In this week’s issue… Remembering the “Bearman” – WABC shuffles middays- New England translator sells – We’re on vacation
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*SIESTA KEY, Florida – We’re on vacation this week (mostly, except for the visiting stations and still doing consulting work part), and for the most part, the news is cooperating by staying relatively minimal.
So this week’s NERW (and possibly next week’s, too) is a brief one, but with some important and sad news to lead us off.
It comes from eastern PENNSYLVANIA, where Kevin Schutts has been a fixture in mornings on WZZO (95.1 Bethlehem). Known as “the Bearman,” Schutts died over the weekend, in what the station called a “sudden and unexpected passing.”
Schutts started in radio in the Lehigh Valley back in 1972, when 95.1 was still WGPA-FM, paired with WGPA (1100). His pairing with Kevin Moyer at WZZO started in 1988, was interrupted by a move back to his native Buffalo in 1990, then brought him back to WZZO to stay two years later.
As news spread of Schutts’ death on Sunday, WZZO asked listeners of the “Kevin and the Bearman” morning show to share their memories in voicemails, which we’d expect will make up much of today’s broadcast. We send our condolences to WZZO staff and listeners, and we’ll have more details on Schutts’ life and the station’s future plans in the morning in upcoming editions of NERW.
Schutts was 64.
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*In NEW YORK City, Cumulus has hired former Fox News host Juliet Huddy to pair with Curtis Sliwa on the noon to 3 PM show at WABC (770). That had been the co-host gig for the recently-exited Rita Cosby.
Uptown, WFUV (90.7) is moving evening host Alisa Ali into middays on March 18, following the departure of Carmel Holt, who’s also exiting her assistant music director post.
*More Radio People on the Move: in Philadelphia, WIOQ/WISX veteran Nichole Michalik is the new afternoon host at Beasley’s WXTU (92.5), starting today, where she fills the gap left when PD Mark Razz moved to middays.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, Ed Perry has WATD (1460 Brockton) back on the air after a long absence, at full power from its new transmitter site – and with a new translator at 101.1 as well. For now, it’s simulcasting sister WATD-FM (95.9 Marshfield).
In Boston, Entercom has pulled the last vestige of the old “Oldies 103.3” off WODS, ditching the automated feed on HD2 in favor of its new national “Planet Q” format aimed at the LGBTQ community. The soft AC “Cove” format remains on WODS’ HD3. (The oldies, of course, were displaced from the main WODS signal back in 2012 with the flip to “AMP Radio” top-40 under then-owner CBS Radio.)
*In RHODE ISLAND, the three-way share of Providence’s 101.1 LPFM frequency is about to start in earnest. Brown Student Radio’s WBRU-LP (a successor in callsign only to the old full-power WBRU 95.5) has been occupying the frequency full-time for the last year or so, but WJAR-TV reports Friday was the official launch of the share-time, in which WBRU-LP will have about half the airtime, with most of the rest going to community group AS220’s WFOO-LP and a few hours to Providence Community Radio’s WVVX-LP. (Until WFOO builds out its studios, WVVX will be using most of its airtime.)
*In southern MAINE, we were remiss last week (amidst all the huge breaking Cumulus news) in not noting the big-ticket sale of a translator to Maine Public. The statewide public broadcaster will extend its new classical network into York County with the $217,000 purchase of Port Broadcasting’s W272CG (102.3 Sanford), which has been the FM voice for Port’s WWSF (1220 Sanford). Once 102.3 flips to a rebroadcast of the classical HD2 of WMEA (90.1 Portland) and relocates to the tower of co-owned WMEA-TV (Channel 26), Port will still have a WWSF translator in play, once it builds out the CP for W282CS (104.3) in Sanford.
*In CANADA, as we wait for more fallout from the board ouster at Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT), one of the station’s departed hosts has found new work. That would be Mark Wigmore, who’s been hired at MZ Media’s classical CFMZ (96.3) as the new host of the afternoon “Oasis” show.
And in Quebec, the CRTC has given Radio-Canada permission to move CBF-4 (1140) in Matagami to FM, where it will run 130 watts/9.5m, non-directional, still relaying “Ici Premiere” from CHLM in Rouyn-Noranda.