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

NorthEast Radio Watch 6/4: The End of CBL is Near

*Just a month after the CBC turned off its AM transmitter in Montreal,
the end is nigh for CBL (740) in Toronto.  IRCA's AM DX Newsflash
reports the CBC will shut down the AM transmitter Saturday, June 19,
14 months after replacement FM transmitter CBLA (99.1) was activated.

As with the shutdown of CBM in Montreal, the end of CBL will deprive
many US communities of CBC service.  While Buffalo and Niagara Falls
can hear CBLA and its Crystal Beach relay transmitter at 90.5, the FM
signals are blocked by co-channel and adjacent-channel US stations
across the rest of Western and Central New York, areas where CBL has
been nearly a local station for now.

NERW will sorely miss the intelligence, humor, and international
perspective a CBC outlet can bring to an otherwise mega-opoly plagued
radio dial like Rochester's.  We're waiting to see what the CRTC does
with the 740 frequency.  Unlike Montreal's 690 and 940, which had
several applicants lined up even before CBF and CBM went silent, no
application window for 740 has been opened yet.

We plan to head north in the NERW-mobile to hear the end of CBL in a
few weeks.  If all goes according to precedent, programming on Friday,
June 18 will be interrupted every ten minutes by announcements telling
listeners to move to FM.  At midnight, programming will be replaced
with a repeating ten-second loop, with the transmitter going dead for
good 24 hours later.

Anyone with high-level contacts in the Canadian government who can
help halt this impending disaster is urged to contact NERW at once.
We'll also be happy to report Bob Bittner's plans, if any, for
late-night DX tests on 740 once WJIB has the empty channel to

*On with the rest of the week's news, starting up in MAINE, where the
FCC has flagged the applications by Fuller-Jeffrey to transfer 10
radio stations in the Portland and Seacoast markets to Citadel.  These
flags, based on potential revenue concentration, have become more and
more common in recent months, and aren't necessarily holding up
station transfers.  This one, in particular, may not be a severe
problem for Citadel -- after all, F-J isn't even selling Citadel its
entire cluster in Portland.  WJAE (1440 Westbrook) and WJJB (900
Brunswick) stay with J.J. Jeffrey under a new group called "Atlantic
Coast Radio."  Jeffrey is also buying WRED (95.9 Saco) for $1.15
million, a deal that had been rumored since the initial sale of F-J
was announced.

Over on the Saga side of the Portland market, WPOR (1490) finally
became adult standards WBAE(AM), "The Bay," on May 24.

*Two MASSACHUSETTS stations are applying to move transmitter sites.
WSRO (1470 Marlborough) and WRPT (650 Ashland) apparently plan to
share WSRO's new site in Hudson, with WRPT moving from its current
diplex (triplex, actually) on WKOX's Framingham tower site.  We say
"apparently" because the FCC database on-line isn't keeping up with
the daily releases of applications and actions...and that's when it's
been working at all this week.  Maybe if they didn't spend so much
time forwarding dirty jokes down at the Portals...

As we suspected back in March, the "J-Light" Christian contemporary
format that's been heard on WJLT (1060 Natick) is now also being heard
in Worcester on WNEB (1230), which J-Light programmer Great Commission
is buying.  

Congratulations to Steve LeVeille, who's been named to succeed Bob
Raleigh as midnight-5 AM host on WBZ (1030 Boston).  The LeVeille
Broadcast will be heard Sunday through Thursday nights (or is that
Monday through Friday mornings?) beginning next week.  No word yet on
who'll fill the other big talk opening at WBZ, the 10-midnight slot
being opened by David Brudnoy's decision to cut back his hours on the
air.  As for LeVeille's current Friday night overnight spot, NERW
hears Jordan Rich is likely to add that overnight to the rest of his
'BZ weekend duties.  

LeVeille says the new weekday "Broadcast" will be more issue-oriented
than the Friday-night version, but he promises "a very different
approach" from other talk hosts -- a promise NERW's sure he'll live up

Congratulations also to WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford), celebrating its 20th
anniversary as "Kiss 108."  Events included a Dale Dorman-hosted "Top
300" countdown Memorial Day weekend, not to mention daily
retrospectives at noon.  We can't wait to get to Boston to hear it for

*A morning-show shakeup in RHODE ISLAND: Roger Letendre is reportedly
out at WWBB (101.5 Providence).  The former overnight host at B101
joined the morning team at the oldies station last year.

*In CONNECTICUT, there are all sorts of changes to report in and
around New Haven, and we'll start on the radio side, where much of the
local programming on WAVZ (1300) is being pulled by corporate owner
Clear Channel in an attempt to make room in the budget to add Rush
Limbaugh to sister station WELI (960).

Among the victims of the budget axe is Ron Rohmer, 68, who has spent
more than four decades at WAVZ and WELI.  He was fired from WELI a few
years ago, sued Clear Channel, and ended up coming back to the
stations as WAVZ morning host -- at least until this week, when the
New Haven Register reports he was fired by PD Jerry Kristafer.

Also out the door at Radio Towers Park is WELI mid-morning co-host Roger
Vann, who resigned Wednesday rather than let the station cut his
salary and that of co-host Tom Scott.  Scott was only a part-time
employee, and tells the Register he wants to pursue syndication
opportunities with Clear Channel.

Rohmer's WAVZ morning show will be replaced with satellite
programming, while Limbaugh will start June 14 on WELI, pushing
Dr. Laura Schlessinger's program to 3-6 PM, displacing afternoon host
Tad Baldwin, whose future with WELI is uncertain.

Meanwhile on the TV side, two well-known anchors are leaving WTNH
(Channel 8) in New Haven.  Diane Smith was demoted from 5:30 anchor to
reporter last year ater 16 years with the station, and will
reportedly leave Channel 8 when her contract is up at the end of
June.  Joining her two months later will be anchor Brian Burnell,
whose contract is not being renewed.  New at WTNH is reporter Andrea
Stasson, who joins the station June 14 from WGGB (Channel 40) in
Springfield, Mass.  And our best wishes go out to WTNH reporter Leon
Collins, who was injured last weekend in an altercation with a
landlord while trying to interview one of the landlord's tenants.

*Two format changes in northern NEW YORK top our news from the Empire
State this week.  WXQZ (101.5 Canton) spent a few days running a
stunting loop before debuting its new classic rock format as "Rock
101.5" at 6:00 Tuesday morning (6/1).  The station is applying for the
WRCD calls last used on 107.3 in the Rochester area a year or so ago.
The new station has a new news director, Bob LaRue, who comes over
from WPDM/WSNN in Potsdam.  It'll also have new studios as soon as
owner Tim Martz completes his purchase of WVNC (96.7) in Canton.  Once
that happens, WRCD and WVNC will move into the studios of WMSA (1340)
on Route 420 in Massena.  WXQZ had been simulcasting country WNCQ
(102.9 Morristown).  Meantime over in Ogdensburg, classic rock
replaced CHR on WPAC (92.7), now known as "Adult Rock PAC93."

Just across the border, CJSS in Cornwall is still on 1220 for the
moment, but with promos announcing the imminent arrival of "Blaze
101.9 FM, the Valley's hottest country," which would be the new FM
replacement due on the air any day now.  Also over that way, CKWS
(Channel 11) in Kingston has been granted a new rebroadcaster on
channel 36 in Smiths Falls.  With 10 kilowatts visual power, the new
transmitter is supposed to restore CKWS service to an area affected by
co-channel interference with the CHCH relay on channel 11 in Ottawa.

Back in New York, there's a new satellite service at WABY-FM (94.5
Ravena).  The Stardust service was replaced this week with the new
ABC/SMN soft AC format that started at KMEO (96.7) in Flower Mound,
Texas.  And if you've spotted the ads in the New York Times and
elsewhere for "waby.com," it's not the radio station's own Web site.
The Schenectady-based site is operated by former WABY owner Paul
Bendat and runs a 24-hour RealAudio service with a format that seems
similar to the old WABY standards.  Sounds pretty good, too...

Syracuse's "Hot 107.9" has a new program director.  Tommy Frank comes
to WWHT (107.9) from WAYV (95.1) in Atlantic City, replacing
J.J. Rice, who left for WBLI on Long Island a few months back.

An update on the new "Big TV" LPTV on Rochester's east side: W67DQ has
applied to change community of license from Penfield to Victor, and to
move to channel 26 with 960 watts visual ERP -- albeit from Baker
Hill, one of the best VHF/UHF transmitter sites in the area.  Hey,
maybe we WILL get to see "Dilbert" here at NERW Central eventually...

Speaking of LPTV, Buffalo's WKBW (Channel 7) has been granted a change
for its relay in Wilson (northeast of Niagara Falls on the Lake Ontario
shore) from channel 60 to channel 54 as W54CT.  Also in Buffalo, WFBF
(89.9) has applied to change transmitter site, and WXRL (1300
Lancaster) to change power, but the FCC has yet to share any details
with us on either application, so stay tuned.

*Finally this week, one more invitation to our readers to join us on
Saturday, June 12, in Providence, Rhode Island, for the NERW
Get-Together, spring 1999 edition.  We'll be meeting for lunch about
noon, then visiting the Rhode Island Historical Society's "Live From
Studio 1-A!" exhibit on the history of Rhode Island broadcasting at
2.  Those who wish to do so can then follow us down to Westerly on a
driving tour of Ocean State tower and studio sites.  It's a great
chance to meet people who share your interests and make some new
friends.  Keep an eye on the official Get-Together Web Page
<http://www.bostonradio.org/radio/nerw/nerw-99gtg.html> for an
announcement of our lunch destination, directions, and information on
how to RSVP.  

Because of the impending trip, there will be no NERW on Friday, June
11.  We'll publish a special issue sometime around Wednesday, June 16
in its place.  There will also be no NERW Friday, June 18, as we
travel to Canada to pay our final respects to CBL; again, a special
issue will follow a few days later.  E-mail responses may also be
delayed a few days while we're on the road.  We'll get back on the
normal schedule on June 25.

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