In this week’s issue… LI AM donated – Remembering Syracuse’s traffic king – PA AM back in family hands – Translators flip in Maine
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*What’s a daytime-only AM radio station worth in eastern Long Island? A tax deduction, apparently, for Connoisseur Media, which is donating WALK (1370 Patchogue) to Cantico Nuevo Ministry, which is fast dominating the AM airwaves on the island.
WALK’s 500-watt signal has been used in recent years to simulcast the soft AC/standards format of WHLI (1100 Hempstead), which is running largely without local talent after Connoisseur’s recent cutbacks in local airshifts there. We don’t know yet whether it will become part of the Radio Cantico Nuevo Spanish-language religious network that airs on WNYH (740 Huntington) and WNYG (1580 Patchogue), or whether 1370 and its yet-to-be-built translator, W236DH (95.1), will be leased out to another operator. (That’s what Cantico Nuevo does with WLIM 1440 Medford, which is the originating station for “The Breeze” soft AC format feeding Long Island translators.)
What we do know is that the 1370 tower and former studio site on the waterfront in Patchogue is being sold in a separate $500,000 deal to the parent church group of Cantico Nuevo, Iglesias de Evangelizacion Misionera Jovenus Cristianos de EU Inc., and that the WALK calls will stay with Connoisseur, which uses them on its WALK-FM (97.5).
With 1370 in Cantico Nuevo’s hands, there will be only a few AMs left on the island that aren’t held by pastor Erick Salgado’s group. Cantico Nuevo is also in the midst of buying WTHE (1520 Mineola), which will leave only Bruce Tria’s WRIV (1390) in Riverhead, the college-owned WFTU (1570) there, and leased-time WBWD (540 Islip) alongside WHLI.
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*One more transfer on Long Island, also affiliated with Cantico Nuevo: Salgado’s RCN Ministry Inc. is acquiring WLIX-LP (94.7 Ridge) as a donation from Pine Barrens Broadcasting, Inc.
*In Syracuse, Tony Bombardo was the voice of traffic for decades, starting in 1977 when the Air Force veteran joined powerhouse WHEN (620), where he did his airborne reports under the air name “Captain Scott King,” becoming one of the most popular personalities on that legendarily personable full-service station.
Bombardo, who died last Sunday, stayed in the air for more than 30 years, eventually working under his own name on WNTQ (93Q), WSEN and WSYR-TV before retiring in 2010. He was 78.
*Just west of Rochester, Brian McGlynn’s latest application to modify WRSB (1590 Brockport) calls for the station to once again try to move from 1590 to 1600, this time with 300 watts day, 5 watts at night, dropping two of the aging towers at the site and going non-directional.
*Radio People on the Move: in Albany, AyeeeDubb (Alexandra Wurst) moves from nights to mornings at Albany Broadcasting’s “Jamz” (WAJZ 96.3 Voorheesville), starting today. She replaces Billy the Kid in that slot, and the Albany Broadcasting station is now looking for a new night jock for the second time this year.
In Buffalo, Entercom’s WKSE (Kiss 98.5) takes middays back to local, replacing Ryan Seacrest with recent SUNY Fredonia grad Noah Maciejewski, who’s worked his way up from college intern to weekends/fill-ins to middays, where he starts today.
*The Michael family has a long history along the US 15 corridor in PENNSYLVANIA. Victor A. Michael put WMLP (1380 Milton) on the air in the 1960s, and his son Van now owns the Backyard Broadcasting stations just up the road in Williamsport. And now Vic Michael, the Colorado-based broadcaster who’s the son of Victor A., is buying WMLP from the Haddon family’s Sunbury Broadcasting Corp. The talk station, also heard on translator W233CP (94.5), changes hands to Michael’s Kona Coast Radio, LLC, for $160,000. (Back in 2005, Haddon paid $3 million for WMLP and FM sister station WVLY, which isn’t being sold.)
Congratulations to Tony Peiffer, who’s back in central Pennsylvania as the new market manager at Nittany Media’s Lewistown stations, WCHX (Chix 105.5), WVNW (Star Country 96.7) and WKVA (920, aka “Big 100.3”). Peiffer returns to the region after eight years in New York City, where he’s worked in engineering at SBS, WNYE and most recently iHeart.
*In Philadelphia, newsroom employees of WHYY voted overwhelmingly last week to unionize. After journalists and contract producers at the public broadcaster expressed interest over the summer in unionizing, WHYY management rejected voluntary recognition of the union, sending the proposal to a vote. 70 WHYY employees supported the union, while only one voted against.
Over at Beasley, Jason Myrtetus is out of the midday slot at WPEN (97.5) after a year of co-hosting with Anthony Gargano. Is it part of a bigger set of cutbacks around Beasley? Myrtetus tweeted that “a lot of positions” at the company went away last week.
*Speaking of Beasley, in MASSACHUSETTS it’s put a new format on the HD2 of WROR (105.7 Framingham), which is now a collection of best-of bits from the “Men From Maine” segment that’s a staple of the Loren and Wally morning show.
Over at WGBH (89.7), Arun Rath is now the permanent “All Things Considered” local host and executive editor. Rath had been interim local host since July, and had previously been the national host of the weekend “ATC.” Earlier in the day, WGBH also now picks up NPR’s 1A show at 10 AM, replacing its first airing of “The Takeaway,” which is still heard at 2 PM daily.
And we’re saddened indeed to report the death of veteran engineer Paul Willey, who was a fixture in western Massachusetts for half a century. Willey started his career at WTWN in St. Johnsbury and WDEV in Waterbury, Vermont in the 1950s before joining WMNB in North Adams as chief engineer. He stayed with Berkshire Broadcasting into the early 21st century, building out WMNB-FM in North Adams and WSBS in Great Barrington. Willey also worked closely with several colleges in the region, building WCFM at Williams College and WJJW at North Adams State College (later Mass. College of Liberal Arts). Willey retired in 2013, already well into his 80s; he was 89 when he died Oct. 28 in Pittsfield.
*In MAINE, Saga is adding a fourth country station to a market that’s already crowded with its own WPOR (101.9), Binnie’s WTHT (99.9) and Townsquare’s WPKQ (103.7). Saga’s WZAN (970 Portland, plus translator W268CS on 101.5) dropped ESPN sports last week, flipping to the “Outlaw” classic country format that Saga’s already running in New Hampshire and elsewhere.
In addition to “101.5 the Outlaw,” Saga also completed its relaunch of its 105.5 translator, W288CU, which flipped from a simulcast of news-talk WGAN (560) to “Pure Oldies,” fed from the HD2 of WYNZ (100.9). WGAN’s move from the 105.5 translator to new translator W253DA (98.5) had been delayed by technical issues, but the news-talk signal is now fully up and running on 98.5.
*On the VERMONT/NEW HAMPSHIRE line, Gray Media Group is paying $75,000 for a low-power TV license, Cross Hill Communications’ WYCU-LD (Channel 26). Licensed to Charlestown, N.H., WYCU points its signal south from Lebanon toward Brattleboro. What does Gray want with that little signal? If we had to guess, it’ll become a relay to fill in the over-the-air signal of Gray’s WCAX (Channel 3) in the Connecticut River Valley, where the main signal from Mount Mansfield doesn’t really reach very well these days (and where WCAX, under previous ownership, once had analog translators that it gave up during the DTV transition.)
*Up north in CANADA, Vista Radio has put in an application for a second FM signal alongside its existing CFXN (106.3 Moose FM) in North Bay. The new signal would be 45.8 kW/145 m on 90.5, with a classic hits-oldies format. After the CRTC’s determination that North Bay can support an additional commercial station, it’s likely there will be additional applications, and that the CRTC will put out an open call for applicants soon.
In Toronto, Bell’s CKFM (Virgin Radio 99.9) has launched an HD4 subchannel carrying iHeart’s holiday music. The new HD4 accompanies the existing HD2 and HD3, relaying Bell’s AM stations, CFRB (1010) and CHUM (1050).
And in Sainte-Marie, Quebec, Arsenal Media is adding a second station alongside its existing CHEQ (101.5). The newly-granted 105.3 will run 4.5 kW/89 m, running a French-language country format with new calls CKAQ.