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February 21, 2011

Cumulus-Citadel Deal Affects NY, PA

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*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.

Given 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.

The 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, Mississippi.

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).


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*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 Mike Mutnansky

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.

*Today 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 the region.

*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 forward.

*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? 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 as well.

*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, 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.)


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*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 9.

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 in 2007.

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 Pilenza.

*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.

While 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 "" and ""

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.

*Fresh 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.)

From 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.

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 Chicago.

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

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