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NERW 8/13: Catching Up...
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
August 13, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE:
*NEW YORK: It's Official! WEVD to be ESPN Radio 1050
*MAINE: Staff Shifts Galore
*MASSACHUSETTS: Opie and Anthony Return to Boston
-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------
*We're back from the road (again!), with another two weeks' worth of
news to ponder, not to mention plenty of pictures and tape from
southern California and Mexico to keep us busy in the weeks and months
to come. Before we dig into the KNX, though, let's see what we missed
*The big news in NEW YORK came as no surprise, really; everyone in the
business knew that ABC wanted WEVD (1050 New York) as the Big Apple
flagship for ESPN Radio. Now we know the price and the terms under
which control of WEVD will pass from the Forward Association to the
ESPN programming will begin full-time on 1050 September 1, under an
LMA that gives Disney the option to begin negotiations for a $78
million purchase of the 50,000 watt station any time in the next two
Forward officials say their goal is to return to a focus on their
print offerings (the weekly Forward), using the money from WEVD to
support the struggling newspaper. The Forward Association reportedly
wants to become a non-profit, according to the "Save WEVD" folks who
have been fighting for months to keep the present quirky talk lineup
in place on 1050. (You can read more about their efforts at
www.savewevd.com; they'll be holding another informational picket
outside the Forward offices on Thursday.)
So what about those call letters? It's a safe bet that labor leader
Eugene Victor Debs wasn't an Islanders fan, so we'd expect a possible
change (though Disney never did flip its Radio Disney outlet on 1560
from the old "WQEW"). M Street beat us to the punch in noting that the
logical "WSPN" is in use on FM up in Saratoga Springs, at Skidmore
*Elsewhere in NEW YORK, there are some unhappy listeners and viewers
in the public broadcasting arena, thanks to a pair of decisions to
merge operations in the New York City area.
On the TV side, the board of directors at WLIW (Channel 21) on Long
Island voted last week to approve a merger with Newark, N.J.-licensed
WNET (Channel 13). By joining forces with the bigger WNET operation,
WLIW officials say, they can avoid the massive financial burden of the
upcoming DTV conversion. Long Island viewers say they're worried about
losing the distinctive programming (in particular, British comedies)
that WLIW has long offered. WLIW board member Anne Ellis resigned
before the vote on the merger, and lawmakers are being asked to
examine the deal.
On the radio side, program producers and listeners of WNYE (91.5 New
York) are launching their own last-ditch effort to keep the city's
Board of Education from handing operations over to the WNYC public
radio folks. We've seen the e-mail petition they're circulating, and
while we know the "Save WNYE" crew means well, a word of advice: your
letters to the school chancellor would be better received if you call
him "Harold" Levy and not "Howard"...
A few more bits of news from the city: John Fullam has resigned as
general manager of Clear Channel's WHTZ (100.3 Newark) and senior VP
for regional operations for Clear Channel. No replacement has been
named. Fordham University's WFUV has been denied, again, in its
attempts to put an on-channel booster for its 90.7 signal in
Manhattan. And on the TV side, there's finally more DTV action:
WPIX-DT 33 had its license to cover granted this week, while WNET-DT
61 is right behind.
One Long Island note: AAA's new 92.9 Southampton construction permit
now has call letters; mark down "WCSO" for this new signal, and give
yourself an extra point if you remember that those calls were briefly
destined for 104.7 Montauk.
Moving upstate: Pamal sold one of its outlying assets this week. WIZR
(930 Johnstown) came along for the ride when Pamal picked up its
then-sister FM, WSRD (104.9 Johnstown) a few years back. 104.9 was
soon moved to Altamont, as Albany-market WZMR, leaving the little AM
by itself 40 miles away. For $550,000, WIZR ended up in the hands of
Joseph Isabel's IZ Communications, pairing it with Isabel's nearby
WCSS (1490 Amsterdam). No word on whether any changes to WIZR's
standards format are planned...
Speaking of Pamal, John Kelly retired this week as general manager of
the company's Albany Broadcasting group. He'll remain as Pamal's
president until the end of the year. Al Vicente, Pamal's senior VP,
assumes the Albany GM chair.
Before we leave the Capital District, we note that religious WNGN-LP
(Channel 26) in Troy has been granted a move to channel 51.
Up north, Gavin Burt checked in from his travels to tell us that WYZY
(106.3 Saranac Lake) has flipped from Westwood One's Hot Country
service to its Bright AC format, while sister WNBZ (1240 Saranac Lake)
is running standards these days, and WRGR (102.3 Tupper Lake) appeared
to be back to a simulcast of WLPW (105.5 Lake Placid).
Here in Rochester, a few Clear Channel programming changes greeted us
when we came back: WHAM (1180) has axed an hour of Laura Schlessinger,
giving midday talk host Bob Lonsberry the 11-noon hour instead. His
show now wraps around the noon news to continue in its old 12:30-2
spot. Later in the evening, Michael Savage has replaced Bruce Williams
in the 8-10 PM position.
Still waiting for 70's pop at WWKB (1520 Buffalo)? Hope you're
patient; our colleague Carl Gorney reports Entercom is sticking with
the Business Talk Radio format for the duration...
*We'll begin our New England report up in MAINE, where there's been
plenty of news in our absence. Over at Portland's Saga cluster, Ken
McGrail resigned from his PD/afternoon gig at oldies WYNZ (100.9
Westbrook); he's headed for PD/morning drive down the coast at WQEZ
(104.7 Kennebunkport). Down the hall, Chris Duggan gives up his PD job
at country WPOR (101.9), though he'll stay on the air middays until a
replacement is named. Saga's WZAN (970) shuffled its programming
lineup, replacing G. Gordon Liddy with Phil Hendrie from 10 AM till
noon, and adding Jim Rome in Ed Tyll's old noon to 3 PM slot. WZAN
also adds Fox Sports on weekend overnights, and Patriots football
(formerly on the WJAE/WJJB network) once the season starts.
The "Big Jab," meanwhile, grabs the Portland Pirates AHL rights for
the fall from WZAN. The stations have now joined WRED (95.9 Saco) at
the WLOB facility on Warren Avenue, leaving the old WJAE/WJBQ quarters
a few blocks away on Warren vacant.
In Central Maine, we hear WCME (96.7 Boothbay Harbor) is actually
running separately from WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan), with programming that
includes Fox Sports, Laura Schlessinger and Rush Limbaugh.
Bangor's WWBX (97.1) officially entered the Clear Channel family this
week, moving over from Gopher Hill Broadcasting on the same day Clear
Channel sold WGUY (102.1 Dexter) to Mark Jorgenson's Concord
group. (No coincidence there; Clear Channel had to spin something
before it could acquire WWBX). The station is now running CHR as "All
New, All Hit B 97.1;" wonder when it will grab the "Kiss" moniker from
sister WKSQ (94.5 Ellsworth)?
And Maine Public Broadcasting asked the FCC this week to change the
DTV allocation for WMED (Channel 13) down in Calais. WMED-DT is
planned to be on channel 15, but MPB says moving it to channel 10
would save $25,000 a year in power bills and $325,000 when it comes
time to turn off DTV (since MPB would have kept the VHF channel for
permanent DTV use and handed the UHF facility back to the FCC).
*Not much in NEW HAMPSHIRE; we'll have more next week on the passing
of Upper Valley talk host Bob Fahrner. We can report that WKBR (1250
Manchester) is now running Real Country off the bird 24/7; jock Sean
Sullivan has been reassigned to production duties at Steve
Silberberg's sister station, WXRV (92.5 Haverhill MA).
*A format change on the other side of the Connecticut River: in
VERMONT, WZSH (107.1 Bellows Falls) and WSSH (95.3 White River
Junction) move from "Lite FM" to hot AC "Star." Programming includes
the syndicated Bob and Sheri in mornings, Westwood One hot AC in
middays, PD Art Steinberg in the afternoons and Delilah at night.
*MASSACHUSETTS finally has Opie and Anthony to kick around
again. Three years after being booted from WAAF (107.3 Worcester) for
that moronic "Mayor Menino is Dead" April Fools' stunt, Infinity
finally brought the pair back to Beantown, inserting them (against
some internal pressure, we hear) into the WBCN (104.1) lineup. Since
their start on 'BCN last week, former afternooner Nik Carter has moved
to middays, sending middayer Bill Abbate to evenings. We hear the duo
spent their entire first show recounting the WAAF stunt, which must
have been absolutely riveting to listeners of their other affiliates
around the country...
Radio (and TV) People on the Move: Chris Herrmann is the new PD at
Greater Media's WBOS (92.9 Brookline), arriving from an APD gig at
WCSX (94.7 Birmingham MI) in Detroit. Herrmann is a native of
Worcester, a graduate of Phillips Academy and Dartmouth, and spent
five years in Providence at WHJY. Sean McDonough has signed with
Sporting News Radio's WWZN (1510 Boston) to do the 3-7 PM shift
locally beginning October 1; his dad, Will, is doing national work for
SNR. Christopher Lydon returns to the Boston airwaves August 20 for
two weeks of fill-in at WTKK (96.9), taking Jay Severin's 3-7 PM shift
through the end of the month. WFNX (101.7 Lynn) and morning host Paul
Jaxon have parted ways; no word on what'll become of the "Jaxon and
the Pharmacist" morning show. On the TV side, Caterina Bandini is the
new star anchor at WHDH (Channel 7), getting Kim Carrigan's old 5 and
6 PM anchor chair. Carrigan will do the 7 PM news on WSBK (Channel 38)
when WBZ-TV begins producing that broadcast in September; she'll also
anchor WBZ's own 5 PM show with Jack Williams. Some cutbacks at WCVB:
Dixie Whatley is out after years of entertainment coverage, and that
beat won't be filled. Channel 5 also cancelled its Sunday "Five on 5"
public-affairs chatfest. One more WBZ note: Mish Michaels will return
to the local Boston airwaves to do some weather work for channel 4, as
well as creating the "WBZ Weather Almanac." She'll continue her other
career on-air with the Weather Channel down in Atlanta as well.
A schedule change in Lowell: WCAP (980) dumps the Barry Farber show
and reshuffles its afternoon schedule, leaving Chuck Harder on from
2-4 PM and picking up Tom Martino's "Troubleshooter" show from 4-7.
THIS JUST IN: Brockton's WBOT (97.7) is in some hot water with the
FCC. As we go to press, the FCC is issuing a $21,500 notice of
apparent liability against WBOT owner Radio One based on an inspection
of the station in March 2000, two months after the station (formerly
WCAV) signed back on. It seems Radio One forgot a few details: no
operational EAS equipment, no local phone number in Brockton to reach
the new Boston studio, no way to monitor the station's power, no
operating log, and, oh yeah - no public file! More on this in the
weeks to come...
LPFM Follies: informal objections have been filed to three of the
critters, namely 94.9 Amesbury, 104.9 Wyben, and just over the
Connecticut line, 98.7 Windsor Locks. Expect more such objections as
the FCC works its way through the stack of apps...
*Speaking of LPFM, here's one the commission should have tossed
without a second thought: a petition to deny has been filed against an
application from "Northern RHODE ISLAND Public Radio Inc." for 95.3 in
Providence. That signal on 95.5 you're hearing in the Ocean State?
Yeah, that would be WBRU, a full class B on the first-adjacent channel
right there in Providence. Thanks for playing, and hire a real
engineer next time...(or at least turn on the radio before filling in
On the TV dial, Wendy Cicchetti is the new anchor at 6 and 11 at ABC
affiliate WLNE (Channel 6). She arrives from Cincinnati's WLWT
(Channel 5), and before that from WTNH in New Haven.
*A CONNECTICUT TV station changed hands this week, not that you'd be
likley to notice. WTXX (Channel 20) in Waterbury has been operated
under an LMA by Tribune for some time now. As of this week, Tribune
formally bought the station from Counterpoint Communications, thanks
to an FCC ruling that entering into a duopoly (with Hartford's
WTIC-TV, channel 61) is the only way to keep WTXX economically viable.
The catch? Since Tribune's purchase of Times-Mirror also brought the
Hartford Courant into the family, Tribune has six months to sell
either the paper or one of the TV stations. The company is hoping for
a relaxation of the newspaper-TV cross-ownership rules before that
becomes an issue.
Across town, WVIT (Channel 30) is getting a new leader. NBC is moving
Mark Hoffman from a vice-presidency at CNBC to the VP/GM chair in New
On the college radio scene, Connecticut College's WCNI (91.1 New
London) again applies to move to 90.9 and boost power.
*Not much happening in NEW JERSEY, until you get to Cape May. That's
where WSAX (102.3) dumped its automated smooth jazz last week and
began simulcasting the satellite standards from WMID (1340 Atlantic
*Over in PENNSYLVANIA, Clear Channel makes a strange little purchase,
paying $800,000 for WISL (1480) and WISL-FM (95.3) in Shamokin. That's
a tiny town (and a big dam) in the middle of nowhere, way northeast of
Harrisburg and southwest of Scranton, and we can only imagine that
Clear Channel is thinking of upgrading some nearby AMs (1480
Philadelphia? 1470 Allentown?), or perhaps that they simply had to buy
something this week and this one was convenient... (The recipient of
the Mays family's cash this time is Charles Hagerty's MJR Media.)
Not too far away, silent WCNR (930 Bloomsburg) files to change calls
to WHLM, last seen on the now-silent 550 there, as well as on 106.5
FM, now WFYY. Expect this one back on very soon.
Over in the Harrisburg market, WNCE (92.1 Palmyra) ends its simulcast
with rocker WTPA (93.5 Mechanicsburg) and goes silent, while also
filing to change calls to WWKL, last seen on 99.3 Harrisburg (now CHR
WHKF). Could another oldies station be on the way here? WSOX (96.1 Red
Lion) was already doing oldies, WHBO (92.7 Starview) grabbed the
format when WWKL flipped, and WHYL (960 Carlisle) is doing oldies as
WEEO (103.7 McConnellsburg) adds syndicated Bob and Tom to its
modern-rock format, as does simulcast AM partner WVFC (1530).
Wondering where Sykesville is? We were too. It turns out the little
community is up near Du Bois, and if "Sykesville Broadcasting" has its
way, it will eventually have 95.9A allocated there. This is a piece of
the big move a few years ago that shuffled several allocations in this
corner of northwestern Pennsylvania, including turning the 95.9A that
used to be in Brookville into 105.5A (now WMKX).
LPFM Follies, Part the Third: Edgardo Colon is hit with a "Petition
for Immediate Dismissal with Prejudice" for his inexplicable
application for 88.5 in Philadelphia. If the petition didn't come from
WXPN, which happens to *be* on 88.5 in Philadelphia, well, it should
Finally, we note (sadly) that Wendy's has indeed purchased that
property in Wilkinsburg where Frank Conrad built his 8XK, the ancestor
of today's KDKA. The Conrad garage was dismantled in the spring (we were
there), and now it seems the house will be torn down soon, alas. We'll
be by there again over Labor Day weekend when we visit for the
National Radio Club convention, and we'll let you know what's left
(between bites of our Monterey Chicken sandwich...)
*What was happening in CANADA while we were away? Let's see...Astral
Media applied to add to its Quebec holdings by purchasing CHRD-FM
(105.3 Drummondville) and CFEI-FM (106.5) in St.-Hyacinthe. The CBC
was granted a new Radio Two outlet in New Brunswick, a relay of CBH-FM
(102.7 Halifax) on 103.1 in Mulgrave with 40,500 watts. In
Campbellford, Ontario, CKOL applied to move again, this time from 50
watts on 93.5 to 500 watts on 93.7. CHVD in Dolbeau, Quebec applied to
move from 1230 kHz to 100.3 FM with 49 kilowatts (shutting down its
92.1 relay in St.-Felicien in the process). Little CHIM-FM in Timmins
applied to add a 92.3 transmitter with 1.5 watts in Kapuskasing. In
Newmarket, north of Toronto, CKDX (88.5) asked the CRTC to eliminate
its restriction of no more than 49.9% "hits" from the seventies.
A few new stations to report: We're told CKYC (93.7 Owen Sound) and
CKGB-FM (99.3 Timmins) are both testing. In London, CFCG is the call
for the temporary Canada Games station on 107.7. The owners of CHUC
(1450 Cobourg) have been granted a new FM outlet on 93.3 with 2100
watts. The AC station will not replace the AM, which will stay on the
Two final tidbits: CJFP-FM (103.7 Riviere du Loup, Qc.) has changed
calls to CIEL, the former call on 98.5 Longueuil, now CKOO. And be
glad you're not Jan Pachul: he's been called to a CRTC hearing in
Hull next month to answer charges that he was operating a broadcast
station in Toronto without a license. (We think this was the
neighborhood TV station on channel 15 in the Toronto Beaches
*That's it for this big issue. Sorry we were a bit late getting it
out; it, along with this week's Site of the Week, were delayed by some
problems with our increasingly antiquated computer (anyone have a fast
Pentium they'd like to donate to the cause?) We'll be back on track
next Monday; see you then!
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2001 Scott Fybush
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