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The advent of cable and digital television began to erode the
advantages of broadcasting from such a height, though. When WMTW was
granted its digital TV construction permit on channel 46, it was clear
that a DTV signal would not reach Portland from Mount Washington with
any reliability and the die was cast for a new tower just down the
road from the existing WCSH-TV (Channel 6) site northwest of Portland
for WMTW-DT.

Add into the equation the immense costs of operating a transmitter at
a site that's accessible by road for only a few months of the year and
must be staffed full-time by live-in crews through the brutal winter
months, not to mention the approaching end of the lease on the
mountaintop land used by WMTW-TV, and it also made sense to move the
NTSC operation from the mountain down to the new DTV site.

While Portland-area viewers will notice little change in their WMTW-TV
service, the move is causing some interesting side effects in the North
Country. Cable systems in places like Berlin, Gorham and Lancaster all
used WMTW-TV as their ABC affiliate, but they won't receive service
from the new Sebago Lake site. 

And that, in turn, ends up being very good news for Manchester ABC
affiliate WMUR-TV (Channel 9), which has long operated two LPTVs in
the North Country. W27BL in Berlin and WMUR-LP (Channel 29) in
Littleton carried WMUR newscasts, but were barred from carrying WMUR's
ABC programming because of WMTW-TV. With channel 8 gone from the area,
both signals (which dropped Fox late last year and were running only
the local newscasts) will begin carrying the full WMUR schedule to
North Country broadcast and cable viewers this week.

The move leaves one big question unanswered: what will become of the
two radio stations that use the mountaintop site? WHOM (94.9 Mount
Washington, the former WMTW-FM) and WPKQ (103.7 North Conway) both
depend on the power generated by WMTW-TV and on WMTW's engineers to
keep the transmitters running through the long, cold winter months.
The Mount Washington Observatory, too, depends on WMTW's power to make
its observations (including 200+ mile-per-hour wind gusts!)

NERW suspects WPKQ's community change a few years ago, moving from
Berlin to North Conway, was meant to position the station for a move
to the valley south of the mountain should the top become unavailable;
the relay of Dover's WOKQ sells its advertising mainly in the North
Conway area and no longer sells on the coverage it still has out to

WHOM's situation is more of a challenge; it identifies as "Mount
Washington-Portland" and has long operated from studios in
Portland. We suspect it would attempt to move to the new WMTW-TV tower
or a similar site near Portland if it can't stay on the mountain;
that, though, would require a community change.

In any event, it's the end of a long, proud tradition in New England
broadcasting. NERW salutes the engineers who have kept WMTW on the air
through the worst of conditions up on "the Rock," and in particular
Marty Angstrom, who spent decades up there as not only an engineer but
a colorful on-air personality, reporting on the weather up there with
the thickest New England accent imaginable. 

A new guyed steel tower may deliver a stronger signal to Portland, but
there's no way it can compare with the romance of the Rock.

(LATE UPDATE: WMTW signed on the new transmitter on Tuesday afternoon. 
Much more next week...)

*More NEW HAMPSHIRE news: we're sorry to report the passing of former
WOKQ program director/morning host "Cousin" Bob Walker (nee
Willett). Walker was a fixture in Northern New England radio for
decades, spending time at Portland's WGAN as well before retiring in
the early eighties to begin a new life as "Captain" Bob, piloting his
tour boat around Casco Bay. Walker was just 59 when he died Thursday
(Jan. 31).

On a much less graceful note, we hear WHOB (106.3 Nashua) and night
jock Donnie White have parted ways after the latter reportedly posted
a far-too-revealing photo on the Web. (What was that about "a face for

*Crossing the line to MAINE, which we've pretty much done already
anyway, there's just one other note to add: WRED (95.9 Saco) has been
granted a power increase and a transmitter move. J.J. Jeffrey's CHR
station would move to a site in Old Orchard Beach next door to WCYY
(94.3 Biddeford), increasing from its current 3300 watts (at 91
meters) to 4100 watts at 121 meters AAT.

And did we mention WMTW-TV is moving its transmitter? Guess so...

*That brings us to MASSACHUSETTS, home of the World Champion New
England Patriots, and we're just sorry we don't still live in Boston
as we write this Sunday night. Sure, we're happy for Messrs. Kraft,
Belichick, Brady, et al...but we're especially pleased for the team's
longtime radio announcers, former Pats coach Gino Cappelletti and
veteran WBZ sports director Gil Santos. It's taken far too long for
Gil and Gino to be able to announce a championship, and for a while
there, we were afraid they'd both retire without getting the chance.

(Alas, only those within range of the WBCN signal were able to hear
Gil and Gino's call of the game; NFL rules restrict home-team coverage
to flagship stations only, so the rest of New England had to listen to
the Westwood One network coverage.)

The Pats' win will be one of the last big stories to be covered on Fox
Sports New England's late-night "Regional Sports Report." Budget cuts
at the regional network mean FSNE's 10 PM and weekend reports will be
cancelled at the end of this week, leaving only the 6:30 PM
show. Among the job cuts: anchors Eric Frede and John Holt.

Radio One isn't off the hook with the FCC over an inspection at WBOT
(97.7 Brockton) in March 2000 that found the station lacking a public
file, an operations log and a working EAS unit. The company appealed a
$21,500 Notice of Apparent Liability, saying it had just purchased the
station (formerly WCAV) five months earlier; the FCC rejected that
appeal this week, saying the company "should be well aware of its
responsibility" as a group owner of long standing.

Radio People on the Move: Veteran Boston jock Neal Robert joins WBOS
(92.9 Brookline) in the afternoon slot last held by Jack
Lawrence. Across town at WXKS-FM (107.9 Medford), Skip Kelly is
switching coasts, leaving the late night slot at Kiss 108 to go to Los
Angeles and evenings at KYSR (98.7). And former New England programmer
John Frawley (WBZ, etc.) gets promoted from VP/Broadcast Operations at
Shadow/Metro Networks to senior VP/Broadcast
Operations...congratulations!  Meanwhile, AllAccess reports Jay Bailey
has left his post as operations manager at Worcester talker WORC

The Calvary Satellite Network folks have modified their application
for a 91.7 signal in Gardner, and in a very strange way indeed. The
original application, filed back in January 2000, called for 630 watts
at 161 meters from a site near Mount Wachusett, with a directional
antenna nulled to the south and pointing north towards Gardner. This
week, though, CSN filed an amended application - and the new site is a
good 35 miles to the south, not far from Old Sturbridge Village and a
long way from Gardner. We don't think the proposed 880 watts at 138
meters will do much to reach Gardner from the new site, and we're
wondering if there's not a typo somewhere in the coordinates...

Finally, though we don't often report on unlicensed broadcasters here,
we need to tip our hat to "EBRadio," which served a small East Boston
neighborhood with a part 15 micro-signal since February 1995. After
moving from 101.3 to 97.9 to 89.3, EBRadio pulled the plug on its
broadcast signal last Saturday night, as its owner relocates from the
neighborhood and spectrum space gets ever more crowded. The good news?
We're told the station will soon be back as a Webcaster, via

*The news from CONNECTICUT this week seems to center on tower
changes. Over in Greenwich, WGCH (1490) is asking the FCC to expedite
its application for a new fiberglass tower at a local marina. Why the
hurry? The station was already served with an informal eviction notice
from its Putnam Avenue transmitter site; now it has a formal notice
from the state Supreme Court in hand ordering it to vacate its current

Up in the New Haven area, WQUN (1220 Hamden) is getting ready to
replace its two towers at the top of Denslow Hill Road. We saw the
pieces of the new tower when we stopped by in December; now we can
tell you they'll be put into place, one at a time, in April or
May. WQUN will operate non-directionally with 160 watts as each of its
existing towers is taken down.

On the TV side, Connecticut Public Television's WEDN (Channel 53) in
Norwich will be powering down a bit as it moves to a new tower at its
site in Bozrah, just a bit northwest of the current tower. WEDN will
drop from 794 kW visual (at 207 meters) to 630 kW visual (at 204
meters) when the new stick, which will also accomodate WEDN-DT
(Channel 45) goes up.

*A quick VERMONT note: George Paul checked in from WXAL (93.7 Addison)
to report that Teresa is moving from middays to the morning show at
the Middlebury-area "Alice" modern AC outlet. Weekender Serena will
replace Teresa as she joins Paul on wakeup duty.

*The big news in NEW YORK came from Buffalo - and we don't mean the
windy, windy weather last Friday (though we'll get to that, too, in a

The winds of change continued to blow hard at the Entercom cluster in
the Queen City earlier in the week, as Clip Smith was informed (upon
arriving to work on Tuesday) that his 6-10 PM talk show on WBEN (930)
had been cancelled and his services were no longer required. Smith, a
former sports anchor at WKBW-TV, came to WBEN in early 2000 as part of
the format changes that turned his former home of WGR into an
all-sports station.

Smith's time slot is being filled by an hour of news at 6, followed by
the Laura Schlessinger show formerly heard from 9 AM until
noon. Moving into that slot is Tom Bauerle, who finally leaves the WGR
sports format in which he'd been an uncomfortable fit since being
paired with Chris "Bulldog" Parker in 2000. There's already plenty of
speculation in Buffalo media circles that Bauerle's being groomed for
morning drive at WBEN - and that the Laura move is just a prelude to
her disappearance from the Buffalo airwaves. 

Meanwhile, Buffalo now has no local talker after 6 at night, and WGR
is looking for a new co-host for Parker in mornings. 

(A footnote: Bill Lacy, the WBEN morning man who was the victim of an
earlier round of budget cuts at Entercom/Buffalo, was back on the air
last week, filling in across town at Citadel oldies WHTT 104.1 for the
vacationing Danny Neaverth.)

Now, about that weather: in addition to claiming the chimney cap and
at least one chimney brick, not to mention the front screen door, here
at NERW Central, the near-hurricane-force winds wreaked havoc on the
broadcast scene. In Rochester, WLGZ (990) was without power and off
the air from Friday morning until Saturday afternoon, with WXXI (1370)
also losing power for a few hours on Friday. WRSB (1310 Canandaigua)
was silent for much of Friday, while its sister stations WASB (1590)
and WMJQ (105.5) in Brockport were silent until late Saturday or early
Sunday. Out in Orleans County, WBJA (102.1) appears to be off even as
we write this early Monday morning. On the TV side, WXXI-TV (Channel
21) suffered damage to its transmission line and spent the weekend
operating at barely five percent of its usual megawatt of power.

One more Rochester note: WBBF (950 Rochester/93.3 Fairport) said
farewell to PD/afternoon guy Bobby Hatfield (aka Joe Reilly) on
Thursday. He's off to Bloomsburg, PA to spend full time at his new
acquisition, WHLM (930); best of luck to him - and it was nice to hear
from his former WBBF morning partner, Ellis B. Feaster, who checked in
to the farewell show from his new gig doing mornings at WWKA (92.3)
down in sunny Orlando!

Up in the North Country, Mike Roach checked in to tell us WYSI (96.7
Canton) and WRCD (101.5 Canton) were both off the air at the height of
the windy weather on Friday. Still off as well, but for different
reasons, is WWJS (90.1 Watertown); Mike reports that Joann Scott, the
wife of Liberty Christian Center pastor Steven Bryant, is telling
Watertown's WWNY (Channel 7) that she supports her husband in his
dispute with Scott's parents, who had been operating WWJS until they
were locked out of Bryant's building. Will WWJS ever return? Things
aren't looking terribly bright for the religious station at this