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

NorthEast Radio Watch 10/15: The All New All New WMEX??

*While we wait for the inevitable Clear Channel/AMFM spinoffs, it's
been a quiet week in the world of radio (especially at the FCC, which
can't seem to be bothered to update its Web site with application and
action information lately -- they're blaming a database switchover
and promising more information next week.)

Let's kick things off in MASSACHUSETTS, home of the 1999 World
Champion Red Sox (well, we can dream, right?).  Speaking of dreaming,
the WMEX calls are apparently about to return to the Boston-area
airwaves, at least based on the promos being heard on WJLT (1060
Natick).  The 1060 signal holds an unbuilt CP to boost power to 40
kilowatts by day, 22 kilowatts at night, which could be a contender in
the market -- *if* it can ever get built as a diplex on the WKOX
sticks in Framingham.  

Meanwhile, what of the "J-Light" Christian contemporary format and
WJLT calls?  We hear those will be migrating down the dial to
Ashland's AM 650, now WRPT and also owned by Alex Langer (who leases
1060 to "J-Light" programmer Great Commission Broadcasting).  This
station also holds an unbuilt CP, which would boost power from 250
watts to 2000, transmitting from the WBPS (890) sticks in Ashland.  

One more Langer note: His WSRO (1470 Marlborough), which has been
running on low power from a temporary site since losing its
three-tower area to a city land-taking, has modified its application
for a new directional array.  The new application calls for four
towers, three by day with a 7kW signal aimed mostly northwest and
three (two shared with the day array) at night, with a 5kW signal
aimed east/southeast over Marlborough, Framingham, and Natick.

NERW's take on this: We'd love to see the WMEX calls return to the
Boston area, where they were last heard on August 20, 1996 at the tail
end of the 1150 AM version of WMEX (which was itself an attempt to
reincarnate the legendary WMEX 1510).  Can Alex Langer, who's seemed
to be perpetually strapped for money since entering the market, pull
it off?  We shall see...

"And the dead air goes on!": That might as well be the slogan at
Brockton's WCAV (97.7), now in its second week with a stereo pilot but
no programming.  Radio One's new urban format is still

WBZ (1030) isn't getting out quite as well as it usually does during
the day -- but there's a reason.  Having cancelled plans to replace
its two-tower array in Hull, the station is now busy repainting,
repairing, and re-guying the existing sticks (vintage 1940) to last a
few more decades.  While the work continues (through December), WBZ is
broadcasting from 8 AM until 4 PM daily from its 10kW non-directional
backup site at the studio in Allston.  Nights are still 50kw from Hull
(but we wouldn't know, since we've had our dials glued to 1080 to
listen to the Sox play-by-play with the properly-biased hometown
broadcast team via WTIC!)

An update on Paul Tuthill: The longtime WTAG (Worcester) news director
isn't leaving the business; in fact, he's just signed on with Rod
Fritz' new WRKO (680) news team in Boston.  Congratulations!

Pirate?  Legal low-power?  We don't know...but we can tell you a
signal's been heard coming from the Landmark School in Beverly.
"WLMK" is operating on 89.3, and being heard about a mile away.

*Down in RHODE ISLAND, Carolyn Fox is embroiled in a non-compete
battle with her old employer.  WPRO (630) is going to court to force
Fox off her new gig at WWRX (103.7).  The Citadel-owned talker has
already won a restraining order that took Fox off WWRX's air effective
Wednesday (10/13).  Citadel says it fired Fox October 4 after she
tried to persuade two other WPRO staffers to join her at WWRX.  Her
contract included a six-month noncompete clause.  A hearing Monday
will decide Fox's fate; we'll keep you posted.

*MAINE voters will have more than just politicians to pick from on the
ballot November 2.  They'll also get to decide whether to authorize a
$9.4 million bond issue for Maine Public Broadcasting.  MPBC is
launching a noisy public-relations campaign, including on-air promos,
trying to convince Maine voters that without the money, "Maine PBS
will be forced to shut down."

Hyperbole?  Not the way MPBC sees it.  The broadcaster says without
the state money, it will be unable to build out its DTV signals, and
will have to shut down its analog transmitters in 2006 (which, by
NERW's reckoning, makes MPBC the only group in America to sincerely
believe the FCC will enforce that schedule for the analog shutdown!)

NERW can't help but be a bit cynical here, as we wonder whether MPBC
should have been spending all this money on new FM stations in places
like Camden if it's really so strapped for TV funding...

*One NEW HAMPSHIRE note: WPKQ (103.7) has been granted a change of COL
from Berlin to North Conway.

*A VERMONT update, thanks to Albany bureau chief Gavin Burt.  He heard
the former WGLY (103.3 Waterbury), now WLKC, running a soft AC format
as "Lake 103.3" under its new owners.  NERW suspects, but has yet to
confirm, that the WGLY religious format followed the calls to AM 1070
in Plattsburgh NY.

*Gavin also checked in with a CONNECTICUT update.  It seems Marshall
Miles has departed WQQQ (103.3 Sharon) to return to his old stomping
grounds at WKZE (1020 Sharon), where he's now PD and host of the
morning show.  WKZE(AM) is running a 60s and 70s AC format under its
new management.  (You may recall how Miles showed his displeasure with
WKZE's old management: he danced on the station's lawn with a bottle
of champagne to celebrate its sale!)

Another Nutmeg State note: We hear the LIN Television stations owned
by Hicks, Muse will in fact count against the ownership limits of the
new Clear Channel Communications, which means WTNH (Channel 8) in New
Haven will be counted along with Chancellor's 5 FMs and 3 AMs in
Connecticut.  It'll be a squeaker, but we think they'll all stay,
thanks to the limited overlap between the Hartford (WPOP) and New
Haven (WELI, WAVZ) AM signals in the group.

*On we go into NEW YORK, where we start up north in Canton.  Just a
few weeks after becoming "The Valley," WVNC (96.7) is getting calls to
match: WVLF.  

Down the road in Watertown, UPN is changing channels, as WBQZ-LP
(Channel 34) goes dark for a bit.  The new UPN affiliate is W66CH
(Channel 66), which calls itself "PS66" for its Public Square studio

Syracuse's WCNY-FM (91.3) and its relays, WUNY (89.5 Utica) and WJNY
(90.9 Watertown), have returned to 24-hour operation.  A budget cut in
1991 took the stations off the air overnight, but a new underwriter
has stepped in to restore classical music to Central New York's late

Rochester's WPXY-FM (97.9) has named a new program director.  Mike
Danger succeeds (we won't say "fills the shoes of;" they're too big!)
Clarke Ingram, who's now jammin' the oldies at Pittsburgh's WJJJ
(104.7).  We've heard 'PXY using the "PX-Y2K" nickname a few times

The NERW-mobile drove down to Binghamton last weekend, which gave us a
chance to make a few observations in Elmira on the way.  We can now
tell you that 1490 in Watkins Glen has indeed dropped the WGMF
heritage call to become WBZD, with a country simulcast of WPGI (100.9
Horseheads).  Up the dial, we heard no signal at all from WEHH (1590
Elmira Heights-Horseheads), even as we rounded the bend on Route 17
and came into full view of the tower.  Oh yeah...we also heard a live
jock on WCDW (100.5 Conklin), which had been running jockless ever
since the format change from country to modern AC last year.  (By the
way, we stand by our reading of WCDW's application to change city of
license.  No matter what other trades might be reporting, we believe
WCDW will become licensed to Susquehanna PA on 100.5, while WKGB on
92.5 will change city of license from Susquehanna to Conklin.)

One correction from last week: The correct Web site for the amazing
Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers archive is: <http://bbp.buffnet.net>.

Where's Keeseville?  That's what we wondered when we saw that an
application had been filed to allocate 97.9A there.  Turns out it's
about 10 miles south of Plattsburgh along Lake Champlain -- meaning
the station John Bulmer wants to put there would be another
Burlington-market drop-in.  (It would also be rather short-spaced to
CHOM 97.7 in Montreal, for whatever that's worth).

*And as long as we're making the segue to CANADA, we'll tackle a bunch
of new applications in Ontario.  Three applicants want to start new
stations in Barrie: CHUM, Ltd. and Larche Communications on 97.7 (with
CHR and classic rock, respectively) and Rock 95 (the CFJB 95.7 folks)
on 107.5 with CHR.  Anthony Zweig has applied for a 40kW station on
100.1 in Belleville, which we suspect we'll be able to hear down in
Rochester across the lake.  And Affinity and Newcap are the other two
applicants for 94.7 in Hamilton.

Chatham's commercial broadcaster has been busy as a beaver -- pardon,
a Bea-Ver.  Bea-Ver Communications put CKUE (94.3) on the air last
week, just days after the CRTC granted its construction permit.  "The
Rock @ 94-3" is already being heard as far east as London; we'll be
there next week to check it out.  Bea-Ver has also won CRTC approval
to boost night power on CFCO (630) to 6kW from 1kW.  

Radio-Canada has been busy, too: it's applying for relays of CBFX
Montreal (100.7, the chaine culturelle, or second network, station) in
Amos QC (88.3 with 32.4 kW) and Campbellton NB (88.9 with 10kW).  NERW
wonders why Campbellton wouldn't relay la chaine culturelle from
Moncton's CBAL (98.3) instead?

Finally, this word from Montreal: Next year's Expos games will
reportedly stay on CIQC in English as it moves from 600 to 940.
What's more, we hear the French-language coverage may migrate from
CKAC (730) to CIQC's sister station CKVL in its new 690 spot.  

*That's it for this week...see you next Friday!

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

No redistribution permitted for commercial use, or for
noncommercial use without prior written permission.

NorthEast Radio Watch is published each Friday night and
distributed immediately to the NERW and Boston Radio
Interest mailing lists.  NERW is also made available the 
following Monday on AIRWAVES/rec.radio.broadcasting.

To be added to the NERW mailing list, send e-mail to
<nerw-request@bostonradio.org> with the word "subscribe"
as the body of the message.  You will receive a confirmation
code to return by e-mail to begin your free subscription.
Please direct any questions about the list process to
<nerw-owner@bostonradio.org>; subscription requests and
questions sent directly to NERW cannot be acted on.

NERW is archived at the Boston Radio Archives,
<http://www.bostonradio.org/radio/bostonradio.html> and
is generally made available there about a week after

Opinions expressed in NERW are solely those of the author
and not necessarily those of MIT, LCS, or Time Warner.

NERW welcomes your news and contributions at