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NERW 3/12 - 1080 Goes Silent Sunday Morning

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


*FLASH! WTIC/KRLD Silent Period Rescheduled
*NEW YORK: A Frog Lands in Glens Falls
*PENNSYLVANIA: End of the Line for Conrad's Garage

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

*LATE UPDATE: We've just heard from Jeff Hugabone, chief engineer at
WTIC (1080 Hartford), about a rescheduled date for the engineering
work that will leave the 1080 channel quiet and empty -- this weekend!

It all happens Sunday morning (late Saturday night), March 18, and it
shakes out like this:

KRLD in Dallas will sign off ("promptly," says Jeff) at 1:00 AM (ET),
making it possible for listeners in the south to hear WTIC for half an
hour or so.

WTIC will sign off at 1:30 AM for an hour.  What will DXers hear in
its absence?  A few possibilities gleaned from a quick scan of the NRC
AM Log: WVCG Coral Gables, Florida, with 10 kW?  WNWI Oak Lawn,
Illinois, with just 900 watts?  WKJK Louisville, doing standards with
1 kW?  Maybe even the 10 kW of Portland, Oregon's KOTK?  Or Canada's
lone 1080 entry, CKSA Lloydminster, Alberta?

WTIC will be back on the air at 2:30 AM eastern.  It's not yet clear
what time KRLD plans to return (though it won't be before WTIC signs

Whatever you hear, WTIC wants to hear from you.  Send your reports
(whether for WTIC or other stations) to WTIC Engineering, c/o Jeff
Hugabone, 10 Executive Drive, Farmington CT 06032.  Jeff says WTIC is
preparing a special QSL card, though he asks that listeners in WTIC's
local coverage area (meaning most of you in NERW-land) refrain from
asking for a QSL if Hartford is a normal signal at your location.

Good luck with your weekend DX...on with the news:

*You know it's a slow week when...a format change in Glens Falls, NEW
YORK tops the news -- and it's not even much of a surprise.

Vox Media did some call-letter swapping a few weeks back, moving the
WHTR calls that go with the "Wheels" oldies format from 107.1 in
Hudson Falls to 93.5 in Corinth, heretofore a country station under
the WZZM-FM calls.  When 107.1 then got the calls "WFFG," speculation
ran rampant that the "Froggy" name and country format that's hopped
all over the northeast was about to set down roots in the region.

Sure enough, that's just what Vox did today (March 12), installing
"Wheels" on the 93.5 spot (continuing an oldies battle with WCKM-FM
98.5 Lake George) and launching "Froggy 107."  In addition to a better
signal, the new dial position sits just below Albany country behemoth
WGNA-FM (107.7), which regularly shows well in the Glens Falls
ratings.  We hear both stations will be doing more live and less off
the satellite...ribbit.

[And we don't suppose the little cartoon frog saying "Meow" on the
temporary froggy107.com Web site is a dig at cross-border "Cat
Country" WJEN/WJAN over in Vermont...]

*Another format change long ago given away by the calls: in Watertown,
the R&B oldies finally vanished from AM 1410, giving way to sports
"ESPN 1410 - The Winner," matching the WNER calls that replaced WUZZ a
few months ago.  Also in Watertown, WTOJ (103.1 Carthage) finally gets
a license to cover its power increase (to 1800 watts from 870).

Before we leave the frozen north, it sounds like the simulcast of
Radio Lake Placid has finally ended, leaving WLPW (105.5 Lake Placid)
alone with the rock format that's always been an engaging listen when
we're up that way.  WRGR (102.3 Tupper Lake) has broken away from the
simulcast, says M Street, to run Jones' classic rock format off the
satellite.  On the AM side of the equation, M Street says WIPS (1250
Ticonderoga) drops the WLPW simulcast to run Jones' hot AC service,
while back home in Lake Placid, WIRD (920), which dropped the FM
simulcast last year, ditches its satellite talkers to go all-sports
with ESPN.  (M Street also claims WLPW itself is going from AAA to
AC, but a look at the latest playlist on the station's site suggests,
if anything, a harder edge to WLPW's format.)

Family Life Radio has been granted a license to cover for W207BH (89.3
Baldwinsville), suggesting to us that the WCIY (88.9 Canandaigua)
translator is now on the air serving the north side of Syracuse.

Here in Rochester, one of the quietest format changes in our memory
has been playing out over the last week or so at Infinity's WZNE (94.1
Brighton).  For almost four years, "the Zone" has been doing modern
AC, a reliable source for anyone in need of a quick fix of Sarah
McLachlan or Barenaked Ladies.

Since last week, though, the sounds emanating from the Zone have been
closer to Incubus than "I Will Remember You," as the station takes on
an alternative sound under the slogan "Today's Music Alternative."
Morning guys Karlson and MacKenzie remain, as does afternoon drive's
Dino...it's just the music around them that's changed.

NERW suspects the move is meant to target Clear Channel's active rock
"Nerve" (WNVE 95.1 Honeoye Falls), especially with all the
Nerve-parody liners we've been hearing (including a really hilarious
one over the weekend explaining that "nobody was listening" to the old
format -- which, based on the latest Trends, isn't far from the
truth).  With WZNE as a pure alternative outlet, Infinity can now
attack WNVE from both ends, since the Zone's big sister down the
hall, WCMF (96.5 Rochester) has been playing the older rock that WNVE
added to its playlist last year since those songs were new.  As for
the younger women turned off from the new harder Zone?  They'll go to
yet another Infinity property, CHR WPXY (97.9) -- assuming they don't
go to Clear Channel's CHR rival, WKGS (106.7 Irondequoit).  Ain't
cluster radio great?

[No, really, we are enjoying some of the little digs coming from both
sides, like the "WZNE Brighton-Brighton" legal we just heard, slamming
WNVE's rather hyphenated legal.  Then there's the joke Clear Channel
perpetrated on the local daily...since there are no actual jocks at
its 80s outlet, WLCL (107.3 South Bristol), the CC folks supplied some
phony names for the Sunday TV book's radio listings.  Suppose
Infinity/Rochester boss Kevin LeGrett has noticed "Owen LeGrett" as
WLCL's night guy, or that WBBF jock Mike Vickers has caught his
doppelganger "Mike Wickers" in afternoons on "Channel 107"?  Maybe
Mike's boss, Bobby Hatfield, should check out "Bobby Chatfield" in
late mornings.  Cute, Clear Channel, real cute...too bad Mrs. NERW is
also a copy editor at the paper in question and has been alerted to
the gag!]

Speaking of WCMF, morning institution Brother Wease is adding one live
show a month to his Saturday "best-of" gig on New York's WNEW

Two more quick notes before we head out of Rochester: CBS affiliate
WROC-TV (Channel 8) accidentally cancelled school for the Rochester
City School District last Tuesday (March 6), thanks to a prankster
who somehow obtained the station's school-closing code.  Here's the
kicker: even though channel 8 dropped the erroneous listing after a
few runs just before 6 AM, its two big competitors saw the Rochester
closing on WROC's crawl and ran with it.  Once the error was fixed all
around, enough students and staff already believed that it was a snow
day to force the district to cancel classes.  (Not bad for a station
that pulls something like a 1 share in the morning, is it?)

The lesson here, should anyone care, is that doing school closings
right requires separate codes for each district, not a common password
for all the schools.  We've worked in big shops that even change the
code each year; not a bad precaution when the instruction of tens of
thousands of students is at stake!

The other TV note: the cutbacks at Sinclair are hitting home at
Rochester's Fox affiliate, WUHF-TV (Channel 31).  Word into NERW is
that seven positions are being cut at Fox Rochester, including at
least three that are currently filled.  

Elsewhere in the Empire State: M Street reports a format change at
Dunkirk's WDOE (1410), from satellite oldies to satellite standards.
We're overdue for a trip that way, especially with the format change
last week at WDOE's sister FM, WBKX.  

We drove through Corning today, which isn't usually a thrilling
experience -- except for one thing: we finally heard WCEB (91.9
Corning) from Corning Community College on the air, something that's
never been the case in all the years we've been traveling I-86 and its
predecessor, route 17.  The programming?  A repeating loop of Shriners
Hospitals PSAs, followed by a jock explaining that he was late for
class and a signoff (without benefit of legal ID!) at 1:59 PM.  Oh
well; at least we've heard the thing now.  

While we're thinking of college stations, let's take a moment to
contemplate just what Siena College's WVCR (88.3 Loudonville) might be
smoking.  The Albany-area station, one of the state's most powerful
college radio outlets, doesn't seem satisfied with being a class B1
operation.  It recently boosted power from 1350 watts at 260 meters
AAT (high up on the Helderberg Mountains community FM/TV site) to 2800
watts.  That's not bad for a college station -- but the folks at WVCR
seem to sincerely believe that they're now a "50,000 watt" station, so
much so that they even convinced Alan Wechsler of the Albany Times
Union to swallow the claim and run with it in a lengthy article last

Downstate, there's just this: We hear the application for a WFUV (90.7
New York) booster in Manhattan is about to be re-filed. It seems the
FCC was operating under an incorrect reading of the booster rules when
it dismissed the application for WFUV-1 a few weeks back...

*Across the line in CONNECTICUT, one booster becomes reality: the FCC
has granted Aurora's application for WAXB-1, which will boost WAXB
(105.5 Patterson NY) from the tower of sister WRKI (95.1 Brookfield
CT).  With 90 watts from 30.5 meters up on the stick, it should help
"B-105" put a better signal over the hills into Danbury.

*Congratulations to RHODE ISLAND program director Tony Bristol.  The
WPRO-FM (92.3 Providence) PD gets an internal promotion within
Citadel, becoming a "format general" for all the group's CHRs.
Congratulations, too, to PD John Hager of WGRF (96.9 Buffalo NY), who
takes on the same role for Citadel's classic rockers.

*A little program shuffling to report in the MASSACHUSETTS talk world,
as Boston's WRKO (680) replaces Clark Howard with a tape-delayed Mitch
Albom in the 10-midnight slot.  (Albom, the author of "Tuesdays with
Morrie," knows more than a bit about Beantown; like your editor, he's
an alumnus of Brandeis University in Waltham...)

Albom had been heard on weekends over at WTKK (96.9); "Troubleshooter"
Tom Martino gets that slot.

One more WRKO note: the correct main number for WRKO and its Entercom
sisters at their new Guest Street home is (617)779-5800.  Never mind
what we said last week...

*From NEW HAMPSHIRE: WYRY (104.9 Hinsdale) gets approval for its power
increase.  The country outlet jumps from 1550 watts to 4100, with a
directional antenna providing a broad, shallow null to the northeast.

Up in Hanover, translator W253AH (98.5) has been granted a transfer
from Albany Broadcasting to Christian Ministries, meaning it'll switch
from relaying WJJR (98.1 Rutland VT) to the Christian Ministries
WGLY/WGLV network, wherever those calls are this week...

*A new morning show in MAINE: Alan Baxter's out at WPOR (101.9
Portland), replaced by former midday guy Jon Shannon and weekender Joe
Lehrman alongside Baxter's former co-host Lynne McGee.

Up in Orono, Maine Public Broadcasting gets permission to build
WMEB-DT on channel 9 instead of channel 22.  MPB argued that building
a VHF station at the existing WMEB-TV (Channel 12) facilities would be
much less expensive and provide better service to Maine viewers.

*From PENNSYLVANIA comes word of the imminent demolition of a radio
landmark.  The garage on Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg where Frank Conrad
put amateur station 8XK on the air in 1920 will soon be removed to
make way for a fast-food restaurant, and the National Museum of
Broadcasting/The Conrad Project is trying to raise the money needed to
dismantle the building and put it in storage for future restoration.

What's the big deal about an old garage?  Only that 8XK evolved, later
in 1920, into a little station called KDKA down the road in
Pittsburgh.  Whether or not you buy the Westinghouse PR machine's
"first radio station" claim, there's no doubt that Conrad's work was
significant and that the loss of the garage would be a tragedy.

We'll keep you posted as efforts continue to raise the needed money...

Meanwhile, two hours north in Erie, Nexstar made some cuts late last
week at ABC affiliate WJET-TV (Channel 24), dismissing 27-year veteran
photographer Dave Bernhard and longtime WJET reporter Teresa Murtland
along with three other employees.  The Erie Times-News reports the
cuts came as part of an overall cost-cutting program within the group.

*There's still another new FM station in CANADA this week, this time
up in Sudbury, Ontario.  The new travelers-information station on
102.9 has taken the CKBB calls that used to be on AM 950 down south in
Barrie.  We also hear that the new CBC Radio 2/SRC chaine culturelle
outlets, on 90.1 and 90.9 respectively, have been heard testing up in
Sudbury and will soon be on the air for real.

Over in Quebec, the CRTC has approved two new community stations: 20
watts on 103.7 for Radio Charlesbourg/Haute St-Charles and 50 watts on
88.7 for Andre Curadeau in Rouyn-Noranda (the latter will be French

Finally, a very happy fortieth anniversary to one of Canada's pioneer
commercial TV stations.  CJOH (Channel 13) in Ottawa signed on for the
first time at noon on March 12, 1961; forty years later, to the
minute, the CTV affiliate marked the occasion with a special
broadcast.  CJOH has also placed a lot of anniversary memories and
pictures on its brand-new Web site at cjoh.com.

*That's it for another week; don't miss the next installment of our
Seattle trip on Tower Site of the Week at <http://www.fybush.com> and don't
forget to place your ad on the NERW Classifieds.  See you next Monday!

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

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