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NERW 5/21: Lawsuit Threatened Against WBEE

------------------------------E-MAIL EDITION-----------------------------
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                               May 21, 2001


*NEW YORK: WBEE Accused of Religious Discrimination
*CANADA: AStral Buys Big From Telemedia

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

*A religious discrimination dispute has a Rochester DJ set to fight
her former employer in court.  Alicia King McBride filed a complaint
against Entercom after being fired from her job doing production and
fill-in ir work at WBEE-FM (92.5), WBBF (93.3/950) and WBZA (98.9).

McBride tells NERW the problems began when she sent a memo to
co-workers looking for someone to fill a shift she was scheduled to
work on the first night of Chanukah last December.  Another jock sent
a note back to her, in what she says was an anti-Semitic tone,
accusing her of trying to bring the holiday "up to the level of

While the initial reaction from her supervisor was supportive,
McBride's complaint claims station management soon stopped talking to
her, then fired her on March 8.  That afternoon, she was due to leave
the station early to celebrate the first night of Purim with her

McBride had worked at WBEE since 1985. NERW contacted
Entercom/Rochester general manager Michael Doyle for the station's
response, but he has yet to return our calls.

*Elsewhere in NEW YORK, the end came quietly for the English-language
standards format on Long Island's WLIM (1580) Friday night. The
station signed off at 10 PM after an hour-long farewell show to mark
the transfer of ownership from Jack Ellsworth to Polnet. (The folks at
the Long Island Radio History page have a nice batch of pictures from
the final night at <http://www.angelfire.com/wy/wnyg/wlimpage2.html>,
should you be curious.) Polnet's ethnic programming is expected to
debut later this week on 1580, which is dark for the moment.

While we're out in Suffolk County, Chip Kelly's 100000watts.com is
reporting a change of calls on 102.5 in Bridgehampton, from WBSQ to
WCSO. That frequency will be the permanent home of the soft AC now
being simulcast there from WBAZ (101.7 Southold).

Back home in Western New York, we're saddened to report the death of a
62-year veteran of the Buffalo and Rochester airwaves.  Ed Little's
resume included stints at WKBW, WBBF and WBEN; he retired last year
from WBEN on the same day the station left its longtime Elmwood Avenue
studios (his was the last voice heard from the old location). Little
had been hospitalized since suffering kidney failure in February; he
was 78 when he died last Wednesday (May 16).

Two days later came word of another death: veteran WOKR (Channel 13)
Rochester anchor Dick Burt succumbed to a heart attack while on
vacation on Cape Cod. Burt began at WOKR when the station signed on in
1962, and for many years was paired with Dick Alhart as one of the
Flower City's best-known anchor teams. Burt retired from WOKR in 1987.
He was 75.

A proposed new tower on Brighton's Pinnacle Hill was the topic of a
Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, and your intrepid editor bravely
sacrificed most of his evening to take part in the democratic
process. American Tower wants to replace the 15 year old tower that's
now home to WZNE (94.1 Brighton) and W238AB (95.5 Rochester) with a
new, taller stick that can handle DTV for WXXI-TV (Channel 21) and
WUHF (Channel 31), as well as a possible new master FM antenna. 

Pinnacle is one of the region's more urban tower sites, with
densely-populated city and suburban streets running within half a mile
of the hilltop in some areas, so it was no surprise to see the
neighbors out in force to complain about cable ingress problems,
interference with garage door openers and baby monitors, and other
issues that won't go away regardless of whether or not the new tower
is built.

Your editor received precisely no applause whatsoever for his comments
in support of the new tower, not that it came as any surprise. (You'll
recall that NERW Central is located less than a mile from the 5
full-power TVs, 3 LPTVs and 5 FMs that call Pinnacle home.)

The general managers and chief engineers of every TV station in town
were out in force for the meeting, and we learned why when the lawyer
for WHEC-TV (Channel 10) and WROC-TV (Channel 8) addressed the board.
Those stations, which share the original 1949 tower that brought TV to
the hill, are asking the board to order American Tower to conduct an
engineering study to determine whether the new tower, 400 feet from
the current cluster of three tall towers, could cause reflections and
ghosting to their signals.

No decision was rendered, and the issue is expected to come up again
at the board's June meeting as well as at a public information session
American Tower plans to conduct in the next few weeks. We'll be there,
of course, so stay tuned...

Where are they now? Former WBEE-FM (92.5 Rochester) operations manager
and morning guy Fred Horton has landed in Erie, Pennsylvania, serving
as PD and morning guy for country WXTA (97.9 Edinboro). Chuck McCoy is
still at the Rochester Entercom cluster, doing nights at WBBF - but
he's also being heard as a character voice on morning shows all over
the country, thanks to his contributions to Jones' All Star Radio
comedy service.

*We'll head up to CANADA next, just in time to watch Astral Media pay
C$255 million for 19 stations from giant group owner
Telemedia. Astral's purchase (which will make Telemedia a 10% owner of
Astral) gives the company CKCL and CKTO in Truro, N.S.; CIBX/CIHI/CKHJ
in Fredericton, CKBC Bathurst, CJCJ Woodstock and CIKX Great Falls,
all New Brunswick; and in Quebec the "Rock-Detente" network of CITE
Montreal, CITE-1 Sherbrooke, CITF Quebec City, CIMF Hull, CFIX
Chicoutimi and CHEY Trois-Rivieres along with AM'ers CHLT Sherbrooke,
CHLN Trois-Rivieres and CKTS Sherbrooke (which is operated by Standard
Media, relaying CJAD Montreal). Telemedia keeps its 60 radio stations
in Ontario and points west, but rumors of a sale there are growing.

Back to New Brunswick for a moment: May 28 is the target start date
for St. Stephen's first radio station. CHTD (98.1) is owned by the
giant Irving Oil company's New Brunswick Broadcasting. To be called
"the Tide," the station will run a country format with plenty of local
Charlotte County news, serving a community that's long depended on
cross-border WQDY in Calais, Maine for radio coverage.

Toronto news this week: CKFM (Mix 99.9) has a new morning team. Carla
Collins and Steve Anthony are among a number of new staffers at the

*We'll start our New England report in MAINE, where the FCC granted
Allan Weiner's petition to allot 94.7A to Monticello, which is also
where Weiner operates shortwave station WBCQ and where he owned WREM
(710). No window for applications for the new frequency has been
opened yet...

*In MASSACHUSETTS, Charlie Wilde has parted ways with WQSX (93.7
Lawrence), leaving Karen Blake and "Survivor" Richard Hatch to host
the Star morning show without him. 

Boston University's WBUR is apparently eyeing acquisitions far beyond
New England. The NPR outlet is one of several reportedly interested in
buying WJHU (88.1 Baltimore) from Johns Hopkins University, which
built the station up from a 10-watt student outlet (shades of WBUR's
own history?) 

The Baltimore Sun reports Johns Hopkins rejected a joint bid from
Maryland Public Television and NPR itself, which would have been the
network's first entry into owning its own stations.  That still leaves
Washington's WAMU, WBUR and a local Baltimore group in the running to
acquire the station.

Congratulations to Candy O'Terry, who adds assistant PD
responsibilities to her afternoon duties at WMJX (106.7 Boston), as
well as to veteran Worcester jock Dave O'Gara, who's back on the air
doing weekend afternoons at WORC-FM (98.9 Spencer).  

And from the courtroom files: WHDH-TV (Channel 7) owner Ed Ansin says
he plans to sue the Boston Herald for libel, in response to a May 1
Marjorie Eagan column that sharpky criticized Ansin's management of
the NBC affiliate.

*CONNECTICUT's WLAT (1230 Manchester) will get new calls soon, we're
told. Now that the Mega station is moving its Spanish-language
programming over to the stronger WNEZ (910 New Britain) signal, look
for 1230 to become a leased-time outlet under new calls.

Where are they now? Former WZMX morning guy Sebastian is doing fill-in
work on morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio network, reportedly as a
tryout for the permanent gig there.

*Only one other bit of New England news, and that's in VERMONT, where
M Street confirms our understanding that it's the former WWSH (95.3
White River Junction) changing calls to WSSH. Those Boston-area
heritage calls had been hanging out on 101.5 down the river in
Marlboro, now WRSY.

*The First Amendment was a winner this week in PENNSYLVANIA, when the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of WILK (980 Wilkes-Barre) talk host
Fred Williams. He was charged under wiretap laws for broadcasting a
tape of a phone call between a teachers' union president and a union
negotiator. Since Williams didn't tape the call himself (a listener
did, then gave him the tape), the high court says the First Amendment
protected his broadcast of the conversation.

Down the Turnpike Extension in Allentown, WAEB (790) has taken
Saturday talk host Ron Angle off the air while he runs for Northampton
County executive. During the race, Angle is buying one hour of his old
two-hour shift from WAEB to continue the show on a paid basis; the
Citadel station hopes to sell the other hour to his Democratic

Down the Extension some more in Philadelphia, Steve Harmon has
departed WXTU (92.5), where he was the longtime host of the "Harmon
and Evans" morning show. Scott Evans stays on at the renamed "Evans
and Andie" show, with sidekick Andie Summers picking up top billing.

Up in Erie, Ron Arlen stays on as PD of WXKC (99.9) after giving up
those duties at sister station WXTA.  And over in Cleveland, word is
that Salem will move WKNR's sports format from 1220 to 850 this
summer, replacing the nostalgia format and WRNR calls at the 850
spot. Will nostalgia move to 1220 - or will Salem plug in those WHK
calls and religious format there? Stay tuned...

*In NEW JERSEY, there's been a petition to deny filed against Press
Communications' proposed purchase of "Jukebox Radio" translator W276AQ
(103.1 Fort Lee). Oddly, Press officials denied they were buying the
Jukebox translators when we talked to them a few weeks ago.

Dan Finn stays with WMTR (1250 Morristown) and WDHA (105.5 Dover) as
New Jersey Broadcasting sells the stations to Greater Media. Finn
moves from New Jersey's president and COO to Greater Media's vice
president and regional manager for the group's New Jersey stations,
which also include WCTC/WMGQ New Brunswick and WRAT Point Pleasant.

Down the shore, WBBO (98.5 Ocean Acres) morning team Mark Kaye and
Kris Gamble make a big move south; they're taking on morning drive at
Clear Channel's new Washington CHR, WIHT (99.5).  

Finally this week, best wishes to Glen Jones of WFMU (91.1 East
Orange), who'll spend next weekend trying to break the 73 hour, 33
minute record for longest DJ shift ever. Jones will begin broadcasting
on WFMU at 9:00 Friday morning (May 25), and he'll stay awake and on
the air at least until 10:33 AM the following Monday, including his
usual Sunday noon-3 shift. Check it out on the station's Web site,

*That's it for this week; join us again next week as we recap the rest
of our West Coast trip. In the meantime, check out where we'll be for
the rest of the summer...go visit our Travel page
<http://www.fybush.com/travel.html> and see if the
NERW-mobile will be driving by your community's tower!

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

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