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NorthEast Radio Watch 8/20: Nothing Happens; We're There Live!

*It's been a slow, slow week in Northeast radio.  How slow?  So slow
that a little FM in Attica, NEW YORK gets to top off this week's
news.  WXOX (101.7) is changing calls to WLOF, and changing formats
from the modern AC mix known as "the Spot" to Catholic Family Radio 
talk.  Is a sale in the works as well?  Probably, but we
haven't heard anything yet.  WXOX was known for many years as WBTF,
providing country music to Genesee and Wyoming counties (between
Buffalo and Rochester), before deciding last year to target the
Buffalo suburbs as "the Spot."  Sister AM WBTA (1490 Batavia) seems to
be unchanged at this writing.

Once again, it's good news for the remaining modern AC in the Buffalo
area, CKEY (101.1) in Fort Erie, Ontario.  "The River" lost its
biggest competitor in June, when CBS flipped WLCE (92.9 Buffalo) from
modern AC "Alice" to rhythmic oldies "B92-9."  WLCE, by the way, is
picking up a new and very familiar set of calls -- WBUF.  Those calls
graced 92.9 from the early 1960s until the mid-80s, when they were
dumped for the unmemorable WFXZ, then retrieved a few years later and
retained until the mid-90s switch to smooth jazz and WSJZ.  It's good
to have them back on radio in Western New York (they've been hiding in
plain sight on LPTV WBUF-LP, Channel 39 in Hamburg, which becomes
WDTB-LP now).

Here in Rochester, former WFIL and WCBS-FM jock Dick Heatherton is
returning to the airwaves on oldies WBBF (98.9), where he's been
toiling behind the scenes as an account executive.  

The FCC has dismissed Family Life Radio's application for a 105.7
Geneva translator of WCIY (88.9 Canandaigua), something we suspect FLR
saw coming, since they've already applied for a different frequency
there.  In more good news from 12th Street Southwest, we note the FCC
has dismissed a whole slew of abusive translator applications from the
still-mysterious "Best Media."  Good.

Over in the Albany area, bureau chief Gavin Burt checks in to let us
know 94.5 in Ravena is still ID'ing as "WABY," not the
heretofore-correct "WABY-FM" or the now-correct "WKLI-FM."  Over in
Johnstown, he hears WIZN (930) using the ABC/SMN Stardust service
instead of the soft AC satellite service it had been using, and he's
hearing news simulcast from WNYT (Channel 13) instead of WTEN (Channel
10), as it had been doing.

Down in Poughkeepsie, WCTJ is the new callsign on 96.1 "the Cat,"
ex-WTND "Thunder."  And still further downstate, we hear WZZN (106.3
Mount Kisco) has been experiencing persistent silent periods.

*Across to CONNECTICUT we go, to find two departures from the TV
scene: Gayle King is leaving the anchor desk of WFSB (Channel 3) after
18 years (with a brief interruption for an NBC network talk show).
Where's she headed now?  She's not saying just yet...

Also departing is Billy Otwell, after seven years at WTNH (Channel 8)
in New Haven, the last three as news director.  No replacement has
been named.

And after 75 years in Hartford, WTIC (1080) did its last broadcast
from the 19th floor of the Gold Building Monday morning.  The 10 AM
legal ID was the last thing heard from the old studios, with the new
ones in Farmington signing on with news immediately following.  We
hear the 'TIC talk hosts have been making repeated cracks about the
(very) suburban nature of their new digs...

*One -- count it! -- piece of news from MASSACHUSETTS: WEEI (850) will
replace Don Imus with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan at month's end.
The duo move to the morning-drive slot from their current 10AM-noon,
with more schedule shuffling sure to follow.

*And we close this brief NERW in NEW HAMPSHIRE, where we learn Sean
Parker is crossing the river from "Magic 94" (WMXR 93.9
Woodstock/WCFR-FM 93.5 Springfield) in Vermont to become the news
director at WTSL (1400 Lebanon) and its sister stations.  One
correction as well: We of course meant WHDQ in Claremont, not "WNHQ",
last week!

*In the NERW mailbox this week: The 18th edition of Bruce Elving's FM
Atlas, just published by the man who's spent more time boosting the
cause of FM radio in the last three decades than just about anyone.
The FM Atlas is one of just two surviving annual directories put out
by hobbyists (the worthy companion being the excellent NRC AM Log),
and remains unparalleled for accuracy of detail in things like
stereo/mono status, subcarriers, and "non-IDs."  It's one of the
essentials on every NERW road trip, and we're hoping for many more
editions to come.  Find ordering information at Bruce's Web site
<http://members.aol.com/fmatlas> and tell him we sent you!  (Now all
we need is an updated M Street directory and we'll REALLY be happy...)

*That's it for one of the least eventful weeks in Northeast
broadcasting history.  We'll be back next Friday with (we hope) a
longer report, then we'll take Labor Day weekend off as we point the
NERW-mobile down to Bridgeport, West Virginia for the annual National
Radio Club convention.  

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

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