In this week’s issue… “River” owner Silberberg dies – Remembering Jeff Shannon, Little Walter, Mrs. Rogers – Boston PD exits – Taylor adds Philly – Syracuse morning co-host steps down – 40 years for Matty

By SCOTT FYBUSH

Jump to: MENHVTMARICTNYNJ PACanada

MONDAY MORNING UPDATEIt is indeed a week of great losses in our industry, including one of the most prominent independent radio owners in New England.

NERW has learned that Steven Silberberg, whose holdings included Boston-market AAA “River” WXRV (92.5 Andover), has died.

Over the course of more three decades, Silberberg, a New Hampshire-based lawyer, built a station group under the Northeast Broadcasting banner that also included the network of Vermont’s “Point” AAA stations based at WNCS (104.7 Montpelier). He transformed the 92.5 signal from a sleepy Haverhill rimshot, WLYT, into a more significant player in the Boston market with its unique AAA format; in recent years, he’d added several on-channel boosters that improved the station’s coverage in the core of the market.

His group also expanded to include several other FM stations and AMs with translators in Vermont and several station clusters in Wyoming and other western states. (As you’ll read later in the column, he’d just closed on the sale of four smaller New England FM signals to EMF.)

Silberberg had recently been diagnosed with an aggressive lung cancer, which claimed his life on Wednesday.

“His family has been quietly involved with the business for many years, and, together with the senior management team that has been in place  for many years will continue to grow the company that Steven built and, like Steven, look for new opportunities to grow the business,” said Northeast Broadcasting CEO Ed Flanagan.

Memorial details weren’t immediately available

*Someday – someday soon, I hope – this column will open with good news. This, sadly, isn’t yet that week, as our industry mourns several losses, including at least two from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Watertown, New York, Jeff Shannon was one of those indispensable people – usually operating behind the scenes, keeping all the balls in the air at the stations where he worked. Shannon, who died Wednesday morning at 56 of COVID-19, spent years in both radio and TV. On the TV side, he was the promotions director and a master control operator at WWNY-TV (Channel 7), where he was also a frequent on-air voice in promos and spots for more than 30 years. In radio, his career started in the early 1980s at the old WSCP in Sandy Creek; for decades, he worked for what became the Stephens Media Cluster, where he was best known for his on-air work hosting “Z93-wind” at WCIZ (93.3).

Jeff was also a proud tour guide at the stations where he worked; back in 2014, we enjoyed a visit to both WWNY and WCIZ in his genial company, and we hope you’ll check it out now in his memory. (We will be resuming our new weekly Site of the Week installments soon, too.)

*For decades, one of the constant voices of oldies radio in Boston was Little Walter. Walter DeVenne started his “Time Machine” way back in 1967, when the “oldies” he was spinning on MIT’s WTBS (88.1, now WMBR) were still only a decade or so in the past. While running a record store, Walter kept his show going as a staple at a succession of local stations, including WBCN, the original WROR, WCGY, and then, from 1987 until 2002, at WODS. In later years, his show went into national syndication – and along the way, he began remastering and preserving some of the music he treasured. (It also ran for a time on WBOQ on the North Shore.)

DeVenne moved to Florida a decade or so ago, after surviving a bout with cancer that forced him to end the syndicated version of “Time Machine.”

And then, in the last few weeks, he contracted COVID-19, which led to his death on Saturday, which was also his 73rd birthday.

STILL HAVEN’T BOUGHT THE CALENDAR?

NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!

We’re one third into the year, so it’s time to put the Tower Site Calendar on sale.

Though the months are over the pictures remain, and they remain beautiful. Especially at half price.

This is the 20th year we have been publishing our calendar. In addition to the cover shot of WEJL, we have photos from New Jersey, Nebraska, Texas, and much more!

You can get the regular calendar, or you can order a storage bag for it if you keep them, or you can get it signed by Scott (and get a complimentary bag).

And when you’re purchasing your calendar, don’t forget to take a look at the other great products in our store.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Re: The Landsdale Pa. 1440 AM: I didn’t know anything less than 250 watts day could get by the Commission.

  2. The renewal is in 2025. So any possibility that the current CRTC chairman may “actually” look at these complaints in a timely manner, or for that matter be on the CRTC at all, has all but vanished. CHAA has also avoided being a member of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. That means, that the complaint review process that all commercial stations abide by, has been avoided by CHAA. The CRTC’s rules, require that, if a station is not a CBSC member, the CRTC will adjudicate complaints. Now that concept is down the drain. Shame on the CRTC. Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate their role, since they micro-manage so many other aspects of the Canadian broadcasting system. Most of the complaints – which were cited in the power increase decision – I understand pertain to brokered programming, which CHAA, probably doesn’t vet in a manner consistent with practices and standards of other Candian commercial ethnic broadcasters.

  3. Was Zarbrano fired or did he really resign? For the record, I like the guy but feel bad for the situation he inherited. Entercom destroyed this once powerful sports talker, I can’t listen anymore, it’s awful

  4. I recall Charles Osgood saying the American Airlines show was the last daypart to be converted to all-news at WCBS. That’s if you don’t count Arthur Godfrey who still had a CBS Radio Network show in the daytime.

  5. Sad to hear about Steve Silberberg. I’ve talked to him in person or on the phone many times and always learned smoothing from him – even if it was about belted cows. R.I.P. Steve !

    • The 94.9 translator on LI is a secondary service and not protected, and the 94.9 Montauk is too far away to matter. The DA notches are to protect WMAS in Springfield and WWSK on LI.

Comments are closed.