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NERW 5/26: WMOU Goes Silent, and, Can a Kiss Hurt a Fly?
*Nobody said it was easy running a little thousand-watt AM station in
the northern reaches of NEW HAMPSHIRE -- which may explain why WMOU
(1230 Berlin) went silent this week.
The Associated Press reports owners Gladys and Robert Powell were in
negotiations to sell the station, but after the deal fell apart
decided to shutter WMOU rather than try to keep it afloat.
The closing of WMOU leaves the region north of Mount Washington with
no really local radio voice. Berlin's other AM, WBRL (1400), went
dark almost a decade ago. On the FM side, the erstwhile WMOU-FM
(103.7) is now WPKQ, running the country format from WOKQ down in
Dover (and soon to be relicensed to North Conway, anyway), while the
other commercial station in town, WXLQ (107.1 Gorham), was sold to New
Hampshire Public Radio this year to become noncommercial WEVC.
The Powells say they'll still seek a buyer in the twelve months
remaining before WMOU's license would be revoked. NERW's hoping for
the best (and thinking we'd best get up to Berlin to see the tower,
just in case).
*It looks like there's a CHR war brewing in NEW YORK's Capital
Region, as Albany Broadcasting's WFLY (92.3 Troy) gets its first real
competition in a decade, since the old WGFM (99.5 Schenectady)
packed it in and went oldies.
This time the challenger is Clear Channel, which turned off the
classic rock at WXCR (102.3 Ballston Spa) Thursday night and began
stunting with a loop that included the sounds of a "FLY"-swatter
(cute!) and a voice crying "Help me!"
At 9 this morning (5/26), Albany bureau chief Gavin Burt reports the
debut of "102.3 Kiss-FM," making Albany the latest market to get Clear
Channel's prefab CHR format. If the experience of Rochester's Kiss
(originally on 107.3 as WMAX-FM, now on 106.7 as WKGS) is any
indication, folks along the Hudson should expect a few months of
jockless music, followed by voicetracked jocks from markets like LA
and Tampa. Local? Well, there might be a promotions van, some club
remotes, and not much more...
NERW's Take: Clear Channel had to do something to break the logjam of
rock stations in the market -- in addition to WXCR, CC also owns WRVE
(the former WGFM) with a rock-AC mix (hmmm...could this become "Mix
99.5" one day soon?), modern rock WHRL (103.1), and AOR WPYX (106.5),
while it's spinning active rock WQBK/WQBJ to Regent. We suppose CHR
is a logical way to complement the mostly older-leaning formats at
CC/Albany, but with a class A signal that favors the north side of the
market, "Kiss FM" will have a hard time matching the WFLY blowtorch
from up in the Helderberg Mountains, a signal that hits everything
from Rutland down to Poughkeepsie. Still, we note that WKGS in
Rochester, with a similar signal deficiency, has pulled to within a
couple of points of market veteran WPXY-FM, so anything's possible...
One more Thing To Ponder: Could CC use any of its new Straus
acquisitions down in the Hudson Valley to fill in the Kiss signal to
the south? We wouldn't be surprised...
Staying in the Albany area for a moment: We hear WZEC (97.5 Hoosick
Falls) has dropped the simulcast of WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield MA) in
favor of Tele-Media sister WCPT (100.9 Albany), "The Point."
As we get ready for Memorial Day, we hear the folks at WABC (770 New
York) are once again ready to relive their glory days as "Musicradio
77." This year's "Rewind" event begins at 6 AM Monday (5/29), with
historic airchecks playing until noon. That's when JAM's Jon Wolfert
offers a half-hour montage of classic WABC PAMS jingles to lead into
the Yankees game. After the game, the airchecks continue until 11,
when the Musicradio days will be the topic of an hour-long talk show.
We'll be rolling tape up here for the parts we can hear, but we'd love
to hear more from those within groundwave listening distance...
Upstate, we note that the call changes have finally been granted on
the two stations that have been calling themselves "WLLW" for the last
couple of months. The 93.7 in Clyde now operated by Family Life
Ministries officially becomes WCOV (replacing the WLLW calls that used
to be there). The new home of the "Wall" nickname, 99.3 in Seneca
Falls, officially becomes WLLW -- though it's been using those calls
instead of the old WSFW-FM ever since changing formats in March.
Family Life has run into some opposition for its proposed 89.5
translator in "Cayuga Heights" (Ithaca, that is). The FCC reports 19
petitions to deny against the application, and we can't help but think
that our friends at WEOS (89.7 Ithaca) have something to do with many
of them, especially since WEOS is contemplating a move to 89.5 itself.
Mars Hill Network has been hit with one petition to deny against *its*
proposal for a 90.3 translator in Oneonta.
One correction: The owners of WNGS (Channel 67) in Springville are
Caroline Powley and Bill Smith, not the other way around. They're
married, by the way.
*Speaking of religious translators, CONNECTICUT has an application
this week for 89.1 in Woodbridge, apparently to relay California's
*We continue to admire our old stomping grounds, WCAP in Lowell,
MASSACHUSETTS, as the little talk station keeps trying to fend off an
attempt by the city of Lowell to uncover the source of a news story
critical of the city's civil service commission. While the city
appeared to be backing off an earlier subpoena, this week reporter Lou
Wannemacher was dragged before the commission to answer questions for
nearly an hour. With the full support of news director Dave Faneuf
and station owner Maurice Cohen, Wannemacher "respectfully declined to
answer" much beyond name, rank, and serial number. Journalistic
standards of this caliber are fast disappearing in even the big
markets; it's a proud day indeed when they're being upheld in a place
the size of Lowell. (Oh, and shame on the city administration, by the
Some changes are coming to Boston TV in the next few weeks: WLVI
(Channel 56) rolls out its new morning show in early June, with
Stephanie Leydon and Glenn Pearson in the anchor seats. Then on July
1, WHSH (Channel 66) in Marlborough is reborn as indie WHUB-TV. We
hear cable operators are getting ready to move the Home Shopping
Network programming now seen on WHSH to other positions (like the ones
occupied currently by ValueVision) when WHUB launches.
*From the obituaries: Veteran RHODE ISLAND newscaster Monroe "Bud"
Toevs died Sunday (5/21) at Silver Creek Nursing Home in Bristol.
Toevs, who spent much of his 40-year career at WPRO, was 77.
*From CANADA, two interesting applications this week: In Chatham, CFCO
(630) is applying to add an FM booster in Chatham. The station would
operate on 92.9 with 50 watts, supposedly improving CFCO reception for
40,000 Chatham listeners. (Funny, we have no problem hearing CFCO way
out here in Rochester...) CFCO can't move completely to FM, since
owner Bea-Ver Communications already has two FMs in town (CKSY 95.1
and the new CKUE 94.3).
Meanwhile, down the road in Windsor, an applicant for a low-power
French-language community station is switching frequencies.
"Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi Comte Johnson" originally wanted 35 watts
on 92.9, but someone must have pointed out that Detroit, just across
the river, is home to 50 kW WDRQ on 93.1. The new pick? 98.3, where
Windsorites can now hear Monroe's WTWR, some 30 miles away.
*That's it for this week; next week, we'll see if anyone applies for
LPFMs in Rhode Island and Maine, where the window opens next
---------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2000 Scott Fybush
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