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NorthEast Radio Watch 9/17: Hello, Floyd!

*It's easy to know where to begin this week's look at the region's
broadcasting scene -- all along the coastline, where Hurricane Floyd
wreaked its destruction over the past few days.  NEW YORK broadcasters
escaped the worst of the storm (just ask the folks down in the
Carolinas, where many big-group broadcasters put their news-talk AMs
on day power/pattern during the worst of the storm, as well as
simulcasting on all their FMs), but there was still plenty of dead air
out there as Floyd knocked out power.  An incomplete list includes
WHTR Hudson Falls (still off the air at this writing), WQBK
Rensselaer, WCTW Catskill, WXCR Ballston Spa, WDCD-FM Clifton Park,
and WABT Mechanicville (all of which share a tower), WKBE Warrensburg,
WXNT Port Henry, WRIP Windham, and a dead carrier on WTHK Hudson --
and that's just the area around Albany!

Down in the Big Apple, Floyd halted the move of WHTZ (100.3 Newark)'s
studio from Secaucus up to Jersey City, and closed many stations'
offices as the city more or less shut down Thursday.

The good news is that we've yet to hear of any permanent serious
damage to broadcast facilities from the storm, and we hope it stays
that way.

The *other* big news in New York City was Monday's long-long-awaited
debut of "FM Talk 102.7," keeping the WNEW calls, morning guy Steve
Mason, and Opie and Anthony in afternoons (now for five hours,
starting at 2 PM).  Former WRKO "Chick" Leslie Gold shares middays
with Mike Adams, Tom Leykis follows Opie and Anthony, and Lovelines
and a Leykis replay fill nights.  Some rock survives on weekends, most
notably "Idiot's Delight" with Vin Scelsa on Sunday nights -- at least
until his contract runs out.

More big business dealings in TV this week, as NBC paired up with Pax
TV, although not in the buyout that had been rumored.  For now, the
Peacock takes just a 29% stake in Pax (to stay beneath the 33%
attribution limit), but with an option to go up to 49%.  Will an NBC
interest in stations like WBPX Boston provide leverage against
non-owned affiliates like WHDH in future negotiations?  We'd think

There's some talk-show shifting afoot in Albany, as the Mike Gallagher
show switches from WGY (810) to a live (9-noon) berth on much smaller
WABY (1400).  That puts Tom Leykis back in the 6-10pm slot on 'GY,
following local talker JR Gach (who just celebrated his first
anniversary on 810).

There are new calls for that 92.9 construction permit in Saugerties;
it'll be WRKW, at least for now.  Also appearing in this week's call
changes: the WUAM calls for 900 in Saratoga Springs, which we'd
mentioned in NERW way back in early July.

Downstate, former WALL (1340 Middletown) morning host John Moultrie
has resurfaced down the dial and a few miles away as host of a new
morning talk block on WGNY (1220 Newburgh).

Remember that Pottersville translator we mentioned last week?  Seems
despite our snide commentary, there IS a need for a religious signal
up that way -- since the Word of Life religious camp and Bible college
draws 10,000 people to the area every summer.  It also appears that
this translator will replace the 91.1 in Schroon Lake.  Very well,
then, but did *anybody* get our gratuitous "It's a Wonderful Life"
reference, at least?

While we're up that way, we note that WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls) is
finally simulcasting WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield MA) and its CHR
format.  Religion continues on WNGN (91.9 Argyle) in the area.

We've been checking out the proposals for new FM allocations over the
next few months, and it seems Boston-area contract engineer Dana
Puopolo has been busy.  More on his New England proposals later in
NERW; we note here that he wants to add 103.1A in Saranac Lake.
What's interesting is that there's already an open FM channel there --
the 101.7 that the station now known as WSLK used before moving to
106.3.  (There's also a proposal to move that 101.7A allocation to

Western New York?  Nothing much doing out here, although we did drive
out to Brockport last Saturday to hear pirate "WOOO" sign on.  The
signal pretty much matched their claim of one watt on 91.9; the
programming was the usual "we hate big radio so we'll just play the
stuff we want to hear"; and the signal sure seemed to be coming from
that truck in the back corner of a SUNY parking lot.

NERW on the road: If we get our packing done in time (yes, we're
moving; see the very end of this week's report for more), we'll be at
the SBE Region 22 annual convention next Friday (9/24) at Turning
Stone in Oneida.  It's always a good chance to see the latest in
broadcast technology and hook up with our engineer friends from around
the region; be sure to drop us a line if you'll be going as well.

*Next stop, MASSACHUSETTS, where there's a new owner at WGAW (1340) in
Gardner, and as usual for small-market AMs in that part of the world,
it's Keating Willcox and Willow Farm, Inc.  'GAW has been
simulcasting, first WSRO Marlborough and then WEIM Fitchburg, since
returning from a long dark spell a few years ago.

"FM Talk 96.9" is shaping up at WSJZ, with some new additions to
Boston's new FM talker.  While Mike Barnicle *is* part of the station,
he's doing just two hours a week, Thursdays 10-noon.  That post-Imus
slot is being held down by Marjorie Eagan of the Boston Herald the
rest of the week.  Stacy Taylor follows from noon till 2, Jay Severin
(by ISDN from Long Island) 2-6, and Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the
Boston Herald move over to WSJZ to do 6-7 pm weeknights before the
station returns to smooth jazz for the night.  By the way, former WSJZ
midday jock Jackie Brush has moved 40 miles west -- she's now doing
middays at Worcester's WSRS (96.1).

Across town at Entercom's WRKO (680), the company faces several
complaints from AFTRA.  The union complained to the EEOC about the
company's plan to mandate arbitration instead of a trial for
complaints of sexual harrassment and discrimination, and to the NLRB
about a rumored plan to cut wages and benefits for part-time

And as long as we're talking talk radio, there are some changes in the
works at Lowell's WCAP (980), with news taking the forefront in a
revamped morning block called "the Morning Information Team."  Veteran
newsguy Dave Faneuf leads off, with Rob Carolan doing weather and
Chris Meehan on sports.  Talk segments during the show will be handled
by longtime 'CAP fill-in guy George Anthes and Karen Theodores.

What's that pirate on 89.3 in Boston?  We hear it's doing religion, in

*The big news from RHODE ISLAND is an official debut date for the new
talk format at WLKW (550 Pawtucket).  "Talk 550 the Buzz" starts
Monday (9/20), helmed by former WPRO PD Mike DeLomba.  Former WPRO-FM
morning team Mike and Lisa Butts will do mornings on 'LKW, followed by
Dr. Joy Browne, local talk from Tom DiLuglio and Jerry Zarellia from
noon to 3, and Howie Carr from WRKO 3-6.  

Citadel has new calls for the 99.7 in Wakefield-Peace Dale.  The
former WXEX becomes WHCK, to match simulcast partner WHKK (100.3

On the TV side, veteran channel 12 (WPRI Providence) anchor Walter
Cryan is dropping his 11 PM anchor duties, but keeping the 6.  Cryan
has been with Channel 12 since 1965, when it was still WPRO-TV.

*Too much rain in CONNECTICUT for much else to happen this week, but
we do note an interesting new syndicated show.  We knew ESPN Sports
Night anchor Dan Patrick will soon begin a daily 1-4 PM gig on ESPN
radio -- but guess who his co-host will be?  Former Cincinnati Reds
pitcher Rob Dibble, whose father just happened to be late WTIC newsman
Walt Dibble.  Should be a good show; we'll hope for an affiliate we
can hear sometime soon.

*There's a new live, local format in northern NEW HAMPSHIRE.  WLTN-FM
(96.7 Lisbon), just sold to Sharp Broadcasting in July, has ditched
satellite oldies (and "Gold 96.7") for local AC as "Bright 96."  

Thought you heard country on WKBR (1250 Manchester) last weekend?  You
did...but it wasn't the permanent format switch.  WKBR returned to
One-on-One Sports sometime Sunday, but we hear the real permanent
change to country will come next week -- maybe.

The new WZEN (106.5 Farmington) was dark for a few days; a computer
problem knocked the station's automation down, but we're told it will
get up again shortly.

Back to the allocations files we go, where we see Dana Puopolo filing
in recent months for 99.1 in Whitefield, 93.7 in Lancaster, 97.3A in
"Mount Washington" (which, if granted, would give an amazing ratio of
one full-power FM allocation to every two full-time residents of this
alleged community of license!), and a certain Peter George (operator
of translator W221AG Wareham MA) proposing 98.7A in Stratford.  No FCC
rulings yet on any of these...

*Little to report from VERMONT, though there is yet another proposed
allocation: 100.3A St. Johnsbury, also from Puopolo.

*A quiet week in MAINE as well, so we slide across the border to
CANADA, where CISD (107.7) has started testing in preparation for an
October sign-on.  The low-power station in Iroquois, Ontario, along
the St. Lawrence, will operate from studios in the local high school.
Another excuse to get up that way, we guess (as those we needed any

We also have more to report on the sale (mentioned briefly last week)
of Power Broadcasting.  The group is actually going to Corus
Communications, the broadcasting arm just spun off from Shaw -- but we
hear Corus has little interest in the TV side.  Expect CKWS Kingston
and CHEX Peterborough-Oshawa to be sold, likely to the CHUM group, in
the near future (which would force the CBC to build new relays for
CBLT Toronto or CBOT Ottawa in those areas...wonder if they'll get
across the lake?).  TVA affiliate CHAU in Carleton, Quebec is likely
to end up as a TVA O&O.

On the radio side, Corus gets: CIZN (92.9) Cambridge, CIMJ (106.1) and
CJOY (1460) in Guelph, CIQB (101.1) in Barrie, CKCB (95.1) in
Collingwood, CKRU (980) and CKWF (101.5) in Peterborough, CFFX (960)
and CFMK (96.3) in Kingston, and CKDO (1350) and CKGE (94.9) in Oshawa
on the Ontario side.  In Quebec, it's CFZZ (104.1)
St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, CJDM (92.1) Drummondville, CFLP (1000) and
CIKI (98.7) in Rimouski, and CFEL (102.1) in Montmagny.  Will some get
spun?  Wouldn't surprise us a bit...

*Two more notes from outside the region: That 104.9 in Hollidaysburg,
Pennsylvania (near Altoona) that we noted stunting last week has
changed calls from WMXV to WMAJ-FM.  The WMAJ calls have been used for
years on AM in nearby State College.  And we note the passing of Bill
Meeks at age 78.  Meeks was the founder of PAMS and thus of the modern
jingle as we know it.  The PAMS Web site <http://www.pams.com>
contains an extensive text and audio tribute to Meeks, created by
latter-day jingle master Jonathan Wolfert.

*That's it for this week; we'll be back next Friday -- and then we
take a one-week break while NERW Central moves down the street into
much bigger and more comfortable quarters.  (Which reminds us: if
you've been sending us material by snail mail -- and we appreciate all
of you who do -- please drop a line for the new address!)

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

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