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NorthEast Radio Watch 7/30: Sales Galore!

*The things we miss when we go on vacation for a week!  It's been a
busy July for broadcasters across the region, with sales, format
changes, new stations, call changes, and, sadly, more than a few

We'll start with the biggest sale: Entercom's $821.5 million deal to
buy Sinclair's radio division (with the exception of the St. Louis
stations going to Emmis in a previously-announced purchase).
Entercom ends up with 43 stations, including the Sinclair cluster in
Buffalo -- talk WGR (550), news-talk WBEN (930), R&B oldies WWWS
(1400), sports WWKB (1520), CHR WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls), and AC WMJQ
(102.5).  The Buffalo stations make a nice complement to the Rochester
stations Sinclair bought from Heritage back in 1997 and immediately
spun to Entercom -- standards WEZO (950), country WBEE-FM (92.5),
classic rock WQRV (93.3 Avon), and oldies WBBF (98.9).  They will also
be among the stations buying a total of $5 million a year in
advertising on Sinclair's TV stations, including WUTV (Channel 29) and
eventually WNEQ (Channel 23) in Buffalo, which now lose their radio
sister stations but gain a more solid financial footing.

NERW will be watching most closely to see what happens to the news
departments at WGR and WBEN, which have maintained two separate
newsrooms despite being under common ownership (and by a company with
a reputation for cost-cutting, at that).  We're hoping Buffalo will
continue to enjoy that rare luxury, but we suspect the worst,
somehow.  There are, of course, no other commercial radio newsrooms to
speak of in the Queen City, with WBFO (88.7) holding the fort on the
noncomm side more than adequately.

*Sticking with Sinclair on the other side of NEW YORK state, the
company has applied for new calls for Schenectady's Channel 45.  WMHQ
will become WEWB when it reverts to commercial operation as a WB
affiliate sometime later this year.

While Albany viewers wait for the call change on TV, they can tune in
something new on the radio.  WRIP (97.9 Windham) began testing from
its transmitter atop Ski Windham this week, and Dennis Jackson is
inviting NERW readers to the official sign-on celebration on Thursday,
August 5 at the station's studios, 134 South Street in Windham.
WRIP's morning man will be Guy Garraghan, who handled wake-up duties
for years at WCKL (560) in Catskill.  You can find more about the
station at its new Web page, <http://www.expage.com/page/wrip>.

Clear Channel has named Dennis Lamme market manager for all its
Albany stations, with the departure of Michael Whalen, who had held
those duties for WGY (810) and WHRL (103.1).  We hear the studios for
Clear Channel's WQBK-WQBJ, WTMM, and WXCR will stay at 4 Central
Ave. in Albany even after the back offices move to the WGY/WHRL/WRVE
facility on Washington Street.

Clear Channel is also making the usual monthly tweaks at its Rochester
operation, this time changing the calls of its "Jammin' Oldies" outlet
on 107.3.  The former WMAX-FM becomes WLCL as "Cool 107," with the
"Jammin' Oldies" name retired (perhaps AMFM complained?) and
voicetracked jocks being imported from somewhere.  But Clear Channel's
hanging on to the WMAX-FM calls, warehousing them this time on the
102.3 in Canandaigua, formerly WISY and still sleepy AC "Sunny 102."

We observe also that the FCC has approved the proposed move of WNVE
(95.1) from South Bristol to Honeoye Falls, with a move of transmitter
site from Bristol Mountain to Baker Hill, 20 miles closer to
downtown.  The move also means 107.3 has to change cities of license
from Honeoye Falls to South Bristol (which it's been using as a legal
ID for months anyway), with a transmitter move that would take it out
of the market entirely.  Wonder how Clear Channel plans to wriggle out
of THAT...

Up north, it's a new format for Ogdensburg's WSLB (1400), which
dropped its simulcast with oldies WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur) this week to
go talk.  After John Astolfi's morning show, the last vestige of the
simulcast, "Talk 1400" runs Mike Gallagher, Rush, Dr. Laura (on tape
delay), Dr. Dean Edell, Bruce Williams, and Jim Bohannon.  Weekends
will be all-sports, we hear.

A few western NY tidbits: new country station WZKZ (101.9 Alfred) has
applied to drop power from 1300 to 1000 watts and raise its antenna
from 213 to 244 meters AAT, while something called Harvest Time
Broadcasting has applied for a new religious station on 90.1 in

*Onward we go, to VERMONT, where public radio listeners in the
Northeast Kingdom now have a signal to call their own.  Engineer Ira
Wilner pushed the button to turn on the WVPA (88.5 St. Johnsbury)
transmitter atop Burke Mountain at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of July
21.  WVPA will provide reliable service to an area that previously had
only the spotty signals of WVPS (107.9 Burlington) and WVPR (89.5
Windsor) for company.

Alex McEwing's Family Broadcasting is selling WGLY (103.3 Waterbury)
to Jane Cole's Radio Broadcast Services for a reported $700,000.
While we've yet to hear anything about changes in programming or
staff, we do note that WGLY has filed to change its calls to WDOT,
with the existing WDOT (McEwing's AM 1070 in Plattsburgh NY) becoming
WGLY.  More on this in the weeks to follow.

The FCC has granted WCMK (91.7 Bolton) a translator in Ascutney.
W212BG will be the calls of the new station on 90.3.

*Just across the state line in NEW HAMPSHIRE, another station sale to
report, as Peter and Judith Aydelott's Profile Broadcasting sells WLNH
(1400 Littleton) and WLNH-FM (96.7 Lisbon) to Sharp Broadcasting for

*The long-awaited format change in Sanford, MAINE finally happened at
8 in the morning on July 21, as a loop of a Kid Rock song yielded to a
simulcast of the WFNX (101.7 Lynn MA) morning show on WPHX (92.1).  So
long, Mount Rialto...

J.J. Jeffrey's Atlantic Coast Broadcasting is picking up a fourth
Maine station, WXGL (95.5 Topsham).  The station will make a nice
complement to WRED (95.9 Saco) on the other side of Portland, as well
as to WJAE (1440 Westbrook) and WJJB (900 Brunswick), the two stations
Jeffrey is keeping as he and Doc Fuller sell their company to Citadel.

Over at Colby College in Waterville, the students who ran WMHB (90.5)
appear to have given up on any hope of keeping the frequency they
occupied for almost two decades, but not on the hope of returning to
the air somewhere else.  You'll recall that some confusion over
paperwork relating to WMHB's early-80s move from 91.5 left the station
without a valid license -- and gave Maine Public Radio the opening to
apply for 90.5 down the coast in Camden.  WMHB general manager Lee
L'Heureux tells the Central Maine Morning Sentinel he hopes to get
special temporary authority from the FCC to run low power on 90.5
while the whole mess is sorted out.  Meanwhile, the public radio folks
are sticking to their guns, refusing to drop the 90.5 Camden
application even though it was WMHB's willingness to make that
ill-fated move to 90.5 that allowed MPR to put its own Waterville
station, WMEW 91.3, on the air back in 1982.  

NERW notes that the FCC database shows a valid license for WMHB as a
10-watter on 91.5 -- seems to us that the Colby kids ought to turn
THAT facility back on for a bit, if only to give WMEW some grief in
return... (yes, we know, as a class A station WMEW has priority over
the 10-watt WMHB, but still!)

Light of Life Ministries has applied for a new station on 88.9 in

And we note the passing of Wayne Bearor on July 17 at the age of 56.
Bearor was the program director at WGHM (now WSKW) Skowhegan in the
sixties, then an announcer at WPOR and WGAN in Portland before going
behind the scenes in the business office of Guy Gannett Broadcasting
until his retirement earlier this year.

*Our MASSACHUSETTS news begins with a host of call changes at the
former Boston University TV stations.  As we'd suspected, WABU
(Channel 68) in Boston has picked up the WBPX calls formerly on
channel 46 in Norwell.  Down the Cape, WZBU (Channel 58) Vineyard
Haven becomes WDPX, calls last seen in Springfield, Ohio.  And up in
New Hampshire, WNBU (Channel 21) Concord becomes WPXG, calls Pax TV
last used in Suring, Wisconsin.  While we're at it, we note that
WZBU's sister LPTV, W67BA Dennis, has been granted a channel change to
33 and new calls of W33BZ.

Mega Broadcasting has new calls for Boston's AM 1150, as WNFT becomes
WAMG.  There's also a new general manager, with the departing Jerry
Villacres being replaced by Maria Elena Verdugo from Mega/Hartford,
and a new program director, Jorge Mier (formerly of WONQ in Orlando).

We hear Judi Papparelli is leaving WROR's "Loren and Wally" show to
pursue her own talk show...and we wish her all the best.

No sign yet of the rumored talk format at WBOS (92.9 Brookline) -- but
the station did apply this week to move its transmitter from the
"FM128" site in Newton to the top of the Prudential Tower downtown.
With the move, that would leave only WBUR, WJMN, WBMX, and WCRB paying
rent to Steve Dodge for their main antennas (although WBOS and the
others in the Greater Media group all have auxiliary licenses or
applications on the FM128 stick).

Speaking of towers, Edmund Dinis is again asking the FCC for more time
to build the sticks for WLAW (1270), his yet-unbuilt station in North
Dartmouth.  Dinis was granted a permit back in February for a final
six-month extension to begin erecting the towers on Copicut Hill, but
he says competing Portuguese-language broadcasters James and Robert
Karam are holding up the project with constant appeals to Fall River
city officials.

Business talker WBNW (1120 Concord) is now Webcasting 24 hours a day
on their site: <http://www.1120wbnw.com>.

Two more obituaries to report: John Crohan of Canton died July 25 at
Norwood Hospital.  Crohan served as general manager of the old WCOP in
Boston and later as owner of WPEP in Taunton and WJCC (now WDIS) in
Norfolk before founding the Talk America Radio Network.  Crohan was
suffering from brain cancer.  He was 69 years old.

And Greater Media chairman Peter Bordes died July 19 at his home in
New Jersey.  Bordes built Greater from a single radio station in
Southbridge into a media group that at various times included cable,
print, and radio across the Northeast and Midwest.  Bordes was 71.

*The high school in Coventry, RHODE ISLAND faces still more challenges
to its license for WCVY (91.5), as both Broadcasting for the
Challenged and something called "Educ. Radio/Public for New
Millennium" have filed their own applications for the frequency.

*There's another station sale in CONNECTICUT, as Spring Broadcasting
pays $1.9 million for Shoreline's WVVE (102.3 Stonington).  Spring
already owns WQGN and WSUB in nearby Groton, and the proposed
combination has already been flagged by the FCC for market-share

The Pomfret School's application for 91.1 in Pomfret has been restored
to "pending" status.

We're told LPTVs WMLD-LP (Channel 6) and WHTX-LP (Channel 10) in
Hartford are both off the air.

Congratulations to the folks at WKCI (101.3 Hamden), who celebrated
their 20th anniversary on the air last weekend with a reunion of the
original airstaff.  Among those returning to the KC101 airwaves were
Pete Salant (now at WYNY in suburban NYC), Jerry Kristafer (still in
the building at WELI), Dr. Chris Evans, Peter Bush, and Curt Hansen
(all across town at WEBE), Susan Saks (in Hartford at WZMX), Dana
Lundon (at Detroit's WKQI), Floyd Wright (at WWYZ), Willie B. (now
with Star Systems), and Ross Cooper and Jim McNeal, still with WKCI
after all these years.

*Some notes from CANADA a week after our return: The CRTC is considering
a slew of AM-to-FM moves across the region, starting in Summerside,
P.E.I., where CJRW will move from 1240 to 102.1 with 11 kilowatts
instead of the requested 50.  From the application files, CFLP in
Rimouski wants to make a move from 1000 kHz to 102.9 MHz with 33.6
kilowatts (joining the city's other AM, CJBR, which has already
applied to move), and CIGO in Port Hawkesbury NS wants to move from
1410 to 105.5 with 19 kilowatts.

Radio listeners in Moncton NB will have a new station to check out
next month during a world conference of French-speakers.  "Radio
Jeunesse '99" will operate on 91.7 MHz from August 21 until September
7, probably with some obscure VF---- call that will never get
announced on-air.

And last, but far from least, the CRTC has set August 19 as the
deadline for letters of intent to apply for 740, 93.5, and "any other
frequency that may be suitable to serve this area." (hint: there is
none!)  Expect all the usual suspects (Rogers, Shaw, Standard, CHUM,
etc.) to go after CBL's old home on the AM dial; it's anyone's guess
who'll apply for the lower-power FM allocation.  We'll keep you posted
as the applications arrive in time for the final September 20
deadline.  (And speaking of those CBC FM moves, we saw an article in
the Montreal Gazette this week about the engineering teams the CBC has
been forced to send out to listeners' homes to help them pick up the
inadequate FM replacements for CBF 690 and CBM 940.  We wish they'd
come pay us a call here in Rochester!)

*Finally this month, we take our first look at the Spring '99 Arbitron
RATINGS, moving market-by-market and starting with the big ones:

- -NEW YORK: WQHT ties WLTW for the number-one spot, with the fierce
rivalry for Hispanic listeners bumping WSKQ down to third, followed by
WHTZ and WKTU.  Down the list, it was a rough book for Jammin' Oldies
WTJM, which lost almost a full share from Winter, and an even rougher
one for WNEW, way down near the bottom amidst the Long Island

- -NASSAU/SUFFOLK: Out on the island, WALK stayed steady at #1, followed
by New York's WHTZ and WXRK (so that's where Howard's fans are...) and
a strong showing by WBLI.  

- -BOSTON: Despite a ratings drop of more than a point since last fall,
WBZ remained in first place, followed by a surging WXKS-FM, a strong
WMJX, a down book for WJMN, and flat showings for WRKO and WBCN.
WQSX's change from the Eagle hasn't showed up yet in the ratings as
93.7 stayed flat from Winter.  In what may be its last book as a
modern AC, WBOS showed some gains, while WNFT's new Spanish-language
format gave it its best showing in quite a long while.


- -BUFFALO: Country giant WYRK stayed strong in first, with oldies WHTT
surging into second, followed by WJYE, WKSE, WBEN, and WBLK.  In its
last book as "Alice," WLCE turned in a flat showing down near the
bottom of the pack.

- -ITHACA: Another huge showing for AC WYXL, with about twice the
number of listeners as either country WQNY or classic rock WIII, which
tied for second, and news-talk WHCU and Cornell student station WVBR
far behind.

- -POUGHKEEPSIE: A strong #1 finish for WSPK, followed by good books for
WPDH, WCZX, and WRRB.  Of particular note was the performance of WDST,
whose new transmitter site closer to town propelled the little AAA
station to more than quadruple its ratings.

- -NEWBURGH: Another good spot for WSPK, again followed by WPDH.  WHUD
dropped a bit but stayed in third place, followed by WCZX, WRRV, and
New York's WABC.

- -STAMFORD: Local WEBE topped the book, followed by New York's WXRK,

- -BRIDGEPORT: WICC and WEZN both turned in strong books for a 1-2
finish, with WEBE a bit down in third...and New York stations making
up the rest of the top 10.

- -NEW HAVEN: WPLR dropped a bit but stayed on top, followed by WKCI,
WYBC-FM, WWYZ, WEZN, and the ever-present WEBE.

- -WATERBURY: WKSS drops a bit this time but stays in the number one
slot, followed by a flat WWYZ and a surging WWCO and WATR.

- -DANBURY: WDAQ keeps it on top despite a bit of a drop, followed by a
rising WRKI, WEZN, WLAD, and New York's WFAN.

- -HARTFORD: The perennial WRCH and WTIC(AM) held on in first and
second, followed by WKSS, WWYZ, and WTIC-FM.  The move to "Dancin'
Oldies" helped WZMX a bit, but it's still one of the market's
lowest-rated full-signal stations.

- -NEW LONDON: Standards WNLC checked in with the first-place title this
time, followed by WQGN (which lost so much that we suspect a weird
distribution of books in this small market), WCTY, WWRX, and WTYD.
The real story is a bit lower in the ratings, where WKCD's move from
smooth jazz to modern AC almost tripled its ratings (another possible
source for WQGN's tumble?)

- -PROVIDENCE: WWLI stays flat at number one, followed by WHJY, WPRO-FM,
WWBB, and WSNE.  

- -SPRINGFIELD: WMAS-FM drops a bit but retains top position, followed
by a rising WAQY, flat WPKX, and rising WHYN-FM.  Clear Channel's AMs,
WHYN and WNNZ, also showed nice gains this book.

- -WORCESTER: Another AC market, with WSRS in the top spot, trailed by
WXLO, WTAG, WAAF...and newcomer WWFX, with something like four times
the ratings of classic-rock competitor WORC-FM.

- -NEW BEDFORD: A strong #1 for CHR WFHN, followed by WCTK and WWLI in a
tie, WHJY, and a sagging WBSM.

- -CAPE COD: WQRC rises again to stay in first, with classical WFCC
making an impressive gain in second, knocking standards WOCN to
third, followed by WCIB, WXTK, WCOD, WRZE, WPXC, WKPE, and WMVY.  Down
in the noise: classic-rock WWKJ and hot AC WYST.

- -MANCHESTER: WZID pulls one of the few 20+ performances nationwide,
followed far back by WGIR-FM, WOKQ, and WFEA, as WGIR(AM) and WQLL sag
into the Boston-fringe lower reaches of the book.

- -PORTSMOUTH: A ratings dip couldn't keep WOKQ from first place,
followed by WHEB and a fast-dropping WERZ.  Haverhill's WXRV turns in
a nice sixth-place showing, while AMs like WGIN/WGIP and WMYF can't
even break a 1.

We'll have more ratings, and much more news, next Friday...see you

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

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