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NERW 3/19: Getting Hot in Hartford
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
March 19, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE:
*CONNECTICUT: Hartford Becomes "Hot"-Ford as 93.7 Flips
*MASSACHUSETTS: Lydon Tries a Webcast
*NEW JERSEY: Citadel Sells in Atlantic City
-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------
*The slow, steady parade to oblivion for the rhythmic oldies format
claimed another victim Friday afternoon (3/16).
CONNECTICUT was the scene this time, and Infinity's "dancin' oldies"
WZMX (93.7 Hartford) the station in question. As 5 PM rolled around,
"Z93-7" launched into Donna Summer's "Last Dance" and part of a promo
before announcing "Now...Hartford has become HOTford" and relaunching
as "Hot 93.7," the city's first true urban FM.
The move should put some pressure on crosstown urban-leaning CHR WKSS
(95.7 Hartford), which has been engaged in an on-and-off CHR war over
the years with Infinity's WTIC-FM (96.5), though the latter leans more
towards the hot AC side of things these days. It's also likely to
mean some changes at the two little AMs that have been serving
hard-core urban listeners in the area, Mega's WNEZ (910 New Britain)
and ADD Media's leased-time WNTY (990 Southington). This should be
*Speaking of fun, we enjoyed the chance to hear something different on
1080 kHz late Saturday night, thanks to a jointly-scheduled equipment
test that took both WTIC and KRLD in Dallas off the air at the same
Here at NERW Central in Rochester, WTIC's signoff at 1:35 AM was
followed by two dueling Spanish-language stations, which we believe to
have been WVCG (Coral Gables FL) and a Cuban. Just after 2:00, KRLD
returned to the air; check out the audio clips below to hear just how
well we heard the Dallas station up here. WTIC returned to the air at
We're looking forward to hearing from WTIC chief engineer Jeff
Hugabone as he tallies the reception reports from the experiment;
thanks to him and the rest of the crew at Infinity for making an event
like this possible for the DX community!
[Check out the Web edition of NERW to hear how the event sounded
here in Rochester. You'll find it at
<http://www.fybush.com/nerw-010319.html> for the next week or so...]
*From the Nutmeg State we'll move east to the Ocean State, RHODE
ISLAND, for another format change of sorts. Citadel quietly shifted
WZRA (99.7 Wakefield-Peace Dale) and WZRI (100.3 Middletown), formerly
known as "Classic Hits Z100," to "Z100, the Rockin' Hits of the 80s
The move basically means the elimination of the pre-1979 cuts and a
handful of 90s tunes from the Z100 playlist; no change thus far to the
jock lineup that we've heard about.
Dave Allen is leaving WADK (1540 Warwick) at the end of April for a
new challenge in Pennsylvania: he'll be the first news director for
Kevin Fennessy's WFBS (1280 Berwick), doing the morning news thing at
the little AM southwest of Wilkes-Barre.
*Christopher Lydon once again tops our MASSACHUSETTS report, and this
time we can actually tell you where to hear the former "Connection"
host, for one day at least.
Lydon will try a one-hour Webcast Tuesday morning (March 20) on his
site at <http://www.christopherlydon.org>. Is it a prelude to a more
permanent return to the airwaves, a test run for a full-time Webcast,
or just a way to say hello to his audience? We're not sure yet, but
we'll be listening at 10 AM.
MIT's WMBR (88.1 Cambridge) is getting ready to celebrate its fortieth
anniversary, and we hear there's quite the party being planned for
Saturday night, March 31, to honor WMBR/WTBS veterans past and
present. It all starts at 7 PM at (where else?) the Walker Memorial
Building of WMBR callsign fame; if you're a veteran of this fine
college station and you haven't received an invitation, contact
Melitta King at <email@example.com>.
Radio People on the Move: The WFNX modern rock network (WFNX 101.7
Lynn, etc.) loses assistant PD Mike Murphy. He's heading south to
Richmond to be PD at Cox's WDYL (101.1), joining former ex-New
Englander Bill Weston down south. Out west, WMAS-FM
(94.7 Springfield) loses assistant PD/music director/PM drive jock
Keith Stephens, who'll start doing nights for Greater Media's WKLB-FM
(99.5 Lowell-Boston) at month's end. Across town in Springfield, WPKX
(97.9 Enfield CT) promotes promotions assistant Heather Tower to promo
director to replace the departing Jerry West, who'll take on the same
job in Buffalo at the new WBUF (92.9). And up in Northampton, Ben
Casey comes on board as the new PD at WEIB (106.3), allowing Lydia
Vance to go back to focusing on afternoon drive and promotions duty at
the NAC/smooth jazz outlet.
Where Are They Now?: A hearty congratulations to former WXLO (104.5
Fitchburg) PD Rob Walker, who just got promoted from assistant PD to
PD at KSD-FM (93.7) out in St. Louis. And the "WCAS" calls that once
graced AM 740 in Cambridge landed in a new home this week, at AM 1290
in Saline, Michigan (outside Ann Arbor), the former WYBN (and a host
of other calls, too!)
*A new set of call letters will soon be heard in NEW HAMPSHIRE's Upper
Valley: WVFA is the moniker assigned to Green Mountain Educational
Fellowship's new 90.5 in Lebanon.
*The FCC's decision last week to clear the way for dozens of station
transfers to be completed was good news for two stations in MAINE,
among others. Cumulus had been stalled in its attempt to buy WSKW
(1160 Skowhegan) and WCTB (93.5 Fairfield) from Mountain Wireless,
thanks to the previous Commission's policy of "flagging" transfers
that could result in over-concentration of market revenues.
Incoming chairman Michael Powell lifted those flags, saying they
violated the numerical station limits set by Congress in the 1996
Telecom Act, so several stalled deals are now cleared to proceed
(we'll hit more of them in New York; stay tuned!)
While we're in the Pine Tree State, Steve Mindich wants the FCC to
reconsider its decision to dismiss a power-increase application from
his WPHX (92.1 Sanford). The WFNX relay had applied to jump from 1800
watts and a directional antenna to 2550 watts, non-directional, with
Mindich willing to tolerate increased co-channel interference with
WFEX (92.1 Peterborough NH), another link in the WFNX chain.
*Nothing doing this week in VERMONT, so we'll jump across Lake
Champlain to the North Country of NEW YORK and the debut of a
brand-new FM station. WYSI (96.1 Norwood) made it on the air Friday
(March 16), but not with the format we'd suspected from its calls.
Instead of relaying co-owned "Yes FM" (WYSX 98.7 Ogdensburg/WYUL 94.7
Chateaugay), WYSI is simulcasting the softer AC sounds of another Tim
Martz station, WVLF (96.7 Canton). (Thanks to North County
correspondent Michael Roach for keeping an ear on 96.1 for us all
The FCC's decision on flagged applications was good news for Clear
Channel in central New York; the company gets to add Kenneth Roser's
WLFH (1230 Little Falls) and WOWB (105.5 Little Falls)/WOWZ (97.9
Whitesboro) to its group. Just to the west, outside of Syracuse,
Clear Channel also gets to add Cram Communications' WVOA (105.1
Here in Rochester, 98PXY is dead -- at least, that's what the liners
on the suddenly jockless Infinity CHR (WPXY 97.9 Rochester) have been
claiming since Friday morning. The stunt ends Monday morning, when
'PXY will apparently announce it's "dead serious" about the latest
Infinity group-wide contest...
A new FM signal will soon be on the air in Corning, now that Family
Worship Center has been granted a construction permit for W208BL
(89.5), with the FCC dismissing a petition to deny filed by WEOS (89.7
Geneva) just up the dial and 70 miles north.
Speaking of Corning, the Sabre group there is bringing in some talent
from Binghamton: Tom McDonald leaves WLTB (101.7 Johnson City) to do
afternoons at Sabre's country WPGI (100.9 Horseheads) and nights at
Sabre CHR WNKI (106.1 Corning).
Speaking of Binghamton, the little low-power NBC affiliate there
changes calls from WBGH-LP to WBGH-CA as it attains "Class A" status,
which means it will have some protection from interference when it
moves from its current spot on channel 8 to its DTV-displacement home
on channel 20.
Moving downstate, Aurora is one of the big winners in the FCC's
lifting of concentration red-flags, winning clearance to pick up all
of Rob Dyson's Crystal group: WKNY (1490 Kingston), WALL (1340
Middletown)/WEOK (1390 Poughkeepsie), WPDH (101.5 Poughkeepsie)/WPDA
(106.1 Jeffersonville), WCZX (97.7 Hyde Park)/WZAD (97.3 Wurtsboro)
and WRRV (92.7 Middletown)/WRRB (96.9 Arlington).
In New York City, it looks like Tom Poleman will be staying put as
program director of Z100 (WHTZ 100.3 Newark NJ) after all. Poleman,
recently promoted to an executive VP spot within Clear Channel,
reportedly blamed the economic downturn in his memo announcing that
the search for a new Z100 PD is being suspended and he's keeping both
Clear Channel also moved this week to fill the gaps created by the
resignation of Rona Landy as general manager at WLTW (106.7 New York)
and WTJM (105.1 New York). Andrew Rosen, Clear Channel's market
executive VP for New York, will add GM duties for Lite 106.7, while
WKTU (103.5 Lake Success) VP/GM Scott Elberg will add Jammin' 105 to
Out on Long Island, Clear Channel dismissed WALK-FM (97.5 Patchogue)
PD Gene Michaels and veteran GM Bill Edwards, moving general sales
manager Mark Clark into the GM office for now and promoting assistant
PD Rob Miller to the PD chair.
One more personnel move on the Island: Cox moves WBLI (106.1
Patchogue) midday jock Fisher to a bigger post within the company, as
PD at Cox CHR WPEK (98.1 Seneca SC) in the Greenville, S.C. market.
Two spots on the Web to check out this week: Veterans of WNYG (1440
Babylon) have created a site chronicling the history of their station
-- and of the rest of the Long Island dial, with special attention to
now-defunct WGLI (1290 Babylon). Find it at
<http://www.angelfire.com/wy/wnyg/radiohistory.html>. Meanwhile, a
group of fans who don't want New York's WEVD (1050) to die have
started a page to promote their efforts -- it's at
*Heading south to NEW JERSEY, Citadel's bowing out of the Atlantic
City market with a $19.4 million sale that puts Charlie Banta back in
the radio picture. Banta cashed out of his Mercury group with a sale
to Citadel back in 1999. Now he's the lead partner in the Millennium
Radio Group, which is picking up three stations and LMA rights to a
fourth from Citadel.
The stations are AC WFPG-FM (96.9 Atlantic City), country WPUR (107.3
Atlantic City), Comedy World affiliate WFPG (1450 Atlantic City) and
the LMA on modern AC WKOE (106.3 Ocean City), which had been Citadel's
only Garden State properties.
(Turns out, by the way, that Banta is also a major partner in the
groups that bought Elmira's WENY-TV and WENY AM/FM last year.)
Meanwhile, that "Broadcasting for the Challenged" group still wants a
new station on 88.9 in Chatham; it's filed for reconsideration of the
FCC's decision to dismiss its application for a new station there.
*What's Alexander Langer planning for his next big PENNSYLVANIA
move-in? We've seen the application for WVFC (1530 McConnelsburg),
and the plans look like this:
The station, presently an obscure daytimer at the southern edge of the
state about halfway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, would move to
1180 and change city of license to King of Prussia, a suburb of
Philadelphia. The new 1180 would run 2300 watts, daytime only, from
three towers at the WWDB (860) site on Germantown Pike (from the looks
of it, one of the three would be part of the 860 array and the other
two would be new 60-meter sticks).
The FCC accepted the move-in application this week; we'll keep you
informed as it works its way through the system.
The FCC cleared two station transfers in the Williamsport market: WSFT
(107.9 Bald Eagle) can go from Bald Eagle Broadcast Associates to the
Sabre group there, while Clear Channel gets permission to add WVRT
(97.7 Jersey Shore) to its cluster.
What's Keymarket up to in the Franklin-Oil City area? We hear WOXX
(99.3 Franklin, the former WFRA-FM) is now simulcasting with WXXO
(104.5 Cambridge Springs) near Meadville, and that both are running a
repeating loop of "Kiss Me." We'll keep you posted on what looks like
a format change in progress in this corner of northwestern
*And with nothing from CANADA this week, we'll duck across the line
into OHIO instead to note that Salem has moved an historic
three-letter call in preparation for the big WCLV move in Cleveland.
The WHK calls that have been on 1420 for almost as long as there's
been radio in Cleveland move to AM 1000 in suburban Parma, ex-WCCD,
while 1420 becomes WHKK until it goes classical under WCLV, which in
turn yields its 95.5 Cleveland dial spot to Salem to eventually become
WHK(FM) -- but not until Clear Channel gets the current WHK-FM on 98.1
in Canton. Confused yet?
Meanwhile, Keymarket gets a new PD for its Steubenville "Froggy"
country station; Mark Lindow, formerly of Buffalo's WYRK, moves down
to WOGH (103.5 Steubenville), while former WOGH PD Steve Kline
switches Froggys and takes over WOGF (104.3 East Liverpool) just up
the road a bit.
*And that's that for another week around the dials...see you next
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2001 Scott Fybush
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