In this week’s issue… Remembering “Dandy” Dan – More changes at WEEI – ABC on the move – Job cuts at Greater, Corus – Superpower FM powers down
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*”Dandy” Dan Daniel was one of the giants of NEW YORK radio, both physically (he stood 6′ 5″) and on the air, where his long career spanned four big radio homes.
The Texas native, who died Tuesday at 81, came to New York in 1961 from stints at WDGY in Minneapolis and KXYZ in Houston. At WMCA (570), Daniel was at first the overnight jock, soon moving to afternoons as part of the classic “Good Guy” lineup that made WMCA a fierce top-40 competitor in the Beatles era. Daniel moved to mornings at WMCA before leaving in 1970 to do network announcing (NBC’s “Monitor” and several game shows).
His second New York chapter came a few years later at WYNY (97.1), NBC’s adult contemporary FM, followed by time at WHN (1050), its country successor WYNY on 103.5, and then WCBS-FM (101.1), where he worked middays from 1996 until his retirement in 2002.
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*The upstate New York station swap that triggered FCC ownership cap issues is being filed again, with a tiny little change that will apparently allow Craig Fox and Family Life Ministries to keep doing what they’ve already been doing in the Syracuse market. Family Life immediately began LMA’ing what are now WCIS (105.1 DeRuyter) and WCIO (96.7 Oswego) from Craig Fox, and will keep doing so until the swap closes. In exchange, Fox gets what’s now WOLF-FM (92.1 Baldwinsville) – but he can’t officially LMA that station, because it puts him over the ownership cap (even though he’s not operating WCIS/WCIO any longer.)
What to do? WOLF-FM now stays under Family Life management until the swap closes…but it has a letter granting Family Life permission to retransmit Fox-owned WOSW (1300 Fulton) on 92.1. And is WOSW now carrying the “Wolf” country format that Fox can’t officially lease 92.1 to run? Of course it is – in a way that now makes the FCC happy.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, Entercom’s WEEI-FM (93.7) has been overhauling its entire air staff for a while now, and the latest change involves the night shift that’s so often preempted by Red Sox games this time of year. Mikey Adams had been doing “Planet Mikey” at night since 2005, and he’d been a part of the WEEI lineup since all the way back in 1993. No replacement has been named yet, and WEEI says it’s possible Adams will continue to be part of its team in some other role.
At WBZ (1030), several familiar voices have departed: Karen Twomey had been part of the reporting staff for more than a decade, and Rich Kirkland had been doing traffic via Metro Networks for even longer.
*In MAINE, they’re mourning Margo Cobb, who spent more than 40 years at WLBZ-TV (Channel 2) in Bangor. Cobb was one of the first female television general managers in the country when she was promoted to that job in 1978. Cobb also served as a board vice-chair with the NAB. Cobb was 86.
ABC News Radio made a quiet move last week, decamping from its home of a quarter-century at 125 West End Avenue to rejoin the network mothership along W. 66th Street. The radio network newsroom was the last vestige of the old ABC radio at the West End Ave. facility; the radio network studios across the hall from the newsroom became the new home of Disney-owned WEPN-FM (98.7) a few years ago.
*The NEW JERSEY Broadcasters Association held its annual gathering last week, and our friend Clark Smidt was there and filed this report for us:
By all accounts Paul Rotella’s 69th Annual New Jersey Broadcasters Convention was major league outstanding! Combining superb speakers, excellent attendance, power radio research and the coordination by the entire Rotella Family & NJBA Team, this event is not to be missed.
The opening session featured an important NextRadio Update and FM Chip “stay tuned” that sounded like a near future announcement for The Big V. Talkers founder & publisher Michael Harrison led off a championship speakers line up with his spot-on assesment to electrify the huge tuned-in 92% total population already listening to radio. Next up, acclaimed icon Gordon Borrell. Then, Jacobs Media’s Frank Jacobs gave insights into audience behavior.
Hitting clean-up Research Director Partner Charley Sislen introduced triple play presentations by Nielsen’s Rich Turkle, Pierre Bouvard from Westwood/Cumulus and Lynn Schulman Katz EVP Strategy. The latest, compelling proof of radio’s reach and dominance over all other audio delivery is both staggering and valuable. And, all of that was before lunch!
Many students were part of the convention and treated to a mentoring panel of Successful Women in Radio, moderated by RBR Publisher Deborah Partenti. A live broadcast roundtable of the top NJ morning hosts and WCBS AM driver Wayne Cabot ran opposite CEO Jason Baily’s Broadcast Technology session. Jason’s Sun Broadcast Group, celebrating 7 years, is both an industry leader connecting Shazam and a huge supporter of the NJBA Conventions.
In just 22 hours conference included FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, Hall of Fame inductees Ed Hurst WFPG since 1946, Bert Baron who’s done it all on The Jersey Shore and The Late AT40 Super Star Casey Kasem, with his radio host daughter Kerri Kasem accepting his award.
And, for an added knock-out punch, Paul Rotella introduced NJBA Howard Green Humanitarian of the Year winner, “The Real Deal” and 4-time heavyweight champion of the WBA, Mr. Evander Holyfield!
Bottom Line: Paul S. Rotella, Esq. knows how to run an action packed convention! Stay tuned for the 70th!
Clark Smidt celebrates 50 years in NERW Land this July 13, starting at WBIS-AM 500w D, Bristol, CT.
*Meanwhile in the Garden State, Greater Media cut at least five jobs last week, including one on-air position: Bob O’Brien, who’d been doing afternoons on WJRZ (100.1 Manahawkin), is out of that gig.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, Jeff Andrulonis’ Colonial Media + Entertainment is exiting the Alle-Kiski Valley after just a few months in town. Earlier this year, Colonial paid $50,000 to Evangel Heights Assembly of God for the then-silent WAVL (910 Apollo). Now it’s selling WAVL to Laurel Highland Total Communications, which will pay $310,500 for the AM signal and the translator (W230BO Olean) that Colonial is moving to Latrobe. That’s where LHTC already owns WCNS (1480), which had its own translator application bounced back by the FCC for filing ahead of the class B window for which it would have been eligible.
*One of the highest-powered FM stations in all of CANADA is turning down the juice. CKOI (96.9 Montreal) has operated for many decades with a flamethrowing 307 kW/221 m from atop the CIBC skyscraper in downtown Montreal. Now it’s been granted permission to reduce power to 147 kW, with a height increase to 278 m and a site change to the Mont Royal community tower.
The extra height from Mont Royal will make up for nearly all of the power reduction, with the added advantage that cheap radios in Montreal’s downtown core may suffer a little less overload from that huge 96.9 signal.
*The latest round of job cuts north of the border come from Corus, which laid off staffers from coast to coast last week. The casualties include Pete Marier, who’s out of his morning gig at CJOT (Boom 99.7) in Ottawa, as well as his co-hosts Heather Ray and Sandy Sharkey. We’re also hearing a PD is out in Hamilton, and there are cuts in London, too.
In Moosonee, Ontario, the CBC has been granted permission to move CBEY (1340) to FM. The low-power AM will be replaced with a 135-watt/9 m signal at 99.9, carrying the Radio One feed from Sudbury.
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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, fifteen and – where available – twenty 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: June 29, 2015
*It’s a new era in Boston talk radio, for whoever’s left to listen. Today marks the launch of a new mostly-local lineup and new branding at Entercom’s venerable WRKO (680) and the start of the new Rush Limbaugh-anchored talk format at iHeart’s WKOX (1430 Everett). The week also brings new ownership to WMEX (1510) at a price that looks stunningly low (but we’ll show why it might actually be unsustainably high). And it may bring a new talker to another New England market, too.
WRKO first: what was once “the Talk Station” is now “the Voice of Boston,” and the final piece of its new, Rush Limbaugh-free schedule drops into place this morning with a new Boston.com-produced morning show. As had been widely expected, former TV anchor Kim Carrigan is hosting “The Boston.com Morning Show,” with assistance from Jon Meterparel on sports (late of WEEI, down the hall) and producer David Cullinane to deliver “four hours of rapid-cadence news, talk and trending live from the newsroom at Boston.com.”
Market manager Phil Zachary is positioning the new show as a move away from “traditional talk radio…facing strong headwinds,” emphasizing that it’s part of WRKO’s first all-local weekday lineup in 20 years. The rest of that lineup is pretty much as we’d been anticipating: Barry Armstrong will continue to lease the 10 AM-noon slot for his Financial Exchange show, followed in the former Rush slot at noon by former morning man Jeff Kuhner, the lone piece of the schedule produced solely by WRKO. At 3, Howie Carr’s show stays in place, and then it’s syndication after 7 PM.
*For the second time this decade, CANADA’s broadcast regulators have pulled the plug on a licensee occupying a valuable Toronto FM frequency. Aboriginal Voices Radio has been a frequent thorn in the CRTC’s side for failing to live up to its promises to serve urban aboriginal communities in large markets across the country.
Calling it “a decision that shocks only the people who haven’t been paying attention,” our friend Steve Faguy provides a highly detailed look at why the CRTC imposed the death penalty on “Voices Radio,” which will have to shut down CKAV-1 (106.5 Toronto), CKAV-9 (95.7 Ottawa) and its stations in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver on July 25.
What finally did Voices in was a disastrous CRTC hearing back in May, at which Voices presented the commission with its new consultants, Bray & Partners and Steve Kowch, promising that this time it was going to get its many issues under control. Those problems included a persistent lack of any local programming, much less news (and how could it do any, with a staff of two part-timers at the end?), as well as filing the proper annual reports and maintaining program logs and logger recordings.
Five Years Ago: June 27, 2011
That’s just what happened last week, of course, and it’s a tribute to the IT staffs of the various radio discussion sites that they haven’t crashed under the crush of rumor and wishful thinking that’s surrounded the first few days of the new Merlin Media LLC, Michaels’ partnership with the GTCR private equity firm and Emmis itself, which will continue to hold a minority stake in WRXP and its Chicago sister stations, WLUP (97.9) and WKQX (101.1).
Merlin’s not yet saying what it plans to do with the stations, but the speculation (based on domain-name registrations and one of the company’s first big hires, former WINS general manager Greg Janoff, now Merlin’s executive VP of revenue) is that the rock format in New York is on the way out, to be replaced by some sort of spoken-word format that would provide an FM challenger to CBS Radio’s lucrative AM trio of WCBS/WINS/WFAN and Citadel talker WABC. Unless, of course, the rumored new calls, “WYNY,” are actually pointing toward a revival of country music in a market where that format has been absent for years.
Ten Years Ago: June 26, 2006
It was originally slated to go to Pamal, but the Albany move-in signal of WNYQ (105.7 Malta) will instead go to Regent Communications, which announced Monday that it’s buying the station from Vox. No purchase price has been announced yet for the deal, which will put now-silent WNYQ in a cluster with sports WTMM (1300 Rensselaer), rock simulcast WQBJ (103.5 Cobleskill)/WQBK (103.9 Albany), hot AC WABT (104.5 Mechanicville) and country WGNA (107.7 Albany).
And in Boston, Nassau has confirmed that it’s negotiating with Greater Media to acquire the signal of WKLB (99.5 Lowell) and the intellectual property of WCRB (102.5 Waltham). The company tells the Globe that it intends to keep the classical music going on 99.5 once the deal is completed. Stay tuned…
If you go looking for the most crowded FM dial in the country, the odds are you’ll end up in NEW JERSEY. So it’s always pretty big news when a station in the Garden State manages to make a significant signal upgrade, as Press Communications did last week when it turned on the new 106.5 Bass River Township signal for WKOE, the station that was formerly at 106.3 in Ocean City. The new 106.5 signal, broadcasting with 1450 watts at 683′ above average terrain from the WWSI (Channel 62) tower in Tuckerton, covers a good chunk of the Jersey Shore from southern Ocean County well into Cape May County, and it’s on a clear enough channel to get west almost to Philadelphia on a good car radio, too.
In place of the “Breeze” soft AC simulcast that had been on WKOE at 106.3, Press is using 106.5 to simulcast “G Rock Radio” from WHTG-FM (106.3 Eatontown), creating a two-signal adjacent-channel simulcast that blankets nearly the entire shore. G Rock had been heard on WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres) in Ocean County, and the WBBO calls will soon be swapped with WKOE.
Fifteen Years Ago: June 25, 2001
We know a bit more about those AM applications in MASSACHUSETTS we mentioned last week: an FCC typo put WSRO (1470 Marlborough)’s new site in the wrong spot. In reality, the station would move to the Lexington site of WAMG (1150 Boston) when it changes its COL to Watertown.
Talker WRKO (680 Boston) has a new PD. Jay Clark is heading to the Entercom station to replace the departed Al Mayers; Clark had been VP/GM of the now-defunct Comedy World network.
Radio Disney is back to a single signal in RHODE ISLAND; Hall Communications flipped WWRI (1450 West Warwick) away from the Mouse on Wednesday night (6/20), changing to a simulcast of the urban oldies it’s programming on WNBH (1340 New Bedford).
Twenty Years Ago: June 25, 1996
There’s a new radio station on the air in New Hampshire’s largest market. WAEF, 96.5 FM, took to the airwaves at 5pm on Thursday, June 27, after a day of recorded heartbeat noises. “96.5 the Fox” is promoting itself as “Rock without the hard edge,” and what it appears to be is a broad- based mixture of rock…everything from the Beatles to Crosby, Stills, and Nash, all the way to the Dave Matthews Band. WAEF is one of that shrinking breed, a singly-owned station. Donna MacNeil fought tooth and nail for this CP against some much bigger competition, and now she’s up against two well-established AM-FM combos, Saga’s WFEA/WZID and Knight’s WGIR AM-FM (along with another standalone, Bob Bittner’s easy-listening WKBR 1250).
A small Connecticut AM signal has been sold. WXCT 1220 in Hamden, a suburb of New Haven, is being sold by Milstar Broadcasting to Quinnipiac College in Hamden. Reported price, according to Broadcasting and Cable, is $500,000. WXCT has a long and colorful history, including stints as WDEE, WCDQ, WOMN (targeted at WOMeN!), WSCR, and WNNR…and just about every format in the book, including multiple tries at top 40, country, and oldies. Most recently, WXCT has been a Spanish-language broadcaster.
Up in Vermont, Pathfinder Broadcasting is building a two FM-one AM combo, with the purchase of WFAD 1490 Middlebury VT, WMNM 92.1 Port Henry NY, and separately, WGTK 100.9 Middlebury VT. WMNM (Oldies 92) and WGTK (K-101 Classic Rock) both serve the Burlington area; WFAD is a local class IV for Middlebury. WMNM, by the way, is the latest incarnation of what began as WHRC, Peter Hunn’s one-man station that he documented in a book some years back. NERW contributing editor Garrett Wollman passed through the Burlington area earlier this week; he reports that WWGT 96.7 Vergennes-Burlington was not heard, although they had been testing earlier in the week. Also not on yet was WRJT 103.1 Royalton VT.