It was a full decade ago - November
9, 2000, to be precise - when your editor left the ranks of full-time
media employees to devote himself to freelance writing, media
consulting and the very column and website you're reading right
Here's what I said in NERW back
then: I'm excited about my future, personally and professionally.
How many people, after all, can say they're truly doing what
they love? I've been fortunate to get to know so many of you,
from Timmins to Stamford and from Bar Harbor to Dunkirk (to Honolulu!),
and to share in the enthusiasm and passion so many still share
for this wonderful medium of broadcasting. I'm hoping this next
move in my life means I can keep sharing NERW with all of you
for many years to come. Wish me luck, won't you?
Ten years later (and well into
this column's sixteenth year of service to the broadcast community),
I still consider myself very fortunate to be able to do what
I love here in this space every week, and I'm primed for many
more years of telling the stories of radio and TV here in the
northeastern US and eastern Canada.
I'm excited about what's coming
next for NERW and fybush.com. After a decade, it's long past
time for an overhaul of this website, and that's coming this
winter, with expanded archives, more timely updates and other
features many of you have long been asking about.
But I can't do it without all
of you, and that's even more true in today's shaky economy than
it was when I set out on this journey a decade ago.
If you're a regular reader of
the column who's not yet supporting it through a subscription,
now's a great time to remedy that - and to get ready for all
the exciting website features that will be exclusive to subscribers
once our update is complete later this winter. Click
here to visit the fybush.com store, where you can sign
up at any of our convenient subscription levels and get your
free 2011 calendar, too. (Or you can just buy a calendar, which
also supports our mission here!)
If you have a product or service
to offer to the broadcast community, advertising on fybush.com
is a great, inexpensive way to reach radio and TV people when
they're most receptive to your message. Contact Lisa Fybush at
lisa at fybush dot com for all the details about how you can
join Shively, Bohn Broadcast and the other advertisers who help
keep the column coming.
And if you're looking for a consultant
for a signal-expansion or acquisition project, you've come to
the right place. Let's
Thanks again for your support
- and on to the next decade!
November 8, 2010
EMF Buys Into NYC Market
*Ask any radio station broker
how the last few years have gone, and amidst the tales of declining
station values and elusive financing, you'll hear one consistent
bright spot: while many of the buyers who fueled the explosive
run-up in station values in the late nineties and early aughts
vanished from the scene when the economy turned soft, one station
group has emerged as a major buyer of stations in big markets:
California-based EMF Broadcasting.
The operator of the nationwide "K-Love" and "Air
1" networks, programming contemporary Christian and Christian
rock music, has spent millions of dollars over the last decade
expanding its reach from coast to coast, buying existing commercial
and noncommercial FM stations, applying for new noncommercial
FM signals and using new technologies such as FM translator networks
and "Franken-FM" channel 6 LPTV signals to bring its
programming to medium and large markets.
amidst K-Love's expansion, one market has been conspicuously
missing until now: New York City. On Friday, EMF took the first
step toward changing that, announcing the purchase of Cox's WCTZ
(96.7 Port Chester NY), a move that came amidst some even bigger
transitions for Cox's cluster of stations along the CONNECTICUT
Cox has spent the last five years working on migrating that
96.7 signal from its longtime home in Stamford to the
edges of the nation's largest radio market, NEW YORK;
as regular NERW readers know, it's one of three suburban FM signals
that are all in the process of edging closer to the big city.
Whitney Radio's WVIP (93.5 New Rochelle) signed on its new Bronx
transmitter site earlier this year, and Cumulus has tested the
new Bronx-based signal of its WFAS-FM (103.9 Bronxville) from
the same location as WVIP.
While the O'Shaughnessy family has turned down repeated offers
to buy its stations, there's been little doubt that the intent
of both the WFAS-FM and WCTZ moves was to increase the stations'
value so they could be sold. EMF had reportedly been in talks
with both companies before striking a deal with Cox. There's
no word yet on how much EMF is paying for WCTZ, but we do know
that unlike most EMF deals, this one doesn't include an LMA prior
That may have something to do with WCTZ's as-yet-uncompleted
move: while the station changed city of license from Stamford
to Port Chester back in late 2007, the 96.7 transmitter site
hasn't moved yet. Over the last few years, Cox has applied for
several possible new 96.7 sites closer to Manhattan: one potential
site was on Long Island's north shore, and the current construction
permit for a 96.7 move would have the station operating from
a diocesan radio tower in Yonkers. But it doesn't appear that
EMF will be using that site, either: instead, they'll
wait for the FCC to grant another Cox application to move 96.7
to the top of the Trump Plaza development in New Rochelle.
From there, WCTZ's 60 dBu contour will encompass all of Manhattan
and the Bronx and most of Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau, lower Westchester,
and parts of Bergen, Rockland and Fairfield counties - far from
a full-market signal, but still reaching a substantial chunk
of the market's population (and, interestingly, with almost no
overlap with the other contemporary-Christian player in the region,
central New Jersey's WAWZ-FM 99.1.)
The transfer to EMF is slated to take place sometime in the
first quarter of 2011, and with it will come the end of the "Coast"
AC format and the shift of 96.7 to noncommercial status, allowing
EMF to get a main-studio waiver that will permit the station
to be operated from the network's headquarters in Sacramento.
(New calls will be coming, too; ironically, the "WKHL"
calls that used to be on 96.7 are so ideal for a K-Love outlet
that they've already been snatched up by EMF, which is using
them on a station in West Lafayette, Indiana.)
*As it turns out, the sale of WCTZ was just one of two big
pieces of news that rocked Cox's southern Connecticut cluster
on Friday. A few hours before the sale was announced, managers
gathered employees together to tell them that operations at Cox's
studios in Norwalk were being sharply cut back in order to bring
most of the company's stations in the region together at the
Cox facility in Milford, 25 miles to the east.
NERW hears that the morning meeting began with the news that
Robn Faller, who'd been promoted a year ago to VP/market manager
for Cox Radio - Southern Connecticut, had left the company, with
Kristin Okesson being promoted from VP/GM of the Stamford/Norwalk
cluster to VP/market manager for southern Connecticut.
At first, employees were told that both WCTZ and WFOX-FM (95.9
Norwalk) would be moving their studios from Norwalk to Milford,
with no jobs being lost along the way. It was only partway through
the meeting, we're told, that regional VP Kim Guthrie received
a note announcing that the WCTZ sale was official and that staffers
would be cut as a result.
As of Sunday night, WCTZ is reported to be running jockless
until the sale to EMF closes, putting several jocks out of work,
though morning man Peter Bush has migrated down the dial to sister
station WFOX-FM. Keith Dakin, who'd been programming WCTZ's AC
"Coast" format and the classic rock "Fox"
on WFOX-FM, stays on as rock PD of the newly-combined cluster,
adding New Haven's WPLR (99.1 Hamden) to his portfolio; Chris
Eagan, who programs Milford-based WEZN-FM (Star 99.9), will serve
as operations manager for all four of the FMs that are being
combined in Milford.
As for the two AMs based in Norwalk, the news-talk simulcast
of WNLK (1350 Norwalk)/WSTC (1400 Stamford) will stay put at
444 Westport Avenue for now, but they'll relocate their main
studio to a new location when the lease there runs out later
*Back on the New
York side of the state line, 96.7 wasn't the only suburban FM
frequency making news late last week. As had been widely rumored,
Friday afternoon at 5 brought a new format to Barnstable's WIGX
(94.3 Smithtown, ex-WMJC).
Earlier in the week, WMJC parted ways with most of its airstaff,
including morning man Phathead and middayer Malibu Sue, and the
launch of 90s-pop "94-X, Long Island's Hit Music for Generation
X," was jockless. Veteran programmer Joel Salkowitz is consulting
the new format with PD Jon Daniels, who stays on board.
*Out at the tip of Long Island, Citadel flipped formats on
WELJ (104.7 Montauk) sometime Tuesday - but not, as expected,
to a straight simulcast of its New York City powerhouse WPLJ
Instead, 104.7 (whose
old WXLM calls and talk format have now migrated down the dial
to the former WSUB 980 in Groton, CT) launched with a 10,000-song
commercial-free marathon of hot AC music similar to the WPLJ
playlist but, at least for now, without the New York personalities,
thoug the new WELJ website does promote a simulcast of WPLJ morning
men Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill.
A veteran New York City radio news voice has left the airwaves:
Cameron Swayze, son of pioneering NBC-TV anchor John Cameron
Swayze, retired from his weekend slot on WCBS (880) last weekend
- with, at his request, no fanfare or big farewell; Swayze says
he hopes to come back to the radio dial someday.
Moving up the Hudson Valley, Sunrise Broadcasting has installed
calls on its new 98.9 construction permit in Rosendale, and as
expected, that station will be WGNY-FM now that the former WGNY-FM
(103.1 Newburgh) is WJGK.
In Albany, Ally Reid is the new PD at WZMR (104.9 Altamont),
moving up from assistant PD to fill the shoes of Kevin Callahan,
who's now out in California. Reid keeps her midday airshift as
Veteran Albany air talent Joe Condon checked in to let us
know he's getting ready to get back on the air after spending
a month in the hospital. Condon says he suffered an aortic dissection,
the same sort of blood-vessel tear that took the life of actor
John Ritter a few years ago. "Unfortunately for John Ritter,"
Condon says, "he did not have the support of the Menands
the Latham/Menands paramedics and Saint Peter's Hospital."
With that support, Condon says he's planning to be back on the
air at WYJB (95.5 Albany) on Thanksgiving morning, and he'll
ease back into doing his TV show on WYPX (Channel 55) in early
"God's Country" is off the air in Utica, where the
Christian classic-country network was leasing WOKR (93.5 Remsen)
and a downtown Utica 94.1 translator from EMF. The network says
it wasn't bringing in sufficient listener donations to cover
the cost of the lease-to-own deal with EMF for more than a dozen
stations around the country; for now, WOKR is simulcasting "Air
1" with much larger WRCK (107.3 Utica).
in Rochester, the wrecking ball has started swinging in earnest
at Midtown Plaza, the downtown shopping/office complex that's
been home over almost half a century to nearly all of the city's
radio stations at one time or another.
The first part of the plaza to come down was the B. Forman
building, which was home to WBBF (950), WMJQ/WBEE (92.5) and
their sister stations from the eighties until 2002, up there
on the fifth and sixth floors that were visible at left center
in this photo taken a week ago...and are now rubble. (WBBF's
earlier home, the Midtown Tower building at the right of the
photo that was also home to WVOR, will remain standing, though
it's in the process of being gutted right down to the structural
steel; demolition of the Euclid Building, where WHAM and its
Lincoln Group/Jacor/Clear Channel sisters spent two decades,
has yet to begin.)
*Longtime readers of this column know that we've always been
staunch supporters of good small-town radio and good small-town
radio people, and our region lost one of the best on Tuesday
night with the untimely death of Guy Patrick Garraghan, the founding
general manager and morning voice of WRIP (97.9 Windham).
spent many years in morning drive on WCKL (560 Catskill), Garraghan
was already a veteran Hudson Valley radio voice by the time he
hooked up with station owner Dennis Jackson to put WRIP on the
air in 1999. Together with Jackson and another area radio veteran,
Jay Fink, Garraghan built WRIP into a model of community radio,
making the station - and Garraghan - into the "Voice of
On Tuesday evening, Garraghan was on his way home from WRIP
when he suffered a massive aneurysm. He was airlifted to Albany
Medical Center for emergency surgery, but it was unsuccessful,
and he was pronounced dead a few hours later, two weeks shy of
his 64th birthday.
On Wednesday, WRIP opened its doors and its airwaves to Garraghan's
friends, family and listeners for a remembrance of his life,
and when the day-long special programming ended that evening,
WRIP signed off for the night in Guy's memory.
WRIP helped to organize (and broadcast) a memorial ceremony at
the base lodge at Ski Windham, and there's a memorial to Garraghan
on WRIP's website
We'd hoped to make an appearance there ourselves, and though
we were unable to make the trip, all of us here at NERW send
our deepest condolences to Guy's wife, Carol, his three children,
two brothers and the WRIP family.
Jackson tells NERW that more than a thousand people packed
in for the memorial, and this from a town whose population is
just 1600. It's a tribute to the bond a good local broadcaster
can still have with his community.
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.)
now at the fybush.com Store!
*It was just four years ago when WBZ (1030
Boston) handed over its most prominent on-air position (and arguably
the most important radio slot in all of MASSACHUSETTS)
to a new voice, as Gary LaPierre retired after 42 years on the
job. Nobody expected his successor, Ed Walsh, to equal that record
by sticking around until the year 2058, of course, but it nevertheless
came as a surprise when Walsh announced last week that he's retiring
from WBZ effective November 30.
years ago I returned home from New York to the city where I grew
up and first worked," Walsh said in a statement released
by the station. "I'm very proud of the success we've had
in both awards recognition and building the audience for what
was already the highest-rated morning radio program in New England.
For a guy who loves news and grew up in Boston, being able to
finish my career at WBZ is quite special."
No replacement for Walsh has been announced yet.
*While Walsh retires, a pair of retired veterans are returning
to the airwaves. Sunday morning marked the debut of the new "Upton
and Lobel" talk show, airing from 9-11 AM on Clear Channel's
"Rush Radio" (WXKS 1200). The new show reunites former
WBZ colleagues Upton Bell and Bob Lobel, bringing some very familiar
names to a station that's still struggling to get its own share
of name recognition in the crowded talk market.
Construction work continues out at WQOM (1060 Natick), as
the Catholic station builds out the CP it was granted last week
for 50 kW daytime from three of the five towers at the WAMG (890
Dedham) array in Ashland. Word is that WQOM has been using reduced
power (reportedly 5 kW) since it returned to the air last week
with Catholic programming.
And for the callsign-obsessed, FCC data-mining expert Garrett
Wollman caught something we missed: the very quiet call change
in July that turned WHDH-TV (Channel 7) into just plain "WHDH."
small MAINE radio station has gone silent - and whether
WRMO (93.7 Millbridge) ever comes back on the air depends on
whether the station can find a buyer. "Due to financial
setbacks, I am no longer able to operate 93-7 WRMO and have been
forced to take the station off the air," station manager
Mike McSorley said in a statement on the station's website. WRMO's
license is now held by the estate of the late Lyle Evans, who'd
planned to upgrade the station far beyond its present minimal
130-watt facilities before his death in 2006.
*It was a bad election day
for several NERW-land broadcasters seeking political office:
in Connecticut, former WFSB/WVIT news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh
lost her bid for Congress against Democratic incumbent Joe Courtney,
while in VERMONT, former WDEV (550 Waterbury) talk host
Paul Beaudry challenged incumbent Democrat Peter Welch for the
state's at-large House seat, losing by a 2-to-1 margin. Beaudry
says he's considering returning to talk radio after the loss.
*RHODE ISLAND's John DePetro is getting
an airshift in Washington. The WPRO (630) host has signed on
with Citadel sister station WMAL (also on 630) to do Saturdays,
4-7 PM, broadcasting to DC from WPRO's East Providence studios;
credit WMAL PD Bill Hess, who worked with DePetro at WHJJ in
Providence, with the hire.
Christmas music came to the Ocean State late last week, when
Clear Channel flipped WSNE (93.3 Taunton) for the season; we'd
expect Citadel's WWLI (105.1) to join the ho-ho-ho brigade before
*Last December, we reported that WRJI (91.5 East Greenwich)
had fallen silent - and now licensee Educational Radio for the
Public of a New Millennium has finally gotten around to notifying
the FCC and asking for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to remain
off the air. Trouble is, that notification is supposed to be
filed within 30 days of the station's going silent. Worse yet,
the Commission is mandated by law to delete the license of any
station that remains silent for more than a year, and the application
filed on November 4, 2010 (with the unenlightening explanation
of "negligence by ISP provider to set up radio tower connection,"
whatever that means) acknowledged that WRJI went off the
air on November 2, 2009, just over a year ago. Oops...
FOUNDCUTS -- The ultimate weekly 3-hour musical
journey spotlights those "oh wow" hits you don't hear
anymore from the 80s and beyond. Contact us to see if Foundcuts
is available in your market now. E-mail Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org
for a demo.
DO IT RIGHT PRODUCTIONS --
Visit our Web site, doitrightproductions.net,
to hear our three syndicated shows, Classic Clips, Country Roots
and Gospel Doings, produced by longtime country and bluegrass
lovers. We also provide demo and duplicating services. Contact
Roland (Bruce) Cutler, PO Box 351, Lyons, NY 14489; or email@example.com.
FM GEAR NEEDED -- Seeking two-bay low-power FM antennas
(Jampro, PSI, Dielectric or others) at 96.5. Also looking for
1 kW FM transmitter, tube type OK. We pay shipping. Contact Allen,
dba Alleo, firstname.lastname@example.org
or 770-300-9287 (8 AM-9 PM).
You can have
your ad here, for just a few dollars a week! Click
for information on the most economical way to reach tens of thousands
of Northeast radio and TV people each week.
*When Disney announced in late September that WEAE
(1250 Pittsburgh) would drop ESPN Radio at year's end, the speculation
began in earnest about where the "Worldwide Leader"
would next park its programming in western PENNSYLVANIA -
and if you, like us, predicted ESPN would end up at Clear Channel's
WBGG (970 Pittsburgh), you guessed correctly.
Clear Channel confirmed last week that "Fox Sports 970"
will transform into "ESPN 970" on New Year's Day, with
midday hosts "Tunch & Wolf" and afternoon host
Joe Bendel remaining part of the lineup. Mornng host Greg Linnelli
will be part of the reworked 970 lineup as well, but not in morning
drive, where ESPN insists stations clear its own Mike & Mike
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: It's
taken more than a decade, but it appears that ion Media, the
former Pax Broadcasting, is finally on the verge of acquiring
a Pittsburgh outlet. It's WQEX (Channel 16), the secondary signal
that public broadcaster WQED (Channel 13) has been trying to
sell for years now. Back in 1999, WQED was on the verge of a
deal that would have transferred channel 16 to religious broadcaster
WPCB, which would then have moved its noncommercial programming
to 16 and sold off its own channel 40 signal to Pax. But that
deal fell through over concerns about whether religious broadcasting
qualified as "educational" for the purposes of a noncommercial
license, and by the time the FCC straightened out the confusion,
the sale was dead. WQED later tried to sell WQEX to broadcast
executive Diane Sutter, but that $20 million sale also failed
to close. This time, WQEX (which has been broadcasting home shopping
programming) will go for just $3 million, ending its half-century
association with WQED.
more Pittsburgh note: just as we're observing the demolition
of Midtown Plaza here in Rochester with a twinge (or more) of
sadness, the folks at Duquesne University's WDUQ (90.5) are watching
their old home come down. Demolition is well underway
now on the former Des Plaines Language Center building, where
WDUQ spent the last 40 years.
*At the other end of the state, Star and Buc Wild are back
on the morning airwaves in Philadelphia, this time at Radio One's
WPHI (100.3 Media), where they fill a morning-drive vacancy.
Later in the day, "100.3 the Beat" shifts Kendra G
from nights to afternoons, with Mia Mendez and Caesar taking
over the night shift.
*We neglected to mention a big change in Scranton radio in
last week's issue: October 22 was the last day for the local
jock lineup on Citadel's WSJR (93.7 Dallas), which replaced morning
man/APD Moonshine and the rest of the local airstaff with Citadel's
syndicated "Today's Best Country" format.
There's a new station coming to the State College market,
at least if Cary Simpson's Allegheny Mountain Network still wants
to follow through with the application it filed back in 2004
for 1000 watts days/270 watts at night on 1490. Six years later,
the FCC has finally granted Simpson that construction permit,
which will be licensed to the neighboring town of Lemont, PA.
The Commission was a little quicker when it came to dealing
with an unsuccessful inspection at WGRP (940)/WEXC (107.1) in
Greenville: last week, it proposed an $18,000 fine against former
owner Beacon Broadcasting for a pile of violations that included
public-file issues, an unauthorized studio-transmitter link for
the FM and overpower nighttime operation for the AM signal. Since
the inspection last year and the death of Beacon owner Harold
Glunt, the stations have been sold to EMF Broadcasting, but it's
Beacon and the Glunt family that are still on the hook for the
*And one of the industry's most prominent voices fell silent
last Monday. Charlie O'Donnell was remembered - and rightly so
- for his quarter-century as the announcer on "Wheel of
Fortune," but before he moved out west, O'Donnell had a
long and impressive eastern career. O'Donnell's career started
at WCHA (800 Chambersburg) in 1956, but he soon returned to his
native Philadelphia, where he worked at WHAT (1340) and WIBG
(990) before moving to WFIL (560) and WFIL-TV (Channel 6), where
he worked alongside Dick Clark on "American Bandstand."
In New York, O'Donnell was best known for his time in the
late sixties on WOR-FM (98.7); it was around that time, in late
1966, that O'Donnell recorded the newscast that formed part of
the Simon & Garfunkel hit "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night."
By the late sixties, O'Donnell was firmly planted in Los Angeles,
working as a DJ on KRLA (1110) and as an announcer on KCOP-TV
(Channel 13); he began working on "Wheel of Fortune"
in 1975 and rejoined the show in 1988 with current host Pat Sajak.
O'Donnell was 78.
*NEW JERSEY 101.5 - aka WKXW Trenton
- has a new name for its studio building in Ewing Township. It's
now the "Jim Gearhart Broadcast Center," dedicated
last week in honor of the station's longtime morning host.
The Armstrong Tower in Alpine lit up on schedule over the
weekend for a commemorative broadcast from WA2XMN, the experimental
station on 42.8 megacycles that honors the memory of FM's inventor,
Major Edwin Howard Armstrong. We didn't make it down for the
broadcast this time, but we know it was being heard well up the
Hudson Valley, at the very least.
And we note the passing of Tom Busch, who spent the last 35
years in Alaska, building and managing KNOM (780) in Nome, a
station we were proud to feature some years back as a Tower
Site of the Week. Before Busch moved north, he worked in
NERW-land at WLDB (1490 Atlantic City, now WBSS) and at WRYT
(950 Boston, now WROL). Busch died Nov. 1, at 63.
*Our CANADA news begins with still
more silent AMs: out on Quebec's Gaspé peninsula,
CHNC (610 New Carlisle)
and CHGM (1150 Gaspé) finally left the air last week after
receiving multiple extensions of time to simulcast their FM replacements
(on 107.1 and 99.3, respectively). The FM signals signed on in
late December 2008, but complaints about poor reception kept
the AM outlets on the air far beyond the usual 90-day simulcast
And we're just now learning about a completed AM-to-FM conversion
last month in Alma, Quebec, where CFGT-FM (104.5) signed on October
13 as "Planète 104,5," followed three days later
by the permanent sign-off of CFGT (1270).
*In Ontario, Instant Information Services has been granted
a new 50-watt tourist-information station in Quinte West, with
To the north, two existing FMs have applied for power increases:
My Broadcasting wants to crank up CIMY (96.1 Pembroke) from 2.57
kW max DA/90.5 m to 31.6 kW max DA/90.5 m to rectify complaints
of "weak or inconsistent reception of its signal,"
while CHLK (88.1 Perth) wants to power up from 1.35 kW max DA
to 5.4 kw max DA.
the NERW Archives
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.
November 9, 2009 -
- For the last few years, it seems as though the arrival of
Christmas music on the northeast radio dial has been getting
earlier and earlier - but not this year. Instead of the pre-Halloween
flips we'd been tracking (and which hit at a couple of HD2 signals
in Philadelphia and at WEZW on the Jersey shore, which is evidently
in the proces of flipping formats), the first stations in the
region to go all-Christmas this year waited until November 2.
Those flips happened in Syracuse and Utica, NEW YORK, where Ed
Levine's Galaxy clusters flipped at WZUN (102.1 Phoenix) and
WUMX (102.5 Rome), which were also early adopters in 2008.
- As we go to press Sunday, "Sunny 102" and "Mix
102" still stand alone in the Empire State - and while we'd
expect more holiday tunes to start rolling later in November
at usual suspects like WRMM in Rochester, WYYY in Syracuse and
WKLI in Albany, we're hearing that New York's WCBS-FM, which
flipped last year, may stick with its usual classic hits format
this holiday season.
- Fans of the adult album alternative sounds on New York City's
WFUV (90.7) don't have to worry about that public radio station
going all-Christmas - but unless they live on the west side of
Manhattan, they may not be hearing WFUV at all during the day
for the next couple of weeks. WFUV is in the midst of a big antenna-replacement
project at its relatively new transmitter site in the Bronx,
and the construction means the station's main transmitter is
off the air weekdays from 8 AM until about 4 PM, leaving only
the WFUV-1 booster atop Riverside Church (and the WFUV.org webstreams)
on the air during the day. At night and on weekends, WFUV switches
on its auxiliary antenna at the Bronx site, restoring most of
its coverage. The project is scheduled to wrap up around the
middle of next week, weather permitting.
- In Ellenville, WELG (1370) has become WRWD, once again relaying
the country music from WRWD-FM (107.3 Highland) in the Poughkeepsie
market, now that sister Clear Channel FM station WRWC (99.3 Ellenville)
has become WKIP-FM, carrying the same talk programming that had
been heard on WELG.
- There's a new AM signal coming to northern NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Mount Washington Radio and Gramophone, which already owns WBNC
(1050) and WVMJ (104.5) in Conway, has been granted a construction
permit for a new signal on 1340. The new AM will run 620 watts
day and night, non-directional, from the WBNC tower on Route
103 east of Conway.
- Some interesting late-breaking news from VERMONT: Chip and
Kathy Morgan, who run eclectic community outlet WMUD-LP (89.3
Moriah NY) from their farm in Bridport, are adding a second outlet
with a bigger Champlain Valley signal: they're now programming
WCLX (102.9 Westport NY) for owner Dennis Jackson, returning
the station to the air two months after the end of its last managerial
arrangement, with Diane Desmond and Russ Kinsley, took the frequency
silent. "The soon-to-debut new format will be derived from
their "Farm Fresh Radio" syndicated format offering,"
Jackson tells NERW. "It will be a hybrid that expands on
our former "musicheads" format, including AAA cuts,
deep album cuts, blues, and rockin' Americana cuts." Jackson
notes that like WMUD-LP, the new signal's studio will be powered
in part by wind from an on-site wind farm.
- In MAINE, veteran station owner Dick Gleason has a new title:
mayor of Auburn. Tuesday's election found Gleason winning 69%
of the vote in his race against Ron Potvin. Gleason has been
a station owner since 1975, when he bought what's now WOXO (92.7
Norway), which became the cornerstone of a five-station group
that also includes WTBM (100.7 Mexico), WKTQ (1450 South Paris),
WEZR (1240 Lewiston) and WTME (780 Rumford).
November 7, 2005 -
- The first week of November brought plenty of news from PENNSYLVANIA
- none of it bigger than the $1.2 billion sale of Susquehanna
Radio to Cumulus Media Partners, a partnership of Cumulus Media
and three investment firms. In our region, the sale affects only
the Susquehanna group in York - talker WSBA (910 York), AC WARM-FM
(103.3 York), oldies WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) and silent WGLD (1440
Red Lion) - but it also closes a long, proud history of a group
(owned by Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, perhaps better known for its
dishware) that grew from a handful of central Pennsylvania stations
to a nationwide cluster with major outlets in San Francisco,
Dallas, Atlanta and elsewhere. (We should note, too, that Susquehanna
Pfaltzgraff is also selling its SusCom cable service, which serves
some 225,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania, New York, Maine and
Mississippi. Comcast, which already owned 30% of SusCom, is paying
$775 million for the rest of the company.)
- One more Susquehanna note before we continue: little WGLD
was back on the air briefly last week, keeping its license from
an impending expiration.
- Across the state, adult hits came to Pittsburgh Tuesday when
Steel City Media dumped the lagging classic rock format on WRRK
(96.9 Braddock) in favor of "96.9 Bob FM." The station
is running jockless for now - even in mornings, previously occupied
by the syndicated Bob & Tom show.
- It's technically a NEW JERSEY story, but the move of WTTM
(1680 Princeton) to its new home in Lindenwold, which was being
completed over the weekend, is really all about Philadelphia
and its radio listeners. WTTM spent much of last week playing
country music from its old tower site near Pennington, N.J. (lovingly
automated by chief engineer Neal Newman) while getting the new
Lindenwold facility ready to go on the air. NERW hears that Multicultural
Broadcasting will begin running Spanish-language programming
on WTTM once the move is finished.
- And speaking of Pennington, some sad news to report: that's
where Julian Breen lived, and we were as stunned as everyone
else in the business at the news of Breen's death last week.
Breen was the APD/MD at WABC during some of its most successful
years, from 1968-1971. From there, he became PD at KYA in San
Francisco before returning to the East Coast to become vice president
of Greater Media. He's credited with creating the "Magic"
format at WMGK (102.9 Philadelphia) and WMGQ (98.3 New Brunswick).
More recently, Breen was one of the go-to guys for ratings analysis,
through his Supertrends (later Breen Broadcast) consultancy.
Julian Breen died Oct. 29 of pancreatic cancer; he was just 63.
- Big changes at CONNECTICUT's WEZN (99.9 Bridgeport) - "Star
99.9" morning man John Harper was abruptly ousted from his
wakeup slot last week, after more than a decade at the station.
His replacement is former WVIT/WTIC-TV sportscaster Tony Terzi,
son of Hartford TV veteran Al Terzi. Terzi joins newscaster Marit
Price (who just joined Star in July) and traffic reporter Tommy
Edison. Meanwhile, Star has officially hired former WQSX ("Star
93.7") jock Mike McGowan for afternoons; McGowan has a long
history in Connecticut, albeit in the Hartford market, and he'd
been doing the afternoon slot on WEZN on an interim basis.
- Down the road in Greenwich, WGCH (1490) has acrimoniously
parted ways with veteran morning newsman Jim Thompson. The station
tried to move Thompson to middays, but he claimed his contract
guaranteed him morning drive. So for more than a week, he continued
to show up for mornings, reports the Greenwich Citizen-News,
only to find someone else on the air in the timeslot. Now he's
out of a job at WGCH after 28 years, though the station continues
to employ his wife, Dima Joseph, as morning show producer.
- A long-planned antenna move in MASSACHUSETTS is finally a
reality. Entercom's WAAF (107.3 Westborough) has signed on its
new transmitter and antenna at Stiles Hill in Boylston (on the
tower of WUNI-TV 27). The new facility puts out 9.6 kW/1099',
and it's expected to improve WAAF's signal towards Boston (it's
about 10 miles closer than the original WAAF site on Mount Asnebumskit
in Paxton), at the expense of some of the wide-area coverage
the station's long enjoyed into eastern Connecticut and western
November 6, 2000 -
- For years now, one of the parlor games most often played
by MASSACHUSETTS radio buffs has been "What will it take
for Bernardine Nash to sell WILD?" This week, we have an
answer -- and it's no great surprise. Ever since her husband's
death a few years back, rumors have run rampant about Nash's
plans for the urban AM "little daytimer that could."
Would she negotiate a move to a full-time frequency, or to FM?
Would she sell, and if so, to whom?
- This spring, Nash began answering those questions when she
LMA'd the station to Radio One, one of the country's fastest-growing
urban groups (NERW, 5/19/2000). The move put WILD (1090) under
the same roof as new competitor WBOT (97.7 Brockton). And now
Nash has agreed to sell WILD outright to Radio One. The $5 million
deal puts Nash in charge of the Radio One Boston group, and makes
WILD the 51st station nationwide for the company.
- The big news from NEW YORK this week was, of course, the
waning days of the nation's most-watched Senate race. The big
radio news, though, was taking place in the Hudson Valley, as
the stations Clear Channel is spinning off to Concord Media take
on their new formats. On the AM side, WHUC (1230 Hudson) broke
from the talk format shared with Kingston's WGHQ (920) and Poughkeepsie's
WKIP (1450) to go standards, though not with the same satellite
service as sister station WCKL (560 Catskill). Could that mean
changes on the way at WCKL? On the FM dial, WCTW (98.5 Catskill),
aka "The Cat," returns to the Westwood One "Bright
AC" satellite format it had been using until February, when
the station went mostly live and local with hot AC. The other
half of "the Cat," WCTJ (96.1 Poughkeepsie), keeps
the hot AC, albeit with automation and voicetracks instead of
live jocks. And WTHK (93.5 Hudson) dumps "Thunder Country"
for Westwood One's oldies as "Cruisin' 93-5," with
Bill Williams from WRNQ (92.1 Poughkeepsie) serving as PD and
Ken Gonyea doing mornings. Again, "Thunder Country"
lives, for now, on WTHN (99.3 Ellenville) to the south.
- A Syracuse television icon will retire in a little less than
a month. Ron Curtis started at WHEN radio (620) back when its
sister TV station was still on channel 8. That was in 1959, and
seven years later he became the anchor on WHEN-TV, today's WTVH
(Channel 5). In recent years, Curtis has anchored WTVH's noon
and 11 PM shows. His final appearance on channel 5 will be December
- From CANADA this week comes word that the CRTC has approved
CIMF (94.9 Hull)'s application for a low-power relay in Hawkesbury,
Ontario, halfway to Montreal -- but with a catch. While acknowledging
that CIMF needs the relay to retain the listeners it will lose
when adjacent-channel CBF (95.1 Montreal) cranks up to 100 kilowatts,
the CRTC says the relay can't be on 107.7, the frequency CIMF
wanted. It seems several community stations are hoping to use
that channel in the area, and the CRTC says CIMF can find other
frequencies that will work.
- A few quick notes from outside the NERW listening area: We
enjoyed listening to the 80th anniversary special last week on
KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh), even though there's certainly plenty
of historical evidence casting doubt on KD's claim that "radio
began here." At the other end of the Keystone State, a moment
of silence please for the loss of two Philly institutions: WWDB
(96.5), a pioneer in the world of FM talk, expired quietly Monday
morning (11/6), replaced later in the day by 80s hits as "The
Point," with the WRPT calls that once lived in Peterborough
and Ashland reportedly on the way. Across the river in South
Jersey, WVLT (92.1 Vineland)'s abrupt cancellation of the "phillyradio.com
Radio Radio Show" leaves WJIB's "Let's Talk About Radio"
as the only radio-on-radio show we know of in the country.
- Staying in Pennsylvania for a moment, just on the fringes
of NERWland, we note two call changes just out from the FCC:
WAQM (104.5 Cambridge Springs), just south of Erie, becomes WXXO
(remember that call from Albany a few years back?), while WZRZ
(98.7 Mill Hall) near Williamsport becomes WLTS-FM. No word yet
on accompanying format changes.
New England Radio Watch, November 9, 1995
can sponsor this weekly feature! Click here for information!
NorthEast Radio Watch is made possible by the generous
contributions of our regular readers. If you enjoy NERW, please
click here to
learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2010 by Scott Fybush.