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August 29 & September 5, 2011

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 Faguy notes, 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 14.

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...


*This was 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, 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 North Carolina.

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.

While 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 available.


A decade ago, it was just a goofy idea: "Hey, you should put some of those tower pictures into a calendar!"

But when Tower Site Calendar 2002 appeared, it was a hit - and ten years later, the fun still hasn't stopped.

And now it's that moment at least some of you have been waiting for: the grand unveiling of our latest edition, Tower Site Calendar 2012, seen for the very first time right here!

As befits a tenth-anniversary edition, this one's special: in addition to all the great tower photos and historic dates you've come to expect from our calendars, the new 2012 edition is our first-ever themed calendar, paying special homage to the many stations that began broadcasting during radio's first big boom year of 1922.

The 2012 edition brings something else that's new to the Tower Site Calendar: the option of a spiral-bound edition that will hang flatter on your wall.

This week marks your very first chance to order your calendars (including our special limited, numbered signed edition) for delivery in early what are you waiting for?

Order now at the Store!

*The rest of the week's headlines, starting with PENNSYLVANIA:

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 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 at retirement."

*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 the other.

The 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...

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: 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 and vicinity.
  • 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

  • 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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