August 29 & September
Irene Hits NERW-Land
Stay tuned to our Twitter
and Facebook feeds for breaking-news updates as they happen!
*LABOR DAY UPDATE: No
such thing as a complete "holiday weekend off" here
at NERW, of course - not with all the format flips that have
become a holiday tradition up and down the dials. We'll be back
with a complete column next week, but here are the highlights:
*In Montreal, Cogeco isn't waiting for the CRTC to
let it turn the old CINF (690 Montreal) transmitter back on to
broadcast a provincially-subsidized all-traffic service. Instead,
it's flipping CKAC (730 Montreal) to all-traffic, starting tomorrow.
While Cogeco blames competing broadcasters for slowing things
down with their own applications for 690, media blogger Steve
quite correctly, that the company simply concluded (probably
correctly) that it could do better with the guaranteed provincial
subsidy for all-traffic than with whatever ad revenues were coming
from the French-language sports programming that has been on
CKAC for the last few years. The sports end tonight, several
CKAC personalities move to sister station CHMP (98.5), the traffic
starts tomorrow on 730, Cogeco has dropped its application for
French traffic on 690, it continues to push for quick action
on its application for English-language all-traffic on the former
CINW (940) - and with CKAC gone to traffic, we can pretty much
write the obituary at this point for mass-market French-language
AM radio in Quebec.
*In Albany, it's active rock in place of adult hits
at WKLI (100.9), which flipped from "The Bridge" to
"Rock 100.9" over the weekend.
*In Philadelphia, it's "Mike Vick Radio"
on WPHI-FM (107.9 Pennsauken NJ) as the Eagles star "takes
over" the signal for a few days of stunting as Radio One
prepares to launch a new format there after moving the signal's
former adult R&B programming and WRNB calls down the dial
to the former WPHI-FM (100.3 Media). Meanwhile, CBS didn't wait
as long as it had planned to put sports on FM; the new WIP-FM
(94.1) signed on Friday, displacing WYSP's rock to 94.1-HD3.
*And two obituaries: from New York City, we're sorry
to report the very sudden passing of Earl Arbuckle, the veteran
engineer who was senior VP of engineering for Fox Television
Stations, including WNYW/WWOR-TV. A memorial service will be
held at New York's Riverside Memorial Chapel at 3 PM on September
In Toronto, they're mourning Bob Laine, who spent almost
half a century at CHUM Radio, doing everything from the all-night
airshift to serving as corporate VP. Laine retired in 2003; he
died last Wednesday at 72.
Much more next week...
COMING TO FYBUSH.COM! READ MORE HERE...
supposed to have been an "off" week for NERW as we
regained our bearings after several weeks away in the midwest
and as we keep plugging away on the new fybush.com, coming this
fall to an internet near you...but events intervened, and so
here's the latest (as of Sunday night) on the aftermath of Hurricane
Irene and some other big stories breaking in the region:
*The storm, of course, dominated the news in most of NERW-land
for much of the week leading up to its weekend arrival, and for
all of the usual hand-wringing about "was the coverage overboard?"
and "why are those reporters standing outside in the storm?"
that accompanies any storm coverage these days, broadcast media
along most of the storm's path rose to the occasion and, from
what we could see, did a generally fine job keeping people informed
as Irene made its way north after making landfall Saturday in
With more than a day to go before the slow-moving storm was
due to hit New Jersey, New York and New England, there were hours
upon hours of airtime to fill with the usual speculation that
blankets the airwaves - but there was also time for radio and
TV to prepare, and that they did. In an era when many radio newsrooms
have been slashed to ribbons, the word of the weekend was "simulcast"
- not just TV on radio but also AM news on FM - and there was
plenty of it to go around. In New York City, ESPN flagship WEPN
(1050) picked up the audio feed of Disney-owned sister station
WABC-TV (Channel 7), while CBS Radio put WINS (1010)'s audio
on sister station WWFS (102.7) at the height of the storm Sunday
morning and Buckley's WOR (710) carried audio from WNBC (Channel
4). On the Jersey shore, Millennium's - er, Townsquare's - "New
Jersey 101.5" (WKXW Trenton) put its audio back on a former
simulcast outlet, WENJ-FM (97.3 Millville) to better reach the
coast. In Philadelphia, WURD (900) carried audio from ABC's WPVI
(Channel 6) at the height of the storm. In Connecticut, Clear
Channel's WELI (960 New Haven) simulcast on sister station WKCI
(101.3) for a few hours on Sunday, while other radio clusters
turned to TV stations to provide storm coverage.
Much of the industry's attention, unsurprisingly, was focused
on all-news radio in New York City, where the storm provided
the first really big test for Merlin's new WEMP (FM News 101.9)
as it takes on CBS Radio's entrenched pairing of WCBS (880) and
WINS (1010). In typical Randy Michaels fashion, WEMP jumped into
the fray with some aggressive promos suggesting that "AM
doesn't work during storms" - but it backed up the promotions
with a reasonably solid (if still sometimes inconsistent) effort
over the weekend that was at least competitive with the quality
work WCBS and WINS delivered. (WEMP's programming had another
outlet for part of the weekend, as WFTL in West Palm Beach simulcast
"FM News" for displaced New Yorkers in South Florida;
WCBS, for its part, was able to remain all-news all day on Sunday
as its usual Yankees games were displaced to sister station WFAN,
where the storm postponed the Mets games.)
When the storm itself finally hit, of course, it was somewhat
weaker than many of the early predictions - but that still spelled
trouble for plenty of NERW-land stations.
most of the damage (as best we can tell on Sunday evening) was
limited to power outages, at least one station was not as lucky.
Along the Massachusetts coast, WJDA (1300 Quincy) appears to
have lost its tower to some combination of Irene's winds and
flooding. Floods are common at WJDA's tower site along Rock Island
Cove, long ago washing out the road that once led to the transmitter
building. As of Sunday afternoon, WJDA was silent, and at least
one NERW reader reported not being able to see the tower where
it once stood.
(You can get a peek at the now-former WJDA tower at this Tower
Site of the Week installment.)
Other signals silenced at least temporarily by Irene included
three New York AM stations in the New Jersey Meadowlands: co-located
WMCA (570) and WNYC (820) in Kearny and WWRV (1330) in Hackensack.
Elsewhere in New Jersey, coastal stations silenced included WOND
(1400), WMGM (103.7) and WAYV (95.1), with the latter two, both
big class B signals, still silent Sunday evening; inland, WDVR
(89.7 Delaware Township), WNTI (91.9 Hackettstown) and WHCY (106.3
Blairstown) were silent at points on Sunday as well.
While it didn't get much national attention amidst the focus
on New York City, the Hudson Valley took a big hit, with numerous
stations in the Poughkeepsie, Kingston and Albany stations off
the air at least temporarily due to power loss and high winds.
In New England, Boston-area AMs WNTN (1550 Newton) and WXBR
(1460 Brockton) were reported silent during the storm; in Hartford,
WRTC (89.3) was silent not because of transmitter damage or power
loss but because Trinity College closed down all activities for
the weekend. On TV, Hartford CBS affiliate WFSB (Channel 3) lost
power at its Rocky Hill studios on Sunday and was apparently
struggling to get its generator running, resulting in a stripped-down
newscast emanating from the newsroom instead of the studio.
And we're still awaiting word on the storm's effects as it
moved into northern New England and dumped intense rain and wind
on areas such as the Connecticut River Valley; stay tuned here
and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates as they become
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*The rest of the week's headlines, starting
It's not just CBS Radio's impending launch of WIP-FM (94.1)
that's rearranging the Philadelphia FM dial. Radio One is doing
its part, too: on Thursday (Sept. 1), it will move the WRNB calls
and urban AC format from their current home on 107.9 to what's
now WPHI (100.3), replacing the urban "100.3 the Beat"
format that's been on that frequency. The end of "The Beat"
comes as no huge surprise, since the morning team of Star &
Buc Wild were let go recently and PD "Boogie D" just
announced his departure for Radio One's St. Louis cluster.
The class A facility on 107.9 is licensed to Pennsauken, New
Jersey and transmits from the One Liberty skyscraper in downtown
Philadelphia; 100.3 is a much larger directional class B facility
licensed to Media, Pennsylvania and transmitting from the Roxborough
tower farm. It's not clear what will show up on 107.9 once WRNB
makes its move down the dial.
*Over at Beasley, Dan Hunt is the new PD at "Wired"
WRDW (96.5) effective next week. Hunt comes to Philadelphia from
Providence, where he's PD/middays at Citadel's WWKX (106.3 Woonsocket).
Current Wired PD Kannon keeps his afternoon airshift as he relinquishes
the PD chair to become APD.
*In Harrisburg, Cumulus
is pulling the plug on "Touch," the satellite-delivered
urban AC format that's lived on several of its signals over the
years. Originally on WTCY (1400), "Touch" was displaced
a few years back to translator W237DE (95.3) and the HD2 channel
of WNNK (104.1) - but starting Thursday, the translator will
become an FM home to ESPN Radio, the same programming that displaced
"Touch" from 1400, now WHGB. (For HD Radio listeners,
WHGB's programming will move from WNNK's HD3 channel to HD2.)
An obituary from Pittsburgh: Jim Dudas, known as "JD
the DJ" to listeners of his "Mon Valley Memories"
show on WJPA (1450/95.3 Washington), died last Sunday (Aug. 21)
at age 63 after what the station calls "serious health problems."
And PBRTV.com reports that legendary Pittsburgh DJ Porky Chedwick
is returning to the airwaves September 2 from 11 AM-noon on WEDO
(810). At age 93, Chedwick had been living in Florida, but he
says he's back in western Pennsylvania after a "failed attempt
*In MAINE, Stephen King is making some changes at his
stations: the author and station owner held a news conference
last week to announce a new morning show at WZON (620 Bangor)/WZON-FM
(103.1 Dover-Foxcroft) starting September 12th. Pat LaMarche
and Don Cookson will host the "Pulse Morning Show,"
which King says will be both liberal and "provocative."
*Back in upstate NEW YORK, Robert Ausfeld is retiring
after 38 years in radio, the last three as GM of Townsquare's
Albany cluster. Dan Austin moves east from CBS Radio in Seattle
to succeed Ausfeld, effective September 6.
In Binghamton, John Davison replaces the departed Don Brake
as PD of Citadel's WHWK (98.1 the Hawk); Davison, who'll continue
to do middays as well, is a 25-year veteran of the station who's
served as PD in the past. Meanwhile, parttimer Rich Birdsall
officially takes over Brake's former afternoon slot.
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*It was a busy-ish week in CANADA,
starting right on the border in Niagara Falls, where Haliburton
settled into its new ownership of CFLZ (105.1) and CKEY (101.1)
with a full-scale format change at one station and a revamp at
all-out format change happened Wednesday afternoon at 5 on CFLZ,
which ditched its AAA "River" format in favor of adult
hits as "105.1 Ed FM," going after listeners who are
tuning out of market to cross-border "Jack" WBUF (92.9)
out of Buffalo. The new "Ed" airstaff includes the
morning team of Kim Rossi (late of CKFM Toronto, CHOM Montreal
and CKQB Ottawa) and Rob White, with JT Edwards in afternoons.
Down the hall at CKEY, it's still top-40 as "Z101,"
but with a new tagline of "Your Hit Radio Station"
and a new air schedule that includes morning man Chris Barnatt
(late of CFLZ), Taylor Kaye in middays and Corey Mottley in afternoons.
*Up the QEW in Hamilton, Darrin Laidman comes home to Hamilton
as the new morning co-host at CING ("Vinyl 95.3"),
alongside Colleen Rusholme. Laidman had most recently been heard
over in London at CFHK ("1031 Fresh FM").
*In Montreal, it appears Cogeco is preparing for some big
changes to what's now CFQR (The Q 92.5 FM), with a new "Beat"
nickname and format said to be arriving September 6, followed
by new morning man Cat Spencer the next day.
Former CFQR morning man Aaron Rand, who left the station in
May, is resurfacing across town: he'll take over afternoons on
Astral news-talker CJAD (800), also begining September 6. Ric
Peterson moves from afternoons to the midday slot on CJAD, solo
from noon-1 PM and paired with Suzanne Desautels from 1-3 PM
- and that sends Kim Fraser and Dan Laxer from middays to weekends.
In St.-Jerome, Quebec, Dan Sys' "Canadian Radio News"
reports a format change at CIME (103.9) and its relay CIME-FM-1
(101.3 Mont-Tremblant): they've dropped their own AC format to
become links in Cogeco's "Rhythme FM" hot AC network.
Elsewhere in Quebec, Cogeco quietly changed some venerable
callsigns: CJRC (104.7 Gatineau) is now CKOF, while CHLN (106.9
Trois-Rivieres) is now CKOB. The CHLN calls dated back to 1937
on AM, while CJRC had been in use in Ottawa/Hull/Gatineau since
1968. The new calls, of course, reflect the stations' current
status as relayers of Montreal's CKOI (96.9).
And with that, we really will try to take a week off for Labor Day,
with the next regular NERW scheduled for September 12 - and updates,
of course, on Facebook and Twitter...
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: August 23 & 30, 2010
- An AM station going silent in CANADA has almost ceased to
be a news item these days - but it's only in recent months that
the drumbeat of AM-to-FM conversions has been joined by a steady
drip of AM signals simply signing off for good.
- Corus Radio led that new trend when it abruptly pulled the
plug on Montreal's big-signal CINF (690) and CINW (940) a few
months back. Last Wednesday, Corus even more abruptly turned
off the 1000-watt AM signal of CJUL (1220) in Cornwall, Ontario,
on the St. Lawrence River southwest of Montreal. Corus officials
tried to put the best possible face on the shutdown, saying the
market had outgrown the little AM signal and that its news and
information programming would be shifted to expanded newscasts
on its remaining FM sister stations, CJSS (101.9) and CFLG (104.5),
but the shutdown nevertheless meant job cuts, including CJUL
morning man John Bolton and news reporter Shannon Simpson. By
Thursday morning, crews were already on hand tearing down the
two AM 1220 towers, which were reportedly in seriously deteriorated
condition. CJUL's shutdown marked the second time in just over
a decade that Cornwall had lost a station on 1220: in 1999, the
veteran station on that frequency, CJSS, moved to FM, clearing
the way for then-owner Tri-Co to apply for a new 1220 signal
using the old CJSS facilities, which signed on the following
year as CJUL. (Cornwall had also once had a second AM station,
French-language CFIX 1170, which left the air in 1983.)
- And in another odd bit of irony, CJUL will be one of two
Ontario stations on 1220 to go dark in August; at least as we
go to press, CHSC (1220 St. Catharines) doesn't appear to be
fighting the CRTC's decision not to renew its license when it
expires August 31.
- However dead AM radio may be in Cornwall, it's at least fondly
remembered down the St. Lawrence Seaway in Kingston, where the
last AM signals went dark a couple of years ago. One of those
AM-to-FM moves was CFFX, which went from oldies on 960 to soft
AC as "Lite Rock 104.3" - but with the CRTC's decision
last year to allow oldies formats on FM, Corus is reviving an
earlier AM 960 identity. As of 6 PM last Thursday (August 19),
CFFX-FM became CKWS-FM, returning to the AM station's original
calls, which stood for the Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper back
then and which now cross-promote sister Corus station CKWS-TV
(Channel 11). The resurrected CKWS is expected to announce a
new on-air lineup today, and it will hold a free downtown oldies
concert Sept. 3 to help promote the new format.
- On the US side of the border, a venerable eastern PENNSYLVANIA
AM station has quietly vanshed from the FCC database. WOYL (1340
Oil City) was Venango County's first radio station when it signed
on in December 1946; it went silent 63 years later, in December
2009, due to a transmitter failure, and while the FCC granted
Special Temporary Authority for WOYL to remain silent through
June 2010, it was never renewed and WOYL now appears to be gone
for good. (A bit of irony here: WOYL is the second half of a
former share-time on the frequency to disappear; WSAJ at Grove
City College, which operated only two days a week on the channel,
left the AM dial a few years ago.)
- Upstate NEW YORK radio listeners had a bit of a scare last
week when WFXF (95.1 Honeoye Falls) morning man Brother Wease
was hospitalized with heart problems. Fortunately (especially
given Wease's recent brush with cancer), Wease spent only a few
days in the hospital and is recuperating well - but his listeners
had a surprise Wednesday morning when Clear Channel plugged WHAM
(1180 Rochester) midday talker Bob Lonsberry into Wease's morning
slot. Lonsberry, as conservative as Wease is liberal, frequently
spars with Wease on-air, but this was his first time serving
as Wease's fill-in.
Five Years Ago: August 28, 2006 -
- It's hard to think of a recent week's news that's been as
dominated by a single broadcast company as last week was by Pennsylvania-based
Entercom. In a pair of deals announced Monday morning, David
Field's rapidly-growing broadcast group picked up four station
clusters from CBS Radio for $262 million - and struck a $30 million
deal to buy Boston's WILD-FM (97.7 Brockton) from Radio One.
- We'll assess the impact of both deals in this week's NERW,
starting in MASSACHUSETTS, where the Radio One sale made for
big headlines. From Entercom's side of the fence, it was a straightforward
move to improve the coverage of its active rocker, WAAF (107.3
Westborough) into the core of the Boston market, where WAAF has
struggled to be heard clearly for decades. Entercom wasted no
time getting the WAAF signal on the new frequency - within a
few hours of the announcement on Monday, WILD-FM's urban format
was history, and by Tuesday WAAF was ID'ing with both frequencies.
As Field noted in a conference call after the deals were announced,
the addition of 97.7 to WAAF is extraordinarily cost-effective,
requiring no new staff or expenses beyond the tower rent and
power bill at WILD-FM's Great Blue Hill transmitter site.
- A station sale in RHODE ISLAND: Chris DiPaola's Southern
Rhode Island Public Broadcasting sells WKIV (88.1 Westerly) to
EMF Broadcasting, which has been programming the station with
its "K-Love" contemporary Christian format for the
last year or so. The $100,000 sale comes on the heels of a power
increase at WKIV, which goes from 100 w/66' AAT to 1.2 kW/122'
AAT at a new transmitter site.
- A NEW YORK morning show is no more. Buckley's WOR (710 New
York) abruptly pulled the plug on Ed Walsh after his Friday broadcast.
Walsh, who replaced John A. Gambling in 2000 when WOR ended the
"Rambling With Gambling" franchise after seven decades,
is being replaced beginning this morning with WOR weekend host
Joe Bartlett, who'll host mornings alongside Donna Hanover.
- In Rochester, the week's big news was Entercom, of course
- the $262 million deal that moves CBS Radio's stations in Austin,
Cincinnati, Memphis and Rochester under the Entercom umbrella.
Cincinnati and Austin are new markets for Entercom, and in Memphis
the combination of the CBS and Entercom stations remains under
the ownership caps. But in Rochester, the pairing of Entercom's
four signals (country WBEE 92.5, adult hits WFKL 93.3 Fairport,
classic hits WBZA 98.9 and talk WROC 950) and CBS Radio's four
signals (modern rock WZNE 94.1 Brighton, classic rock WCMF 96.5,
top 40 WPXY 97.9 and AC WRMM 101.3) will put Entercom significantly
over the cap.
- What is that cap, exactly? The revised ownership rules the
FCC adopted a few years back now define it by Arbitron markets
rather than by signal overlap, and our analysis puts the Rochester
market in the "45 stations or more" category (since
noncommercial signals are included in the count), thus allowing
Entercom to own up to eight stations, of which no more than five
can be in the same band. In theory, then, Entercom should be
allowed to keep WROC and five of the seven FMs - most likely
the five class B signals, which includes everything except WFKL
and WZNE. That, however, assumes that the deal meets Justice
Department approval as well, and with the dominance that a cluster
including WBEE, WCMF, WPXY, WBZA and WRMM would have in the market,
it's still possible that one of the big class B signals could
end up being spun off before the dealing's done. (A bit of "only
in NERW" trivia - if WPXY remains in the Entercom family
when the wheels stop spinning, it would achieve the rare distinction
of having been part of all three big clusters in town, having
first been part of the Lincoln Group, which became the core of
today's Clear Channel Rochester cluster, before being dealt to
ARS, which was absorbed into Infinity and then CBS Radio.)
- One more Rochester note - EMF Broadcasting quietly flipped
calls on its "K-Love" outlet last week, changing WKUV
(104.9 Brockport) to WKDL after just a few months with the WKUV
calls. (The WKDL calls had been on Mega Broadcasting's AM station
in suburban Washington, DC, which was recently sold to the owner
of the Redskins and flipped to sports.)
- A Watertown broadcaster who rose to national prominence died
last week. Tony Malara began his career at Syracuse University's
WAER (88.3), then worked at Watertown's WWNY-TV (Channel 7),
eventually becoming the station's general manager before moving
up to network management at CBS. Malara served as CBS TV's head
of affiliate relations, then as the network's president, before
his retirement in 1995. Most recently, he had moved into television
ownership - his Malara Broadcasting bought stations in Fort Wayne,
Indiana and Duluth, Minnesota from Granite in 2004, entering
into shared-services agreements under which Granite operates
the stations as quasi-duopolies. Malara also served as president
of the New York State Broadcasters' Association in 1978-79. Malara
died Thursday in Syracuse of complications from leukemia, followed
by a heart attack; he was 69.
- In eastern PENNSYLVANIA, there was little surprise when Clear
Channel finally unveiled the new format on WSNI (104.5 Philadelphia)
at noon on Wednesday, after more than a week of stunting. In
place of the soft AC "Sunny" format that had been on
WSNI, it's now Spanish tropical "Rumba 104.5," the
city's first-ever full-market Spanish FM station. While the Philadelphia
market's Hispanic population is much smaller than other big Northeast
markets, Clear Channel says it's growing quickly, and worthy
of its own signal.
- Philadelphia has a new AM signal, too - Alex Langer completed
the move-in of WFYL (1530 McConnellsburg) to its new home on
1180 in King of Prussia, and the station made its official Philly-market
debut on Tuesday. It's a 420-watt daytimer operating from a short
Valcom tower in the middle of a golf course in West Norriton;
it's mostly carrying talk from Langer's National Radio Network
for the moment.
10 Years Ago: August 27, 2001 -
- There's a new signal on the air in CONNECTICUT, and even
though it's just a watt, we'd bet plenty of people can tune in
W220CE (91.9 Southington). That's because the new WMNR (88.1
Monroe) translator sits high atop West Peak in Meriden, shoulder-to-shoulder
(well, bay-to-bay) with most of the big FM signals in Hartford
- The final days of talk on NEW YORK's WEVD (1050 New York)
are apparently upon us, and so is another protest from Chuck
Zlatkin's "Save WEVD" group. This time, they're planning
a candlelight vigil outside WEVD's studios at 333 Seventh Avenue,
to begin at 9:30 PM on Friday (August 31) and end with the candles
being snuffed out at midnight, when 1050 will reportedly become
ESPN Radio under ABC management.
- On the TV side, we hear October 1 will be the debut of Univision's
second network, to be known as "Telefutura." WHSE (Channel
68) in Newark, N.J., WHSI (Channel 67) in Smithtown, WHSP (Channel
65) in Vineland, N.J. and WHUB-TV (Channel 66) in Marlborough,
Mass. will be the initial affiliates in NERW-land; we'd expect
some call changes down the road.
- We'll start this week's news from CANADA with word that CBC's
Radio Two service will soon be available in Quebec City. As part
of the CRTC's mandate to broaden the reach of CBC/Radio-Canada
services, the CBC won permission this week to put a new CBM-FM
(93.5 Montreal) relay on the air in Quebec City. The new signal,
with 308 watts, will be at 96.1, the former home of noncomm CKIA
("Radio Basse-Ville"), which is moving (or perhaps
has already moved) to 88.3.
15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, August 25, 1996
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- After more than three years of bitter head-to-head competition
for Boston's country-music audience, the war between WBCS (96.9)
and WKLB-FM (105.7) came to an end late Friday night. WKLB-FM
jock Greg Williams closed out the evening with several appropriate
songs, winding down with the lyric "It was over, just like
that," and the brief comment, "Ain't that the truth...WKLB-FM
Framingham Boston." And after a few seconds of dead air,
105.7 slid into a simulcast with WBCS that's expected to continue
for about two weeks. The former WBCS air talent remained on the
air Saturday, giving dual IDs as "Boston's Country Stations,
WBCS 96.9 and WKLB 105.7." We'll know Monday morning whether
WKLB's top air talent, morning hosts Loren and Wally, will be
part of this interim simulcast format.
- It's pretty much a given that the simulcast will end September
5, with one of the signals staying country (possibly under the
WKLB calls, meaning Greater Media may actually have to pay up
on its million-dollar promise to keep WBCS country through the
end of 1996), and the other one likely taking the heritage WROR
calls that recently returned to the market on Greater Media's
AM 1150. (Boston's largest daily newspaper somehow managed to
report on the WMEX-to-WROR call change without ever once hinting
that WROR has a legacy in the Boston market. The newspaper report
claimed that the WMEX calls were purchased by "a Tejano
station in Texas," which would be quite a feat considering
that Texas is almost entirely K-call country, except for a handful
of pre-1923 W stations -- WTAW, WRR, WBAP, WFAA, WOAI, and WACO!
No sign yet in the FCC database of anyone claiming the WMEX calls.)
- Police on Cape Cod have made an arrest in the sabotage on
WWKJ (101.1 Mashpee) and WJCO (93.5 Harwich Port). A 15 year
old boy from Centreville MA was in juvenile court on Friday,
charged with cutting the cables from the stations' satellite
dish. Station officials say the cable-cutting also damaged one
of the receivers, leaving WJCO (soft AC "Coast 93.5")
off the air for almost two days. It appears the boy may have
been upset about the stations' format change from modern rock,
and that he may have had adult help.
- Out in Western Massachusetts, a distinctive FM station may
be in for some big changes. Radio Skutnik, Inc. is selling its
Greenfield MA properties, WRSI 95.3 and WGAM 1520, to Watertown
Radio Associates of Claremont NH. Watertown's ownership is cross-linked
to Northstar Broadcasting, which owns WTSV-WHDQ Claremont NH,
WNHV-WKXE White River Junction VT, WSSH Marlboro VT, and WXPS
and WCPV in the Burlington VT market. I believe they also now
have an interest in WZSH Bellows Falls VT, which along with WSSH
serves the Brattleboro VT area, just to the north of Greenfield.
Will Watertown be willing to spend $650,000 and keep WRSI's distinctive
AAA format? Time will tell, but it doesn't look good. Skutnik
has an option to repurchase WGAM, a 10kw DA daytimer, for $70,000.
WGAM currently programs a satellite standards format.
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2011 by Scott Fybush.