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NERW 2/12: WXRK Dodges a Fine

------------------------------E-MAIL EDITION-----------------------------
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            February 12, 2001


*NEW YORK: Stern Avoids FCC Fine
*CANADA: Corus Forms Ontario Talk Net

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

*How do you get out of a $6,000 FCC indecency fine?  If you're Howard
Stern's NEW YORK flagship, the answer seems to be "wait five years or

Back in 1997, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against
Infinity's WXRK (92.3) for material Stern broadcast in October 1995,
March 1996 and June 1996.  Two Stern affiliates, WBZU in Richmond and
WEZB in New Orleans, were also fined -- and paid.

Infinity took a different tack, contesting the fine, and it looks like
its patience paid off: last week, the FCC announced that "because a
significant amount of time has elapsed since the broadcasts," the
Commission won't continue pushing for the money.  (We suspect
Infinity's "voluntary contribution" a few years back didn't hurt
matters with the FCC, either.)

So what does it all mean?  Look for more stations to play a similar
waiting game with the Commission where fines are concerned; they have
little to lose and, apparently, much to gain by doing so.

*Other news from around the Empire State this week: the word from
Buffalo is that Rusty Carr is out as program director of Infinity
country giant WYRK (106.5), with John Paul adding those duties to his
role as PD of sister station WBUF (92.9).  Paul was WYRK's music
director a few years back.

Down in Corning, Fox affiliate WYDC (Channel 48) is getting ready to
power up.  The station is now seen primarily on cable, since it runs
just 12 kW from a short stick out to the west of Corning.  It's
applied to increase to 163 kW from 229 meters above average terrain,
on the tower farm just west of downtown Corning (and easily visible
from I-86 as you drive through town).  The new facility would use a
directional antenna; we suspect the translators in Bath and Elmira
will stay on the air.

BanJo's purchase of four stations northeast of Binghamton has brought
about some format changes, it seems.  M Street reports that the
simulcast of Walton's WDLA (1270) and WDLA-FM (92.1) has ended.  WDLA
is now running ABC's satellite standards format, while WDLA-FM sticks
with country.  The other two stations in the group, WIYN (94.7
Deposit) and WDHI (100.3 Delhi) are also simulcasting now, with both
using ABC's AC service.

You can't please everybody all the time: that's the lesson New York's
WFUV (90.7) is learning this week.  The Fordham University public
radio outlet gave fans of freeform radio a little present by offering
Vin Scelsa and "Idiot's Delight" a new home on the dial.  Big Apple
polka fans, though, aren't so pleased, because Scelsa's Saturday night
slot is the same one held for decades by Bill Shibilski's Polka Party.

Shibilski's show has been on WFUV since 1964, and his fans say the
polka audience helped pay for the station's power increase and
conversion to stereo in the seventies.  Also ousted from WFUV as part
of its Saturday overhaul were German-language and swing-music shows.

Shibilski is trying to organize his fans on the Internet to put
pressure on WFUV to bring his show back to the airwaves.

And while your NERW editors head out to Long Island to check out the
towers (which is why this issue is a little shorter and a little
earlier than usual), there's word of a settlement in the nine-year
fight for one of the Island's last FM allocations.  There were five
applicants for 92.9 in Southampton; now Connecticut Public
Broadcasting, Sabbath Inc. and the East Hampton Broadcasting
Corp. have all dropped out.  

*Our next stop this week is CANADA, where change just keeps coming to
Ontario's radio dial.  Friday night marked the debut of CFXJ (93.5
Toronto) as "Flow 93.5," the city's first commercial station aimed at
the black community.  With Michelle Price as program director and new
studios on Yonge Street across from the Eaton Centre, the station says
it will have full programming ready to go on March 5.  

Meanwhile, Corus is launching a new province-wide talk format,
starting in Hamilton (CHML 900) and London (CFPL 980) on Monday, then
rolling out to Guelph (CJOY 1460), Oshawa (CKDO 1350), Peterborough
(CKRU 980) and Kingston (CFFX 960) later in the month.  The idea,
apparently, is to give all the stations a chance to share talents like
CHML's Roy Green (weekdays at 9) and CFPL's Wayne McLean (weekdays at
12:30 PM), while allowing them to opt out for local programming.
Notably missing from the list of stations, thus adding fuel to the
rumors of a format change: Toronto's "Talk 640" (CFYI).  

Enough changes for a week?  Nope...we also hear that Corus is about to
ditch the AAA music on Toronto rimshotter CKGE (94.9 Oshawa, aka
"Magic @ 94.9") to make the station the fourth link in its "Energy"
dance format, which already surrounds Toronto on Burlington's CING
(107.9) and Barrie's CHAY (93.1), not to mention CFHK (103.1
St. Thomas) out in London.

*We didn't believe it at first when we heard about the newest format
in CONNECTICUT (though, given the source, we should have), but it's
true: Buckley's four-station AM network is now going by "The Best of
Everything."  WDRC (1360 Hartford), WMMW (1470 Meriden), WWCO (1240
Waterbury) and WSNG (610 Torrington) aren't exactly segueing from
Percy Faith to Iron Maiden, but they are adding newer artists to their
adult-standards playlists.  

Let the LPFM fights begin: there's been an informal objection filed to
the Broadcasters Club's application for 103.5 in Farmington.  We don't
know yet if it's from one of the third-adjacent locals (WDRC-FM 102.9
and WMRQ 104.1), or from another source, but we don't believe that
103.5 channel will work under the new LPFM plan anyway.

*Some good news from RHODE ISLAND for WJAR (Channel 10) anchor Doug
White: he's returned from undergoing back surgery last November,
though only to the 6 PM show so far.  (Gene Valicenti is still filling
in at 11.)

*Rutland, VERMONT's "Cat Country" is getting a power boost.  WJEN
(94.5), the Rutland half of the simulcast with WJAN (95.1 Sunderland),
has been granted a move from the old WHWB (970/1000) tower in West
Rutland to Grandpa's Knob a few miles away (home of Vermont Public
Radio's WRVT 88.7 and Vermont Public TV's WVER Channel 28).  With the
site move comes a big height increase, from 3000 watts at 73 meters
below average terrain to 140 watts at 399 meters above.

*From NEW HAMPSHIRE comes word that Rick Bean has been promoted to
market manager for Clear Channel's Portsmouth cluster.  Bean's been
with WHEB (100.3 Portsmouth) for a quarter century; now he gets to run
WHEB as well as WERZ (107.1 Exeter), WQSO (96.7 Rochester), WUBB (95.3
York Center ME), WGIN (930 Rochester), WGIP (1540 Exeter) and WMYF
(1380 Portsmouth).

A clarification on last week's mention of the changes at WKXL (1450
Concord/107.7 Hillsborough): station manager Dick Osborne isn't
hosting the daily noon news hour, though he stays on the air with arts
features and weekly editorials.  His "Coffee Chat" daily interview
show was among the local programs cut by station owner Vox in favor of
satellite programming.

*Just one little MAINE note this week: Clear Channel's WBYA (101.7
Searsport) brought Indiana's own Bob and Tom to the Bangor market this
month, adding their morning show to the rock station's format starting
February 1.  (Thanks to our colleague Blaine Thompson of Indiana Radio
Watch for pointing that one out to us!)

*And would you believe that the only bit of news we have to offer from
MASSACHUSETTS is a reunion being planned for alumni of the old Grahm
Junior College?  Grahm has been closed since 1977, but in its day the
Boston school turned out a lot of media people -- and if you're one of
them, Joanne Peterson (Grahm '73) wants to hear from you at

*We'll be back in just over a week (sometime late Monday 2/19) with
another week's developments.  While your editor will be away from
e-mail for most of the trip, the fybush.com Classifieds section will
remain open -- so check it out for the latest job openings, items for
sale, and find out how to get your first week FREE when you place an

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

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