In this week’s issue… Boston loses a TV legend – YES swaps afternoon shows – Big fine for missing tower fences – “Dinosaur” roams Syracuse – Corus adds Ottawa FMs – Two new signals in Ontario
By SCOTT FYBUSH
A program note: just over a year since “Mrs. NERW” underwent her last major surgery, she’s once again in the hospital for a planned follow-up surgery. Thanks in advance for your patience for the next couple of weeks as I try to handle subscription inquiries myself – and please expect a slight delay in shipping on calendars and other products from the Fybush.com Store until we’re back in the swing of things!
*In the pantheon of MASSACHUSETTS TV legends, only a handful of Boston TV news anchors have achieved first-name-only immortality. “Jack and Liz,” of course – but before they ever paired up behind the desk at channel 4, there was the anchor team that set the standard. For anyone who watched the news in Boston from the 1970s into the 1990s, there was “Chet and Nat” and then there was everyone else.
Even if both Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson had long since left WCVB (Channel 5), even if their marriage had come to an end a few years ago, and even if we’d all known for months that Curtis’ health was failing and the day would soon come, the news of his death on Wednesday still prompted a flood of memories and appreciations from across the media landscape.
Chet Kukiewicz was born in Amsterdam, New York, attended Ithaca College and began his broadcast career (very briefly) right here in Rochester, but it was quickly clear that he was destined for bigger things. Before he was 30, he’d worked at WTOP-TV (Channel 9) in Washington and at WCBS-TV (Channel 2) in New York. In 1968, he started as a reporter at Boston’s original channel 5, WHDH-TV, and in 1972 he joined most of the WHDH-TV airstaff in moving over to its replacement, WCVB, which put him on the anchor desk at noon with a talented new star, Natalie Jacobson. They married in 1978, had a daughter, Lindsay, in 1981, and by 1982 they’d taken their place at the helm of the 6 and 11 PM “NewsCenter” broadcasts, where they’d reside comfortably at the top of the ratings for almost two decades.
Curtis and Jacobson announced their separation and impending divorce in 1999; within a year, Curtis moved to WCVB’s Sunday newscasts and by 2001 he’d left the station entirely, bringing his experience and on-air warmth down the street to New England Cable News, where he became the anchor for the flagship “NewsNight” broadcast. He never formally resigned from NECN, but his on-air appearances dwindled as he became ill with pancreatic cancer. His last public appearance came in the fall of 2013 at the Massachusetts Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame induction, where he received an emotional standing ovation from a crowd of colleagues and admirers moved by his visibly frail state.
As news broke Wednesday of Curtis’ death at age 74, his former broadcast homes went wall-to-wall with coverage; WCVB devoted much of its midday and early-evening newscasts to remembrances of its star anchor, as well as an entire special edition of the “Chronicle” magazine show that Curtis had anchored from 1978-1982. NECN offered extensive coverage – and even WBZ-TV (Channel 4), where “Jack and Liz” long competed against “Chet and Nat,” led its evening newscasts with fond recollections of its former rival.
The days when a “Chet and Nat” can so dominate a market are gone now, of course. When Sunbeam blew into town at WHDH-TV (Channel 7) – can it really be more than 20 years ago now? – it brought with it a new model in which flashy graphics and plenty of live shots from the field took precedence over star anchors. Then came the explosion in the number of hours of news and the explosion of news sources that made the old “film at 6 and 11” model an anachronism.
For his part, Chet Curtis didn’t want to be a star; he ended his career the same way he began it, as a newsman’s newsman, a solid anchor who was always more substance than flash. But he was, nevertheless, a giant in a time when there were still giants on the local TV news scene, and he’ll be remembered fondly.
*The week’s other big broadcast news story came from upstate NEW YORK, where Monday brought a permanent format to Craig Fox’s WNDR (103.9 Mexico) and its Syracuse-area translators at 95.3 and 98.1. The former WVOA shed its “Love Radio” religious/ethnic programming last October (now heard at 87.7 on the audio of WVOA-LP, channel 6) and stunted first as “Holly FM” and then as “WBTL” with nonstop Beatles music before launching with classic hits as “The Dinosaur.”
The new station launched with most of a full airstaff on hand: PD Nick Caplan is handling mornings with Melissa Midgley (late of WZUN “Sunny 102”) doing news, and former WSEN-FM (92.1) jock Bob Brown is doing afternoons. For now, Tony Fallico (formerly of Clear Channel’s WYYY) is doing middays and CNYRadio.com’s Peter Naughton is handling the evening shift – but they’ll move to weekends when permanent hosts are named for those airshifts.
And with the news about his new Dinosaur gig came some additional news from Naughton: he’s once again putting CNYRadio.com on hiatus while he focuses on his “day jobs” and his new baby son. In his six years running the site, Naughton set the standard for what a quality regional media news site should look like, and we’ll miss his deep insight into the world of radio and TV in Syracuse, Utica and vicinity.
(What about the other “WBTL” that Fox has been operating? WMBO 1340 in Auburn had been simulcasting Fox’s Radio Disney outlet, WOLF 1490 Syracuse, until picking up the all-Beatles stunt; it’s sticking with the Fab Four for the moment but we hear it will become a separate “Dinosaur” before long.)
*Over in Buffalo, there’s a new news director at Granite’s low-rated WKBW (Channel 7). After a year and a half at the helm of Channel 7’s newsroom, Polly Van Doren is off to Dayton and Sinclair’s ABC/Fox pair, WKEF (Channel 22)/WRGT (Channel 45), which also occupy the bottom rungs of the ratings ladder there. WKBW assistant director Lisa Polster moves into the top news chair at 7 Broadcast Plaza starting next week.
Up the road in Youngstown, on the frigid south shore of Lake Ontario, the FCC’s assessing a hefty fine against Birach Broadcasting’s WTOR (770). Back in October 2012, an inspection found missing gates and damaged fences around two of the three WTOR towers. While Birach told the Commission that the fences collapsed while the site was getting “cleared of weeds and brush” just three days before the inspection, the inspector noticed that the fallen fence segments were hard to lift because of all the weeds that had grown up through them, and so the Commission had no hesitation about issuing a $10,000 Notice of Apparent Liability against WTOR.
*It took some serious effort for us not to lead this week’s column with this item: Long-suffering Boston Red Sox fans in the Rochester market will finally be able to hear baseball’s World Champions (nope, it really doesn’t ever get old!) on a local radio signal in the 2014 season. That’s thanks to our new favorite Rochester radio stations, Genesee Media’s WASB (1590 Brockport)/WRSB (1310 Canandaigua), which will announce today that they’re adding Sox baseball to their “Team” format of CBS Sports Radio. Will WRSB’s new translator at 105.5 be up and running by Opening Day? We’ll be listening, either way…
The FCC’s “LPFM machine” was churning slowly last week, thanks to the double whammy of a federal holiday on Monday and a snowstorm that closed the Commission on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. So there’s just one new LPFM grant in the Empire State to report for the week: the Spencer-Van Etten Central School District, southeast of Ithaca, gets a new signal on 107.1.
*Downstate, the YES cable channel (which is now majority-owned by Fox, which increased its stake in the network to 80% from 49% on Friday) has a new afternoon host. After a dozen years of simulcasting Mike Francesa from WFAN (660/101.9), YES has confirmed the longstanding rumors that it will instead soon begin carrying Michael Kay from WEPN-FM (98.7). Kay is already a big part of the YES family, hosting the “CenterStage” interview show and calling Yankees games on the now minority-Yankees-owned channel.
*In NEW JERSEY, there’s a new translator coming to New Brunswick. W224CW (92.7 Franklin Township) was granted last week to Om Tschand, and while it’s listed for now as a relay of WWFM (89.1 Trenton), we suspect the signal coming from the WCTC (1450 New Brunswick) tower will end up relaying something else by the time it takes air.
Sorry to report the death of a veteran engineer on the shore: Al Bonner fought in the Navy in World War II and Korea and then spent more than 40 years working for WJLK (1310/94.3) in Asbury Park before retiring in 1989. He died January 18 in Neptune, at age 85.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, GEOS Communications has been busy buying translators. It’s paying Family Life Ministries $2,000 for W223CC (92.5 Wilkes-Barre) and W244DB (96.7 South Williamsport).
Family Life wants to move towers in Du Bois: after decades at its present site, WCOH-FM (107.3 Du Bois) has applied to move to a new location about three miles north of its current site, up in the mountains north of town. The new site will bring a decrease in power (from 50 kW to 18.5 kW) but an increase in height (from 500 to 810 feet above average terrain) and roughly the same overall coverage.
Not far down the road from Williamsport, there’s a call change at WJSA (1600 Jersey Shore), which becomes WEJS as its ownership shifts from Covenant Broadcasting (which retains WJSA-FM 96.3) to Pioneer Sports Productions. For the last year or so, what’s now WEJS has been simulcasting sports from WLYC (1050 Williamsport).
*There’s a new LPFM coming to western MASSACHUSETTS: Dave Reed’s “WHAB for BB Inc.” (or possibly “WHAM for BB Inc.,” as it appears in some FCC documents) gets a construction permit for 104.7 in Huntington, with a transmitter site near the Mass Pike in Blandford.
*Radio people on the move in NEW HAMPSHIRE: up north at WKXH (105.5 Littleton), there’s a new morning host as Val Davis slides into the wakeup slot on “Kix” to replace Jess Huffman. Davis had been doing mornings on sister station WGMT (97.7 Lyndon VT) – whuch is looking for a new music director and afternoon host, too, with the departure of Ron Osbourne (aka “RJ Michaels”) after just a month at “Magic 97.7.”
Radio signals on the move: down the Connecticut River valley, WFYX (96.3 Walpole) has filed for a license to cover for its power increase from 320 to 600 watts. Everything else stays the same at the Jeff Shapiro-owned class A signal, which repeats oldies WWOD (93.9 Woodstock VT).
There’s a new LPFM grant in Bethlehem, where “Friends of the Colonial” gets 99.9. To the south in Laconia, Concord Broadcasting has been granted a new translator: W222BX (92.3) will rebroadcast WZEI (101.5 Meredith), which in turn relays Boston’s WEEI.
*In MAINE, Bible Broadcasting Network has been granted a new translator. W246DA (97.1 Auburn) will relay BBN’s WYFP (91.9 Harpswell).
*One of CANADA‘s biggest broadcasters is a little bigger this week, now that the CRTC has signed off on Corus’ acquisition of the Ottawa signals that Bell had to spin off as part of its giant purchase of Astral Media. Corus is paying just under C$16 million for the former Astral Ottawa stations, CKQB (106.9) and CJOT (99.7), and it appears a format flip is imminent for one of them.
Even though the Corus deal includes a C$24,000 licensing agreement to continue using the Astral/Bell-owned nicknames and formats that had been on both stations – rock “Bear” on CKQB and classic hits “Boom” on CJOT – the domain spies over at our sister site RadioInsight have picked up on registrations for “Fresh FM” on 106.9, including a Twitter feed that was briefly live before being taken down. The move to the hot AC “Fresh” format would pit CKQB against Rogers’ “Kiss” CISS (105.3) and Bell’s CJMJ (Majic 100.3), and it would mark the second time “Bear” has vanished from its longtime home on 106.9 following Astral’s ill-fated attempt to rebrand the rock format there as “Virgin Radio” a few years ago.
*The CRTC has approved two new FM signals in Ontario, both at 99.3 on the dial. In Picton (Prince Edward County) on the Lake Ontario shoreline east of Toronto, Prince Edward County Radio Corporation has been granted a new community station, to run 1.69 kW average ERP/3 kW max DA/71 meters.
Up north in Meaford, Evanov has been granted a new facet in its “Jewel” soft AC network. Its new station, with just 100 watts/177 meters, would use the same soft AC/easy listening format as the other Jewels, but in deference to the local agricultural specialty, this one will be known instead as “Apple FM.”
The 2014 Tower Site Calendar is ready to send for YOU (or someone else), spiral bound, shrink wrapped and best of all, with a convenient hole for hanging!
This year’s pinups include the iconic towers of Catalina Island, a combiner system in St. Louis, the twin towers of KNRS in Salt Lake City, a historic rooftop site in Jamestown, New York and many more!
Click here to order your 2014 calendar! We’re still shipping several times weekly, so you can have your calendar before much of January has gone by…
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: January 28, 2013
*After a whirlwind first few weeks of 2013, January is finally closing out on a more typical quiet note – even in NEW YORK, where the market continues to be abuzz about last Monday’s launch of the much-anticipated “Nash FM” from Cumulus. For all of the research and planning that went into the debut of the number-one market’s first big country signal in almost 17 years, there were some odd bits missing at 9:47 AM when WRXP (94.7 Newark NJ) spun out of its “wheel of formats” for the final time.
Perhaps most notably, the new country station launched with essentially no local staff in New York, which led to the odd spectacle of a TV reporter interviewing Cumulus’ New York market manager Kim Bryant in a studio that was otherwise empty and running on automation (a situation that found WNYW-TV entertainment reporter Jill Nicolini herself pretending to take over the air chair in what had been a production room at the WABC/WPLJ 2 Penn Plaza studios!) That will change relatively quickly; now that the “Nash” cat is out of the bag, Cumulus is advertising for air talent and a PD who “live the country lifestyle” and can relate to a New York audience.
Then there’s the matter of those call letters: after drawing the desired “will it be rock?” response by parking the WRXP calls on the former WFME, Cumulus applied on Tuesday to swap in the “WNSH” callsign that it had quietly acquired from a small Boston-market AM signal (now WMVX 1570 Beverly) late in 2012.
*Upstate, it’s a Monday morning of new faces at Pamal Broadcasting in Albany. The most prominent is Bob “Wolf” Wohlfeld, who lands back in Albany at WKLI (Rock 100.9) after a whirlwind few months that’s found him moving from Clear Channel’s WPYX (106.5 Albany) to a controversial nine-day stint at WDST (100.1 Woodstock) that didn’t end well. Now “Wakin’ up with the Wolf” has reunited with former WPYX GM Bob Ausfeld, and Wohlfeld tells the Albany Times Union that it’s all “been like a blur.” (Meanwhile at WDST, Jimmy Buff has been named as Wohlfeld’s morning replacement, with former morning man Greg Gattine keeping his new afternoon slot.)
*Up north, Tim Martz is adding more stations to his cluster along the Canadian border. Martz kept WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay), WVNV (96.5 Malone) and WICY (1490 Malone plus translator W274BI 102.7) when he sold off most of his New York holdings five years ago. Now he’s buying WSNN (99.3) and WPDM (1470) in Potsdam from St. Lawrence Radio, with plans to split the “99 Hits” country simulcast and add more talk and sports content on the AM station. Martz is paying $225,000 for the stations, a steep discount from a much higher price the longtime owners had been seeking recently.
Two of the stations Martz sold to Stephens Media back in early 2008 are still struggling to get back on the air after losing their shared transmitter site to a fire caused by a lightning strike more than a week ago. WYSX (96.7 Canton) and WPAC (98.7 Ogdensburg) remain webcast-only while they try to get replacement transmitters in place in the midst of a North Country winter.
*Great Eastern is once again expanding the reach of its “Kixx” country brand across southern VERMONT. After adding WKKN (101.9 Westminster VT/Keene NH) as a simulcast of “Kixx” mothership WXXK (100.5 Lebanon NH) last year, “Kixx” is now also being heard on WTHK (100.7 Wilmington) and its translator, W284AB (104.7 Jamaica). Those signals had been carrying the “Fox” classic rock from WEXP (101.5 Brandon/Rutland), but WEXP is headed to new ownership under Ken Squier.
*One of the stranger college radio stories of recent years is that of Thiel College in Greenville, PENNSYLVANIA, out there on the western edge of the state. For many years, Thiel operated WTGP (88.1), but in early 2007 it shut the station down, returned the license to the FCC and appeared to be leaving broadcast radio completely. When the FCC opened an application window for new noncommercial FM signals later in 2007, among the applicants was…Thiel College in Greenville, for 88.1. At the time, a Thiel spokesman explained to PBRTV.com that because WTGP had been off the air for more than a year, it would have been deleted anyway, and that the new FM would be more closely tied to Thiel’s communications program. Last week, the new 88.1 (with new calls WXTC) applied for its license to cover, returning the school to the airwaves after more than five years of dead air.
*There’s a studio move in NEW JERSEY: WOBM-FM (92.7 Toms River) has moved out of its birthplace after nearly 45 years. The WOBM-FM transmitter will stay put along Route 9 in Bayville, but the studios relocate today to Townsquare’s new Monmouth-Ocean studios at 8 Robbins Street in downtown Toms River, where they join sister stations WJLK (94.3 Asbury Park), WCHR-FM (105.7 Manahawkin) and WADB (1310 Asbury Park)/WOBM (1160 Lakewood Township). WOBM-FM has posted a tribute to its longtime home, complete with pictures, here.
Five Years Ago: January 26, 2009
This week’s lead story is yet another one we’d really rather not be writing. The massive job cuts at Clear Channel made their way from rumor to reality on Tuesday, and if the nation’s largest radio company really intended to use the headlines surrounding Inauguration Day in Washington as cover to bury the story of its cutbacks (a rumor to which we never gave complete credence), it didn’t work. The story not only dominated the radio trades all week, it made it into the mainstream media as well, even though the size of the Clear Channel cuts – 1850 jobs worldwide in its radio, outdoor and international divisions, about 9% of its total workforce – paled by comparison with the 30,000 jobs disappearing in the demise of Circuit City and other economic disasters.
As painful as the cuts were, especially in markets where longtime station veterans were marched out the door without even the opportunity to say farewell to their colleagues, some of the most dire predictions making the message-board rounds did not come to pass: there was no wholesale replacement of local air talent with national, satellite-delivered formats, no shuttering of local studios – indeed, with the exception of a few targeted cuts to local sports programming in several markets (Syracuse among them, but more notably Detroit and San Diego, where WDFN and KLSD were gutted), the cuts were largely behind the scenes.
In New York City, on-air cuts were minimal, with WHTZ (Z100) night co-host Niko and Total Traffic’s Brian de Masi the only personalities to lose their jobs. But behind the scenes, the cuts were more dramatic, with WKTU (103.5) local sales manager Mark Magnone at the head of a long line of ousted salespeople. The cluster’s communications director, Josefa Paganuzzi, is also out. (And we ask again – how can radio expect to grow new listeners in the face of so many other entertainment options if it won’t even make a minimal investment in continuing to promote itself?)
The cuts at Clear Channel in Rochester left 29-year news veteran Bill Lowe with no opportunity to say goodbye to his longtime listeners on the “Chet and Beth” morning show. Lowe, whose career started in his native Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania at WCNR (930, now WHLM) back in 1960, also spent time in Binghamton (WNBF) and Syracuse (WFBL) before coming to WHAM in 1979. Also out in Rochester were sports anchor Gene Battaglia, traffic guy Barry Vee, as well as several salespeople.
In Syracuse, the cuts hit hardest at sports WHEN (620), where Jim “Manchild” Lerch, who was PD and co-host of the afternoon “Bud and the Manchild” show, was let go along with producer Ty Doyle. Post-Standard sports columnist Bud Poliquin is also off the WHEN airwaves, whch are now entirely filled with national sports talk from Fox Sports, Dan Patrick and Jim Rome in a market that has distinctly local passions for its Orangemen. Also cut were Carole Fargo, promotions director at WBBS (104.7 Fulton), and several salespeople.
And it wasn’t just Clear Channel making cutbacks in the Empire State: in Buffalo, it was Citadel firing staffers at week’s end. WHTT (104.1) midday man Jim Pastrick, a veteran of Queen City radio, was missing from the “Mix 104” website as we went to press Sunday night, with afternooner Jim Siragusa listed with a noon-7 PM shift, no doubt heavily voicetracked. And we’re hearing two salespeople are gone from the cluster as well.
In Rochester, Stephens Media made another morning show cutback – after reducing the “Tony and Dee” show on WRMM (101.3) to just “Tony” when it took the station over last year, Stephens has now cut the “Ace and Marti” show on sister station WFKL (93.3 Fairport) to just “Marti in the Morning,” leaving veteran Rochester jock Marti Casper solo and her former co-host George “Ace” Acevedo, who came to town from California five years ago to work at WFKL’s predecessor, WBBF, out of work.
The week’s other big story, beyond the Clear Channel cutbacks, came on the NEW JERSEY shore, where Press Communications pulled the plug last Monday on “G-Rock Radio,” the latest incarnation of the modern rock format that has given WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown) a loyal, if not huge, following for several decades. 106.3, and its simulcast down the shore on WBBO (106.5 Bass River Township), are now doing top-40 as “Hit 106.” For the moment, the hits format is running without local jocks, using the “Hits Now” satellite service from Dial Global, and morning host Matt Murray is out, but some of the former G-Rock staff, including PD Terrie Carr, apparently remains on board – indeed, in an open letter posted on the G-Rock website and addressed to organizers of a planned protest at the station’s studios on Saturday, Press CEO Robert McAllan promised that G-Rock jock Matt Knight would soon be back on the air from 3-7 PM weekdays. As for that protest, it drew some 200 listeners to WHTG’s studios in Neptune, some of them bearing signs aimed at Arbitron, a reference to McAllan’s comments that the G-Rock audience had never been properly measured by the ratings firm.
In RHODE ISLAND, it wasn’t just Clear Channel doing the cutting: on Friday, Citadel made some deep cuts to its Providence cluster, including WPRO-FM (92.3) night jock Kerry Collins (who’ll be replaced by voicetracking from Ralphie at WBHT in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), WWLI (105.1) afternoon guy Charlie Jefferds and WWKX (106.3 Woonsocket) APD/afternoon DJ Joey Foxx. As for Clear Channel’s Providence cluster, Tuesday’s cuts claimed more than a half-dozen salespeople, several members of the Paul and Al morning show – Johnny “Skidmarks” Hamblett and sportscaster Steve McDonald, aka “Jim Shorts,” WHJJ “Helen Glover Show” producer Mike Fiske, and WHJJ weekend host Bruce Newbury.
It’s not just US broadcasters getting chilled by the current economic climate – it’s happening up in CANADA as well, where Newcap cited “seriously deteriorating credit markets” in announcing last week that it was pulling out of its deal to buy 12 FM stations in northern Ontario from Haliburton Broadcasting Group. The C$12 million deal would have added “Moose FM” stations everywhere from Huntsville and Bancroft up to North Bay and Timmins and west to Kapuskasing and Hearst to Newcap’s existing holdings in the Sudbury market – and while Newcap says the stations are still “assets we would like to own sometime in the future,” the deal is apparently dead for now.
Ten Years Ago: January 26, 2004
The eyes of the political world are on NEW HAMPSHIRE this week, of course, but so are the eyes of the radio business world in New England – as, yet again, New Jersey’s Nassau Broadcasting Partners L.P. has picked up another radio group in northern New England. In the last couple of months, Nassau has bought clusters from Mariner and WMTW in Maine and then from Tele-Media in New Hampshire, and now Lou Mercatanti’s group is shelling out $5 million for the three Lakes Region stations that are all that remains of the Sconnix Broadcasting empire. At its height in the eighties, Sconnix owned stations from Kansas City to Miami to Boston (WHDH, WBOS and WCOZ at various times), and for a few years it even had a headquarters office (thanks to partner Ted Nixon) right here in NERW’s hometown of Rochester, N.Y. More recently, Sconnix has been operated out of Vienna, Virginia, and all it had left in its portfolio were hot AC WLNH (98.3 Laconia), classic rock WBHG (101.5 Meredith) and news-talk WEMJ (1490 Laconia), which now join Tele-Media’s oldies WLKZ (104.9 Wolfeboro) in Nassau’s new Lakes Region cluster.
Is MASSACHUSETTS just not ready for two all-Christmas radio stations? That’s what WQSX (93.7 Lawrence) seems to believe – unlike many of the stations that went to all ho-ho-ho weeks before the holiday, “Star 93.7” saw its ratings slump after making the flip. The Entercom station tells the Boston Herald it “probably won’t do all-Christmas again,” and if it does, it’ll be just for a day or two before Christmas. (Boston’s other early all-Christmas adopter, WODS, did see a ratings boost from the move.)
Some big doings this week in the Capital District of NEW YORK state, especially at the Galaxy stations in and around Albany. Ed Levine pulled the plug on modern rock “K-Rock” at WKRD (93.7 Scotia) Thursday, playing construction noises until 3 PM, when 93.7 flipped to classic country as “The Eagle.” WKRD is also picking up NASCAR race coverage in a bid to siphon at least a bit of audience from perennial market-leading country outlet WGNA (107.7 Albany), though the station’s signal has nowhere near the coverage of WGNA.
Fifteen Years Ago: January 29, 1999
Au Revoir, CBF: Radio-Canada pulled the plug on Montreal’s 50kw French outlet Thursday night (1/21). 690 is now running a repeating loop in French urging listeners to move to the new FM frequency, 95.1, which signed on last year. CBM on 940 will go silent in March, according to the Montreal Gazette. If you can read French, you’ll find more on CBF at <www.radio-canada.ca>.
NERW was in Buffalo on Wednesday for President Clinton’s visit to upstate NEW YORK, and we really enjoyed hearing the local news and talk on co-owned, but competing, WGR (550) and WBEN (930). Our joy was tempered slightly when we picked up the Buffalo News to read that WBEN/WMJQ staffers have decertified their union, which apparently clears the way for more WGR/WBEN shared programming. On a cheerier note, congratulations to WBEN’s Tim Wenger and Susan Rose, proud parents of a baby girl born just hours before the presidential visit.
Downstate, the big news is an unusual FM-to-AM move in the Big Apple, as Rocky Allen’s “Showgram” switches from afternoons at WPLJ (95.5) to the morning slot at WABC (770). The mouse hopes Allen’s show will bring some permanence to the morning slot at WABC, which has been one of the least stable spots in New York radio.
It’s musical program directors in CONNECTICUT this week. Ed Sabatino moves from WKCI (101.3 Hamden) to the PD chair at WEFX (95.9 Norwalk), while Dave Hill moves up from APD/MD to PD at WMRQ (104.1 Waterbury), replacing Jay Beau Jones, who’s now in Chicago at WUBT (103.5). lately.