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NorthEast Radio Watch 4/3: Snow, Snow, and More Snow

*New England is recovering from a freak April snowstorm, and 
we here at NERW headquarters are suddenly having no regrets 
whatsoever about making the move to Rochester - and to think 
of all the ribbing we took for moving to "snowy" Upstate New 
York!    Anyway, the storm is our top story this week, so on 
with the news:

The storm took several stations completely off the air, 
including WSSH (101.5) Marlboro VT and WDIS (1170) Norfolk 
MA.   Several others, including WZSH (107.1) Bellows Falls 
VT, WHDQ (106.1) Claremont NH, and WVAY (100.7) Wilmington 
VT stayed on the air but without any audio.  WLKW (790) 
Providence was noted with a phone-line audio feed to its 
East Providence transmitter.  Most of the stations are now 
back on the air, with the exception of WDIS, which remained 
silent as of Wednesday morning.

WBZ (1030) in Boston suffered a lightning strike to one of 
its two towers in Hull, Massachusetts, forcing the station 
to run from its backup 10 kilowatt transmitter at the 
Brighton studios for several hours on Tuesday while repairs 
were being made.  'BZ ditched its usual taped overnight 
newscasts Monday night and Tuesday morning, keeping Don Huff 
in the studios with live newscasts all night.

On the radio-with-pictures side of the aisle, Boston's 
network affiliates dumped most of their daytime programming 
Tuesday to stay with the big story.  CBS O&O WBZ-TV was on 
the air from 5 AM until 1 PM, pulling veteran storm reporter 
Shelby Scott out of retirement to stand amidst nearly three 
feet of snow in Worcester.  WCVB (Channel 5) was on from 5 
AM until 2 PM, and WHDH-TV (Channel 7) outdid 'em all with 
coverage from just before 4 AM until 3 PM, pausing for an 
hour before picking back up at 4.  As for Fox O&O WFXT 
(Channel 25), they were plagued by a power outage at the 
Dedham studios, which knocked out their 10 PM newscast.  
Backup power, Mr. Murdoch?

*April Fool!  Several Northeast stations got into the spirit 
of the day Tuesday, including Syracuse's WNTQ (93.1), which 
spent the morning telling listeners their cash was about to 
be replaced by a new series of bills.  The stunt was not 
appreciated by area banks, which had to spend the rest of 
the day persuading 93Q listeners that there was no need to 
come in and exchange their bills.  Here in Rochester, WHAM 
(1180) went small-town for a few days, replacing the last 
hour of its midday talk show with "Tradio," giving listeners 
the chance to call in and sell their household items.  (We 
*think* that was an April Fool joke...)

Listeners in Rutland VT heard WZRT (97.1) giving the time 
one hour fast all morning; we suspect the rest of New 
England was too preoccupied by the storm to give much 
thought to April Fool jokes.

Here at NERW, we were tempted to throw together an April 1 
special...but then again, most of what's happened in the 
past year could have played as April Fools just a few years 
ago.  It's hard to parody an industry that's gone as crazy 
as broadcasting in the last few years!

*News from all over: Providence's WPRO AM/FM (630/92.3), 
WLKW (790), and WWLI (105.1) have new owners.  Citadel 
Broadcasting is moving beyond its current markets in the 
midwest and out west to buy Tele-Media, whose holdings 
include almost 20 stations in its home base of Pennsylvania 
as well as the Providence stations and stations in Quincy 
IL.  Purchase price for the whole package is $117 million, 
according to Inside Radio.  WPRO and WLKW are the market's 
AM leaders, with news/talk and standards formats, 
respectively.  PRO-FM is the market's CHR station, and "Lite 
105" is one of two ACs.  Format changes?  One never knows...

Also in the Ocean State: So much for the AC format on 
Narragansett Pier's WPJB (102.7).  John Fuller has sold the 
station to Peter Ottmar's Back Bay Broadcasting, which is 
flipping it to a simulcast of dance-CHR WWKX (106.3 
Woonsocket-Providence).  The simulcast will bring "Kix" to 
new listeners in southern Rhode Island and southeast 
Connecticut.  Fuller keeps WJJF (1180) Hope Valley RI and 
WBMW (106.5) Ledyard CT.

And Newport Broadcasting and Perry Communications, the 
former owners of WADK (1540 Newport) and WOTB (100.3 
Middletown, now WDGF) have been hit with fines from the FCC 
for failing to comply with EEO rules.  They'll have to pay 
$3500 for failing to recruit properly.

*In Massachusetts, an update on the WSRO situation.  Former 
owner Doug Rowe is no longer associated with the station, 
and Lindsy Parker has moved from station manager to PD.  
Plans for an all-talk format are on hold for now at 
Marlboro's AM 1470...keep an eye on www.wsro.com for 

Changes in the works at Bob Bittner's WJIB (740 Cambridge-
Boston): The station's staff has doubled, as Tory Gates 
rejoins 'JIB as morning host and public affairs director.  
With Tory on hand, Bob will be able to concentrate more on 
WJTO up in Maine, which has added "Let's Talk About Radio" 
to its schedule Sunday afternoons at 12:06 PM.

A correction: Shadow Traffic is not the traffic service for 
Boston's WODS (103.3).  SmartRoutes is still providing 
traffic reports to Oldies 103.  Metro Traffic's long 
association with WBZ came to an end Monday night at 8:03, 
with an emotional farewell from Jack Harte, whose 
distinctive late-night traffic reports will be missed.  
Shadow began servicing WBZ Tuesday at midnight, operating 
from the former WBNW quarters in Charlestown.

A job listing:

WCRB 102.5 FM, Boston, New England's #1 Classical music 
station, seeks part-time
 announcers.  Classical music experience desirable but not 
mandatory.  Tapes and
 resumes to Mario Mazza, Program Director, WCRB, 750 South 
Street, Waltham, MA
02254.   WCRB also seeks Morning News Anchor. Journalism 
degree and 5 years major market experience.  Aircheck and 
resume to Laura Carlo, News Director, same ad
dress as above.

And what's going on with WJDA (1300 Quincy) and WESX (1230 
Salem)?  It seems someone filed petitions to deny their 
license renewals.  We're not sure what the grounds were, and 
it probably doesn't matter; the FCC has denied the petitions 
to deny, granting renewals to the co-owned stations.  
Meantime down in the New Bedford area, Ed Dinis has been 
granted a changed city of license for his WLAW (1270) 
construction permit.  Now it's for North Dartmouth instead 
of Fairhaven, with a transmitter site close to Fall River, 
considerably closer to Providence than the old site in 
Fairhaven.  One more bit of New Bedford news: WLWC-TV 
(Channel 28) has been seen testing; the new target date is 
later this month for the new WB affiliate.

*Up in New Hampshire, the new owners of Lebanon's 100.5 FM 
have put a new format and calls on the former WVRR (ex-WNBX, 
ex-WUVR, etc.).  As of March 24, 100.5 is now "KIXX 
country," picking up the WXXK format and calls from co-owned 
101.7 Newport NH.  101.7 becomes WVRR, "V-101," with a 
satellite adult-rock format.  WKBK (1220) in Keene is 
promoting what it claims will be the market's first all-
female morning team.  And if you're looking for WGIR in 
Manchester on the web, it's moved...check out 
http://am610.wgir.com and http://rock101.wgir.com for AM and 
FM, respectively.

*In Maine, Bob Cole has reportedly put WCME (96.7 Boothbay 
Harbor) up for sale, along with the land at its Newcastle, 
Maine transmitter site.    Unbeknownst to us at NERW, 
Pittsfield's WJCX (99.5) has moved its transmitter to Etna, 
Maine (midway between Pittsfield and Bangor), and moved its 
studios to the WBGR-LP (Channel 33) building in Bangor.  
WJCX is the former WPBC, which returned to the air in 
January.  And from his new base at WJTO Bath, Bob Bittner 
sends along word that he's looking for someone to serve as 
operations manager and much more...perhaps even general 
manager.  Contact Bob at WJIB, 617-868-7400, for more 

*Not much to report from Connecticut this time around; our 
usual Connecticut correspondents must be snowed in!  M 
Street claims WAPJ (89.9) in Torrington is on the air with a 
variety format, and we have to confess to knowing next to 
nothing about this one.  Martin?  Bill?  We await your 
enlightenment...and while you're at it, how about confirming 
FMedia's report of a pirate on 92.9?  Bruce Elving's 
newsletter claims "WXKQ" is serving western and central 
Connecticut in an unknown foreign language.  By the way, 
Bruce's FM Atlas is now out in a new 17th edition...you can 
get it postpaid for $18.50 from PO Box 336, Esko MN 55733-
0336.  The Atlas remains one of the indispensable tools for 
FM DX and traveling, and it's always nice to see a new 

*And from Upstate New York:  WUTR (Channel 20) in Utica has 
been sold.  Media General Broadcasting, which bought WUTR as 
part of the Park media group, has sold the station to Utica 
Broadcasting Partners LLC.  There's a new format at WABH 
(1380) in Bath, to go along with the station's power 
increase from 500/21 watts ND to 2500/119 DA-2 from a new 
three-tower array southwest of town.  WABH flipped from a 
simulcast of hot AC WVIN (98.3 Hammondsport) to satellite 
oldies Monday morning.  WABH and WVIN will continue to 
simulcast the local morning drive show, and WVIN will stick 
with hot AC the rest of the day, under the new ID "V-98."  
In Norwich, Cooney Broadcasting's new 95.3 will have the 
WBKT calls last seen on the old 93.3 at Brockport High 
School.   A few more religious applications: 90.1 Watertown 
by Liberty Communications Family Broadcasting, and 90.3 
Utica by Souls Harbor Pentecostal.  And the folks at the 
Educational Media Association want a KLVC translator on 89.7 
in Watertown.  Here in Rochester, WOKR (Channel 13) has 
added an extra half-hour to its morning newscast, starting 
at 5:30 AM instead of 6, and Don Crawford has, as expected, 
applied for the WDCZ calls for his latest purchase, WCMF(AM) 

*From the Travel Log: NERW took a trip to the Elmira-Corning 
area last weekend, and here's what we found:

There's a lot more radio these days than there was the last 
time we passed through a decade or so ago.  Let's start with 
the old-timers:

On AM, the former WIQT (1000) Horsehide is now a full-timer 
on 820, and is now on its third set of calls, having gone 
from WIQT to WQIX to the new WWLZ, "Wheels 820."  It's all 
satellite talk and sports.

The 1000 spot is now religious WLNL, "Lighthouse Radio," 
with a format that included loud Christian rock and roll the 
afternoon we tuned in.  Still a daytimer, and diplexed off 
one of WWLZ's three towers.

WENY on 1230 is an all-satellite talker, and WELM (1410) is 
mostly satellite, running sports talk. 

Corning's WCBA (1350) and WCLI (1450) were having technical 
problems the Sunday afternoon we tuned in.  WCBA was 
supposed to be satellite standards, but was all dead air.  
WCLI was supposed to be satellite talk, but instead the 
computer was playing ID after ID after ID, all with loud 
noise behind 'em.  Nobody was home at the Davis Road studios 
when we pulled in...no big surprise?

And last but far from least, WEHH (1590) in Elmira Heights-
Horseheads was playing standards, but the modulation on the 
500 watt transmitter was so low that it was barely audible!  
WEHH is LMA'd to WELM, and the stations simulcast a fun 
polka program Sunday mornings.

As for FM...there was no sign of noncomms WCEB (91.9 
Corning; Corning Community College) or WECW (107.7 Elmira; 
Elmira College).  WSQE (91.1 Elmira) simulcasts Binghamton's 
WSKG (89.3) from high atop Hawley Hill, and WCIH (90.3) is 
an outlet of the Bath-based Family Life Network.

There were just a handful of live FMs: WNKI (106.1 Corning) 
is CHR "Wink 106," and you'll have to listen very carefully 
to hear the real calls.   WNKI, WWLZ, and WPGI (100.9 
Horseheads) are SabreCom stations, operating from new 
studios on College Ave. in Elmira.  WLVY (94.3) is WELM's 
sister station, running CHR as "94 Rock."  WNGZ (104.9 
Montour Falls, simulcast on WGMF 1490 Watkins Glen) isn't 
exactly live, but it is locally-automated as classic rock 
"Wingz 105," with translators in Elmira and Corning on 93.5.  
SabreCom now runs WNGZ under an LMA.

If you like your radio from Denver or Dallas, there's plenty 
of satellite FM to choose from in the market.  WLVY/WELM's 
sister station WOKN (99.5 Southport, translator in Corning 
on 102.5) runs country as "OK100."  There's more country on 
WPGI, "Piggy 101," with live morning host Chris P. Bacon 
(get it?) and satellite the rest of the day.  WENY-FM (92.7) 
is AC as "Y92.7," and from Corning there's more satellite AC 
on WCBA-FM 98.7.  WCBA's sister station WGMM (97.7 Big 
Flats) is satellite oldies "Gem 97."  The Corning FMs were 
also having problems Sunday afternoon; WCBA-FM was all dead 
air all the time, and WGMM was missing its local inserts for 
a few hours.

One more "Elmira" FM: WPHD (94.7 Tioga PA) has a 95.1 Elmira 
translator, and plays classic rock as "The Met."  And WMKB 
(96.9 Ridgebury PA) is currently dark; it was simulcasting 
WLNL, and before that WEHH.

And if you prefer TV, there are but a handful of choices.  
Little WENY-TV (Channel 36) is the ABC affiliate, 
broadcasting from a former garage (and it shows!) in North 
Horseheads.  WETM-TV (Channel 18) is all grown up from its 
days as a satellite of Syracuse's Channel 3.  Now ensconced 
in new studios downtown, WETM is the NBC affiliate for both 
Elmira and Binghamton, with the change of Binghamton's WICZ-
TV (Channel 40) from NBC to Fox.  And the newcomer is 
Corning's WYDC (Channel 48), a Fox/UPN affiliate that goes 
by the name "Big Fox."  It's seen on translator in Elmira on 
channel 26 and in Bath on channel 20.  CBS and PBS come from 
Binghamton, on WBNG (Channel 12) and WSKG-TV (Channel 46, 
Elmira translator on Channel 30) respectively.

Next up: Jamestown, Olean, and Salamanca!

*And that's our report for this week.  We'll try to keep to 
an every-Thursday format...and please continue to keep us 
posted on broadcast happenings in your neck of the 
Northeast.  Until next week...

- -=Scott Fybush - fybush@world.std.com =-


End of boston-radio-interest-digest V1 #3