In this week’s issue… iHeart names news-talk leaders – Pittsburgh’s DeNardo remembered – WPIX, WTNH join “Club 70” – New ID for NYC’s “Alt” – PLUS: Baseball on the Radio – Single-A Edition

By SCOTT FYBUSH

Jump to: MENHVTMARICTNYNJ PACanada

*It’s been a fretful year for WBZ (1030 Boston) and its new iHeart talk sister stations, WRKO (680 Boston) and WXKS (1200 Newton), in eastern MASSACHUSETTS. They’ve been operating with interim leadership since iHeart announced back in November that it was picking up WBZ from CBS Radio and WRKO from Entercom – but last week, that finally changed with the announcement of Rob Sanchez’s arrival as the cluster’s new VP for news-talk-sports programming.

At WBZ, Sanchez fills a hole left vacant when iHeart decided not to keep veteran WBZ PD Peter Casey on board. Without a permanent PD, WBZ has been in the hands of APD/interim PD Bill Flaherty and newsroom manager Jon MacLean, who’ve had the challenge of keeping things running amidst some staff cutbacks (most notably anchor Rod Fritz), union unrest and the death of veteran reporter Lana Jones. Over at WRKO, it’s been Michael Czarnecki keeping things running during the handoff to iHeart from Entercom – but there’s been nobody at the top to fully oversee all the challenges of integrating these longtime competitors (not to mention iHeart’s own “Talk 1200,” home to content from iHeart’s Premiere Radio Networks including Rush Limbaugh.)

At WBZ, especially, Sanchez’ arrival was greeted with excitement and relief. That’s because his background is squarely in the all-news tradition that BZ staffers are trying to keep alive: Sanchez worked at former Group W sister station WINS in New York, as well as spending a dozen years at former CBS sister station WCBS, where he served as assistant PD/ND. Sanchez then moved down to Washington to launch CBS Radio’s ill-fated all-news WNEW (99.1), where he was news director until the station folded. He’d remained in Washington with CBS/Entercom, serving as OM/PD of Spanish-language WLZL (El Zol 107.9).

With his return to news and talk, Sanchez faces plenty of challenges. In the next few months, WBZ and WRKO will leave their existing separate homes in Brighton, moving into iHeart’s expanded facility in Medford. With a monopoly (on the commercial side, anyway) on the news and talk format in Boston, there’s plenty of speculation about how iHeart might realign some of its holdings – will WBZ’s local nighttime talk, for instance, move over to WRKO? Will Limbaugh move back to the bigger WRKO signal from the lesser WXKS? (And what of the “-sports” at the end of Sanchez’ new title? Right now, there’s no sports on any of iHeart’s Boston properties.)

Meanwhile, Flaherty gets promoted to a new title as director of operations for news-talk-sports, presumably taking on new responsibility at WRKO/WXKS as well as WBZ. And MacLean, reportedly, will be moving to a new “regional news director” role – which leads us to wonder whether iHeart is looking to bring some of WBZ’s news content to its existing news-talk outlets around the region, including WXTK on Cape Cod, WHJJ in Providence, WPOP and WELI in Connecticut, WTAG in Worcester, WHYN in Springfield and WGIR in New Hampshire?

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*Entercom’s “Alt 92.3” in NEW YORK has new calls to go with the new branding it picked up a few months back: instead of WBMP, from its “AMP” days, it’s now WNYL. (When we listened last week, WNYL’s HD2, which simulcasts sister “Fresh” WNEW 102.7, was still IDing as “WBMP-HD2” on the air.)

Speaking of HD Radio, EMF Broadcasting launched an HD2 on its New York-market “K-Love,” WKLV (96.7 Port Chester), on Thursday. It’s now carrying sister network Air1 on 96.7-HD2.

Over on the TV side of things, this is a big anniversary year for a lot of pioneering stations that got their start as part of the class of 1948, 70 years ago. We told you last week about Boston’s WBZ-TV – and Friday marked two more 70th anniversaries, in New York at WPIX (Channel 11) and in New Haven, CONNECTICUT at WTNH (Channel 8), which was WNHC-TV on channel 6 when it signed on.

WPIX marked the occasion with a special remote morning show broadcast from Long Island’s Levittown (another 1948 startup!) on Friday morning and a Saturday afternoon block of retro programming, followed by an hour-long anniversary special.

And at WTNH, the Friday afternoon newscast included a special half-hour appearance from a who’s-who of station alumni, including Diane Smith, Kenn Venit, Janet Peckinpaugh and Pat Sheehan. (There are lots of great videos on the WTNH 70th anniversary page!)

Who else was in the Class of 1948? Two more New York stations – WABC-TV (originally WJZ-TV) started in August, while what’s now WNET on Channel 13 started in May as commercial WATV. In Syracuse, WHEN-TV (Channel 8) started in December; it’s now WTVH (Channel 5). Philadelphia’s WCAU (Channel 10) let its 70th anniversary pass without ceremony back in May, while Buffalo’s WIVB (Channel 4, ex-WBEN-TV) was celebrating. And in Boston, WNAC-TV (Channel 7) arrived on the scene June 21, 1948, two weeks after WBZ-TV – will its successor WHDH-TV mark the occasion at all this week?

*Speaking of broadcast history, it was 50 years ago last week when Sandy Beach made the move from Hartford to Buffalo to join the legendary airstaff of the legendary WKBW (1520). After the usual “town to town, up and down the dial” of his early career (he was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts and worked in Erie at WJET, among other stops), Beach found a permanent home in the Queen City. He moved on from WKBW to the old WNYS (1120/104.1), WMJQ (Majic 102) and then into talk radio at WBEN (930) – and it was at WBEN that Beach was joined by a room full of Buffalo radio legends including Danny Neaverth, Joey Reynolds and Stan Roberts for a special anniversary show Friday morning. (You can hear all three hours on WBEN’s podcast page.)

*Radio People on the Move: Steve Bearance is moving on from his post as VP/market manager for Cumulus’ Buffalo cluster (“97 Rock” WGRF, “Edge” WEDG and leased-time AM WBBF); he’s headed to Louisville and a new gig as senior VP/market manager for Alpha Media.

Jeff (Carlson) Beck was the imaging voice of the old WLIR (92.7 Garden City) in its New Wave heyday in the 1980s, and also worked on-air at WRNW (107.1 Briarcliff Manor) in Westchester and at WYNY and WXRK in New York. He left New York at the end of the 1980s to settle down in Richmond, Virginia, where he became half of the long-running “Jeff and Jeff” morning show on WRXL. More recently, he’d served as operations manager for Alpha Media in Fredericksburg. Beck died June 4 in Richmond from a glioblastoma; he was just short of his 67th birthday.

And back in Buffalo, there’s word of the death of Mark Phillips, whose on-air career included stops at WGR, WBEN, WKBW, WYRK, WECK and most recently WBFO, where he retired a few years back as an evening/weekend host.

*In NEW JERSEY, they’re remembering Dick Lewis, who was a vital part of Asbury Park’s WJLK (1310/94.3) for more than forty years. Lewis started at the AM station, then known as WCAP, after World War II, then jumped to WJLK when the Asbury Park Press launched it as an FM-only startup in 1947. The Press bought WCAP in 1950, making it WJLK(AM); Lewis eventually rose to morning man at the stations, then left the air to become station manager in 1965 – and then he went back to mornings from 1975 until his retirement in 1986. Lewis later worked for the Press and then retired to North Carolina, where AllAccess reports he died May 11 at age 94.

*In western PENNSYLVANIA, you knew what the weather would be because “Joe Said it Would.” That was the catchphrase for legendary WTAE-TV (Channel 4) chief meteorologist Joe DeNardo, who died Friday at 87. A native of nearby Martins Ferry, Ohio, DeNardo went to Duquesne University and served in the Air Force, where he learned the forecasting skills that led him to start his own meteorology business in the 1960s. That, in turn, led him to on-air work at KDKA-TV (Channel 2), and then to WTAE in 1969.

Over a 36-year career at WTAE, DeNardo became the face and brand of weather at the ABC affiliate, where forecasts came from the “DeNardo Weather Center” even on newscasts where DeNardo himself didn’t appear. A tireless public figure, DeNardo was active in community events and charity work even after his 2005 retirement, raising money for cancer research and starting a fund to buy winter coats for needy children.

*At the other end of the state, Al Meltzer was an institution on the sports scene in Philadelphia, where he arrived on the scene in 1964 to do afternoons on WFIL (560) and sports on WFIL-TV (Channel 6); in 1966, he joined the new WPHL-TV (Channel 17) as sports director and play-by-play voice of the Sixers, then moved to KYW-TV (Channel 3) as sports director in 1972. After a detour to Chicago’s WBBM-TV, Meltzer came back to Philadelphia in 1978, spending 20 years at WCAU-TV (Channel 10) and then working at Comcast SportsNet before retiring in 2003.

But Meltzer also made a mark in his native upstate New York, where the Syracuse native had started his career at WAGE (620), then moved to Buffalo as morning man at WEBR (970) before heading to Philadelphia. His second act in Buffalo came from 1972-77, when he commuted back from Philly on weekends to call Bills games on WKBW (1520) alongside Rick Azar.

Meltzer died Tuesday (June 11) at 89.

*And there’s word of the death of John Ellis, longtime chief engineer at WILQ (105.1) and WLYC (1050) in Williamsport.

*Sue Henry’s not coming back to talk radio in northeast Pennsylvania, at least not as a host right away. After failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with Entercom’s WILK network in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, is running as a Republican for the Pennsylvania state House seat now occupied by Democrat Eddie Day Pashinski.

*Back in Pittsburgh, Birach Broadcasting’s WWCS (540 Canonsburg) has dropped its application for a new Pittsburgh translator at 102.9, reaching a settlement that will give St. Joseph Mission’s WAOB (860 Millvale) the sole remaining application for 102.9 in Pittsburgh.

*The troubles continue for CANADA‘s big jazz radio voice. Still reeling from the departure of longtime CEO Ross Porter amidst sexual harassment allegations, CJRT (JAZZ.FM91) made some big cutbacks last week, dropping morning host Mark Wigmore after less than a year in that slot, along with 16-year veteran air talent Jaymz Bee and two weekend hosts, David Basskin and Walter Venafro. The Globe and Mail reports CJRT’s board is also going through a shakeup that replaced board chair Renah Persofsky after just three months in that position.

The Indie 88 building

*Just down the street from CJRT, Toronto’s alternative rock station has been denied a power increase. Rock 95 Broadcasting’s CIND (88.1 Toronto) had asked the CRTC for permission to go from 2.1 kW average/4 kW max DA/281m to 5 kW average/12 kW max DA/298m from First Canadian Place, giving it better reach over its market.

In rejecting the application from “Indie 88,” the CRTC said the station hadn’t fully made its case that the power increase was needed to make the station profitable. More critically, perhaps, the CRTC ruled that the higher antenna perch CIND requested on First Canadian Place was also the same spot APTN’s First Peoples Radio, Inc. needs in order to get the new native station, CFPT (106.5), launched by the end of the summer.

“Given the priority that the Commission has placed on the need for radio stations to serve urban Indigenous communities,” the CRTC said, it can’t approve a CIND application that might preclude CFPT from launching – and so Indie 88 will have to wait.

As for CFPT, it and its Ottawa sister station, CFPO (95.7), are planning to be on the air by late summer as “ELMNT.FM,” pronounced “Element.” The new stations will replace the failed Aboriginal Voices Radio signals that lost their licenses on those frequencies two years ago; they’ll operate from studio space donated by Corus, with at least 25 percent of their playlists made up of music from indigenous artists.

*To the east, John Hunter was known as “Bud” on the air at CJTN (1270 Trenton), where he was the station’s morning man from launch day in 1979 through most of the 1980s. Bud Hunter died last week at 79.

*And how about a final installment of Baseball on the Radio, now that the short-season class A New York-Penn League is underway for the summer?

Our quasi-hometown Batavia Muckdogs, who once again may or may not be in their final year, remain in place on WBTA (1490/100.1), which will carry at least 50 games this year. Down the road, the Auburn Doubledays move from WAUB (1590/98.1) to a new streaming home at FingerLakes1.com, which will provide both audio and video streaming of all home games and audio streaming from the road.

In Massachusetts, the Lowell Spinners retain their long association with WCAP (980), while the Connecticut Tigers in Norwich stay put on WICH (1310).

In Pennsylvania, the State College Spikes are on WRSC (1390) this year, while the Williamsport Crosscutters are heard on WLYC (1050/92.7).

And it’s streaming-only for the Tri-City ValleyCats in the Albany market, the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees in New York City, as well (it appears) as the Hudson Valley Renegades – their former radio home, WLNA (1420 Peekskill), is now carrying games of the independent Rockland Boulders.

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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 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 19, 2017

*Think you understand what’s happening under the hood in the complicated world of local television broadcasting these days? Spectrum auction, repack, ATSC 3.0, UHF discounts…it all made for plenty of discussion at all sorts of levels at NAB in Las Vegas in April (and at an informative SBE Ennes Educational Seminar a week ago in Syracuse, too.)

And just when you think you might have a decent handle on all of the changes that are coming to the television landscape, you run across something like this, the 54 pages of legalese that was appended to the channel-sharing arrangement under which Bill Binnie’s WBIN (Channel 50) in Derry, NEW HAMPSHIRE will become a spectrum-sharing tenant on the RF 27 spectrum of Univision’s WUTF (Channel 66) in Marlborough, MASSACHUSETTS. 

We’ll spare you all the verbiage (unless you enjoy that sort of thing, in which case, have at it) and skip to the interesting part: when Binnie and Univision entered into this deal back in January, they did more than just make the “usual” (by today’s standards) detailed agreements about who’ll cover what costs and how much bandwidth each station will get when they move in together at WUTF’s Hudson transmitter site and shut down WBIN’s much less potent OTA transmitter north of the border.

Here’s the more interesting part: Binnie has an option to sell off the WBIN license to Univision, by way of a put/call agreement that was included in the sharing deal. Within 60 days of the FCC’s announcement of the auction results (which came in May), either side can trigger that sale, putting what remains of WBIN in Univision’s hands for (if we’re reading this correctly) a $16.76 million payment to Binnie.

Less the $6.81 million that Univision pockets from the WBIN auction proceeds under the deal (10 percent of the $68.1 million total, in exchange for the 10% of WUTF’s digital capacity that WBIN would have taken under the channel-share deal), that means that Univision would pay out a net $9,956,000 to completely buy Binnie out of the WBIN license, trading his future contributions toward WUTF’s expenses (including the eventual conversion to ATSC 3.0) for continued sole control of all of the RF 27 spectrum.

*CBS Radio’s latest cuts fell last week in western PENNSYLVANIA, where Ally Butler and Andy Davis are out after a little over a year together in morning drive on WDSY (107.9 Pittsburgh). Butler had moved from middays to mornings to launch the new show back in February 2016, when Davis joined Y108. No replacement has been named yet at the country station, which has been struggling to hold its footing against Forever’s Froggy stations.

*Across the state, there were more changes on the Philadelphia FM dial, too, this time at Jerry Lee Radio’s WBEB (More FM 101.1), where Logan has departed the afternoon shift.

*We pointed the NERW-mobile westward across the border to London, Ontario to hear Monday’s launch of the new CBC Radio 1 local programming on CBCL (93.5).

We’ll post a more detailed tour of the new CBC studios at the London Public Library downtown later on over at Site of the Week – but for now, here are a couple of shots of the interesting open newsroom-studio that faces Dundas Street.

A small group of CBC fans showed up streetside early Monday morning for the 6 AM launch of “London Morning,” which went off without a hitch, as did the relaunch in the afternoon of “Afternoon Drive,” which has moved production from Windsor to London and is now heard on CBC transmitters in both markets (including the Windsor relays in Chatham-Kent, Leamington and Sarnia.)

Five Years Ago: June 17, 2013

*There’s a new AM signal coming to eastern MASSACHUSETTS, as owner Alexander Langer moves forward on a relocation of the former WMSX (1410 Brockton). When Langer announced his $100,000 purchase of the silent AM signal from Kingdom Church exactly a year ago, he told us he didn’t have a move immediately planned – WMSX “happened to be a good local signal at the right price,” he said then – but anyone familiar with his signal-upgrade work knew better, especially given WMSX’s lack of a viable Brockton transmitter site.

Working with consulting engineer Charles Hecht, Langer filed for his move on Monday. He’s proposing to transfer WMSX from Brockton to a new community of license of Dedham, abandoning the old Linwood Street site in Brockton in favor of a new 75-foot Valcom fiberglass whip antenna to be located in an industrial section of Readville, right at the southern tip of Boston’s city limits. (It will, in fact, become the only AM station transmitting from within the city of Boston.)

From that new site on Sprague Street, the new WMSX would run 610 watts by day and just 25 watts at night. At least on paper, that day facility will put about 600,000 people within its 2 mV/m contour, including most of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan as well as a ring of south suburban Boston including Dedham, Milton and parts of Quincy and Brookline.

Assuming the move is granted (and there’s no reason to expect it won’t), it’s likely the new WMSX will follow in the path of another Langer move-in. What’s now WSRO (650 Ashland) was moved into the Framingham area from southern New Hampshire, and Langer has slowly grown that small facility into an important voice for the fast-growing Portuguese-speaking community in MetroWest that had lacked its own radio outlet. Will the new WMSX find a similar ethnic niche in the diverse neighborhoods it will serve? There are certainly openings, as the slew of unlicensed Haitian Creole signals in the area attests every day.

*Where are they now? The Reverend Earl Jackson made a name for himself as the general manager of WLVG (740 Cambridge) during that station’s days as a black gospel/religious outlet in the 1980s, including several encounters with bankruptcy. After exiting WLVG (which eventually ended up in the hands of Bob Bittner as WWEA and then WJIB), Jackson decamped for Virginia – and it wasn’t until late last week (with an assist from Universal Hub, by way of the now-defunct Washington Examiner) that we made the connection between WLVG’s Earl Jackson and the Rev. E. W. Jackson who’s making headlines as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia.

(If you’re keeping score at home, Jackson is at least the second former Boston radio operator to make headlines at the rightward end of national politics: as we’ve noted here on several occasions, former WDLW 1330 owner Anthony Martin-Trigona has become a perennial candidate and political gadfly under the name “Andy Martin.”)

*A stealth format change in Binghamton: Equinox Broadcasting appears to have quietly killed off AC WRRQ (106.7 Port Dickinson), instead using that frequency to simulcast its oldies WCDW (100.5 Susquehanna PA). At least for now, that puts “Cool 100” on the Ingraham Hill 106.7 signal, the east-side rimshot 100.5 and a string of translators around the valley; will any of those translators instead end up with some of Equinox’s other HD-subchannel feeds? (The company also runs rock “Z93,” soft AC “Sunny 107” and AAA “104.5 the Drive” on translators fed by WRRQ’s HD subs.)

Ten Years Ago: June 16, 2008

*The shock of Tim Russert’s far-too-early death on Friday afternoon was felt all over the country, but nowhere more so than in his native western NEW YORK.

Russert never worked in radio or television in Buffalo, of course; his road out of South Buffalo took him into the political arena, as an aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, before he joined NBC as Washington bureau chief in 1984. But as Russert became a fixture on the NBC and MSNBC airwaves over the last two decades, he missed no opportunity to talk up his Buffalo roots. When he wasn’t shamelessly promoting the Bills and the Sabres at the end of “Meet the Press” many weeks, Russert was talking about his Canisius High School education and his days growing up as the son of “Big Russ,” Tim Russert Sr.

In 2003, the Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers (now the Buffalo Broadcasters) inducted Russert into their hall of fame, honoring him with the “Buffalo” Bob Smith Award, which recognizes Buffalo natives who achieved fame outside the Queen City.

As news of Russert’s sudden collapse and death spread on Friday, Buffalo’s TV and radio stations sprung into action – not only NBC affiliate WGRZ (Channel 2) but the rest of the Buffalo newscasts were filled with local residents’ memories of Russert throughout the weekend, and much of the front page of Saturday’s Buffalo News was dedicated to Russert. And Buffalo voices were all over the networks throughout the weekend, too – Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, in particular, was seen several times on MSNBC and NBC itself, and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, another prominent son of Buffalo, shared some touching stories about the bond he shared with his fellow western New Yorker.

NERW joins with the rest of the broadcasting industry in sending our deepest condolences to the Russert family and to his family at NBC; he leaves behind a void that won’t be filled easily or quickly, if at all.

*VERMONT‘s “Corm and the Coach” are ending their 16-year partnership. After their July 2 show, “Coach” Tom Brennan will leave the popular morning show he’s been hosting with Steve “Corm” Cormier since 1992, when they debuted on WIZN (106.7 Vergennes).

The pair moved to their current home base, “Champ” WCPV (101.3 Essex NY) in 1998. (They’re also heard in central Vermont on the Champ simulcast, WCVR 102.1 Randolph.)

Brennan tells the Burlington Free Press that he’s tired of 4 AM wakeup calls; Cormier, who’s also the PD of WCPV/WCVR, plans to continue in mornings. He says the move isn’t related to the impending sale of WCPV and its Clear Channel sister stations, which is expected to close within the next few months.

Brennan, who coached the University of Vermont basketball team for almost two decades, won’t leave the airwaves completely; he’ll remain with ESPN as a basketball analyst.

*There’s a new FM signal on the air in eastern CANADA; Kentville, Nova Scotia, to be precise. Newcap’s CIJK (“K-Rock 89.3”) launched Thursday morning at the frequency-appropriate time of 8:09:30. The classic rock station offers new competition to Maritime Broadcasting System’s two Annapolis Valley signals, CKWM (97.7) and CKEN (94.9).

Fifteen Years Ago: June 16, 2003

You know it’s been a slow week in NERW-land when we lead off with a format change on the outskirts of a major market in CANADA! Be that as it may, Durham Radio pulled a bit of a surprise midweek when it pulled the plug on the modern AC “Magic @ 94.9” that had been running on CKGE (94.9 Oshawa), serving the fast-growing Durham region east of Toronto.

When Durham bought the station, the rumor in Toronto radio circles had CKGE flipping to a simulcast of smooth jazz “Wave” CIWV (94.7 Hamilton), which shares common ownership just across the lake at the other end of the “Golden Horseshoe.” Instead, CKGE is now “94-9 the Rock,” with legendary Toronto programmer David Marsden on board helping out. Al Joynes and Laura Mainella handle mornings, followed by Vanessa Murphy in middays and Rockin Rod in afternoons – and Marsden himself will handle 7-midnight on Thursdays and Fridays.

It’s been a bad week for a NEW YORK public broadcaster. Schenectady’s WMHT laid off some of its television staffers last month; now it’s pulled the plug on most of the local classical music programming at WMHT-FM (89.1) and its Hudson Valley simulcast, WRHV (88.7 Poughkeepsie). Four full-time announcers, including shop steward Lawrence Boylan, were let go in the switch to the satellite; WMHT is promising to keep local programming in the morning, as well as retaining some local specialty shows.

Twenty Years Ago: June 18, 1998

Chalk a big one up for Clear Channel Broadcasting. On Wednesday, the broadcaster picked up Pennsylvania-based Dame Media in an $85 million stock deal. Clear Channel is already a major owner in New Haven (WELI/WAVZ/WKCI), Providence (WWRX/WWBB), and Springfield (WHYN AM-FM). It’s a TV owner in Albany (WXXA-TV), and it’s a major investor in Albany’s WQBK/WQBJ, WXCR, and WTMM. The Dame purchase gives Clear Channel WGY (810 Schenectady), WRVE (99.5 Schenectady), and WHRL (103.1 Albany) to add to the group, along with six Utica-area stations — the trimulcast standards WUTQ (1550 Utica)/WRNY (1350 Rome)/WADR (1480 Remsen), rocker WOUR (96.9 Utica), CHR WSKS (102.5 Rome), and AC WRFM (93.5 Remsen).

In other news from NEW YORK, it’s official: New York City’s WNEW (102.7) is picking up former WAAF afternoon guys Opie and Anthony as part of what looks like a former overhaul. The CBS-owned station will reportedly drop veteran DJs including Pat St. John and Scott Muni, as it heads in more of an alternative-rock direction.

Binghamton’s WIVT (Channel 34) remains off the airwaves, but cable viewers are again seeing local programming. Public broadcaster WSKG (Channel 46) leased space in its Gates Road facility in Vestal to WIVT, which was knocked off the air by a tornado that destroyed its tower and much of its studio building. It’s something of an irony for the folks at WSKG, who were rumored to be contemplating buying Channel 34 a few years ago (when it was still WMGC) and running it as a commercial operation from the WSKG studios. Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports WSKG hopes to keep WIVT as a permanent tenant.

WGKP, we hardly knew ye: The Sound of Life religious network must think it’s covering Albany well enough with its translator on 98.9; it asked the FCC last Friday to delete the construction-permit for never-built WGKP (89.9 Rensselaerville), which would have broadcast from the same New Scotland site that W255AJ is using. NERW guesses it must be much cheaper to run a one-watt translator than a 340-watt “real” station.

Up north, Ogdensburg’s WZEA (98.7) went on the air “for real” this week, as hot AC “Yes-FM.” New calls are already in place; list this one as WYSX from now on. We’re told live jocks are now on the air at this Tim Martz-owned station. While we’re in the area, we note that CJSS (1220) in Cornwall, Ontario has applied for 101.9 MHz; part of a slew of Canadian AM-to-FM applications in the last few weeks, it seems. Others include London’s CKSL (1410 to 102.3), Sarnia’s CKTY (1110 to 106.3; we’re sure WBT likes this one), and St.-Georges-du-Beauce, Quebec’s CKRB (1460 to 103.3, ending a regular DX catch in the Boston area). In Lindsay, CKLY has now gone silent on 910 and is only on 91.9.