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NERW 2/5: River Flows to New Home

------------------------------E-MAIL EDITION-----------------------------
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            February 5, 2001


*NEW YORK: More WBAI Fallout
*CANADA: "Joy," Milestone Launch in Toronto

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

*Radio listeners in western MASSACHUSETTS woke up to some changes on
Thursday (Feb. 1), at least if they were fans of the adult album
alternative sounds of WRSI or the country music on WPVQ.  

We told you a few weeks ago that Vox's purchase of WPVQ from Cardwell
Broadcasting would mean the move of WPVQ's country from the Turners
Falls 93.9 signal to WRSI's Greenfield-licensed 95.3, with WRSI's
"River" format drifting downstream to 93.9 and its translators, W246AM
(97.1) in Amherst and W287AK (105.3) in South Hadley.  And indeed, the
switch happened right on schedule at midnight, accompanied by days of
reminders on both stations (though, oddly, very little on either
station's Web site.)

But as country listeners move over to 95.3 (now known as "The Bear"),
River fans have still one more frequency to check for their station.
In addition to the former WPVQ outlets, Vox also put the River on what
had been WSSH (101.5 Marlboro VT), part of a three-station simulcast
of soft AC (along with WZSH Bellows Falls and WWSH White River
Junction) as "Wish."  

The new calls on 101.5 are WRSY (the other two stations continue with
Wish), returning the AAA format to an area WRSI used to serve when it
was simulcast on still another frequency, the 100.7 in Wilmington,
Vermont known as WVAY, then WMTT, and now WVAY again.  (That station
has been simulcasting Vox classic rocker WEXP Brandon-Rutland for the
last few months.)

If Vox's moves aren't enough, here's one more in the Pioneer Valley:
Saga, which is buying Greenfield's WHAI/WHAI-FM from the Haigis
family, has filed to change the calls of WHAI(AM) (1240) to WHMQ.  A
few weeks ago, we predicted that the AM station would become a
simulcast of Saga's WHMP (1400 Northampton)...looks like we were
right.  (With the other WHMP simulcast, WHNP 1600 East Longmeadow, the
WHMP signal now reaches pretty much the entire Pioneer Valley.)

*Meanwhile in Boston, WILD (1090) is facing some unwanted attention
after the dismissal of a reporter who aggressively questioned Mayor
Thomas Menino during a January interview.

Bernardine Nash, WILD's former owner (and now station manager since
the station's sale to Radio One), tells the Globe that Rose Arruda
acted more as an activist than a journalist when she asked Menino
about stalled contract talks with city firefighters and other issues.

Menino tells the Globe he asked his press secretary after the
interview to make sure there were no repercussions over Arruda's

(The paper speculates that Nash dismissed Arruda in part to
"curry favor for a possible antenna in Boston," confusing WILD, whose
tower is in Medford, with its FM sister WBOT Brockton, which can't
move north to Boston anyway because of stations in Winchendon and
Dover, N.H.)

Easy come, easy go: Boston's newest independent TV station, WHUB-TV
(Channel 66 Marlborough), quietly ended its run on Wednesday after
less than half a year with the format.  The station is back to the
Home Shopping Network fare it used to run (as WHSH), while it awaits
the sale of parent USA Broadcasting to Univision, expected in the next
few months.  Looking for WHUB-TV's local sports (like the upcoming
Beanpot hockey tournament?) You'll find many of them on AT&T Cable's
channel 3.

Radio People On The Move: John "Hutch" Hutchinson is leaving his
afternoon slot at Plymouth's WPLM-FM (99.1) to return to Boston -- and
to start a new career as an account executive at Greater Media's WROR
(105.7 Framingham).  Hutch's distinctive accent will still be heard on
the weekends on WROR and on his old home, WBOS (92.9 Brookline).
Remember Rico Petrocelli and Stu Taylor from their "Home Team" morning
show a few years back on WBPS (890 Dedham)?  They're back -- on the
same towers, even -- doing the "Home Team" on weekends on WBIX (1060

*A strange story from NEW YORK's Capital Region just got a lot
stranger.  We've been telling you about the return of WPYX (106.5
Albany)'s Bob Wolf after his breakup with co-host John Mulrooney,
ending Clear Channel's attempt to keep the show on the air in both
Cleveland (where Wolf and Mulrooney moved last year) and Albany.

Now Mulrooney's facing harassment charges brought by Wolf (whose real
name is Robert Wohlfeld), which culminated in Mulrooney's arrest a
week ago when he returned to Albany for a visit.

Wolf says Mulrooney threatened him by phone over money Wolf owed from
a loan last year, leading him to file the harassment complaint, saying
he feared for his family's safety.  Police in the Albany suburb of
Colonie arrested Mulrooney, 42, at a gun shop.  

Mulrooney was released on his own recognizance and was back on the air
this week at Cleveland's WMMS, albeit without another former member of
the "Wolf and Mulrooney Show."  Newscaster Ellen Z. (Thaler) followed
Wolf back to Albany to rejoin him at WPYX, along with another of
Wolf's former colleagues.

John Tobin, who worked with Wolf at Poughkeepsie's WPDH (101.5) in the
mid-nineties, left WPDH last week to join Wolf on the "Wakin' Up with
the Wolf" show, in turn leaving the "Tobin and Cooper" morning show on
WPDH with just one host.  

*Is there something in the air this week?  It almost seems nobody's getting
along with anyone in radio...least of all in New York City at
Pacifica's WBAI (99.5).  Wednesday morning, "Democracy Now!" co-host
Juan Gonzalez became the latest host to make an acrimonious departure
from the Pacifica airwaves.

Gonzalez began the show by reading a statement attacking the Pacifica
board of directors for its December dismissals of several WBAI
managers, finishing with an announcement that he's joining the
listener campaign to oust the board by cutting off donations to
Pacifica stations, instead funneling the money to legal campaigns
against the board.

The listener Web sites are already speculating that Gonzalez's
co-host, Amy Goodman, will be the next to leave the embattled
network.    We'll keep an eye on the situation, while noting that
whatever else might be said about Pacifica, it's actually allowed
Gonzalez's statement to be replayed on at least one of its own
stations (KPFA Berkeley, on Sunday's "Salon" show) -- and can you
imagine any other station owner allowing something like that?

New York listeners might not have Juan Gonzalez anymore, but they're
getting a taste of one of Rochester's top-rated morning hosts, thanks
to a bit of Infinity corporate synergy.  "Brother Wease," whose
gravelly voice was waking up WCMF (96.5 Rochester) listeners when
Howard Stern was still a nobody in Connecticut, is now being heard on
WNEW (102.7 New York) via a Saturday "best-of" show.  Will Wease (aka
Alan Levin) make sense in the Big Apple, or is he one of those local
tastes that just can't be exported (like white hots, for instance)?
We suspect the latter...but offer Wease our best wishes anyway.

Heading out to Long Island (which we're doing in a week or so; read
on...), Charlie Lombardo moves from music director at WALK-FM (97.5
Patchogue) to PD at WMJC (94.3 Smithtown), heading up the new
80s-based hot AC format there.  

Returning upstate, we note that Albany NBC affiliate WNYT (Channel 13)
has been granted a change in its DTV dial position.  WNYT was
originally supposed to go to digital channel 15, using its current
transmitter site on Bald Mountain.  Instead, it will move to channel
12 -- and move to the other side of Albany, joining the rest of the
market's TV stations in the Helderberg Mountain antenna farm (and thus
making it possible for Albany DTV viewers, once there are such things,
to leave their antennas pointed in one direction instead of having to
swing them around to switch to WNYT-DT.)

Albany CHR WFLY (92.3 Troy) is getting a new night jock; J.B. Wild
comes up from Long Island and "Party 105" (WXXP 105.3
Calverton-Roanoke) starting Monday.

The FCC has apparently deleted the license and calls of Glens Falls'
WNCE-LP (Channel 8); we remember seeing this little LPTV doing a lot
of local programming just a few years ago.

The FCC has also made the call change of Auburn's WHCD (106.9) to WPHR
official; the former WPHR(FM), a construction permit in the Ashtabula,
Ohio market, becomes WCUZ (calls which spent decades in Grand Rapids,
Michigan).  We heard the WPHR calls in use on "Power 106.9" back in
October when we drove through.

Last year's fad format was "Jammin' Oldies." This year it's 80s pop,
and it was no great surprise to discover that one of Rochester's most
inconsequential stations made a weekend format flip from the one to
the other. Clear Channel's WLCL (107.3 South Bristol) dropped its
"Cool 107" identity to become "Channel 107.3" -- the second all-80s
station in Rochester, following on the heels of last fall's switch at
Entercom's 98.9, now WBZA "the Buzz," which has a far superior class B
signal and will soon have jocks and a morning show and all the
things that used to be considered more than optional for a radio station.

Two questions come to mind: first, will this incarnation of WLCL be
any less of an identity-free jukebox than the Jammin' Oldies version (which
never did anything substantive by way of local jocks or promotion, and
second, will Clear Channel ever build out the CPs that will move 107.3
from its short tower south of town in Bloomfield to the much taller
Bristol Mountain, way out of town, while at the same time moving WNVE
("the Nerve") from Bristol to Baker Hill in Perinton. (And is it legal
for WLCL to be using South Bristol as its community of license when it
barely pumps any signal over the hill into that small town from its
current site?) 

Oh yeah, a third question comes to mind: does anybody, anywhere,
really need to be able to hear A Flock of Seagulls on two stations in
one market?  

Meanwhile here in Rochester, a longtime morning voice has returned to
the market for good -- sort of.  A few weeks ago we mentioned having heard
Bill Coffey making a guest appearance on his old station, country
WBEE-FM (92.5).  It turns out WBEE's management was testing listener
reaction to the idea of a Coffey comeback, because his return became
permanent last week...except for one thing: instead of moving back to
Rochester from the Philadelphia suburbs, Coffey will stay there with
his family and do the show via ISDN, with co-host Terry Clifford
holding down the fort at the WBEE-FM studios.  

Congratulations to NERW's friends at noncomm WGMC (90.1 Greece), who
won FCC approval this week for a major signal upgrade.  Currently
running 2050 watts nondirectional, the jazz station now holds a CP to
boost power to 15 kilowatts -- albeit with a directional antenna that
will throw just 975 watts in the direction of NERW Central in the
southeast suburbs of Rochester.  The good news is that WGMC will also
get to raise its tower at Greece Athena High School, up to 55 meters
above average terrain from the current antenna at about a third the

Rimshot alert: The 107.7 signal that's licensed to Wethersfield
Township, Wyoming County, last promoted itself heavily to Rochester
listeners almost 20 years ago, when they were doing freeform rock as
WUWU.  Five callsigns and six formats later, NERW spotted a 107.7
billboard in Rochester's South Wedge neighborhood this week, promoting
the new sports format (as WNSA) -- and particularly afternoon host
Mike Schopp, who's from Rochester and was last heard here on WHTK
(1280).  With WNSA's massive mono signal, it's always attracted at
least some Rochester audience, so it's nice to see the station aiming
here as well as at Buffalo.  (We suppose it also doesn't hurt that
WNSA is co-owned with the Empire Sports cable network, which actively
courts Rochester advertisers, or that there's no real all-sports
competition here, as there is in Buffalo with WGR.)

*Back to New England for a few minutes: in MAINE, J.J. Jeffrey has
made the format change on his WLOB stations (WLOB 1310 Portland and
WLOB-FM 96.3 Rumford), dropping the religious programming that ran in
the stations' Carter Broadcasting days in favor of news, talk, and
classic jingles as "Newstalk WLOB."  

Meanwhile, the erstwhile third wheel of the WLOB simulcast, WLLB (790
Rumford), is now simulcasting with WTME (1240 Lewiston) and WKTQ (1450
South Paris) under its new Gleason Group ownership.

And way, way, way Down East, our loyal listener Rod O'Connor checks in
to report a format change at WQDY (1230/92.7 Calais) and WALZ (95.3
Machias), which replace their mix of AC and country with classic hits
as "Classic Hits 92.7, 95.3."  

*Backtracking to NEW HAMPSHIRE, Monday is bringing some big changes at
Concord's WKXL (1450 Concord/107.7 Hillsborough).  The Vox-owned
station is dropping much of its local programming during the day,
including the long-running "Party Line" and "Coffee Chat" call-in
shows.  In their place will be Mike Gallagher's syndicated show from 9
till noon, an hour of local news at noon with former WKXL owner Dick
Osborne, and WRKO's Howie Carr from 3 to 5 (following the Dolans, who
remain on WKXL from 1 till 3 PM).  

The station is also moving its "Swap Shop" show to Saturday mornings
and discontinuing live broadcasts of Concord City Council and school
board meetings.  Party Line host Bob Lipman will stay with WKXL to
host the morning news from 5:30 until 9 on weekdays.

Up the road a bit in Laconia, WLNH (98.3) has been granted a big power
increase: the station will go from a class A operation to a C3,
cranking up from 3800 watts to 15.5 kW, albeit with a directional
antenna to protect co-channel WHAI-FM in Greenfield and first-adjacent
WJJR (98.1 Rutland VT).

*Over in VERMONT, we've already noted the call and format change at
101.5 in the Brattleboro market; across town at WKVT-FM (92.7
Brattleboro), there's a change of a lesser degree as Remy Bennett
leaves the "Rick and Remy" morning show to seek employment outside the
business.  Co-host and PD Rick West is now looking for a replacement;
weekender Chris James is filling in for the moment.

We now know how much Clear Channel is paying for Conn River's WMXR
(93.9 Woodstock) and WCFR-FM (93.5 Springfield): mark down $2 million
as the price for the "Bob Country" pair.

*A callsign that spent a brief, unremarkable time in RHODE ISLAND is
finding greater glory in Florida this week.  WDYZ was the call that
went on West Warwick's 1450 (it'll always be WKRI to us) when it first
went Radio Disney a few years back.  The call was retired last year in
favor of WHRC (as in the Disney film "HeRCules"), and we suspected
Disney wanted the WDYZ call for a bigger Radio Disney market.  Sure
enough, it's landed in the Disneyest market of them all, as ABC
purchased WHOO (990 Orlando) and flipped it last week to Radio Disney

As long as we're at it, we'll note that the WKRI calls found a new
home this week, too, at the station in Mount Carmel, Illinois that
used to be WTRI (which, in turn, was a TV call in Albany years ago,
but we digress, don't we?)

One quick RI correction: it's Tom St. John, not "Tina," at
Providence's WWBB.  Oops!

*Only one little CONNECTICUT note this week: the FCC granted a license
to cover to nasty little translator W203BB, which has no business
being on 88.5 in Norwalk, halfway between WVOF Fairfield and WEDW
Stamford on the same crowded channel.  But we let loose on translator
clutter in our year-end Rant last month, didn't we, now?

*To CANADA we go next, and just in time for the debut of a new Toronto
format.  Monday morning at 6 is the scheduled debut of "Joy 1250"
(CJYE Oakville), the market's very first full-time religious station.
CJYE, of course, replaces CHWO on that frequency now that CHWO has
made the move to the big 740 Toronto signal and had a month to
simulcast on both frequencies.

Much of the Christian contemporary format that's moving to CJYE is
coming from sister station CJMR (1320 Mississauga), which now goes
all-Chinese.  And speaking of foreign-language radio, check out the
CRTC report at
<http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/Notices/2001/PB2001-10e.htm> if you
don't believe there are some incredible differences in the way Canada
and the US regulate radio programming.

More new programming is coming to Toronto soon: we hear tests have
begun on CFXJ (93.5), the new urban-formatted "Milestone Radio," which
means the market's first station aimed at the black community should
be on the air for real within a few weeks.

An interesting regionalism: we're told that another newish Toronto
format, the CHR on CIDC (103.5 Orangeville), is calling itself not
"Zed" 103.5 but "Zee" 103.5, which doesn't sound very Canadian, does

The University of Toronto's CIUT (89.5) won a short-term licence
renewal from the CRTC this week.  Instead of the usual six-year term,
CIUT will be up for renewal in 2003, thanks in part to its failure to
keep proper logger tapes when the CRTC came calling for them two years

Across Lake Ontario, the tourist-information station in the pretty
little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is getting a power boost.  CHQI
(90.7) already gets out surprisingly well with one watt; soon it will
be running 51 watts and reaching down as far as the Niagara Falls
bridges to lure tourists north for the Shaw Festival and the other
attractions there.

On the TV side of things, this is the last week you'll see CHCH
(Channel 11) in Hamilton identifying as "OnTV."  The station's sale
from WIC to CanWestGlobal will bring with it a new identity on
February 12, as the station returns to using its call letters (sort
of).  It will be known as "CH," with the letters appearing above the
Global "swoosh" logo.  (CHCH is seen on cable across the province, and
has relay transmitters in London and Ottawa.)

Three quick notes from Quebec: CKIA (96.1 Quebec City) has been
granted its move to 88.3 and its power upgrade from 6.8 watts to 350
watts.  The station will also be allowed to increase its weekly
airtime (what did we say about the difference in regulation up there?)
from 96 hours to 110 hours each week.  Over in Riviere-du-Loup, both
CJFP (103.7) and CIBM (107.1) have been granted relay transmitters in
the town of Sully.  CJFP's will be on 93.5 with 18.2 watts, while
CIBM's will be on 96.7 with 14.2 watts.  And we've been lax in failing
to mention that CFLP (1000 Rimouski) left the AM dial for good on New
Year's Day, moving to 102.9 FM.  Rimouski's other AM, CJBR (900), also
had an application in to move to FM -- but we can't recall if it's
already moved to 89.1 yet or not.  Anyone up that way who can help?
(Hey, if NERW can get e-mail from Timmins, Ontario, we can get e-mail
from Rimouski, too!)

*The Frog has landed -- again -- in PENNSYLVANIA.  The latest market
to get a Keymarket country "Froggy" outlet is Meadville, just south of
Erie, where WZPR (100.3) gave it away a few weeks back with a call
change to WGYY.  We wonder how this will play with Erie's own Frog,
oldies WFGO (94.7)?  

Speaking of Erie, the FCC has flagged the transfer of WJET (102.3)
from NextMedia to Regent, which is a bit ironic considering that
NextMedia has to get rid of WJET to stay under the very
market-concentration limits that the FCC is flagging for Regent.
We're hearing rumors that NextMedia is keeping the WJET calls, and we
like the one that suggests that the calls will land on the new 93.9 in
Fairview.  (No, Clarke, it won't be WFVW-FM...sorry!)

Just across the state line in Warren, Ohio, Salem changes the calls of
WRBP (1440) to WHKW, matching its WHK-FM over in Canton and WHK(AM) in

Down in Pittsburgh, Sheridan Broadcasting is paying Mortenson
Broadcasting $625,000 for little suburban WPGR (1510 Monroeville).
It'll join WAMO, WAMO-FM and WSSZ in the Sheridan/Pittsburgh family.

Up in St. Mary's, Cam Communications is selling WDDH (97.5) to Laurel

In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- well, officially in Hazleton -- Fox
affiliate WOLF-TV (Channel 56) gets a change in its DTV dial
position.  When WOLF-DT launches, it'll be on channel 45 instead of on
channel 9, thereby sparing LPTV W09BL from having to move.

*Over on the NEW JERSEY coast, there's a new PD at modern rock
"G106.3" (WHTG-FM Eatontown).  Darrin Smith comes to the station after
stints at Long Island's WDRE and the old modern rock incarnation of
the Y107 simulcast.  G106.3 is also swapping two jock shifts: we hear
Michelle Amabile heads to middays while Stacy X goes to mornings.

*And that's it for another week!  Don't forget to check out the new
NERW Classifieds, with even more new job listings for you -- and if
you place an ad for at least two weeks, you'll get the first week
FREE.  Whether you're trying to sell an old cart machine, looking for
a new morning co-host, or just seeking airchecks of WRKO-FM from 1967,
try our classifieds and see how NERW's readers can help, won't you?

We're hitting the road next week for some business in Philadelphia and
then some heavy-duty tower-hunting on the Jersey Shore, Long Island,
southern Connecticut and the Hudson Valley.  If you're in those areas
and you'd like to meet up with us, drop us a line.  If you're not,
keep an eye on Tower Site of the Week in a few weeks to see what we
find out there.  And in the meantime, note that NERW's February 12
issue will hit the Web sometime Friday night (Feb. 9), while the
February 19 issue won't appear until sometime that Monday afternoon.
We'll see you in just a few days!

-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
                       (c)2001 Scott Fybush

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