By SCOTT FYBUSH
It's the twelfth annual installment of NERW's "Year in
Review," that annual exercise in which your editor sits
down (usually far too late on the afternoon of December 31, after
copious procrastination) to sort through the detritus of another
12 months of broadcasting in the northeastern U.S. and eastern
Canada and to try to make sense of it all.
The overwhelming sense here at NERW Central, as we paste the
last corners of 2006 down in the scrapbook, is one of a mediocre
year for broadcasting: too many jobs lost, a dearth of interesting
new programming ideas or exciting new talents, and the ever-present
drumbeat of new technologies howling outside the door of conventional
radio and TV.
Even so, amidst all the news of layoffs and questionable format
changes and so on, there were still a few stories that stood
out - those interesting moments and trends we call our annual
Jimmy, can we roll the tape?
1. The axe swings, and swings, and swings
Radio has never been the right business to be in, if it's
job security you're after. But there was a time, at least, when
radio people could be reasonably certain that with a bit of job-hopping
now and then, they could at least make a solid career in the
2006 was not that time, especially for those who worked for
the big radio groups - and working for most stations in large
and medium markets meant, almost inevitably, working for one
of the big radio groups.
There were the usual mass firings in advance of a format change,
like the blowing out of nearly all the airstaff at New York's
WNEW (102.7) at year's end - but there were also some more disturbing
group firings, none more so than Entercom's decision in November
to shutter the local news operation at WRKO (680 Boston), putting
all six newspeople out of work.
also felt cuts at several Clear Channel clusters, including Albany,
Springfield, Syracuse, Rochester and New Haven, where the entire
WELI news operation closed down at the end of the year, replaced
by hourly Fox News Radio updates.
But it wasn't just news taking the hit. With Clear Channel
imposing groupwide budget cuts in November and December, veteran
DJs like Bill Buchner and J.J. Kennedy (replaced by the syndicated
Delilah) at New York's WLTW, "Broadway" Bill Lee at
WKTU, Joanie Edwardsen at WSNE in Providence, and many more across
the region found themselves heading for the holidays without
a job - and with fewer options than ever before for finding a
2. The big groups contract
The budget cuts that drove many of those layoffs could be
traced back to Wall Street, where investors looking for ever-larger
profit margins came up against a radio industry that remained
profitable, but with slow (if any) growth.
The result was really more a national story than a regional
one, as Clear Channel escaped from the pressures of the stock
market by striking a $26 billion deal to take the company private
- most of it, anyway. Clear Channel ended the year by putting
many of its smaller radio markets up for sale, along with its
entire TV division.
CBS Radio remained public, but it too became a smaller company,
shedding markets such as Rochester and Buffalo and reinventing
itself as a major-market operator, focused on cities such as
Boston and New York.
Tribune's problems stemmed mostly from its troubled newspaper
division, but they affected TV as well, as the company sold WLVI
in Boston and WCWN in Albany, with more sales likely in 2007.
And Disney looked to exit the radio business entirely, proposing
a complicated deal to transfer its radio network and stations
(except for the ESPN Radio and Radio Disney units) to Citadel.
At year's end, that transfer was still tied up in regulatory
red tape, with some doubt that it will ever be completed.
3. The legends head for the exits
Not only was there once some job security in radio - it was
once possible for a news anchor or a jock to put in 40 years
or more at the same station.
of those paragons of longevity called it a career in 2006, most
notably Gary LaPierre, who came to Boston's WBZ in 1964 as a
22-year-old kid from Shelburne Falls and retired at the end of
the year as the city's icon of radio news. Governor Mitt Romney
declared December 29 "Gary LaPierre Day" in Massachusetts,
and everyone in town turned out to pack the newsroom for LaPierre's
tearful farewell, after which he received a hero's salute as
he walked down the long corridor out of the building for the
But there were other veterans whose retirement was worthy
of note in 2006, too. In Elmira, Carl Proper's career at WSYE-TV
(now WETM, Channel 18) began in 1958, when the station itself
had just signed on. He left for a few years, but returned in
1966 and remained at the anchor desk until August, when he went
into semi-retirement as a goodwill ambassador for the station.
In Montreal, Bill Haugland put in an amazing 46 years at CFCF
radio and television, spending most of it commuting across the
border from northern Vermont until his December retirement as
CFCF-TV's evening news anchor.
New York's WQXR said goodbye to two veterans - afternoon announcer
Lloyd Moss, who'd started at the station way back in 1955, with
several detours before his 1989 return as afternoon host, and
newsman Sam Hall, whose career included most of the important
stations in New York.
And Dick Johnson put in 40 years of service at the newsroom
of WGAN in Portland, too; sadly, he suffered a heart attack early
in 2006 and died in May. The station later named its newsroom
after Johnson, a fitting tribute.
4. WCRB makes its move (and what does that
have to do with the Red Sox?)
A running theme in NERW all year long (and even more so on
the message boards) was a pair of intertwined radio soap operas:
the sale of Boston's classical station, WCRB, and the battle
for radio rights in 2007 (and beyond) for the Red Sox.
The Sox, first: On the strength of their 2004 World Series
victory, and with a big payroll to finance, the Olde Towne Team
went into negotiations for its next radio contract looking for
a big payoff. Once the team dropped its plans (if they ever really
existed) to buy its own radio station, the fight for Sox rights
quickly came down to two players: incumbent Entercom and Greater
Media, which at one point offered the Sox partial ownership of
WBOS, which would likely have become an FM sports talker had
it secured the rights.
But as the price kept rising, Greater Media dropped out, leaving
Entercom to strike a 10-year deal initially reported as $200
million, though it's likely to end up closer to $120-130 million.
The deal came with a twist none of us rumor-mongers foresaw:
most of the games will move from current flagship WEEI to talker
WRKO, in an attempt to give the weaker of Entercom's two Boston
AM properties a ratings boost.
So why did Greater
Media walk away from the table? Turns out it had another big
deal on its plate: a complex deal in which Greater acquired WCRB
from Charles River Broadcasting, kept its 102.5 signal at the
center of the market, but traded WCRB's classical format and
Greater Media's 99.5 Lowell signal to Nassau, in exchange for
Nassau's Philadelphia FM move-in, WTHK (97.5), about which more
in a moment.
When all the dust had settled in December, Greater Media ended
up with a cluster of five full-market FMs, with WKLB's country
format moving from 99.5 to WCRB's old 102.5 spot. Classical survived
under Nassau's ownership, moving north of Boston on 99.5 and
bringing a new owner into the market.
5. Tough year for talkers
After the publicity blitz for Howard Stern's new gig on -
where was it he went again? - dissipated, many of his former
affiliates, including 92.3 in New York (late WXRK, now WFNY-FM)
and WYSP in Philadelphia, rebranded as "Free FM," with
an all-day lineup of local and syndicated talk. It was a tough
sell; heavily-touted morning man David Lee Roth imploded, drifting
off into lengthy stories about old-time New York entertainment
before CBS pulled the plug on his show in April.
That, in turn, opened a door for Opie and Anthony to make
a return to terrestrial radio, simulcasting part of their XM
show each morning, and reigniting their long-running feud with
Boston mayor Tom Menino.
The rest of the Free FM lineup struggled, with more changes
coming (at least at WFNY-FM) in 2007 courtesy of new PD John
Mainelli, who, ironically enough, became available for the job
after losing his gig with the New York Post thanks to
a complaint from...yep, Howard Stern.
Stern's midwestern replacement, Rover, struggled as well,
losing most of his affiliates by year's end, but hanging on (we
were going to say "doggedly," but those puns are reserved
for our western colleagues at Ohio
Media Watch) at Rochester's WZNE and at several Ohio stations.
talk radio had plenty of issues during 2006, too. In Pittsburgh,
KDKA kicked off the year by dismissing several talkers, including
Mike Pintek and Mike Romigh. (Late-night replacement John McIntire
would himself be ousted at year's end.) Boston's Jay Severin
made a well-publicized return to afternoons on WTKK (96.9) after
the cancellation of his nightly syndicated show, a move he denied
was based on poor ratings and station clearances. Across town
at WRKO, midmorning host John DePetro was suspended in July,
then fired in November, for his choice of nicknames for Turnpike
Authority chairman Matt Amorello and gubernatorial candidate
Grace Ross; he'd surface again at the end of the year doing holiday
fill-in at WABC.
And progressive talk had a difficult year, with Air America
losing its Boston affiliate (WKOX/WXKS), as well as its New York
flagship (WLIB) and its Buffalo (WHLD) and Binghamton (WYOS)
outlets. The network remained on the air in New York via a new
deal with lesser-signaled WWRL, and struggled through bankruptcy
6. What in the world is a "CW"?
At the start of 2006,
viewers were finally getting used to the two new "weblets"
on their TV dials - The WB and UPN. Nine months later, those
networks were gone, with most of their programming merged into
the new "CW" network, a joint venture of Time Warner
and CBS. (That logo, hastily prepared for the network's introduction,
was quickly jettisoned; to the surprise of many, the "CW"
The emergence of The CW triggered a round of affiliation shuffles
around the region, with many markets' WB affiliates (including
New York, Boston, Hartford, Albany and Rochester) and a few others'
UPN affiliates (including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence,
Syracuse and Buffalo) segueing smoothly to the new network.
But for many other stations, including the Fox-owned group
of UPN stations in New York and other big markets, the shift
created a void for a new network, which Fox filled with "My
Network TV," whose initial lineup of two hour-long telenovelas
fell flat with viewers. At year's end, Fox was looking at retooling
the My lineup to more closely resemble a traditional network.
The weblet shuffle created several new DTV subchannels - CW
in Rochester, for instance - and a few new independent stations,
most notably WSBK in Boston, which went from UPN to a prime-time
lineup that includes Dr. Phil, Jeopardy! and a new 9:30 PM newscast
produced by sister station WBZ-TV.
7. Will the last Canadian AM shut off the
lights on the way out?
A generation ago, nobody could have predicted (at least with
a straight face) that an entire Canadian province would end up
with not a single full-power AM station. But as the CRTC encouraged
AM broadcasters outside the largest cities to move to the FM
dial, the stations of Prince Edward Island moved en masse. PEI
began the year with two big AM signals - CFCY on 630 and CHTN
on 720 - and ended the year with none, as both stations moved
to FM, with CHTN adding a second new FM service.
moves from AM to FM in 2006 included CHNS in Halifax, CHUC in
Cobourg, Ontario, and the grant of a full-time FM signal to Canada's
last daytimer, CKOT (1510) in Tillsonburg, Ontario, which will
also keep its AM signal for wide-area coverage.
The last English-language AM in Quebec outside Montreal, CKTS
in Sherbrooke, surrendered its license in December, just as the
CRTC approved a series of AM-to-FM moves that will wipe out French-language
AM in Gatineau/Ottawa, Trois-Rivieres, Sherbrooke and Saguenay
sometime in 2007.
8. Philly phollies
Radio listeners in Philadelphia experienced more change than
usual in 2006, including the launch of a new(ish) signal into
the market. Clear Channel started the ball rolling in August
when it pulled the plug on smooth jazz WJJZ (106.1) and soft
AC "Sunny" WSNI (104.5), flipping the former to rhythmic
AC as "Philly's 106.1" WISX and the latter to Spanish
tropical "Rumba" WUBA, giving the market its first
full-coverage Spanish-language FM.
Greater Media took
the next step, acquiring the former WPST Trenton (97.5) from
Nassau as part of the WCRB deal up in Boston. While the 97.5
transmitter, now licensed to Burlington, N.J., won't move into
Philadelphia (actually the Wyndmoor tower that's home to 106.1)
until sometime in 2007, Greater Media took control of the station
November 15, dropping Nassau's classic rock "Hawk"
format and flipping to smooth jazz, restoring the WJJZ calls
and much of that station's former staff.
Fans of the old modern rock "Y-100" got part of
their old station back, as public radio WXPN launched "Y
Rock on XPN," including a fulltime webcast and a few hours
a week of modern rock on WXPN's main over-the-air signal. The
market also saw the launch of "Free FM" talk on WYSP
(94.1), the end of Air America talk on WHAT (1340), and the emergence
of an AM modern rocker in the suburbs, WCHE (1520 West Chester).
There's more to come in 2007: Beasley, which already has two
FMs (WXTU and WRDW) and one AM in the market, agreed to pay NextMedia
$42 million for WJBR (99.5) just across the state line in Wilmington,
Delaware, sparking talk of another move-in.
9. HD Radio stays stalled
The year got off to a decent start for HD Radio, as several
big group operators committed to coordinated launches of multiple
HD FM subchannels in each market. By the end of the year, all
the large markets and most of the medium-sized markets in the
region offered at least a few HD2 choices for early adopters
to tune in.
But while that end of the chicken/egg conundrum was being
dealt with, the receiver part of the equation continued to lag.
Releases of several promised HD Radio receivers, including Radiosophy's
long-delayed tuner, were repeatedly postponed, and at the end
of 2006 an HD Radio receiver was nearly as hard to find as it
was at the start of the year. (One bright spot: Radio Shack put
its receiver on the market at $99 during the holidays, but even
better-than-expected sales of that unit were barely a rounding
error compared to all the iPods, satellite radio receivers, and
other radio-like devices that were hits in 2006.)
10. Fessenden Mania Grips Hub
If 2005 was the
year of Edwin Howard Armstrong for radio-history buffs in the
region, 2006 was unquestionably the year of Reginald Aubrey Fessenden.
Brant Rock in Marshfield, Massachusetts, where Fessenden made
his historic first broadcasts of voice and music in 1906 (unless
he didn't, as some researchers argued), was the center of activity,
with a weekend celebration in August that included the presentation
of the "Reginald A. Fessenden Award" to WBZ's Gary
LaPierre, an historical seminar in October (at which your editor
was honored to be a participant), and a recreation of the 1906
broadcast in December.
There were also events in Pittsburgh, where Fessenden was
a university professor, and in Canada, Fessenden's birthplace,
as well as at the other end of his trans-Atlantic signal path
at Machrihanish, Scotland - and that was just the broadcasters!
Ham radio operators had their own celebrations going, too, with
re-creations of Fessenden's earliest transmissions across the
The Year in Station
JANUARY: EMF Broadcasting continues its march into
the region with the $700,000 purchase of UMass Dartmouth's WSMU
(91.1) and the $2.3 million deal with 2510 for WKVB (107.9 Port
Matilda PA) and WLKJ (105.7 Portage PA). Renda Communications
bulks up east of Pittsburgh, buying WJJJ (107.1 Greensburg) from
Sheridan. Joe Reilly's Columbia FM buys WKAB (103.5 Berwick)
from 4M for $800,000.
FEBRUARY: The big deal - still unconsummated almost
a year later - is Citadel's acquisition of ABC Radio, to the
tune of $2.7 billion. A world away, Radigan Broadcasting pays
Tioga Broadcasting $50,000 for WEBO (1330 Owego NY) and Biscuit
Communications buys WSPQ (1330 Springville) from Hawk Communications
for $110,000. In Scranton, Holy Family adds a second AM, buying
WITK (1550 Pittston) from Robert Cordaro for $940,000. Down the
Susquehanna in Millersburg, Hepco Communications picks up WQLV
(98.9) from Cooper Communications, for $2 million. Other seven-figure
deals: Entercom pays Vox $5.75 million for WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield)'s
license, to be moved into Springfield; Connoisseur Broadcasting
enters Erie with the $17.35 million purchase of NextMedia's five
stations; and Jay Asher announces the $4.5 million sale of WJDA
(1300 Quincy MA) and WESX (1230 Salem MA), to Principal Broadcasting.
MARCH: Raycom exits Syracuse, and several other markets,
selling WSTM/WSTQ to Barrington as part of a $262 million deal.
Chuck Crouse exits Kane, Pennsylvania, selling WLMI (103.9) to
Colonial Radio Group for $390,000. Absolute Broadcasting moves
north from Nashua to enter Manchester with the purchase of WKBR
(1250) from Steve Silberberg, who buys WVAA (1390) in Burlington,
Vermont. Living Proof sells WWTE (90.1 Wellfleet MA) to Horizon
APRIL: Catholic broadcaster Starboard agrees to pay
$14 million for Stu Henry's WLIE (540 Islip NY), in a deal that
ends unconsummated. Business Talk Radio Network, which is programming
WLIE, buys WBET (1460 Brockton MA) from Aritaur for $1 million.
In Plattsburgh, WBTZ (99.9) changes hands from Plattsburgh Broadcasting
to Hall Communications. And WJAR (Channel 10) in Providence is
part of a four-station sale from NBC to Media General, for a
total of $600 million.
MAY: Clear Channel announces a trade that will eventually
see Pamal getting WBPM/WGHQ in Kingston NY and WZRT/WSYB in Rutland
VT, in exchange for WRNX (100.9) in the Springfield MA market.
William and Kelli Corbeil buy WTSA/WTSA-FM in Brattleboro from
Tri-State Broadcasting. Scribe Video Center buys little WPEB
(88.1 Philadelphia) from the West Philadelphia Educational Broadcasting
Foundation for $70,000. And Rick Kelly, of NortheastAirchecks.com
fame, buys W231AK (94.1) in Great Barrington from Vox, for $12,500.
JUNE: Tribune begins its slimming-down in the region,
selling WCWN (Channel 45) in the Albany market to Freedom Communications
for $17 million. Up the road, Vox sells WNYQ (105.7) to Regent
for $4.9 million, as it prepares to move from the Glens Falls
market into Albany. Pamal signs a $625,000 deal to sell WJAN
(95.1 Sunderland VT) to Vermont Public Radio. And up north, Moses
Znaimer stays in the game, paying C$12 million to Trumar Communications
for Toronto classical station CFMX.
JULY: The big money stays up north, as Bell Globemedia
swallows CHUM Limited in a deal valued at C$1.7 billion, creating
powerful TV duopoly/radio clusters in Toronto, Ottawa and other
big markets. On the border, Clancy-Mance sells all but one of
its Watertown/North Country stations to the new Community Broadcasters
LLC (headed by longtime broadcasters Jim Leven and Bruce Mittman)
for $5.5 million. And south of the border, Nexstar picks up WTAJ
(Channel 10) in Altoona and WLYH (Channel 15) in Lebanon PA,
for $58 million.
AUGUST: The gradual CBS Radio exit from smaller markets
finds Entercom paying $262 million for the CBS clusters in Rochester,
Memphis, Austin and Cincinnati. Entercom also shells out $30
million to Radio One for WILD-FM (97.7 Brockton), which becomes
Boston-market WKAF, a simulcast of WAAF's hard rock. Greater
Media, Nassau and Charles River sign the paperwork on their three-way
deal in Boston and Philadelphia. EMF Broadcasting is back in
the mix, paying Broadcast Learning Center $2.5 million for Philly-market
WSJI (89.5 Cherry Hill NJ) and Southern Rhode Island Public Broadcasting
$100,000 for WKIV (88.1 Westerly RI).
SEPTEMBER: The CBS spinoffs continue, with Regent ponying
up $125 million for the five-station cluster in Buffalo. Ed Ansin
opens his wallet for Tribune, paying $113 million to bring WLVI
(Channel 56) under the same roof as his WHDH-TV in Boston. WCRI
and WCNX in southern Rhode Island stay in the Jones family, as
son Christopher Jones' Judson Group pays Charles River Broadcasting
$1.6 million for those two signals. Out on Cape Cod, Truro Wireless
sells little WCDJ (102.3 Truro) to Dunes 102 FM, for $550,000.
OCTOBER: Arthur Liu's Multicultural group enters the
TV arena, paying $170 million for the Shop At Home stations,
including WSAH in Connecticut and WMFP in Boston. Beasley adds
to its holdings in the Philadelphia area, paying $42 million
for NextMedia's WJBR (99.5) in Wilmington, Delaware. First Media
bulks up along I-80 in western Pennsylvania, paying Clearfield
Broadcasters $750,000 for WCPA/WQYX in Clearfield. EMF keeps
buying, paying Sound of Life $675,000 for Scranton-market WPGP
(88.3 Tafton). Up north, Genex escapes complete license revocation
at CHOI (98.1) in Quebec, selling the station's assets to Radio
Nord for C$9 million, while CanWest Global exits radio, selling
CKBT (91.5 Kitchener) and a Winnipeg station to Corus for C$15
NOVEMBER: Clear Channel's $26 billion deal to go private
eclipses everything else - but down there in the shadows, Inner
City Broadcasting sells WHAT (1340 Philadelphia) to Marconi Broadcasting
for $5 million, Saga buys Citadel's WIII/WKRT Cortland for $4
million (and then turns around and donates WKRT to Bible Broadcasting
Network), Chadwick Bay Broadcasting sells WDOE/WBKX in Dunkirk,
N.Y. to Finger Lakes Radio for $850,000, and Don DeRosa sells
WAMF (1300 Fulton NY) to Cram Communications for $8500.
DECEMBER: Bold Gold adds to its Scranton-area AM cluster
with a $10,000 purchase of Kevin Fennessy's WFBS (1280 Berwick).
And at month's end, Business Talk Radio Network announces it's
buying the three-station cluster on Long Island's East End (WBON,
WDRE and WLIR) from The Morey Organization.
The Year in Programming,
People and Calls
JANUARY: First format change of the year - it's in
Albany, where Galaxy flips country "Eagle" WEGQ 93.7
and rock WRCZ to rock simulcast "Bone," as WOOB/WBOE.
Close behind, WQFM/WQFN in Scranton goes hot AC as "Q-FM,"
and WECK in Buffalo dumps standards for classic country. Up in
Sudbury, Ontario, CHNO drops hits "Z103" for adult
hits "Big Daddy."
In western Pennsylvania, WJJJ (107.1 Greensburg) flips to
adult hits as "Sam FM," WGSM, while sister WLCY, "Lucky
106," drops AC for "Cat Country."
In Boston, Eddie Andelman finds a new radio home at Greater
Media's WTKK, while the WAVM saga in Maynard takes a troubling
turn, as station advisor Joe Magno is arrested and charged with
Oswego's public radio
WRVO moves into brand new studios, and the newsroom at Pittsburgh's
WPGH goes dark as the station farms out news to competitor WPXI.
New to the air: CILV Ottawa, "Live 88.5" (Dec. 26,
2005). Gone for good: WLNY (Channel 55)'s analog signal on Long
Island, and WSAJ (1340 Grove City PA), which shuts down its AM
facility after more than 80 years.
FEBRUARY: The month starts with a jolt to oldies fans,
as Entercom flips Buffalo's WWKB from oldies to liberal talk,
followed a week later by more progressive talk in town on leased-time
In Albany, Pamal flips WZMR (104.9) to modern rock as "The
Edge;" in Scranton, WARM flips from talk to oldies, while
WBZR (107.7) drops "The Buzzard" to go AC as "Gem,"
Ellis Hennican and Lynne White are the new afternoon team
in Bob Grant's old afternoon slot at WOR in New York. In Boston,
a tumultuous year at WRKO begins with the quick departure of
PD Brian Whittemore after just a few months on the job. Former
WBUR host Dick Gordon surfaces in North Carolina, launching a
new public radio talk show from WUNC.
EMF changes the calls at WWJS in Watertown to WKWV, and the
dial in State College keeps spinning, as WXOT (99.5 Centre Hall)
becomes WLTS and moves into State College, picking up the "Lite
AC" format from 94.5, which becomes smooth jazz WSMO, for
a few months.
In Rochester, veteran WHAM-TV station manager Kent Beckwith
announces his retirement.
New to the air: WWFP in New Jersey, CJWL Ottawa (Feb. 20,
at 10 AM.)
MARCH: More spinning of the dial in central Pennsylvania,
as "Rocky" WRKW 92.1 and "Hot" WYOT 99.1
trade dial positions and calls.
In Boston, the news is all about the Red Sox - not spring
training, but radio rights for 2007, as a bidding war erupts
between Entercom and Greater Media. Entercom has other problems
in New York, where attorney general Eliot Spitzer launches a
payola probe. The WMJQ calls disappear again from Rochester,
as K-Love changes its Brockport 104.9 to WKUV (and then, later
in the summer, to WKDL.)
In Portland, WMGX
moves to hot AC as "Coast 93.1."
"Frank" is the name in the news, as Nassau installs
variety hits on WDVT/WTWV on Cape Cod, renamed WFQR and WFRQ,
while the former WBYN-FM in eastern Pennsylvania goes classic
rock as WFKB, with WBYN's religion moving to 1160, the former
WYNS. Up the road in Allentown, public radio WDIY takes over
operations at college station WXLV.
In Stamford, Connecticut, oldies WKHL becomes AC "Coast"
WCTZ, while in the Catskills, WVOS flips from AC to country and
WZAD (97.3 Wurtsboro) becomes a country simulcast of WKXP (94.3
Kingston). On the Jersey Shore, WJSE migrates from modern rock
"Digital 102.7" to active rock as "The Ace"
- and WUSS (1490) takes new calls WTKU.
New to the air: religious WLGY (90.7 Nanty Glo PA) and WSMA
(90.5 Scituate MA), CIHR (104.7 Woodstock ON).
APRIL: Providence's WBRU pulls an April Fool stunt
for the ages, staging a sale of the station, a relaunch as "Buddy
FM," and a daring retaking of the station by its modern
It's no April Fool joke when David Lee Roth's short-lived
morning show is pulled from CBS Radio, soon to be replaced by
Opie and Anthony in a simulcast with satellite radio.
Dick Ferguson announces his retirement from Cox Radio after
a long run, while the company's WEFX (95.9 Norwalk CT) takes
the WFOX calls abandoned in Atlanta.
New sports stations all over the place include WICK/WYCK in
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and WPSN in Honesdale, simulcasting as
"The Game," and another "Game," WSNH in Nashua,
which becomes WGAM.
In western Massachusetts,
WBEC-FM moves "Live 105.5" to "Live 95.9"
in preparation for the 105.5 signal's move east to Springfield.
WUPE on 95.9 moves to the former WMNB (100.1 North Adams) and
WUHN (1110 Pittsfield).
In eastern Massachusetts, WAVM and Living Proof reach a settlement
that brings their years of legal wrangling to an end, with more
power for both the Maynard High School station and Living Proof's
new religious outlet.
In Vermont, a federal judge rules against the now-silent Radio
On Long Island's East End, WHBE moves from 96.7 to 96.9 and
drops Bloomberg business news to simulcast sister station WEHM
(92.9), changing calls to WEHN.
WSNN/WPDM up north in Potsdam flip from AC to country; WBKK
in Amsterdam drops its classical simulcast of WMHT-FM for a separate,
younger-targeted classical format.
And on TV, WCWB (Channel 22) in Pittsburgh wastes no time
getting "CW" out of its calls, becoming WPMY.
Gone, pending appeal of the FCC's expanded-band rules: WHWH
(1350 Princeton NJ), on April 7.
MAY: Decades of community-centered broadcasting come
to an end May 1, as Jay Asher hands WESX (1230 Salem) and WJDA
(1300 Quincy) off to Otto Miller, who shutters both stations's
studios and launches a new format of leased-time Spanish religion
from new studios in Chelsea.
the Red Sox, at a price somewhere close to $200 million - and
it gets some new talk competition in MetroWest, as WCRN (830
Worcester) drops "True Oldies" for "True Talk."
(It will later sign on as a 2007 Red Sox affiliate, helping to
fill a signal gap created by the Sox' move from WEEI to WRKO
in Boston.) Across town, WFNX announces it will go commercial-free
for the summer, with sponsorship from Snapple.
In the Bronx, WFUV (90.7) quietly dismantles its controversial
(and now unneeded) new tower overlooking the botanical garden,
while in Atlantic City, a fire at the transmitter not-so-quietly
"Toucher and Rich" move north to take afternoons
at Boston's WBCN, while "Star" moves out of the morning
slot at New York's WWPR after a series of on-air threats against
a rival DJ.
In Fredonia, WBKX (96.5) stays "Kix" as it goes
from rock to country; in New Brunswick, CFHA drops comedy for
"the Pirate," mixing urban and rock as CJEF; and in
Pittsfield, WBEC-FM goes silent on 105.5.
More new calls: WWTE (90.1 Wellfleet) becomes WRYP.
JUNE: Bill Lee's out at New York's WKTU, as Whoopi
Goldberg and Cubby Bryant (late of Z100) arrive in mornings,
eventually moving former morning guy Goumba Johnny and ex-morning
man Hollywood Hamilton into afternoons to replace Lee.
Over at Seton Hall University's WSOU, former station manager
Michael Collazo is arrested, charged with creating a shell company
to deprive the station of revenue from subcarrier leases. (He'd
plead guilty in July.)
Down on the Jersey
Shore, WKOE (106.3) moved up the dial and up the coast, becoming
WBBO on 106.5 with "G Rock Radio," while former G Rock
simulcast WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres) went country in July as WKMK.
In Rochester, the WVOR calls departed 100.5 after more than
40 years, as the station dropped "Mix" for hot AC "Drive,"
becoming WDVI. (The WVOR calls moved to sister station WISY 102.3.)
More State College shuffling: so long, "Buzz" WUBZ
(105.9 Phillipsburg), and hello to adult hits "Joe FM"
WJOW. Meanwhile in Scranton, WNAK-FM (94.3 Carbondale) dropped
its standards simulcast for soft AC as "Lite" WLNP.
And in Salamanca, N.Y., WQRS (98.3) becomes WQRT, while sister
WGGO flips from standards to ESPN sports.
New to the air: WUMD (89.3 Dartmouth MA) June 9, replacing
WSMU on 91.1, which flips to K-Love as WTKL in July.
JULY: It's CBS Radio doing the cutting this time, as
WCBS-FM general manager Chad Brown and programming president
Rob Barnett lose their jobs. Meanwhile, CBS places Opie and Anthony
on a new affiliate - WEDG in Buffalo, where longtime morning
team Shredd and Ragan are displaced to afternoons.
At New York's WQXR, veteran newsman Sam Hall leaves the airwaves;
down the coast in Atlantic City, Harry Hurley leaves his longtime
morning gig on WENJ (1450, ex-WFPG, then WKXW) and ends up down
the dial at WIBG (1020 Ocean City). In a related move, WIXM (97.3
Millville) takes new calls WXKW, better matching its simulcast
of "New Jersey 101.5" WKXW.
Still more shuffling in and around State College: WJHT (Hot
103.1) changes calls to WQKK and then WQWK, moving "Quick
Rock" up the dial from 98.7, which flips from WQWK to WSGY
as "Froggy Country," taking those calls from 106.3
Mount Union PA, which becomes WFZY. The WJHT calls, meanwhile,
go to 92.1 in Johnstown, replacing WYOT on "Hot" there.
In Erie, country
WUSE stays with the format but becomes "Wolf" WTWF.
In Berwick, WKAB becomes WHLM-FM, sticking with classic rock.
Down on the Maryland line, WPPT (92.1) flips from top 40 to classic
country. On TV, Williamsport's WILF (Channel 53) becomes WQMY.
And in Philadelphia, "Y Rock" returns to the airwaves
for a few hours a week on WXPN (88.5), as well as on a webcast
The ethnic and religious broadcasters leasing time on WRIB
(1220 Providence) are abruptly locked out as the station changes
owners; it goes silent, returning September 5 as religious WSTL.
In Syracuse, WWDG (105.1) puts "The Dog" to sleep,
trading active rock for modern AC as "Nova." In Plattsburgh,
WXLU moves from 88.3 to 88.1, boosting power.
Canada's Aboriginal Voices Network takes new calls CKAV to
replace CFIE at its Toronto flagship; out in Halifax, CJCH (920)
flips from standards to oldies to fill the void created when
CHNS (960) leaves the air July 19, replaced by the new CHNS-FM
(89.9), doing variety hits as "Hal FM."
Also new to the air: CFXN (106.3 North Bay), doing "Moose"
classic rock; CHTN-FM (100.3 Charlottetown), on July 5, followed
by new sister station CKQK (105.5 Charlottetown PEI), at noon
AUGUST: Ed Walsh is ousted from morning drive at New
York's WOR, which turns out to be a stroke of luck - he moves
over to WCBS (880) to do some anchoring, putting him on a path
that will make him the new morning man at Boston's WBZ at year's
end, replacing Gary LaPierre after four decades on the job.
CKDO in Oshawa, Ontario
moves its oldies from 1350 to 1580, boosting power in the process.
In Burlington and Plattsburgh, Air America trades places with
ESPN sports, with progressive talk moving to daytimer WTWK (1070)
and sports going to full-time WVAA (1390), with new calls WCAT.
Elmira's Carl Proper retires from WETM (Channel 18) after
40 years at the anchor desk.
New to the air: CIIO (104.7 Ottawa); CHUC-FM (107.9 Cobourg
ON), at 1 PM on August 11; WFYL (1180 King of Prussia), on a
golf course in suburban Philadelphia, replacing the old 1530
SEPTEMBER: The crowd waiting for the old WOR towers
to come down September 20 is disappointed, as a local police
chief puts a halt to the well-publicized demolition. After much
negotiation, take two is scheduled for January 11, 2007.
Another set of towers
comes down with no publicity: the old WHIC (1460 Rochester) towers
meet their end September 10. Meanwhile over at Clear Channel,
modern rock "Nerve" disappears from WNVE (107.3 South
Bristol), replaced by an unusual car-dealer sponsored stunt as
"Huge FM," then by rhythmic AC and Whoopi as "Snap,"
After months upon months of rumors, WLIB (1190 New York) finally
breaks with Air America, sending the network to a weaker signal
on WWRL (1600) and putting black gospel on the air at 1190. Black
gospel also replaces oldies at WKAP (1470 Allentown), which becomes
WYHM, and at WRAW (1340 Reading), which becomes WKAP.
Another "Frank" lands in Nassau-land, as WORK (107.1
Barre VT) drops top 40 for classic hits. A Boston rock jock lands
in Iraq, as WAAF's Mistress Carrie heads to Baghdad to broadcast
to - and with - the troops.
Still more spinning in State College - after just a few months
as smooth jazz WSMO, 94.5 takes the old 103.1 calls of WBHV,
becoming "B94" with hits. The WSMO calls go to the
former WBHV (1330 Somerset), which drops southern gospel in November
for ESPN sports.
Albany morning team "Chuck and Kelly" move from
WYJB (95.5) to Regent's "Buzz", which prepares to move
from WABT 104.5 to the former WNYQ 105.7, which takes new calls
WBZZ as it moves south to Malta, signing on at the end of November.
The WNYQ calls stay in Glens Falls, moving to the former WENU-FM
101.7, which has a brief interlude as WQYQ along the way.
In Vermont, WWWT (1320 Randolph) changes calls to WTSJ, simulcasting
talker WTSL from the Upper Valley instead of WSYB from Rutland.
And in Syracuse, the drunk driver who killed young WSYR reporter
Bill Leaf in January is sentenced to 12 years behind bars.
New to the air: CFCY-FM (95.1 Charlottetown PEI); WVEW-LP
(107.7 Brattleboro VT).
Severin exits national syndication and returns to afternoons
on WTKK (96.9 Boston), displacing Michael Graham to nights. Down
the road in Springfield, WEEI's sports programming makes its
debut Oct. 26 on the new WVEI-FM (105.5), newly relocated from
Pittsfield. And Fitchburg's WEIM (1280) becomes "The Blend,"
mixing talk with AC.
In Pennsylvania, WCHE (1520 West Chester) flips to modern
rock, while WFRM-FM (96.7 Coudersport) flips from AC to adult
hits "Sam FM." And oldies WYTR (103.3 Brookville) parks
the WMUV calls so a sister station in Florida can become "Movin,"
then takes the WKQL calls abandoned down in Jacksonville.
In Syracuse, WBGJ (100.3 Sylvan Beach) becomes WWLF-FM, setting
the stage for it and sister station WOLF-FM (96.7 Oswego) to
make a December flip to "Movin" rhythmic AC themselves.
Radio Disney stays in Oswego via WAMF (1300 Fulton), which returns
to the air.
NOVEMBER: John DePetro's mouth - or is it his low ratings
- finally becomes too much for Entercom, which pulls the plug
on the mid-morning WRKO talk host after he calls a gubernatorial
candidate a "fat lesbian."
WRTN (93.5 New Rochelle) takes on the historic calls WVIP,
while WVIP (1310 Mount Kisco) becomes WRVP. Across the state
line in Connecticut, WKZE (1020 Sharon) becomes community outlet
WHDD ("Robin Hood Radio.")
The WJJZ calls, displaced from Philadelphia in August's Clear
Channel shuffles there, land at Greater Media's WWTR (1170 Bridgewater
NJ), a staging area for their transfer to the former WTHK (97.5
Burlington NJ) on Nov. 15. The WTHK calls, in turn, land up in
Vermont at WVAY (100.7 Wilmington). And the former Philly calls
of WSNI land at WOQL (97.7 Winchendon MA), which goes all-Christmas,
then flips to soft AC as "Sunny" after the holidays.
of all-Christmas, the region gets its first all-country Christmas
station, as WFKP (99.3 Ellenville NY) ditches "Lite"
AC for an eventual simulcast (under new calls WRWC) of country
WRWD-FM (107.3 Highland). WRWD (1370 Ellenville) flips to standards
WELG as a result.
In Binghamton, WYOS (1360) drops progressive talk for ESPN
And in Montreal, CFCF-TV (Channel 12) anchor Bill Haugland
retires after an amazing 46 years with the station.
Gone from the dial: CKTS (900 Sherbrooke QC), on Nov. 19,
and CHNS (960 Halifax NS), moved to FM.
DECEMBER: Progressive talk takes several hits, as Boston's
WKOX/WXKS flip to "Rumba" Spanish tropical on December
1, while Buffalo's WHLD folds its tent abruptly, flipping to
The sale of WLVI (Channel 56) to WHDH puts most of the station's
150 employees out of work just before the holidays, with veteran
WLVI anchor Jack Hynes summing up the mood in a bitter commentary
on WLVI's last Tribune-produced newscast Dec. 18.
completes its Albany move to WBZZ (105.7 Malta), with WABT on
104.5 flipping to sports as WTMM-FM. WBET (1460 Brockton MA)
tries for the WBZB calls, only to be shot down by a certain other
station that starts with "WBZ" - it ends up as "WXBR"
instead. WPGP (88.3 Tafton PA) becomes WLKA under new owner EMF,
while across the state WLOA (1470 Farrell) and WGRP (940 Greenville)
flip from oldies to Sporting News Radio.
At WGBH, Henry Becton announces his retirement as the station
prepares to move to new quarters.
New to the air: WXNM-LP (95.9 Erie PA); CJHR (98.7 Renfrew
And as we do every year, we close out our Year in Review by
remembering the many great radio and TV people our region lost
- THOM HICKLING, former WPLW Carnegie PA general manager, 51,
- BERNARD HURWITZ ("Beryl Howard"), New Haven Jewish
Variety Hour host, 80, 1/2
- BILL LEAF, WSYR Syracuse reporter, 25, 1/8
- FRANK FIXARIS, Portland sportscaster, 71, 1/13
- ROBERT POSEY, Berkshires newsman, 62, 1/29
- RON KEYS, WJPA Washington PA jock, 39, 2/1
- "Grandpa" AL LEWIS, WBAI New York host, actor,
political gadfly, 82 (or 95?), 2/3
- ALEXANDER "Sandy" McDONALD Jr, WEEI, WTSN host,
- BILL EDWARDSEN, veteran Albany jock, 78, 2/6
- DICK BUONERBA, WNLK/WMMM manager, 82, 2/12
- DAVE CINIERO, RI native and KVTA (Ventura CA) host, 58, 2/17
- CURT GOWDY, longtime Sox voice, WCGY/WCCM owner, 86, 2/20
- JACK LAZARE, WMMW owner, Boston/NY jock, 83, 2/25
- JIM CLOTHEY, WLTN Littleton NH newsman, 60, 3/1
- ELIZABETH KILHAM, "Betty Day" on WBZ, WHET, WKOX,
- LYLE ROBERT EVANS, WRMO Milbridge ME owner, 64, 3/6
- ROBERT SCHUMACHER, Syracuse sales executive, 48, 3/16
- BILL BEUTEL, legendary New York TV newsman, 75, 3/18
- BRUCE McGORRILL, Maine Broadcasting chairman, commentator,
- JUANITA McKNIGHT, CFRK Fredericton NB middays, 3/30
- DAVID WESLEY SHALLENBARGER, longtime WWSW Pittsburgh DJ,
- DAVE LOCKHART, CKCW Moncton newsman, 67, 4/11
- PAT MARSDEN, Toronto sportscaster, 69, 4/27
- JOE GREEN, WBZ traffic reporter, 76, 5/3
- AL WHITE, WOKR Rochester, WWOR New York consumer reporter,
- TOM "TJ" JOSEPH, WHCU Ithaca operations director,
- CARL WEHDE, "Long John Wade" on WFIL, WIBG, 5/15
- DICK JOHNSON, WGAN Portland newsman, 69, 5/24
- JOHN "JD" DALE, CFNY, CHAY jock, 54, 5/26
- MALCOLM SOLL, "Austin of Boston" on WLIR, WODS,
WSRS, 56, 6/5
- RODERICK MacLEISH, Westinghouse news executive, 80, 7/1
- DAVE SENNETT, WHAM, WPRO host, 7/6
- MAX COLE, WRVR New York DJ, Riverside Church radio host,
- DARRELL MARTINIE, "Cosmic Muffin" radio astrologer,
- JIM MENDES, WPRO/WJAR-TV announcer, 80, 7/28
- VICTOR MAUCK, former WNAR Norristown PA owner, 78, 7/31
- BILL PETERSON, WOKR Rochester meteorologist, 58, 8/5
- MIKE DOUGLAS, TV host, KYW personality, 81, 8/11
- TERRY McNULTY, WARM Scranton morning man, 70, 8/11
- DON GARRARD ("Don Michael Girard"), former WAXC,
WZZD jock, 53 (August)
- DOUG WHITE, WPRI, WJAR anchor, 61, 8/15
- DINO TORTU, Westwood One senior VP/production, 52, 8/16
- DICKIE LYNCH, WPRI special projects coordinator, 52, 8/18
- TONY MALARA, former CBS executive, station owner, 69, 8/24
- HUGH CLINTON, former WCTX Palmyra PA owner, 76, 9/13
- GABE DALMATH, veteran WHEC Rochester anchor, 60, 9/15
- EDDIE DRISCOLL, Maine TV kids host, 81, 9/24
- CHARLIE SLEZAK, Delaware engineer, 53, 10/1
- ROGER GOODRICH, veteran Channel 5 Boston reporter, 89, 10/4
- BOB LASSITER, Utica, Pittsburgh DJ, later at WFLA, WLS, 61,
- LISTER SINCLAIR, CBC "Ideas" host, 85, 10/16
- MIKE PHILLIPS, WXLO, WWDJ jock who moved out west, 64, 10/16
- CHRISTOPHER GLENN, CBS Radio, "In the News" anchor,
- MARY GAY TAYLOR, WCBS reporter, 71, 10/20
- HAROLD HACKER, WXXI Rochester founder, 90, 10/22
- RED AUERBACH, legendary Celtics coach and commentator, 89,
- ED BRADLEY, Philadelphia DJ turned CBS News legend, 65, 11/8
- ROBERT TAYLOR, former WNEW PD, 11/22
- CASEY COLEMAN, son of Ken, Cleveland sportscaster, 55, 11/27
- ANDY KUHN, "Andy K," morning man at CFFX Kingston,
- PAT LETANG, Montreal newsman, 46, 12/6
- JACK O'NEILL, Springfield sportscaster, 58, 12/8
- TOM GREGORY, WNEW-TV host and newsman, 79, 12/11
- GEORGE BEAHON, Rochester sportscaster, 86, 12/11
- NANCY DUFFY, Syracuse TV reporter, 12/22
- CARLOS RIVERA, "Carl Blaze" on WWPR New York, 30,
- FRANK STANTON, longtime CBS president, 98, 12/24
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learn how you can help make continued publication possible. NERW
2007 by Scott Fybush.