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NorthEast Radio Watch 12/11: Adios, WHUB!

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            December 11, 2000


*NEW YORK: Clear Channel Buys Three in Utica
*CANADA: CRTC Green-Lights BCE Buyout of CTV

-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------
--------Early edition available Monday at <http://www.fybush.com>--------

*Enjoying the independent fare on Boston's new WHUB-TV 66?  Looking
forward to more of the same next year on New York City's channel 68
and Long Island's channel 67?  You'd better habla espanol, then.

USA Broadcasting, which flipped WHUB and three of its 12 other
stations around the country from home shopping to indies over the past
two years, announced Friday that it's selling all thirteen stations to

The $1.1 billion dollar deal, which also includes an interest in four
more UHF stations, will turn most of the USA stations into outlets of
a brand new "Univision Duo" network (although two stations, WHSP near
Philadelphia and WHOT-TV near Atlanta, will become primary Univision
affiliates instead.)

Why "Univision Duo"?  It looks like an attempt by Univision to ensure
its continued dominance of the Hispanic TV market against an impending
challenge from the new "Azteca USA" network being created by Pappas
Telecasting and Mexico's Azteca network, rival to Univision's Mexican
partner, dominant Televisa.

The arrival of Univision Duo can't be good news for Azteca -
especially as word comes that an Azteca deal to buy WSAH (Channel 43)
in Bridgeport is falling through, leaving Azteca with no New York City
outlet against a potential three Univision outlets (the existing WXTV
Channel 41, accompanied by USA's WHSE Channel 68 and, on Long Island,
WHSI Channel 67).  

It also can't be good news for the struggling Telemundo network, which
already has trouble attracting even a quarter of the Hispanic viewing
audience.  Could an Azteca-Telemundo alliance be in the cards?  We'll
keep watching...

*Meanwhile, upstate NEW YORK ended up with a second all-eighties
outlet on Friday (Dec. 8), as Albany's WABT (104.5 Mechanicsville)
ditched "Jammin' Oldies" to become "the Buzz," accompanied by the
strains of the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star."  The
Regent-owned station is one of several spinoffs from the Capstar group
when it merged with Clear Channel's Albany cluster earlier this year.

Clear Channel won a red-flagging from the FCC this week when it
announced plans to add three more stations to its Utica group.  For a
reported $2.15 million, the Clear Channel folks are picking up three
of Kenneth Roser's stations: dance simulcast "Wow FM" (WOWZ 97.9
Whitesboro and WOWB 105.5 Little Falls) and "Bug Country" WLFH 1230
Little Falls.  Clear Channel already owns Utica rocker WOUR 96.9, CHR
"Kiss" WSKS (102.5 Rome), soft AC "Warm" WRFM (93.5 Remsen), and the
sports trimulcast of WRNY (1350 Rome), WADR (1480 Remsen), and WUTQ
(1550 Utica).  

Roser keeps his "Bug Country" trimulcast of WBGK (99.7 Newport Village),
WBUG-FM (101.1 Fort Plain), and WBUG (1570 Amsterdam).

NERW suspects WLFH will join the "Sports Star" simulcast, since its
role in Bug Country is now served by new FM arrival WBGK.

As for speculation that Clear Channel wants the WOWB half
of the "Wow" pair to extend the reach of the weak Kiss signal deeper
into the Mohawk Valley, and the future of the WOWZ signal, which
shares a hilltop near Rome with WSKS?  We'll be watching...

One more Clear Channel/Utica note: WRFM has applied for a license
to cover for its move to Smith Hill, the main Utica tower farm, which
jibes with our recent observation of a much better Utica signal for
this longtime rimshotter.

Only a few more scattered notes from around the Empire State this
week: Downstate, the FCC has dismissed the application from WRKL (910
New City) to add 800 watt night service from two additional towers
(for a total of four) at its Rockland County site.  Across the river
in Westchester, WRNN-LP (licensed to Nyack, but transmitting from
the Westchester County Jail) has been granted a move from channel 57
to channel 35. Up in Watertown, "George" is the new addition to Jay
Donovan's WCIZ (93.3) morning show, replacing Mel Busler, who left Z93
a few months ago for full-time TV work.  

*What's doing in MASSACHUSETTS?  Another longtime WBCN (104.1 Boston)
voice is heading south to Washington and the new world of satellite
radio.  Mark Parenteau made the move this summer, to head up XM
Satellite Radio's comedy channel.  Now it's Bradley Jay's turn, as he
leaves behind nights at the Rock of Boston to become music director of
XM's dance channels.

Other Bay State radio people changing jobs: Damon Stewart is moving
off Cape Cod, leaving behind mornings at CHR "Rose" WRZE (96.3
Nantucket) for nights and production at Springfield's country "Kix"
(WPKX 97.9 Enfield CT).  Stewart replaces Marc Spencer, who's headed
to Binghamton and mornings at CHR WMRV (105.7 Endicott).  And
congratulations to Chris Hill, who moves up from general sales manager
at WBZ (1030) to director of sales for both WBZ and WODS (103.3).

On the TV side, a network face is heading to Fox's WFXT (Channel 25):
Jodi Applegate, last seen as a host of NBC's defunct "Later Today,"
will be joining the station in an as-yet-unspecified role.

A correction on last week's WRNX story: We're told the new facility on
Mount Tom will be only an auxiliary site, with WRNX's main transmitter
remaining above Route 116.

*Our CONNECTICUT news begins with a call letter change that's anything
but a surprise: Hartford's WHCT (Channel 18) will become WUVN when it
passes into Entravision's hands and becomes a Univision affiliate.

Best Media's application for a 91.5 translator in Stamford (to relay
WSHU 91.1 in nearby Fairfield, or so the mysterious Best folks claim)
has been dismissed.

Over at Southington's WNTY (990), Dr. Phillip Duncan, formerly of
WNEZ (910 New Britain), has been named PD/MD of the leased-time "Blaze
990" urban format.  The Blaze folks are now programming Caribbean
music all day Saturday, and are reportedly talking to station owner
ADD Media about leasing WNTY full-time.

A death to report this week: Roger Stafford, who reported on traffic
for more than a decade, died Monday (Dec. 4) in Port St. Lucie,
Florida, after a heart attack.  Stafford started at WTIC-FM, then
moved to WKSS and most recently to WWYZ.  He was 60.

*Another obituary from RHODE ISLAND: David Borst, who co-founded the
"Brown Network" carrier-current service that evolved into today's
WBRU, then helped form the Intercollegiate Broadcasting Service, died
Dec. 1 after a car accident in Palos Verdes Estates, California, where
he had lived for almost 40 years.

Borst and George Abraham were students at Brown in the late thirties
when they put the Brown Network on the air to campus dormitories.
Their belief in college radio led them to create IBS in the spring of
1940.  The organization flourished in the years after the war, when
the FCC authorized class D FM stations, and continues to serve college
radio stations today.

Borst joined General Electric after college, staying with GE until
1961, when he left the company to move to California for a job at
International Rectifier.

Borst was 82.

*One of MAINE Public Television's stations wants a change in its
digital TV allocation.  WMEB Orono, which serves Bangor on channel 12
NTSC, wants DTV channel 9 instead of channel 22.

We now know how much Clear Channel is paying for Rockland's WMCM and
WRKD: The Orne family will get $3.5 million for the stations.

Portland's WPOR (101.9) is getting a new PD and afternoon jock.  Chris
Duggan moves to the country station from CHR WERZ (107.1 Exeter NH),
where he was assistant PD and music director.  Duggan starts as PD
today, and goes on the air January 4 from 3-7 PM.  Duggan replaces
Clint Marsh, who left WPOR last month to go back home again to Indiana
and WMDH (102.5/1550 New Castle) in the Muncie market.

*Our VERMONT report begins with a mystery: a filing in the FCC's Daily
Digest on Friday that appears to transfer Rutland's WJJR (98.1) from
Albany Broadcasting to Christian Ministries.  Oddly, the filing was
made (or so the FCC indicates) on Form 345, the LPTV transfer form.
NERW thinks Christian Ministries may be acquiring WJJR's translator in
Hanover NH, W253AE (98.5, formerly W280CS on 103.9), but we don't
believe the WGLY-WGLV folks are buying the flamethrower 98.1 signal.

William Macek's Northstar Media is buying WMOO (92.1 Derby Center) and
WIKE (1490 Newport) from Tom Steele, and we hear $1.1 million is the
purchase price for the stations in the cow-patterned building way up

And our ears at WEQX (102.7 Manchester-Albany) tell us middayer Donna
Frank will be leaving the building after the first of the year to be a
mom.  Best wishes! (and no replacement named so far...)

*Up in CANADA, all the talk this week was TV-related, thanks to the
CRTC's approval of the C$2.3 billion sale of the CTV network.  The
buyer is BCE, the giant media conglomerate that's now parent to the
Bell Canada telephone operations, the ExpressVu direct-to-home
satellite TV service, the Sympatico high-speed internet provider, and,
oh yeah, the national Globe and Mail newspaper.  

By combining BCE's transmission network with CTV's programming
holdings, which include not only the broadcast network and its
major-market affiliates but more than a half-dozen major cable
channels, the CRTC seems to be reversing its earlier opposition to
joint ownership of programming and distribution.  

Next up for the CRTC: approval of media giant Quebecor's planned
purchase of the French-language TVA commercial network, which looks
like a slam-dunk after this deal.

One more Canadian note: We hear from our friends up near Ottawa that
the end of CJET (Smiths Falls) on AM came a few months earlier than
planned.  It seems the AM 630 transmitter failed unexpectedly...and
with FM 92.3 now on the air, the CJET folks decided the AM wasn't
worth fixing!

*And so it goes for another week.  We'll be back with two more regular
updates to close out 2000, on December 18 and 25.  There will be no
regular NERW on January 1, 2001; instead, we'll present the
star-studded 2000 In Review spectacular that week.

A reminder for those of you who haven't visited
<http://www.fybush.com> lately: be sure to stop by for this week's
Featured Tower Site, the mighty Helderberg Mountain tower farm high
above Albany.  And if you want to read NERW faster than you can get it
in e-mail, remember that each week's early edition, complete with
pictures, logos, and links, is available in full HTML every Monday
morning at the Web site.  Hope to see you there!

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

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