In this week’s issue… Seven Mountains grows in Southern Tier – New year, new WFAN lineup – WBZ-TV’s next-door move – CTV veterans exit Ottawa

By SCOTT FYBUSH

Jump to: MENHVTMARICTNYNJ PACanada

(A programming note before we get started: our December has been disrupted, once again, by family health issues. Everything’s better now, but we’re a little behind schedule on NERW Year in Review, which will begin appearing in this space on Tuesday, Dec. 24, with installments continuing through the new year. There won’t be a new NERW on Monday, Dec. 30; we’ll update as needed here and on Facebook and Twitter as news breaks, and we’ll be back with the first regular NERW of 2020 on Monday, Jan. 6. Thanks again for all of your understanding and support, and we wish you the happiest of holidays while we take a much-needed break at this end!)

*Seven Mountains Media began 2019 by entering NEW YORK‘s Southern Tier with the purchase of Community Broadcasters’ stations in Elmira-Corning and Olean. It’s ending the year with a second deal that will cement its status as one of just two big radio players in the Elmira market.

For a total of $2 million, Seven Mountains is buying out the station group that’s been held under various names by George Hawras and Kevin Fitzgerald – and it will start 2020 with an LMA that’s likely to include a bunch of format changes to shake up this usually quiet market.

For $1.25 million, Seven Mountains gets Hawras’ Europa Communications group, led by his original signal in the market, classic rock WMTT (94.7 Tioga PA). This part of the deal also includes a big roster of translators that have been relaying “95 the Met”: W226AP (93.1 Hornell), W228DN (93.5 Elmira), W236AK (95.1 Corning), W239BK (95.7 Bath), W239BQ (95.7 Elmira), W250BI (97.9 Mansfield PA), W269BK (101.7 Horseheads), W284BX (104.7 Alfred) and W300BX (107.9 Wellsboro). Also included are two more translators: W236CP (95.1 Hornell, relaying WZHD 97.1 Canaseraga) and W277DW (103.3 Elmira, “Hot 103.3” relaying WPHD 96.1’s HD2).

For $600,000, Equinox Broadcasting sells classic hits WZHD (97.1 Canaseraga) to Seven Mountains, while a final $150,000 piece of the deal transfers classic hits “Cool” sister WPHD (96.1 Elmira) and its translators W300DH (107.9 Corning) and W226BA (93.1 Elmira) to Seven Mountains.

We know there will be at least some format changes immediately: the contract filed with the FCC says the 93.5 Elmira signal will switch to a new HD4 from WPHD, while 101.7 Horseheads will switch to HD3 from WPHD. WPHD’s HD3 is currently running alternative as “93.1 the Drive,” feeding the 93.1 translator.

The former Hawras/Fitzgerald cluster adds to a group of stations that Seven Mountains has changed rather less than we’d have expected back in January. There’s top-40 “Wink” WNKI (106.1 Corning), classic rock “Wingz” WNGZ (104.9 Montour Falls), country “Wolf” WPGI (100.9 Horseheads), talk WWLZ (820 Horseheads, plus a 101.3 translator) and classic country WRCE (1490 Watkins Glen).

If we’re counting right, the new Seven Mountains group may end up with 11 FM signals in Elmira – the full-power signals on 95.1 and 96.1 from Hawras, plus the existing full-power 100.9, 104.9 and 106.1 signals, plus HD- or AM-fed translators on 93.1, 93.5, 95.7, 101.3, 101.7 and 103.3. Will 2020 be the year the company rolls out its flagship “Bigfoot Country” format in the market? How will the format overlap between “the Met” and “Wingz” get resolved? And how many trips will we be making down I-390 in early 2020 to hear what’s new? Stay tuned…

We are officially into the new year and out of the holiday season. If you didn’t get a calendar as a gift, now is the time to buy one for yourself.

You can also purchase a bag to keep it after the year is over, since the pictures are so pretty. You can even purchase a pen to put notes on your calendar.

Visit our store to buy the calendars and check out our other products.

The Radio Historian’s 2020 Calendar is SOLD OUT. If you didn’t order but wanted or meant to, please contact Lisa immediately. No guarantee we can get more, but we’ll at least ask.

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Click Here To Register And Purchase This Column!!

You don't have to stop reading here! Each week's NorthEast Radio Watch is packed full of exclusive, in-depth reporting and analysis from across the nine states and five provinces we've been serving since 1994. You won't find anything like it on any free site - and you can read the rest of this week's column for just $2.99 by clicking on the "Purchase Only" link below. 

Or click here to subscribe and enjoy full access to current NERW and Tower Site of the Week columns and two decades of searchable archives -- for as little as 25 cents per day.

If you are already a member, please login to view the rest of this column. (If the site does not recognize your username, don't panic! Either your subscription has expired and we need to reactivate your account, or your username and email do not match our payment records and we need to link them. Please email Lisa,  or call her at 585-442-5411, for instructions.)

Why are we now subscriber-based? Click here to read more about the reasons behind our decision.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Lots of memories for me in this week’s column. Sad to hear that the end of line is
    coming for WBZ-TV at 1170 Soldiers’ Field Road. Spent many nights there in 1963-64
    watching the 11:00pm News in studio while attending The Cambridge School of
    Broadcasting(later Graham Junior College. The late Lou Iacuessa was my TV production
    instructor & director of WBZ’s 11:00pm newscast.
    Also, as news director of the school’s radio station, used to stop by the station every day on Newbury Street. They supplied us with news that we used at the station.

    Finally. Our thanks to Barry Kriger. Used to watch his newscasts until Spectrum pulled them off the dial. Also, hope the new year brings better health to you & your family.

    Mike Putnam

    • mrmic: As a avid WBZ listener from Canada in the early 60s, I’d love to hear any stories you could share about the radio station from that 63-64 era. Bruce Bradley, Jeff Kaye, Jay Dunn, Dick Summer were my “heroes” back in those days.

  2. Re: “….we’re a little behind schedule..”
    Family comes 1st. Just glad that Lisa is doing better.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  3. KYW/1060 in Philly was all pre-recorded generic news yesterday with announcements that they were having technical difficulties. Thought it might have been related to Entercom moving its cluster into the city. Turns out they were hacked. Second time in a short while.

    There was a time that a problem like that wouldn’t have stopped a station like KYW in it’s tracks. You figure they could at least get live voices (even without the spots, teletype noise, jingles, actualities, etc) on the air with news borrowed from the CBS3 newsroom since they’re still in the same building. Yes, it’s two different owners now, but it doesn’t take much to make it work, even if Entercom paid CBS3 (cash or trade) to use some of their content.

    That’s radio in 2019, folks. Can’t wait for 2020…

  4. Hi Scott & Lisa, Sorry to hear your family is experiencing medical issues. Thanks for the update, but honestly I hadn’t noticed any change in in release of your fine new updates from my “home” area. I sometimes go a month or so between logging on to see what is going on.
    Merry Christmas!

Comments are closed.