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NorthEast Radio Watch 7/31: Of WBTN(AM) and Big Blue Bags...

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                              July 31, 2000


*NEW YORK: Change of Command at the Radio Group

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

*After just a few months as a public radio outlet, the lone AM station
in Bennington, VERMONT is about to return to commercial operation.

WBTN (1370) came along with Vermont Public Radio's purchase of WBTN-FM
(94.3) from Belva Keyworth last winter, and for the moment, VPR had
been using the AM mostly to simulcast the FM, breaking away for a few
minutes of local news, commentary, and death notices on weekday

VPR announced this week that it will sell 1370, and the new owner
should be familiar to anyone who's ever put a piece of professional
broadcasting gear in a carrying case.  Those blue canvas camera covers
and bags come from Porta-Brace of North Bennington -- whose owner,
Robert Howe, will soon buy WBTN(AM) from VPR to continue operating it
as a local voice for Bennington County.

"WBTN-AM is in good hands with Bob Howe and I'm sure he will be
successful in operating this legacy station that the Bennington
community supports so strongly," said VPR president Mark Vogelzang,

Rumors that the station's building on historic old Route 7 will soon
be wrapped in a custom blue carrying case haven't been confirmed as of
press time...

*Moving across the river to NEW HAMPSHIRE, we are now assured that
WBNC (1050 Conway) is not, repeat, not dead.  Chief engineer Charlie
Osgood checked in this week to report that the silent period on 1050
that worried several loyal NERWites was simply a three-day stretch of
transmitter problems that was soon repaired.  Everybody clear?  Good!

Down to the south in Concord, a new GM is in place at Vox's WKXL
(1450/107.7) and WOTX (102.3).  Jim Whedon, a Laconia native, comes
over from a sales position at Vox sister stations WSSH/WZSH in the
Brattleboro market to replace Paul Fuller, who departed in mid-July.

*Staying north for another moment, we see that the FCC has flagged the
Clear Channel purchases in the Bangor market [NERW, July 21] for
ownership-cap review.  By the way, we miscounted in our estimate of
what Communications Capital Managers paid for the six stations
involved -- it was actually just over $13 million, for a tidy profit
of just under $7 million from the sale.

Up north, we hear WEGP (1390 Presque Isle) is already back on the air
under new onwer McDonnel "Mac" Smith, broadcasting from an Internet
cafe on Main Street.  WEGP's lineup includes Doug Stephan, Dr. Joy
Browne, Mike Gallagher, the Dolans, Howie Carr, and CBS news on the

Down south, country WEBB (98.5 Waterville) and CHR WMME (92.3 Augusta)
are looking for a new operations manager and PD; interested parties
can get in touch with GM Al Perry to find out more.

*The big news this week in MASSACHUSETTS is the impending departure of
Charles Laquidara.  The Big Mattress' finale on WZLX (100.7 Boston)
comes on Friday (8/4), and Charles will have a busy week leading up to
the last show -- from being honored with a star on the Tower Records
sidewalk on Monday to an open house Wednesday night at the Hard Rock
Cafe.  (Which reminds us...NERW would very much like to hear from
anyone in WZLX signal range able to tape the last Laquidara shows;
read on to see why we won't have the NERW-mobile parked in the shadow
of the Pru ourselves.)

It must be "end of an era" week, as over on the TV side, WCVB (Channel
5) announced its post-Chet'n'Nat lineups.  Just as the last issue was
going to press, GM Paul La Camera spake thusly: Natalie Jacobson will
do the 5 and 6 PM shows, the former with Anthony Everett and the
latter solo.  In between, Everett and Heather Kahn continue on the
5:30, and both return at 11.  What of Jacobson's former (on- and
off-air) partner, Chet Curtis?  He'll anchor Sunday nights with Pam
Cross, as well as doing in-depth reports for channel 5 and its Web
presence at <http://www.thebostonchannel.com>.  Just to add to the
fun, a new news director is also on the way to 5 TV Place: Coleen
Marren comes to WCVB from Hearst-Argyle sister station WISN-TV
(Channel 12) in Milwaukee.  She starts August 22.

Meanwhile over at WBZ-TV (Channel 4), the new post-Liz Walker lineup
shakes out like this: With Walker now doing the noon show and going
home to her son, Joe Shortsleeve and Lisa Hughes take the 5 and 11,
Ted Wayman and Sara Underwood handle the 5:30, and Hughes does the 6
with Jack Williams.  Virginia Cha has also departed WBZ-TV to head for
New York City and her fiancee...best of luck to her!  (full
disclosure: back when your editor worked at WBZ radio, Virginia's desk
was just a few rows back from mine -- the closest, if memory serves,
to the "radio zone" of the joint newsroom.)

Was that Tom Leykis, ex-WRKO, back in the Hub this week?  Indeed it
was, we're told; he was broadcasting from the Samuel Adams Brewhouse
as part of a promotion sponsored by his Los Angeles flagship, KLSX

Will USA Broadcasting's WHUB-TV (Channel 66 Marlborough) in fact make
its debut July 31?  We're hoping some of you in signal range of what's
now WHSH will have VCRs rolling just in case...

*Nothing happened, as usual, in RHODE ISLAND.  (Although we keep
hearing that the flip of WWRX 103.7 Westerly to a WFNX simulcast will
happen any moment now...)

*Almost nothing happened in CONNECTICUT this week, except for a
transformer explosion that knocked WTIC-TV (Channel 61) off the air
for a few minutes Thursday night.  East Farmington firefighters cut
power to the building to stop the fire that resulted.  Cable viewers
were not affected by the problem, thanks to a direct feed from the
WTIC-TV studios in Hartford.

*Which brings us to NEW YORK, where the FCC has, as expected, flagged
Clear Channel's plan to add Roberts Radio's four stations to the
Hudson Valley cluster it's creating from what had been Straus Media.
Given that CC has already spun a few of the Straus stations (to avoid
overlap with its Albany cluster), and that the Roberts purchase seemed
to have more to do with the company's interests in other markets
[NERW, 6/16], we wouldn't be surprised to see one or two of the
Roberts stations in the Hudson Valley get spun as well if there are
market-concentration issues.

Over in the Finger Lakes, there's a change of ownership and management
at the Radio Group.  Bob Martin leaves the company, which owns four
AMs (WCGR Canandaigua, WGVA Geneva, WSFW Seneca Falls, WAUB Auburn)
and two FMs (WNYR Waterloo and WLLW Seneca Falls), with his portion of
the group's ownership going to Alan Bishop.  Bishop, the former
general manager of Clear Channel's WNVE (95.1 Honeoye Falls) in
Rochester, will serve as VP/GM of the group while co-owner George
Kimble heads to Tucson to soak up the sun in the winter months.  

Up north, Joe Ikoff is the new morning guy (though we're not sure of
the spelling) at WPAC (92.7 Ogdensburg), replacing Rick DeFranco and
relieving afternoon guy Nate Townsend of sister station WGIX (95.3
Gouverneur) of a very long double shift.  Just down the road in
Morristown, St. Lawrence University has been granted W212BQ as the new
call for its 90.3 translator of WSLU (89.5 Canton).  And over in
Plattsburgh, word on the Web (well, on a radio DXers mailing list,
anyway) is that AM 1070 is now WLFE(AM) relaying the country sounds of
WLFE-FM (102.3 St. Albans) across the lake.  That's yet to show in the
FCC database...can anyone up that way (like, for instance, the nice
folks at WLFE-FM who read NERW) set us straight?

*A handful of quick bits from CANADA: CIDC (103.5 Orangeville ON) has
been granted permission to edge some 17 km closer to Toronto.
"Rimshotter" is a dirty word north of the border, but by promising the
CRTC it will continue to serve its community of licence, "Hits
103-dot-5" (whose studios are within the Toronto megacity limits) was
permitted to lower power from 50 kw to 38 kw and move its tower to a
new site 11 km east of Orangeville, putting an additional 500,000
listeners in the 3mv/m contour.

Up in little Campbellford (north and east of Peterborough), CKOL
(93.5) has applied to boost power from 50 watts to 1038 watts, meaning
we might actually be able to hear it when next we're up that way.

*And Speaking Of Which: Yep, it's time for the little green Saturn we
call the NERW-mobile to hit the roads again for an extended summer
vacation.  The first phase will take us up to Ottawa next weekend,
thence back home by way of New York's North Country, stopping
everywhere from WNBZ Saranac Lake to what used to be WIGS Gouverneur.
The following week, we head to Philadelphia (more for the nation's
biggest coin show than for radio), then to Atlantic City and the
sticks of the Jersey Shore.  As always, we'd love to get together with
our fellow radio lovers and NERW fans out there, so drop us a line
before Thursday (8/3) if you think your studio, tower, radio room, or
favorite restaurant might be along our route.

*Finally this week, in a matter partly related to the summer
traveling, we're pleased to announce a few changes in the NERW
schedule and content.  

Beginning with this issue, NERW will move to weekend distribution,
sometimes as early as Friday or Saturday, sometimes as late as Sunday
night, but with a consistent date of the following Monday.  The August
6 NERW will be a very early issue sometime Wednesday night or
Thursday, as we prepare to head out on the road.  There will be no,
repeat no, August 13 NERW.  Publication will resume in earnest with
the August 20 issue.  (Why the new schedule?  Blame Mrs. NERW's new
schedule at work...)

Also beginning with this issue, we're pleased to offer a new feature
to close out each week's edition: The Boston Radio Archives/NERW
Northeast TV Stock Index.  NERW research director Garrett Wollman has
been working hard on this feature, in which he'll index the stocks of
the publicly-traded companies that own TV stations in our coverage
area.  A radio index could follow if there's interest, and if we can
find a way to weight the index appropriately.  Ideas will be welcomed
by Garrett at <wollman@lcs.mit.edu>; direct comments on the TV index
to him there as well.  We'll try to get him to offer a detailed
explanation of his weighting scheme for this index in the next week or
so, as well.  (Right, Garrett?)

So with that in mind, we leave you for now with this week's TV index.
(Think of it as our version of the closing theme ramping up as the
host says goodbye for now, if it helps!) We'll see you (briefly) later
this week... 


Ackerley Group (WIXT, WOKR, WUTR, WIVT, WBGH-LP, WETM, WWTI):      12.56
BHC Communications (WWOR):                                        151.50
Clear Channel Communications (WXXA, WPRI):                         74.75
The Walt Disney Co. (WABC-TV):                                     37.88
Fox Entertainment (WNYW, WFXT):                                    30.31
Granite Broadcasting (WTVH, WKBW):                                  6.25
Gannett Co. (WCSH, WLBZ, WGRZ):                                    53.19
General Electric (WNBC, WVIT, WJAR):                               50.88
Hearst-Argyle Television (WCVB, WPTZ, WNNE):                       19.50
Paxson Communications (WPXN, WBPX, and nine others):               10.50
Sinclair Broadcast Group (WUTV, WUHF, WSYT, WGME, WGGB):           10.44
Tribune Co. (WPIX, WLVI, WTIC, WEWB):                              32.50
USA Networks (WHSE, WHSI, WHSH):                                   20.50
Univision Communications (WXTV):                                  123.94
Viacom class B (WCBS, WBZ, WSBK, WLWC):                            66.38
Young Broadcasting (WTEN, WCDC):                                   33.19
BRA's Northeast Television Index:                                 104.52
[all figures are as of market close, July 28, 2000]

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

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