In this week”s issue: Urban returns to Binghamton – Long wait for Boston DTV antenna fix – Al Terzi returns to Hartford TV – Changes at Philly”s “Wired” – Fire damages Montreal AM studio
by SCOTT FYBUSH
*When struggling noncommercial station WUCI (91.5) finally went dark for good back in 1991, Binghamton, NEW YORK lost its only station focusing on the city”s black community. But two decades later, urban radio has returned to Binghamton in the form of a brand-new signal.
WJOB-FM (93.3 Susquehanna PA) quietly signed on last week, complete with a website and a live stream of what sounds like a test format that runs the gamut from uncensored hard-core rap to classic R&B to Spanish-language pop, without much in the way of station IDs.
The new noncommercial class A signal is licensed to the Broome County Urban League, transmits from the Hickory Knob tower in Great Bend, PA that was the original home of WKGB (92.5), and claims a studio location at 122 State Street in downtown Binghamton. If that address rings a bell, it”s because it was the longtime home of WAAL (99.1) and WKOP/WRSG (1360) until those stations moved to their current downtown home in the 1990s.
*Speaking of quiet launches, CBS used the sleepy holiday week to debut its new local programming on recently-acquired WLNY-TV (Channel 55). The independent station is still licensed to Smithtown and transmits from the east end of Long Island, but it”s operating from the CBS Broadcast Center on W. 57th Street in Manhattan, and it”s now carrying “Live from the Couch” on weekday mornings from 7 to 9 (with a cast that includes former WHTZ morning co-host Carolina Bermudez) and a 9-10 PM newscast on weekday evenings.
Another upstart independent station at the other end of the state made a big hire last week: Phil Arno”s WBBZ-TV (Channel 67) in Buffalo is bringing John DiSciullo on board as executive director of production and promotion. DiSciullo comes to “Buffalo”s Buzz” from a much bigger operation, WKBW-TV (Channel 7), where he”s been working for 30 years, most recently as “Director of Strategic Content, News Operations, and Community Affairs” (effectively, the ABC affiliate”s news director). DiSciullo also hosted “Off Beat Cinema” on channel 7, and that show will make the move to WBBZ-TV once he comes on board there.
One more TV note, from Albany: WTEN (Channel 10) and its sister station WCDC (Channel 19 Adams MA) have dropped the Retro TV (RTV) network from their 10.3/19.3 subchannels, replacing RTV with the LiveWell Network that started on ABC”s owned-and-operated stations and is now expanding to national distribution.
Radio People on the Move: Robby Bridges is now the PD at Cumulus Media”s WFAS-FM (103.9 Bronxville), a quick move upward for the station”s afternoon jock and (until now) assistant PD. Bridges also does some weekend shifts on sister station WPLJ (95.5 New York) and is an on-air host at the Cumulus-run “True Oldies Channel” satellite service. And speaking of WPLJ, today”s the day incoming PD John Foxx starts his new duties, including a midday airshift; the previous middayer, Jeff Miles, has landed in middays at Cumulus sister station WWWQ (99.7 Atlanta).
And we can”t leave the Empire State without wishing a hearty “Happy 40th Birthday” to New York”s WCBS-FM (101.1), which marked four decades of oldies-and/or-classic-hits (give or take a couple of years of “Jack” that nobody wants to remember now) with a big on-air celebration over the weekend that included some airshifts from veteran CBS-FM voices such as Cousin Brucie and Don K. Reed. The station has posted lots of pictures and memories on a special anniversary page, here.
*Al Terzi is changing stations in CONNECTICUT. Back at the end of February, Terzi departed WFSB (Channel 3) after failing to come to terms with the CBS affiliate on a contract renewal, but the 69-year-old anchor wasn”t done doing TV, and now he”s moving to Tribune”s Fox affiliate, WTIC-TV (Channel 61). Terzi will co-host the Sunday “Real Story” panel show, co-anchor Friday newscasts and fill in on the station”s other weekday shows, as well as contributing to sister outlets including the Hartford Courant.
*While we wait to find out what Clear Channel has in store for its new eastern MASSACHUSETTS signal (the soon-to-be-former WFNX 101.7, which changes hands July 22) and who CBS Radio will hire to staff up its new “AMP 103.3” (WODS), today is launch day for the complete new schedule at WGBH (89.7).
The station”s new daytime lineup debuted last week, taking away live clearances of the “Takeaway” morning show (a co-production of WGBH and New York’s WNYC) at 6 and 9 AM and replacing them with two more hours of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Diane Rehm’s Washington-based show was cut back to a one-hour clearance from 10-11 AM, with an hour of “The Takeaway” running on delay at 11. “Tell Me More” replaced “Fresh Air” at 2 PM, eliminating a bit of duplication with WBUR (which carries the show at 1 PM), and the replay of “The World” (a WGBH/BBC co-production that airs live at 3 PM) shifted from 6-7 PM to 8-9 PM, replaced by an additional hour of “All Things Considered.”
The big change effective today happens in the evening and overnight hours: Eric Jackson”s nightly jazz block gives way to that “World” replay at 8 and a 9-11 PM rebroadcast of “Boston Public Radio,” the noon-2 PM talk block hosted by Callie Crossley and Emily Rooney. And following that, the syndicated JazzWorks programming will be replaced by an overnight clearance for “PRX Remix,” the relatively new spoken-word service that”s an outgrowth of PRX.org, the independent program distribution service for public-media producers. WGBH is by far the largest public broadcaster to pick up “Remix” for its air; until now, it”s been heard mainly on HD Radio subchannels and on secondary services like North Country Public Radio”s WREM (88.7 Canton) in northern New York.
The end of weeknight jazz prompted a protest last Thursday (during Jackson”s final weeknight show) in which local musicians played outside WGBH”s studio windows in Allston; as for Jackson, he”ll now be heard on Friday evenings as well as Saturdays and Sundays, where Steve Schwartz”s jazz shows used to air.
*What will happen first – the restoration of full-power DTV service from the damaged antenna in Needham, or the mathematical elimination of the woeful Red Sox from playoff contention? At this point, it appears the Sox could be out of the running before the antenna that normally serves WCVB (Channel 5/RF 20), WBZ-TV (Channel 4/RF 30), WSBK (Channel 38/RF 39) and WGBX (Channel 44/RF 43) is back in place 1200 feet up the tower on Cedar Street.
Those four signals are running at full power from the identical master antenna just below the damaged one, but because that antenna is usually home to WGBH (Channel 2/RF 19), WGBH has been operating at reduced power and antenna height from the much lower standby antenna that”s normally used by WCVB. And it appears that WGBH will have to stay there until the end of the summer: WGBH engineers say the damage to the upper main antenna proved to be so extensive once it was removed from the tower and shipped back up to Dielectric in Maine that it will likely be late August before the antenna is rebuilt and returned to Needham. The complicated, dangerous work of returning the huge antenna to its perch at the top of the tower could take several more weeks, taking viewers into September before WBZ, WCVB, WSBK and WGBX are back on the upper antenna and WGBH can resume full-power operation from the lower antenna.
*An obituary in western Massachusetts: Ron Stratton began his radio career in his native Michigan way back in 1957, but he made a name for himself when he arrived in Pittsfield in 1965 and went to work as a news reporter at WBEC (1420). Stratton stayed at the station through the rest of the 1960s and into the 1970s, eventually becoming general manager before moving on to jobs in Rochester, Baltimore (WITH), Cincinnati and Indianapolis (WTUX) before retiring in 2003. Stratton died June 29, at age 72.
*This column has never been shy about its admiration for the work Larry Berger and his “Saturday Light Brigade” crew do out in western PENNSYLVANIA, broadcasting to kids (and “kids of all ages”) on Saturday mornings from the basement of the Pittsburgh Children”s Museum over a network of stations based at WRCT (88.3 Pittsburgh). So we”re excited to be able to report that Larry”s SLB Radio Productions is teaming up with WQED Multimedia to launch a stream of kid-friendly programming and online content that will be branded as “iQ Kids Radio.”
The new service is expected to launch sometime in 2013, starting with all-day Saturday programming and eventually expanding to 24/7 content that will be based on SLB”s existing format, which includes live music and interviews with kids (and yes, the Fybushes made an appearance on SLB while visiting Pittsburgh last summer!)
Radio People on the Move in Philadelphia: some staff shuffles at WRDW (Wired 96.5) find Buster moving from afternoons to nights, replacing Kobi Kearney, who was also music director. Kearney”s MD duties, along with the afternoon shift that Buster had been filling since Kannon left in April, go to DJ Grooves, who comes to Philly from Detroit”s WDZH (AMP 98.7).
And over in the world of TV, Anzio Williams is the new vice-president of news at NBC”s WCAU (Channel 10), inbound from KCRA in Sacramento to replace Chris Blackman.
*With much of CANADA idled by the Canada Day holiday, it”s no surprise that our big news this week comes from the one part of the country that doesn”t much celebrate the July 1 holiday: in Quebec, one AM station spent the week recovering from a fire that heavily damaged its Montreal studios last Sunday night.
CJWI (1610) is better known as “CPAM Radio Union,” at least to the Haitian emigre community that depends on its programming to keep tabs on the island”s often-fractious politics, and station manager Jean-Ernest Pierre tells the Montreal Gazette that he believes arsonists attacked the station”s building in retaliation for its on-air calls for a criminal trial of Haitian dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
The station was off the air for only 10 hours, returning Monday from studio space donated by another Montreal broadcaster, and Pierre says he”ll rebuild and stay on the air despite the intimidation.
*Up north in the Saguenay region, Carl Gilbert”s CKGS (105.5 La Baie) says it”s struggled to build an audience since its debut in 2009, and “KOOL FM” is blaming a weak signal in the region”s largest cities, Chicoutimi and Jonquiere. Now the station is getting a chance to better reach those areas, about eight miles from its base in La Baie: the CRTC has approved a transmitter move that will shift CKGS to 105.7, dropping power from 6 kW/18 m non-directional to 2.93 kW (6 kW max DA)/33 m.
And in the nation”s capital region, the CRTC has granted Global”s application to get its DTV transmitter out of the no-man”s-land of low-band VHF. Ottawa”s CIII-TV-6 stayed on RF channel 6 when it transitioned from analog to digital, but with just 650 watts of power, it didn”t stand a chance of being seen by the average Ottawa-area viewer. Now it”s moving to channel 14, where its 49.2 kW from the Camp Fortune community tower site should allow it to be seen somewhat better.
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: July 11, 2011 –
**If you”re looking for hard facts about what”s coming next to NEW YORK“s WRXP (101.9) once Randy Michaels” Merlin Media takes over later this summer, you”re not going to find them here (or anywhere) just yet. But there”s plenty to speculate about this week, fueled by some interesting staffing moves that the new Merlin group is making.
Consider this: it”s been widely rumored that the new calls on 101.9 will be “WYNY,” a rumor that gained force last week when Merlin registered several related domain names – and then on Friday, Merlin went and hired none other than Pete Salant, the veteran jock/programmer/consultant who took the original WYNY on 97.1 to #1 in the market as an adult-contemporary signal under NBC in the early 1980s.
Nobody”s saying much yet about what role Salant, best known as a music programmer, will play at Merlin, though we”re hearing he”ll be working alongside COO Walt Sabo (best known as a talk programmer) on the format launch due later this summer.
And in the meantime, there is an all-news voice who”s reportedly joining Merlin”s staff: Jeff McKay departed Metro Networks at the end of June, just shy of his 20-year mark with the traffic service. And McKay, of course, was one of the signature Metro traffic voices on CBS Radio”s WINS (1010)…and on New Jersey 101.5 (WKXW-FM Trenton), which was long consulted by none other than Walt Sabo. (Radio is a small business, isn”t it?)
Meanwhile, one of WRXP”s current top executives is leaving. Brian D”Aurelio, who was operations manager for 101.9 and its sister Emmis stations WRKS (98.7) and WQHT (97.1), will be leaving the company at month”s end. D”Aurelio also served as night jock on WRXP.
*And as long as we”re clearly in speculation mode, we cast an eye across the Atlantic to the troubles Rupert Murdoch”s News Corporation is facing at its British newspaper operations. News Corp. was forced to shutter the News of the World, one of the oldest newspapers in the world, yesterday amidst growing allegations of illegal phone hacking by journalists there. And even as the company faces regulatory fallout in Britain, where its planned buyout of the BSkyB satellite service is under attack, it”s worth wondering whether there are possible regulatory issues ahead for News Corp. here in the US as well, especially if lawsuits end up being filed against the company, which is incorporated in Delaware, or if its top executives were to face criminal charges as a result of the News scandal.
This matters to NERW, of course, because News Corp.”s Fox Television Stations unit owns several valuable TV licenses in the region – WFXT in Boston, WTXF in Philadelphia and, most prominently, WNYW and WWOR-TV in the New York market. As it stands, the Fox TV stations have yet to be granted the most recent license renewals for which they applied, hung up by the continued legal fracas over the FCC”s indecency rules. But the licenses for WNYW and WWOR are especially sensitive issues, since they”re also entangled by two other issues: cross-ownership with Murdoch”s powerful (if not especially profitable) New York Post and the ongoing complaints from top New Jersey officials that Secaucus-licensed WWOR has failed to live up to its promises of public service to the Garden State.
As it turns out, both of those issues were in the headlines last week, too. On the cross-ownership issue, a federal court in Philadelphia muddied the waters still further with a ruling that essentially upheld the FCC”s “scarcity” rationale for imposing ownership caps and cross-ownership restrictions, at the same time tossing out the most recent Commission attempt to explicitly allow newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership in the 20 largest markets, New York included. (The court did indicate, though, that the FCC”s plans to relax the cross-ownership ban in the largest markets would have passed muster if it had been given more time for public comment.)
For now, though, the court”s ruling means News Corp. will continue to be at the FCC”s mercy for ongoing waivers of the statutory ban that would otherwise prohibit the company from owning both WNYW/WWOR and the Post – and that in turn would appear to make News Corp./Fox rather more vulnerable to the political fallout that could follow if the scorching reaction to the British hacking scandal gains traction across the Atlantic.
*Larry Kruger was part of RHODE ISLAND“s most famous morning team, working alongside the legendary Salty Brine at WPRO (630) from 1978 until 1993.
The recent Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame inductee, who died Tuesday at age 66, started his broadcast career at WEMJ in Laconia, N.H. and WHYN in Springfield, then came to WPRO in 1973, moving to mornings and Brine”s show five years later. Kruger remained at WPRO for two more years after Brine”s retirement; he also worked at WWBB (101.5) and several other Ocean State stations as well as at Boston”s WMEX and WODS.
*Rhode Island Public Radio/WRNI is providing some help to Coventry High School”s WCVY (91.5). Now that the high school has FCC permission to stay on the air 24/7 after the deletion of its former share-time partner, WRJI (91.5 East Greenwich), WRNI is providing WCVY with programming to help fill those extra hours. Students are on the air at WCVY from 2-8 PM on weekdays when school is in session, and when they”re not on, the WCVY signal will fill a gap between WRNI”s Providence-licensed 1290 signal and WRNI-FM (102.7 Narragansett Pier) down in South County. The deal also includes internships for Coventry High School students at WRNI. (And we should note also that WRNI-FM has boosted its power; it has a new directional antenna that allows it to go to a full 6 kW from its Narragansett Pier site.)
*In central PENNSYLVANIA, they”re mourning a radio guy who died far too young. Pat Boland spent most of his career in State College, where he was most recently PD/news director and morning host at WRSC-FM (103.1). But in June, Boland had to leave that job as he fought brain cancer, writing on his blog that “I do plan to return to the radio someday. Now I have to take care of my body and mind. I can’t work myself into the grave.”
Sadly, that return won”t happen; Boland took a turn for the worse not long after moving home to his native Somerset County, and he died early Wednesday morning, July 6. Pat Boland was just 42 years old.
*There”s some happier news to report about a couple of Radio People on the Move. Connecticut native Paul Walker is a familiar presence on the message boards and mailing lists, but he”s spent most of his peripatetic broadcast career away from NERW-land, working news and DJ jobs everywhere from Florida to North Dakota to Nebraska to Illinois, where he”s most recently been doing mornings at WGGH (1150 Marion).
Now Paul”s back in the region as the new afternoon jock at Dennis Heindl”s WDDH (97.5 St. Mary”s), and we”re especially pleased to hear that he landed the job through a classified ad he placed right here on NERW.
*In Montreal, the week brought good news and bad news about Cogeco”s plan to return the former CINF (690) and CINW (940) facilities to the air with all-traffic programming in partnership with the provincial transport ministry (MTQ).
A Montreal Gazette article touted the stations” return as being imminent, though it also raised the possibility that the revived 690 and 940 signals may run lower power than the full 50 kW for which they were authorized as clear-channel facilities. But no sooner did that article run than Cogeco removed its applications from consideration at next Monday”s CRTC hearing, where they were expected to be approved. It”s not clear why the applications were withdrawn, but that”s not an uncommon move, and there”s no reason to think it signifies any long-term problems with the project.
Five Years Ago: July 9, 2007 –
*Thirty-five years after NEW YORK“s WCBS-FM (101.1) flipped to oldies, and two years after the station rocked the Big Apple radio world with a flip away from oldies to adult hits “Jack FM,” the message boards once again began buzzing last Thursday afternoon with word that the new management at CBS Radio was about to reverse course and restore oldies to 101.1.Whether or not the news was an intentional leak, it came at a perfectly slow moment in the larger news cycle, and by Friday it had moved beyond the radio message boards and e-mail lists and out to the TV newscasts and the headlines on WINS. By Saturday morning, it was even the front-page story in the Daily News, even though CBS had yet to confirm that the move was happening.
As we head for our Sunday night NERW deadline, there”s still been no confirmation from within CBS, but all the signs we”re hearing tell us that the rumors are true, and that at some point between today and Thursday, WCBS-FM will indeed return to some version of the oldies format it was using until that dark day in June 2005.
That”s good news for New York oldies fans, but perhaps not quite as much good news as some of them were hoping for. Despite the Daily News” claim that the station will be bringing back “real DJs,” our sources tell us that at least at first, the new CBS-FM will sound very much like the HD2/webstream version of CBS-FM that”s been serving as a stopgap replacement for the original station – no DJs, and a music mix that leans more heavily on the 70s and early 80s than the old CBS-FM did.
None of that should come as any surprise to anyone who”s been following the moves at CBS Radio since Dan Mason returned earlier this year to retake the reins from Joel Hollander. In addition to the mercy killing of what remained of “Free FM” in New York, returning “K-Rock” WXRK (92.3) to the airwaves, Mason replaced “Free FM” in San Francisco (KIFR 106.9) with a revived version of KFRC, leaning more toward classic hits than the oldies KFRC once played in its previous incarnation. The new KFRC launched jockless, and only slowly added air talent.
Who might be on the lineup at the new CBS-FM? Pretty much every name that”s graced the mike there over the last few decades has been suggested for the revived 101, and many of them would appear to be available. (What”s Micky Dolenz doing these days, anyway?) And of course there are plenty of talented jocks who”ve lost their full-time gigs in recent years to format changes and consolidation – anyone from Carol Miller to Bill Buchner to Pat St. John to Famous Amos would make great additions to the airstaff.
That”s all in the realm of speculation for now, though. Even though CBS has been making some solid moves recently (especially the launch of “Fresh FM” on 102.7, which has made serious inroads on longtime market revenue champion WLTW, a station that would face further challenges from a revived WCBS-FM), few of them have involved the kind of personality radio that made the original WCBS-FM so successful for so long. Fresh has eroded WLTW”s numbers with an approach that”s nearly jockless, and the revived K-Rock has been running mostly jockless as well, though that may change now that there”s a PD in place there.
*Elsewhere in the Empire State over the long holiday week: In the Albany market, public broadcaster WMHT pulled the plug on one of its two classical music services on Saturday, replacing “cool, comfortable, classical” WBKK (97.7 Amsterdam) with “Exit 97.7,” a new AAA format with new calls WEXT.
WMHT says the two-year experiment with WBKK, which had been a commercial classical station before WMHT bought it, found that there was a tremendous amount of listener duplication between 97.7 and the more established WMHT-FM (89.1 Schenectady), producing little in the way of new listeners or members to the station.
The new “Exit 97.7” will feature local jocks Dave Michaels in morning drive and Eileen Roarke in middays, with station manager Chris Wienk handling afternoons.
Programming will also include two daily runs of “World Cafe” from Philadelphia”s WXPN and the new age show “Echoes” (which was already being heard at night on WBKK), as well as a local music show called “Area 518” on weekends.
*In MAINE, Saga”s tweaked the imaging at WYNZ (100.9 Westbrook) – instead of “Oldies” (didn”t they get the news from New York?), the station is now “Portland”s Big Hits, Y-100.9.”
Our pal Chuck Igo and the rest of the airstaff remain intact, and the biggest image on the top of the station”s webpage is still the Beatles, so it”s really only a name change up there.
“The Humble Farmer” isn”t coming back to Maine Public Broadcasting, but Robert Skoglund has found a new radio home elsewhere. After losing his longtime spot on MPBN Radio over accusations that he made political comments on what was supposed to be a humor show, Skoglund is joining low-power WJZP-LP (97.1 Standish), which will air “Humble Farmer” segments five times a week over the air and on its webcast.
*An iconic MASSACHUSETTS broadcasting site is no more. Demolition crews closed off Western Avenue in Allston Saturday morning to take down the pedestrian bridge that had linked the two main buildings of WGBH for decades.
The bridge had to come down in order to get a certificate of occupancy at WGBH”s new building on Market Street, as our colleague Garrett Wollman explains over at the Archives @ BostonRadio.org.
Our thanks to him for sharing this picture of the demolition – and head over to the Archives site to see many more. (And, you know, we”d have loved to have preserved that WGBH sign if only we”d known that they were just ripping it down with the rest of the bridge…)
Speaking of pictures, Salem”s WTTT (1150 Boston) was apparently having some trouble with them as the station launched its new website.
Thanks to regular reader Laurence Glavin for noting the lovely skyline photo on the talk1150.com site, which featured a beautiful waterfront view of – er, Baltimore”s Inner Harbor. It didn”t take long for Adam Gaffin”s excellent Universal Hub to catch wind of the gaffe (and to preserve it for posterity, for which, many thanks) – and we”ll give Salem the benefit of the doubt and say that the generic American flag graphic that quickly replaced the Charm City on the WTTT site was going to go up anyway, what with it being the Fourth of July and all.
*Boston”s channel 2 just moved, and now CONNECTICUT“s channel 3 has started to load up the moving vans. WFSB (Channel 3) has finished construction of its new studio complex in Rocky Hill, and station staffers began moving in last week. Newscast production from the new studios won”t start for a few more weeks, so the news department remains at the old Broadcast House in downtown Hartford for a little while longer. (Thanks to reader Bill Dillane for snapping the pictures!)
The TV station atop NEW HAMPSHIRE”s highest peak is completing its move off Mount Washington. NERW research director Garrett Wollman made the trek up the Rock last week, and in addition to bringing back some gorgeous pictures of a rare clear summertime day on the 6288-foot peak, he reports that WMTW-TV (Channel 8) has reached agreement to sell its facilities on Mount Washington to the state of New Hampshire. WMTW moved its transmitter to Baldwin, Maine a few months ago, leaving the channel 8 building on Washington nearly empty (veteran transmitter engineer/air personality Marty Engstrom delivered his last on-air report from the mountaintop in May before retiring) – and leaving the Mount Washington Observatory and the two FM stations on the mountain (WHOM 94.9 Mount Washington and WPKQ 103.7 North Conway) to figure out how to get power, which had been provided by WMTW under contract. No word yet on the price or timetable for the transfer, but stay tuned to NERW for more in the weeks to come…
MASSACHUSETTS radio and TV have been busy mourning the passing of the legendary Ted Williams, of course, which gave us the chance to hear veterans like Johnny Pesky during the weekend”s Sox-Tigers series (not to mention the Tigers” Ernie Harwell, still sharp as a tack in his last season doing play-by-play at age 84) – but there was some other news in the Bay State this holiday week:
Up in Beverly, WNSH (1570) is trying to end years and years of STA (Special Temporary Authority) operation, stemming from the 1992 fire that destroyed the old 1570 (WMLO/WBVD) site in Danvers. WNSH has been running with 500 watts daytime from a new three-tower array on the Endicott College campus, according to its latest FCC filing, but has been shown on the books as a two-site operation, with night facilities still at the old Danvers location. In reality, WNSH was operating with an STA to transmit non-directionally from the middle tower of the new day array, having concluded that it couldn”t win political permission to build the extra towers needed for full night power from Endicott. The latest plan calls for a licensed 125 watts non-directional at night from the Endicott College site, still using that 99-foot middle tower.
Out on Long Island, Muriel Horenstein died July 1. She”s remembered by many of the Island”s radio veterans for her decades running WBAB (1440/102.3) in Babylon and its AM successor, WNYG (1440 Babylon), which she owned with her husband Sol.
Fifteen Years Ago: July 10, 1997 –
We”ll start this week in VERMONT, where the modern rock wars between WBTZ (99.9 Plattsburgh, “The Buzz,” LMA”d to WIZN) and WXPS (96.7 Vergennes, “The Pulse,” co-owned with WCPV) have come to an end, with the Buzz as the apparent winner. WXPS is reportedly off the air for now, and will return shortly with a sports-talk format. The Pulse was plagued for most of its yearlong life with a poor signal in Burlington, a problem rectified only recently by a 97.3 translator in the Queen City.
Also dark for now is WCVT (101.7 Stowe), but it should be on the air again any second now under the new ownership of Radio Vermont, running a classical music format.
Up there in MAINE, Dan Billings wrote to us from his trip Down East, with word that WMCS (1400) Machias remains off the air, while erstwhile sister station WALZ-FM (95.3) is in a triple simulcast with Calais” WQDY (1230/92.7) as “International Radio.” Not part of the simulcast is Houlton”s WHOU (100.1); it was doing its own thing when Dan tuned in. WHRR (102.9) Dennysville-Calais is on the air, running classic rock as “CD 102.9,” reaching a few thousand people, a lot of water, and many cows within reach of its 100 kW signal.
Mostly quiet on the CONNECTICUT front, except around 97 MHz. WILI-FM (98.3 Willimantic) has turned on its new translator on 97.5 in Bolton. W248AB is reaching out as far as Greenfield MA, based on early field reports. And over at 97.1, the gospel pirate in Hartford is reportedly operating at night only, with a signal strong enough to stop the scan on car radios downtown.
Moving along to NEW YORK, the big news this week is all in the Capital District, and most of it comes from Clear Channel”s Albany properties. On the AM side, WQBK (1300 Rensselaer) will switch from talk to sports on Monday. Morning host Scott Lounsberry and midday host John Howe are out of work; PM drive host Howie Green stays with the new “All Sports 1300” as operations manager. Most of the WQBK programming will come from One-on-One Sports. On the FM side, classic rocker WXCR (102.3 Ballston Spa) made a big grab this week, stealing veteran morning team Mason and Sheehan from SFX”s WPYX (106.5).
While the CBC has yet to secure CRTC permission to move CBL to FM, it did get the go-ahead this week to move its Montreal outlets off the AM band. In a news release that was apparently translated from English to French and back again (after possibly making a detour into Swedish), the CRTC announced that CBF (690) will get to move to the 95.1 MHz spot. The release says CBM (940) will also get an FM slot, but fails to give a frequency. CIME (99.5 Ste.-Adele) will apparently change to an undisclosed new frequency to open 99.5 for a new commercial French-language classical station in Montreal. And Quebec”s CBV (980) also gets a new berth on FM; again, no frequency given.