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NorthEast Radio Watch 6/16: Clear Channel Buys...Again!

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                               June 16, 2000


*NEW YORK: Clear Channel Buys Again (and so does Sabre)
*MASSACHUSETTS: So Long, Robert J.
*MASSACHUSETTS: Two Groups, 94% Market Share

-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------

*From a rumor last week, Clear Channel's purchase of Roberts Radio has
become reality this week -- but we suspect the NEW YORK portion of
this 29-station, $65 million deal is just a small part of Randy
Michaels' strategy here.

Clear Channel will get four stations to add to its six-station Hudson
Valley cluster: rhythmic oldies WBPM (94.3 Kingston), talk WGHQ (920
Kingston), hot AC WBWZ (93.3 New Paltz), and country WRWD (107.3

By the way, we can now report that Clear Channel is paying $18.4
million for the six nearby stations it's buying from Straus Media,
while Concord Media Group will pay $6 million for the four stations in
Hudson and Catskill Clear Channel was barred from buying from Straus.

Heading west, Sabre Communications is beefing up its position in the
Corning/Elmira radio market with a $1.8 million purchase of Hornell's
WKPQ (105.3) and WHHO (1320).  The seller, Bilbat Communications, is
owned by William "Bil" Berry and Richard "Bat" Lyons.  WKPQ is a sort
of modern AC, with a penetrating signal across much of western New
York; WHHO does some talk and simulcasts WKPQ.  

SabreCom owns sports-talk WWLZ (820 Horseheads), country WPGI (100.9
Horseheads) and WGMF (1490 Watkins Glen), classic rock WNGZ (104.9
Montour Falls), and CHR WNKI (106.1 Corning).

Two curiosities here: The Hornell stations, although in the same
county (Steuben) as Corning, don't really have much signal overlap
with the rest of the market, which leads to odd ratings changes when
diaries aren't uniformly distributed across the county.  We also
wonder what will become of WZKZ (101.9 Alfred), the country station
Bilbat has been operating from Hornell as an LMA.  The WZKZ license is
held by Robert Pfuntner's Pembrook Pines group, SabreCom's arch-rival
in the Elmira/Corning market.

A Binghamton clarification: While Al Brock *is* coming to the Clear
Channel stations there, his duties as operations manager will still
leave the existing PDs at WENE, WKGB, and WBBI in place.  (Hardly the
biggest problem over at the Credit Union Center; we note that a woman
suffered a heart attack outside the building this week while waiting
for an ersatz "Britney Spears" to emerge from the WMRV studios, where
she was being "interviewed" as a prank).

*On to MASSACHUSETTS we go, to Worcester in particular, where the
FCC's approval of the sale of WWFX (100.1 Southbridge) from Wilks to
Citadel will give the latter company 39% of the market's revenue.  Put
that together with AMFM (soon Clear Channel)'s 55% revenue share, and
you have what commissioner Gloria Tristani calls an unacceptable
market concentration.  She objected vehemently to the transfer...but
as with so much at the Commission of late, she was outnumbered.

A moment of silence from the Bay State's birds?  It would be in order,
in memory of Robert J. Lurtsema.  The veteran host of WGBH's "Morning
pro musica" died Monday (6/12) of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Lurtsema began the show, complete with the birds chirping at the
beginning, in 1971.  Until 1993, he was on the air seven days a week,
on a network that at its peak included Albany's WAMC, Amherst's WFCR,
and several state networks in northern New England.  "Robert J" cut
back to weekends in 1993, and had been off the air completely for the
last few weeks.  Lurtsema was 68.

Waiting for "The Hub" on your TV?  July 31 is the new target date for
WHUB-TV (Channel 66) to drop home shopping and become an independent
station from its new home on Portland Street, near North Station.

*Three CONNECTICUT radio stations are moving in together.  Cox bought
WPLR (99.1 New Haven) and the sales rights to WYBC-FM (94.3 New Haven)
last year; now it's moving them, along with WEZN (99.9 Bridgeport),
into a new facility at 440 Wheelers Farm Road (in the Merritt Crossing
development) in Milford.  NERW believes this move leaves just WYBC
(1340) as the only radio station with studios within New Haven city

*Up in NEW HAMPSHIRE (where we're hoping to point the NERW-mobile this
weekend, weather permitting), we see that WMTK (106.3 Littleton) is
being transferred from White Mountain FM to Vermont Broadcasting

Another FM allocation in the north country?  Yep, this time it's 98.7
in Stratford.  The FCC added this one to the table of allocations at
the request of Peter George, who's probably better known in the New
England radio community for his translator W221AG (92.1 Wareham MA).
(Stratford, by the way, is way north -- on US 3 about ten miles north
of Lancaster).

*That's it for this week's early issue, as we head up to fine spots
like Sherbrooke, Newport VT, and Berlin NH (weather permitting).  Next
week's will also be an early issue as we prepare to head to
Cleveland.  See you then!