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NERW 10/16: Clear Channel, Aurora Buy Clusters

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            October 16, 2000


*NEW HAMPSHIRE: Clear Channel Enters the Upper Valley
*NEW YORK: Aurora's Not Selling...Now It's Buying 

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

*Radio in the Upper Valley area of NEW HAMPSHIRE has seen plenty of
new clusters in the last few years.  But the big national groups
haven't made the trek up I-93...until now.

Clear Channel is paying Bob and Cheryl Frisch $11 million for their
four-station group, based in Lebanon.  Heritage news-talker WTSL (1400
Hanover) is the oldest station in the group, accompanied by hot AC
WGXL (92.3 Hanover), classic rock WVRR (101.7 Newport), and
ratings-leading country "Kix," WXXK (100.5 Lebanon).

The usual "no staff or format changes are planned" line accompanies
the sale, but rumors are already flying about the possibility of Clear
Channel's news-talk WGIR Manchester and rocker WGIR-FM Manchester
providing programming to WTSL and WVRR an hour away.  Stay tuned...

*Just across the river in VERMONT, Family Broadcasting is selling WGLV
(104.3 Hartford), as first rumored here months ago (NERW, 5/19/2000).
The buyer?  "Great Northern Radio," aka the Vox group, which already
operates in the market with sports combo WNHV (910 White River
Junction) and WTSV (1230 Claremont), soft AC WWSH (95.3 White River
Junction), and rocker WHDQ (106.1 Claremont).  We hear WGLV will
simulcast WNHV/WTSV for six weeks or so, followed by a "new format"
under the WWOD calls.  (Hmm..."O-D" -- whatever could THAT be?)

Vox launched another "new" station in the Green Mountain State this
week, moving WWFY (100.9) from a little class A in Middlebury to a big
signal licensed to Berlin.  Now known as "Froggy 100.9, Jumpin'
Country," WWFY is targeting the Barre-Montpelier area.  Jim Severance
is the PD (and afternoon guy), with Steve Boswell from Waterbury's
WDEV doing mornings as "J.D. Green," Michelle Drury middays as "Mickey
Hopper," the syndicated Lia show in evenings, and Tim Martin overnight
as "Tad Pole."  Cute...real cute.

*The big news from MASSACHUSETTS was the $47.5 million sale of
Worcester's Univision affiliate, WUNI (Channel 27).  The station
becomes the 18th Univision affiliate owned by Entravision, and the
company's first in New England.  NERW wonders if Entravision might try
to expand its growing Spanish-language radio group our way as well...

Also in Worcester, Jay Bailey moves from Citadel's WORC-FM/WXLO to
Chowder's WORC(AM) and WGFP as program director.

*The "Score" sports simulcast in central MAINE has lost two of its
many stations, as Cumulus flips WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor) to a
simulcast of oldies WABK (104.3 Gardiner)..and our ears up there are
hearing WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) running a 15-minute loop of, of all
things, hip-hop music.

*Just last week, we told you that Aurora Broadcasting wouldn't be
selling its cluster in Connecticut and NEW YORK to Nassau after all.
This week, Aurora showed just how much it's changing gears, agreeing
to pay $55 million for Rob Dyson's Crystal group in the Hudson Valley.

Aurora's already strong in the southern part of the valley, with nine
stations stretching from Bridgeport into Westchester County.  The
Crystal purchase adds nine more signals in the northern part of the
valley, from Middletown and Poughkeepsie up to Kingston.  They are:

-Oldies WCZX (97.7 Hyde Park) and WZAD (97.3 Wurtsboro)
-Sports WEOK (1390 Poughkeepsie) and WALL (1340 Middletown)
-Modern AC WRRV (92.7 Middletown) and WRRB (96.9 Arlington)
-Rocker WPDH (101.5 Poughkeepsie) and WPDA (106.1 Jeffersonville)
-Full-service WKNY (1490 Kingston)

This sale, combined with Clear Channel's purchases in the valley
earlier in the year (NERW 5/6/2000), mean that just about every major
signal between Westchester and Albany will end the year under new

So where's that other shoe?  So far, there have been none of the
rumored format and personnel changes (with the exception of Joe Daily
moving from WBNR Beacon/WLNA Peekskill to the new Clear Channel
cluster; his last morning show on WBNR/WLNA was last week), but we'll
be here to keep track of whatever happens as these deals all close and
the inevitable transitions take place.

Happy anniversary to WRIP (97.9 Windham), which will turn one year old
next weekend.  (Those within listening range just might want to tune
in on Saturday night 10/21...you just never know who might turn up on
the air there for a few minutes!)

Our Albany bureau chief, Gavin Burt, checks in to let us know WMVI
(1160 Mechanicville) has indeed flipped to a 60s AC format as "Sunny
1160," though he reports the signal still needs some work in the south
end of the market.  "Sunny" joins "Star" (WQAR 101.3 Stillwater) and
"Moon" (WUAM 900 Saratoga Springs/WVKZ 1240 Schenectady) in Ernie
Anastos' little constellation of stations around the Capital District.

WTRY (980 Troy) has officially become WOFX ("Fox Sports"), which means
that Cincinnati's WOFX (92.5) becomes WOFX-FM -- but it's all in the
Clear Channel family, anyway.

Just north of Albany, the WBZA calls (long heard on 1230 Glens Falls,
now WMML) have disappeared from the 1410 South Glens Falls facility
where they'd been living.  That station is now WENU(AM), simulcasting
standards from WENU-FM (101.7 Hudson Falls) and prompting speculation
of a format change to come on the FM side.

Yet another petition to deny has been filed against Syracuse Community
Radio, this time against the W208AQ Marcellus translator that holds a
CP for 89.5.  We're also hearing rumors that SCR's programming, which
can't actually be heard at its Syracuse studio, is showing up there
anyway on an unlicensed 90.7 signal.  Hmmm...sounds like a NERW-mobile
stop is in order?

Up north, St. Lawrence University's WSLU (89.5 Canton) has been
granted a translator on 89.3 in Speculator.  W207BP will be the calls
for the new signal in the picturesque tiny Adirondack Mountain hamlet.

Down in Olean, we hear WOEN (1360) will dump talk for a soft AC format
sometime this fall.

*One bit of news from CANADA, and it comes to us through North Country
correspondent Mike Roach: CJET (630) in Smiths Falls, Ontario has
turned on its new FM signal at 92.3.  Mike reports that "Country 92"
began running a test loop of country music Saturday morning (10/14),
which means the AM should be dark within a few months.  (NERW's
suddenly very glad that we made it up to Smiths Falls over the summer,
and not just for the Hershey Canada factory tour!)

Speaking of Canada, it's the latest expansion ground for the Upstate
New York Radio Archives
(http://www.bostonradio.org/radio/nyradio.html).  Visit now and check
out our brand-new radio dials for Toronto-Hamilton, Peterborough,
Belleville-Cobourg, Kingston, and Ottawa -- with many more to come!

*Two quick additions to last week's travelogue from our
Ohio/Pennsylvania trip: There was one more Columbus site on our list;
the four towers of WVKO (1580) at the WVKO-WSNY studios in a
residential area on the city's northwest side.  And as for the
Pittsburgh AC wars: WZPT (100.7) is now "Star," not "Point" (though
the nickname changes are getting awfully confusing!).  We also have an
answer to the "WKST" question we posed last week: when 96.1 Pittsburgh
legally changes from WPHH to WKST-FM, the current WKST-FM in Ellwood
City, near New Castle, will become WJST.  (And just to complete this
circle of confusion, *that* station is also a "Star"!)

*Back next week with much more...see you then.

The Boston Radio Archives/NERW Northeast Television Stock Index:

At market close 10/6: 93.22
At market close 10/13: 89.44

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

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