October 18, 2010
Barnstable Sells on the East End
*It's been a while since we've seen a true
seven-figure radio deal, but there's one to tell you about this
week out of NEW YORK.
been rumors flying for a while about Barnstable selling its properties
in eastern Long Island, and late last week they came true with
the $3 million sale of WRCN-FM (103.9 Riverhead) and WKJI (96.1
The buyer is JVC Broadcasting, the aggressive John Caracciolo-Vic
"Latino" Canales partnership that's already a significant
player in Suffolk County with rhythmic top-40 WPTY (105.3 Calverton-Roanoke)
and Spanish tropical WBON (98.5 Westhampton).
This deal adds two more class A signals to JVC's existing
pair, and guarantees at least one format change: while WRCN's
rock format is expected to remain more or less intact, the sale
will break the fairly recent simulcast between WKJI and AC "K-JOY"
WKJY (98.3 Hempstead) in Nassau County. Will JVC keep 96.1 as
an adult contemporary station, or will that signal also move
toward a younger audience?
*In the Hudson Valley, little WWLE (1170 Cornwall) may once
again be attempting full-time operation. Back in 2004, WWLE applied
to move to 1150, adding two towers to its existing two-tower
array and boosting power from its present 800 daytime-only watts
to 2500 watts days, 500 watts at night. That construction permit
expired unbuilt, but now WWLE has been granted another CP for
the same facility on 1150. Can "1170 Broadcast Radio, Inc."
get the job done between now and October 2013?
Not too far away, the construction permit for WJZZ (90.1 South
Salem) is changing hands, as Dennis Jackson's Foothills Public
Radio applies to transfer the unbuilt CP to Quaboag Hills Public
Radio, controlled by Marshall Sanft (of WARE in - where? - Ware)
and his wife Frances. The transfer will allow for an extra 18
months to build out the CP, which is due to expire in January.
*It was a wet morning last Monday for WSYR (570 Syracuse)
and its Clear Channel sister stations, after a pipe burst in
the ceiling above their Plum Street studios. The rush of water
tripped circuit breakers that knocked all six of the stations
in the cluster off the air, and it took about 45 minutes to get
everyone back on the air. The worst damage was reportedly to
the WSYR newsroom, forcing a temporary newsroom to be set up
in a production studio.
Meanwhile, former WSYR morning newsman Nikolai Busko checks
in with news of his new gigs: he's now the news director at Albany's
WROW (590), where Pamal is rebuilding a news presence after flipping
the station from talk to standards. And what brings Busko to
the Capital District in the first place? He's now the play-by-play
announcer for Army hockey down in West Point.
*Family Life Ministries has a callsign for its new signal
south of Buffalo: mark down WCGM as the call for 89.3 in Silver
Creek, whenever it gets on the air.
The FCC has granted
the Special Temporary Authority (STA) requested by St. Bonaventure
University's WSBU (88.3) to return to the air while it sorts
out its apparent failure to file for a license renewal back in
"Because our station is student-run, we have a lot of
staff turnover," said the STA request from station manager
Zachary Witzel. "No one currently working at the station
would have received notice in 2006. What's more, the station
never received any follow-up information in any year since 2006
stating our license had expired. We'd honestly just prefer to
get back on the air and continue the education of students on
campus regarding broadcasting over the air and how a noncommercial
radio station works."
*Where are they now? Josh Lewin, the Rochester native who
started out calling Red Wings games and ended up in the big leagues,
is out of a job as the Texas Rangers' TV announcer; he's still
the radio voice of the San Diego Chargers and one of Fox's network
baseball announcers. (Disclaimer: your editor went to high school
with Josh, thereby probably forever forfeiting any hope of becoming
the most prominent broadcaster to graduate from said school...)
*On TV, CW affiliate WCWN (Channel 45) in the Albany market
is expanding its 10 PM newscast. As of tonight, the newscast
(produced by sister station WRGB) grows from a 10-minute headline
service to a full half-hour; Dori Marlin and Jerry Gretzinger
will be in the anchor chairs.
*Our New York obituaries begin with Jerry Marshall, who began
his broadcast career in the early forties at WAAT (970 Newark,
now WNYM). He went on to work at WNEW, WMGM, WINS, WNBC and WCBS,
as well as hosting the syndicated "Jerry Marshall Show."
Marshall had been in hospice in Florida when he died last Wednesday
(Oct. 14); he was 91.
And we remember Mary Margaret Myers, who parlayed a successful
run in local radio news at WCAU in Philadelphia and at New York's
WCBS (880) and WKTU (92.3, where she was news director in the
seventies) into more than two decades of network radio news work,
mostly at ABC. Myers died Tuesday (Oct. 13) after a battle with
CALENDAR 2011 - IT'S HERE!
The production process was a little more complex
than usual for Tower Site Calendar 2011, but at
long last we're shipping the tenth installment in what's become
an annual radio tradition.
The new calendar is now 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 have the 2010
calendar in your hands long before the holiday rush!
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...
We are offering "calendar bouquets"
of our old editions. It's a great way to buy a bunch of beautiful
tower pinups at once! For just $16, you can get the 2004, 2005,
2008 and 2009 calendars! (Special packaging available on request.)
And for three days only (now through Wednesday,
October 20 at 11:59 p.m. PDT) we have a Cookies and Calendars
special! Buy a box of cookies with your calendar and get $1 off
your next Fybush.com purchase! For more details, please e-mail
Mrs. NERW at email@example.com.
now at the fybush.com Store!
*All those rumors floating around CANADA's
capital city for a while now have turned out to be true: as of
today, Rogers is flipping Ottawa's CIWW (Oldies 1310) to "1310
News," giving CTV's talk giant CFRA (580) its first serious
competition (aside from CBC Radio 1) in a long time.
Unlike CFRA, the new "1310 News" is promising listeners
a 24/7 wheel of nonstop news - and to make it happen, Rogers
says it's planning to hire a new staff of about 30 newspeople.
It's not clear yet where (if anywhere) the Blue Jays broadcasts
that had been on Oldies 1310 will land next spring; as for oldies
fans, Rogers is suggesting they tune in to another of its stations,
adult hits "Jack FM" CJET-FM (92.3), which rimshots
Ottawa from Smiths Falls to the south.
Ottawa listeners are preparing for a format change, there's a
big physical change to the radio landscape in Montreal. More
than a decade after CBF (690) and CBM (940) last broadcast from
the two-tower array in Brossard, Quebec, the big towers are now
The Brossard site, which had entered service in 1978 when
CBC/Radio-Canada combined what had been separate CBF and CBM
sites, never again saw AM use after CBF and CBM moved to FM in
1999, but the 675' sectionalized tower (the taller of the two)
did see some FM use over the summer, when it played host to backup
antennas for CBC and Radio-Canada services temporarily displaced
by tower reconstruction at the Mont-Royal master antenna site.
With that work now complete, the CBC sold the Brossard site
to a new owner this fall, and it didn't take long at all for
the demolition crews to arrive. (Oddly, the end of this South
Shore landmark passed almost without notice; no mention that
we've been able to find in any Montreal media outlets, and even
the YouTube videos showing the demolition have now been marked
*The fast-growing My Broadcasting Corporation is adding another
signal in southern Ontario: last week, the CRTC granted My's
application for a new station in St. Thomas, near London. The
new signal on 94.1 will run 4.37 kW maximum/1.37 kW average DA
at 46.5 meters, running what's described as a "Gold-based"
AC format. To alleviate concerns that the new station will become
a London-market rimshot, the CRTC is imposing conditions requiring
My to provide news and traffic aimed at St. Thomas and Elgin
County, and to avoid any station IDs that "include exclusive
reference to London."
In Cornwall, the CRTC has officially deleted the license of
CJUL (1220), the AM signal Corus took silent back in August -
but CJUL's former morning man is back on the air, at least; John
Bolton takes over the morning shift today at sister station CJSS-FM
(Rock 101.9). Milkman UnLimited reports Bolton's return
shifts Jamie Carr to middays and Matt Weaver to afternoons on
101.9, while over on sister station CFLG (Variety 104.5) it's
Amanda Logan in afternoons and Darryl Adams in middays.
*Malcolm "Mal" Faris has died. Faris did mornings
at CKFH (1430) in Toronto in the 70s and worked at Montreal's
CKGM, as well as at many stations in the Canadian midwest. Faris
died in Regina, Saskatchewan on Oct. 5, at age 67.
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*It didn't take long to fill a prominent
opening in western PENNSYLVANIA: Jonny Hartwell will be
the new morning man on Clear Channel's "3WS" (WWSW
94.5 Pittsburgh), filling the big hole left by Jim Merkel's ouster.
has plenty of Pittsburgh experience himself, having spent almost
a decade in afternoons on WZPT (Star 100.7) until his own ouster
back in January; since then, he's been filling in on middays
at Steel City's WLTJ (Q92.9).
One of the key players in the Keymarket radio group is moving:
Frank Bell, who'd been the company's vice president of programming,
is a ten-year veteran of the company, having overseen the creation
(and then partial dismantling) of a chain of "Froggy"
country outlets stretching from eastern Ohio deep into western
Pennsylvania. He leaves amidst a restructuring that's moving
Keymarket's corporate offices to Heidelberg, just west of Pittsburgh.
In Evans City, north of Pittsburgh, there's a callsign now
for the new signal on 89.7. The construction permit belonging
to Fourteen Hundred, Inc. is now "WBKC."
Across the state, Tommy Griffiths has "left the building"
after just a few months in mornings at Shamrock's WEZX (106.9
Scranton); night guy Dave DiRienzo and former morning co-host
Prospector have teamed up for mornings at "Rock 107,"
while Mike Duffy moves from morning drive to replace Prospector
And there's an obituary from the engineering community: David
Flenner was an engineer for many years at Susquehanna's WSBA
in York, where he's still fondly remembered. He'd been living
more recently in Georgia, and that's where he died last Sunday
(Oct. 10), at age 65.
*Just two bits of news from NEW JERSEY
this week: Clear Channel's WHCY (106.3 Blairstown) has once
again picked up the Elvis Duran morning show from sister station
WHTZ (100.3 Newark), an hour and change to the east (depending
And down on the shore, "Soulmates" has a set of
call letters to go with its construction permit for 91.9 in North
Wildwood, now WPPS.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, the WFCR Foundation
has closed on its $600,000 purchase of WNNZ (640 Westfield) from
Clear Channel, though listeners won't notice any change, since
the sale simply makes permanent the long-term LMA under which
WFCR had been operating the AM signal.
And we're grateful to station broker Harold Bausemer for alerting
us to the death, back on August 21, of Manny Biderman, a longtime
executive at WCRB (102.5) and later a trustee at WHRB (95.3 Cambridge).
Biderman was 90.
*Where are they now? Mike Butts left RHODE
ISLAND more than a decade ago, and now the former WPRO-FM
(92.3 Providence) morning man is looking for work after being
displaced from his most recent gig in mornings at WNCL (101.3)
in Milford, Delaware.
first local TV newscast in HD comes not from the state's biggest
market, Portland, but from smaller Bangor - and it comes from
WABI-TV (Channel 5), which launched its HD newscast last week.
WABI is also in the midst of moving its RF channel; it's replacing
its temporary signal on UHF channel 19 with a new permanent signal
on VHF channel 13. That UHF-to-VHF move goes against the national
trend, but Bangor's an unusual market - WABI was the only UHF
signal in what's otherwise been entirely a VHF digital city.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, Dru Johnson is
out as morning host at WXXK (Kixx 100.5) in Lebanon; that sets
a series of moves in motion that shift Justin Tyler from afternoons
to mornings alongside Amy Kenney, while Jon Bailey holds down
afternoons for now.
*We wrap up our annual look at Hockey on the Radio with
a spin around the minors, starting with the American Hockey League's
many teams throughout NERW-land:
In New England, Maine's Portland Pirates play on WLOB
(95.5/1310), and down the road in New Hampshire the Manchester
Monarchs play on WGAM (1250 Manchester) and WGHM (900 Nashua).
In Massachusetts, the Worcester Sharks continue on WTAG
(580, plus its FM translator at 94.9) and the Springfield
Falcons remain on WHYN (560), while the Lowell Devils
have relocated to Albany to replace the former River Rats,
who are now the Charlotte (N.C.) Checkers.
The Providence Bruins don't have a Providence affiliate,
but their games will be heard elsewhere in Rhode Island on WNRI
(1380 Woonsocket) and WBLQ (1230 Westerly); in Connecticut, the
Hartford Wolf Pack (soon to be known as the Connecticut
Whale) are heard on WTIC-FM (96.5)'s HD2 channel, as well
as via webcast. And if the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are
on broadcast radio, they're doing a good job of hiding it.
Here in New York, the newly-relocated Albany Devils play
on Albany's ESPN station, WTMM (104.5 Mechanicville), with Josh
Heller as their new radio voice. Up the Northway, the Adirondack
Phantoms are heard on WNYQ (101.7 Hudson Falls). Jason Lockhart
is the new voice of the Syracuse Crunch, who move to WSKO
(1260) this year from former radio home WHEN (620). The Binghamton
Senators remain with Clear Channel's WINR (680). And this
column's AHL team of choice, the Rochester Amerks, remain
on WHTK (1280/107.3) as they struggle to rebuild after a rough
season last year.
In Pennsylvania, the Hershey Bears have expanded their
radio network this year: in addition to flagship WQIC (100.1
Lebanon), they're now heard in Harrisburg on WTKT (1460) and
WRVV (97.3)'s HD2, as well as on WLPA (1490 Lancaster) and new
partial-season affiliates WOYK (1350 York) and WPDC (1600 Elizabethtown).
Bears radio voice John Walton will hit the 1,000-game mark with
the team later this season. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
play on WDMT (102.3 Pittston).
Across the border, CHAM (820) has the Hamilton Bulldogs,
who just signed a new three-year deal with the country station,
while the Toronto Marlies live in the shadow of the big
blue parent team down the street, with a select lineup of games
on CFMJ (640), which will carry 34 games that don't conflict
with the Leafs.
*The "East Coast Hockey League" is something of
a misnomer for a minor league with teams in California, British
Columbia and Alaska, but it does have a few teams at least plausibly
close to the Atlantic: the Trenton Devils play on WBZC
(88.9 Pemberton), the Reading Royals on WRAW (1340) and
the Elmira Jackals on WOKN (99.5).
*In the Ontario Hockey League, the Kitchener Rangers just
signed a five-year deal with CKGL (570 News), the Guelph Storm
remain on CJOY (1460), the Kingston Devils on CKYM
(88.7 Napanee), the London Knights on CJBK (1290), while
the Belleville Bulls are either on CJBQ (800) or at least
have a CJBQ-produced webcast. The Niagara IceDogs are
in their second year on CFLZ (105.1). The Owen Sound Attack
remain on CFOS (560), the Ottawa Wolves are on CFGO
(Team 1200), the Peterborough Petes are on CKRU (100.5),
and the Sudbury Wolves are on CJTK (95.5), one of the
few religious stations we know of with hockey play-by-play. And
on the U.S. side of the border, the Erie Otters play on
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.
October 19, 2009 -
- *Univision Radio relaunched its NEW YORK FM presence Thursday
morning, adopting new call letters and a new slogan to go with
its $33.5 million move from its former FM home, "La Kalle"
WCAA (105.9 Newark), to the more powerful signal on 96.3 that
was long home to WQXR. As we told you last week, the WCAA calls
made a temporary move down the dial to 96.3 on the night of October
8, when WQXR moved up to 105.9 under the ownership of public
broadcaster WNYC. But the "La Kalle" slogan vanished
in the move, and Univision's frequent on-air exhortations to
"mark your calendar with an X on October 15 at 6 AM"
made it clear that something different was coming to the 96.3
- And as NERW first reported last week, that "something
different" includes the calls WXNY - and a new slogan, "X96.3,
La Mezcla de New York." That translates roughly as "The
Mix of New York," and it comes with a format that's not
far different from the old "La Kalle" on 105.9. We're
not experts on the nuances of Spanish-language radio, but it
seems to be described best as some mixture of "Spanish Tropical"
and "rhythmic AC," with some English-language dance
tracks in there as part of the playlist, and with DJ banter that's
largely, but not entirely, in Spanish. So far, the new "X96.3"
appears to be running jockless, except for the station's star
personality, the Luis Jimenez morning show.
- Up north, St. Lawrence University's North Country Public
Radio has been granted a construction permit for a full-power
signal in Lake Placid, winning out over competing applications
from Albany's WAMC and the Northeast Gospel Network. (As we reported
back in December 2007, WAMC had agreed to drop its Lake Placid
application in favor of NCPR.) The new 91.7 signal will replace
NCPR's present translator in Lake Placid, W219AK, which will
apply to move to a new frequency and relay WAMC. And NCPR has
signed on another new signal: WXLS (88.3 Tupper Lake) replaces
a translator on 91.7 in that mountain community.
- Here in Rochester, we're mourning the loss of one of the
original program hosts from the earliest days of WXXI-FM (91.5).
Richard Gladwell was a part of the station almost from its start
in late 1974, and his weekend choral music show, "With Heart
and Voice," continues to be offered to public radio stations
nationwide. Gladwell had been diagnosed with brain cancer in
June, and he died peacefully with family at his side at his Rochester
home on Thursday, just short of his 89th birthday.
- In MASSACHUSETTS, the deal to transfer classical WCRB-FM
(99.5 Lowell) from Nassau to the WGBH Educational Foundation
is moving forward. The contract for the $14 million sale is now
at the FCC awaiting approval, and we noted a couple of unusual
items as we read through it: it obligates WGBH to buy $100,000
of advertising on WCRB or other Nassau stations during the period
before closing - and it includes a clause we'd never seen in
a sale contract before, obligating Nassau to transfer WCRB's
Facebook and Twitter accounts to WGBH. (That clause, presumably,
will soon become a standard feature of sale contracts.)
- It's been a bad year for broadcast history in CONNECTICUT,
where two venerable TV studio buildings have fallen to the wrecking
ball in the space of just a few months. The latest demolition
is in West Hartford, at the 1953-vintage studios of NBC's WVIT
(Channel 30). The station is now settled in at its modern new
home just behind the old studios off I-84 and New Britain Avenue,
and last week its old digs were reduced to rubble.
- One of the most enduring faces of TV news in VERMONT retired
from the anchor desk last week. Marselis Parsons handed off his
news director duties at WCAX-TV (Channel 3) to Anson Tebbetts
in May, and on Thursday he signed off WCAX's 6 PM newscast for
the last time, inviting viewers to watch his successor, Darren
Perron. Parsons started at Channel 3 as a reporter in 1967, and
had been news director and evening anchor since 1984 - and we
suspect both of those are, and will probably forever be, all-time
longevity records in the region. In his retirement, Parsons will
continue to file occasional stories from around Vermont for WCAX
- and in the meantime, the station has put up a web page featuring
all the video tributes it's been offering for the longtime face
of its news department.
October 17, 2005 -
- One of RHODE ISLAND's most experienced and talented TV reporters
died unexpectedly early Wednesday morning (Oct. 12) at his Cape
Cod home. Jack White's journalism career began at the Newport
Daily News in 1969 and soon took him to the Providence Journal,
where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for his reporting that
discovered President Nixon had cheated on his taxes. (It was
that story, published in October 1973, that led Nixon to make
his "I am not a crook" speech.)
- White moved to television in 1979, working on the "I-Team"
at Boston's WBZ-TV (Channel 4). He returned to newspapers at
the Cape Cod Times two years later, then joined WPRI (Channel
12) in 1985 as the station's chief investigative reporter, a
position he would hold for two decades. White's tenure at WPRI
included two Emmys, one for a 1992 report on fugitive banker
Joseph Mollicone and one just this year for his reporting on
Providence city officials who violated the city's residency requirement.
White is survived by his wife, Beth, three sons, a daughter and
five grandchildren. He was 63. WPRI will broadcast a special
tribute, "Remembering Jack White," Monday night at
- Meanwhile in the Ocean State, the heavy rains late last week
silenced at least one radio station. WDDZ (550 Pawtucket) had
enough water at its site in the floodplain of the Blackstone
River to knock the Radio Disney station off the air Friday. As
we go to press Sunday night, chief engineer Craig Healy reports
that the water level is still above the base insulators of the
towers, which means the station will remain off at least into
- WRIB (1220 Providence) is getting a new owner, as Carter
Broadcasting sells the religious/Spanish outlet to Faith Christian
Center, Inc. for $1.9 million. The deal will leave Carter with
WROL (730 Chicopee) and WCRN (830 Worcester) in Massachusetts.
- It's farewell time for one of NEW HAMPSHIRE's best-known
broadcasters. After a decade and a half transforming New Hampshire
Public Radio from a sleepy, small-town station into a nationally
respected statewide network, Mark Handley has departed his post
at the helm of the network. Sometime in the next few days, Mark
and his wife Judy will head out of Boston Harbor in their 42-foot
sailboat, "Windbird," to spend the next two years circumnavigating
- There's change afoot on the religious radio dial in central
MAINE, as WMDR (1340 Augusta) prepares to move its "Kids
Radio" programming to the new WMDR-FM (88.9 Oakland), which
will take on a more teen-focused, music-heavy approach when it
signs on as "Zap 88.9" soon. The AM signal will flip
to a combination of southern gospel and country as "God's
Country AM 1340."
- In New York City, the story was all about Clear Channel's
latest payola problems, which apparently led to the abrupt ouster
of two of the company's PDs last week - one of them Michael Saunders
of WWPR (105.1). Clear Channel's VP/Urban Programming Doc Wynter
is handling PD chores at Power 105 for now, and of course the
company's keeping as quiet as it can about it all.
- "They took the crosstown bus." Confused by that?
So were radio listeners across the state, who heard that cryptic
message one afternoon last week during an Amber Alert EAS activation
from the state's emergency management office. The message was
apparently part of a test that was transmitted by mistake, and
it aired on numerous stations across the state.
- Heading up to the Hudson Valley, Sunrise Broadcasting is
one step closer - perhaps - to its goal of getting back on the
air at 1200 on the AM dial. You might recall that Sunrise's WGNY
in Newburgh spent a few years operating at 1200 a decade or so
ago, but the station lost its bid to make the move permanent
and was forced back to its original, lower-powered facility at
1220, where it remains today. In the meantime, Sunrise obtained
a construction permit for 1200 in Kingston, which would have
shared the site of WGHQ (920) there, using the calls WJGK. That
CP was never built, and Sunrise then applied instead for 1200
in Highland, near Poughkeepsie and closer to the population center
of the mid-Hudson region. That CP was granted last week, and
one of the conditions was the surrender of the never-built Kingston
CP. So WJGK Kingston gets added to the "never-were"
pile of unbuilt New York AMs, and now Sunrise gets to try to
build five towers along Route 9W in Highland. If it gets built,
the new 1200 would run 4700 watts day, 1000 watts night, with
most of its power getting directed northeast towards Poughkeepsie.
(2010 update: It never got built.)
- There's a format change on the way this week in central NEW
JERSEY, where the oldies simulcast of WMTR (1250 Morristown)
will disappear from Greater Media's WWTR (1170 Bridgewater) in
favor of EBC Radio's Indian/South Asian programming. EBC had
been leasing Multicultural Broadcasting's WTTM (1680 Princeton)
for its broadcasts, but the WWTR signal will put it a little
closer to the base of South Asian listeners in the Edison area.
WTTM, meanwhile, will flip back to ESPN Radio sports programming,
or so we hear.
- The big story out of PENNSYLVANIA this week is Nassau's sale
of its Lehigh Valley/Poconos cluster to the growing Access.1
group. The stations in the group include some of Nassau's earliest
acquisitions - in the Poconos, oldies duo WVPO (840 Stroudsburg)/WPLY
(960 Mount Pocono) and classic hits WSBG (93.5 Stroudsburg),
and in the Lehigh Valley, sports duo WEEX (1230 Easton)/WTKZ
(1320 Allentown), classic hits "Hawk" WODE (99.9 Easton)
and soft AC "Lite 107" WWYY (107.1 Belvidere NJ). No
purchase price has been announced for the deal, which will put
the stations under common ownership with WWRL (1600 New York)
and Access.1's cluster of stations in the Atlantic City area.
October 16, 2000 -
- Radio in the Upper Valley area of NEW HAMPSHIRE has seen
plenty of new clusters in the last few years. But the big national
groups haven't made the trek up I-93...until now. Clear Channel
is paying Bob and Cheryl Frisch $11 million for their four-station
group, based in Lebanon. Heritage news-talker WTSL (1400 Hanover)
is the oldest station in the group, accompanied by hot AC WGXL
(92.3 Hanover), classic rock WVRR (101.7 Newport), and ratings-leading
country "Kix," WXXK (100.5 Lebanon). The usual "no
staff or format changes are planned" line accompanies the
sale, but rumors are already flying about the possibility of
Clear Channel's news-talk WGIR Manchester and rocker WGIR-FM
Manchester providing programming to WTSL and WVRR an hour away.
- Just across the river in VERMONT, Family Broadcasting is
selling WGLV (104.3 Hartford), as first rumored here months ago
(NERW, 5/19/2000). The buyer? "Great Northern Radio,"
aka the Vox group, which already operates in the market with
sports combo WNHV (910 White River Junction) and WTSV (1230 Claremont),
soft AC WWSH (95.3 White River Junction), and rocker WHDQ (106.1
Claremont). We hear WGLV will simulcast WNHV/WTSV for six weeks
or so, followed by a "new format" under the WWOD calls.
(Hmm..."O-D" -- whatever could THAT be?)
- Vox launched another "new" station in the Green
Mountain State this week, moving WWFY (100.9) from a little class
A in Middlebury to a big signal licensed to Berlin. Now known
as "Froggy 100.9, Jumpin' Country," WWFY is targeting
the Barre-Montpelier area. Jim Severance is the PD (and afternoon
guy), with Steve Boswell from Waterbury's WDEV doing mornings
as "J.D. Green," Michelle Drury middays as "Mickey
Hopper," the syndicated Lia show in evenings, and Tim Martin
overnight as "Tad Pole." Cute...real cute.
- The big news from MASSACHUSETTS was the $47.5 million sale
of Worcester's Univision affiliate, WUNI (Channel 27). The station
becomes the 18th Univision affiliate owned by Entravision, and
the company's first in New England. NERW wonders if Entravision
might try to expand its growing Spanish-language radio group
our way as well...
- The "Score" sports simulcast in central MAINE has
lost two of its many stations, as Cumulus flips WCME (96.7 Boothbay
Harbor) to a simulcast of oldies WABK (104.3 Gardiner)..and our
ears up there are hearing WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) running a 15-minute
loop of, of all things, hip-hop music.
- Just last week, we told you that Aurora Broadcasting wouldn't
be selling its cluster in Connecticut and NEW YORK to Nassau
after all. This week, Aurora showed just how much it's changing
gears, agreeing to pay $55 million for Rob Dyson's Crystal group
in the Hudson Valley.
- Aurora's already strong in the southern part of the valley,
with nine stations stretching from Bridgeport into Westchester
County. The Crystal purchase adds nine more signals in the northern
part of the valley, from Middletown and Poughkeepsie up to Kingston.
- * Oldies WCZX (97.7 Hyde Park) and WZAD (97.3 Wurtsboro)
* Sports WEOK (1390 Poughkeepsie) and WALL (1340 Middletown)
* Modern AC WRRV (92.7 Middletown) and WRRB (96.9 Arlington)
* Rocker WPDH (101.5 Poughkeepsie) and WPDA (106.1 Jeffersonville)
* Full-service WKNY (1490 Kingston)
- This sale, combined with Clear Channel's purchases in the
valley earlier in the year (NERW 5/6/2000), mean that just about
every major signal between Westchester and Albany will end the
year under new ownership.
- One bit of news from CANADA, and it comes to us through North
Country correspondent Mike Roach: CJET (630) in Smiths Falls,
Ontario has turned on its new FM signal at 92.3. Mike reports
that "Country 92" began running a test loop of country
music Saturday morning (10/14), which means the AM should be
dark within a few months. (NERW's suddenly very glad that we
made it up to Smiths Falls over the summer, and not just for
the Hershey Canada factory tour!)
New England Radio Watch, October 14 & 19, 1995
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- Boston is getting its first FM triopoly, as soon as Congress
approves the rule change to allow it (apparently at this point
it's "when" and not "if," alas). Fresh from
of Pyramid Broadcasting (locally, CHurban WJMN-94.5, CHR WXKS-107.9,
and satellite-standards WXKS-1430), Evergreen has signed a deal
to buy country WKLB-105.7 from Fairbanks Broadcasting. WKLB was
the last stand-alone class B FM left available for purchase in
the Boston area. CBS's WODS-103.3 is a stand-alone for now, but
will be paired with Westinghouse's WBZ-1030 when that deal closes.
And Charles River Broadcasting's classical WCRB-102.5 is a stand-alone
class B, but is not legally available for purchase.
- So what does it all mean? WKLB has been locked in a brutal
format war with Greater Media's WBCS 96.9 since April, 1993.
Perhaps Evergreen will withdraw WKLB from the country wars and
go after someone else, though just about every known
format is covered in the market already.
- Not included in the (reportedly $30 million) deal is Fairbanks'
talker, WKOX 1200 Framingham. The hot rumor around town has WKOX
joining the American Radio Systems lineup (talker WRKO-680, sports
WEEI-850, 70s WEGQ-93.7, and hot AC WBMX-98.5) as soon as triopoly
is approved. In terms of major players, here's how Boston now
breaks down, in order by Summer '95 12+ market share:
- ARS - 680 WRKO, 850 WEEI, 93.7 WEGQ, 98.5 WBMX
Evergreen (including WKLB) - 1430 WXKS, 94.5 WJMN, 105.7 WKLB,
Infinity - classic rock 100.7 WZLX, modern rock 104.1 WBCN
Westinghouse/CBS - news/talk 1030 WBZ, oldies 103.3 WODS
Greater Media - ethnic 1150 WMEX, country 96.9 WBCS, AC 106.7
Granum - AAA 92.9 WBOS, soft AC 99.5 WSSH
- And right there you have EVERY commercial class B FM in town,
except for the special case of WCRB, and a few minor rimshotters
from 30 or more miles out of town. I wouldn't bet much money
on Greater Media or Granum staying independent for long, either.
- The DJ Shuffle Goes On: Ken Shelton, late of WZLX, and before
that a veteran of years as midday guy on WBCN, has landed on
his feet after being fired from WZLX. Shelton will start as WBOS's
morning man November 1, the day his non-compete clause from WZLX
expires. And JR, the former morning jock on WJMN, is returning
to Boston from a brief exile to Texas. He's starting soon on
70s WEGQ "Eagle 93.7."
- A follow-up on Albany's 1540: WPTR is silent tonight. The
word from the National Radio Club and "DX News" is
that the station will return as religious WDCD on Sunday October
- From the Radio With Pictures world: WMFP-TV 62 Lawrence-Boston
(which transmits from downtown Boston and puts almost no signal
at all over its city of license) has a new owner. Parent company
Shop-At-Home has been sold to home-shopping magnate Lowell Paxson.
No programming changes are expected, alas. And WSBK-TV 38, seen
on cable throughout New England and parts of
Canada, has launched its new 10pm newscast, produced by New England
- The demolition crews go to work Thursday morning, October
19, on what remains of the old rhombic antenna system of the
late WBOS shortwave. WBOS was the shortwave outlet of WBZ, and
operated from WBZ's transmitter site at Hull, Massachusetts from
about 1940 until shortly after World War Two. The actual antenna
wires are long gone, but the telephone poles that supported the
have been sitting undisturbed in the swamp next to the WBZ towers
for half a century. But...all things must pass, and it seems
the town of Hull got nervous about these towers falling and hurting
someone. So after much political pressure, the poles are being
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