In this week’s issue… WNEW readies flip – WCNY exec, KYW’s Butler step down – New FM signals in southern Ontario – “Bigfoot” grows bigger in northern PA
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*Since Entercom took over from CBS Radio last November, it’s been busy behind the scenes shoring up some of the weaker pieces of its NEW YORK City cluster. The top 40 of “AMP” WBMP (92.3) gave way to to “Alt 92.3” just as soon as the ink was dry on the transfer to Entercom (with new WNYL calls following last month).
Today, it’s another of the weaker links in the cluster to take the spotlight: WNEW (102.7), which had been doing AC and then hot AC as “Fresh” since 2007, abruptly went jockless on Friday afternoon, spending the weekend promoting “something NEW” coming this morning at 7.
“I will be forever grateful to you for allowing me to be a part of your morning and I hope that in some small way, I made your day brighter,” wrote former morning co-host Jeffrey Jameson on Facebook after his dismissal.
What’s next? The logo that appeared on the former Fresh website Sunday night brings back the Statue of Liberty’s crown, which was a familiar part of the visual identity in WNEW-FM’s earlier years as the station “Where Rock Lives,” before its ill-timed flips to “Blink” and then “Mix” in the early 2000s.
This time, it appears the new WNEW will revamp its hot AC approach, putting iHeart’s “Lite” WLTW (106.7) in its crosshairs.
Monday morning update: The “New 102.7” branding hit the air before 7 AM, and it’s indeed a straight-on attack on WLTW, the former radio home of WNEW PD Jim Ryan. The music mix so far sounds a little softer than Fresh did in its final days, with promos touting a “commercial-free workday” at launch. We’ll continue to update this story as Entercom adds airstaff to its new format.
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*Upstate, Bob Daino is leaving Syracuse’s WCNY public broadcasting – but not immediately. After 13 years as CEO, Daino is handing over the reins at the end of the month on an interim basis to Caroline Basso, the station’s VP of development and engagement.
After overseeing huge changes at WCNY, including the station’s move from a cramped former industrial site in suburban Liverpool to new digs on the city’s Near West Side, the elimination of on-air pledge drives and the launch of a joint master control serving dozens of public TV stations nationwide, Daino says he’ll take on an emeritus role with WCNY to help oversee the search for a successor and the transition to new leadership.
In Poughkeepsie, Marty Mitchell has departed morning drive and the PD chair at iHeart’s WRWD-FM (107.3 Highland) and its simulcasts up and down the Hudson Valley. Mitchell had been with WRWD for four years, and while WRWD is looking for a replacement PD, it doesn’t need a successor for the morning show, where the syndicated Bobby Bones is being plugged in.
Out on Long Island, CBS has moved independent WLNY (Channel 55) from RF 47 down to a temporary home on RF 27, clearing the way for T-Mobile to take early possession of the RF 47 spectrum it bought at auction. T plans to light up 600 MHz wireless service for Long Island customers in early 2019; WLNY will move again, from 27 to 29, when the repack moves along next year.
And we can add one more name to the roster of New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame inductees: veteran Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay will join the ranks of NYSBA honorees at the group’s luncheon in New York October 18, along with Doug Emblidge and Ginny Ryan of Rochester’s WHAM-TV (Channel 13).
*It’s moving day in MASSACHUSETTS, where WBZ-FM (98.5 the Sports Hub) said goodbye to the ground-floor studios at 83 Leo Birmingham Parkway in Allston where that format launched under former owner CBS Radio. As part of the CBS Radio sale to Entercom, Sports Hub was swapped to Beasley for AC “Magic” WMJX (106.7). WMJX moved from the Beasley studios at 55 Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester to the top floor at Leo Birmingham a few months ago, and now construction is complete at 55 Morrissey for the new WBZ-FM sports talk studios, which made their debut this morning.
(The next big moves will come later this summer, when WBZ 1030, which went from CBS to iHeart, departs its home of seven decades at 1170 Soldiers Field Road for the new newsroom and studio under construction at iHeart’s Medford cluster. WRKO 680 will move from Entercom’s 20 Guest Street studios up to Medford – and WBZ-FM’s rival sports talker, WEEI-FM 93.7, will make the short move from Guest Street to the former WBZ-FM digs at 83 Leo Birmingham once they’ve been renovated.)
*In VERMONT, a belated obituary for one of the state’s first FM DJs. The Vermont Association of Broadcasters reports Chuck Adams died June 21 in Ellicott City, Maryland. Adams was part of the inaugural airstaff at WJOY-FM (98.9 Burlington) when it signed on in 1962, joining WJOY (1230), where he’d already been working.
Adams became production director at WVNY-TV (Channel 22) when it signed on in 1969, and later on made a career in the Army, retiring with the rank of major. He later worked for Baltimore Gas & Electric and sold real estate in Maryland. Adams’ nephew, Rod Hill, now does mornings at the former WJOY-FM, now WOKO. Adams was 80.
*Who’d want to leave the delightful NEW HAMPSHIRE Seacoast this time of year, when it’s at its prime? Jaad Naamani, the PD of iHeart’s WERZ (107.1 Exeter) – he’s trading tollbooth delays on I-95 for the summer heat of Tulsa, where he’s taking the programming reins at sister station KTBT (92.1). No replacement has been named yet on the Seacoast.
*In CONNECTICUT, Keith Connors is changing stations. The former news director at WTNH (Channel 8) in New Haven is headed up I-95 to Rocky Hill to take the same role at WFSB (Channel 3), where he’ll succeed Dana Neves, now WFSB’s VP/general manager. No replacement has been named yet at WTNH.
*Up in the hills along the PENNSYLVANIA-New York border, Seven Mountains/Southern Belle wasted no time at all taking control of its newest purchase. What had been “YES FM” WVYS (96.9 Ridgebury) is now “Bigfoot Country 104, 107 and 96” WZBF, simulcasting with “Bigfoot” sister WNBT (104.5 Wellsboro). (The “107” is WZBF’s translator in Ulster, which shoots across the state line into Waverly, New York.)
Back at the GEOS stations, the other half of “YES FM” has changed formats: WDYS (103.9 Dushore) has become a western extension of the “GEM” network that serves Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on WZMF (1460 Tunkhannock), WGMF (730 Nanticoke) and a cluster of translators. (And yes, those two AMs just swapped calls.)
*After being bought by Aztec Capital Partners, Philadelphia’s WNWR (1540) has gone silent; Aztec (which also owns WHAT 1340) tells the FCC it’s exploring “potential modifications to the transmitter site” at WNWR.
*Steve Butler has been an institution at KYW (1060 Philadelphia), first serving as a writer and reporter starting in 1979 and news director from 1986-89, then – after taking a turn here in the radio trades as editor of Inside Radio – at the helm of the newsroom since 1997, most recently as director of news and programming. He’s leaving that post at the end of the year, he announced last week – or sooner if Entercom finds a replacement before that.
There’s a management change at iHeart in Philadelphia, too, where Rich Lewis leaves the regional president’s desk to become the company’s VP of multi-market partnerships (which includes overseeing the Total Traffic division); replacing him in Bala Cynwyd is Nick Gnau, formerly iHeart’s regional president in Detroit.
Over in Pittsburgh, Michael Spacciapolli gets the promotion to market manager of Entercom’s cluster (KDKA, KDKA-FM, WBZZ, WDSY)
*And “rescan day” is coming Wednesday for viewers who watch independent WFMZ (Channel 69) or public WLVT (Channel 39) in the Lehigh Valley. They sold their RF channels – 46 and 39, respectively – in the spectrum auction and will be sharing spectrum with Bethlehem religious broadcaster WBPH (Channel 60) on RF 9. This is a particularly elaborate share, since it will also include Philadelphia-licensed public broadcaster WPPT (Channel 35), whose “zombie license” was donated to WLVT after its spectrum was also sold. RF 9 will carry HD signals from WFMZ, WLVT and WPPT, as well as SD subchannels from each, plus WBPH. WFMZ will drop its 69.3 (Heroes & Icons) and 69.4 (Retro TV) subchannels as part of the move; they’ll move to 2.4 and 2.5 on sister station KJWP in Philadelphia.
East of Hamilton in Grimsby/Beamsville, Durham Radio (which owns CHKX 94.7 in nearby Hamilton), Dufferin (Evanov) and Byrnes all applied for 88.5 there. The Dufferin/Evanov proposal wass for “modern easy listening,” which would parallel Evanov’s “Jewel 88.5” up north of Toronto, while Durham and Byrnes both proposed to do classic hits. The CRTC gave the nod to Durham, saying the combination of the new station and its existing CHKX will allow it to “benefit from important synergies so as to better compete with large established and consolidated multi-station players.” One of those players, Corus, asked the CRTC to impose a condition barring the new Durham station from soliciting advertising in Hamilton, but the CRTC declined to do so.
The new Durham station will run 2 kW average/4 kW max DA at 6 meters above average terrain. New calls will be CKLK – will it be a “Lake”?
North of Toronto in Georgina, My Broadcasting, Frank Torres and Radio Markham York all applied for new stations at the Nov. 30 hearing, too: My wanted an AC format on 93.7, Torres wanted classic hits on 93.7 and Markham York wanted classic hits on 94.5.
Torres got the nod, with the CRTC once again favoring synergy with his existing CIUX (105.5 Uxbridge) to the south – and rejecting an attempt from Corus to bar Torres from soliciting advertising in the larger adjacent Barrie market.
Torres’ new 93.7 will run 6.78 kW average/26 kW max DA/56 m, with calls CKOU.
*Over in London, CTV Two’s CFPL-TV (Channel 10) has finally moved its newscasts into HD production, having been one of the last SD-only facilities in any sizable Canadian market.
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