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NorthEast Radio Watch 10/2: Spinning the Dial in Connecticut

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                             October 2, 2000


*CONNECTICUT: Three TVs Change Affiliations
*MAINE: Morning Show Switcheroo
*NEW YORK: Syracuse, Buffalo Get New FM Formats

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

*TV viewers in CONNECTICUT will have to look a little harder for
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "WWF Smackdown" in a few months.  As
had been expected, the WB affiliation that's been held by New Haven's
WBNE (Channel 59) since the weblet's 1995 debut will move to WTXX
(Channel 20 Waterbury) on January 1, 2001.

With the coming of duopoly, WTXX ended up in the hands of Tribune,
which is also part-owner of The WB and full owner of Hartford's Fox
affiliate, WTIC-TV (Channel 61).  As for WBNE, it will get the UPN --
now Paramount Network -- affiliation that now belongs to WTXX, at
least for however much longer the Paramount Network continues to
exist.  Expect a call change to get rid of the "WB" at WBNE, as well.

Meanwhile down in Bridgeport, channel 43 is getting yet another new
owner.  The Azteca Network will pay Shop At Home $37.5 million for
what's now WSAH(TV), making it the "New York" outlet for the new joint
venture of Pappas Telecasting and Mexico's TV Azteca.  The
Spanish-language network will debut next spring, offering serious
competition to Telemundo for the title of #2 network among Hispanic
viewers (though we have to wonder how well its largely Mexican
programming will fare among the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities
in New York City, especially without much over-the-air signal or cable
carriage in the city proper).

Southington's WNTY (990) has returned to the air after that
leased-time payment dispute that shut the station down for a few
weeks.  No word yet on a permanent format for the ADD Media station.

Former WNAB (1450 Bridgeport, now WCUM) GM Tom Kennedy II died September
20 at age 68 of cancer.  Kennedy led the station during its
heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.

*The morning radio dial in Portland, MAINE saw still more changes
while we were away from NERW-land last week.  You might need a
scorecard to keep track, so here goes:

Bob Anderson, who left WTHT (107.5 Lewiston) last month, has landed at
oldies WYNZ (100.9 Westbrook), filling the shoes of Dean Rogers, who's
now crosstown at AC WHOM (94.9 Mount Washington NH).  Meanwhile, Mac
Dickson is out at WMWX (99.9 Auburn), headed for Augusta's WMME (92.3)
and afternoons.  Now doing mornings at 99.9: Rick Taylor and Donna

But wait...there's more.  It seems 99.9 has a new nickname to go with
its morning team.  Gone is "Mix," which has become a Clear Channel
servicemark.  In its place, the station is back to the "Kiss" slogan
it used for a decade or so back when it was WKZS -- but with that call
sign long since taken, we hear the new calls at the new old "Kiss
99.9" will be WMEK.

And if *that* sounds like it should be a Maine Public Radio call,
well, there's some news from the public radio folks as well this
week.  Keith Shortall, who's been with the statewide network since
1989, has been promoted to news director.

One more Portland change: WGAN (560) has dumped the syndicated Rick
Emerson show in evenings, replacing him with the syndicated Mike
Gallagher offering.

Just up the coast, Atlantic Coast's WCLZ (95.5 Topsham) has finally
put the AAA format that's been wandering from station to station to
rest.  After migrating to 95.5 from what's now WTPN (98.9 Brunswick),
the format was replaced last week by a simulcast of sports "WJAB" (aka
WJAE 1440 Westbrook and WJJB 900 Brunswick).  

A hearty congratulations to the "W-Bach" stations (WBQQ 99.3
Kennebunkport, WBQW 106.3 Scarborough, WBQX 106.9 Thomaston), which
were the only stations in NERW-land to take home a Marconi Award at
the NAB Radio Show last week in San Francisco.  We're not sure which
we enjoyed more: having a Northeast station to cheer for at the awards
banquet, or watching a room of sixty-something station managers try to
rock out to Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Free Bird," the headline act at said
banquet.  (If only the LPFM protesters in the lobby downstairs could
have seen what was really going on inside...)

*A few more notes from northern New England: In VERMONT, Dynamite
Radio transfers WRRO (93.7 Addison) to Jane Cole's Addison
Broadcasting Company for $434,000.  (If Cole's name sounds familiar,
it's because she's the co-owner of most of Steven Silberberg's New
England stations...)  Over in Exeter, NEW HAMPSHIRE, Sarah Sullivan
adds music director stripes to her morning-drive shift at WERZ
(107.1).  And on the border between the states, Hearst-Argyle's WNNE
(Channel 31) drops its local "Today Show" cut-ins in favor of
simulcasting sister WPTZ (Channel 5) from Plattsburgh NY.  NERW
wonders if the WPTZ simulcasts will be replaced by Manchester's WMUR
(Channel 9) when that station becomes a Hearst-Argyle property...

*MASSACHUSETTS has another new public radio station.  With the same
word -- "Listen" -- that launched its sister station WNAN Nantucket in
March, WCAI (90.1 Woods Hole) made its debut September 25.  WCAI and
WNAN's simulcast now reaches most of Cape Cod.  

Our engineering-minded friends have been perusing the FCC database as
it slowly returns to being current, and it seems Framingham's WKOX
(1200) and Waltham's WRCA (1330) are both contemplating sharing a new
set of five towers at the Newton site of WUNR (1600 Brookline).  It's
not clear whether WKOX would be at the new site all day or only at
night, and we're also told that WRCA's proposed 17 kW from the new
towers wouldn't provide that much improvement over its current 5 kW in
Waltham.  We're hoping to know more about these applications, as well
as WMEX (1060 Natick)'s power increase and site move (back to its old
Ashland location) sometime soon...

WWDP (Channel 46) in Norwell has dropped infomercials for Telemundo's
Spanish programming, we hear.

Congratulations to "Cadillac Jack" McCartney, who adds station manager
to his PD duties at Clear Channel's WJMN (94.5) in Boston, effective

We're told Carlo Lagrotteia, operations manager at WHDH (850, now
WEEI), died last week of lung cancer.  Lagrotteia ran things at WHDH
from the 1960s until the early 1980s.  He was 65.  (By the way,
contrary to an article in the Globe last week -- there's no way the
"easy listening" station being heard on a radio at Walden Pond is
WHDH.  Shame that nice new design didn't come with any better

Out west, it sounds like there may be a format split coming at
Greenfield's WHAI (1240/98.3) -- at least, that's what we read into
the word that Aaron Mintz' long-running Sunday night oldies show is
leaving the station, rather than be relegated to AM only.

End of an era: Curt Gowdy, the legendary Boston broadcaster who exited
New England a few years back with the sale of Lawrence's WCCM/WCGY, is
now exiting radio ownership entirely.  Gowdy sold KOWB (1290) and KCGY
(95.1) in Laramie, Wyoming to (who else?) Clear Channel last week...

*An upstate NEW YORK format change has been monopolizing the radio
dial in the NERW-mobile all week.  We knew WNUC (107.7 Wethersfield)
was planning to switch from country to sports in early October -- but
we didn't expect to hear sports talk already in full swing when we got
behind the wheel Tuesday morning.  

It seems new owner Adelphia decided to use the 10-11AM hour all week
as a preview of what's to come, with the rest of the day still
occupied by satellite country.  We also noticed that, for a few days
at least, the already potent signal was broadcasting in mono only,
making it even more listenable around the fringes in Rochester (and
presumably in downtown Buffalo as well).  

The country vanished for good over the weekend (as did any sign of a
legal ID -- Sunday morning we heard only "Sports Radio 107.7
Wethersfield Buffalo"), and we're told the full format arrives Monday
morning (10/2).  Tom Campbell moves over from WYRK (106.5) to do
mornings, followed by Fox Sports in late morning, Art Wander from noon
till 2, Mike Shopp (moving from Rochester's WHTK) from 2-6, and Dave
Miller from 6-11 on nights when the Sabres aren't playing.  Buffalo
Blizzard soccer moves from 107.7 over to WWKB (1520), in the unlikely
event anyone notices.

We've also been listening to the fringes of Syracuse's new urban
station.  Just a week after WRDS (102.1 Phoenix) ditched "Power" for
soft AC "Sunny," in stepped Clear Channel, jettisoning the smooth jazz
of WHCD (106.9 Auburn) for urban as..."Power 106.9."  The change took
place at 10 AM on Sept. 21, we're told, with local hosts and the Tom
Joyner morning show (a WRDS relic) arriving soon.  (NERW notes that
the urban format is now on one of the least urban Syracuse signals,
emanating from some 30 miles out of town in the Finger Lakes...)

We're not sure we believe the new calls attached to the latest FCC
filing on that new 106.9 in Lakewood, near Jamestown.  The commission
says it's "WKSQ-FM" being transferred from Newman Communications to
Cross Country Communications, but that call is still very much alive
in Ellsworth, Maine, as far as we know.

Another new call: Saranac Lake's WSLK (106.3) is changing to WYZY.
We're waiting patiently to hear from our North Country correspondents
about this one...

While we're up north, we note that Watertown's WWTI (Channel 50) is
beefing up its morning news, adding a 5-7 AM show and a noon broadcast
on Monday (10/2) to compete with WWNY-TV (Channel 7), which itself
expanded the morning show to a full hour last month.

Downstate, Wednesday marked the launch of New York City's newest
all-news station.  WNNY (1380) will have a staff of 50 people,
comparable to its English-language competitors WCBS and WINS.
Alejandro Guerrera is the news director at Mega's new entry into the
Big Apple's increasingly crowded Spanish-language market.

Speaking of New York, Arbitron is adding two new "embedded markets" to
its surveys of the #1 market's suburbs.  Starting this fall,
Middlesex-Somerset-Union NJ and Westchester NY enter the Arbitron
market lists, at #33 and #59 respectively.  They join Nassau-Suffolk,
Monmouth-Ocean, Morristown and Stamford-Norwalk as "markets within
markets" in the New York survey.

*A quick one from across the line in PENNSYLVANIA: Clear Channel
dumped adult standards at WMYL (95.5 Salladasburg) in the Williamsport
market last week.  The station is now WBYL, doing country and
competing with Sabrecom's heritage WILQ (105.1) as "Bill Country."  By
the way, that city of license?  It's "Salla-DAYS-burg," in case you
were wondering.

*Two notes from CANADA: In Montreal, CIEL (98.5 Longueuil) changes
calls to CKOO as CHR "Cool FM," still in French.  And we now know we
have at least one reader *way* up north in Ontario, checking in from
Timmins to let us know Kapuskasing's CKAP has only applied to move to
FM, not been granted a move.  (Thanks, Denis!)

*We'll recap that Ohio trip next week -- we promise.  This week,
though, we have something else to offer: some early clues from the FCC
to what's next on the AM and FM dials in NERW-land.

AM first: The Commission released a list of uncontested major AM
applications last week, based on the applications submitted during
January's window for new AM authorizations.  We'll know all the
details on these later this month, when the full Form 301 applications
are due, but here's what's being proposed:

Up in Maine, a Daniel Priestly has applied for 1230 in Hermon and 1340
and 1400 in Veazie.  

New Hampshire finds Bob Vinikoor (of WNTK and yet-unbuilt WQTH fame)
applying for 1490 in Lebanon as well.  In addition, one Jeffrey Steven
Wendell wants 540 in Jaffrey.

We already knew about the Connecticut proposals: Fair Communications
for 1590 in Oakville, and Dennis Jackson's 1490s in Torrington and
Uncasville and 1400 in Falls Village.

Heading into Massachusetts, things start getting interesting.
Remember our speculation that Alex Langer bought 1470 in Portage, PA
(near Johnstown) with an improvement to WSRO Marlborough in mind?
Seems he's applying to move WSRO to Watertown with a significant power
upgrade...and to move the Portage station, WFJY, down the dial to 660
and an hour west to the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg.  (He's also
applying to move WVFC 1530 in McConnellsburg PA a few hours east to
the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, and on 1180, to boot!)

Also applying to change city of license to Watertown is Waltham's WRCA
(1330) -- related, perhaps, to the proposed tower move?

In New York, Arthur Liu's WNYG (1440 Babylon) would move to Islip
Terrace on Long Island.  Michael A. Sleezer wants a new station on
1440 up in Gloversville.  Long-unbuilt WKNJ (550 Lakeside NJ) wants to
slide across the state line to Harriman, NY.  And in the Syracuse
area, WOLF Radio wants a new DeRuyter station on 780, WSIV (1540 East
Syracuse) wants to move to DeWitt and 720, while Craig Fox's Renard
Broadcasting wants to put a 1510 on the air in Mexico, near Oswego.

We'll have technical details on all of these, we hope, when the
applications are filed later in October.

Meantime on FM, the FCC is asking for comments on a proposed February
21, 2001 auction that would clear the backlog of newly-allocated FM
frequencies.  The commission has released tentative starting bids for
the channels...and check these out:

In Massachusetts: 94.3A Brewster ($170,000) and 104.3A West Tisbury

In New Hampshire: 93.7A Groveton ($40,000), 97.3A Jefferson ($60,000),
and 99.1A Whitefield ($60,000).

In Vermont: 100.3A Barton ($60,000) and 105.9A Hardwick ($75,000).

In New York: 97.1A Canaseraga ($115,000), 97.9A Dannemora ($140,000),
97.5A Delhi ($90,000), 107.1A Livingston Manor ($115,000), 92.5A Old
Forge ($5,000), 107.1A Saranac Lake ($40,000), 96.5A Speculator
($5,000), 93.5A Wellsville ($90,000), 106.7A Windsor ($115,000), and
-- sitting down? -- 92.1A Amherst ($800,000).  That's right, nearly a
million dollars just to apply for the last available FM frequency in
the Buffalo market.

And on that revenue-producing note, we'll sign off for another week.
See you in seven...

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

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