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NERW 9/3: Labor Day Update

------------------------------E-MAIL EDITION-----------------------------
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
                            September 3, 2001


*NEW YORK: WEVD Ends Talk Format, WLCL Goes All-Abba
*PENNSYLVANIA: WODE Dumps Oldies, WPKL's In A Pickle
*CANADA: Rogers Buys Telemedia Clusters

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

*We should know better when it comes to taking Labor Day off! This was
a busy weekend around the region for format changes and station sales,
so here's a quick roundup before we head off to the NAB Radio Show in
New Orleans later this week (check fybush.com during the show for
updates from the Big Easy...)

In NEW YORK, WEVD (1050) ended its talk format right on schedule at
midnight Friday night (August 31), wrapping things up with an hour or
so of nostalgia for the seventy-plus years of history under the WEVD
calls (on three separate AM and FM facilities over the years!). ESPN
Radio took over at midnight with a promotional loop that's scheduled
to play until Tuesday morning (Sept. 5), when real programming will
begin. (Since we were in Pittsburgh when WEVD finished its run, we'd
love to hear from anyone who might have been rolling tape that final

Upstate, ESPN gained another affiliate over the weekend, when Citadel
switched WNSS (1260 Syracuse) from a simulcast of soft AC WLTI (105.9)
to all-sports. New calls (rumor says WCUP) are on the way, along with
Syracuse University sports play-by-play this fall.

Here in Rochester, Clear Channel's WLCL (107.3 South Bristol) dropped
its little-noticed 80s-pop format at midnight Sunday night (Sept. 3),
launching into (Mamma Mia!) an all-Abba stunt format as "Abba 107.3,"
complete with sarcastic announcements from "general manager Michael
Doylini" taking potshots at the all-80s format that's still running
across town on Entercom's WBZA (98.9 Rochester), under GM Michael
Doyle. If they only put a tenth of the creativity into the regular
programming that they do on the stunts, this weak-signaled facsimile
of a radio station (it never had any jocks or real promotion during
nine months of 80s music) might even get a listener or two...

Buffalo picked up Opie and Anthony last week, with Infinity placing
the New York-based duo in afternoons on WBUF (92.9), to accompany
Howard Stern in mornings. How much longer, we wonder, until Don and
Mike get added to make this rock station a mostly-talk outlet?

Up in CANADA, the big news came from Standard Broadcasting, which
announced Friday that it will sell 28 of the 60 radio stations it's
still in the process of buying from Telemedia. The deal puts 13 of the
former Telemedia stations in Ontario into the hands of media giant
Rogers (for a reported C$100 million), and 15 stations in Alberta into
the hands of Newcap (for C$39.3 million).  

Here's how it shakes out: in addition to getting a new FM license in
Calgary (which Standard had to sell to stay under ownership caps),
Newcap also ends up with the rest of the former Telemedia group in
Alberta (except for CFMG-FM in Edmonton). 

The bigger prize, though, looks to be the Rogers deal, which includes
CJCL (Fan 590) in Toronto, three stations each in Sudbury, North Bay
and Sault Ste. Marie, two stations in Timmins and one in Orillia. The
Fan becomes a sister station to all-news CFTR (680), as well as to CHR
CISS (Kiss 92.5) and AC CHFI (98.1) - as well as to the
Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays. Could that mean a switch in flagships
for the Jays when their contract with CHUM Group's Team 1050 is up in
two years? Wouldn't surprise us...

(Standard, by the way, keeps AC CJEZ (EZ Rock 97.3) from Tele-Media,
pairing it with news-talk CFRB 1010 and hot AC CKFM (Mix 99.9). The
deals will be reviewed by the CRTC sometime in November.)

While we're in the Golden Horseshoe, we note that classic rock "Y95.3"
(CJXY Hamilton) and dance-CHR "Energy Radio" (CING 107.9 Burlington)
made their frequency swap Friday morning (at 9:53 AM, wouldn't you
know!) Energy is already promoting its new home on "one of Canada's
most powerful FM signals" for listeners in Toronto, an area the 107.9
signal never reached quite as well.

*A quick note from MAINE that the WCLZ calls have returned to 98.9 in
Brunswick, though with no change to the "Point" nickname and modern
AC-ish format that the station's been using as WTPN. The interim home
of the WCLZ calls, 95.5 in Topsham, is now WJJB-FM to match the sports
simulcast with WJJB(AM) (900 Brunswick) and WJAE (1440 Westbrook).

One MASSACHUSETTS note this week: WORC (1310 Worcester) is dropping
its talk format, and until the new format is introduced (September 10,
we're told), it's back to the oldies, with a playlist of pre-Beatles

A few gleanings from our PENNSYLVANIA excursion over the weekend, to
attend the National Radio Club's annual get-together in Pittsburgh:
Keymarket is getting ready to return WPQR (99.3 Uniontown) to the air,
under the new calls of WPKL. The oldies station will be known as
"Pickle 99," and alert listeners could hear a preview of the format
over the weekend on WASP (1130 Brownsville) and WCVI (1340
Connellsville), the latter also returning from a silent period due to
bankruptcy. The 99.3 signal itself was still silent, but we suspect it
will be back any day now.

In the Steel City itself, WPTT (1360 McKeesport) dropped Laura
Schlessinger's show at the beginning of last week. The new schedule at
the talk station (now known as "the Point") begins with Doug Stephan's
syndicated morning show until 8AM, followed by former morning drive
host Jerry Bowyer from 8-11, then by market veterans Lynn Cullen and
Doug Hoerth. Schlessinger moves to Salem's WPIT (730), which drops its
southern gospel format for conservative talk during the day.

(And what of the "huge announcement" KDKA plans to make on Thursday
morning at 8? We hear it just might be the retirement of veteran
morning man John Cigna...) 

On the other end of the state, a surprise format change in the
Allentown market: recent Nassau acquisition WODE (99.9 Easton) dropped
its oldies format of a decade in favor of classic hits as "the River,"
a play, we suppose, on the Delaware River that separates Easton from
neighboring Phillipsburg, N.J. Expect a call change here soon!

*And with that, we're off to New Orleans! Check back on fybush.com
Thursday and Friday for some thoughts on this year's Radio Show, and
we'll be back next week with our full report. See you then!

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

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