[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
NERW 1/7 and 1/14
--------------------------NorthEast Radio Watch--------------------------
January 7 & 14, 2002
IN THIS ISSUE:
*NEW JERSEY: Is WKNJ Gone for Good?
*RHODE ISLAND: WOON's Big Tower Dispute
*MASSACHUSETTS: WNEF Signs On
-----------------------------by Scott Fybush-----------------------------
EDITOR'S NOTE: A few housekeeping details before we get the
mailing-list version of NERW back up and running for 2002. First of
all, if you haven't yet checked out the NERW Year in Review, it's
still available at www.fybush.com. Be sure to check out the Year-End
Rant, just published today. Your feedback is welcome on the Rant
Message Board too...just follow the links from Year in Review.
Many thanks to those of you who have generously donated in support of
this column. If you haven't yet done so, it's easier than ever; credit
cards are now accepted at www.fybush.com/support.html for your
convenience. Please take a moment to visit that page, if you haven't
lately, to see why your support is so important for continued
publication of NERW.
And with that, we catch up with the last two issues of NERW:
JANUARY 7, 2002:
*We'll start this year's news out in Lakeside, NEW JERSEY - or is it
Harriman, New York? In any event, the long-dormant construction permit
for the 550 kHz frequency in that suburban area northwest of New York
City may finally be on its last legs.
Under the call WKNJ, this CP has lingered for years, unable to find a
site on the New Jersey side of the line where a directional array
could be built, and finally resorting to a plan to move across the
state line and diplex with WRKL (910 New City) at its Rockland County
Just before the holidays, though, the FCC denied WKNJ additional time
to construct the station. Permittee Steven Wendell was granted a
three-year construction permit to replace his expired CP in December,
1998 (this on a CP that was originally granted back in 1998), and his
request for additional time met with opposition from WLUX, the Long
Island station just down the dial at 540.
WLUX wants to add a second tower for higher power directional
operation, and it appears that task would be easier without having to
protect WKNJ's 250-watt daytime signal up in Rockland.
It doesn't look like this fight is over, though; Wendell filed an
application for special temporary authority, apparently to begin
testing from the WRKL site, and while the FCC dismissed it as moot,
we're fairly certain we haven't heard the end of WKNJ yet.
*More news from NEW YORK: We took a ride out to East Barre, Orleans
County last week just to see whether the Calvary folks have really
built WBJA (102.1 Albion), and the answer is an unqualified "yes."
This brand new tower, complete with two-bay directional antenna,
appears to be all ready to go, but WBJA wasn't yet on the air when we
drove out there December 29. 102.1 was hardly an empty frequency in
Albion, though; parked at the base of the tower, we were getting a
city-grade signal from Toronto's CFNY, just across the lake on
We know the FCC and CRTC have decided to abandon essentially all
protection for FM signals across the border, but they can't repeal the
laws of physics - and we suspect WBJA won't be terribly pleased with
all the signal from CFNY wiping its own signal out in much of Orleans
County and beyond. (On the other hand, this was essentially a
throwaway allocation; it began as 95.5A, but then-Jacor, after
applying for and winning the CP, had it moved to 102.1 to allow WNVE
on 95.1 to move its antenna closer to Rochester. With that
accomplished, Clear Channel then donated the 102.1 CP to Calvary.)
One more note on this one before we move on: The FCC seems to be
confused about what channel WBJA is really on; several database
entries put it on 89.9, but we believe that's an inadvertent typo.
A few stations on the move: in Buffalo, the Citadel cluster (WGRF,
WEDG and WHTT) has vacated the old WGR building at 464 Franklin Street
in favor of new digs at 50 James E. Casey Drive, just off Dingens
Street and I-190. Meanwhile down in Binghamton, Clear Channel's
cluster (WINR, WENE, WKGB, WMXW, WMRV and WBBI) has left behind the
old Credit Union Center in Endicott, crossing the river to new digs at
320 N. Jensen Road (and yes, that's Jensen with two "e"s, despite the
way several other trade publications have listed it), Vestal NY
13850. Clear Channel's new phone number is 607-584-5800.
Albany bureau chief Gavin Burt checked in to let us know he's now
hearing the calls "WRCZ" on Galaxy's "94 Rock," the former WKLI (94.5
Ravena). It's not shown yet in the FCC database, but we expect that
call change to show up there soon.
Downstate, we already mentioned (in last week's NERW Year in Review,
still available at www.fybush.com) Matt Ross' departure as general
manager of Clear Channel's WAXQ (104.3 New York); now it appears he
may be headed across the Hudson to run WKXW (New Jersey 101.5) for
Out on Long Island, Phyllis Rose changes GM chairs, moving from WTHE
(1520 Mineola) to WNYG (1440 Babylon), which dropped its short-lived
simulcast with Chinese-language WNSW (1430 Newark NJ) New Year's Eve
to pick up a Christian contemporary format similar to that of the old
WLIX (540 Islip, now WLUX).
And we note the passing of Casper Citron, who died of liver failure
January 1. Citron spent 43 years on New York's airwaves (at the old
WRFM, WNYC-TV, WQXR and most recently weekends at WOR) interviewing
just about everyone of note in the Big Apple. Citron was 82.
*A quick CONNECTICUT note: as Univision's new Telefutura network gets
ready to launch next week, we note that its affiliate list includes
WUTH-CA (Channel 47) in Hartford, which had been a relay of
Univision's WXTV (Channel 41) down in New York.
*Here's a strange story from RHODE ISLAND: the city council of
Woonsocket is seeking $60,000 in back royalties from WOON (1240), to
close out the station's longtime lease of tower land from the city.
Until November, WOON used a tower located next to the city's water
tanks just south of Logee Street; the Woonsocket Call reports that the
station has apparently failed to pay the city the money it's due from
three wireless companies that lease space on the tower.
The Call reports that WOON told the city it's willing to hand the
leases over to settle the matter. And here's where things really get
strange: WOON tells the Call it moved November 5 to a diplex on the
Diamond Hill Road tower of WNRI (1380), though there's no indication
of even an STA for the move on the FCC database.
The city is also asking WOON for $56,000 to relocate the guy wires for
its old tower to allow a new water tank to be built on the site.
The Call article also claims former WOON (and WNRI) owner Keating
Willcox died last year; we knew he had been in poor health but had
seen no reports of his death, nor have we seen any filings to transfer
his last remaining station, WNSH Beverly, to an estate. Anyone know
more about this?
*We'll begin our MASSACHUSETTS report out west, where Antonio and
Helena Gois are adding a second station to their Spanish-language
broadcast group in Springfield. They're buying WSPR (1270 Springfield)
from Edmund Dinis to add to their existing WACM (1490 West
Springfield), for an undisclosed amount.
Dinis, the Portuguese-language broadcaster who owns WJFD (97.3) in New
Bedford, bought WSPR a few years ago, and we think the idea was to buy
some breathing room for a possible move of his now-dead CP for WLAW on
1270 in Fairhaven. That never happened, and with WLAW now deleted, we
can see why WSPR went on the block. No word of any possible
programming changes at WSPR, which has been Spanish for years anyway.
Just down the dial at 1250, WARE (1250) over in Ware is bringing some
English back to its schedule after several years programming in
Spanish in an attempt to serve Springfield and Worcester. WARE hired
police officer Joseph LaFlower to host "Talk Back America" from 2-4 PM
weekdays, following a noon "Sound Off" hour with former WARE host
Mitch Gilbert. LaFlower will also do "Sound Off" at noon on Saturdays.
Over in Worcester, WXLO (104.5 Fitchburg) introduced its new night
jock, "The New Guy" (late of WQSX) by having him play the same song
over and over during his first 7-midnight shift last Thursday. "Get
the Party Started" was the track, we're told...
Another format change on Cape Cod: WTWV (101.1 Mashpee) dropped its
80s pop just before the new year to go oldies. No word of any call
change yet at this oft-changing signal.
And up on the North Shore, WUMB has been testing its new signal. WNEF
(91.7 Newburyport) will have its inaugural broadcast at 3 PM, Sunday,
January 13, with special guests Cheryl Hoenemeyer, Cormac McCarthy and
Taylor and Jake Armerding. The transmitter is located at the Adelphia
Cable tower in Amesbury; it'll bring WUMB's folk signal to an area
north of Cape Ann that's never heard the station before, while
protecting co-channel WMWM (91.7 Salem) to the south. The calls, by
the way, stand for "We're New England Folk."
*One LPFM grant to report in NEW HAMPSHIRE; Franklin Pierce College in
Rindge will get 100 watts on 105.3.
*Viewers in southern MAINE without cable won't be without the Super
Bowl, even though the area hasn't had a Fox affiliate since WPXT
(Channel 51) switched to WB last year. (We'd love to hear from anyone
who taped that change, by the way; we'd heard from a few of you who
were planning to do so but then failed to follow up on our end!)
WGME (Channel 13) in Portland, a CBS affiliate, will carry the game
later this month, shifting CBS prime-time programming over to UPN
affiliate (and WPXT sister station) WPME (Channel 35). No word yet on
who, if anyone, will bring the game to Bangor.
Allan Weiner is once again taking control of WREM (710 Monticello);
he's filed to buy the station back from Dr. Benito B. Rish. Weiner has
always been involved with WREM; it shares space with his shortwave
outlet, WBCQ, on an antenna-laden property near Monticello.
*Just one note from CANADA this week: we heard a rumor that CHUC (1450
Cobourg) is applying to move to 1580 with 10 kilowatts day and
night. That would make CHUC a local signal into Rochester (it's
already audible here under local WWWG 1460) by day, and a potent
signal across the northeast at night on a channel that's been largely
vacant since CBJ in Chicoutimi, Quebec moved to FM. CHUC also holds a
construction permit to put a new FM signal (separate from the AM) on
the air at 93.3.
*Down in PENNSYLVANIA, the door is spinning again at WLCE (104.5
Philadelphia), where operations manager Gerry DeFrancesco has
departed, replaced by Brian Bridgman, PD of sister station WIOQ
(102.1), who adds duties at "Alice" to his roster. First move:
bringing veteran Philly voice Chris Knight to mornings at WLCE,
replacing the departed Glenn Kalina.
Over in Shamokin, Clear Channel changes the calls of "Bill Country"
simulcast WISL-FM (95.3) to WBLJ-FM.
And across the state line in Ohio, it's the end of religion on WHLO
(640 Akron), as Clear Channel closes on its $4.5 million purchase of
the signal. It's simulcasting CHR WKDD (98.1 Akron) for now, and we
hear a site move is planned that would put WHLO closer to Cleveland.
JANUARY 14, 2002:
*Quick - what's the most powerful AM station in MAINE? The answer to
that seemingly simple question has changed in just the last few weeks,
thanks to a big facility upgrade at a little station in Rumford, up
north of Portland.
The 1000-watt daytimer on 790 (later adding 21 watts at night) spent
most of its quiet life as WRUM, changing calls a few years ago to WLLB
when it was purchased by J.J. Jeffrey. Late last year, Jeffrey sold
WLLB to Richard Gleason's Mountain Valley Broadcasting, which moved
some calls around, giving Rumford the WTME calls from 1240 in
Lewiston, which became WCNM.
But Jeffrey did something else while he owned 790: he filed an
application to move the station down the dial to 780 and boost power
to 10 kilowatts daytime, still non-directional. And that's just what
WTME did on Christmas Eve, surprising DXers, and half of Portland,
with a signal that's now tied for the most powerful in the Pine Tree
State, at least by day. (Only Skowhegan's WSKW and Gorham's WMTW were
already using 10 kW daytime, and WMTW is directional.)
WTME still drops down to flea-power (18 watts) at night, which is
problematic this time of year, when the sun's down before 5 PM, but
during the day, it's now being heard as far away as Boston (and by
DXers as far as Ontario!) with religion and talk programming,
simulcast with WCNM (1240 Lewiston) and WKTQ (1450 South Paris).
*Other MAINE news? Sure...down in Portland, Glori Marie Shanda started
today (Jan. 14) as morning co-host, music director and midday jock at
WPOR (101.9 Portland). Shanda comes to WPOR from a stint as music
director and morning jock at Entercom's 80s "Buzz" (WBZJ/WBZH) in
*Over in NEW HAMPSHIRE, we can tell you what the call change at WBNC-FM
in Conway accomplished: the station now known as WVMJ (104.5) is
running an AC format as "Magic," and we hear it's being simulcast on
the former WBNC (1050), now WXMT.
*The FCC approved the transfer of WBTN (1370 Bennington) from Robert
Howe to Southern VERMONT College. It's a donation, with no money
changing hands as the struggling station becomes an educational tool
for the college.
*In MASSACHUSETTS, Garry Armstrong is fighting his dismissal from
Boston's WHDH-TV (Channel 7). The veteran reporter, who started at
channel 7 three decades, three owners and three callsigns ago, is
filing a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against
Discrimination, saying the NBC affiliate fired him because of his race
(he's black), his age (he's 59) and his disability (he's almost
completely deaf). Armstrong was fired last October, on the same week
WHDH cancelled its long-running "Urban Update" program, and while
protests brought the show back, they haven't restored Armstrong's job.
Speaking of the "old" channel 7, WNAC-TV, one of its most colorful
characters died this week. Anchor Jack Cole, who'd been at WBZ-TV as
well, was himself fired from channel 7 back in the late seventies
after going to a commercial break with the tease, "More alleged news
in a minute."
Cole moved to Florida shortly after his rare experiment with honesty
in broadcasting, and he died of brain cancer there last Tuesday
(Jan. 8) at age 63.
One bit of radio news this week: David Duran moves from assistant
music director to music director at WFHN (107.1 Fairhaven) down in New
Bedford; he's still doing afternoons at Fun 107 as well.
*From New Bedford it's just a short drive to Woonsocket, RHODE ISLAND,
where we can offer some clarification to the WOON (1240) tower dispute
we began reporting last week.
First things first: Keating Willcox, the former owner of WOON and
crosstown WNRI (1380), is alive and well. We're told he's completely
recovered from the illness that left him near death last year, and
he's still running WNSH (1570 Beverly) up on the North Shore. (We also
hear he'll be sending the Woonsocket Call a nice photo of himself laid
out in a bed of flowers to, er, thank them for pronouncing him dead in
As for that tower dispute: WOON owner Dave Richards tells NERW the
problem began when he sold WOON to Willcox back in 1998. A
misunderstanding between the two, Richards says, led to the city of
Woonsocket not being paid the money it was owed from leases on the
tower, which sits on city land.
By the time Richards bought WOON back from Willcox a year later and
found out the royalties had never been paid, he tells NERW, "the
partnership (that had owned WOON) was dissolved and the money to pay
it was gone."
A month later, the city told WOON it would have to move from the
city-owned site where its tower sat. A proposed new site fell through
for political reasons, so WOON entered into an agreement with WNRI to
diplex on its tower on Diamond Hill Road.
Richards tells NERW he then offered the city the old tower and
$400,000 in future lease payments from its tenants to make up for the
unpaid royalties from 1998-99. In exchange, the plan was for Richards
to pay to move the tower's guy wires (to allow a new water tower to be
built on Washington Street).
Then Willcox became ill and sold WNRI, throwing a wrench into the
plan. Richards tells NERW the station's new owners didn't want WOON
diplexing there, and the result was a court battle that sapped most of
his cash resources, including the money set aside to move the guy
wires on the old tower.
WOON finally did make its move last November (though we're still
unable to find any record of it in the FCC database), and Richards
says he's working to borrow money to move the guy wires and satisfy
*Meanwhile, on the TV side, there's a new look and an old name to the
newscasts on WPRI-TV (Channel 12) in Providence. The "Eyewitness News"
moniker returned to the CBS affiliate's newscasts this week after an
absence of several years; the name is also used on the 10 PM newscast
the station produces for Fox LMA partner WNAC (Channel 64).
*We'll begin our NEW YORK news in the upper Hudson Valley, where radio
listeners in Kingston lost one of their last local shows last week. As
part of the budget cutbacks at its Hudson Valley cluster, Clear
Channel cancelled the three-hour "Morning Show" that had been a
fixture on WGHQ (920) for more than a decade, leaving hosts Orvil
Norman, Frank Meyer and Flo Hyatt without work.
WGHQ's John Street studios are being closed, with station operations
moving down to Clear Channel's facilities on Tucker Drive in
Poughkeepsie. WGHQ will now run the satellite "Music of Your Life"
format 24 hours a day, with just a minor sales presence in its city of
license. (Unsurprisingly, message boards in Kingston are already
buzzing with complaints; this is bound to be a good move for WKNY, the
last remaining local station in Kingston.)
Down in New York City, there are plenty of changes to report this week
at dance-CHR WKTU (103.5), starting with the new morning show that
adds former Boston jock Baltazar to 'KTU fixture Goumba Johnny. On
nights, Geronimo is out, with former Long Island jock Vic the Latino
returning to New York (from WPYO in Orlando) to take the
airshift. Assistant program director Jeff Z. takes Geronimo's old
music director duties.
Just up the dial at 104.3, a familiar Big Apple voice returns to the
airwaves at WAXQ this weekend. Jim Kerr, whose resume includes stops
at WPLJ, WQCD and WMXV among others, was most recently heard in
mornings at the "Y107" quadcast in the suburbs. On Saturday, he'll
join Q104 for a new Saturday morning gig. (The station also launched
its new morning show this week, with "Radio Chick" Leslie Gold joining
PD Bob Buchmann.)
On the sports side, both New York baseball teams will have new
announcing teams this year. Charlie Steiner moves from ESPN radio to
the Yankees' YES Network, to join John Sterling for the broadcasts on
WCBS (880), while Ted Robinson comes east from the San Francisco
Giants to do Mets broadcasts on WFAN and WPIX-TV.
Speaking of YES, it will carry a video feed of WFAN's Mike and Mad Dog
show weekdays from 1-6:30 PM when the Yankees aren't playing.
And NASCAR fans in the Big Apple won't be left out this year; Sporting
News Radio's WSNR (620 Newark NJ) has signed up with Motor Racing
Network to carry NASCAR action this season.
On the TV side of things, WKOB-LP has been denied class A status,
which may leave the low-power TV station without a spot on the dial
sometime soon. Here's what happened: forced to vacate its channel 53
spot, the station entered the auction for channel 48, spending just
over a million dollars to win the right to move its signal there.
But there's a problem with channel 48: it's also the spot where
WRNN-TV (Channel 62) up in Kingston wants to move its DTV allocation,
and the only way for a secondary service like WKOB-LP to prevent
itself from being bumped is to be granted "class A" status. To do
that, a station has to show that it broadcasts 18 hours a day and that
its broadcasts include three hours a week of local programming.
WKOB-LP couldn't do that, though; it had been leased out by Paxson in
1999, running no local programming, and then went dark for a while
after the lease ended. The station asked the FCC for a waiver of the
requirement, arguing that the Korean-language programming it now runs
qualifies as local.
WRNN thought otherwise, hiring a translation service to monitor and
log WKOB's programming to show that the Korean shows airing on WKOB
were actually produced at churches in Korea, a long way from Brooklyn.
And the FCC, when it weighed in this week, said it wasn't even going
to consider WRNN's intervention. Rules are rules, said the Commission,
and WKOB wasn't meeting them with local programming during the late
2000 time frame being considered. So without class A status, WKOB
remains subject to displacement from channel 48, and might not find
any spot for its broadcasts.
Not much news upstate, it turns out: just a well-founded rumor that
there's a new graphics and music package on the way to WHEC (Channel
10) in Rochester February 1, a much-welcome freshening for the station
that's had the same look now since 1995.
*Down in southern NEW JERSEY, we finally know who's paying $20 million
for Bridgeton's WSNJ (1240/107.7). "New Jersey Radio Partners, LLC" is
a new name in the market, but its partners are familiar names in the
radio world: Ed Seeger and Andrew Guest head up American Media
Services of Charleston, S.C., the brokerage that's made its name with
innovative FM move-ins. And indeed, the contract to buy the station
includes a provision for a move of the FM allocation, presumably to
get it closer to Philadelphia and Wilmington (and to clear the way for
a power increase at Atlantic City's WPUR 107.3 as well, perhaps...)
*Across the river in PENNSYLVANIA, WPHT (1210) has taken the wraps off
its new talk lineup, joining the parade of stations saying so long to
Laura Schlessinger. Premiere's Glenn Beck offering will now be heard
from 9 until noon on the Infinity talker. With Schlessinger's show
cancelled for good, the host who'd been filling the slot locally, Dom
Giordano, will move to 8-10 PM, following a new hour with financial
columnist Jim Cramer. Giordano will also be on Saturday afternoons
from 1 to 5.
An hour or so north in Reading, WEEU (830) moves from full-service AC
to news-talk, with Charlie Adams' "Charlie and Company" morning show
dropping music in favor of more talk, and a new roster of syndicated
talkers in the evening hours that includes Michael Savage and
Lionel. Music shows will continue on the weekends for now.
We don't often mention Troy and Canton, but the small towns between
Elmira and Williamsport are hearing some different voices on their
local stations. At "Wiggle Country," WHGL (100.3 Canton), Kenny Lane
moves off the air, giving up his PD and afternoon-drive slots to do
sales. David Rockwell, who's half of the "Mike and Rocky" morning show
on WHGL, adds PD duties there; he's also PD and sales manager at
sports WTZN (1310 Troy).
And in Pittsburgh, the Renda Broadcasting trio of WSHH, WPTT and WJAS
have a new general manager, as Larry Weiss comes up from the Renda
cluster in Jacksonville.
*A quiet week in CANADA, again, as the CRTC works its way through the
Toronto/Hamilton TV applications and gets ready for next month's big
public hearing on new radio applications in Quebec City. One addition
to that list: Fondation Radio-Enfant wants to run a temporary station
in the Ottawa area from March 18 until July 1. The 200-watter on 96.5
would run French-language children's programming in support of the
"Rendez-Vous de la Francophonie" event in Ottawa this summer. That
application, along with all the others, will be heard beginning
February 18 in Quebec City.
And the "Travel World" folks, formerly heard on Montreal's late CIQC
(600), and still heard on the Liberty Works network, have added a new
stateside service: "Travel World Updates," a five-minute feature,
began running last week on WKTJ (99.3 Farmington ME) and is being
offered elsewhere as well. (Check out the Website at http://www.twc.ca
for more information.)
*That's it for another week; we're off for a quick spin to New York
City this weekend, and we'll be back with next week's NERW on Tuesday,
January 22. See you then!
-----------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
(c)2002 Scott Fybush
No redistribution permitted for commercial use, or for
noncommercial use without prior written permission.
NorthEast Radio Watch is a "shareware" publication. Regular readers
are kindly requested to contribute towards the continued publication
of this weekly resource. Visit <http://www.fybush.com/support.html>
for more information.
For the freshest NERW news, visit our Web edition, published Monday
mornings at <http://www.fybush.com/nerw.html>, complete with photos,
audio clips, and links. Each week's "E-Mail edition" is distributed
to the boston-radio-interest and NERW mailing lists within 48 hours of
To be added to the NERW mailing list, send e-mail to
<firstname.lastname@example.org> with the word "subscribe"
as the body of the message. You will receive a confirmation
code to return by e-mail to begin your free subscription.
Please direct any questions about the list process to
<email@example.com>; subscription requests and
questions sent directly to NERW cannot be acted on.
NERW is archived at the Boston Radio Archives,
is generally made available there about a week after
Opinions expressed in NERW are solely those of the author
and not necessarily those of MIT or LCS.
NERW welcomes your news and contributions at