In this week’s issue: RI governor threatens WSBE funding cut – Merlin drops NYC all-news PD – Former Scranton owner’s sentence reduced – Format flip in Maine – Greater Media changes leaders in Boston
by SCOTT FYBUSH
*Less than a year after New Jersey governor Chris Christie handed over operation of the state’s public TV and radio network to out-of-state broadcasters, RHODE ISLAND‘s PBS outlet is facing the prospect of losing its state funding.
A budget proposal last week from governor Lincoln Chafee would reduce state support of Rhode Island PBS (WSBE-TV 36) from just under a million dollars in fiscal 2011-2012 to $425,000 in 2012-2013 and then to zero in subsequent years.
Beyond the end of state funding, Chafee apparently isn’t envisioning a complete shutdown of the “RI PBS” service. Like the old NJN networks, the WSBE license is held by a state agency, the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority – but unlike NJN, “RI PBS” has long looked beyond state funding as its major source of support, depending on a combination of membership and underwriting ($1.2 million in last year’s budget) and Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants ($700,000 last year) to make up about 60% of its $3 million total annual budget. Chafee says the station should be looking to those sources, especially fundraising, to make up for the state budget cut, but station officials say underwriting support was sharply down last year, making that prospect doubtful.
“RI PBS” has always been a barebones operation compared to its New England neighbors, with limited broadcast hours and a relatively small staff. A Chafee spokesman specifically pointed to one of those neighboring stations, Boston public broadcaster WGBH, citing its wide availability on cable TV in Rhode Island as a reason why state support of the local station is no longer a necessity.
WSBE has faced funding cuts before; former station head Susan Farmer made a personal appeal to then-Gov. Bruce Sundlun to reverse a 1991 plan to eliminate state support, and the station’s current leaders tell WPRI-TV they plan to appeal to lawmakers to deny Chafee his budget cut.
*Meanwhile on the Ocean State cable dial, it’s the end of the “Rhode Island News Channel” on Cox Cable channel 5. The deal between Cox and ABC affiliate WLNE (Channel 6) to repurpose its newscasts in a rolling loop on channel 5 came to an end at the end of January, and now it’s NBC affiliate WJAR (Channel 10) providing programming on Cox’s channel 5.
*Up the road in MASSACHUSETTS, there’s a change at the helm of Greater Media’s five-station Boston cluster, where Tom Baker retires this month at the end of a three-year run as vice president/market manager. Baker says he’s looking forward to spending time with grandchildren on both coasts, and Greater Media’s wasted no time announcing a replacement: veteran Clear Channel executive Rob Williams, who’s most recently been in charge of Goom Radio and his own Digital Brand Connections, LLC, starts as the new VP/market manager in Boston today.
There’s another departure at Greater Media, too: after more than 20 years doing wakeup newscasts on WMJX (106.7 Boston), Gay Vernon is leaving her post as news director there. No replacement has been named, and the station’s apparently keeping the move low-key, announcing Vernon’s departure with only a one-line mention on her profile page on the station’s website.
There’s a lineup change over at Entercom’s WRKO (680 Boston), where financial talker Barry Armstrong is now leasing two weekday hours, from 9-11 AM, for his “Financial Exchange” talk show. That show replaces Armstrong’s previous noon-1 PM “Lunch Money” and cuts Laura Ingraham back from a live 9 AM-noon clearance to the 11 AM-1 PM slot.
Translator news from the Merrimack Valley: W275BH (102.9), the Lawrence translator for Costa-Eagle’s WNNW (800 Lawrence), is not only now operating in HD, with special temporary authority from the FCC to operate its digital signal at 10% of the translator’s analog power (25 watts for the digital signal), it even has an HD2 subchannel!
*Blueberry Broadcasting is once again shuffling formats in Bangor, MAINE. Just months after moving Fox Sports WAEI-FM from the big Bangor-licensed 97.1 signal down the coast to the Brewer-licensed 104.7 and sending country “Bear” WBFB to 97.1, we’re hearing there’s another flip on 104.7, which has become classic hits “B 104.7.” That leaves Fox Sports in Bangor as an AM-only format, on WAEI (910).
The new “B 104.7” is announcing new calls of WBAK, which suggests that it’s being set up as a near-clone of Blueberry’s successful WABK (104.3 Gardiner) in the Augusta-Waterville market.
*The big news out of NEW YORK is once again at Merlin Media’s WEMP (101.9), where another of the station’s founding executives is out. Liz Aiello came in last June as vice president of programming, boasting a resume that included executive positions at Sirius XM and WABC-TV, but no all-news radio experience. With “FM News 101.9” still struggling to get ratings traction, Aiello’s last day at the station was Thursday; Tom Taylor reports the day’s cuts at WEMP also included production VP Jerry Rohira and senior director of digital programming Rich McLaughlin.
A former New York programmer has resurfaced in a new corporate role: Phil Boyce, PD at WABC (770) from 1995 until 2008, is moving from Talk Radio Network, where he was president of programming, to Salem Communications, where he started Friday as VP of spoken word formats. Boyce will be based at Salem’s New Jersey offices, home to WMCA (570) and WNYM (970) and home base of one of Boyce’s star personalities in his WABC days, WNYM morning man Curtis Sliwa.
In Buffalo, Dick Greene’s WECK (1230 Cheektowaga) aims to make its FM translator a much more potent signal. W275BB (102.9) has been operating from the WECK tower on Genesee Street since last year, delivering decent reception of “102.9 the Breeze” in only a small corner of the Buffalo metro. But the translator (which is still licensed to Calvary Chapel of the Finger Lakes) has now applied to move from the WECK tower to the highest spot in downtown Buffalo, the roof of the 38-story One HSBC Center skyscraper. From there, it would run 220 watts, vertical-only, using a directional antenna aimed away from co-channel CKLH in Hamilton, Ontario – and covering much more of the Buffalo market. (By way of comparison, Rochester’s WDKX uses 800 watts from a skyscraper of similar height and is often among the top four stations in town.)
On the TV side of things, WIVB-TV (Channel 4) and sister station WNLO (Channel 23) launched the Buffalo market’s second fully-HD newscasts at 5:00 Wednesday evening, unveiling a $2.5 million makeover of the LIN-owned CBS/CW affiliate’s set and technical plant. For a top-50 market, Buffalo was slow to adopt HD. As late as last summer, only NBC affiliate WGRZ (Channel 2) was even doing studio production in widescreen SD; the ball started rolling when WKBW (Channel 7) upgraded to studio HD last August (with SD field production), followed by a full HD upgrade at WGRZ in the fall and now WIVB’s launch. (Time Warner Cable’s YNN does studio HD production, but widescreen SD from the field, and there’s no local news at Fox affiliate WUTV.)
In Syracuse, WCNY-TV (Channel 24) has named replacements for J. Daniel Pluff as hosts of the “Financial Fitness” talk show: after Pluff departed over complaints about the choice of substitute hosts, he’s being replaced by Jim Burns and Vicki Bracken.
Syracuse’s Craig Fox is selling another New York City LPTV. Brooklyn-licensed WMBQ-LP has just relocated from RF channel 3 to RF channel 50, and now it’s changing hands for $2 million. The buyer is Carlos Barba’s Buenavision TV Network NY, LLC, and it will continue to allow Fox to program one standard-definition channel on WMBQ with Cornerstone religious programming for the next two years, splitting the proceeds between Fox’s Renard group and Buenavision.
The almost-legendary “WVWA” call letters won’t be coming to the Finger Lakes after all: the construction permit bearing those calls for 90.3 in Auburn expired unbuilt at the end of January, victim of a change of control at permittee “Colleges of the Seneca,” aka Geneva’s Hobart and William Smith Colleges, which handed off operation of WEOS (89.7 Geneva) and then-unbuilt WITH (90.1 Ithaca) to Rochester’s WXXI two years ago. WXXI had filed to buy the WVWA construction permit late in 2011, but then withdrew that application, leaving the CP to fade away without being constructed. (Also gone without ever being built: St. Albans, VERMONT‘s WXCP 90.5, a CP granted in January 2009 to the Adirondack Center for Peace.)
And over in Glens Falls, the demolition of the WMML (1230)/WENU (1410) tower took place right on schedule last Monday – and the good folks up at Adirondack Broadcasting captured the moment on video so we could share it with you…
(The tower will be replaced sometime this week with a new, sturdier tower that will also carry Verizon Wireless antennas.)
*In northeast PENNSYLVANIA, former station owner Doug Lane could be eligible for parole in as little as three years after striking a deal with prosecutors to end his appeals of his 2005 conviction for child sexual assault. Lane lost his station licenses, including WWDL (104.9 Scranton, now WWRR) and WICK (1400 Scranton), after being convicted; he was sentenced to at least 14 years in prison but had that sentence reduced to a minimum of eight years after reaching the deal.
We now know what direction Clear Channel is taking WLAN-FM (96.9 Lancaster) in after ditching the local morning show: it’s now carrying the syndicated Elvis Duran morning show out of New York’s Z100.
Up in Erie, the FM translator for Cumulus’ all-sports WRIE (1260) has a new frequency: W285AI is being displaced from 104.9 by the impending move of WRKT (100.9 North East) to that frequency, and now the translator has applied for a license to cover its move to 104.3, where it’s running 173 watts from the tower behind the WICU-TV/WSEE-TV studios on State Street, just south of downtown. Meanwhile, PBRTV.com’s Tom Lavery reports Cumulus has turned on the digital signal at WXKC (99.9 Erie), making “Classy 100” the first HD station in town, running only the HD-1 main channel.
And we offer a somewhat belated obituary for Andy Musser, the longtime Phillies radio voice who was in the booth from 1976 until 2001, including the team’s 198o championship run. (As we noted when Harry Kalas died, the local radio broadcasters didn’t get to call the World Series on radio back then, but Kalas and Musser did get to call the playoffs, including Mike Schmidt’s big home run.)
Musser also called games for the 76ers and the Eagles during a long career in Philadelphia sports radio. He died January 22 in suburban Wynnewood, at age 74.
*If it was a quiet week in the US, it was even more so in CANADA: the only radio headline we noticed during the week was the retirement of CBC Montreal “All in a Weekend” host Dave Bronstetter. As Montreal media blogger Steve Faguy reports, Bronstetter has been off the air for unspecified reasons since the fall, but he’ll return February 18th for a farewell show to close out a career that included many years hosting CBM (940)’s morning and afternoon drivetime local shows.
Yup, we’ve been doing this a long time now, and so we’re digging back into the vaults for a look at what NERW was covering one, five, ten and – where available – fifteen years ago this week, or thereabouts.
Note that the column appeared on an erratic schedule in its earliest years as “New England Radio Watch,” and didn’t go to a regular weekly schedule until 1997.
One Year Ago: February 7, 2011 –
*Will NEW YORK become the latest state to make pirate radio a crime? Beset by a growing number of unlicensed broadcasters and an understaffed FCC that can’t keep up with the interference they cause, state lawmakers in Florida and New Jersey have passed laws in recent years giving state law-enforcement officials the power to investigate and shut down unlicensed broadcasters.
Now the Empire State is poised to join them, as Albany lawmakers consider a pair of bills (A.326 in the state assembly, S.2737 in the state senate) that would make a class D felon out of anyone who “knowingly makes or causes to be made a radio transmission in this state without first having obtained a license or an exemption from licensure” or “acts, whether directly or indirectly, to cause an unauthorized radio transmission to, or interference with, a public or commercial radio station…or to enable the radio transmission or interference to occur.”
The bill has the support of the New York State Broadcasters Association, whose members (especially in the New York City area) have long been plagued by pirates that interfere with their signals and, in some cases, their business. So it’s not surprising to see the outspoken Bill O’Shaughnessy, whose WVIP (93.5 New Rochelle) broadcasts leased-time programming to many of the same audiences targeted by the pirates, making a strong case for the anti-pirate law.
O’Shaughnessy praises the dedication of the “legitimate entrepreneurial minority broadcasters who play by the rules and serve a wide range of constituencies with community programming broadcast in many different languages,” but he warns that “their dedication and hard work is seriously threatened by the ‘fly by night’ pirates who are in clear violation of Federal laws concerning the integrity of the spectrum.” And he says the situation has gotten so out of control that “FCC field agents have actually been threatened when, with their limited staff resources, they tried to move on the pirates.”
But the broadcast community in New York is far from unanimous in its support of the bill. The Society of Broadcast Engineers has opposed state involvement in broadcast regulation, warning that the establishment of state jurisdiction in one context (pirate radio, in this case) could lead to states asserting regulatory authority over other aspects of broadcasting as well – including areas such as tower siting where broadcasters have traditionally relied on federal preemption of state law to get around local authorities that have tried to restrict their operations.
“The bill as New York has configured it is preempted on its face by the Communications Act of 1934. The case law is very clear. It is subject to challenge, just as the New Jersey and Florida statutes are,” said SBE general counsel Chris Imlay in a message to New York members.
There are other concerns about the proposed new law as well: in a state that’s already struggling to find money for essential services, some broadcasters ask, where would the funding come from to track down pirates and bring them to justice? And there are questions about whether the law is written in an overly broad way that could affect licensed amateur operators or Part 15 broadcasters operating legally without licenses.
The bill was referred to committees in both the Assembly and Senate last month; we’ll be following its progress through Albany’s legislative morass in the months to come.
*One of the bigger ratings surprises in recent years has come from Rochester, where a plucky little oldies station called “Legends” emerged from obscurity to settle into a comfortable spot in the middle of the market’s top ten stations.
Rochester’s “Legends,” WLGZ (102.7 Webster), changed owners last year from Don Crawford’s Crawford Broadcasting to DJRA Broadcasting, owned by Donald Crawford Jr., and last week the younger Crawford shipped “Legends” down the Thruway to his other upstate signal, Albany-market WPTR (96.7 Clifton Park).
Albany’s new “Legends 96.7” replaces a Christian contemporary format, “Pulse 96.7,” and Crawford openly blames the arrival of an out-of-town competitor for the format’s demise. In a letter to listeners, Crawford acknowledged that much of his audience was being lost to EMF Broadcasting’s “K-Love” (heard in Albany on WYKL 94.5) and “Air 1” (WOOB 93.7).
“Unfortunately, there are not enough Christian listeners in the Capital Region to support three nothing-but-music Christian radio stations,” he wrote. “Because we must air commercials to survive, and most do not want to listen to them, most will resort to another source for Christian music, whether the Internet, Satellite radio, or another radio station. Therefore, we can neither compete nor continue to morally or confidently bring on new advertisers, knowing they will not get the support they need to at least break even on their advertising investment.”
Crawford says the plan is to use increased revenues from WPTR’s oldies format to help sustain sister station WDCD (1540 Albany), still owned by Crawford Broadcasting and carrying a Christian teaching format. Former WPTR afternoon host Alison Stevens moves to mornings on WDCD – and at least for now, “Legends 96.7” is using an on-air lineup that comes mainly from Rochester’s “Legends,” where jocks are voicetracking shifts for Albany.
And yes, WPTR’s shift to oldies means that Albany once again has a format battle between stations called “WPTR” and “WTRY.” It’s a far cry from the hard-fought AM top-40 war between WPTR on 1540 and WTRY on 980 that lasted all through the sixties and seventies, but the new Legends is competing directly with Clear Channel’s classic hits WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam).
*One of CANADA‘s first black-owned radio stations has changed hands, and that’s brought big changes in staff and programming at “Flow 93.5,” CFXJ Toronto.
CTV closed on its C$27 million purchase of the station from founder Denham Jolly last week, and wasted no time moving the station’s studios from 211 Yonge Street to the CHUM complex between Richmond and Queen streets.
With a new slogan of “Hip-hop, dance and R&B,” CTV’s version of Flow more closely resembles a rhythmic top-40 than the urban station Jolly was running – and along with the format shift came the departure of many of Jolly’s employees, including PD Wayne Williams and much of the station’s airstaff.
Will the “Flow” name survive the transition, or will CTV install the “Bounce” moniker it’s been using on rhythmic top-40 stations in Edmonton, Halifax and elsewhere? Stay tuned…
*When we sat down to write last week’s NERW, we didn’t include an item about the “suspension” of the morning team at Ottawa’s “Virgin Radio” (CKQB 106.9). Something about the story – perhaps the idea that the hosts were pulled from the air after disobeying orders from “the boss” to stop mentioning the station’s former identity as “The Bear” – carried with it a strong whiff of eau de publicity stunt.
And sure enough, our nose wasn’t steering us wrong: as of Friday morning, the “Virgin” identity, which never quite fit the rock format in Ottawa as well as it did at Astral’s top-40 “Virgin” signals in Montreal and Toronto, is gone. 106.9 is now back to “The Bear” after just over two years – and the existing airstaff (yes, including the “suspended” morning team) remains in place.
*There’s a new FM station on the air – sort of – in Danbury, CONNECTICUT, where Berkshire Broadcasting has changed the callsign of WREF (850 Ridgefield) to WAXB, rebranding the station as “B107.3” as it makes its FM debut on newly-acquired translator W279AN (107.3 Danbury), transmitting from the tower of co-owned WLAD (800)/WDAQ (98.3). The new B107.3 keeps the same satellite-delivered True Oldies Channel format; its new calls, meanwhile, have a history in the market, having been heard on the competing station that’s now WDBY (105.5 Patterson NY) back when it was “B105.5” from 1996-2002.
Five Years Ago: February 5, 2007 –
*The FCC’s continuing to deal with the flood of applications it’s received under its new “one-step” rules for moving radio stations’ cities of license – and that means a few more interesting applications in PENNSYLVANIA and NEW YORK for us to tell you about this week.
The biggest application in this week’s batch comes from Cumulus, which filed to move WFAS-FM (103.9 White Plains) to Bronxville, New York. For now, WFAS-FM will stay put at its current transmitter site in Greenburgh, just off the Sprain Parkway, but NERW expects a subsequent application to move the station’s transmitter within New York city limits.
As a pre-1964 grandfathered station, WFAS-FM doesn’t have to protect its second-adjacent neighbors on the Empire State Building, WKTU (103.5 Lake Success) and WAXQ (104.3 New York), but it does have to stay at least 15 km from WPAT-FM (93.1 Paterson NJ), which is also on Empire. That means it’s likely to end up somewhere in the Bronx, where it will probably end up joining another move-in, Cox’s WCTZ (96.7 Stamford CT, moving to Port Chester NY).
Will Cumulus hang on to the station after the move, or will it become trade bait? Stay tuned…
Meanwhile, out at the other end of the state, Farm and Home Broadcasting is applying to get WFRM-FM (96.7 Coudersport PA) out of its economically-troubled hometown and into the larger Olean market. Coudersport was the home base of Adelphia Communications, and the economic boom there under the Rigas family has quickly gone bust, with the collapse of the company, the convictions of its founders and the impending closure of the Adelphia call center that provided much of the town’s employment base.
While WFRM (600) will stay in Coudersport, the FM side wants to cross the state line to Portville, New York, running 460 watts at 155 meters from a communications tower on Savage Hollow Road in Olean.
*There’s a new tower up in MASSACHUSETTS. Carter Broadcasting’s WCRN (830 Worcester) put up a new fourth tower at its transmitter site on Thursday, and with the tower up and a new ground system in place, “True Talk 830” is almost ready to boost its night power from its present 5 kW to 50 kW – just in time for Red Sox opening day, as the station becomes the Sox affiliate for Worcester and much of the Metro West region, where new flagship WRKO (680) doesn’t reach well after dark. Veteran consultant and station owner Clark Smidt is on board at WCRN helping the station take maximum advantage of its impending power increase, too.
*In PENNSYLVANIA, we can clear up some callsign confusion in Erie: though it initially announced it was changing calls to WFGO, the oldies station on 1330 will remain WFNN for now. Why not pick up the calls of the former “Froggy” FM (now WXBB, “94.7 Bob FM”) along with the format? NERW suspects the idea is to keep the WFNN calls out of the hands of crosstown WRIE (1260), which has picked up the sports format formerly heard on 1330.
In the York area, Cumulus is applying to move WGLD (1440 Red Lion) to a new city of license and a new transmitter site. WGLD (ex-WTHM, ex-WGCB) has been operating on and off from a longwire antenna at its Red Lion site ever since tower construction for sister station WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) disrupted its original facility. Now Citadel wants to change WGLD’s city of license to Manchester Township, moving the station to the WSBA (910) site with 730 watts day, 53 watts night, non-directional.
Ten Years Ago: February 4, 2002 –
A 48-year legacy of television broadcasting from the highest point in the Northeast is coming to an end within days, as WMTW-TV (Channel 8) shuts down its transmitter atop Mount Washington, NEW HAMPSHIRE in favor of a new tower west of Sebago Lake in Maine. While Portland-area viewers will notice little change in their WMTW-TV service, the move is causing some interesting side effects in the North Country. Cable systems in places like Berlin, Gorham and Lancaster all used WMTW-TV as their ABC affiliate, but they won’t receive service from the new Sebago Lake site.
That brings us to MASSACHUSETTS, home of the World Champion New England Patriots, and we’re just sorry we don’t still live in Boston as we write this Sunday night. Sure, we’re happy for Messrs. Kraft, Belichick, Brady, et al…but we’re especially pleased for the team’s longtime radio announcers, former Pats coach Gino Cappelletti and veteran WBZ sports director Gil Santos. It’s taken far too long for Gil and Gino to be able to announce a championship, and for a while there, we were afraid they’d both retire without getting the chance. (Alas, only those within range of the WBCN signal were able to hear Gil and Gino’s call of the game; NFL rules restrict home-team coverage to flagship stations only, so the rest of New England had to listen to the Westwood One network coverage.)
The Pats’ win will be one of the last big stories to be covered on Fox Sports New England’s late-night “Regional Sports Report.” Budget cuts at the regional network mean FSNE’s 10 PM and weekend reports will be cancelled at the end of this week, leaving only the 6:30 PM show. Among the job cuts: anchors Eric Frede and John Holt.
The big news in NEW YORK came from Buffalo – and we don’t mean the windy, windy weather last Friday. The winds of change continued to blow hard at the Entercom cluster in the Queen City earlier in the week, as Clip Smith was informed (upon arriving to work on Tuesday) that his 6-10 PM talk show on WBEN (930) had been cancelled and his services were no longer required. Smith, a former sports anchor at WKBW-TV, came to WBEN in early 2000 as part of the format changes that turned his former home of WGR into an all-sports station. Smith’s time slot is being filled by an hour of news at 6, followed by the Laura Schlessinger show formerly heard from 9 AM until noon. Moving into that slot is Tom Bauerle, who finally leaves the WGR sports format in which he’d been an uncomfortable fit since being paired with Chris “Bulldog” Parker in 2000. There’s already plenty of speculation in Buffalo media circles that Bauerle’s being groomed for morning drive at WBEN – and that the Laura move is just a prelude to her disappearance from the Buffalo airwaves.
Fifteen Years Ago: February 1, 1997 –
Wanna buy a tower? The five-tower site in Ashland MA that’s home to WBPS (890 Dedham-Boston) is up for sale, according to an ad in this week’s Broadcasting & Cable. The ad claims the 40-acre site can be used for all kinds of communications, including beepers, cellphone, LPTV, and FM. The site is priced at $3.5 million. This could be interesting for WBPS, as word has it that they’ve had a hard time maintaining their directional pattern as it is. The site was built in 1980 for John Garabedian’s WGTR (1060 Natick), which was upgrading from a 1000-watt non-directional daytimer. WGTR later became WBIV (with a few stops along the way), and then in 1994, the station’s physical plant was sold to Douglas Broadcasting, which used them to put WBMA (later WBPS) on the air on 890, leaving 1060 dark.
An unusual partnership between a noncommercial FM and a commercial AM station is making headlines in Amherst MA. WFCR (88.5) is leasing eight hours a day from WTTT (1430 Amherst), to broadcast programming that’s otherwise unavailable in the area. The “WFCR on WTTT” schedule runs weekdays from 10am till 6pm, and includes “The Connection” from Boston’s WBUR, “Monitor Radio Midday Edition,” “The Derek McGinty Show” from WAMU in Washington, “Talk of the Nation” from NPR, “The World” from WGBH in Boston, and “The Diane Rehm Show” from WAMU. WTTT broadcasts short underwriting announcements at the start and end of each hour, and the stations split the revenue. The public radio programming replaces Bloomberg business news on WTTT.
More from the pirate front: It seems Bloomfield CT’s “Praise 105.3” was even claiming to have call letters for a time. “FMedia!” says the station went by “WPRZ,” calls which belong to AM 1250 in Warrenton VA. The station was reportedly running 60 watts. Meantime, “Radio Free Allston” in the Boston area is looking far and wide for support. Its founder has been running notices in the newsletter of the National Writers Union local, asking for support for the station and promising that it will feature copious coverage of local arts. No sign of any actual broadcasting on 88.5 so far.
O Canada…where have you gone?: That’s what CBC listeners in New England could be wondering in a few years. The CBC has applied to move its Montreal outlet, CBM, from 940 to 88.7 FM. CBM’s 50 kilowatt signal blankets the region at night. Another Montreal-area AM, CKVL (850 Verdun) is one of the applicants for the vacant 95.1 FM slot. With CKVL gone, night power could be in the offing for WREF (850 Ridgefield CT), and Boston’s 50kW WEEI could improve its pattern to the northwest considerably. Competing for 95.1 is the CBC’s French-language CBF (690), which has one of the best AM signals in the northeast. Another Montreal FM frequency could open up if CIME 99.5 Ste.-Adele is granted a move to 103.9. One broadcaster has already applied for 99.5 in Montreal.
And that closes the books on the final column to come to you from Waltham MA. NERW hits the road this weekend, and you can expect the next column to arrive from Rochester NY sometime next week. We’ll see you then!