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NorthEast Radio Watch 5/19: At Long Last, WILD-FM

*Boston's daytime-only urban AM station, WILD (1090), is about to join
the fastest-growing urban station group in the country.  Radio One,
which entered the market last year with its purchase of Brockton's
WBOT (97.7), is entering a time-brokerage agreement that will put WBOT
under WILD's Dudley Square roof.

WILD's owners, the Nash family, have fought valiantly to keep a
successful music format on the 5 kilowatt daytimer in the face of
competitors like Clear Channel's WJMN (94.5) and now WBOT.  Despite
occasional rumors about deals that would give WILD an FM presence,
until now the station has remained AM-only.

The deal with Radio One keeps the station's license in the hands of
the Nash family, honoring Bernardine Nash's promise not to sell the
station after the death a few years back of her husband, station
founder Stephen Nash.  It is, however, expected to allow Radio One to
change the calls of 97.7 to "WILD-FM," putting the well-known "WILD"
brand where most of the format's listeners now tune.

As for format changes on AM 1090?  NERW expects the station's music to
start skewing a bit older, with more talk mixed in, but with no real
change to the station's mission of serving Boston's black community.

WILD becomes Radio One's 50th station nationwide.

*Elsewhere in MASSACHUSETTS, an unusual partnership is in the works
between a commercial broadcaster, Aritaur's WMVY (92.7 Tisbury) on
Martha's Vineyard, and a public broadcaster, WGBH's WNAN (91.1
Nantucket). Aritaur will serve as the exclusive local underwriting
representative for WNAN (as well as for WCAI 90.1 Woods Hole when it
makes its debut later this summer), thereby saving WCAI/WNAN the
trouble of looking for underwriting on its own (and, really, it makes
sense -- after all, the same upscale audience that listens to WMVY's
AAA format is likely to be CAI/NAN's type as well).

An affiliation change in New Bedford: WLWC (Channel 28) is shifting
from being the WB affiliate for Providence to the UPN affiliate -- but
fans of "Felicity" needn't fear.  While UPN takes over the 8-10 PM
prime hours on WLWC (and it's only fair; the station is owned by UPN
parent Paramount), WB shows will air weeknights from 10-11 and on
weekend afternoons and evenings.

*The staff at one VERMONT TV station didn't have to go far to cover a
fire on Wednesday.  That's because it was WNNE (Channel 31)'s studio
that was on fire!  The Rutland Herald reports a discarded cigarette
started a fire in some wood chops alongside the building in White
River Junction, and the flames soon spread to the siding of the WNNE
studios.  Nobody was hurt and the fire was quickly extinguished, with
no damage to the station's equipment.

Speaking of White River Junction, we're hearing that WGLV (104.3
Hartford) could soon be sold to commercial interests, following in the
footsteps of former sister station WGLY (103.3 Waterbury, now WLKC).

*It's been a stormy week in NEW YORK, and if you don't believe us,
just ask any of the many stations knocked off the air, at least
briefly, by the lightning and wind that just wouldn't stop.  

A lightning hit on the tower of WLFH (1230 Little Falls) wiped out the
computers for both "Bug Country" (WLFH, WBUG-FM 101.1, WBUG 1570) and
"Wow-FM" (WOWB 105.5/WOWZ 97.9), forcing both stations to run
commercial-free off a pair of CD changers for a few days until things
were fixed.  Up North, WGIX (95.3 Gouverneur) spent some time off the
air last weekend, and we hear a bunch of suburban Albany stations were
also off for part of the weekend as the storms rolled on through.
We're told WABY (1400) was shifting between an FM simulcast, dead
air, and its own all-news format while coping with lightning-related

Speaking of Albany, Dan Lynch is off the air at WROW (590) while he
runs for a seat in the state assembly.  The station says a replacement
for his 11-noon show will be announced soon, and that Lynch may return
to WROW if he loses in November.

	Albany's public radio station is making some weekend schedule
changes.  With Robert J. Lurtsema on indefinite medical leave, WAMC
(90.3) and its network are dropping "Morning pro Musica" from WGBH on
Saturday and Sunday mornings from the schedule.  "Weekend Edition"
gets moved back to a live airing from its previous spot on tape-delay
at noon.

We hear Ithaca's WVBR (93.5) is trying to work out a deal with the
city of Ithaca that will allow the Cornell student station to return
to its longtime home at 227 Linden Street.  The former garage building
was condemned last week by city officials, leaving the station (which
is not officially associated with Cornell, but is operated
commercially by students) to scramble for temporary quarters.

A long-gone signal has returned to the Rochester airwaves, not that
anyone has noticed.  WAWW-LP (Channel 38) slowly faded off the dial
two years ago, apparently the victim of transmitter problems.  Last
weekend, it suddenly reappeared, with a satellite feed from the "ACN"
home-shopping network in Tennessee.  No local IDs or programming, of

And don't go looking for "Eyewitness News at 10" in Buffalo any time
soon; the Buffalo News reports that the deal between Granite
Broadcasting and WNGS (Channel 67) in Springville is off.  It seems
WNGS' owners, Caroline Smith and Bill Powley, were having a hard time
keeping employees around during the transition period before Granite,
which owns WKBW (Channel 7), was to have purchased WNGS.  Smith and
Powley tell the paper that they asked Granite for some financial
assistance with operating costs while waiting out a delay in approval
of WNGS' proposed transmitter move, but Granite was unwilling and the
purchase was called off.  Speculation is that one of Buffalo's three
TV news operations will strike a deal to put a 10 PM newscast on WB
affiliate WNYO (Channel 49) soon.

*It's been a big week in CANADA, as the CRTC hands out licenses for
several new stations in Ontario.  In Hamilton, Doug Kirk and Rae Roe
get the go-ahead for a new smooth-jazz outlet on 94.7.  The station
will operate with 1880 watts (in true Canadian fashion, no tower site
or height is specified), and the CRTC is hoping it will provide
competition for the market's other owners, Telemedia, WIC (selling to
Corus/Shaw), and Affinity.  Affinity and NewCap also applied for the
frequency but were turned down (and now we hear Affinity may sell its
CHAM 820 to Kirk and Roe and leave the market entirely).  Speaking of
Affinity, we're also hearing about some big personnel cuts at its
other Southern Ontario outlets, as in 17 people in one day at CKTB
(610 St. Catharines).  

Up in Barrie, Rock 95 Broadcasting (CFJB 95.7) levels the playing
field against Shaw/Corus, which owns CHAY (93.1) and CIQB (101.1), by
getting a second FM.  The CRTC turned down applications from CHUM
Ltd. and from Larche, granting 107.5 to Rock 95 for a new CHR station.

We hear the hearings in Kingston for a new FM there went more or less
according to plan this week, with the market's existing broadcasters
arguing against a new station being allocated.  No decision is
expected for several months.

Out in New Brunswick, the University of Saint John has been granted a
student station, to operate on 92.5 with 49.6 watts (not, mind you,
the full 50 it had requested -- you'd have to ask Industry Canada to

And finally, more bad news for the CBC's beleaguered local TV
newsrooms: Corporation president Robert Rabinovitch wants to
eliminate the 14 local broadcasts across the country in favo(u)r of a
national evening newscast with regional inserts.  The Canadian
Heritage Committee has rejected Rabinovitch's plan, which would be a
far more heartening development if the committee actually had any
power to stop the plan (it doesn't).  More than 600 jobs are at stake
across the CBC system, whether or not the evening newscasts (midday
and weekend local programming was killed in budget cuts some years
ago) survive.

*That's it for another week; back next Friday!

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

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