[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

NorthEast Radio Watch 5/7: Rhythmic Oldies Claim Hartford, Rochester FMs

*The "rhythmic oldies" format has claimed a big CONNECTICUT convert
this week -- but this time, Chancellor Media has nothing to do with
it.  CBS's WZMX (93.7 Hartford) made the switch at 10 o'clock Thursday
morning, putting morning man Sebastian out on the street (literally so
- -- NERW hears his car was broken and he had to walk home) and taking
on the moniker "Z-93.7, Dancin' Oldies."  John Robbins is the new PD
at the station.  Across town, Buckley's more traditional oldies
station, WDRC-FM (102.9 Hartford), is also trying to attract the same
audience by positioning itself as "Good Times, Hot Oldies."

Waterbury's WATR (1320) breaks from adult standards in the afternoon
to run the Howie Carr show from Boston's WRKO.

TV news: WHCT (Channel 18) in Hartford has a new address; they're at
40-B Weston Street.  Programming is still ValueVision -- except for 3
hours off the air Saturday nights.

*Charles River Broadcasting is buying another MASSACHUSETTS radio
station.  The owner of WCRB (102.5 Waltham) and WFCC (107.5 Chatham)
is buying WKPE-FM (104.7 Orleans) on Cape Cod from David Roth's
Gramcam.  Roth donated the former WKPE(AM) to UMass/Boston a few
months ago.  WKPE-FM will be CRB's second rock station, joining WCCC
Hartford.  No word yet on whether there will be operational
consolidations between WKPE-FM and WFCC; given that WFCC's programming
already originates from WCRB's Waltham studio, it would seem logical
to move WFCC's sales staff in with WKPE at the "Radio Circle" facility
just off US 6.

Boston University is selling the TV stations it bought from the
Christian Science Monitor six years ago, and the buyer is none other
than DP Media, owned by Lowell Paxson's son Devon.  The price tag for
WABU-TV (Channel 68 Boston), WNBU-TV (Channel 21 Concord NH), and WZBU
(Channel 58 Vineyard Haven) is estimated at $40 million.  Once the
deal closes, WABU and its satellites will become PaxTV affiliates,
replacing WBPX-TV (Channel 46) in Norwell.  As for WABU's local
programming and its 70 employees?  Most are likely to lose their jobs
as the station becomes the typical all-network Pax operation.  

WAAF (107.3 Worcester) is moving even farther away from its city of
license.  A decade after leaving the downtown digs nicknamed the
"Cocaine Realty Building," WAAF is abandoning its office-park facility
in Westborough to move into the former WBMX studios at 116 Huntington
Ave. in Boston, where sister stations WRKO, WEEI, and WQSX are
located.  WAAF general manager Bruce Mittman tells the Worcester
"Telegram & Gazette" that it doesn't make sense to pay rent on two
facilities, and with the open space where WBMX used to be (that
station is now in the old WBOS/WSJZ Soldiers Field Rd. studios), the
move was the logical thing to do.  WWTM (1440) and a satellite sales
office will relocate somewhere in the Worcester area within a few
months.  Speaking of Worcester, we heard from WWFX (100.1 Southbridge)
GM Craig Della Riva, who wrote in to let us know "the Fox" is more
"classic hits" than classic rock.

A programming change at Boston's WBCN (104.1).  The CBS modern rocker
picks up the syndicated "Loveline" show (produced at LA sister station
KROQ) formerly heard on WFNX.  It'll air from 10 PM until midnight,
displacing the last hour of Bradley Jay's shift and the first hour of
Albert O's.

The FCC still hasn't posted the missing week of broadcast actions and
applications from mid-April -- but it HAS been busy erroneously
cancelling the licenses of operating radio stations.  Accidentally
deleted this week were WDIS (1170 Norfolk), WMHC (91.5 South Hadley)
at Mount Holyoke College, WZLY (91.5 Wellesley), and WMFO (91.5
Medford).  NERW expectes all four deletions to be corrected soon.

*Up in MAINE, we're told Bob Fuller and J.J. Jeffrey are keeping their
Portland-area AM stations, WJAE (1440 Westbrook) and WJJB (900
Brunswick), while selling their FMs to Citadel.  Fuller is also a
part-owner of WNBP (1450 Newburyport MA).  

Bangor's WZON (620) is switching networks.  After almost 60 years as
an NBC Radio affiliate (most of those as WLBZ), the station is now
with ABC.

A pair of veteran Down East broadcasters are taking to the Web.  Ed
St. James and Mark Kauter, formerly of WMDI in Bar Harbor, are doing
some neat blues programming, which you can tune in at 

*In VERMONT, Middlebury's WGTK (100.9) is shifting identity somewhat,
becoming "Arrow 100.9" but sticking to its album-rock format.

And thanks to the several NERW readers who reminded me that the WTWN
calls now on 1100 in Wells River used to be on 1340 in St. Johnsbury,
today's WSTJ.

*Aurora Communications is still buying in NEW YORK.  Frank Osborn's
new group, which bought WEBE/WICC in Connecticut last week, also
plunked down $20 million to pick up WFAS AM-FM (1230/103.9) in White
Plains and WZZN (106.3) in Mount Kisco late last week.  Osborn's
partner Frank Washington had been managing those stations.

It must be nice to be able to shuffle radio station formats as easily
as a deck of cards -- at least, that's the only conclusion we can draw
from the latest changes at Jacor in Rochester, or, more correctly,
Clear Channel in Rochester (with the closing of this huge deal this
week).  Here's the latest on the little class A FMs that seem to have
changed calls and format almost every month since Jacor took them over
in early 1998:

The "Kiss 107" CHR format that's just started to make a ratings dent
disappeared from 107.3 (WMAX-FM "South Bristol Township") Thursday
afternoon, replaced with a loop advising listeners to retune their
radios to 106.7.  That would be WKGS Irondequoit, which dropped its
soft AC "Sunny 106" format last December (after just 10 months!) to
begin simulcasting "Kiss."  The simulcast almost made sense -- the
106.7 signal is on an apartment building at the north end of the
market and serves Monroe County and nowhere else (since it's rather
short-spaced to WHCD 106.9 Auburn), while the 107.3 is on a short
tower in Bloomfield, 20 miles south of Rochester, and does much better
in the outlying counties to the south than in the city itself.  What's
more, the 107.3 will eventually be sacrificed to the top of Bristol
Mountain, where it won't really reach Rochester at all.  (This move
preserves the fiction of local service to "South Bristol Township"
once Jacor's WNVE on 95.1 moves its big class B signal from Bristol
Mountain down to Baker Hill, using 107.3's old city of license of
Honeoye Falls, but becoming a real Rochester class B in the process.)

Confused yet?  We're just getting started...because when the loop on
107.3 ended at 5 o'clock Friday night, what popped up was a new
country station.  "The Big Cow 107.3" promised its listeners two solid
hours of Shania Twain, which it delivered -- by repeating the same
four songs over and over.  But anyone anticipating real competition
for the market's only country station (Entercom's WBEE-FM) was
disappointed by what happened two hours later, when WMAX-FM became
"Jammin' Oldies 107.3," presumably taking on another Entercom station,
oldies WBBF 98.9.  Real format?  Weekend stunt?  Sounds like the
former...but with these guys, you never know.

As for the listeners, they're probably getting pretty confused by
now.  Since last February, these 106.7 and 107.3 outlets have
delivered dance-CHR (on 107.3 as "Jam'n," February-December 1998),
soft AC (on 106.7 as "Sunny," February-December 1998, later shuffled
off to the Canandaigua 102.3), mainstream CHR, and now rhythmic
oldies -- and all without people.  Yep, it's all jockless,
personality-free, straight-outta-Covington, Kentucky formula
programming.  And the shame of it is, 106.7 used to be a creative AAA
(as WMAX-FM) owned by a small regional cable company, with real people
doing real radio for a real audience.  107.3 was never as local (in
its original incarnation as smooth jazz WRCD), but at least it didn't
flip formats and calls every six months.  

NERW's having a hard time keeping all these changes straight -- and if
we devoted radio junkies can't always remember who's where, what of
the listener who just wants some good music?  As it is, Jacor is STILL
(just before midnight Friday) running TV spots announcing Kiss on
"106.7 and 107.3 FM."  

Enough grousing...back to the rest of the news upstate, which includes
an update on the new WZKZ (101.9) in Alfred.  "KZ102" is apparently
being LMA'd to Hornell's Bilbat Broadcasting, which owns WHHO (1320)
and WKPQ (105.3) in nearby Hornell.

Our best wishes to John McKay Jr. of Toronto's CFTR (680), who's
recuperating from a car accident in Buffalo last week.

A Rochester-area talk show host wants to return to his old job as a
Rochester city councilor.  "Lonesome Charlie" Schiano earned his
nickname as the only Republican on the council during the 1970s.  He
retired in 1979 and has been on the air with a weekday talk show and a
Saturday soccer show for five years, currently on WASB (1590/105.5)
Brockport and WRSB (1310 Canandaigua).  Now he's running for his old
seat again, and we'll keep you posted on the fate of his campaign as it

There's a new look to the news on WWNY (Channel 7) in Watertown, we're
told, though it's not yet reflected on the station's Web iste

A minor format change to report in the Finger Lakes, where WFLR-FM
(95.9 Dundee) was briefly simulcasting its country AM on 1570 while
switching from local automated AC to using Jones AC satellite service
in off hours.

Syracuse Community Radio has scored another victory with the FCC, with
a CP for 89.5 in Marcellus.  W208AQ will have ten whole watts -- 
and of all SCR's transmitters, it's the one with the best chance of
having any signal at all into Syracuse itself (unlike SCR's only
active station right now, WXXE 90.5 Fenner, which mainly serves a
bovine population in Madison County.  Also in the Salt City, WVOA
(105.1 DeRuyter) has turned on translator W251AK (98.1 Nedrow).  WVOA
also picks up the Art Bell show and some leased-time programming from
WOLF, which went to Radio Disney right on schedule Monday.

Albany correspondent Gavin Burt reports "WZMR" as the requested new
calls at 104.9 in Altamont, known to the FCC at the moment as "WAAP"
(although those calls were never used on-air, with "Z-104.9" going
straight from the old WSRD to using WZMR at legal time).

And we'll close out the week with some more Winter Arbitrons, starting
in ALBANY, where WGY took advantage of a stable schedule to take
control of the 12+ top spot.  Perennial leader WGNA AM-FM was in
second this time, thanks to a strong showing by its new morning team.
A morning show change at WFLY dropped the CHR station from first in
Fall to third this time around, followed by a flat WYJB and WQBJ-WQBK,
a dropping WPYX, and WABY in its last book as an AM-FM simulcast.  A
few other stations of note: WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville) almost tripled
its ratings in its first book after changing from country WPTR to
urban "Jamz," while WXLE (104.5 Mechanicville) stayed flat despite a
change from a stunt AC format to rhythmic oldies.

In SYRACUSE, country WBBS stayed atop the pack, followed by news-talk
WSYR, rock WAQX, CHR WNTQ, hot AC WYYY, and CHR WWHT (both CHR
competitors showed increased ratings).

Here in ROCHESTER, WHAM seized the top spot from country WBEE-FM,
which had a down book 12+ (but did very well 25-54), followed by 
AC WRMM, a rising WVOR, and urban WDKX.  Down the book just a bit, 
both active rock WNVE (in its first book since changing from pure 
modern rock) and CHR WPXY showed substantial gains, with WPXY's 
coming at the expense of "Kiss" WMAX-FM/WKGS.  WCMF's Brother Wease 
continued to edge out WNVE's Howard Stern slightly in mornings,
although WHAM's Chet and Beth still lead the overall race in that

*And that's it for another week...we'll see you again next Friday!

- -=Scott Fybush - NorthEast Radio Watch - (c) 1999=-



End of boston-radio-interest-digest V3 #380