games.
(Cusick was even involved with the editing in those early years.)
By 1971, the Bruins games had become a regular part of the schedule
on WSBK (Channel 38), and Cusick moved over to the TV booth,
where he would remain until he retired from the team in 1997.
"Retirement," in this case, was actually something
of a misnomer, since Cusick remained active for another five
seasons calling games of the AHL's Lowell Lock Monsters.
- In addition to his Bruins work, which earned him a berth
in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Cusick also served as sports director
at WEEI in the fifties and sixties, where he worked on early
Boston Patriots broadcasts in that team's first few seasons.
- In NEW YORK City, Bruce Anderson wrapped up a quarter-century
of news anchoring at WABC (770) last week. Anderson worked in
Michigan (most notably at WWJ in Detroit) before coming to WABC
in 1984. Anderson anchored afternoon drive news at WABC from
1993 until he hung up his headphones at the end of Thursday's
- CBS Radio's WWFS (Fresh 102.7) has dropped its latest morning
show. "Dave and Danni" had been together for only a
year or so, bringing together Dave Packer (who came to the station
in 2007) and former K-Rock jock Danni.
- A CONNECTICUT broadcasting landmark is being demolished.
Broadcast House in downtown Hartford, home to WFSB (Channel 3)
from the early sixties until the station moved to Rocky Hill
in 2007, is being replaced by a high-rise that will be built
by a Middletown-based engineering and architecture firm, AI Engineers.
Last week, demolition crews began tearing down the building from
the Columbus Boulevard side; the interior of the building had
already been gutted.
September 19, 2005 -
- It's far too early to say whether it's a brilliant move or
just an interesting dead-end, but the outcome of last week's
speculation about the future of The Morey Organization's three
NEW YORK FM stations on Long Island's East End is certainly stirring
debate within the broadcasting community. The new formats on
the three stations are collectively known as "FM ChannelCasting,"
and the idea - according to TMO - is to bring listeners the same
benefits that they'd get from satellite radio, without the expense
of buying new equipment or paying a subscription fee.
- Late last week, active rock WBON (98.5 Westhampton) became
rock "FM Channel 98: Long Island Rock", dance/top 40
WDRE (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke) became top 40 "FM Channel
105: Party Hits" and modern rock WLIR (107.1 Hampton Bays)
became "FM Channel 107: Neo-Breeze," an unusual (and
interesting-sounding) melange of standards, soft AC and smooth
jazz. What's new about the stations, though, isn't the music;
it's the programming concept: Morey says "FM ChannelCasting"
aims to bring listeners the same benefits they get from satellite
radio - long sets of music uninterrupted by DJs or commercial
breaks - without the costs. In practice, what it amounts to are
jockless 15-minute music sweeps, with just one sponsor for an
entire hour of programming and very brief sponsor announcements
(15 to 30 seconds) four times an hour. Morey says it hopes to
lure nontraditional sponsors, even individuals wishing to honor
anniversaries and birthdays and such.
- Meanwhile in Manhattan, it's sounding an awful lot like 1990
at WPLJ (95.5), which announced last week that Rocky Allen and
Blain Ensley will return to the air there on Tuesday to resume
the afternoon-drive "Showgram" that they did so successfully
at 'PLJ more than a decade ago. The move shifts afternooner Race
Taylor to middays, displacing Rich Kaminski to weekends.
- Moving upstate, Double O Radio hopes to add to its dominance
in the triangle between Binghamton, Utica and Albany with its
$3.8 million deal to buy WDOS (730 Oneonta) and WSRK (103.9 Oneonta)
from Ultimate Communications. Double O already owns Oneonta's
only other commercial station, WZOZ (103.1), as well as the stations
in nearby Norwich, so this move creates quite the cluster along
- From NEW JERSEY - or is it PENNSYLVANIA - comes word that
Nassau has now taken the inevitable next step in the move of
WTHK (97.5) into the Philadelphia market. The former WPST changed
city of license from Trenton to Burlington a few weeks back,
and now it's applied to move its transmitter from the downtown
Trenton site it's called home since the sixties, all the way
into Philadelphia. The move comes with some very tight spacing
requirements, though: while there's no restriction on spacing
to third-adjacent WOGL (98.1), thanks to pre-1964 grandfathering,
the relocated WTHK can't increase interference to WIXM (97.3
Millville NJ) or WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue NY), with which it's
also grandfathered, nor can it move much closer to WRVV (97.3
- The result? As we'd sort of expected, WTHK is applying to
move its transmitter to the Wyndmoor section of northern Philadelphia,
adjacent to the Mermaid Lane site of WJJZ (106.1). From there,
WTHK will be a full class B signal, 43 kW at 525 feet above average
terrain, but with a deep directional null to the northwest to
protect WRVV and a shallower null to the south and east to protect
WIXM. What's next? Expect the CP to be granted fairly quickly
- and then the speculation will build about a sale of the station.
Nassau isn't a big-market player, especially not with a single
FM signal, and a full-market FM like this would certainly bring
big bucks. Stay tuned...
- In MASSACHUSETTS - well, OK, on Long Island, where he actually
does the show most of the time, "Jay Severin Has Issues."
That's the name of the syndicated afternoon show that the WTKK
(96.9 Boston) talker will be doing for Infinity beginning in
January, but it's also a pretty good description of what the
last week was like for him. It seems Severin told a caller that
he'd won a Pulitzer Prize for online journalism, which raised
some questions a few doors down at the Boston Globe. Columnist
Scot Lehigh investigated, and found that MSNBC.com, for which
Severin used to write, had won a couple of Online Journalism
Awards, which were awarded by Columbia University, which also
awards the Pulitzers...and there's now some frantic "what
I meant to say was" backtracking going on.
- All-news radio, in English anyway, is now history in one
of CANADA's biggest markets, as Corus quietly pulled the plug
on "940 News" at CINW, replacing it with a news-talk
hybrid branded as "AM 940, Montreal Radio." The new
AM 940 retains a news-heavy presence in morning and afternoon
drive and during the noon hour, but it adds more talk elements
outside of drive time, including the syndicated Charles Adler
show from 3-5 PM. (Adler also joins the lineup at sister station
CFMJ, "AM 640 Toronto," where he's heard from 2-4 PM
- To the east of Toronto, CKDO (1350 Oshawa) is asking the
CRTC for permission to move up the dial to 1580, where it would
run 10 kW fulltime (up from the current 10 kW day/5 kW night).
The 1580 frequency was where CHUC (1450 Cobourg) was going to
move, but now CHUC is headed to the FM dial instead.
September 18, 2000 -
- This week's big news from NEW YORK was, of course, the end
of a 75-year tradition at WOR (710), as John R. Gambling parted
ways with the station that employed his grandfather, John B.,
and his father, John A., as hosts of "Rambling With Gambling"
weekday mornings. The younger Gambling had hosted the show solo
for the last decade. He tells the New York papers that he could
have stayed at WOR until the end of his contract in December,
but chose to leave with a farewell show that aired last Monday
(9/11) on short notice. No replacement has been named yet, and
WOR is showing the unusual grace of letting its listeners openly
discuss the end of the Gambling dynasty on the air. Where next
for John R.? The rumor mill is pointing towards WEVD (1050),
as that station struggles for respect as a talk outlet.
- Moving upstate, WOFX is the new set of calls for Troy's AM
980, the first call change there in the station's history. (The
WTRY calls live on at 98.3 FM in Rotterdam, along with the oldies
format that had been simulcast on both outlets for years). Now
a sports outlet, WOFX will offer Imus, Jim Rome, and Fox Sports
Radio to the Capital District.
- Syracuse's big country station, WBBS (104.7 Fulton), can
breathe easy -- it's not being challenged by Galaxy Broadcasting
after all. The "Big Cow" stunt on WRDS (102.1 Phoenix)
last weekend lasted just a day before the former urban station
was relaunched (at 8 AM last Monday, 9/11) as "Sunny 102,"
variously described to NERW as an AC outlet and as a classic
hits station. Whatever it's playing, the new Sunny has Bill Baker
as morning man, returning home to Syracuse (where he was WSYR
570's morning host for years) from a stint down in Richmond.
- NERW thinks the new Sunny will make for interesting listening
around Geneva and Seneca Falls, where it's first-adjacent to
Clear Channel's "Sunny 102" (WISY 102.3 Canandaigua),
rimshotting the Rochester market. But then, listeners in that
area might not notice -- they have a new format to check out
on a four-way AM simulcast. The Radio Group has flipped standards
WAUB (1590 Auburn)/WSFW (1110 Seneca Falls) and AC WCGR (1550
Canandaigua) to a simulcast of news-talk WGVA (1240 Geneva) under
the "Finger Lakes News Network" name. ABC news and
a lot of satellite programming was what we heard on all four
frequencies this weekend...
- Speaking of obituaries, a broadcaster who left his mark on
MASSACHUSETTS radio died last month down in Florida. Richard
M. Fairbanks took Framingham's WKOX from a kilowatt daytimer
to a major local voice in the MetroWest area, and helped make
FM a force in the Boston market in the early seventies by flipping
WKOX-FM to rock as WVBF (105.7), named for his wife Virginia
B. Fairbanks. Fairbanks Broadcasting was founded way back in
1948 to purchase WIBC (1070) in Indianapolis. Fairbanks (who
was the last surviving grandson of Teddy Roosevelt's vice president,
Charles W. Fairbanks) sold most of his properties in the last
decade, leaving just WKOX in his portfolio at the end. He was
88 when he died August 11 at his home in Key Largo. Funeral services
were held in Indianapolis August 13.
New England Radio Watch, September 20, 1995
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2010 by Scott Fybush.