September 26, 2011
Binghamton Broadcasters Celebrate
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ARE COMING TO FYBUSH.COM! AN UPDATE HERE...
*We spend a lot of time in this column writing
about bad things that happen in radio. Stations get bought out
by giant, cost-cutting corporations; people get laid off; veteran
broadcasters die; historic broadcast facilities meet the wrecking
So it's nice, from time to time, to be able to lead off on
an otherwise slow news week with some good news: whatever they've
had to weather in the real world of today's broadcasting, when
you put enough broadcasters in one room for an evening, you can't
help but have a good time - and to feel pretty good about what
we as broadcasters do.
That was true when Rochester's broadcast veterans held their
first reunion last week, it was true when Massachusetts broadcasters
inducted their Hall of Fame honorees, it was true when Buffalo's
broadcasters did the same on Thursday night, and it was especially
true when Binghamton's broadcasters came together for their biennial
reunion on Saturday night.
It's been a rough time in Binghamton: entering the Riverwalk
Hotel from the parking lot, the effects of the flooding a few
weeks ago were immediately apparent in the bare studs and plastic
sheeting where the hotel's ground floor was being repaired after
being inundated. But upstairs in the ballroom, the radio and
TV veterans of the Southern Tier share the kind of camaraderie
that can only come from spending time in a small but ambitious
market like Binghamton.
Over the course of a three-plus-hour program, emcee and reunion
organizer Ray Ross managed to introduce and praise nearly all
of the 200 or so attendees, and what a crowd it was! This year's
special guests included legendary Chicago jock Dick Biondi, an
Endicott native whose broadcast career started in town at WINR,
WKOP and WENE, and singer Gary Lewis, who's now a resident of
upstate New York himself.
Biondi spoke movingly of the connection radio alone can make
with its listeners, sharing anecdotes of late-night phone calls
at WLS and the listeners who told him later that he'd saved their
lives by providing a friendly voice in a time of need.
long-established starting point for young broadcasters, Binghamton
stations frequently sent their developing talents up to bigger
markets, and many of those voices and faces were in the room
as well, including CNN's Susan Candiotti, who entertained the
crowd with tales of developing film and nearly setting the WBNG-TV
newscar (an AMC Gremlin!) on fire during her time in the market
in the mid-1970s.
Honorees at the event included "Living Legend" Tom
Shiptenko, one of the founders of rocker WAAL (99.1); "Broadcaster
of the Year" Steve Craig, who recently left WICZ-TV for
a new job heading the economic development team in nearby Chenango
County; "Lifetime Achievement Award" winner and longtime
local radio executive Mary Lou Dimmick; and "Audio Technica
Award" winner Bill Jaker of WSKG-FM.
And we here at fybush.com, along with Criss Onan and our other
friends at Broadcast Electronics, were deeply honored to have
the chance to present an award as well: after having their studio
flooded out and being forced to move first to an RV and then
to owner Dave Radigan's living room, the crew at Owego's WEBO
more than merited a special "Community Service Award"
for the hard work they've done to keep devastated Tioga County
informed during and after the flooding. (There's an entire "Tower
Site of the Week" installment to be done someday on how
Dave, his staff, and much of the Southern Tier engineering community
banded together to save his equipment and MacGyver up an entire
studio operation up the hill at Dave's house...)
*If you listened to New York's WABC (770) in the 1960s and
1970s and happened to write in for a QSL card, the odds are very
good that the engineer's signature on the back of the card is
that of "Win Loyd."
H. Loyd worked for WABC and sister station WPLJ (95.5), as well
as for ABC-TV, from 1952 until his retirement in 1987. His work
for the station was noted at the time with the placement of a
bronze plaque (right) at the base of the WABC tower in Lodi,
New Jersey honoring his "loyal, dedicated service"
over 35 years.
After his retirement, Loyd went back to college to earn his
Win Loyd died September 18 in New Jersey, just shy of his
*Chuck Collier was best known for his four-plus decades in
Cleveland radio - but before he became a fixture at WGAR, Collier
was one of the jocks at New York's WCBS-FM (101.1) in the days
before it flipped to oldies in 1972. Collier died of a heart
attack Wednesday afternoon at age 65; you can get a sense of
his importance to the Cleveland radio community from the postings
over at Ohio Media
*A former WPLJ voice is coming back to Two Penn Plaza, but
Patty Steele's new gig is just down the hall from the FM studios
where she was the news director and morning sidekick to "Scott
Steele starts today as producer and sidekick for Joe Crummey's
mid-morning talk show at WABC.
*In Buffalo, the start of the NHL season comes with a new
contract between the Sabres and flagship station WGR (550). This
was to be the last year of their contract, but it has now been
extended through the 2015-2016 season. The new Sabres-Entercom
deal includes additional appearances for team officials on Entercom's
stations, including a weekly slot for the wife of new Sabres
owner Terry Pegula.
(We'll tackle our annual "Hockey on the Radio" rundown
in next week's issue.)
*There's a new signal on the air in the Southern Tier: WZHD
(97.1 Canaseraga) has been licensed for more than a year now,
but it's been in just the last few weeks that Equinox Broadcasting
and engineer Kevin Fitzgerald have cranked it up from an interim
low-power signal to its full 3900-watt class A status. Playing
classic hits as "Cool 97" (the same format as on sister
stations WPHD in Elmira and WCDW in Binghamton), the signal primarily
serves the Hornell area, though it's listenable into Dansville
we've got two big Empire State broadcast events coming up on
our calendar: on October 5, much of the upstate engineering community
will converge on the Turning Stone hotel and casino in Verona
for the 39th annual SBE 22 Broadcast & Technology Expo. It's
always a worthwhile event, with a floor full of new technology
and interesting vendors and a day full of educational seminars,
and it's all free. Registration is now open at www.sbe22expo.org,
and this year we'll be presenting our tower site photos all day
long at booth D14, where we'll also have the new 2012 Tower Site
Calendar on hand!
And two weeks later, the audio community from all over the
world will gather in New York City for the Audio Engineering
Society's 131st AES Convention. Most of the event takes place
at the Javits Convention Center on the far west side of Manhattan,
including a full roster of broadcast events (more at AESBroadcast.com)
- but we'd draw your attention also to a special panel discussion
on Friday evening, October 21, downtown at Clear Channel's PC
Richard & Son Theatre, where the topic will be the 50th anniversary
of FM stereo in the United States. Organizer David Bialik has
brought together an all-star panel including processing gurus
Bob Orban and Frank Foti, Belar's Arno Meyer, veteran broadcast
engineer Dick Burden and many more...and your editor will be
moderating the event. We hope to see you there...
CALENDAR 2012...ORDER NOW!
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.
The calendars will be back from the printer
any day now, so don't miss your chance to be part of the very
first shipments...or to make your 2012 calendar order part of
the subscription you'll soon need to continue enjoying all of
the features of fybush.com.
now - or subscribe - at the fybush.com Store!
*Sports radio keeps making headlines in MASSACHUSETTS,
though perhaps WEEI's midday host Glenn Ordway might wish this
week's headlines were a little more subdued. The Boston Globe's
Chad Finn reports that the "Big Show" host saw his
salary cut in half - from roughly $1 million a year to $500,000
or so - due to slumping ratings. Finn reports that Ordway's most
recent contract with Entercom set a ratings floor and gave the
company the chance to opt out of the contract if his ratings
fell below that mark. And with the onslaught from CBS competitor
WBZ-FM (98.5 the Sports Hub), Ordway's ratings indeed fell -
and Finn says that gave Entercom an opening to tell Ordway to
take the salary cut or move on.
There's at least one bit of more positive news from 20 Guest
Street: the new WEEI-FM callsign is in place now at the former
WMKK (93.7 Lawrence), having taken effect on Wednesday morning,
mere hours after your editor (grumble...) drove out of listening
*Around the corner at WBZ-FM's digs on Leo Birmingham Parkway,
the first-floor studios that used to house WBCN (104.1) are in
the process of being renovated, in part to make room for TV gear:
starting later this fall, the "Sports Hub" afternoon
team of Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti will be simulcast
on Comcast SportsNet, where Felger's already an anchor. The new
simulcast will, once again, compete with WEEI - its morning team
of Dennis and Callahan are also seen on the Red Sox-owned NESN
(While he'd probably cringe at the recollection, your editor
notes that Massarotti, best known as a newspaper reporter, also
has TV experience - not only was he a sports commentator on the
local news show at Waltham Cable Access in the mid-90s, it's
entirely possible that some blurry VHS copies of the show still
exist somewhere deep in the NERW archives.)
*Some changes down on the South Coast: Erica Kay's gone from
the afternoon slot on Citadel-turned-Cumulus top 40 WFHN (107.1
Fairhaven/New Bedford), just a year after she returned to the
station from a gig in Florida. Weekender Billy Teed is now on
the schedule as "Fun 107" afternoon host.
And in Marshfield, WUMT is the callsign for the new WUMB relay
that will appear soon on 91.7.
*It's not every day a radio station turns 90 (at least until
next year, when several hundred venerable stations will hit that
mark), but Boston's WBZ (1030) made the most of its new nonagenerian
status when its birthday rolled around last week.
No pretense to unbiased reporting here: your editor, of course,
is a proud alumnus of the WBZ family, and it was an honor to
be on hand for many of the celebrations. On Monday morning, Boston
mayor Tom Menino stopped by the station's Allston studios to
proclaim "WBZ Day," and later in the day the station
made the fourth addition to its "Hall of Fame" wall
just outside the building's main entrance.
Carl deSuze is the first posthumous inductee to the very exclusive
club, but his addition fits an ongoing pattern: like deSuze,
the rest of the club's members were beloved WBZ morning voices
- Dave Maynard, Gary LaPierre and Gil Santos. In his 43 years
at WBZ, deSuze set the stage for his successors, establishing
the station's morning slot as a New England institution. While
deSuze died in 1998 at age 83, his wife and two daughters were
on hand for the ceremony unveiling his plaque. (Daughter Samantha
is keeping up the family tradition; her radio career currently
finds her at WCTK in the Providence market.)
celebration continued inside the building with cake and a historical
display, followed later in the evening by a special "Nightside
with Dan Rea" broadcast featuring the happily-retired LaPierre
and his successor Joe Mathieu. (And did we mention that the overnight
"Steve LeVeille Broadcast" devoted two full shows to
WBZ's history, featuring a three-hour guest appearance by your
editor Sunday night and another three hours with Boston radio
historian Donna Halper on Monday night?)
If the 90th birthday celebrations were a bit more subdued
than the gala dinner that accompanied the 75th anniversary in
1996...well, there's a centennial coming just around the corner,
*And we close the Bay State report with an obituary: Len Zola
worked all over the dial in Boston and beyond, assembling a resume
over almost half a century that started with WLYN in Lynn in
1953 and continued through WWNH, WESX, WCRB, WBZ, WKOX and WHDH,
culminating with a return to WCRB as a part-time classical host
and newsman in the 1980s and 1990s.
But Zola, who also worked many years in the public-relations
industry and as an actor, probably assured himself his spot in
the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame (which inducted him
in 2009) by creating "The Media Gang," a regular gathering
of current and retired broadcasters, reporters and PR people
that attracted hundreds of attendees to luncheons emceed by WBZ's
In recent years, Zola had been suffering from Alzheimer's
disease, and he died September 17 .
*There's big news from the world of TV news in
RHODE ISLAND: all of the news operations in the Providence
market are now offering some semblance of HD, and while LIN's
WPRI/WNAC was the last to the game, launching its HD newscasts
just this past week, there's much more actual high-definition
content on the CBS and Fox affiliates (everything, in fact, except
live camera shots from the field) than on ABC outlet WLNE, which
launched "HD" newscasts earlier this month that are
apparently mostly 16:9 standard-definition with some HD graphics
(including a new station logo that puts WLNE's previous "6"
inside the trademark blue circle of new parent Citadel Communications.)
*And an obituary from VERMONT television:
Stuart Hall came to Burlington's channel 3, then WMVT, just months
after the station signed on in 1954, and he stayed with the station
(now WCAX-TV) all the way until 1990. Best known as WCAX's weatherman,
Hall also served as the station's production manager and eventually
as its vice president, and he was a charter inductee to the Vermont
Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame. Hall died Sunday morning
at age 90.
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*A format change in western PENNSYLVANIA:
Renda's WMNY (1360 McKeesport) is ditching its business-talk
format after just three years. The McKeesport Daily News'
Pat Cloonan reports that the new format at the Pittsburgh-market
station will be "AM News Talk 1360," based heavily
on TRN's America's Radio News Network along with the syndicated
Rusty Humphries, Phil Hendrie and Lou Dobbs shows. WMNY's afternoon
offering, the leased-time "American Entrepreneur" show,
will continue from 3-6 PM.
also reports that WMNY's nighttime transmitter site near McKeesport
is off the air after a transmitter failure; the station is using
250 watts from its daytime site in Pittsburgh under special temporary
authority until the night site can be fixed.
*Up in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania, WRQV (88.1
Ridgway) has reportedly signed on as the latest piece of the
"Rev FM" network based at WRXV (89.1 State College).
From the callsign desk: WYJK (1340 Connellsville) has changed
its calls to WBGI; the Keymarket station is still relaying "Pickle"
oldies WPKL (99.3), last we heard. Across the state in Annville,
near Lebanon, the new 91.3 CP belonging to Four Rivers Community
Broadcasting takes the calls WZXA.
*The changes continue at Longport Media's
cluster in southern NEW JERSEY: WWAC (102.7 Ocean City)
has dropped its "Wild 102.7" rhythmic top-40 identity
in favor of a more mainstream top-40 approach as "AC 102.7."
Meanwhile, the rumored flip of its AM sister station WBSS
(1490 Pleasantville) to a simulcast of Philadelphia sports-talker
WIP (610/94.1) is becoming reality: the Atlantic City signal
will be known as "WIP at the Shore."
*Up north, WSOU (89.5 South Orange) is getting ready to celebrate
a quarter-century of hard rock on its airwaves. The Seton Hall
University station has scheduled a "25 Years of Metal"
concert for November 18, starring acts including Chimaira and
*Another quiet week in eastern CANADA,
with just one new station application on the CRTC docket: at
a November 21 hearing, it will consider an application from Glen
Ferguson for a new community radio station in Bathurst, New Brunswick.
The new station would run 50 watts/24 m on 96.5.
*We've already reported on the death of legendary broadcaster
Bob Laine, but now we can add word of a memorial event: on October
2, Laine's long career will be celebrated at Seneca College,
where Laine taught for many years. The event will take place
from 6-8 PM.
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: September 27, 2010
- When Radio Disney launched back in 1996, it looked to AM
radio as an inexpensive, wide-coverage way to distribute its
programming to dozens of markets around the country. For nearly
a decade and a half, that strategy seemed to work for Disney:
it acquired AMs in large and medium markets from coast to coast,
purchasing and operating them inexpensively. But a lot has changed
in the last few years: the AM signals that were at least marginally
viable in 1996 have, for the most part, fallen completely off
the radar for much of Radio Disney's target audience (not just
kids themselves but also their parents), even as other distribution
methods such as satellite radio and streaming have become much
more prominent. Over the last year or so, Disney has begun to
dismantle its AM portfolio, shutting down its signals in medium
markets such as Albuquerque and Greensboro, N.C. and putting
those stations up for sale. Now that trend has reached RHODE
ISLAND and CONNECTICUT, where Disney will pull the plug on WDDZ
(550 Pawtucket) and WDZK (1550 Bloomfield) on Thursday night
at midnight. (Two other Disney AMs, WDRD 680 in Louisville, Kentucky
and WBWL 600 in Jacksonville, Florida will also be silenced.)
- The Hartford-market stations came into the Radio Disney fold
in 1997, when it (along with what's now WMKI 1260 in Boston)
was purchased by Hibernia Communications, which flipped it to
Disney and then sold them to Disney itself three years later.
(Disney paid just shy of $50 million for Hibernia's six Radio
Disney outlets, including a different Providence-market Disney
outlet, the West Warwick-licensed 1450 that was WHRC and later
WDYZ; it sold that facility a year later to buy 550, then known
as WICE.) With WDDZ and WDZK gone, Disney will still have a half-dozen
AM outlets in the region: in addition to Boston's WMKI, it owns
WQEW (1560 New York), WWJZ (640 Mount Holly NJ/Philadelphia)
and WDDY (1460 Albany), and its programming is heard on Craig
Fox's WOLF/WWLF/WAMF in the Syracuse market and on Birach Broadcasting's
WWCS (540 Canonsburg/Pittsburgh), though as you'll read later
in today's column, there are some changes in the works in the
Steel City, too.
- While WDZK prepares to shut down in Hartford, another signal
that's been serving the Nutmeg State is being redirected to its
state of license, NEW YORK. Citadel's WXLM (104.7 Montauk) is
the latest incarnation of a news-talk format that's bounced around
the dial in southeastern Connecticut, moving from WSUB (980 Groton)
to the original WXLM on 102.3 in Stonington, and then to 104.7
when it swapped facilities with WMOS, the classic rocker programmed
out of the Mohegan Sun casino. Now the WXLM programming is returning
to the smaller 980 facility sometime next month - while 104.7
takes on a new identity serving Long Island as WELJ, an East
End relay of Citadel's big WPLJ (95.5 New York). As for Connecticut,
the WXLM calls took up residence on 980 in Groton late last week,
displacing the WSUB calls that have been there since 1958. Once
the simulcast period with 104.7 has ended, the news-talk format
will displace the Spanish tropical "Caliente 980" format
that's been airing there since 2006. With 1000 watts by day and
just 72 watts at night, WSUB/WXLM has adequate daytime coverage
of New London, but doesn't reach north into Norwich very effectively;
ironically, the same was already true of the 6 kW/315' class
A signal on 104.7 from Montauk.
- Before WXLM and WPLJ/WELJ grabbed the headlines at the end
of the week, the big news-talk news from the Empire State came
from Albany, where Clear Channel kicked off the week with a bang
when it pulled the plug on modern rock "Channel 103.1"
WHRL just after midnight on Monday, replacing it with news-talk
as WGY-FM, a full-time simulcast of venerable WGY (810 Schenectady).
It says something about just how stripped down an operation "Channel
103.1" was that only one person, morning host Jason Keller,
lost his job when WHRL went away. (It should also be noted that
the WHRL calls had been in place at 103.1 ever since the station
signed on in 1966; only one other commercial station in the Albany
market, WFLY, has kept the same calls longer.)
- It should also be noted that in a marketplace where these
AM-on-FM news-talk simulcasts have become increasingly common,
WGY's move represents something new for Clear Channel, which
had thus far resisted the temptation to create FM simulcasts
for AM stations that already enjoyed full-market signals. Even
as companies such as Bonneville and CBS and Cox have begun migrating
all their news-talkers to FM, there's been no WLW-FM, no KFI-FM,
no WHAM-FM. Instead, Clear Channel has moved more gingerly into
FM news-talk, launching new outlets (such as Pittsburgh's WPGB)
in markets where it had no significant AM presence or turning
to FM simulcasts in places such as Birmingham where its existing
AM signals were already compromised.
- Why WGY, then? The answer may simply be that an FM facility
was available with little sacrifice - or, perhaps, that the additional
building penetration the new WGY-FM offers (though it's only
a class A signal, it comes from a brand-new tower and antenna
just across the Hudson River from downtown Albany) is just the
edge WGY needs to overcome the competition from the recently-strengthened
signal of talk competitor WGDJ (1300 Rensselaer). While WGY offers
a mostly-syndicated talk lineup, WGDJ stays local most of the
day in a market that's all about state politics - and it's already
driven another competitor, Pamal's WROW (590), out of the talk
format. All of which is to say that there's no reason just yet
to think that the arrival of WGY-FM portends immediate flips
to FM simulcasts at other Clear Channel news-talkers in the region.
In some markets (New Haven, Rochester, Manchester) there's no
"sacrificial lamb" available on the FM dial; in others
(Harrisburg and Springfield, for instance) there's no real competitive
pressure driving such a move, which suggests that Clear Channel
intends to try to preserve as much of its existing AM revenue
stream as it can, holding off the "death of AM" scenario
for as long as possible.
- While Radio Disney slowly retreats from the AM dial elsewhere,
it appears that Disney is poised to move the format to a big
signal in southwestern PENNSYLVANIA. But the plan to move Radio
Disney from WWCS (540 Canonsburg) to Disney-owned WEAE (1250
Pittsburgh) around the first of the year, reported late Friday
in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is notable less because of what
it means for Radio Disney than for what it means to WEAE's current
programming. Assuming Bob Smizik's P-G report is true (and there's
no reason to think otherwise), "ESPN 1250" is becoming
the first to blink in what had become an overcrowded three-way
sports battle in the Steel City. While WEAE was the first to
go all-sports back in 1999, when ABC/Disney acquired the station
from Jacor, it was soon challenged by Clear Channel's WBGG (970)
with Fox Sports - and then earlier this year by a full-time FM
sports outlet, CBS Radio's KDKA-FM (93.7 the Fan).
- As it turned out, the national brand of ESPN and a lineup
of local hosts that includes Stan Savran, Guy Junker and Scott
Paulsen wasn't enough to overcome the one-two punch of KDKA-FM's
all-local lineup and FM signal coupled with the roadblock of
play-by-play rights (Pirates, Penguins, Steelers and Pitt) assembled
by WBGG and its Clear Channel clustermates. Smizik reports that
WEAE will let its local staff go at the end of this week, switching
to the full ESPN network feed until the end of the year. That's
when Disney's lease of WWCS expires, freeing up that format to
be moved to 1250, and possibly freeing up ESPN Radio programming
to replace Fox Sports on WBGG and starting the rumor mill spinning
on the future broadcast homes of some of 1250's star talent (most
notably "Stan and Guy.")
Five Years Ago: September 25, 2006
- SEASIDE, Oregon - NERW's on the other side of the country
this week, attending the International Radio Club of America
convention in this most scenic resort town, and we bet some of
the folks at NEW YORK's WOR (710) might like to be this far from
home at the moment too, after a breakdown in communications led
the heavily-promoted demolition of the station's old three-tower
antenna array to be indefinitely postponed at the very last minute.
We were there last Wednesday (Sept. 20), having flown down for
the day, and we've never seen so many people so excited to watch
a bunch of towers fall down. WOR threw a party for its clients
at its new transmitter site, about half a mile north of the old
site, and many engineers from the city's other stations showed
up to see the action as well, as did plenty of TV and newspaper
reporters from New York City and north Jersey.
- Right up to the scheduled demolition time at 10 AM, excitement
at the site was running high. Cameras were trained on the old
689-foot towers, waiting for the moment when the tower crews
would cut one side of guy wires on each towers, letting the guys
on the other two sides pull the towers down in a matter of seconds.
Then...nothing happened. After about an hour of rumors, word
emerged that the Lyndhurst police department had called a halt
to the demolition - and after another half-hour, Lyndhurst police
chief James O'Connor appeared at the new site (in neighboring
Rutherford, N.J.) to tell the gathered reporters why he'd stopped
the demolition. O'Connor says he only learned about the demolition
at 8:30 that morning, and he was worried about what would happen
when drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike (which runs alongside
the old site, in full view of both the towers and the Manhattan
skyline to the east) suddenly saw the WOR towers come tumbling
- WOR engineering director Tom Ray, who'd hoped that the demolition
would provide a celebratory cap to the years of work that have
gone into the station's relocation, says the responsibility for
notifying O'Connor and other public safety officials rested with
"another party." (NERW believes that other party would
be the developers behind Encap, the huge golf resort project
that will eventually use the old WOR site.)
- In southern NEW JERSEY, WDTH (93.1 Wildwood Crest) has changed
calls to WEZW; expect it to break from its "Touch"
urban AC simulcast with WTTH (96.1 Margate).
10 Years Ago: September 24, 2001
- The AM radio landscape in the Merrimack Valley of MASSACHUSETTS
is about to change again, thanks to Costa-Eagle's $1.5 million
sale of WCCM (800 Lawrence) to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese
of Boston. The sale leaves Eagle-Costa with two of the valley's
five AM stations: the facilities that are now running Spanish-language
programming as WNNW (1110 Salem, N.H.) and WHAV (1490 Haverhill).
The plan, as we understand it, is to combine their programming
under the WNNW calls on the 1490 facility, with the English-language
WCCM programming and calls moving to 1110.
- The move will effectively take the Eagle-Costa stations out
of contention in Lowell, where WCCM had been trying to compete
with Lowell-licensed WCAP (980) with programming that included
Lowell Spinners baseball. As a daytimer, the new WCCM 1110 won't
be able to carry Spinners' night games, and its day signal is
hard to hear in Lowell even under the best of circumstances.
As for the AM 800 signal, with 1000 watts by day and 244 watts
at night, it's not heard well outside the central Merrimack Valley,
which leads us to wonder why the Archdiocese is spending all
this money on a facility its leaders won't even hear at their
suburban Boston headquarters. Could a move south be in the offing?
(This isn't the Archdiocese's first broadcast effort, by the
way; back in the 1960s, it owned WIHS-TV 38, ancestor of today's
WSBK!) The switches are expected to take place sometime around
January 2002. (The purchase never happened, and WNNW eventually
moved to 800, with WCCM taking the 1490 spot.)
- MAINE will have a broadcast Fox affiliate after October 7
- at least for viewers in the Bangor area. WCKD-LP (Channel 30),
which has been running as a UPN affiliate under LMA with ABC
affiliate WVII (Channel 7), will switch to the Fox affiliation
when Portland's WPXT (Channel 51) dumps Fox for WB.
- We'll start our NEW YORK news, of course, down in Manhattan,
with the latest on the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center.
On the TV side, WCBS-TV (Channel 2) filed with the FCC on Wednesday
to make its auxiliary site at the Empire State Building its primary
site. From Empire, WCBS runs 45 kilowatts visual ERP at 389 meters
above average terrain. There's not much new to report on the
other stations that used the World Trade Center. We're still
hearing from viewers in outlying areas such as Long Island and
Connecticut that the signals on the other VHF stations from their
hastily-constructed backup sites at Empire and the Armstrong
tower in Alpine, N.J. are proving hard to receive. Of the FM
stations, we're told WNYC-FM (93.9) is running in mono with less
than a kilowatt from Empire, with most of its programming still
being simulcast on the Board of Education's Brooklyn-based WNYE-FM
(91.5), an arrangement that some are speculating will become
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- The ubiquitous Dr. Laura Schlessinger has added yet another
New England outlet. Hartford's WTIC (1080) has bumped Hartford
Courant columnist Colin McEnroe from his mid-morning slot and
dropped in Dr. Laura instead. McEnroe will be heard doing commentaries
on TIC's morning and afternoon drive shows, as well as on a Sunday
night talk show. Across town at WDRC (1360), Bob Grant has been
dropped from the schedule, reportedly because programmers there
don't think his abrasive talk fits with WDRC's standards format.
Phil Callan moves from middays to PM to fill Grant's timeslot.
And at WHCN (105.9), new owner SFX is moving towards classic
rock, both to pull WHCN away from its new stablemate, modern-rocker
WMRQ (104.1), and to go after ARS's 70s rocker, WZMX (93.7).
- A bit further south in Connecticut, Quinnipiac College seems
to be making big plans for its newly-purchased AM. The former
WXCT (1220) in Hamden is now dark, but will reportedly resurface
sometime in January with the WQUN calls. Quinnipiac has been
advertising in the trades for a GM/PD, a morning host/operations
manager, and two newspeople to work alongside the student staff.
The station's in good hands; NYC radio veteran Lou Adler is apparently
the driving force behind the project.
- Two dark stations that probably won't return: WLVC (1340)
Fort Kent and WSJR (1230) Madawaska, way up there in northern
Maine. It's been two and a half years since these stations were
on the air, and their authority to remain silent expired a year
ago. The FCC is asking owner Lamoille Broadcasting for a written
explanation of why the licenses shouldn't be revoked.
- Back on the air, and with a much-improved signal, is Holliston
High School's WHHB(FM) in Holliston, Mass. The station has finally
made good on its plans to move from 91.5 to 99.9, and from a
short tower atop the high school to a taller cellular-phone stick
down the road.
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2011 by Scott Fybush.