Cumulus-Citadel Deal Affects NY, PA
Don't wait until NERW
Monday for breaking news - follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates as they happen!
*It's still not a done deal as we wrap up
this column late Sunday night, but the impending merger of Citadel
Broadcasting into Cumulus Media promises to create a 900-station
behemoth that could bring some changes to NEW YORK and
several other NERW-land markets.
all the acquisitions both companies have made in the post-1996
consolidation era, it's remarkable how little overlap exists
among their station groups. Nationwide, the analysts say, a combined
Cumulus-Citadel would have to shed only a handful of stations:
one in Dallas, two in Nashville and possibly (as we'll see later
in this week's column) one in central Pennsylvania.
For the most part, though, each company has stayed away from
the other's turf. In market number one, Citadel became a player
with its 2006 acquisition of ABC Radio's WABC (770) and WPLJ
(95.5) - but those stations have never competed directly with
the suburban clusters that Cumulus picked up in its purchase
of the old Aurora group in 2001.
Those stations - WFAS/WFAS-FM/WFAF in Westchester County;
the Poughkeepsie-based cluster that includes oldies WALL/WEOK,
modern rock WRRV/WRRB, AC WCZX, rock WPDH/WPDA and country WKXP/WZAD;
the Danbury, Connecticut cluster that includes sports WINE/WPUT,
rock WRKI and country WDBY; and the Bridgeport-based WEBE/WICC
- will form a powerful suburban counterpart to WABC and WPLJ.
(And there's one interesting "what if": Cumulus
has built out, but not yet licensed, a move of WFAS-FM 103.9
from Westchester to the WFUV tower site in the Bronx. Cumulus
was reportedly trying to sell the moved-in 103.9 signal, which
made no economic sense as a standalone with only partial coverage
of New York City - but now that signal just might make some sense
as an FM outlet for WABC.)
Outside the city and Hudson Valley, the rest of the state
is Citadel territory: three FMs and one AM (WGRF, WEDG, WHTT
and WBBF) in Buffalo, where Cumulus also picks up the lucrative
Bills football network; three FMs and one AM (WNTQ, WAQX, WXTL
and WSKO) in Syracuse; three FMs and two AMs (WHWK, WAAL, WWYL,
WNBF and WYOS) in Binghamton.
In Connecticut, the aforementioned Cumulus clusters in Danbury
and Bridgeport have no overlap with Citadel's small cluster (news-talk
WXLM, classic rock WMOS and hot AC WELJ) in New London. It's
all Citadel in Rhode Island (WPRO/WEAN, WPRO-FM, WWLI, WWKX and
WPRV in Providence), Massachusetts (WMAS-FM/WHLL in Springfield,
WORC-FM/WWFX/WXLO in Worcester and WBSM/WFHN in New Bedford)
and New Hampshire (Portsmouth's WOKQ/WPKQ and WSHK/WSAK).
In Maine, the two companies mesh neatly: Citadel has clusters
in Portland (WCYY, WHOM, WJBQ, WBLM), Augusta (WMME, WEBB, WTVL/WJZN)
and Presque Isle (WBPW, WOZI, WQHR) that will dovetail with Cumulus'
cluster in Bangor (WEZQ, WWMJ, WQCB, WBZN, WDEA).
In Pennsylvania, things get interesting: Citadel owns in Erie
(WXTA, WXKC, WQHZ, WRIE), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (WMGS, WSJR,
WBHT/WBHD, WBSX, WARM) and Allentown (WCTO/WLEV); Cumulus edges
into western Pennsylvania on the fringe of its Youngstown cluster,
which includes Sharon's WPIC/WYFM and Mercer's WLLF - and both
companies own heavily in that broad swath of central Pennsylvania
that's divided up into the separate Lancaster, Harrisburg and
York markets. It's that separation of radio markets - the area
is all one TV market - that may allow a combined Citadel/Cumulus
to keep most of its stations.
Here's how it divvies up: Cumulus has three FMs and two AMs
in the Harrisburg market (WWKL 92.1, WTPA 93.5, WNNK 104.1) and
two FMs and two AMs in the York market (WSOX 96.1, WARM-FM 103.3,
WSBA 910, WGLD 1440). Citadel lists three FMs (WCAT 102.3, WQXA
105.7, WMHX 106.7) as Harrisburg-market stations, even though
WQXA is licensed to York; it also has two signals in the nearby
Lancaster market (WIOV and WIOV-FM). Depending on how the FCC
sees it, the combined company might have to divest one "Harrisburg"
FM, unless WQXA ends up counted against the York market cap instead.
But we're getting ahead of things here - first, the deal has
to be made official, and so far it's merely at the "exclusive
negotiation" stage. And as we've seen before, it's one thing
to acquire a whole bunch of stations around the country and another
thing altogether to make them all work well, especially in a
company that could include stations as big as WABC and WPLJ and
as small as the Presque Isle and Sharon stations.
(And there's one other piece to this puzzle that's deserving
of mention before we move on to other stories: it's been widely
reported that Entercom, which was an unsuccessful bidder when
Citadel swallowed ABC Radio, was also right behind Cumulus in
its offer for Citadel's assets. Had Entercom succeeded this time
- or if the Cumulus/Citadel deal were to fall through - it would
have created some interesting opportunities, especially given
Entercom's desire to expand its WEEI coverage in New England,
as well as some conflicts in markets such as Buffalo and Wilkes-Barre.)
*Meanwhile in the Hudson Valley, Juergen Klebe's Sunrise Broadcasting
has received a license to cover for WGNY-FM (98.9 Rosendale),
and it's set to sign on with regular programming any day now.
class A signal reaches from north of Kingston to south of Poughkeepsie,
complementing the more southerly reach of Klebe's WJGK (103.1
Newburgh, the former WGNY-FM) and WGNY (1220 Newburgh).
According to the Sunrise website, 98.9 will be carrying the
same oldies format now heard on 1220 and sister station WDLC
(1490 Port Jervis) - and like the Newburgh FM, it will be operating
in HD, with something called "The Drive" on 98.9-2.
*The North Carolina-based Bible Broadcasting Network has been
trying to sell WYFY (1450 Rome) for years now, and it's finally
found a buyer. Ron and Corinne Frisch's Tune In Radio, LLC will
pay BBN just $20,000 for the 1000-watt station's license, plus
an additional $70,000 for its real estate. Tune In Radio owns
just one other station at the moment, silent WQMS (1500) in Quitman,
In Utica, there's a new PD at Mindy Barstein's WXUR (92.7
Herkimer) - it's Tom Starr, the former PD at Utica's WOUR (96.9).
Down the Thruway, unbuilt WKAJ (1120) wants to move from Little
Falls east to St. Johnsville, and to boost its power in the process.
Currently permitted for 1500 watts day, 250 watts at night in
Little Falls, WKAJ would go to 10,000 watts by day, 400 watts
at night from a four-tower array off Route 5 just west of St.
Johnsville. The daytime signal, using two of the towers to create
a mostly north-south pattern, will give 5 mV/m coverage from
Herkimer almost to Johnstown, neatly complementing the reach
of sister station WCSS (1490 Amsterdam) to the east.
In Schenectady, WVKZ (1240) morning host Walt Adams did his
last show there on Friday, we're told; he'll continue to be heard
on weekends on sister station WQAR (101.3 Stillwater).
Two of the region's public broadcasters have signed on new
signals: Albany's ever-expanding WAMC-FM (90.3) has flipped the
"on" switch at at WANZ (90.1 Stamford), filling in
a little coverage hole high in the Catskills; up north, North
Country Public Radio is now on the air at WSLG (90.5 Gouverneur),
the 11th full-power signal in the network fed from WSLU (89.5
Canton). WSLG, which signed on Thursday (Feb. 17), fills a coverage
hole between the main WSLU transmitter and Watertown's WSLJ (88.9).
CALENDAR 2011 - IT'S HERE!
It's 2011 now - and that 2010 calendar on your
wall won't do you much good, will it?
But lucky for you, we're here to help:
Tower Site Calendar 2011 is now available, featuring
more than a dozen great images of radio and TV broadcast facilities
all over the country (and even beyond - this year's edition takes
us to Mexico!)
Thrill to a night shot of KFI's new tower!
Check out the WAEB Allentown array just after it lost a tower
- or enjoy the history at venerable sites like those of KID in
Idaho Falls, WCAP in Lowell, KTKT in Tucson and Rochester's Pinnacle
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 signed calendars, back isues and much
more in the fybush.com store!
Orders of 20 or more calendars get a discount.
We'll even add a bow or a gift card upon request.
now at the fybush.com Store!
*A big shift in MASSACHUSETTS: one
of the original talkers from the start of WEEI's all-sports era
20 years ago is being relegated to fill-in status as Entercom
shuffles the lineup there. Dale Arnold had been co-hosting with
Michael Holley in middays for many years - but now Holley's being
moved to afternoons, effective next week, to co-host "The
Big Show" with Glenn Ordway. Who replaces "Dale and
Holley" from 10-2? WEEI's not saying officially, but the
Herald reports that the nod will go to Lou Merloni and
As for Arnold, he says WEEI has assured him he'll still get
plenty of work doing vacation relief and weekends, as well as
filling in on Celtics and Red Sox broadcasts as needed - but
he admits (again, to the Herald) that he regrets passing
up an offer to do Bruins play-by-play four years ago.
*There's a new signal on the air in Bristol County: WPMW (88.5
Bayview) is carrying Catholic programming under the banner of
"Radio CorMariae," operated by the Franciscan Friars
of the Immaculate in New Bedford. It began testing in December,
and recently applied for a license to cover; full-time programming
is expected by late March.
is publication day for a book we here at NERW have been anticipating
for a while: longtime friend of the column Donna Halper is out
with her latest volume, Boston Radio 1920-2010.
It's a photo-heavy collection from the folks at Arcadia Publishing,
who've been doing a lot of local radio and TV history lately.
(They put out a nice book on Nashville's radio history last year,
they've recently featured Pittsburgh, and there's a Philadelphia
radio book yet to come, too - that one we know about because
we contributed a photo to it!)
And while some of the Arcadia volumes tend to have little
heft beyond the pretty pictures, this one promises to be a little
different - after all, nobody knows the early history of Boston
radio the way Donna does.
Could this be an appetizer for a larger, more comprehensive
history by the time the centennials of 1XE/WGI and WBZ roll around
in less than a decade?
*One of the signature voices of WBZ (1030) at the dawn of
its top-40 era has died. Jay Dunn began his broadcast career
in 1954 at Portland's WGAN, and by 1961 he had joined the staff
at WBZ, where he was mostly heard in the 12:30-3:30 PM slot,
taking the handoff from Dave Maynard and passing the baton to
Jefferson Kaye (and later to Ron Landry after Kaye's departure
to Buffalo and WKBW.)
Dunn himself left WBZ in 1967, later working at Chicago's
WGN, Cincinnati's WCKY, Philadelphia's WPEN and WIBG and New
York's WNEW. He left radio in 1976 and went into real estate
in Myrtle Beach, S.C., though he returned to New England in the
mid-nineties to retire in New Hampshire, where he died last Monday
(Feb. 14). Dunn was 78.
*The WREF calls didn't stay
gone from New England radio very long after being dropped from
AM 850 in Ridgefield, CONNECTICUT (now WAXB) a few weeks
back. "WREF" now belongs to a construction permit on
89.7 in Lisbon, NEW HAMPSHIRE - and that CP belongs to
"Nostalgia One Public Radio," a nonprofit run by Barry
Lunderville, who also owns a cluster of commercial stations in
*Yes, that was classical music being heard at 99.1 and 101.5
on the dial in the Granite State last week, but don't read too
much into the arrival of "W-Bach" in Concord and the
Lakes Region: it was just Nassau keeping the licenses alive at
WNNH (99.1 Henniker) and WWHQ (101.5 Meredith) before they were
due to be deleted after a year of silence. The stations have
been mostly off the air since 2009, when Nassau was directed
to spin them off to stay under ownership caps, and the collapse
of station values has done little to bring prospective buyers
*Could a burgeoning network of low-power TV signals across
the Granite State be on the verge of adding a full-power license
with Boston cable coverage? NHJournal.com reports that businessman
Bill Binnie, an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in
2010, is looking to add Derry-licensed WZMY (Channel 50) to his
"New Hampshire 1" network. Binnie is in the process
of buying a cluster of LPTVs covering most of New Hampshire and
adjacent parts of Vermont, and he's advertised for managers to
help build a news operation at "New Hampshire 1."
WZMY is presently owned by Diane Sutter's Shooting Star Broadcasting
and operating (as "MyTV New England") under a long-term
LMA with New Age Media, which owns Portland-market WPXT/WPME
*WEEI isn't the only prominent New England
station rearranging its host lineup: in Providence, RHODE
ISLAND, Citadel (er, make that Cumulus soon) is reworking
its schedule at talker WPRO (630)/WEAN (99.7), moving morning
man John DePetro to the 9-noon slot and pulling the station's
afternoon shows back to three hours from four, with Dan Yorke
shifting to noon-3 and Buddy Cianci from 3-6 (they're presently
heard 10-2 and 2-6, respectively.)
What happens in morning drive? WPRO isn't saying yet, but
Jeff Derderian, writing in GoLocalProv.com, says Andrew Gobeil,
the just-departed weekend anchor at WLNE (Channel 6), is being
tapped for that slot. (Derderian also says the DePetro move is
related to a bid on his part to move into national syndication.)
GARY BEGIN VOICE TALENT --
talent with 25+ years experience. Ear-catching delivery. Talent
with home studio. Commercial production. Imaging. On-hold messages.
Narration. National experience. On-time and on-budget. Demos
available at www.garybegin.com.
or call (731) 437-0536, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT.
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 email@example.com
for a demo.
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.
*Did Fox give the FCC truthful information
about its operation of NEW JERSEY's largest commercial
TV station? The FCC has asked for a detailed list of specific
information about local programming and staffing at Secaucus-licensed
WWOR-TV (Channel 9). At issue is whether licensee News Corp.
may have given the FCC "material factual information that
was incorrect" when it responded to a 2009 FCC inquiry about
staffing levels and New Jersey-focused news coverage at Channel
News Corp. admits that its lawyers gave the FCC an outdated
set of information during a meeting that took place shortly after
WWOR reduced its daily news presence from an hour at 10 PM to
a half-hour at 11 in 2009, but it contends that it still meets
the FCC's requirements for local news presence - and that any
changes that took place after the latest renewal cycle began
As NERW readers know, WWOR has been under tough scrutiny for
years over its commitment to New Jersey news, and the FCC has
a long list of very specific questions, including one about the
number of WWOR staffers shared with other News Corp. properties
such as New York's WNYW (Channel 5). The FCC still hasn't taken
final action on WWOR's 2007 license renewal application, and
it's possible that the station's responses to the FCC's latest
questions could trigger fines or even bring about more delays
to that long-pending renewal.
*Judi Franco is back at "New Jersey 101.5" (WKXW
Trenton); two years after leaving the talk station, she returns
today to co-host middays with Dennis Malloy, replacing Michele
*One of western PENNSYLVANIA's biggest
broadcasters is getting a little bigger: Forever Broadcasting
is filing for FCC permission to buy back three stations it sold
to spin-off company 2510 Licenses, LLC. The $2 million deal includes
news-talk WNTJ (1490 Johnstown), oldies WCCL (101.7 Central City)
and WLKH (97.7 Somerset), which has been leased out to EMF Broadcasting
for its "K-Love" network.
Meanwhile, there's a call change in nearby Altoona: WHPA (93.5
Gallitzin) has become WCGJ, still carrying the network feed from
western New York's Family Life Network.
Now that Erie's Inspiration Time, Inc. has taken over operations
at WTMV (88.5 Youngsville), it's changing calls at the little
station, which is now WYVL. (NERW believes 88.5 is now simulcasting
Inspiration Time's main station, WCTL 106.3, extending its coverage
east along US 6 past Corry.)
And speaking of the
US 6 corridor, there's a call change at WUMT (103.9 Kane): Jeff
Andrulonis' Colonial Broadcasting has applied to turn that station
into WVTT. That stands for "the Voice of the Twin Tiers,"
and sometime next month it will flip from classic rock (as "The
Summit") to news/talk, with a translator on 99.1 bringing
the signal across the state line into the Olean, New York market.
*We told you it was coming back on January
24, and now it's official: CANADA is getting another all-sports
radio outlet, courtesy of CTV. "TSN Radio" will debut
April 13 on CHUM (1050 Toronto), the flagship of the ill-fated
"Team" sports radio network more than a decade ago.
TSN Radio was expected to become a network service incorporating
some of the remaining "Team" outlets (CKGM 990 Montreal
and CFGO 1200 Ottawa, among others), the initial announcement
from CTV treats "TSN Radio 1050" as a standalone for
now, but with hints of something bigger to come: CTV says the
Toronto station "will work closely with CHUM Radio's portfolio
of market-leading all-sports radio stations in Vancouver, Winnipeg,
Montreal and Ottawa," and we note that registrations were
made back in January for domains including "tsnradio1200.com"
TSN Radio has inked a deal to become the new radio home of
the CFL's Toronto Argonauts, formerly heard on Rogers' CJCL (FAN
590); as expected, the weekday lineup will begin with a morning
show featuring Mike Richards, followed by several shows from
across the border including Jim Rome and ESPN Radio programming.
*Over on the FM dial, there are some Radio People on the Move:
Milkman UnLimited reports Dave Blezard is moving from
mornings at Evanov's CIDC (Z103.5), where he's been the co-host
of the "Scott, Dave and Ashley Morning Show," to Rogers'
CISS (Kiss 92.5), where he's the new 6-11 PM host. Blezard replaces
Cash Conners, who moves to the afternoon-drive slot on Kiss.
off the success of its Kingston flip that transformed AC CFFX
(104.3) into classic hits CKWS-FM, Corus has pulled a similar
nostalgia act up the Seaway in Cornwall, Ontario. Last Monday,
CJSS (101.9) ditched its "Rock 101.9" format, becoming
"Greatest Hits, CJSS 101.9 FM." The station's airstaff
stays in place (though the syndicated Donny Osmond show will
be added soon), and sister station CFLG (104.5) has taken its
AC music mix a little more contemporary to avoid playlist overlap.
More changes in Quebec radio: with Cogeco now firmly in control
of the former Corus stations, the "Souvenirs Garantis"
French-language oldies network is fading away in favor of Cogeco's
own "CKOI" network based at Montreal's French hot AC
CKOI (96.9). The latest switches are in Gatineau/Ottawa and Trois-Rivieres.
In Gatineau, CJRC (104.7) made the flip to "CKOI" last
Monday; in Trois-Rivieres, CHLN (106.9) makes the flip today.
That leaves "Souvenirs Garantis" with just two full-time
outlets: CJTS (104.5) in Sherbrooke, which is up for sale, and
CFOM (102.9) in Quebec City. (The network is also heard overnight
on CKAC 730 in Montreal.)
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.
One Year Ago: February 22, 2010 -
- When we put this column together over the weekend, we noted
(as you'll read below) that there were "rumors" circulating
about a new FM talker in Syracuse - and now they're rumors no
more, as Citadel confirms that it will flip low-rated AC station
WLTI (105.9 Syracuse) from "Lite Rock 105.9" to "The
Big Talker" next week. The new talk station will feature
Indianapolis-based Bob & Tom in morning drive and local talker
Gary Nolan in afternoons. (Nolan returns to Syracuse after working
in Columbia, Missouri for the last few years.) The rest of 105.9's
program day will be an eclectic mix of syndicated talkers: Stephanie
Miller from the left, Michael Smerconish and Dave Ramsey from
somewhere in the center and Mark Levin on the right.
- Next week will bring a new FM talk station to northeastern
PENNSYLVANIA, as Bold Gold prepares to relaunch its recently-purchased
WLNP (94.3 Carbondale) as "94.3 the Talker," with a
syndicated lineup that includes Don Imus at 6 AM, Glenn Beck
at 9, Laura Ingraham at noon, Sean Hannity at 3 and Mark Levin
at 6. Will that national slate of hosts get much traction against
the largely local lineup over at Entercom's established WILK
network of stations, which goes national for Rush at noon and
Michael Savage at 7 PM, but is live and local in morning drive,
late mornings and afternoons?
- We know a little more this week about the lineup on Boston's
new Clear Channel talker, WXKS (1200 Newton), when it launches
April 1. In addition to "Coast to Coast AM," which
is already airing on 1200 (now WKOX) and the Premiere-syndicated
Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity shows that aren't currently cleared
in Boston, 1200 will also carry the Jason Lewis show (from Clear
Channel's KTLK-FM in Minneapolis) from 6-9 PM, reports the Herald's
Jessica Heslam. She reports that PD Bill George is promising
a local morning show, with talent as yet unannounced - and as
for that noon-3 PM slot, it's still widely expected that it will
eventually belong to Rush Limbaugh when his contract rights can
be pried free from longtime Boston affiliate WRKO (680).
- As Bill Carroll heads south across the border from CANADA
to the U.S. to start his new midday gig at KFI in Los Angeles,
CFRB (1010 Toronto) has picked a U.S. talker with Canadian roots
to take over Carroll's 9 AM-noon slot. Jerry Agar, who began
his broadcast career in Dauphin, Manitoba, is best known for
his recent work in Chicago at WLS and lately at WGN, where he
has a weekend shift. He was also heard on WABC for a short stint
in 2006-07, doing an evening show for the New York station from
Five Years Ago: February 20, 2006
- Curt Gowdy, the legendary voice of the Red Sox who later
became a network sportscaster and station owner (at Lawrence's
WCCM/WCGY and several stations in Wyoming), died early this morning
at his home in Florida. Gowdy was 86.
- Boston's sports radio giant, Entercom's WEEI (850), is about
to reach even more of MASSACHUSETTS, now that Entercom is paying
$5.75 million to acquire WBEC-FM (105.5), the class A FM signal
that Vox is moving from its longtime home in Pittsfield to Easthampton,
where it will transmit from Mount Tom with a signal reaching
from Springfield north into most of the Pioneer Valley. The move
will extend WEEI's reach one more market to the west, joining
the mothership in Boston, Worcester's WVEI (1440) and WEEI-FM
(103.7 Westerly RI), which covers all of Rhode Island and big
chunks of eastern Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts.
- Entercom says it hopes to have the Mount Tom signal on the
air by April. Like WVEI, the 105.5 signal won't carry WEEI's
Red Sox coverage - those rights are still with Clear Channel's
WHYN (560 Springfield) this year - but it's not hard to imagine
that the reach of the growing WEEI network will be a selling
point for Entercom as it tries to extend its deal with the Sox,
which expires at the end of the 2006 season. (This season will
be the team's first on WEEI-FM, which picks up the Providence
market rights from WPRO.)
- As for Pittsfield, it won't lose the programming now heard
on "Live 105.5." As had been widely suspected, the
top 40 format (and the calls, too) will migrate down the dial
to WUPE (95.9 Pittsfield), which has been simulcasting "Whoopie"
oldies with WMNB (100.1 North Adams). "Whoopie" will
continue on the North Adams signal, and we'd be not one bit surprised
if the WUPE calls move up Route 7 to that 100.1 facility as well.
- Entercom was making headlines last week at its other Boston
AM property as well. After just five months programming WRKO
(680), Brian Whittemore is headed back to Minnesota, where the
former WBZ news and program director landed a few years back
at the end of an Infinity career that had him managing KDKA in
Pittsburgh and WCCO in Minneapolis. WEEI programmer Jason Wolfe
will now serve as "VP for AM programming," overseeing
both WEEI and WRKO - and while Entercom is saying that Whittemore's
role at WRKO, where he oversaw programming shakeups that included
the introduction of "Taste of Boston Tonight" in the
evenings and a more news-oriented morning show, was never meant
to be anything more than temporary. We don't recall any mention
of a "temporary" role when Whittemore was named to
the job, but then, all jobs in this business are temporary, one
way or another, aren't they?
- The largest radio group in northwestern PENNSYLVANIA is getting
a new owner, as NextMedia prepares to sell its cluster of signals
in Erie to Connoisseur Media. This is the second version of Jeff
Warshaw's Connoisseur group, which had holdings in Youngstown,
Ohio, among other places, before selling to Cumulus in 2000.
Among the stations Warshaw owned in Youngstown was WHOT (101.1),
one of the stations founded by legendary broadcaster Myron Jones
- and among the stations Warshaw will get with the $17.35 million
purchase of the NextMedia Erie properties is WJET (1400), which
was once Jones' flagship property. The cluster also includes
sports talker WFNN (1330 Erie), country WUSE (93.9 Fairview),
oldies WFGO (94.7 Erie), classic rock WRKT (100.9 North East)
and top 40 WRTS (103.7 Erie). NextMedia partner Rick Rambaldo,
whose history with the stations goes back two decades to his
purchase of then-WHYP-FM and creation of "Rocket 101,"
says he hopes to remain with the cluster as station manager after
the sale closes.
10 Years Ago: February 19, 2001 -
- One of the most popular programs to come out of the New England
public radio scene in recent years is in a state of turmoil this
week, with its host and senior producer on paid leave and most
of its staff having resigned, all over a dispute about who will
share in the proceeds from NPR syndication. We speak, of course,
of "The Connection," Christopher Lydon's daily two-hour
haven of erudite conversation. A staple of the WBUR-FM (90.9
Boston) lineup since the mid-nineties, the show has been distributed
in recent years to several dozen public radio outlets nationwide.
But as WBUR head honcho Jane Christo prepared to take The Connection
to NPR's national lineup, it seems Lydon and producer Mary McGrath
wanted to share in the riches the program was producing for the
WBUR folks. The two proposed to form a production company with
WBUR to distribute the program, a move WBUR interpreted as insubordination,
and so it was that WBUR escorted Lydon and McGrath from the building
last week, putting them on a two-week paid suspension.
- You don't do something like that to an entrenched Boston
media veteran like Lydon (the former anchor of WGBH-TV's Ten
O'Clock News and a former newspaper reporter) without expecting
all hell to break loose in the papers, and thus the pages of
the Globe have been filled with articles about Lydon's dispute
with WBUR -- complete with the revelation of Lydon's WBUR salary
($175,000 this year, but with raises taking him to $280,000 in
a few years) and the disclosure of increasingly testy e-mails
between Lydon and his WBUR bosses. If WBUR was still hoping for
a quick, quiet resolution to all the hoo-hah, those hopes were
dashed over the weekend when several Connection staffers quit
in protest. Meanwhile, WBUR has been using substitute hosts on
the Connection -- but will NPR have any interest in the show
if Lydon and his crew don't return? We'll let you know how this
one plays out.
- Elsewhere in MASSACHUSETTS, One-on-One Sports (soon to be
the Sporting News Radio Network) finally flips calls on its Boston
outlet, more than four years after acquiring WNRB (1510). It's
now WSZE, "The Sports Zone," and for Garrett and anyone
else who's keeping count, that makes callsign number seven for
the erstwhile WMEX.
- Into NEW YORK we head, and back to the land of Syracuse Community
Radio. We've been recounting the tangled tale of WXXC (88.7 Truxton)
in recent weeks, including the apparent filing of a misleading
application to cover its construction permit just days before
expiration -- even though nothing had yet been built at WXXC's
site! And you'll recall that a NERW visit to the site a few days
later turned up an antenna (lower than specified on the CP) but
no signal. Well... as we pointed the NERW-mobile towards Philadelphia
two weekends ago (much more on the trip in a bit), we actually
heard WXXC on the air, sort of. The signal is just barely perceptible
on I-81 crossing the Onondaga/Cortland county line south of Syracuse,
and disappears again well before Cortland itself. Just as we
started wondering whether WXXC would serve more than a few hundred
potential listeners, though, the FCC beat us to the punch: On
February 12, just two days after we heard WXXC for the first
time, the FCC cancelled the station's license and deleted its
callsign. We suspect an appeal from SCR, but we suspect (given
what we heard of the WXXC signal) that the group would do better
to apply its energy to its other applications, which promise
to deliver more signal to areas where people actually live.
15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, February 24, 1996
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
2011 by Scott Fybush.