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The move creates massive radio-TV combinations in several markets. In
Rochester, WOKR becomes a sister station to Clear Channel's 2 AM/5 FM
group (including WHAM and WVOR). In Syracuse, WIXT joins Clear
Channel's 2 AM/5 FM group that includes WSYR, WHEN, WYYY and WBBS.
In Utica, WUTR will join a 4 AM/5 FM cluster - assuming the WIXT/WUTR
overlap can be maintained under cross-ownership and duopoly
rules. (And indeed, there's word that Clear Channel will have to
divest something in both Syracuse and Bakersfield if this deal goes
through.) In Binghamton, WIVT and WBGH-CA join a 2 AM/4 FM cluster
that includes WINR, WENE and WMRV. The Watertown and Elmira stations
represent Clear Channel's entry into those markets.
The real strength to this deal, though, comes outside the scope of
NERW: Ackerley's outdoor advertising business gives Clear Channel a
much larger presence in that sector in the Boston market, while its
Seattle radio holdings bring Clear Channel Radio into that market for
the first time.
More on the impact of this deal in the weeks and months to come...
*Radio listeners in CANADA's capital city are about to get four new FM
stations on their dial.
The CRTC completed its review of a dozen or so applications for new
FMs in Ottawa/Hull by approving a carefully chosen batch of new
outlets designed to reach the broadest possible range of listeners
(while, perhaps not coincidentally, having little to no effect on the
existing station clusters in the region).
Here's what Ottawa listeners will get within 12 months: On 89.9, the
Newcap group gets 27kW for "The Planet," an English-language station
billed as offering a mix of "dance, Europop, urban and Latin"
music. On 95.7, Gary Farmer's Aboriginal Voices Radio will get an
Ottawa facility to go with its yet-to-be-built Toronto "Jump 106.5"
license. (The CBC objected to this one, citing potential interference
to its CBCO 95.5 in Cornwall; Farmer promised to sign on with 6 kW
instead of the proposed 8 kW and to lower power further if needed.)
Radio 1540, the owner of Toronto's CHIN and CHIN-FM, will put a
similar multilingual outlet on the air at 97.9, with 800 watts. And
Radio Nord, owner of CHOT (Channel 40) and CFGS (Channel 49) in Hull,
will get to put a French-language classical station on the air - but
it will have to find a different frequency from the proposed 97.9.
Down in Belleville, CHCQ (100.1) began its test transmissions this
week from a tower northwest of town. The 27 kW signal is reaching very
nicely across Lake Ontario; we've been listening to "Quinte Country,
Q100" as we've been driving around Rochester the last few days. Full
commercial sign-on will reportedly take place November 1.
In Niagara Falls, the heirs of Keith Dancy won approval to switch
formats on their AM and FM facilities. CJRN (710) will move its oldies
and talk programming to the FM dial, on the facilities at the top of
the Skylon Tower that now belong to CFLZ (105.1). CFLZ, in turn, will
move its tourist-information broadcasts down to 710, with a 10 kW
signal that will reach more of the Niagara Region. (We're mildly
amused by the condition of license for CFLZ that reads, "the licensee
shall broadcast no advertising material;" a lot of the tourist
information we hear on 105.1 seems awfully specific to the very
commercial Casino Niagara!) No word on when the frequency swap will
take place, but we'll be keeping an ear on both spots during our
daily commute to Buffalo for the next few weeks...
*Back on this side of the border, let's start things off in upstate
NEW YORK, where Ed Levine's Galaxy group is adding to its Albany
holdings even before it closes on the purchase of WABY (1400 Albany)
and WKLI (94.5 Ravena). Galaxy is paying $2.4 million to buy WHTR
(93.5 Corinth) from Vox - but the goal isn't to keep serving Glens
Falls with oldies. WHTR holds a construction permit to move south into
the Albany market by moving to 93.7 in Scotia, which sounds to us like
a perfect simulcast partner for the 94.5 Ravena signal, south of
(A Galaxy correction, by the way: we're informed that W249BC near
Syracuse, mentioned in last week's issue, is now licensed to
Mattydale, not Chittenango, and has been simulcasting WZUN 102.1 for a
year or so now. Guess we forgot to tune in the last few times we were
in the Salt City!)
While we're in the Albany market, WZMR (104.9 Altamont) and WAJZ (96.3
Voorheesville) have filed to move a few sticks over up in the
Helderberg Mountains, going from the WXXA-TV (Channel 23) tower down
the hill to the stick of co-owned WYJB (95.5 Albany). Both stations
will drop power slightly, but should end up with better signals over
Albany after the move. Over in the Clear Channel cluster, "Kiss" WKKF
(102.3 Ballston Spa) imports J.B. Wilde from Rochester's WKGS (106.7
Irondequoit) to handle its night-shift voicetracking needs.
Downstate, we're told Home Shopping vanished from WHSE (Channel 68) in
Newark and WHSI (Channel 67) in Smithtown on October 1, replaced with
the low-rent American Independent Network (as seen on an LPTV near
you) until new owner Univision launches its "Telefutura" network in
January. We're still trying to sort out the irony that millions of
viewers in the New York market can't see NBC, ABC or Fox over the air
(reception reports from the Alpine temporary site have been very poor
in places like Brooklyn and Staten Island), they can get 5 megawatts'
worth of the Lucy Show all day long.
You can't hear any of its four "quadcast" signals in midtown Manhattan
very well, but Big City Radio's "Y107" (WYNY 107.1 Briarcliff Manor,
et al) moved its studios from Hawthorne up in Westchester County down
to 110 E. 42nd Street, 13th Floor this week.
Clear Channel's proposed $3 million purchase of current LMA partners
WTSX (96.7) and WDLC (1490) in Port Jervis received an FCC flag this
week, to give the Commission time to examine the overlap between this
group and Clear Channel clusters in nearby Sussex, N.J. and the Hudson
A very happy anniversary, even if it went largely unremarked, to New
York's WABC (770). It was eighty years ago Sunday (October 7) that
Westinghouse put WJZ on the air from its plant in Newark, N.J. The
station ended up in RCA's hands for twenty years, as flagship of the
NBC Blue Network, then as the flagship of the new ABC network, the
biggest top-40 radio station in the world, and, for the last two
decades, one of America's leading talk stations. Congratulations!
Heading back upstate, it appears that Binghamton's NBC affiliate has
changed channels. The former WBGH-LP (Channel 8) received a license to
cover this week for its new "class A" operation on channel 20, so mark
it down as WBGH-CA (Channel 20). This is the latest chapter in a
strange history that began when full-power WICZ (Channel 40) dropped
NBC for Fox six years ago. Elmira's NBC outlet, WETM (Channel 18)
bought LPTV W08CA as a Binghamton relay to keep the Peacock reaching
Binghamton, and when WETM was sold to Ackerley (owner of Binghamton
ABC outlet WIVT) a few years ago, WBGH began running WIVT's local news
along with its own syndicated shows and NBC programming. (And speaking
of WIVT, we hear its own local morning show will soon be gone, along
with those at sister stations WUTR in Utica and WWTI in Watertown, in
favor of a networked morning show out of "hub" station WIXT in
Way upstate, NERW traveling correspondent Gavin Burt checked in to
clear up some of the confusion regarding WLPW (105.5 Lake Placid): In
the evenings, WLPW and sister station WRGR (102.3 Tupper Lake) are
indeed simulcasting the Jones classic rock satellite service. During
the day, though, WLPW maintains its rather diverse mix of AAA-ish
Over in Buffalo, an informal objection has been filed against M&M
Community Development's inane application for an LPFM on 98.5 in
Buffalo; if it were up to us, the FCC would fine applicants who waste
its limited resources with impossible applications like this, less
than 10 miles from full class B WKSE (98.5 Niagara Falls). (Actually,
this application is deficient in another way: the same group, skirting
one-to-an-owner rules by appending "Buffalo Branch" or what have you
to its name, has more than a dozen other applications for LPFMs now
Here in Rochester, your editor can finally watch "Star Trek:
Enterprise" on cable, should he be so inclined: local UPN affiliate
WBGT-LP (Channel 40) has finally worked things out after years of
sparring with Time Warner Cable over carriage. WBGT is leasing the
prime time hours on leased-time cable channel 98 for its programming,
which should get UPN into a lot of homes that can't see WBGT's
low-power signal (or its relay, W26BZ in Victor).
We'll close out our New York report with an obituary: Nelson Guyette,
best known to Rochester listeners as the longtime program director and
station manager at WSAY/WRTK (1370), died Thursday (Oct. 4) in
Rochester. Guyette's career also included Rochester stops at WNYR
(680, now 990) and Syracuse stops at WNTQ (93.1), WFBL (1390, now
WDCW), WSEN (1050/92.1) and WMCR (1600/106.3 Oneida). Funeral services
for Guyette were held Friday in Rochester. Guyette was 68.
*Heading over to MASSACHUSETTS, the folks at WNBP (1450 Newburyport)
are putting up a new tower at their existing tower site across the
river in Salisbury. You can check out the pictures at
<http://www.wnbp.com/towerproject.html>, and we'll be back up there
sometime soon to see it for ourselves.
Down on the Cape, Ernie Boch's WDVT (93.5 Harwich Port) is back to an
alternative format after two weeks as a sports/hot talk outlet.
We're told WVXN-CA (Channel 24) in Boston is now running MTV2's LPTV
service (the remains of what used to be known as the Box, and a
distinctly different service from the MTV2 cable channel).
And we hear WBPS (890 Dedham) will be the home of CNet Radio within
the next few weeks...stay tuned.
*Up in MAINE, the flip to The WB happened on schedule Sunday (10/7) at
Portland's WPXT (Channel 51), but viewers in Bangor didn't get a
replacement Fox affiliate right away. It seems WCKD-LP (Channel 30)
can't get out of its contract with UPN immediately, so it's not going
Fox for a few months - and that, in turn, caused Bangor's cable system
to replace WCKD with the same national FoxNet feed that the rest of
Maine is now getting.
The FCC flagged Clear Channel's proposed purchase of WSKW (1160
Skowhegan) and WHQO (107.9 Skowhegan) from Mountain Wireless while it
examines market-concentration issues in the Waterville/Augusta market.
And in Portland, WPOR (101.9) PD Rick Jordan left (reportedly for
personal reasons) just four days after arriving from Syracuse's WBBS;
WMGX PD Ethan Minton is covering things down the hall at WPOR until a
permanent replacement can be named.
*A promotion in NEW HAMPSHIRE: At Vox's WJYY (105.5 Concord),
A.J. Dukette adds APD/MD duties to afternoon drive.
*In VERMONT, just one bit of TV news this week, as the Three Angels
Broadcasting Network (3ABN) is granted a construction permit for a new
LPTV in Windsor. W22CS will operate on channel 22, and we wonder if it
will interfere with any of the area's cable operators who carry ABC
affiliate WVNY, channel 22 in Burlington.
*Congratulations to the broadcasters of RHODE ISLAND, who raised about
$150,000 Friday in a telethon for the New York relief effort that
brought nearly every TV and radio station in the state
together. Operating from the pledge-drive phone bank at WSBE (Channel
36), the drive included participation from every TV station in the
state, the big Citadel and Clear Channel clusters in Providence,
Providence's WPMZ, WRNI and WBRU, WARV in Warwick and WADK in Newport.
*A CONNECTICUT radio station changed owners and formats this
week. Otto Miller's People's Broadcasting Network closed on its
purchase of WDJZ (1530 Bridgeport) last Monday, and on Tuesday (10/2)
the station dropped its Portuguese programming in favor of a mix of
R&B, reggae and block programming. WDJZ also moved to new studios at
177 State Street, a long-ago home of WICC (600 Bridgeport).
Speaking of WDJZ, the little station was once home to the trial run of
Al Ham's "Music of Your Life" format, and we're sorry to report that
Al Ham died Thursday in Tampa after a battle with cancer. Ham was
known for keeping a close eye on his format at early affiliates such
as WAVZ in New Haven and WMAS in Springfield; he also composed theme
music, including the famous "Eyewitness News" theme.
On the TV side, LIN Broadcasting filed this week to turn its LMA of
WCTX (Channel 59) in New Haven into a full-fledged duopoly with WTNH
(Channel 8), which has operated the station ever since it signed on
(as WTVU) a few years ago. No word on how much K-W Television, which
had the channel 59 construction permit for years and years before
finally building the station (the original CP for WTVU was issued in
1959!) will get for the license.
Up in Hartford, WFSB (Channel 3) loses its station manager, as Steve
Sabato packs up the warm clothes and heads for the Flint/Saginaw
market to be VP/GM at co-owned WNEM (Channel 5) in Bay City, Michigan.
*The big news out of PENNSYLVANIA, if you can call it that, is a
Monday-morning format adjustment at Philadelphia's "Oldies 98." WOGL
(98.1) is modifying its sound to emphasize the soulful 60s and 70s
tracks that defined the "Philly sound," whil modifying its air
schedule to put Big Ron O'Brien on afternoons instead of the veteran
Jim Nettleton. Don Cannon stays on mornings, followed by Christy
Springfield at 9 and Mike St. John at noon. Returning to WOGL as part
of the shift are Hy Lit and Harvey Holiday's Sunday-night specialty
Up in Scranton, say goodbye to the "Bear" active rock format at WXBE
(97.9 Hazleton) and WXAR (95.7 Olyphant); the Citadel stations are now
doing classic hard rock as "Z Rock," and we're told they've stopped
carrying Howard Stern in the process.
In Central Pennsylvania, oldies and the WWKL calls reunited this week
on the 92.1 Palmyra signal that used to be WNCE, simulcasting the rock
format of WTPA (93.5 Mechanicsburg). The new WWKL ("Fun 92.1") has a
much weaker signal in Harrisburg than the original WWKL (the Clear
Channel 99.3 signal that's now CHR "Kiss" WHKF), not to mention
competition from WSOX (96.1 Red Lion) and the new WHBO (92.7
Down the road in Columbia (on the banks of the Susquehanna River
between Lancaster and York), look for WVZN (1580) to go Spanish when
it's sold to Esfuerzo de Union Cristiana. The Susquehanna Association
for the Blind and Visually Impaired is getting $165,000 for the
*That's it for this week's news. We're back on schedule with our Tower
Site of the Week updates on fybush.com as we recount this summer's Big
Trip adventures; tune in Wednesday as we visit the legendary WNAX in
Yankton, South Dakota.
And if you haven't done it yet, don't wait too long to order your very
own full-color Tower Site 2002 Calendar! This high-quality, glossy
calendar will give you a different exciting tower site to enjoy on
your wall each month in 2002 - but you need to place your order by
October 29 to make sure we print one for you. (They make great gifts,
Your Tower Site 2002 Calendar costs just $15 postpaid to US addresses
(NY residents please add appropriate sales tax), US$20 postpaid to
Canada. Send your check, payable to "Scott Fybush," to 92 Bonnie Brae
Ave., Rochester NY 14618, and we'll ship you a calendar (or two or
three!) in November, in plenty of time for the holidays.
Buying a calendar helps keep NERW and Tower Site of the Week coming to
you all year, so don't delay...thanks!
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2001 Scott Fybush
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