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NERW 12/18: Toronto's 740 Returns

--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            December 18, 2000


*CANADA: 740's Back...But Who'll Own its Transmitter?
*NEW YORK: A Trade for Bulmer and Vox 
*MAINE: The End for BroadcastAmerica?

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

*A new era is about to dawn in Toronto radio...on one of the city's
most venerable frequencies.  NERW was scanning the dial on Friday
afternoon and caught one of the first tests of CHWO (740), the new
50,000 watt voice of "Prime Time Radio."  

The new station will operate from the Hornby transmitter site that was
home to the original Toronto 740, the CBC's flagship CBL, from the
1930s until the station moved to FM last year.  But while CHWO is
paying the CBC for the use of the Hornby site, it could soon be
writing those checks to someone else.

The CBC issued a "Request for Information" last week to begin
exploring the possibility of selling its huge network of transmitter
sites across Canada to a private operator, which would then lease
transmission services back to the CBC.  For tower-management
companies, the deal would provide access to a huge amount of vertical
real estate in both rural and urban Canada, while for the CBC, the
deal would provide plenty of cash for the conversion to digital radio
and TV -- and a guarantee that CBC services will retain priority use
of the sites.

Meanwhile on 740, we're now told January 8 is the target date to move
the adult standards from little CHWO (1250 Oakville) to the big 740
signal, and we expect to be hearing more tests on the 50 kW clear
channel over the next three weeks or so.

(A note about those call letters: CHWO had requested CFPT as the new
740 calls.  But at press time, NERW learned that the CRTC had rejected
that request, so CHWO will instead move its existing calls to 740 from
1250. That, in turn, means 1250 will become CJYE, "Joy 1250," when it
goes all-religion in January.)

Elsewhere in CANADA, Telemedia is bolstering its sports-radio
franchise against the possibility of new competition from Corus' CFYI
(640 Toronto) or CHUM Group's CHUM (1050).  CJCL (590) is now the
Eastern flagship of "The FAN Radio Network," which will supply sports
talk to other stations around the country, including the newest "FAN,"
CKST (1040 Vancouver), which flipped from adult contemporary to sports
this week.

While Corus decides what to do about CFYI, it's made some moves at
Hamilton's "Y95" (CJXY 95.3).  After blowing out most of the station's
staff a few weeks back, Corus has hired Alan Cross as the new PD.
Cross has been the afternoon guy at Toronto's "Edge" (CFNY 102.1) for
over a decades.

Looking for Cornwall's new CJUL (1220) on the Web?  You can find it at

In Quebec, CKFL (1400 Lac-Megantic) has been granted a move to FM.
The station will use 4250 watts on 106.7 when it makes the transition
next year.  And we hear Astral Media, which owns Quebec's "Energie"
group of stations (such as CHIK in Quebec City), is buying little CFOM
(102.9 Levis) near the provincial capital.

*Out in Western NEW YORK, John Bulmer is re-entering the world of
radio ownership.  Bulmer sold his WWFY (100.9 Berlin VT) to Vox this
fall, but he structured the deal in a way that leaves him in the game:
he ends up with $775,000 in cash, plus Dunkirk's WDOE (1410) and
Fredonia's WBKX (96.5).  WDOE runs oldies (mostly off the satellite),
while WBKX is country as "the Bull."  

The ax is falling for about a dozen employees at Binghamton CBS
affiliate WBNG (Channel 12), as new owner SJL prepares to take over
from Gateway Communications this week.  The Binghamton Press &
Sun-Bulletin reports SJL officials interviewed all 80 employees at
WBNG, and expect to make job offers to about 68 of them.  No on-air
talent is expected to be affected by the cuts, which are also hitting
former Gateway stations in Huntington, W. Va. (WOWK) and Altoona,
Pa. (WTAJ).

The Binghamton area could soon have a new FM station, thanks to the
FCC.  The agency received two petitions to amend the table of
allocations to add a class A channel on 93.3 in northeast
Pennsylvania.  One, from Montrose Broadcasting (WPEL AM-FM), would
have put 93.3 in Hallstead -- but the one the FCC approved will put
the channel in Susquehanna, Pa., already the nominal city of license
for WCDW (100.5), which is itself trading its Conklin, N.Y. city of
license to WKGB (92.5).  

Confused?  Just drive an hour south to Scranton, where the FM dial
went topsy-turvy this week.  First, Citadel ditched the country "Cat"
simulcast on WCTD (93.7 Dallas) and WCTP (94.3 Carbondale), flipping
WCTD to an automated countdown and WCTP to a bizarre mix of personal
ads as "Love Radio."  But if Citadel was thinking of picking up the
80s format on one or both, it was late to the punch, as Entercom
flipped its soft AC simulcast of WSHG (102.3 Pittston) and WWFH (103.1
Freeland) to 80s as "The Buzz" midweek.  WCTD resurfaced Friday as
"New Rock 93-7 X," with WBSX calls said to be on the way, while WCTP
is now simulcasting Citadel's CHR WBHT (97.1 Mountaintop) into the
northern reaches of the Scranton market.  (We believe WEMR-FM on 107.7
in Tunkhannock also continues the WBHT simulcast.)  

A few more quick northern PA notes, as long as we're hanging out south
of the border: WPKK (97.5 St. Mary's) has filed to change calls to
WDDH, which doesn't seem to fit its "Elk" nickname any better than
WPKK did.  Two new FM allocations are coming to the Clarion area,
which needs more radio stations the way Alex Rodriguez needs a few
more dollars on his paycheck.  101.3A is being proposed for
Strattanville, while 106.1A will go to Farmington Township, though
both will serve Clarion and Brookville instead.  And south of Erie,
Keymarket is flipping WMDE (94.3 Saegertown) to WHUZ and WZPR (100.3
Meadville) to WGYY, which is prompting speculation that the former
will go classic rock as "Wuzz" and the latter will be the next country
station to go "Froggy."

Returning to the Empire State, it sounds as though the WPHD translator
in Elmira has moved from 95.1 (as W236AA) to 95.5 (as W238AI).  We'll
check for sure when we drive through next weekend, if we remember to
flip away from the new WEHH-1600.

Up in Albany, Tom Parker is saying goodbye to the Capital Region after
more than a decade in radio there.  Most recently station manager at
WGY (810 Schenectady) and WOFX (980 Troy), Parker is getting a
promotion within Clear Channel, moving to Atlanta to be PD of WGST
(640) and the Georgia News Network.  It's no coincidence that WGY
sister station WRVE (99.5 Schenectady) is losing morning co-host Lisa
Reichwein at the same time; she's Parker's wife, and she's heading to
the Peachtree State as well.  Filling her shoes at the River will be
Randi Tyler, who moves over from mornings at WCPT (100.9 Albany).

Down in the Hudson Valley, Sunrise Broadcasting is trying again to
move its WGNY (1220 Newburgh) to 1200.  The station did move to 1200
for a few years in the 1990s, but was forced back to 1220 when its
most recent Special Temporary Authority expired.  Now Sunrise is
applying for a "new station" in Kingston on 1200, with 2000 watts day
from 2 towers and 400 watts night from 5 towers.  (Actually, NERW
thinks it's possible WGNY might be able to continue its current
operation on 1220 even if the new 1200 is built...)

To nobody's great surprise, Howard Stern is staying with Viacom.  We
almost believe the erstwhile King of All Media when he says he wasn't
sure until Thursday night that Mel Karmazin would renew his contract
-- but we don't believe for one minute that Karmazin would have let
Stern go.  

There's a bit more suspense down the FM dial at 91.5, where the ethnic
program producers who lease time from WNYE are putting up enough of a
fight about the possibility of the station's management being handed
over to WNYC (820/93.9) that the deal just might be dead.  We'll keep
you posted!

Radio People on the Move: Howard Simon added radio to his Empire
Sports Network TV duties this week, when he took over the vacant
morning shift on sister sports-radio outlet WNSA (107.7 Wethersfield
Township.)  Also in Buffalo, Jack Mahl will end his broadcast career
December 29, when the 74 year old retires from his job as a newscaster
at WNED (970).  Mahl started at Niagara Falls' WHLD in 1946, but is
best remembered for his years doing weather on WGR-TV (Channel 2) in
the 1960s.  Tom McDonald moves from Binghamton's WHWK/WAAL to
overnights on WLTB (101.7 Johnson City) down the road.  And Susan
Browning goes full-time as the night jock on Poughkeepsie's WSPK
(104.7) after a few months of part-time work.

*We can't find any sign on the FCC's Web site that the transfer of
WJJR (98.1 Rutland) from Albany Broadcasting to VERMONT's Christian
Ministries was anything but a typo -- but we still believe WJJR
translator W280CS (103.9 Hanover NH, moving to 98.5 as W253AE) is
going from Albany to Christian Ministries, which would use the
translator to replace some of the coverage lost when it sold
full-powered WGLV (104.3 Hartford VT, now WWOD) this year.

Former WNBX (1480 Springfield) proprietor Brian Dodge now faces yet
another charge from police in Springfield: he's accused of violating a
restraining order by asking his minister to contact his wife,
Phyllis.  Dodge is still awaiting trial on charges that he assaulted
his wife earlier this fall.  Meantime, WNBX has returned to the air
full-time under the management of a group of local pastors.

We hear WBTN (1370 Bennington) is back up and running with Christmas
music, with a new full-service format presumably to debut after the

*An incredibly quiet week in MASSACHUSETTS, though we've heard from
several readers reporting that WYDN (Channel 48) in Worcester is once
again putting out something close to full power.  The religious
station has been asserting "must-carry" status, and is now on cable
systems as far afield as the North Shore.

More TV news: WBZ-TV (Channel 4) will bring on its new morning anchor
January 8.  Kerry Connolly will join the CBS O&O from Hartford's CBS
affiliate, WFSB (Channel 3), where she's currently the morning
anchor.  Connolly replaces Suzanne Bates, who leaves News 4 for real
life and the ability to sleep late (we at NERW sympathize!)

*From RHODE ISLAND comes word that Clear Channel is selling WPRI-TV
(Channel 12) to Hicks, Muse-funded Sunrise Television.  Sunrise owns
WNAC (Channel 64), which has been operated by WPRI for the last few
years under an LMA.  Does that mean a duopoly in Providence?  Not
without a waiver, since there are fewer than the "magic" eight
separate TV voices in the Providence market.  Clear Channel keeps its
radio cluster in Rhode Island: WHJJ (920 Providence), WSNE (93.3
Taunton), WHJY (94.1 Providence), and WWBB (101.5 Providence).  

*A death to report in NEW HAMPSHIRE: Rick Larence, aka Anthony Richard
Lacovara, died December 9 at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.  The Long
Island native began his broadcasting career in the 1950s as a producer
for Wolfman Jack.  In the years that followed, he worked as a regional
record company representative and as a DJ in New Hampshire.  He'd been
working at WTSN (1270 Dover) as a sports-talk host and weekend DJ in
recent years.  Larence was 63. 

*Just a few MAINE items to pass along: Clear Channel appears to be buying
WNSX (97.7 Winter Harbor) from Bridge Broadcasting.  WNSX has been
simulcasting Bridge's WMDI (107.7 Bar Harbor) since signing on last
spring.  Bridge owner Scott Hogg keeps WMDI and gets a reported $1.1
million for WNSX.

Down in Portland, things are looking ugly for BroadcastAmerica.com,
which has been streaming the audio of hundreds of radio and TV
stations for the last couple of years.  The Portland Press Herald
reports company officials told employees Friday that there was no
money left to pay them.  Only 40 or so employees were left at
BroadcastAmerica following recent layoffs, and a few of them are
continuing to work without pay.  BroadcastAmerica says it's trying to
work out a deal with a possible partner to bail out the bankrupt

(Of course, the recent rulings on additional licensing fees for
streaming audio might make the whole question moot, if many stations
decide to shut down their streams instead of writing bigger checks to
ASCAP and BMI...)

*It's a short column this time around...which means we have space to
recap our trip to beautiful Indianapolis Thanksgiving week.  Ride
along with us, won't you?

After fighting our way through the snowstorm that paralyzed Buffalo,
we arrived in Fort Wayne Tuesday night to pick up Indiana Radio Watch
colleague Blaine Thompson for the 90-minute ride south to Indy.

First order of business: checking out the city's TV newscasts.  Six
stations have news, but only four newsrooms originate the
programming.  In addition to the full slate of newscasts on WRTV (6,
ABC), WISH (8, CBS), and WTHR (13, NBC), and the 10 PM and morning
shows on Fox affiliate WXIN (59), there are 10 PM shows on UPN
affiliate WNDY-TV (23) and WB affiliate WTTV (4), produced
respectively by WTHR and WRTV.  The rest of the dial: PBS affiliates
WFYI (20) and WTBU (69), religious WHMB (40), and low-power outlets
W53AV and WALV-LP (27), the latter operated by WTHR.

Our tour of the city began with Wednesday morning visits to several of
the big clusters in town.  Clear Channel owns sports WNDE (1260),
classic rock WFBQ (94.7), and modern rock WRZX (103.3), and originates
the syndicated Bob & Tom show from the WFBQ studio.  The whole cluster
is at the WNDE transmitter site on the city's northeast side, and it's
seen a lot of additions since the days when it was solely home to the
1260 transmitter (originally WFBM, one of Indy's oldest stations).

The next stop, just a mile or so away along the I-465 beltway, was the
Susquehanna group.  Top-rated country station WFMS (95.5) simulcasts a
morning show with "hot country" WGRL (93.9 Noblesville, "The Bear"),
and oldies WGLD (104.5) rounds out this trio.  (You can see more
pictures of this cluster in the January 6 issue of Radio World!)

The third cluster on the agenda: MyStar Broadcasting's trio, which
includes CHR WZPL (99.5 Greenfield), AC WTPI (107.9), and adult
standards WMYS (1430).