In this week’s issue… CBS cuts hit Philly – New partner for Curtis – First DTV spectrum shares emerge – Statehouse news fades away – New stations, newscasts in Canada
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*The ongoing cutbacks at CBS Radio have been hitting especially hard in eastern Pennsylvania, specifically at classic hits WOGL (98.1 Philadelphia).
Veteran afternoon talent “Cadillac Jack” Seville lost his job at WOGL on Tuesday, ending (for now) a long run in Philly afternoons that goes back to the old WTRK, “Electric 106,” back in 1991. He’d been in afternoons at WOGL since 2008. In a farewell message on Facebook, he told fans, “I hope that you think positive thoughts and have well wishes. Stay tuned. Bigger and better things are on the way. God Bless.”
As WOGL gets ready to make its move from 400 Market Street (in the old KYW 1060 space, still occupied by sister stations WPHT 1210 and, just downstairs, WIP-FM 94.1) back out to Bala Cynwyd, Cadillac Jack isn’t the only staffer who won’t be coming along. Overnight jock Ron Cade (below), who’d been with WOGL all the way back to 1988, is also out, as is promotions director Samantha Simon.
The job cuts also mean two long-running weekend shows are gone, Cadillac Jack’s “Brunch with the Beatles” and, especially sadly, Cade’s “Elvis & Friends,” which had been a Philadelphia radio staple since 1978.
Out in Bala, where WOGL will be joining the former Beasley stations, there were still more job cuts as CBS prepares to consolidate its promotion departments: WTDY (96.5) promotions director Kristen Stoltz is out, and so is night jock Jennifer Reed at WXTU (92.5).
Will the cuts help make the impending CBS Radio merger into Entercom any more successful? Perhaps for the accountants – but it’s hard to argue that a WOGL without Cadillac Jack and Ron Cade is a better station for Philadelphia’s loyal listeners, isn’t it?
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In Buffalo, Kate Glover’s tenure as news director at WGRZ (Channel 2) didn’t last long. Glover came back home to Buffalo just seven months ago from KOIN-TV in Portland, Oregon, but reportedly clashed with staff at the TEGNA-owned NBC affiliate, which has been slumping in the ratings. No replacement has been named yet.
There’s a new format coming to Elmira sometime soon, thanks to Europa Communications’ translator W275AB (102.9). That signal used to relay WHGL (100.3 Troy PA) and had more recently been carrying the oldies format from Europa’s WPHD (96.1 South Waverly PA). Now Europa is applying to move 102.9 to the Crane Road site east of Elmira that used to be used by competitors WLVY (94.3) and WOKN (99.5); once it goes up there with 250 watts aimed over the valley, it will relay a new HD2 from WPHD with an as-yet-undisclosed format.
Out on Long Island’s east end, a lightning hit June 2 fried much of the air chain at WPPB (88.3 Southampton), knocking the small public broadcaster off the air for part of the weekend and leaving its staff with some serious expenses to replace or repair damaged equipment. WPPB’s fund drive was already underway, and it’s booked some extra donations (including a $10,000 pledge from one listener) to help get things back to normal there.
*After the death of veteran PENNSYLVANIA station owner Cary Simpson, his estate has sold the last of his Allegheny Mountain Network stations. WTRN (1340 Tyrone) remained with Simpson right up until his death; now it goes to well-known engineer Matt Lightner for $90,000, including translator W264BZ (100.7).
And we send our condolences to Erie radio legend Myron Jones on the death of his brother, Larry. Larry Jones worked at Myron’s WJET (1400) for many years as a board operator and DJ on the late-night shift; he died June 6 at age 86.
*Statehouse reporters are a dying breed, and Hartford is all the poorer this week with the end of the CONNECTICUT Radio Network’s daily broadcasts. Steve Kotchko had been covering the statehouse there for 44 years, while his colleague Mark Sims brought 25 years of experience to the job, but CRN says the loss of local radio ownership and local newsrooms across the state had reduced demand for the service and made it impossible to keep it operating profitably.
Over in Bristol, the FCC has cancelled the license of Nievezquez Productions’ WPRX (1120 Bristol) for a “red light” violation, which means the Spanish-language AM hasn’t paid its regulatory fees or other money due to the Commission. The FCC says WPRX didn’t respond to a letter in 2015 or a phone call earlier this year; as with other “red light” cancellations, the license could be restored if WPRX pays up what’s owed.
*In NEW HAMPSHIRE, Bill Binnie may have pocketed $68 million by selling the RF spectrum used by his WBIN-TV (Channel 50/RF 35) in Derry, and he may have signed off the station’s “NH1 News” operation – but he’s keeping WBIN-TV’s license alive with a spectrum-share deal that has given the station a construction permit to use some of the data stream on RF 27 that belongs to Univision’s WUTF (Channel 66). Ironically, when WBIN moves to RF 27, it will enjoy an over-the-air signal that’s one of the best in the Boston market, a far cry from the digital and earlier analog 50 signals that had a hard time getting very far south of the state line.
*Fresh off the anniversary celebrations for its old top-40 format, it’s back to today’s talk reality in MASSACHUSETTS for WRKO (680), which has added Jim Clerkin as executive producer of its “Boston.com Morning Show.” Clerkin had been working for Summit Media in Birmingham, Alabama; at WRKO, he replaces Dave Cullinane, who’s now general manager of Barry Armstrong’s Money Matters Radio.
Over on the public radio side of things, WGBH (89.7) is testing out a weekend expansion of its weekday “Boston Public Radio” talk show. The summerlong trial started Sunday and will feature a rotating series of guest hosts in the noon-1 PM slot, broadcasting from WGBH’s studio at the Boston Public Library.
(WGBH isn’t the only public radio station in the region experimenting; in Connecticut, WNPR recently launched the weekly hourlong “NEXT,” a collaborative magazine show that pulls in reporting from most of New England’s public broadcasters, though not the big guns in Boston just yet.)
*At WATD (95.9 Marshfield), they’re mourning longtime news voice Dave Skill, who spent nearly 30 years with the station. Skill started in the building downstairs as a volunteer reader for the Talking Information Center, then joined the WATD staff in 1987, eventually becoming morning news anchor at the intensely community-focused station. (He’d earlier worked in radio at WNEB in Worcester before spending some time in computer programming.) Skill retired last year as he battled the cancer that took his life June 4. He was 70. WATD has archived some of his features and a nice biography here.
A correction to last week’s reunion news: the 50th anniversary gathering for WJIB (96.9) is scheduled for September, writes NERW reader and WJIB veteran Marlin Taylor. That’s the anniversary month for the beautiful music format – and a reminder that 1967 was a very busy time in Boston radio, including not just the launches of WJIB and top-40 WRKO but also the debut of overnight progressive rock on WBCN (104.1).
*An update to last week’s RHODE ISLAND news: when Epic Light Radio takes over the unbuilt construction permit for WSJQ (91.5 Pascoag) for $1, it will use the signal in the northwestern corner of the state to relay WYQQ (90.1) from across the border in Charlton, Mass.
The new local studio in the London Public Library starts its new morning show today at 6, and it takes over origination of the late afternoon regional show from CBC Windsor this afternoon. The new local morning show replaces the Toronto-based regional “Ontario Morning” on CBCL (93.5) – and with any luck, they’ll still have some of the swag around that they handed out Friday when London’s mayor came over to dedicate the new station at a big launch party. (photo: Susan Toth/Twitter)
Just south of London, My Broadcasting has won CRTC approval for a new classic hits station on 99.7 serving Simcoe and Norfolk County. The new CFVC (Oldies 99.7) will run 9.7 kW average/18 kW max DA/26 m, joining My’s existing AC CHCD (MyFM 98.9).
The CRTC wasn’t ready, though, to grant new stations north of Toronto in Aurora and Brampton. The agency ruled last week that there’s no economic justification for issuing a call for applications that would allow it to act on three applications for new ethnic stations, one on 91.7 in Aurora and two on 1190 in Brampton.
*As Canadian TV owners continue to try to figure out the future of local stations, two of the biggest ones are adding more local news soon. CityTV owner Rogers announced last Monday that it will begin 6 and 11 PM local newscasts at five local CityTV stations that haven’t had evening news, including Montreal’s CJNT as well as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. That will add a third English-language local news choice to the existing options from the CBC and CTV – and CTV, too, will be putting more local news on the air this fall.
Bell announced on Wednesday that it will be putting 5 PM local newscasts on most of its local CTV stations that don’t currently do news in that slot. Out east, “CTV Atlantic” has had a 5 PM newscast going back to its days as “ATV Live at Five,” but the slot will be a new one for local news at Montreal’s CFCF, Ottawa’s CJOH, Kitchener’s CKCO and the CTV Northern Ontario stations in Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie.
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