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NERW 11/12: Montreal Gets X-Bander
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
November 12, 2001
IN THIS ISSUE:
*CANADA: Montreal Gets X-Bander
*MAINE: New Public Radio Outlet Signs On
*MASSACHUSETTS: WCAT Returns
-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------
*Last week, we had no news from CANADA...so why not start off this
week with news of a new AM outlet for Montreal?
The new 1000 watt station at 1610 kHz will be the first full-time
expanded band AM station in Canada (the now-defunct "portable" CHEV
1610 Etobicoke, Ont. was the first overall), and it will run a
multilingual format aimed at Francophone Montrealers of Haitian, Latin
American and African descent.
"CPAM Radio Union.com, Inc." is the licensee for the new station
authorized this week by the CRTC, and we can tell you we know nothing
whatsoever about them - but we'll pass along anything we find out!
*Toronto viewers will soon get another Buffalo station on cable, now
that the CRTC has approved an application by Rogers Cable to carry
WNYO (Channel 49) on its digital tier. WNYO will be the third WB
affiliate for most cable subscribers, who already get WPIX from New
York and KTLA from Los Angeles as part of premium cable tiers. (NERW
wonders: how soon will Rogers apply to carry WNLO, channel 23, once it
makes the switch from indie to UPN next year?)
Toronto's CISS (92.5) wants to do something about the interference it
suffers from Rochester's WBEE-FM (92.5) across the lake: it's asked
the CRTC for permission to boost its signal from First Canadian Place
to 9870 watts (from 4700 now). We've been listening to the
interference on 92.5 at the midway point of our near-daily commute to
Buffalo the last few months; will WBEE object to a move that could cut
into its Genesee and Orleans County listenership even more?
Up north in Barrie, CFJB (95.7) wants to drop power from 96.3 kW to 70
kW and move its transmitter 10 km west, which we think will put it on
the big CKVR (Channel 3) tower. Even further north, Haliburton
Broadcasting has won approval of its purchase of CKLP (103.3 Parry
Sound) from Playland Broadcasting. The C$2,025,000 purchase price will
come, in part, from Haliburton's sale of CHNO (103.9 Sudbury) to
In the Quebec City suburb of Levis, CFOM (102.9) wants to increase its
power from 3597 watts to a rounder 16,800.
And out east in the Maritimes, Maritime Broadcasting System wants to
move CKEN (1490 Kentville, N.S.) to 94.9 MHz with 100 kW.
*We'll slip back across the border, logically enough, in MAINE, where
Maine Public Broadcasting puts its newest signal on the air Tuesday
(Nov. 13). WMEP (90.5 Camden) will serve an area of the mid-coast
that's had spotty reception from the existing transmitters in
Portland, Bangor and Waterville.
We noticed two interesting applications from Clear Channel in the Pine
Tree State, and we're guessing they have something to do with the
technicalities of owning the overlapping clusters the company holds in
the Bangor and Augusta areas. WWBX (97.1 Bangor) wants to reduce its
power to 6500 watts from the present 7500, while WBYA (105.5
Islesboro) wants to cut back to 20 kW from 25 kW. If we were experts
on such matters, we'd suppose that those moves will mean WWBX and WBYA
will overlap with fewer nearby Clear Channel outlets, thus allowing
the company to own more total signals in the area...
(If the whole thing seems just a bit silly to you, you're not alone;
the FCC opened up a Notice of Potential Rule Making this week to
address its policies on market definitions and, just maybe, end some
of these games.)
*One NEW HAMPSHIRE note: Alex James comes to WHEB (100.3 Portsmouth)
on November 21 as PD, according to AllAccess, arriving from WYNF down
in Sarasota, Fla.
*Across the river in VERMONT, Bob Vinikoor buys WNBX (1480
Springfield) from Bob and Shirley Wolf, for a reported $75,000. We
suspect Vinikoor will use WNBX to relay the talk programming of his
WNTK-FM (99.7 New London NH) into the lower reaches of the Connecticut
Up at the Sugarloaf ski area, WDEV-FM (96.1 Warren) raises power from
140 watts to 400 watts - from an impressive 694 meters above average
*Our travels took us, very briefly and for non-radio reasons, back to
MASSACHUSETTS last week, and we can tell you that WCAT (700 Orange)
beat the deadline and made it back on the air after nearly a year of
We heard the station on Friday running a simulcast of sister oldies
WCAT-FM (99.9 Athol), with fairly mediocre audio quality but a decent
signal as far out as I-91 south of Greenfield. There's no word on what
Citadel's long-term plans for the facility might be, if in fact there
are any at all.
(One other Pioneer Valley note: WHAI-FM in Greenfield becomes, legally
speaking, WHAI(FM) this week. NERW suspects that even our obsessive
readers don't much care about anything this minute, but you never
Back in the Boston market, we still heard the Spanish-language tunes
on WBPS (890 Dedham), but the word is that CNet radio will be arriving
there on December 5.
One we'd neglected to mention in the last couple of issues: Scott
Brody is out as GM of WXRV (92.5 Haverhill) as of a month ago; we
haven't heard of a replacement being named yet.
Out on Cape Cod, Peter Maxx is the latest departure from the Boch
group; he had been PD of WDVT (93.5 Harwich Port) for the last year or
And we're pleased to report that former Boston talker Gene Burns has
returned to the air out in San Francisco (at KGO 810) after a
two-month absence caused by a bacterial infection he picked up while
vacationing in Tahiti.
*We heard RHODE ISLAND's Radio Disney affiliate running an "illegal
legal" while we were in Boston: WDDZ (550) is licensed, of course, to
Pawtucket and not to Providence, but you'd never know it to hear the
*One CONNECTICUT note: Joan Dylan is actually the new midday host at
WRCH (100.5 New Britain), as of this week.
*We'll start our NEW YORK news by observing that no New York City
mayor in history has had his own radio station - until now. But don't
expect Mike Bloomberg to sell WBBR (1130 New York) or the rest of his
Bloomberg, L.P. empire; despite reports that competitors such as
Thomson (which, being British, would have to sell the radio property)
have been sniffing around, the word from 499 Park Avenue is that the
company is now being operated at a sufficient arm's-length from
Hizzoner-to-be that it won't be on the block any time soon.
Meanwhile, the New York City schools won't be handing the keys of
WNYE-FM (91.5) and WNYE-TV (Channel 25) to competitors WNYC (820/93.9)
and WNET (Channel 13), after all. The school board didn't approve
Chancellor Harold Levy's plan to let the bigger public broadcasters
take over management of the stations; instead, WNYE will stay in
school hands as part of a broadband platform for delivering
educational material to schools.
Clear Channel has named Andrew Rosen its regional vice president for
the "New York trading area," meaning he'll now oversee the company's
clusters in the New York City, Nassau/Suffolk, Poughkeepsie and
northern New Jersey markets.
A belated "happy birthday" to Dennis Jackson's WRIP (97.9 Windham),
which celebrated its second anniversary last weekend with another fun
remote from across the street at Jimmy O'Connor's Windham Mountain
Inn. Alas, we were unable to make this year's bash; we'll be looking
forward to a return visit for anniversary number three next year...
Up in Albany, Clear Channel's WXXA-TV (Channel 23) will be tweaking
its signal a bit; it's won approval to install a new Andrew
directional antenna at its Helderberg Mountain site, with a peak
visual ERP of 3675 kW (at 363 meters AAT) towards Albany and a null to
the southwest, away from the market's population.
Over at Albany Broadcasting, Chris Holmberg gets promoted from music
director/PM drive jock to PD at WYJB (95.5 Albany), replacing Mike
Morgan, who's now corporate VP for programming.
Clear Channel's Binghamton rocker has changed antenna sites. WKGB
(92.5 Susquehanna PA) is now WKGB (92.5 Conklin NY), running 1450
watts at 206 meters AAT from the WINR (680 Binghamton) site up above
the psychiatric center on Windy Hill, east of downtown. The new site
is about 10 miles closer to town than the old one out near Windsor, wo
we expect to hear 'KGB a lot better when we next visit the market in a
few weeks. (Yes, we have family in Binghamton; is there any other
reason to go there in December?)
Up north, Northeast Broadcasting and Steve Silberberg make their first
venture into the Empire State with the $150,000 purchase of WLFE (1070
Plattsburgh) from Alex McEwing's Family Broadcasting; this replaces
the LMA between the AM station and Northeast's WLFE-FM (102.3
St. Albans VT).
Our North Country correspondent Mike Roach checked in to let us know
that WMSA (1340 Massena) morning drive host Sandy Cook was elected
town supervisor in Massena, while former WVNC (96.7 Canton, now WYSI)
morning man and owner Dave Button was elected to the town council in
Mike also let us know that Aaron Brillbeck, who started his radio
career up at Ogdensburg's WPAC/WSLB before going to Clear Channel's
WHAM in Rochester and WSYR in Syracuse, is now anchoring the morning
and noon newscasts on WWTI (Channel 50) in Watertown, which will
itself soon be owned by Clear Channel. (The Federal Trade Commission
approved the purchase of Ackerley this week; the FCC still has to rule
on the deal, which is expected to require Clear Channel to spin some
of its radio or TV holdings in central New York.)
Out here in Western New York, Rob Lucas settles in as the new morning
host at Buffalo's WTSS (102.5), returning Roger Christian to middays
and PD Sue O'Neal to afternoons.
And former WPXY (97.9 Rochester) night jock "Java Joel" is about to
return to the Flower City, through the magic of voice tracking and
Clear Channel. He'll start next week at Chicago's WKSC (103.5), where
he'll also do tracks for sister "Kiss" outlet WKGS (106.7
Irondequoit), which just happens to be WPXY's big CHR competition in
Rochester. Ain't radio fun?
*A few Radio People on the Move in PENNSYLVANIA: Jeff "J.D." Grainer
is out as overnight jock/morning producer-sidekick at WLAN-FM (96.9
Lancaster), while WDAS-FM (105.3 Philadelphia) PD Steve Williams is also
out. And we're sorry to report the death of KDKA (1020 Pittsburgh)
talk-show producer Chris Bailey, on November 6. Bailey, who was just
37, was suffering from breast cancer.
Up in the hills northeast of Williamsport, WQZI-FM (103.9 Laporte) may
be able to get its signal out just a bit better; it's been granted a
32-watt, highly directional, on-channel booster in Glen Mawr, about
four miles south of Laporte. The booster will aim its signal out
towards Hughesville and Muncy, in the general direction of
Williamsport (though it still won't have much, if any, signal there).
*That's it for another week...except for a reminder that the Tower
Site 2002 Calendar is about to go to the printer, but there's still
time to get your order in. This 8.5-by-11 inch, four-color, glossy
calendar features more than a dozen of our favorite tower pictures,
and it's yours in time for the holidays if you order now. Send check
or money order payable to Scott Fybush to 92 Bonnie Brae Ave.,
Rochester NY 14618; just $15 postpaid in the US (NYS residents please
add sales tax), US$20 postpaid to Canada.
And if you've been keeping track, you might have noticed that this
week marks our first anniversary of publication here at fybush.com (on
the heels of more than six years of publication on a variety of
mailing lists, newsgroups and the Boston Radio Archives).
We're grateful for all the support you've shown us in our attempt to
make this column self-sustaining, and we're pleased to report that
there's still a roof over our heads, gas in the tank of the
NERW-mobile, and even a new computer sitting on the desk here at NERW
Central waiting to be hooked up and configured.
But we can't do it without your help, so if it's been a year now since
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Thanks again for your support over the past year; we look forward to
another exciting year of radio and TV coverage here in NERW-land, and
your contributions to make that possible.
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2001 Scott Fybush
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