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NorthEast Radio Watch 6/23: CRTC Picks Three in Toronto

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                              June 23, 2000


*CANADA: CRTC Approves Three New Toronto Stations
*RHODE ISLAND: Want 96.5 for LPFM? Join The Crowd
*MASSACHUSETTS: Chet, Nat Say Goodbye At 11

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

*We begin this week in CANADA, where precisely a year after CBL
Toronto said its final "adieu" on 740 and moved to FM for good, the
CRTC is announcing its successor on the 50 kilowatt blowtorch

The nod goes to Michael Caine's CHWO (1250 Oakville), which will move
its adult-standards format down the dial to 740 by next June under the
moniker "PrimeTime Radio."  Caine persuaded the CRTC that listeners
over the age of 55 are underserved on the Toronto dial, and says his
station will serve as an "oasis" in the midst of the rock that
dominates Toronto FM.  NERW expects the new 740 to use the existing
CBC transmitter plant in Hornby, but we're keeping an eye out for
construction at the CHWO site as well.

It turns out 1250 won't go silent as a result of the move; the CRTC
says Caine can lease that facility out to the Christian broadcasters
who now lease 50 hours a week on CHWO sister station CJMR (1320
Mississauga).  When they take over as "Joy 1250," CJMR will become
all-ethnic (largely Asian languages).

Over on the FM side, the CRTC handed out two more licences, expected
to be the last available in Canada's largest city.  B. Denham Jolly,
who had applied unsuccessfully for the 92.5 channel (now CISS) and the
99.1 facility (now CBC's CBLA), finally gets his FM under the name
"Milestone Radio."  The urban-formatted station will be on 93.5 with
298 watts -- a perfect spot, really, to usurp the Toronto listeners
who now hear the format on Buffalo's WBLK (93.7 Depew NY).  (A
minority interest in Jolly's station will be held by Standard, which
already owns CFRB and CKFM in Toronto, but the CRTC says this will not
constitute an illegal LMA).

The last licence goes to Gary Farmer's Aboriginal Voices Radio, whose
station will be the first in Toronto aimed at a native audience.  AVR
asked for both 740 AM and 106.5 FM; they were granted only the FM,
with 250 watts.  NERW wonders what *that* channel will sound like in
the summer when reception heats up over the water path across the lake
to co-channel 50-kilowatt WYRK Buffalo, which can usually be heard in
Toronto on a warm day.  

All three stations are expected on the air by June 2001.

One more Canadian note: the new calls for 101.1 Smiths Falls are CIOX,
to reflect the station's identity as Ottawa's "XFM."

*The FCC has released the first batch of applications for LPFM, and in
addition to a veritable slew of California apps, there are a
surprising number to report in the two New England states where the
window opened earlier this month.

We'll start in RHODE ISLAND, where the most popular frequency was 96.5
in the Providence area.  Applicants there included Casa de Oracion
Getsemani, Brown Student Radio, Providence Community Radio, Mision
Cristiana Eliam, St. Francis Chapel, Ephese French SDA Church, Gregory
S. Ferland, Christopher Young, Better Living Radio in Johnston (for
Johnston), and House of Gold Foundation (for Cranston).  Also applying
for 96.5: Zion Bible Institute in Barrington.

Runner-up in the popularity contest: 94.9, with apps for Experience
Evangelistic Ministry (Providence), Calvary Chapel Christian
Fellowship (Warwick), Little Flower House (Warwick), Katherine Russo
(Warwick), Better Living Radio in Wickford (Wickford), State of the
State Communications (West Warwick), and Olney Street Baptist Church

A few more: Newport Musical Arts Association (105.9 Newport), Spirit
Life Ministries (92.9 Westerly), Washington County Chamber of Commerce
(107.1 Westerly; and isn't this the group that's involved in WBLQ
Westerly and those pseudo-TISes down that way?), and Northern Rhode
Island Public Radio Inc. (95.3 Providence).

Many of these frequencies are unlikely to be available in actual fact
because of failure to meet the FCC's spacing rules; that 96.5
Providence, in particular, didn't pass muster in a check of the FCC's
own LPFM allocations program.  

Two more Ocean State notes: We see that WLKW (550 Pawtucket) has
applied to change calls to WBZU, apparently to match its talk-radio
"The Buzz" nickname.  And the message boards are buzzing with word
that WWRX (103.7 Westerly) afternoon team "Jaxon and the Pharmacist"
will take over mornings on the WFNX network (along with FNX's Henry
Santoro) when WRX goes FNX later this summer.

*On to MAINE, then, to see who's applying for LPFM in the Pine Tree
State.  Only one channel is seriously contested, and that's 105.1 in
Portland, with applications from All Inclusive Inc., Calvary Chapel of
Portland (in Westbrook), Voice of Freedom (Westbrook), and Standish
Citizens Educational Organization (Standish).  In Yarmouth, the Maine
Science and Technical Museum wants 105.3; Growstown Radio Users seeks
97.3 in Brunswick; Penobscot School wants 93.3 in Rockland; and All
That is Catholic Ministries wants 94.7 Augusta.  Heading north,
Inter-Faith Studies Institute wants 95.1 in Bangor, while Faith
Community Fellowship wants the same frequency in Ellsworth.  Bangor
Fine Arts Radio wants 96.5 in Bangor, conflicting with Calvary Chapel
of Bangor's 96.3 application there.  And nobody -- nobody -- applied
for LPFMs up north or Down East.

NERW's initial reaction: My, there are a lot of religious
applications.  Didn't we predict just that in our year-end Rant?  Get
braced for the satellite translator frenzy all over again,
folks...it's just beginning.  (Don't blame the FCC on this one,
necessarily; Congress made its attitude towards religious broadcasting
all too clear this week with the 264-159 vote passing a bill that
would allow "religion" as a fourth acceptable purpose for noncomm

The next window opens in July and includes Connecticut and New
Hampshire, by the way.

*We'll work our way around the rest of the region in the same route we
traversed during our little journey last weekend in what proved to be
an ailing NERW-mobile.  (Trust us: having an alternator fail on
Saturday afternoon -- LATE Saturday afternoon -- in White River
Junction can wreck anyone's weekend, not to mention wallet!)

NEW YORK is where we started, examining the WBRV and WBRV-FM sites in
Boonville (the latter next to what looks like an old fire tower in the
hills), and listening to the stations' new satellite-delivered country
format as "The Moose."  On we drove, past WADR in Remsen and through
the scenic Adirondacks, to the tower of WIPS (1250) next to the
railroad tracks and down the street from the ferry landing in
Ticonderoga.  WIPS is indeed simulcasting "Radio Lake Placid"
(WIRD/WLPW, WRGR), but someone up there needs a good lesson in legal
IDs (or an NAL from the Portals!) -- aside from one quasi-legal "From
historic Ticonderoga, WIPS 1250," all we heard was "Radio Lake Placid,
WLPW-WRGR," with nary a city of license, and bumping into the news a
few sentences late to boot.  Loved the AAA music, though...

Also in the area, we heard the classic rock sounds of WCLX (102.5
Westport, in mono) and WEXP (101.5 Brandon VT, "The Fox"), the soft AC
of "Lake" WLKC (103.3 Waterbury VT), oldies on WLCQ (92.1 Port
Henry), and smooth jazz on 96.7 WXPS, now licensed to Willsboro NY.

A few more quick notes before continuing on the travelogue: Down in
Binghamton, longtime WNBF (1290) personality John Leslie is looking to
start a new career; he's running for town supervisor in the town of
Vestal.  In eastern Long Island, legendary WLNG-FM (92.1 Sag Harbor)
is changing calls...but don't be alarmed; it's just to WLNG(FM),
accounting for the disappearance of the old WLNG(AM) a few years
back.  While we're down that way, we note that M Street is reporting
WFOG (1570 Riverhead) back on the air with a simulcast of WRCN-FM
(103.9).  M Street also says WWLE (1170 Cornwall-on-Hudson) has
switched to CNN Headline News from its simulcast of country WRWD
(107.3 Highland).  Syracuse's W13BU becomes WBLZ-LP (we believe
they're running The Box).  In Rochester, jazz lovers may soon have a
cleaner signal from WGMC (90.1 Greece), which is applying for a power
increase to 15000 watts (directional, alas, away from NERW Central in
Brighton) and a height increase to 134 feet.  And circling back north
again, we hear WAIH (90.3 Potsdam) at SUNY Potsdam and WTSC (91.1
Potsdam) at Clarkson College are simulcasting, at least for the
summer, as "90.3 The Way and 91.1 The Source."  

Back to our trip, then: Checking out the AM dial as we sped past
Plattsburgh on I-87, we heard a carrier on 1070 transmitting nothing
but static, so we don't know what calls or format that poor station is
using this week.  Up the dial at the always interesting WIRY (1340),
we heard one of the segues that remind us why we like little local
stations so much: a liner for "your favorite oldies coming up,
including some Dusty Springfield" -- right into "now the latest from
Destiny's Child," and out of said current hit into a typical 60s-style
WIRY jingle.  Ah, WIRY....

Crossing the border into Quebec, we tuned in the new all-news CINW 940
and country CJMS 1040, saw the now-vacant CBM/CBF towers in Brossard
from the side of Autoroute 30, then east towards Sherbrooke.

Before the sun set, we were able to check out the radio scene around
Sherbrooke, such as it was:

On AM, French-language CHLT (630) is largely a relay of the Radiomedia
network and Montreal's CKAC (730), with four towers south of town in
good Canadian fashion.  English-speaking listeners (and we didn't find
many, even in this formerly Anglophone-heavy region) can tune to CKTS
(900), a 24-hour relay of Montreal's CJAD (800) from five towers
(gasp!) north of the city.

Most FM emanates from the Mont Orford ski area near Magog, west of
Sherbrooke: CITE-1 (102.7) is a "Rock-Detente" affiliate, while CIMO
(106.1 Magog) is part of the "Energie" format from Radiomedia.  CJMQ
(88.9 Lennoxville) caters to Anglophones, it seems, while CFLX (95.5)
is the community station.  The CBC has its own tower east of the city,
relaying CBF Montreal (premiere chaine) on 101.1, CBFX Montreal (la
chaine culturelle) on 90.7, and CBC Radio One on CBMB 91.7.

TV?  The Radio-Canada affiliate, CKSH (Channel 9), and the TQS
affiliate, CFKS (Channel 30) are co-owned.  CHLT-TV (Channel 7, TVA)
and the CKMI/Global relay on channel 11 share a facility as well.  The
fifth TV on Mont Orford is Tele-Quebec's CIVS on channel 24.  The CBC
tower carries a relay of English-language CBMT Montreal on channel 50.

*Heading out of Sherbrooke, we crossed back into VERMONT at that
dual-nation town of Rock Island/Derby Line, then headed into Newport
to see and hear WIKE (1490), in AM stereo with country, and WMOO (92.1
Derby Center), live and local on Saturday morning with AC.  Befitting
a station called "Moo 92," the building on US 5 is decorated in that
Woody Jackson-esque cow pattern made famous by generations of Ben and
Jerry's pints.  So, for that matter, is the Moo station wagon.  (We
had a lot of time to stare at said vehicle while waiting for a tow
truck to start the by-now-failing NERW-mobile).

*No sign yet of WXMX (94.1 Canaan), but we did hear WMOU (1230 Berlin)
on the air as we crossed into NEW HAMPSHIRE just ahead of a nasty
storm.  We also heard Barry Lunderville's WXXS (102.3 Lancaster) on
the air, and across the river, WDOT (95.7 Danville) offering dead air
instead of the AAA "Point" format from WNCS down in Montpelier.

We rode the Mt. Washington Cog Railway high into the fog, and never
actually saw the transmitters up there for all the wind and pelting
rain.  Coming back down, we listened to the country format on WKXH
(105.5 St. Johnsbury), among other things.

Despite e-mail from the station assuring us they were on the air, we
heard nothing to suggest that WBNC (1050 Conway) was in fact operating
-- in fact, NERW research director Garrett Wollman sat right next to
the transmitter on route 113 and heard only silence on 1050.  We did
hear WBNC-FM with oldies on 104.5, and of course the fun AAA of WMWV
(93.5 Conway) too.

Heading south after an abortive attempt to find the WLTN (1400
Littleton) transmitter, we saw what's now Christian talk and music
WTWN (1100 Wells River VT), though the building still says "WYKR
AM-FM" on the outside.

And then...well, then we learned that you can't get an alternator for
a Saturn on a Saturday afternoon in White River Junction.  Sunday?  No
way.  So instead of heading out US 4 for home, we hitched a ride for
Boston and left the NERW-mobile for repair on Monday.

The good news is that the delay gave us an opportunity to see the
Lakes Region (in the rain) on Sunday, including WASR Wolfeboro (one
tower just outside downtown), the FM tower of WLNH Laconia and WBHG
Meredith, and the AM stereo beautiful-music WEZS (1350 Laconia) on the
water south of town.  (We never did find the WEMJ 1490 transmitter,
nor did we hear a local ID covering the WEEI promos during the Red Six
game...)  More non-IDers: WPHX-FM (92.1 Sanford ME), WLKZ (104.9
Wolfeboro), and WZEN (106.5 Farmington) all failed to offer anything
resembling legal IDs while our tapes rolled across the tops of the
hours Sunday afternoon.  (The jingles were nice on WZEN, at least!)

*We spent Saturday and Sunday nights in MASSACHUSETTS, of course,
tuning in a bit of Boston radio (and finding ourselves very impressed
by the new WMEX 1060 signal).  A few bits of news gleaned along the
way: Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson are ending their 18-year run
together at 11PM on WCVB (Channel 5) on August 1, though they'll
continue anchoring separate earlier newscasts.  No replacement yet for
WCVB's news director, Candy Altman, as she heads for Hearst-Argyle
corporate consulting.  We saw the new WBZ-TV tower extension rising
above the trees; looks close to being finished, in fact.  And Dave
Goucher is getting sent up from the Providence Bruins to handle radio
play-by-play duties for the parent team next season, replacing Bob
Neumeier on the WBZ broadcasts.  Speaking of hockey, Bob Kurtz is
leaving NESN to move to the Twin Cities, where he'll do play-by-play
for the expansion Minnesota Wild next season.

*A couple more notes to end the travelogue: New Hampshire Public Radio
was still having STL audio dropouts, though not enough to keep us from
hearing an ID for "WEXC Berlin."  Funny, we though the former WXLQ was
licensed a few miles south to Gorham...  

We also heard the new joint ID of all the Christian Ministries
stations in Vermont, which now include WGLY (91.5 Bolton), WCMD (89.9
Barre), WCKJ (90.5 St. Johnsbury), WGLV (104.3 Hartford), and a bunch
of translators.

And crossing out of Vermont in the repaired NERW-mobile, we heard
three different Telemedia "Point" stations around Lake George: WKBE
(100.3 Warrensburg), WZEC (97.5 Hoosick Falls), and WCPT (100.9
Albany) were all spinning similar modern-AC playlists but with
separate programming, liners, and spots.  WKBE is promoting itself to
Glens Falls and the Lake George region, while WZEC is selling itself
as a Bennington station.

*We haven't mentioned CONNECTICUT this issue, but there is one little
note to include: Seems local programming at night on WYBC-FM (94.3 New
Haven) will continue to come from the studios on Elm Street near the
Yale campus, as will the student programming that fills the WYBC
(1340) day.  That syndicated "Touch" format the FM runs under an LMA
during the day will include news inserts from Cox's new Milford

*That's it for another early issue as we head off to Cleveland and
vicinity; see you on schedule next Friday!

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

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