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September 26, 2011

Binghamton Broadcasters Celebrate

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*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 ball.

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.

As a 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, 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."

Winston 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 associate's degree.

Win Loyd died September 18 in New Jersey, just shy of his 89th birthday.

*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 Watch.

*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 and Todd."

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 as well.

*And 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, 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 - 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...


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

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*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 range.

*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 network.

(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.)

The 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, isn't there?

*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 Jordan Rich.

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.

Pat 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 Skeletonwitch.

*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.

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: 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 down.
  • 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 permanent.

15 Years Ago: New England Radio Watch, September 25, 1996

  • 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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