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NorthEast Radio Watch 5/8: May Miscellany

*From Mayville (NY) to Madawaska (ME), here's the miscellany that's
filled the NERW mailbox this week...

*We begin this time in VERMONT, Brattleboro to be exact, where WKVT
AM/FM (1490/92.7) and WVAY (100.7 Wilmington) have been sold to
Richard Lightfoot, the owner of WKNE AM/FM (1290/103.7) across the
Connecticut River in New Hampshire.  Lightfoot says he's not planning
any format changes at the stations, which are currently running talk
on the AM and rock on the simulcast FMs.  The seller of WKVT AM/FM is
James Plante, who tells the Brattleboro Reformer that he'll probably
leave the area once the transition to new ownership is complete.  WVAY
is being sold by Martin and Robin Rothschild, who LMA'd the station to
Plante earlier this year.  The deal closes a circle that began back in
1959, when WKNE's original owners built WKVT.   Lightfoot is operating
WKVT and WVAY under an LMA while he awaits FCC approval of the
purchase.  Once it's complete, WKVT, WKNE, and WVAY will operate under
the name "Northland Radio."  No word on purchase price; but NERW
wonders if this isn't the "NH/VT AM/FM Combo" that was being
advertised in the trades this week for around $750,000...

NERW Vermont correspondent Doug Bassett also sends along word of a
death last weekend:

Longtime Vermont radio and television broadcaster Jack Barry died Sunday at
the age of 70.

He made his radio debut at WDEV in Waterbury at the age of 4, reading a
poem. "This is little Jackie Barry coming through the air," he announced.

In 1948 he went to The Burlington Free Press' WJOY, where he helped air the
station's 11PM newscast live from the paper's newsroom.

In 1954 he and Vin D'Acuti established WDOT, providing competition for WJOY.
They did it all themselves, working 18 hour days.

He also did work at stations out of the area, including KIOA Des Moines,
Ia., WTTM Trenton, N.J., and others.

He began his television career at WVNY-TV with a program that aired from 10
to 11 AM, between his 6 to 9 AM and noon to 2 PM programs on WVMT in
Colchester. He spent evenings doing play-by-play sports broadcasts.

In 1970 he started volunteering at Vermont ETV (Vermont's PBS outlet), and
in 1973 went on the payroll there. He took a couple of years off to serve as
press secretary ffor U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

In 1976, he returned to broadcasting, doing his morning radio programs and
evening television appearances until his retirement from ETV in 1991. He
continued his radio shows for a while until his desire to be in politics got
in the way. Three years ago he was elected state senator, passionately
pleading agaist cuts in ETV's funding from the state. (Last year, the state
senate considered cutting funding from $762,500 to just $1).

His daugter, Bridget Barry Caswell, is following her father's footsteps,
becoming a television reporter herself.

*From NEW HAMPSHIRE this week, we learn more about the many applicants
for 106.5 in Farmington...and it seems most of them are already
broadcasters in the area.  They include:

- --Mad River Broadcasting, owned by one of the principals in WLKZ
(104.9) Wolfeboro NH, WIZN (106.7) Vergennes VT, and WXLO (104.5)
Fitchburg-Worcester MA.

- --Robert Demers, owner of WTSN (1270) Dover and WBYY (98.7)
Somersworth NH.

- --Farmington Radio Partners, a partnership between Bob Vinikoor of
WNTK (1020 Newport/99.7 New London NH) and Dennis Jackson of WQQQ
(103.3 Sharon CT) and WMEX (102.5 Westport NY).  

- --Carter Broadcasting, which we mentioned in last week's NERW.

- --Three different "Educational Fellowships," "Green Mountain" of
Hartford VT, "Northeastern" of Hampton NH (also an applicant for 
88.1 Peterborough NH), and "Pioneer Valley" of Hadley MA.  

- --Gary Marshall of Brentwood NH, whoever he might be.

All that interest for just a little class A signal that never even got
built the last time it was a construction permit...

NERW research director Garrett Wollman was watching the auction on New
Hampshire Public TV (WENH-TV 11 Durham, etc.) this week, and noticed
that several of the Knight Quality (soon to be Capstar) radio stations
donated advertising time as an auction item!  Lucky bidders could snag
30 sixty-second spots on WXHT (95.3 York Center ME) for a suggested
price of $1100.  WBHG (101.5 Meredith) also donated spots to the

The ongoing flood of petitions to deny has hit a New Hampshire
translator.  Roberts Communications, which owns WXOD (98.7 Winchester)
and WKBK (1220 Keene) has filed against the renewal of W288AM, the
105.5 translator in Keene that rebroadcasts WZSH (107.1 Bellows Falls

*Not much news from MAINE this time around, believe it or not...WCME in
Boothbay Harbor is still programming just a few hours each morning and
then signing off for the day.  Our friends at the M Street Journal
report that Bangor's WWBX (97.1) has dropped the satellite modern AC
format it was running in favor of soft AC, apparently to counter soft
AC WEZQ (92.9).  And WMDI (107.7 Bar Harbor) has flipped to AAA from
70s rock, as part of an LMA-to-buy with the Bridge Corporation.

*One bit of RHODE ISLAND news: "Mancow" Muller, the Chicago-based
syndicated morning host, has signed WDGE (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale)
as his first East Coast affiliate.  M Street says Block Island's
WERI-FM (99.3) has flipped from hot AC to AAA; we'd love to hear tape
from anyone down in that area who can hear the signal.  The FCC has
granted WBRU (95.5) an extension of time to move to 50kw and move its
transmitter from the WHJY stick in East Providence to Neuticonkanut
Hill in Johnston, as well as granting WPNW (550) an extension of time
to raise power to 4600 watts day, 3400 watts night. (A side note: When
we went to plot the coordinates of these two on the DeLorme CD-ROM
mapping software we've been using here at NERW Central, we found
"Wpjb-fm" and "Wgng-am" already shown on the maps...guess they date
from the 1970s!)

*In MASSACHUSETTS, we now know how much Antonio F. Gois paid for WACM
(1490) in West Springfield: $600,000, according to M Street, including
a non-compete agreement from the Silva Broadcasting Corp.

Are WNNW (1110 Salem NH) and WHAV (1490 Haverhill) now simulcasting?
M Street says they're both running the Spanish contemporary format
from Hispanic Satellite Network, the new venture from the stations'
owner, Methuen-based Costa Communications.

*From CONNECTICUT this week, the FCC has designated a hearing on the
license of WHCT (Channel 18) in Hartford, to settle a very
long-running dispute over this long-dark station's license.

Back in 1983, Shurberg Broadcasting filed a competing application
against WHCT's renewal, and rather than face a competitive hearing,
WHCT's then-owner, Dr. Gene Scott's Faith Center, took advantage of
the FCC's distress-sale minority-preference policy and sold WHCT to
Astroline Broadcasting for $5 million.  

So far so good...except that Shurberg alleged that Astroline was not
in fact minority-controlled.  The dispute percolated its way upward
through the court systems, and in the meantime Astroline went bankrupt
and WHCT went off the air.

Last year, Two if by Sea Broadcasting took control of WHCT from the
bankruptcy trustee, and this past February WHCT returned to the air
running programming from Lowell Paxson.  Meanwhile, Shurberg filed a
petition to deny WHCT's license renewal, and Astroline then filed a
petition to deny against Shurberg's Channel 18 application.

Now, the FCC has denied Astroline's petition to deny against Shurberg,
and it will soon hold a hearing to determine the extent of minority
control at Astroline.  If the FCC finds that Astroline misrepresented
the facts, we could see yet another change of control at poor old
Channel 18...stay tuned.

*The big news from NEW YORK this week comes from the frozen north,
where WVNV (96.5) and WICY (1490) up in Malone are being sold to Tim
Martz, who's putting WYUL (94.7) on the air in Chateaugay.  WVNV is
live country as "V96," while WICY is live AC and satellite talk as
"North Country 1490."  The FM has a decent reach into Canada, where it
hits parts of Montreal.  Thanks to Gavin Burt for keeping us posted
from way up there!

Also up in the mountains, Lyon Mountain outside Plattsburgh could be
getting another occupant.  St. Lawrence University has applied for
89.7 with 190 watts from up there.  SLU owns public radio WSLU (89.5)
Canton and a host of relays in the North Country, including WXLU (88.3
Peru) and WSLL (90.5 Saranac Lake), which already serve much of the
same area the Lyon Mountain station would cover.  The 89.7 frequency
in the Plattsburgh area was to have been home to WCFE-FM, moving from
91.9, but that CP was never built and WCFE-FM became WCEL, the
northernmost link in Albany's WAMC Northeast Public Radio chain.

Rochester's "Zone," WZNE (94.1 Brighton), finally got live jocks
yesterday.  Among the voices heard on the station was Harry Jacobs, PD
at sister station WCMF-FM (96.5).  So far, WZNE is live only from 7 to
9 in the morning and 4 to 6 in the afternoon; expect that to change
soon.  The "Zone" is also about to end its 10,000 song commercial-free
introduction...the first spots will air next week.

Bargain of the Week: An ad in the trades is promoting the upcoming
auction of dark WZOS (96.7 Oswego NY).  The starting bid for this
class A FM?  Maybe it's a typo...but the ad says $16,000!  Hmm...if
only we had an extra $15,952.75, we could afford to buy it right here
at NERW...

Back from the Dark: WSCP (1070 Sandy Creek) has returned to the air
after nearly a year of silence, once again simulcasting country sister
WSCP-FM (101.7 Pulaski).  It's supposedly a daytimer, but last Sunday
we heard WSCP(AM) loud and clear here at the Rochester listening
post...at 10 PM local time!

Western New York is again being invaded by the creeping tendrils of
the religious translator networks.  The latest outbreak comes from the
Pensacola Christian Church's WPCS (89.5 Pensacola FL), which has
applied for 89.3 in Buffalo and 88.9 in Ithaca.  The Buffalo
application is first-adjacent to Toronto's CIUT (89.5), which has a
listenable signal in some areas stateside.  

Editorializing here: If the FCC continues to allow what amounts to
nationwide networks of low-power radio under the guise of religion,
while refusing to consider licensing LOCAL low-power radio, the case
being made by the "unlicensed broadcasters" begins to sound better and
better.  Once more with feeling: It is ridiculous to say I can run a
1-watt radio station if it's relaying religious programming from out
of state -- but not if it's broadcasting locally-generated
programming.  It is time to rethink the way the translator rules are
written, before a handful of stations (you know who I mean, WPCS and
KAWZ and KEAR and WAFR and WJSO) completely overrun the airwaves.
I'll step off my soapbox now...

Speaking of religious translators, W213AM, the 90.5 Newburgh NY
relayer of Family Stations' WFRE (91.7 Kingston), has applied to move
to 90.3 and change power.

And in Auburn, WAUB (1590) is now running satellite standards, ending
its simulcast with modern-rock WLLW (93.7 Clyde).

*And to close out this week's issue, here's a recap of the many
radio-related resources that are associated in one way or another with
NERW.  If you're new to NERW, we hope you'll take advantage of some of
these, and if you're a longtime reader, we hope you'll find something
new to explore:

The NorthEast Radio Watch column itself is published every Thursday.
It's written by Scott Fybush, with contributions from correspondents
across the seven-state region (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY) it covers.
NERW publishes news, rumor, and opinion about radio, television, and
related media in the Northeast.  The opinions expressed in NERW are
solely those of Scott Fybush or credited contributors.  

NERW is available in several forms:  on the Web at the Boston Radio
Archives (http://radio.lcs.mit.edu/radio/bostonradio.html), which is
also where you'll find archives; by mailing list (see below); and on
the AIRWAVES Radio Journal (rec.radio.broadcasting on Usenet).

There are two mailing lists where NERW is made available.  The
NERW-only mailing list is at nerw-request@radio.lcs.mit.edu (put
"SUBSCRIBE" in the body of the message to get on the list).  You're
also invited to participate in the boston-radio-interest mailing list,
which covers any and all topics related to radio in the Boston area.
NERW is also posted to that list.  It's at

The Boston Radio Archives web site mentioned above is where to find
all sorts of current and historical information about radio and
television in New England.  It will soon be joined by a companion New
York Radio Archives site covering upstate New York; stay tuned for the
announcement of that URL.

"Let's Talk About Radio" is a weekly radio program about radio and
communications.  Many of the Boston Radio Archives editors and NERW
contributors are also regular participants in "LTAR."  It can be heard
Sunday at noon on WJIB (740 Cambridge-Boston) and WNEB (1230
Worcester), Sunday at 12:07 pm on WJTO (730 Bath ME), and Saturday at
9:30 am on WKBR (1250 Manchester NH).  

*"Spectrum" is another weekly radio program about all forms of
electronic communications.  NERW editor Scott Fybush anchors a weekly
radio-news segment at the start of each show.  Also featured are
regular segments on the Internet and satellite communications, as well
as call-in segments.  "Spectrum" is heard on Saturday nights at 10PM
on WWCR (5070 kHz shortwave), as well as on the GE satellite (103
degrees west), transponder 6, 5.8 wideband audio, and several local
stations in New Jersey and Virginia.  See http://www.spectrum.orn.com
for more information.

*We always love to hear from fellow radio nuts; if there's radio news
in your part of the Northeast, please drop us a line at

*And with that, we'll close out this week's NERW.  See you next

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