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NorthEast Radio Watch 9/18: LPFM - It's Nutmeg and Granite States' Turn
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
September 18, 2000
IN THIS ISSUE:
*CONNECTICUT/NEW HAMPSHIRE: LPFM Apps Flood the FCC
*NEW YORK: 75 Years of Gambling Ramble to Close at WOR
*MAINE: More Morning Show Shuffles
-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------
*The second batch of LPFM applications made its way through the FCC
this week, with CONNECTICUT and NEW HAMPSHIRE somewhere in there among
the nearly 500 would-be broadcasters applying. Michigan, Illinois,
and Minnesota led the pack (and you should see the pile-up for 93.1
and 97.7 in the Twin Cities!), but we'll stick closer to home this
week and survey the 38 Connecticut and 28 New Hampshire applications.
One of the most popular frequencies for would-be Nutmeg State LP'ers
is 105.3, where applicants for Hartford alone include Radio Monte
Sinai, Real Art Ways, Hartford Public Access Radio, and Total Health
Broadcasters. In Windsor, Real Ministries applied for 105.3, as did
Grace Baptist Church in Bristol, Hope Seventh Day Adventist Church and
Good News Broadcasting in Bloomfield, and First Academy Inc. in "N/A"
(which will probably be thrown out by the Commission just ahead of the
several Minnesota apps that just listed street addresses for community
On 103.5, the applicants include: Cornerstone Church (Cheshire), Lakay
Broadcasting Network (Hamden), Association Evangelista Radio Pader
(Meriden), Superstar Radio (Wallingford), Radio Fe Christiana
(Prospect), North Haven Community Television and Barabara A. Marcati
(North Haven), Damascus Christian Pentecostal Church, New Haven
Educational Radio Corp., and God's Corner Church (all in New Haven),
Cheshire Fire Department Inc. (Cheshire), The Broadcasters Club
(Farmington), Innercity Cultural Alliance Corp. (Bloomfield), Calvary
Fellowship of Southbury), and Briarwood College (Southington).
The rest of the list: Connecticut Valley Church of Christ (98.5
Windsor), Torrington Christian Broadcasters (98.5 Torrington), Ashford
Press and Cristo A Las Puertas (both 97.1 Willimantic), Calvary
Baptist Church (98.7 Windsor Locks), Calvary Christian Fellowship
(100.1 Ledyard), Town of Guilford (98.1 Guilford), Salvatore
Debenedetto (103.7 Bridgeport), Friends of Church Radio (filing,
against the rules, for two frequencies in Danbury: 88.5 and 97.1),
Valley Community Baptist Church (107.5 Avon), Connecticut River
Educational Radio (97.1 Higganum), Norwich Roman Catholic Diocesan
Corp. (97.1 Uncasville), and Asnatuck Community College LPFM (107.7
*For NEW HAMPSHIRE, there's less of a frequency pile-up, except at the
95.1 spot on the dial. Applicants there include School Administrative
Unit #19 (Goffstown), Region #4 Applied Technology Center and Trinity
Evangelistic School and Church (Peterborough), Highland Community
Broadcasting (Hooksett), Londonderry Presbyterian Church
(Londonderry), Manchester Neighborhood Housing Services (Manchester),
Calvary Fellowship of Nashua and Grace Fellowship of Nashua (both
Nashua), Timothy J. Gilbert (Hudson), and Faith Christian Center
The rest: Beth-El Bible Church (94.3 Surry), Jackson Ski Community
Radio Association (97.3 Bartlett), Church of Perfect Life and Freedom
(101.7 Candia), Franklin Pierce College (105.3 Rindge), Londonderry
School District (105.1 Londonderry), Andreas M. Knaver (96.1
Portsmouth), Trinity Lutheran Church, Camp Holiday Association, and
Keene Foursquare Church, dba Harvest Christian Fellowship (all three
for 103.1 Keene), Dublin School (100.5 Dublin), Kingdom Christian
Ministries (100.3 Dublin), Dover Community Radio Service (103.5
Dover), Seacoast Arts and Cultural Alliance (101.5 Portsmouth), Grace
Childrens Home (98.7 Springfield), "Ndimension" (104.9 Etna),
Christian Fellowship of New England (106.5 Center Conway), Lakes
Region Conservation Trust (107.9 Meredith), and something called, so
help us, "Gritty" (94.7 Dover).
There's not too much more to offer as comment beyond what we had to
say after the first batch of applications, except to note that
religious broadcasters account for at least 20 of the Connecticut
applications and 11 of the New Hampshire ones, and that's just judging
by the applicants' names. This is where the political strange brew
that is LPFM could get even stranger: Will the GOP leadership in
Congress, which has been resolutely anti-LPFM at the behest of its
powerful NAB support base, be willing to offend the (largely
evangelical Christian) religious voters whose churches have been in
the forefront of all these applications? Will the strong support for
LPFM at the highest (Democratic) levels of the FCC survive the
realization that the service, if it ever comes to fruition, will sound
more like the satellite-fed translator service than like the old class
D 10-watt noncomms? Can the FCC, already so understaffed that it's
been unable to update its public databases in eight months, find the
budget to actually process all these applications? And will the next
LPFM filing window, which is supposed to start in November, still
happen if a Republican is elected to the White House, bringing Bill
Kennard's term as chairman to a close? This should be interesting...
*One more bit of Granite State news, involving the state's public TV
network: New Hampshire Public TV will premiere "NH Outlook," a new
nightly public affairs show, on Monday (9/18). The show will
incorporate the old weekly "NH Roundtable," which will become the
Friday night edition of Outlook. The new show will air weeknights at
7:30 and again at 11:30 on WENH (Channel 11) Durham and its
rebroadcasters -- including the brand-new WENH-DT (Channel 57).
*This week's big news from NEW YORK was, of course, the end of a
75-year tradition at WOR (710), as John R. Gambling parted ways with
the station that employed his grandfather, John B., and his father,
John A., as hosts of "Rambling With Gambling" weekday mornings.
The younger Gambling had hosted the show solo for the last decade. He
tells the New York papers that he could have stayed at WOR until the
end of his contract in December, but chose to leave with a farewell
show that aired last Monday (9/11) on short notice.
No replacement has been named yet, and WOR is showing the unusual
grace of letting its listeners openly discuss the end of the Gambling
dynasty on the air. Where next for John R.? The rumor mill is
pointing towards WEVD (1050), as that station struggles for respect as
a talk outlet.
Moving upstate, WOFX is the new set of calls for Troy's AM 980, the
first call change there in the station's history. (The WTRY calls
live on at 98.3 FM in Rotterdam, along with the oldies format that had
been simulcast on both outlets for years). Now a sports outlet, WOFX
will offer Imus, Jim Rome, and Fox Sports Radio to the Capital
Syracuse's big country station, WBBS (104.7 Fulton), can breathe easy
-- it's not being challenged by Galaxy Broadcasting after all. The
"Big Cow" stunt on WRDS (102.1 Phoenix) last weekend lasted just a day
before the former urban station was relaunched (at 8 AM last Monday,
9/11) as "Sunny 102," variously described to NERW as an AC outlet and
as a classic hits station. Whatever it's playing, the new Sunny has
Bill Baker as morning man, returning home to Syracuse (where he was
WSYR 570's morning host for years) from a stint down in Richmond.
Speaking of Galaxy and Syracuse, it sounds like the company is getting
ready to launch another rimshot into the market. WTKV (105.5 Oswego)
now simulcasts classic rocker WTKW (99.5 Bridgeport) to the northern
part of the metro. But the company's applying to move the city of
license from Oswego to Granby, about 10 miles closer in to Syracuse.
No word on just where a new transmitter site might be...
NERW thinks the new Sunny will make for interesting listening around
Geneva and Seneca Falls, where it's first-adjacent to Clear Channel's
"Sunny 102" (WISY 102.3 Canandaigua), rimshotting the Rochester
market. But then, listeners in that area might not notice -- they
have a new format to check out on a four-way AM simulcast. The Radio
Group has flipped standards WAUB (1590 Auburn)/WSFW (1110 Seneca
Falls) and AC WCGR (1550 Canandaigua) to a simulcast of news-talk WGVA
(1240 Geneva) under the "Finger Lakes News Network" name. ABC news
and a lot of satellite programming was what we heard on all four
frequencies this weekend...
Meantime in Rochester, we've been hearing a very history-minded ID on
Entercom's oldies WBBF (98.9), in which the station proclaims itself
"the first FM station in America." While we're thrilled to hear the
station acknowledging a history that dates back to 1939 and W8XVB, the
experimental FM counterpart to WHAM (then on 1150), our research over
the years suggests that W8XVB was far from "the first" FM station,
having been preceded by Edwin Armstrong's 1931 experiments from the
Chrysler Building and his later W2XMN in Alpine, NJ. Oldest FM still
operating? Closer, to be sure -- but we believe *that* honor goes to
WHCN (105.9) in Hartford CT, descendant of Armstrong/Doolittle's
experiments at WDRC earlier in 1939. New York's oldest? It's a close
battle with what's now WRVE (99.5 Schenectady), descendant of WGY's FM
experiments, also a 1939 veteran. Only FM in America still using the
same frequency it was assigned in the big band shift of 1946-48?
*That* we will easily believe...but it doesn't sound so appealing in a
liner, does it?
Down in Binghamton, Jerry James and Dave Freeman aren't driving
downtown to do their morning show at Citadel's WHWK (98.1) anymore;
they've signed on across town at Clear Channel's country competitor,
WBBI (107.5 Endwell).
Up north, Mike Roach checks in with a new Web site for WLOT-LP
(Channel 66) in Watertown, <http://www.newmediacommunications.com>.
We hear WNSA will be the new calls on Wethersfield's 107.7 when the
Buffalo-market station switches to sports October 3 from its present
country format and WNUC calls. Down in Fredonia, the nice folks at
Vox Allegany checked in to let us know the new slogan on what's now
WBKX (96.5) is in fact "the Bull"...and that's no, uh, never mind.
We leave the Empire State this week with an obituary: Ralph Hubbell
more or less created sports broadcasting in the Buffalo market,
beginning way back in 1931 at what was then WEBR (1310), continuing
with stints at WBNY, WGR/WKBW, WBEN and the brand-new WBEN-TV for two
decades, WHLD, WECK, and local cable until just a few years ago.
Hubbell died Thursday (9/14) at his home in Newfane, just shy of his
91st birthday. A memorial service will be held next Saturday (9/23)
at Ascension Lutheran Church, 4640 Main St., Amherst.
*Speaking of obituaries, a broadcaster who left his mark on
MASSACHUSETTS radio died last month down in Florida. Robert
M. Fairbanks took Framingham's WKOX from a kilowatt daytimer to a
major local voice in the MetroWest area, and helped make FM a force in
the Boston market in the early seventies by flipping WKOX-FM to rock
as WVBF (105.7), named for his wife Virginia B. Fairbanks.
Fairbanks (who was the last surviving grandson of Teddy Roosevelt's
vice president, Charles W. Fairbanks) sold most of his properties in
the last decade, leaving just WKOX in his portfolio at the end. He
was 88 when he died August 11 at his home in Key Largo. Funeral
services were held in Indianapolis August 13.
Another well-known Bay State broadcaster will be remembered on the air
November 3, when Carl DeSuze's daughter, Samantha, joins Jordan Rich
for two hours (midnight-2) on WBZ (1030). Samantha DeSuze has become
a successful broadcaster in her own right, most recently at WBYY (98.7
Somersworth NH) up on the Seacoast.
Worcester's WICN (90.5) says it will have a new transmitter in place
within the week, replacing the one that ceased functioning a few weeks
ago. We hear transmitter problems have also been plaguing WNSH (1570
Beverly). (And while we're talking North Shore, we've been remiss in
failing to mention the arrival of former WSBK-TV "Movie Loft" voice
Dana Hersey as morning host at WBOQ 104.9 in Gloucester, where he's
accompanied by former WESX news guy Kendall Buell.)
A couple of new Web sites: WCEA-LP in Boston (still on channel 19, or
have they moved?) is at <http://www.cuencavision.com>, while the
former MediaOne 3 community channel is now AT&T 3
<http://www.att3.com>, and is carrying MSNBC's Olympics coverage for
all the AT&T systems that still don't get MSNBC itself.
Out west, our listeners report Citadel has flipped WCAT-FM (99.9
Orange) to a format of upbeat 60s and 70s oldies, apparently locally
automated. On the southern edge of Central Massachusetts, thank
longtime friend-of-NERW Peter George for getting Dudley's WNRC (95.1)
on the air 24/7, with automation helping out the airstaff of local
volunteers and Nichols College students. (Hmm, where else have we
seen those call letters of late?)
*Down in RHODE ISLAND, our engineering buddies report that public
radio WRNI (1290 Providence) has flipped the switch on its increase to
10kW night power, and that even the 5kW day signal is getting out
better than it used to.
*From VERMONT comes word that a company called "PSA Inc." has bought
LPTV WBVT-LP (39 Burlington) and its relays around the area,
apparently with an idea of using them for some sort of digital
datacasting. (Hmmm...data streams or UPN? Tough call...)
*Another MAINE morning show is no more: Bob Anderson and Debra
Delaney, aka "Duke and Delaney," have been shown the door at country
WTHT (107.5 Lewiston), with last Monday (9/11) their last show.
And we're told the Cumulus purchase of Mountain Wireless' WSKW (1160
Skowhegan), WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan), and WCTB (93.5 Fairfield) never
happened -- which means the stations stay in an LMA for now, and that
if Clear Channel wants them as part of its Maine Cumulus purchase,
it'll have to strike a separate deal with Mountain. (It also puts
Cumulus' donation of WHQO to Maine Public Radio off the table for
*A much quieter week in CANADA: Way up north in Kapuskasing, Ontario,
CKAP (580) has been granted a move to 100.9, with 12kW replacing the
station's current 10kW day/5kW night setup.
Also up north, Sudbury's religious CJTK (95.5) gets a relay in North
Bay, on 89.5 with 33 watts.
And in Lindsay, the CHUM Group has filed to buy CKLY (91.9), to add to
its AM-FM combo (CKPT/CKQM) in nearby Peterborough.
*That Ohio travelogue? It's coming...but first, NERW hits the road
again. Next stop: San Francisco, as we spend the rest of the week at
the NAB Radio Show. We'll try to file at least a brief NERW from out
west at week's end, and something more early the week of Sept. 25 when
we return. And if you're headed out there as well, do be sure to stop
by and say hello! (You can leave messages for me in the IMAS
newsroom, Room 276 of the Moscone Convention Center.)
See you in a few days...
---------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2000 Scott Fybush
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