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NorthEast Radio Watch 2/26: WBUF Rocks Again...

------------------------------E-MAIL EDITION-----------------------------
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            February 26, 2001


*NEW YORK: WBUF Rocks Again
*MASSACHUSETTS: WUMB, WAVM Get Along; WBUR, Lydon Still Don't
*CANADA: Still More New Maritimes FM

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

*It's gone from AC to smooth jazz to modern AC to rhythmic oldies --
and now Buffalo's WBUF (92.9) has come full circle to the rock format
they last had more than twenty years ago.

The Infinity-owned station abruptly killed off its "Dancin' Oldies"
format and "B92.9" nickname on Thursday, slipping into a day of
stunting with Queen's "We Will Rock You" and taunts against Citadel's
"97 Rock" (WGRF 96.9) before relaunching Friday (2/23) at noon with
Genesis' "Abacab" (not, as the Buffalo News had it, "Turn It On

The new "Rock 92" brings Howard Stern back to the Buffalo airwaves
half a decade after his less-than-successful stint on WWKB (1520),
filling the rest of the day with a mix of rock tunes that seems, thus
far, to lean rather heavily towards the 80s.  (Buffalo listeners have
had access to Stern for the last year and a half through Toronto's
CILQ, Q107, for whatever that's worth...)

The changes at WBUF give some competition to Citadel's rock cluster of
WGRF and modern WEDG (103.3) for the first time in years; it was
probably inevitable that some kind of change would come to 92.9 after
a Fall book that landed it at the bottom of the Buffalo FM barrel,
behind even little WECK 1230 in the 12+ numbers.

*Next stop in NEW YORK?  Binghamton, where the FCC approved Clear
Channel's purchase of WINR (680) from dentist Paul Titus this week,
over the strenuous objections of commissioner Gloria Tristani.  

By adding WINR to its existing cluster (sports WENE 1430 Endicott,
rock WKGB 92.5 Susquehanna PA, AC WMXW 103.3 Vestal, CHR WMRV 105.7
Endicott and country WBBI 107.5 Endwell), Clear Channel brings the
combined Binghamton market share of its stations and those of rival
Citadel to a whopping 91.2 percent, reducing Binghamton to a duopoly
in Tristani's view. 

By not considering whether or not the market can support three
competitors and whether there were other potential buyers for WINR,
Tristani writes, "we may never know if the cementing of a duopoly in
Binghamton was inevitable, or simply another case of regulatory
malfeasance by the FCC.

While WINR today is far from a major player in the market (it's been
decades since the station's days as an important top-40 outlet), NERW
thinks it will be interesting to see how Clear Channel rebuilds the
station to take on Citadel's dominance of the AM dial in Binghamton.

(Those paying close attention to Binghamton in the last year or two
will recall that it was originally Citadel that planned to acquire
WINR, moving its news-talk WNBF from 1290 down to the superior 680
signal, then moving standards WKOP from 1360 to 1290 and leaving Titus
with 1360, the weakest AM in town.  Now WNBF faces the likelihood of a
competing news-talker on 680, drawing resources from Clear Channel's
Premiere talk lineup and its upstate network of radio newsrooms.  This
should be interesting!)

Up north, M Street confirms our suspicions about Tim Martz' plans for
WYSI (96.1 Norwood); when the new station hits the air soon, it'll do
satellite-fed AC as "Yes FM," complementing WYSX (98.7 Ogdensburg) and
WYUL (94.7 Chateaugay) in the Martz cluster.

Albany's dial this week found one definite change -- the addition of
Albany Broadcasting head honcho John Kelly to the advisor roster at
Siena College's WVCR (88.3 Loudonville) -- and a few interesting
rumors.  We'll start with the WVCR move, which doesn't sound like a
big deal until you consider that Kelly's co-advisor at WVCR is Buzz
Brindle, PD at the rival Regent cluster.  Some in the Albany market
perceived WVCR's format change to hip-hop under Brindle's watch as a
slap at Kelly's Albany group, which was just days from introducing an
identical format on its WAJZ (96.3 Voorheesville), though Brindle has
maintained all along that the move was prompted by the students at
Siena.  Will there be more changes at WVCR's powerful signal now?
Stay tuned...

As for those rumors: WCPT (100.9 Albany) has been playing one of those
"The Point is Dead" stunts all weekend, but it sounds to us more like
the run-up to a new contest than a format change at the modern AC.
Then there's the possibility, floated by Times Union columnist Mark
McGwire, that Roy Moon (aka "Bob Mason" of Mason and Sheehan, late of
WPYX and WXCR) could be coming back to Albany from the New Hampshire
seacoast and "The Shark" (WSHK 105.3 Kittery ME/WSAK 102.1 Hampton
NH).  We, too, have been hearing rumors that Moon will land at "Sun
Country" WVKZ 1240 Schenectady, so we're putting this report in the
"credible" pile -- though with a demerit to the usually impeccable
McGwire for bungling the calls for "the Shark" (somehow its old WXBB
calls came out as "WXXB"!)

Over in Kingston, WBPM (94.3) has been granted a doubling in power,
moving from 1.1 kilowatts to 2.2 kW (the equivalent, adjusted for
height, of a change from a 3 kW A to a 6 kW A.)

It looks like there's a new translator in Westchester: the WMNR folks
from Connecticut get a license to cover for W205BM, their 88.9
translator in Mount Kisco.

Out there on Long Island, we're awfully glad we taped WLIM (1580
Patchogue) as a local standards outlet, because that's apparently
about to change.  The station is being sold to Polnet, the
Chicago-based folks who run a Polish-language format on Rockland
County's WRKL (910 New City) and Chicagoland's WNVR, and that probably
means Polish programming is en route to Suffolk County, too.  

Radio People on the Move: Rick Martini leaves the Island's oldies WBZO
(103.1 Bay Shore) to take the PD chair in Denver at KOSI (101.1);
those with really long memories (well, OK, me...) will remember
Martini as "Rocky Martini" spinning the hits at Rochester's WPXY in
the eighties.  Meantime, Stefan Rybak, late the PD at standards WLUX
(540 Islip), moves east to become general sales manager at WRCN (103.9
Riverhead) and WLVG (96.1 Center Moriches).

*To MASSACHUSETTS we go next, and an update on the cooperation between
UMass/Boston's WUMB (91.9) and Maynard High School's WAVM (91.7).
You'll recall that last year, the two noncomms squared off over
mutually-exclusive applications for a WAVM power increase and a new
WUMB relay in the western exurbs.  The tale had a happy ending when
UMass and Maynard agreed to share time on 91.7, and while they're
still waiting for the FCC's blessing on that arrangement (there's at
least one competing religious applicant for the frequency), the two
schools are finding other ways to cooperate in the meantime.

WUMB general manager Pat Monteith checked in over the weekend to let
us know that two of WAVM's student staffers spent part of their school
vacation last week learning at WUMB.

"They learned how satellite and automation systems work, how the music
data base is programmed, announcing basics, an overview of the
membership system, promotions and they got to actively participate in
the production planning meeting for the station's upcoming Spring
fundraiser," Monteith tells us.

The students even got to design a flyer for an upcoming WUMB bluegrass
concert and worked on several on-air promos for the event.  (Monteith
notes, regretfully, "I'm not sure they learned to have any deeper an
appreciation for folk music...")

This will be an ongoing partnership, with other WAVM students working
at WUMB during upcoming school vacations and over the summer.  How's
that for some good news from the world of noncommercial radio?

(One more bit of useful information from WUMB-land: the calls for the
new Newburyport 91.7 construction permit, WNEF, stand for "We're New
England's Folk."  Now you know.)

Across town, the feud between WBUR-FM (90.9) management and
"Connection" host Christopher Lydon continues unabated.  The latest
salvo in the war of words came Friday in a statement Lydon gave to the
industry trade paper "Current," in which he said, "...senior producer
Mary McGrath and I have known all along that we were not picking [WBUR
GM] Jane Christo's cotton.  It's our cotton, we bring it into the
building, and we weave it ourselves."

WBUR's response?  According to "Current": "We reviewed Chris'
statement, and he is a terrific writer and communicator."  Lydon
remains on suspension with pay all this week, with Bob Oakes filling
in and no resolution to the dispute in sight.

[LATE UPDATE: The dispute ended, for good apparently, on Friday, when
WBUR and Lydon parted ways.  Full story Monday at fybush.com; in the
meantime, check out Lydon's new site at
<http://www.christopherlydon.com> for his side of the fight!]

While we're in the Bay State, we noted an interesting article in this
past week's Broadcasting and Cable about the station that serves
Springfield with CBS programming.  It seems Hartford, CONNECTICUT's
WFSB (Channel 3) is now providing Springfield-area cable systems with
a customized microwave feed, replacing "Connecticut's News Station"
promos with "Springfield's CBS station."  The station will soon begin
selling separate ad packages to Springfield clients, and hopes in time
to begin regionalizing news for Springfield as well.  

It's an interesting challenge to Springfield's own TV outlets, NBC
affiliate WWLP (Channel 22) and ABC affiliate WGGB (Channel 40), and
their response will be an interesting one to watch.

[We hate to pick on the folks at Broadcasting, but we can't help but
note all the little goofs that infected their story: WFSB was twice
rendered as "WSFB," WWLP at least once as "WLLP" -- and then there's
the belated Andy Moes obit that somehow placed his early career at
modern-day "WROR-FM Framingham" instead of the old WROR Boston and the
Bob Williams obit that turned Worcester's WFTQ, Long Island's WHLI and
Buffalo's WECK into FM stations.  Ah well...]

Elsewhere in the Nutmeg State, hearty congratulations to WTNH (Channel
8) morning anchor Ana Sava; she and husband Ken Namnoum are the proud
parents this week of little Elise Sophia.  And we can answer a "where
are they now" question about former WZMX (93.7 Hartford) morning guy
Sebastian: he popped up on overnights at New York's WFAN (660) last
week for a tryout; he'll get another shot at the job March 3.

*NEW HAMPSHIRE is next on NERW's agenda, and have we ever been hearing
a lot about that religious pirate on 88.7 somewhere around
Londonderry!  It's been on the air just about every night, we're told,
with nary an ID to be heard.  The end could be in sight, though: one
NERW reader checked in to report that the pirate's second harmonic, at
177.4 MHz, was wreaking havoc with his reception of WHDH-TV, whose
channel 7 occupies 174-180 MHz.  WHDH has been alerted to the problem,
and that's the sort of complaint that tends to send the Enforcement
Bureau running.  

"Green Mountain Broadcasting" has been granted a new station on 90.5
in Lebanon.  M Street reports the new facility will run 7 watts from
695 feet AAT.

*The big news in MAINE is a new simulcast in the Bangor area.  WNSX
(97.7 Winter Harbor) dropped its relay of former sister station WMDI
(107.7 Bar Harbor) this week to join its new Clear Channel sister
station in Searsport with classic rock as "The Fox at 97.7 and 101.7."
The Searsport station gets new calls, too, changing from WBYA to

Over in Rumford, we hear high winds knocked the studio-transmitter
link from Portland to WLOB-FM (96.3) out of commission, taking the
talk station's big signal off the air for a week or so.  Word is that
96.3 will rejoin WLOB (1310 Portland) on the airwaves sometime in the
next few days.

*A few tidbits from across PENNSYLVANIA: Pittsburgh's own Clarke
Ingram checked in with a format shift at the station he programs in
the Steel City.  Don't call "The Beat" (WJJJ 104.7) "Jammin' Oldies"
anymore; the new phrase is "Jammin' Hits," with an added emphasis on
more recent rhythmic tunes.

In the hills of Mifflin County, WIEZ (670 Lewistown), WMRF (95.9
Lewistown) and WLAK (103.5 Huntingdon) change hands from the Mifflin
County Broadcasting Company to First Media Radio.

Scranton's WVIA (89.9) gets a new full-power outlet over in
Williamsport.  The newly-granted CP on 89.7 will run 3300 watts from
minus 16 feet AAT with a directional antenna, replacing W207AA on
89.3.  Speaking of the Scranton area, a correction from last week: the
WILP that changed calls to WOGY is the 1300 in West Hazleton, not the
960 in Mount Pocono; that's still WILT.

Just south of Williamsport, in Milton, WVLY (100.9) becomes WVLY-FM.
That's because the WVLY calls are now in Moundsville, West Virginia
(just south of Wheeling) on the former WMJT (1370).

A few notes from Philadelphia: As Sil Scaglione settles into his new
role of VP/GM at Infinity's stations (moving over from the Greater
Media cluster), he's named a new PD at talker WPHT (1210).  Grace
Blazer has filled the job in an interim capacity since Tom Bigby's
heart surgery a few months back; now she gets the job on a permanent
basis, allowing Bigby to focus on sports-talk WIP (610) full-time.

*From CANADA: There's yet another new FM getting ready to hit the New
Brunswick airwaves.  We're told CIXN (96.5 Fredericton) will debut
April 8 as "Joy FM," with Christian contemporary music and religious

Bob Wallace is the new PD at the Barrie outpost of Corus' "Energy
Radio," CHAY (93.1).  Speaking of Barrie, Bruce Elving's FMedia
reports tests are now being heard from the new CKMB (107.5) up there;
expect that station on the air for real soon.

Elving also points out that Kingston's new CIKR (105.7) (which, by the
way, has been testing at reduced power) will likely displace First
Nations station "CKWE" Tyendinaga on 105.9.  

A few more new calls from Elving: Mark down CHCQ for Belleville's new
100.1 (likely to go country as "Q-100"), CJUK for the new low-power
99.9 in Thunder Bay, CHOY for the new French 99.9 in Moncton NB, and
CKOE in place of VF8017 for the low-power 100.9 there.

One more: the move of CJBR (900 Rimouski) to FM 89.1 means the
Radio-Canada chaine culturelle outlet on 101.5 changes from CJBR-FM to

And it looks as though Windsor's CKWW (580) might have some
competition for Detroit's adult standards audience.  Rumor has it that
Crawford Broadcasting is close to adding WQBH (1400 Detroit) to its
cluster across the river, and listeners in Rochester, Albany and
elsewhere already know that Crawford's very big right now on its
"Legends" nostalgia format.  NERW's guess: if the sale goes through,
look for Crawford to shuffle its deck in the Motor City, moving
religious talk from WLLZ (560 Monroe) to 1400 and freeing 560 for
standards.  (Now where are those WHND calls these days...?)

*That's it for another week here in NERW-land....but don't miss all
the action elsewhere on fybush.com!  The second part of our look at
New York City's big FMs debuts Wednesday on Tower Site of the
Week...and don't miss the opportunity to take advantage of the NERW
classifieds.  Post your job openings, equipment for sale, equipment
wanted, or situations wanted ad now -- and your first week is free!
It's the best way to reach all of NERW-land at minimal cost...so be
sure to use it!

See you next Monday...

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

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