In this week’s issue… Sinclair sends WPIX to “third party” – iHeart’s Boston Rush shuffle – Cichon joins WECK – Public broadcaster fights cable company – Bell adds in central Ontario



*Tribune Broadcasting’s exit from the television landscape is getting closer, at least if purchaser Sinclair Broadcast Group gets its way with the FCC.

Sinclair filed a plan last week that will put several big-market Tribune stations, including NEW YORK‘s WPIX (Channel 11), into a divestiture trust – but while that sparked a few hours of intense speculation about who’d be buying the city’s oldest independent station, it quickly became clear that Sinclair isn’t really giving up its shot at the nation’s biggest market at all.

Pushed up against the FCC’s cap that limits any individual owner to covering no more than 39% of the nation’s TV households (adjusted for the obsolete and now meaningless, but still in force, “UHF discount”), Sinclair had to demonstrate that it wouldn’t take on the 6.39% of US population reached by WPIX. And so the CW affiliate, along with stations in several other markets, will go into a divestiture trust if the FCC approves.

Sinclair, however, tells the FCC “an agreement to sell WPIX(TV) to a third [party] has been executed” – and, in a footnote, that “upon closing of the sale of this station, Sinclair
will enter into an option and master services agreement with the buyer of this station.”

And that, as anyone who’s followed Sinclair knows well, means that WPIX’s license is headed to one of the shell companies (Cunningham, Deercliff or Howard Stirk Holdings) that are controlled by Smith family members or close friends of the company, which means the only thing that won’t actually be Sinclair on WPIX will be the name on the license and the copyright at the end of the newscast. (We see this here in our hometown market of Rochester, where ABC affiliate WHAM-TV is licensed to Deerfield but is operated entirely as a Sinclair property in tandem with Fox affiliate WUHF.)

In another NERW-land market, Sinclair doesn’t even want to bother with the Deerfield/Cunningham/Howard Stirk shell game, as subscribers will read just over the fold…


We have shipped piles of our 2021 Tower Site Calendar, and we’ll keep on shipping until it’s gone.

This is the 20th year we have been publishing our calendar. In addition to the beautiful cover shot of WEJL, we have photos from New Jersey, Nebraska, Texas, and much more!

You can get the regular calendar, or you can order a storage bag for it if you keep them, or you can get it signed by Scott (and get a complimentary bag).

And when you’re purchasing your calendar, don’t forget to take a look at the other great products in our store.


*In PENNSYLVANIA, Tribune currently owns Philadelphia MyNetwork affiliate WPHL (Channel 17), which will pass to Sinclair without any issues, as well as Fox affiliate WPMT (Channel 43) in York. Sinclair already has a property in the hyphenated Harrisburg-Lebanon-Lancaster-York market, CBS affiliate WHP-TV (Channel 21), and it’s asking the FCC for flexibility to put either or both stations in the divestment trust it’s forming. But it’s also asking for a waiver to allow it to continue to run both WHP-TV and WPMT, making the case to the Commission that both stations lag far behind the dominant signals in the market (Hearst’s WGAL in Lancaster and Nexstar’s WHTM in Harrisburg), and that each station serves a different part of the sprawling DMA. (That case is somewhat diminished by Sinclair’s admission that it would move the WPMT newsroom into WHP’s Harrisburg facility – and by the recent reality of WPMT’s channel-share deal that moved its over-the-air signal to Harrisburg-based public broadcaster WITF and made “Fox 43” hard to receive in York.)

The Sinclair/Tribune deal will also proceed without FCC issues in CONNECTICUT, where the existing Tribune duopoly of Fox affiliate WTIC-TV (Channel 61) and CW affiliate WCCT-TV (Channel 20) will be able to join Sinclair.

*Back in New York City, public broadcaster WNYC made headlines late last week with the news that it’s buying and reviving the shuttered Gothamist website. WNYC says two anonymous donors stepped forward with funding to help bring Gothamist and two of its sister sites, DCist and LAist, back to life after owner Joe Ricketts abruptly shut the sites down in November, a week after staffers had voted to form a union.

DCist will go to public radio station WAMU in Washington, while KPCC in Pasadena will acquire LAist, each running independently of the former mothership in New York. WNYC says the revived Gothamist will maintain its own voice separate from the main WNYC newsroom; its archives will also be preserved, as will those of its former hyperlocal sister site, DNAinfo, which won’t be coming back to life as part of this deal.

NERW’s analysis? This is an exciting development, and another sign of the level of innovation that public broadcasters like WNYC and WAMU are bringing to their game at a time when so many of their commercial competitors are cutting back instead of growing. For WNYC in particular, which has been developing a massive podcasting operation, the addition of Gothamist to its fold should provide plenty of opportunities for cross-pollination and promotion – and an even younger audience base to fuel ongoing growth.

*On the TV side of things in New York, two top managers are moving on: after 15 years as vice president and general manager of ABC’s WABC-TV (Channel 7), Dave Davis announced last week that he was retiring immediately, ending a 40-year career that started as a photographer at KTRK in Houston. No replacement has been named yet at WABC, nor at WNBC (Channel 4), where news director Susan Sullivan is moving to a new post directing standards and practices for NBC News.

At iHeart’s WHTZ (Z100), Bethany Watson is departing her sidekick role on the Elvis Duran morning show, moving on to try her hand as an actor.

At Entercom’s WFAN (660/101.9), Aaron Boone is the newest on-air talent. The new Yankees manager has signed up for his own weekly show on the team’s flagship station, where he’ll be heard every Thursday in the 5 PM hour on “The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie.”

*Upstate, Binghamton-based public broadcaster WSKG is facing the prospect of losing an important part of its regional TV coverage. While Ithaca is culturally and economically part of the Southern Tier where WSKG is based, it’s legally part of the Syracuse TV market – and though WSKG has been carried on cable in Ithaca and nearby Cortland forever, cable operator Spectrum recently informed the station that it’s being pulled from those systems, eliminating duplication with Syracuse-based WCNY.

That’s legally within the rights of Spectrum and its owner, Charter. But it’s not sitting well with WSKG, which has invested heavily in beefing up local news coverage in the Ithaca area, where it’s the dominant public radio player by virtue of its local FM signal, WSQG (90.9).

The Ithaca Times reports WSKG president Greg Catlin is trying to get Ithaca-area viewers to complain to Spectrum in hopes of reversing the decision, the cable company’s latest move to pull everything other than Syracuse-based stations off the system. (An earlier decision to drop Elmira ABC affiliate WENY-TV, which has a translator in Ithaca and covers local news there more regularly than Syracuse’s WSYR-TV, drew complaints as well.)

*Congratulations to Steve Cichon, who’s back on the air in Buffalo as of this morning as the newly-minted news director and morning news anchor at WECK (1230 Cheektowaga). Cichon and WECK owner Buddy Shula worked together for years at WBEN (930), where Cichon was news director and Shula did sales; at WECK, Cichon replaces another WBEN veteran, John Zach, who abruptly left a few weeks ago. Since leaving WECK, Cichon has been running the Buffalo Stories marketing firm and writing about Buffalo history for the Buffalo News. Last year, he mounted an unsuccessful run for Erie County Clerk.

Juan Texidor pioneered Spanish-language radio in Buffalo, hosting the Puerto Rican-focused “Ecos Boricanos” show on Niagara Falls’ WJJL (1440) from the late 1950s until the 1980s. Texidor, who came to Buffalo in 1951 and spent his career working for Ford, died Feb. 7 at 92; on the day of his funeral, Feb. 14, Buffalo’s mayor decreed “Juan Texidor Day” in the city.

*Fans of Rush Limbaugh in eastern MASSACHUSETTS have had to struggle for the last few years to pull in the weak signal of his most recent home, iHeart’s WKOX (1430 Everett), but they’ll have an easier time starting Thursday. With the end of Bloomberg’s lease on sister station WXKS (1200 Newton) and the need to put WKOX into a divestiture trust, iHeart’s making the obvious move, taking the all-syndicated talk lineup now on 1430 and relocating it to the bigger 1200 signal where most of those shows had aired from 2010 until 2015.

Will Limbaugh eventually migrate back to the even bigger signal of WRKO (680), also now part of the iHeart family? And what will show up on 1430 on Thursday – or will the trust take it dark until a buyer emerges?

*Back in Hartford, iHeart’s WHCN (105.9 the River) launched a new morning show last week, picking up David Fisch from crosstown WMRQ (104.1), where he’d been morning co-host and APD.

*We thank our MAINE readers for passing along word of the deaths of two prominent radio station owners.

Helen Dudman worked at the Washington Post, the Post-Newsweek TV stations and in public relations for WETA and PBS in Washington before becoming a station owner in Ellsworth and Bangor, where she bought WDEA (1370 Ellsworth) and sister station WDEA-FM (95.7 Ellsworth, later WWMJ) in 1979 and later added WEZQ (92.9) in Bangor. Dudman sold her stations to Cumulus in 1998 but remained a prominent figure in the community. She was 93 when she died on Monday; her husband, Richard Dudman, had died last year at 99.

And Bob Cole, whose station ownership included signals down south that were later sold to James Brown, died Feb. 18 at 82. Cole’s main line of business was RV and boat shows, which stretched across New England and the south, but he also owned WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor) in Maine in the 1990s.

*In CANADA, there’s a new morning lineup at Corus’ CFMJ (Global News Radio 640 Toronto) starting today, as Mike Stafford moves from mid-mornings to a new morning show alongside Supriya Dwivedi. Matt Gurney takes over Stafford’s 9-noon slot.

Across town at CJCL (Sportsnet 590 the FAN), “PrimeTime Sports with Bob McCown” is getting two new co-hosts: Stephen Brunt, who’d been working on Jeff Blair’s show, will return to McCown’s show starting today, alternating in the seat with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. 

*We can now put a price on Bell’s acquisition of Larche Communications’ four Ontario stations. Bell will pay C$15.64 million to Larche, plus just over $1 million into “initiatives that will benefit the Canadian broadcasting system,” for CICZ (104.1 Midland), CICX (105.9 Orillia), CJOS (92.3 Owen Sound) and CICS (91.7 Sudbury). The Midland and Owen Sound stations carry “KICX Country,” while the Orillia and Sudbury stations do classic rock as “the Dock.”

So far, Bell hasn’t made any changes to those formats; in Nova Scotia, however, it just tweaked adult hits “Big Dog” CKTO (100.9 Truro), narrowing down the playlist to a straight-ahead rock format.


GROW WITH US! Fybush Media and RadioInsight have joined forces to provide a bigger ad sales platform for the broadcast and streaming industry. Are you the right fit to become our next sales professional? We’re seeking someone creative and energetic who knows his or her way around the radio, TV and streaming community. Generous commission and profit-sharing. Want to join our team? Let’s talk. isn’t a mere website.
We’re a community.

And we take care of our community members. Do you have a piece of equipment you want to sell? Or one you want to buy? Are you looking for a job? An employee? We can help you with all of those searches and more! We offer classified ads at reasonable prices, seen by people in every part of the industry. Contact Lisa for details.

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 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: February 27, 2017

*When news broke from NEW YORK about the death of Alan Colmes Thursday morning, the headlines were predictable – “Liberal half of Hannity and Colmes dies,” and the like. But in the extended universe of radio people, Colmes enjoyed a much longer and larger legacy in a five-decade career that included multiple stops in Boston, New York City and elsewhere. The Long Island native worked at WRHU (88.7) while attending Hofstra, then started his professional career at WERI (1230/103.7) in Westerly, RHODE ISLAND in the early 1970s. He did mornings at Boston’s WEZE (1260) from 1972-1975 as the station went through a brief spurt as an oldies/top-40 mix, later working at WACQ (1150), New Haven’s WNHC (1340), New York’s WHN (1050) and back in Boston at WZLX (100.7) in the early 1980s.

Moving from music to talk (and making use of his skills as a stand-up comic), Colmes joined New York talker WABC (770) in 1984 as morning host (“W-Alan-B.-Colmes”), then segued over to WNBC (660), where he became the last voice heard on the station when it signed off in October 1988. Colmes also worked at WMCA (570) for a brief time before the station was sold to Salem and went religious, and he signed off WEVD (1050) after it was leased to Radio Disney.

By the early 1990s, Colmes was a successful second-tier syndicated talker, which led to “Hannity and Colmes,” which ran on Fox News Channel from 1996 until 2009. Colmes remained with Fox News as a commentator right up until his death Feb. 23. Ironically enough for the last voice heard on “66 WNBC,” Colmes was 66 years old.

*Along MAINE‘s Mid-Coast, Binnie Media has realigned its radio properties. The end of classical “W-Bach” on WBQX (106.9 Thomaston) last Monday moved classic hits “Frank” from the lesser signal of WBYA (105.5 Islesboro) up the dial to the bigger 106.9 signal. And after a week of simulcasting and stunting, Binnie flipped 105.5 on Friday to country as “The Wolf,” sharing talent with sister “Wolf” WTHT (99.9 Auburn) in the Portland market. WTHT also resumed its downtown Portland simulcast on translator W245AA (96.9), which had been carrying “W-Bach” via WTHT’s HD2.

*In CANADA, TVOntario did an about-face on its plan to shut down all but one of its remaining over-the-air transmitters. The provincially-funded public TV network said it could save C$1 million annually by turning off eight transmitters in markets as big as Ottawa, London and Windsor, leaving only its Toronto signal on the air; predictably, that prompted an outcry from viewers that in turn prodded the provincial government to allocate an additional C$1 million to keep those signals on the air.

Five Years Ago: February 25, 2013

*Once you’ve launched the first country format on a full-market NEW YORK signal in almost two decades, how do you follow up your initial splash? If you’re Cumulus’ WNSH (94.7 Newark NJ), you give away enough tickets to pack the Roseland Ballroom for three nights of the “NASH Bash” with headliners including Kix Brooks, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton and Sara Evans – and then as soon as that’s over, you announce the first pieces of your inaugural airstaff.

As seems to be typical these days, “Nash” isn’t naming a morning show right away, instead launching with a midday and afternoon show, drawing from two very different sources of talent.

For middays, WNSH has picked a jock from outside the company with plenty of country experience. Kelly Ford signs on today in the 10 AM-3 PM slot, fresh from a speedy cross-country move that plucked her from Denver, where she’d spent 20 years in morning drive at Lincoln Financial Media country powerhouse KYGO-FM (98.5). Ford left KYGO last summer in what she described as a “mutual decision.”

She’ll be followed at 3 by Jesse Addy, who moves within Cumulus but outside the format where he’s been working: Addy comes to New York from hot AC WDVD (96.3) in Detroit, where he was doing afternoons.

*Around this time last year, we reported on the pending sale of a pair of MAINE TV stations for what appeared to be absurdly low prices. In the end, New Age Media was unable to close on its attempted sale of Portland’s CW affiliate, WPXT (Channel 51) and its MyNetworkTV sister station, Lewiston-licensed WPME (Channel 35), but now it’s back with a new deal for 2013. Last year, it looked as though New Age was selling WPXT to Tyche Broadcasting, while sister company MPS Media was selling WPME to Triumph Broadcasting, both for $75,000 each.

That seemed like quite the bargain price at the time, and the deals filed last week for WPXT and WPME tell a somewhat different tale: New Age now proposes to sell WPXT to Arizona-based Ironwood Communications for $1,525,000 – still a low price for a station that was once Portland’s Fox affiliate, but at least a reasonable figure – while WPME would go from MPS Media to Cottonwood Communications for just $75.000. That low price reflects what Cottonwood is really buying, which amounts to the WPME license and programming. Just as MPS has done, Cottonwood will enter into a deal with WPXT under which Ironwood will operate the My affiliate, selling air time and providing operational services for WPME for a fee of $30,000 a month. But wait, there’s more: the deal also includes a spinoff of WPXT’s real estate in Westbrook, for which Ironwood will assign purchase rights to Admiralty Properties, LLC for $1.3 million.

*It’s the end of an era in CANADA, even if nobody much noticed: last Sunday (February 17) was the end of the line for CKOT (1510 Tillsonburg ON). Tillsonburg Broadcasting put the station on the air in 1955 as a 250-watt daytimer, and it signed the station off 58 years later as a 10,000-watt daytimer, the very last daytime-only AM operation in all of Canada.

In 1965, CKOT spawned an FM sister, CKOT-FM (initially on 100.5 and later on 101.3), and the two simulcast for a few years before the FM went its own way in 1970. The AM side of CKOT tried several times to move to better AM frequencies (including 1600, which instead went to CHNR in nearby Simcoe, and later 1200) and to move to FM, but without success until 2007. That’s when Tillsonburg Broadcasting was finally granted a second FM signal, CJDL (107.3) – and since then, CKOT’s AM side has functioned only as a sunrise-to-sunset relay of “Country 107.3.”

Ten Years Ago: February 25, 2008

*It’s all too common at the moment to hear about radio stations firing veteran air talents as they seek to cut costs. It’s much more unusual to hear about one of those veteran jocks getting a new job – and all but unheard of to see that jock go right back to his old shift at his old station.But then there’s nothing normal about the soap opera that’s surrounded upstate NEW YORK‘s classic rocker, WCMF (96.5 Rochester), in the year and a half since Entercom announced plans to acquire it and several sister stations from CBS Radio.

No, Brother Wease isn’t back on the air at WCMF (though we hear he’s now working behind the scenes, doing sales across town at Clear Channel) – but the station is returning ousted midday host Dave Kane to its airwaves today, not quite three months after he did his “last show” under the old CBS ownership before the station changed hands to Entercom.

Since Kane’s departure from WCMF, he had been freelancing at WHAM-TV (Channel 13), contributing bits to the station’s morning newscast. For much of that time, though, Kane had apparently been negotiating with Entercom about a return to WCMF, which has been lacking in personalities since the start of the contract dispute that pulled Wease off the air just before Christmas. (In addition to releasing Kane, Entercom also chose not to keep night jock Dino Kay or weekender/production director Marc Cronin, leaving WCMF with only the Wease-less morning crew and with afternoon jock Big Marc.

With Kane’s return to the station, he’ll have a slightly different shift for his “Midday Mambo” (10 AM-3 PM, rather than his 11:15 AM-4 PM shift that followed Wease’s extended morning show), and he’ll have a new title, adding PD stripes. (And, we hope, restoring some stability to a station that’s desperately needed some after the turmoil of the last few months.)

*In MASSACHUSETTS, there’s an unfortunate budget cut at Entercom’s WRKO (680 Boston): the talk station axed veteran weekender Moe Lauzier, and the Herald says Lauzier learned of his dismissal from a producer 15 minutes in to what turned out to be his last show Saturday morning. Lauzier, 66, tells the paper he hopes to be working somewhere else (crosstown WTKK?) within a few weeks – and WRKO will reportedly fill Lauzier’s slot with…infomercials. Lauzier would have celebrated his 25th anniversary at WRKO this June.

*EMF Broadcasting just keeps buying stations for its “K-Love” network, and the latest acquisition is in MAINE, where EMF is buying WCYI (93.9 Lewiston) from the Last Bastion Station Trust, which is holding the signal in trust for Citadel.

Since Citadel spun off WCYI (and former sister station WCLZ, now in Saga’s hands) last June, the station has flipped from a modern-rock simulcast of WCYY (94.3 Biddeford, still with Citadel) to a simulcast of WCLZ’s AAA format to a temporary all-blues format.

No purchase price has been announced for the deal, which will give K-Love its first full-power signal in Maine. (EMF has translators in Bangor and Orono, and it’s in the process of acquiring WMEX in neighboring Farmington, New Hampshire, with a signal that reaches portions of southern Maine.)

Fifteen Years Ago: February 24, 2003

The nightclub fire in West Warwick, RHODE ISLAND that killed nearly 100 people last Thursday night would certainly have been a big enough story for the area’s media outlets on its own — and will continue to be so for weeks and months to come. But this tragedy turned out to have an unusual amount of resonance within the media community, beginning of course with the club’s ownership. Jeff Derderian is a familiar name and face to TV viewers in eastern New England. Your editor remembers him from his early-nineties days behind the scenes at WBZ-TV (Channel 4) in Boston (when yours truly was toiling, equally behind the scenes, across the building at WBZ radio); later, he would work for WLNE (Channel 6) in the Providence market and then for five years as a reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV (Channel 7).

And, as the whole world knows by now, Jeff had just departed WHDH for a job closer to his Rhode Island home, starting just weeks ago at WPRI (Channel 12) in Providence. He’s been off the air there since Thursday night (when, ironically, he was working on a WPRI story about nightclub safety, using his own club as a source of B-roll video), and we wonder whether he’ll ever be able to work in the region again — assuming, of course, that he and his brother don’t end up facing criminal charges for the fire. More on this in the next few weeks, we’re sure. As we go to press Monday afternoon, meanwhile, among the dozens of people missing and presumed dead is Michael Gonsalves, the WHJY (94.1 Providence) overnight jock known on air as “The Doctor.”

The rest of the week’s news: in NEW HAMPSHIRE, WPKQ (103.7 North Conway) finally made it back on the air last Friday (Feb. 21), nearly two weeks after the fire atop Mount Washington that destroyed the power generators and the transmitter of sister station WHOM (94.9 Mount Washington). NERW hears that WPKQ is running at about 80% of licensed power while awaiting a more powerful replacement generator; its studio-transmitter link was damaged during the fire, so the signal from parent station WOKQ (97.5 Dover) is going by ISDN to the North Conway studios and then by analog microwave to the mountaintop. As for WHOM, we’re told the station’s main antenna suffered little damage; a replacement transmitter and STL could make it to the mountaintop later this week.

NEW YORK City has never been good territory for syndicated morning shows — just ask Tom Joyner. His show disappeared from Emmis’ WRKS (98.7 New York) this morning, replaced by a revived “Wakeup Club” with Jeff Foxx and Shaila, about a year after Joyner was brought in to replace the Isaac Hayes morning show.

Twenty Years Ago: February 26, 1998

The folks at Sinclair Broadcasting have been busy this week, as they prepare to sell off their Rochester radio group — while adding TV properties in Rochester and Buffalo. Entercom officially takes control of the former Heritage Media group in Rochester Saturday night, when Sinclair closes on its purchase of WBBF (950), WBEE-FM (92.5), WQRV (93.3 Avon), and WKLX (98.9) from Heritage, then immediately LMAs the stations to Entercom in preparation for sale. The official word is the standard “no immediate changes,” but NERW’s heard that one often enough…
On the TV side, Sinclair is buying 14 TV stations from Sullivan Broadcasting (owned by Boston-based ABRY), including Fox affiliates WUHF-TV (Channel 31) in Rochester and WUTV (Channel 29) in Buffalo. Sinclair is already a dominant radio player in Buffalo, with WGR (550), WBEN (930), WWWS (1400), WWKB (1520), WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls), and WMJQ (102.5) under its corporate belt — and it’s planning to apply for a waiver to keep all six plus the TV.

More from upstate NEW YORK: The third shoe dropped this week in the Jacor format shuffle in Rochester, as WMAX-FM (106.7 Irondequoit) and WMHX (102.3 Canandaigua) put their all-Delilah stunt format to bed in favor of very soft, gold-based AC as “Sunny 106.” NERW notes that Jacor’s new gold-based soft AC in Des Moines, also “Sunny 106,” has taken the calls KYSY; could the WYSY calls (last seen on 107.9 in suburban Chicago) be in the Flower City’s future? Jerry Reo’s handling mornings on Sunny; Delilah remains on the station from 7 till midnight.

Majac already owns the largest group of Binghamton market stations — WENE (1430 Endicott), WKGB (92.5 Susquehanna), WMXW (103.3 Vestal), and WMRV (105.7 Endicott) — and now it’s adding one more, with the granting of a new CP for 107.5 in Endwell, transmitting from the WMRV site above Endicott. An earlier 107.5 CP, with the calls WRGG, was never built, and the frequency has been in use by a pirate running right-wing talk programming. Down the road in Owego, we hear WEBO (1330) is splitting from its simulcast with soft-rock WGRG (101.7) to go modern rock. Yep, modern rock on AM. We’ll be passing through the area next month to bring you a complete report on this one.

Big doings in RHODE ISLAND this week, as Portuguese gets punted for public in Providence. Boston’s WBUR-FM (90.9) is paying just under $2 million for Neto Communications’ WRCP (1290) in Providence, and (as NERW first reported earlier this month) the station will become a WBUR simulcast serving northern Rhode Island. 1290 may not be the first public radio outlet in the Ocean State, though — Rhode Island Public Radio has applied for a license to cover for its WBLQ (88.1 Westerly), and NERW can’t wait to hear from our readers in the area about that station’s on-air status.

If that’s not enough, Howard Stern is entering the Providence market next week. Stern’s newest affiliate is rhythmic CHR WWKX (106.3 Woonsocket)/WAKX (102.7 Narragansett Pier). He’s already heard in much of the market via Boston’s WBCN (104.1).

Moving north: Cumulus Broadcasting continues to gather strength in MAINE, buying Tryon-Seacoast’s Central Maine group. Cumulus already has WQCB (106.5 Brewer) and WBZN (107.3 Old Town) in the Bangor market and WTOS (105.1 Skowhegan) in the Augusta market. Now it’s adding WABK (104.3 Gardiner), WKCG (101.3 Augusta), WFAU (1280 Gardiner), WIGY (97.5 Madison), and WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor) to the group. Tryon-Seacoast owner Jeff Fisher keeps his New Hampshire properties in Franklin and Moultonborough.

In NEW HAMPSHIRE, there’s a new format at WGXL (92.3 Hanover); “XL92” is moving from hot AC to full-out CHR.

Across the Connecticut River in VERMONT, Bruce James’ Vermont Broadcasting Associates is locking up the Northeast Kingdom with the $630,000 purchase of WSTJ (1340) and WNKV (105.5) in St. Johnsbury from Northeast Kingdom Broadcasting. James already owns WGMT (97.7) in Lyndon.

On the TV side, no sooner is Hicks, Muse’s Sunrise Television Corp. taking control of WPTZ (Channel 5) Plattsburgh and WNNE (Channel 31) White River Junction than it’s trading them away. Hearst Argyle gets WPTZ, WNNE, and KSBW (Channel 8) Salinas CA, and Sunrise gets WNAC (Channel 64) Rehoboth-Providence along with WDTN (Channel 2) in Dayton, Ohio.