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NorthEast Radio Watch 3/17: Clear Channel Spins Again

*The Clear Channel/AMFM merger has produced one group sale in NEW
YORK.  Most of the stations that Clear Channel would have picked up
from AMFM will instead go to Regent Communications, the same group
that bought the Forever stations in Utica and Watertown last year.

Regent gets active rock WQBK (103.9 Rensselaer) and WQBJ (103.5
Cobleskill); country WGNA AM-FM (1460/107.7 Albany); sports WTMM (1300
Rensselaer); and rhythmic oldies WABT (104.5 Mechanicville), in
addition to three FMs in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in exchange for 11
Regent stations in Ohio and California and $67 million in cash.

NERW says: The big prize here is WGNA, consistently among the top
three stations in Albany.  The others are either signal-impaired or
consistent ratings has-beens.  What Clear Channel ends up keeping from
AMFM is oldies WTRY (98.3 Rotterdam/980 Albany) and mainstream rocker
WPYX (106.5 Albany), to go along with the former Dame group of WGY
(810 Schenectady), modern AC WHRL (103.1 Albany), and adult rock WRVE
(99.5 Schenectady), along with the former Arcara property of WXCR
(102.3 Ballston Spa), doing classic rock.  

*Elsewhere in the Empire State, St. Lawrence University is making sure
its public radio service (headed by WSLU 89.5 Canton) reaches every
nook and cranny of the Adirondacks.  SLU applied this week for new
WSLU translators on 91.7 in Boonville, 88.7 in Speculator, 88.9 in
Paul Smiths, 90.3 in Morristown, and 89.1 in Lyons Falls.

More translator action: After protests from co-channel WEOS Geneva,
Pensacola Christian Church's Elmira translator, W209BG, is moving off
89.7.  The new calls down on 88.9 will be W205BR, running six watts
from the WLVY site in the hills east of Elmira Heights.  Calvary
Chapel of Twin Falls (the KAWZ folks) have applied for 90.9 in
Shirley, out on Long Island.  Family Life Network has been granted
88.1 in Binghamton (as W201CP) to relay WCII Spencer.  The Bible
Lighthouse has a license to cover for 91.7 in Elmira (W219CE); we'll
check that one out when we head down that way in a few days.  

A TV note from Binghamton: WBGH-LP (now on channel 8, but applying for
a move to 20) has applied for a transfer from Smith Broadcasting
(owners of Elmira NBC affiliate WETM, which WBGH relays) to "CNY News,
Inc.", aka Ackerley, which owns four ABC affiliates in the region,
including Binghamton's own WIVT (Channel 34).  More on this as we find
it out...

We heard the aftermath of the end of WSFW-FM (99.3 Seneca Falls)
Monday morning, as plugs were pulled and STLs switched a few minutes
before 6, moving the classic rock of WLLW from 93.7 Clyde to the 99.3
facility as "The Wall," installing Family Life Radio on 93.7, and
ending the weekend simulcast of WNYR (98.5 Waterloo) on 99.3.  For a
few days, both 93.7 *and* 99.3 were legalling as "WLLW" -- though the
FCC database shows those calls still on 93.7, with 99.3 legally
WSFW-FM still.  We rather enjoyed the Family Life morning show on
93.7, where the two hosts were having fun talking about the signal
range (and about the last song WLLW aired on 93.7, the Stones' "You
Can't Always Get What You Want.")  On the AM side, WSFW (1110 Seneca
Falls) signed on at 6:15 with an abrupt dump into Music of Your Life
programming, followed later by dual IDs with WAUB (1590 Auburn).
We're told a local morning show on 1110 is on the way.

One more note from the road:  There's an awfully powerful pirate
playing a very deep playlist of oldies on Rochester's east side.  The
92.1 signal makes it from downtown all the way out into Ontario
County, and is especially strong around the Baker Hill area (home to
the WVOR, WZXV, and WBER transmitters).  We've yet to hear an ID...

*This was the first sound listeners on Cape Cod heard on 91.1 this
week: "Listen."  With that word, Jay Allison signed on the newest
station in MASSACHUSETTS, WNAN (91.1 Nantucket, at 6 Wednesday morning
(3/15).  Within a few months, WNAN will be joined by WCAI (90.1 Woods
Hole), in what Allison says are the only two public-radio sign-ons
anywhere in the country in 2000.

*CONNECTICUT gets a powerful radio/TV combination as part of the
merger of Tribune and Times Mirror.  If the deal goes through, it will
unite Times Mirror's "Hartford Courant" with Tribune's WTXX (Channel
20) and WTIC-TV (Channel 61).   It would do the same in New York City
and Long Island, with Tribune's WPIX (Channel 11) and Times Mirror's
"Newsday" on the Island.

*A correction in NEW HAMPSHIRE: The new calls on 102.1 Hampton are
WSAK, joining WSHK (105.3 Kittery ME) as "The Shark."

On the TV dial, Jennifer Crompton is the new news director at WMUR
(Channel 9) in Manchester, replacing veteran Karen Brown in the
position (and with more than three years to go before her job becomes
one of the most important, politically speaking, in the media world --
at least for a few weeks in January and February 2004!)

*Two obituaries to report this week: Longtime MAINE disc jockey Bob
Shaw died Thursday (3/9) as he was preparing to entertain guests on a
Caribbean cruise for listeners of WLAM, where he did the 9 AM to noon
shift.  Shaw was 69; his career began back at WHAI in Greenfield in
the fifties and included stops at WGUY, WCSH, WYNZ, and WHOM.  And in
RHODE ISLAND, Marion "Mickey" Brine died Tuesday at age 79.  While she
wasn't a media figure herself, her husband Salty and son Wally
certainly are.  Our condolences to both...

Also in MAINE, there's a new owner taking over at WKTJ (99.3
Farmington).  Marc Fisher is a longtime engineer (at WRKO/WROR Boston
and WHJJ/WHJY Providence); now he and partner Nelson Doak are moving
into the owner's seat at one of the last vestiges of really good local
small-town radio in the region.  Best of luck!

*Up in CANADA, the CBC continues to apply for new signals, including
an application this week for 10 kilowatts on 88.9 in Campbellton, New
Brunswick.  The signal will carry "La chaine culturelle," relaying
CBAL (98.3 Moncton).  The CBC also wants to boost the power of CBF
(95.1 Montreal) from 17.03 kilowatts to a full 100 kW; now if they
could just do the same for CBME down the dial in English!

While we're in Montreal, we note that there's still no radio deal for
the Expos, in either English or French, and with just a few short
weeks to go until Opening Day.  Published reports up there say CJAD
(800) and CKAC (730) are the only real prospects at this point, and
both are balking at the team's terms.

Finally, a belated note about a call change way the heck up north in
the Lac St.-Jean/Saugenay region.  CKRS-TV (Channel 12) in Chicoutimi
is changing calls to CKTV, now that it's no longer co-owned with CKRS
(590).  While we're way up there (where it's a balmy -7 degrees
Celsius today!), we note (also belatedly) that CBJ has indeed made the
move from 1580 to 93.7 FM for good, leaving just CJBC (860 Toronto) as
a major Radio-Canada AM voice to the Northeastern U.S.

*That's it for this week; coming next time, our long-delayed look at
California (promise!) and then our annual check of baseball networks.
See you Friday!

---------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
                     (c)2000 Scott Fybush

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